It’s no secret that humans (well, at least presidents) are aching to go back to the Moon. And now, we have more concrete plans on how we might do that. Earlier this week, the Human Exploration and Operations Committee for NASA’s Advisory Council presented the most detailed plan to date of how, exactly, it will go about it.
The International Space Station is officially home to the coolest experiment in space.
NASA's Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) was installed in the station's U.S. science lab in late May and is now producing clouds of ultracold atoms known as Bose-Einstein condensates. These "BECs" reach temperatures just above absolute zero, the point at which atoms should theoretically stop moving entirely. This is the first time BECs have ever been produced in orbit.
The idea of taking civilians into space has taken off in the last couple of years, with SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic all investing in the concept to varying degrees. SpaceX is said to be leading the charge on private spaceflights, though it’s unclear when the aerospace company intends to start offering space tours. Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are aiming for 2018 and 2019 launches, respectively. Now Russia is getting in on the space tourism business, but it’s taking things a step further, with plans to build a luxury hotel in orbit.
Since it was first proposed in the 1960s to account for all the “missing mass” in the Universe, scientists have been trying to find evidence of dark matter. This mysterious, invisible mass theoretically accounts for 26.8% of the baryonic matter (aka. visible matter) out there. And yet, despite almost fifty years of ongoing research and exploration, scientists have not found any direct evidence of this missing mass.
I’m very excited about seeing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which tells the tale summarised in the original Star Wars’ opening crawl. This is the story of how the rebels stole the plans to the original “Death Star” – a space station the size of a small moon with a weapon powerful enough to destroy a planet.
A piece of debris just 10cm in diameter could cause an entire spacecraft to disintegrate and it is estimated that there are more than 29,000 objects larger than 10cm in Earth’s orbit. This poses a major risk to the spacecraft to-ing and fro-ing from the International Space Station, not to mention the hundreds of satellites that are now essential to daily lives.