The journey in Aldrin’s cycler is supposed to be an eccentric loop around the sun from Earth to the Martian orbit in 146 days, spending the next 16 months beyond the orbit of Mars, and another 146 days from the Martian orbit back to Earth. Other cycler options take even longer. The advantage is that by not entering orbit around mars there is far less energy usage, but planning a mission around using a cycler has very little room for adjusting things on the fly.
Via Ars Technica:
For the last few months rumors have been swirling within the aerospace community about how the company would soon unveil an ambitious architecture that will allow it to begin human missions to Mars within a decade. In response to those rumors, a company source told Ars that nothing was “imminent,” and that appears to be true.
During the forum, uploaded to YouTube, Musk said, “I’m hoping to describe that architecture later this year at IAC … and I think that will be quite exciting.” This year’s International Astronautical Conference will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from September 26 to 30. This may include discussion of both a super-heavy rocket as well as starships that could ferry large numbers of people from Earth to Mars, known as the Mars Colonial Transporter.
Saturn casting a shadow on the rings
Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus
Anyone can create a user account on China’s Science and Application Center for Moon and Deepspace Exploration website to download the pictures themselves. The process is a bit cumbersome and the connection to the website is spotty if you’re accessing it outside of China.
Luckily, Emily Lakdawalla from the Planetary Society spent the last week navigating the Chinese database and is currently hosting a suite of China’s lunar images on the Planetary Society Website.
Via NBC News:
The SpaceX and Tesla founder said this week that he personally wants to visit space within the next five years and thinks that his company will launch a mission to Mars by 2025.
Via ABC News:
Thirty years ago today, the nation watched on live television as the Challenger shuttle carrying seven people, including a high school teacher, exploded into a fireball 73 seconds after liftoff.
On an unusually cold January morning, the astronauts’ families and other onlookers watched as the Challenger lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, for what was supposed to be a seven day trip. Shortly after liftoff an orange fireball and smoke could be seen in the sky.
“Obviously a major malfunction,” Stephen Nesbitt at mission control said, according to transcripts of the Challenger disaster.
Via Wired UK:
Chris Hadfield spent 166 days in space and spacewalked for almost 15 hours — but he’s eager for humans to venture further. The next “logical” space exploration? Humans returning to the Moon and building colonies there.
“We will be on the International Space Station for another ten years or so, and where’s the next obvious place we’ll go? The Moon. It’s only three days away,” the 59-year-old Canadian astronaut tells WIRED.
January 27th marked the ”plugs-out” test, where the command/service module was operating with all three astronauts inside under its own power, an essential test for ensuring the spacecraft’s flight worthiness. There was no fuel, no cryogenics, and no known potential hazard to this test. All three astronauts entered the module in fully pressurized space suits, while the cabin was pressurized and filled with oxygen. The three hatches — the removable inner hatch, the hinged outer hatch, and then the outer hatch cover — were then externally installed. A minor communications problem arose in the late afternoon, causing the simulated countdown to stall at T-minus-10 minutes. What happened next was very fast.
At 6:30:54 PM, while the crew was running through their checklist a second time, a voltage spike was recorded. Ten seconds later, at 6:31:04, one of the astronauts exclaimed something inaudible, perhaps “Hey!” or “Fire,” a transmission that came through Grissom’s microphone. Two seconds later, at 6:31:06, Chaffee’s voice was clearly heard, “We’ve got a fire in the cockpit.” Seven seconds after that, at 6:31:13, an unidentifiable, heavily garbled voice yells “[…] bad fire […] get… out […] [open ‘er/burning] up,” followed by an end to the last transmission at 6:31:22. The last image that anyone reported seeing before the transmission ended was Ed White reaching for the inner hatch handle, as the flames swept from left to right across the monitor.
Via The Verge:
Audi has helped perfect the 3D printing process to create nearly the entire rover out of aluminum and titanium. It uses special channels to route wiring inside hollow structural components, something that couldn’t be done with a CNC process. “It’s not possible from the axis of freedom,” says Robert Böhme, CEO of PT Scientists. “The parts are like 1 millimeter thick.”
3D printing isn’t just going to contribute to the building of the rover. The team wants to create a 3D printer that can use lunar soil already chock full of aluminum, titanium, and magnesium to eventually create parts for other devices on the Moon. The theory is that it’s a lot easier to build something new on the Moon than it is to ship it there.
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