Space update 042411


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  • Rememeber when we were wondering what the SpaceX announcement was going to be? Back then we commented on nine engines in one rocket.This beauty has three of those for a total of 27 merlin engines.
  • Giant nebula around Lambda Orionis seen by WISE in infrared.
  • A rich collection of colorful astronomical objects is revealed in this picturesque image of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Explorer, or WISE. The Rho Ophiuchi cloud (pronounced ‘oh-fee-yoo-ki’ and named after a bright star in the region) is found rising above the plane of the Milky Way in the night sky, bordering the constellations Ophiuchus and Scorpius. It’s one of the nearest star-forming regions to Earth, allowing us to resolve much more detail than in more distant similar regions, like the Orion nebula.
  • This is a star-forming cloud of dust and gas located in the constellation of Monoceros. The nebula, commonly referred to as Sh2-284, is relatively isolated at the very end of an outer spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. In the night sky, it’s located in the opposite direction from the center of the Milky Way.Deep inside Sh2-284 resides an open star cluster, called Dolidze 25, that is emitting vast amounts of radiation in all directions, along with stellar winds. These stellar winds and radiation are clearing out a cavern inside the surrounding gas and dust, creating the void seen in the center.
  • To resolve this question, Villata needed to institute the second assumption – that general relativity is CPT invariant.This means that the laws governing an ordinary matter particle in an ordinary field in spacetime can be applied equally well to scenarios in which charge (electric charge and internal quantum numbers), parity (spatial coordinates) and time are reversed, as they are for antimatter.When you reverse the equations of general relativity in charge, parity and time for either the particle or the field the particle is traveling in, the result is a change of sign in the gravity term, making it negative instead of positive and implying so-called antigravity between the two.In other words, if general relativity is, in fact, CPT invariant, antigravity would cause particles and antiparticles to mutually repel. On a much larger scale, Villata claims that the universe is expanding because of this powerful repulsion between matter and antimatter.
  • thruster for spacecraft propulsion. It uses radio waves to ionize and heat a propellant and magnetic fields to accelerate the resulting plasma to generate thrust. It is one of several types of spacecraft electric propulsion systems.The method of heating plasma used in VASIMR was originally developed as a result of research intonuclear fusion. VASIMR is intended to bridge the gap between high-thrust, low-specific impulse propulsion systems and low-thrust, high-specific impulse systemsA Visimr ship is relatively slow but is very efficient. They are especially useful as space tugs moving cargo from LEO to GEO or from GEO to a lunar orbit.
  • Russian space nuclear power supply is especially useful as a faster space tug for moving cargos from LEO to GEO. These power modules are of course also useful generally in near earth space, on the moon as as modular basis for larger space habitats.
  • It is the largest commercial space launch contract with any single entity. The contract is worth an estimated $3 billion. This contract will utilize Falcon 9 launch vehicles. They will also complete the planned 72 satellite fleet in only eight launches of nine satellites each.Sixty-six of these satellites will be fully operational; the remaining six will be on-orbit spares (in case there is a contingency with any of the operating satellites). Iridium will also have nine additional ground spares.
  • Cosmologists have known for some time that there are regions inside charged, rotating black holes where objects such as photons can survive in stable periodic orbits.Dokuchaev's contribution is to study these orbits in detail and to explore their dynamics. One of the problems that would at first seem to scupper any chance of planetary orbits inside a black hole is the way that the dimensions of space and time behave.It's well known that a traveller passing through a black hole's event horizon arrives in a region in which the radial dimension becomes time-like, rather than space-like. Conventional orbits are clearly impossible here.But travel further in and there is another horizon where the dimensions switch back again (at least, inside charged and rotating black holes). This is the inner Cauchy horizon and it's beyond here that Dokuchaev says the interesting orbits for massive planets exist.He calculates that the stable orbits are nonequatorial and have a rich structure (see picture above). They would also be brightly illuminated by the central singularity and by photons trapped in the same orbit.That raises an interesting question: whether a planet in such an orbit could support a complex chemistry that is rich enough to allow life to evolve.Dokuchaev clearly thinks so. "Advanced civilizations may live safely inside the supermassiveBHs in the galactic nuclei without being visible from the outside," he says, somewhat speculatively.Of course, such a civilisation would have to cope with extraordinary conditions such as huge tidal forces and the huge energy density that builds up in these stable orbits as photons become trapped. There's also the small problem of causality violations, which some cosmologists predict would plague this kind of tortured space-time.
