This Week in Space

Sorry for the much overdue This Week in Space. I just haven't felt like doing one lately, and haven't even followed space news for a month or so.


Satellite proposed to send solar power to Earth

The first time I saw this idea was in Sim City '2000' back in 1993 or 1994 where you could build microwave power stations that would beam solar energy down from space via mirowaves.It's a good idea, just not really been worth it due to cost of solar cells, they are however getting cheaper and electricity is getting more expensive as demand for it increases.

Artemis Innovation Management Solutions has been given some seed money by NASA to look deeper into a project the company first proposed last summer; namely, building a satellite that could collect energy from the sun and beam it back down to Earth to add to the electrical grid. Building such a satellite has been bantered about for several decades by various groups and scientists, but until now, no one had come up with a design that would work given all the constraints of the time. But now, an idea proposed by longtime NASA engineer John Mankins, now with Artemis, has clearly created enough interest within NASA that some money to investigate the idea is being offered.

Read more HERE


New look at HD 10180 shows it might have nine planets

I like how when I was born we knew of a whopping 0 planets outside of our star system, we now know of over 2,000 and confirm more weekly. HD 10180 has as many as we used to (before Pluto lost planethood) and may even have more. The chance that we are the only sentient life in the universe is absurdly low, hell we likely aren't alone in our neighborhood in our galaxy.

Astronomer Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire, has found after looking at data regarding the solar system surrounding the star HD 10180, that it likely has nine planets making it the most highly populated solar system known to man (ours has just eight after the demotion of Pluto). He details his findings in a paper pre-published on arXiv (and set for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics) describing how after studying slight wobbles by the star as it’s tugged by planetary gravitation, he found what he believes is confirmation of a seventh planet, and evidence for two more.

Read more HERE

Newfangled space-propulsion technology could help clean up Earth orbit

I love it! I want to see this used on a small sattelite inside of 5 years. Get to it!

Some of the most valuable “real estate” for humans isn’t on Earth at all but rather above the planet’s atmosphere, where all manner of human-made objects orbit. The problem is that those orbits are too crowded with dead satellites and debris, making new launches riskier. Robert Winglee has spent years developing a magnetized ion plasma system to propel a spacecraft at ultra-high speeds, making it possible to travel to Mars and return to Earth in as little time as 90 days. The problem is that cost and other issues have dampened the desire to send astronauts to Mars or any other planet.

Read more HERE


Will Russia rescue ExoMars?

I hope this mission gets salvaged, although we have a nice one on it's way... Curiosity which is set to land between August 6 and August 20, 2012.

After NASA was forced to back out the joint ExoMars mission with the European Space Agency due to budget constraints, ESA went looking for help with the planned multi-vehicle Mars mission. Now, reportedly the Head of Roscosmos Vladimir Popovkin met with Director General of the ESA, Jean-Jacques Dordain last week, and the two signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to make ExoMars a reality.

Read more HERE


Hubble spies a spiral galaxy edge-on

There is your beautiful image for this installment of This Week in Space.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has spotted the "UFO Galaxy." NGC 2683 is a spiral galaxy seen almost edge-on, giving it the shape of a classic science fiction spaceship. This is why the astronomers at the Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory, Cocoa, Fla., gave it this attention-grabbing nickname.

Read more HERE