  • Space update 042411

    1. 1. Space Update 04.24.11
    2. 2. SpaceX Falcon Heavy
    3. 3. SpaceX Falcon Heavy• Competive with Saturn V but much cheaper lift cost – Approx $1000/kg to LEO• Aimed at lunar and mars mission• Lift capacity is twice that of any other (rocket based) launch vehicle – 53 metric tons – picture fully loaded Boeing 737 to orbit, passengers, luggage and all.• Propellant cross-feed from side boosters leaving central core with more propellant for next boost phase – Only needed for missions over 100,000 lbs.
    4. 4. Falcon Heavy..• Higher structural margins than any other rocket – Yet better mass ratio than an vehicle to date• Falcon 9 launch mission cost is $50-60m• Falcon Heavy is $80-125m – Both prices include all non-recurring missing cost and on-orbit delivery – Even the Falcon Heavy cost is less than ¼ of the budgeted per launch cost the Air Force employees• Free Enterprise rules!
    5. 5. Falcon Heavy Vehicle Overview• Mass to orbit (200 km, 28.5 deg) – 53 metric tons (117,000 lbs)• Length – 69.2 meters• Max Stage Width – 5.2 meters• Total Width – 11.5 meters• Liftoff weight – 1400 metric tons• Thrust on liftoff – 1700 metric tons
    6. 6. Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer• WISE space telescope (launched 2009) – 57% of all its surveys are publicly available – To date as discovered • 20 new comets • 33000 new asteroids (between Mars and Jupiter) • 133 NEOs • 94 cool stars (brown dwarfs) • Altogether more than 350 million objects including 155000 in the solar system
    7. 7. Anti-Gravity as cause of universe expansion?• Although normal matter attracts normal matter and antimatter attracts antimatter.. – Does matter attract antimatter or repeal it?• According to General Relativity – It looks like they may repeal each other• If correct it obviates the need for Dark Energy to explain cosmic expansion• It would also offer some explanation for little antimatter seeming to be around• But can you use it for an anti-gravity device or space drive? – Hmmm…
    8. 8. Titan may have subsurface ocean• On basis of gravity and radar – Moments of inertia are off for a solid body – Likely more liquid core • Unknown what that liquid is. • But a liquid water ocean under an ice surface is suspected – A model with these assumptions matches the data obtained much better.
    9. 9. Inflatable antennaes• Emergency Satellite comms for earth and space – Can be quickly deployed for remote hard to reach places – Can provide internet, VOIP, email, etc – Complete system sets up in 45 minutes, 15 to take down – Fits in two suitcases.
    10. 10. A boom in sending people to space• SpaceX Falcon Heavy flies in 2012/2013• Bigelow Aerospace makes inflatable space station and is expanding by 1100% – Together means that stations bigger than ISS are single launch• Russia is developing a megawatt nuclear power system for space• Vasimir plasma 200 kw rockets will be flown shortly• Solar electric sail prototype flies next year – May be used to shepherd asteroids
    11. 11. Shepherding asteroids• Very low thrust engines may be used to move asteroids slow – Consider conglomeration of asteroids with living space within them.• AsterAnts proposal for moving large number of < 1 m dia. Asteroids• When an asteroid is in place it would locked in• Easier to move a lot of small asteroids slowly than hollow out a large one
    12. 12. Electric Solar Sail
    13. 13. Electric Solar Sail• 50 – 100 20 km conducting wires – Interact with charged solar flux – The electric field of each wire extends 10s of meters – So solar wind ions act as if this is a large solid sail – Can theorectically achieve thousands of newtons of propulsion.
    14. 14. Vasimr Rocket
    15. 15. Spacex wins $3 billion Iridium satellite network contract
    16. 16. Life inside a black hole?