Showing posts with label NASA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NASA. Show all posts

Saturday, 7 April 2018

TESS to Search the Sky for New Worlds

The Search for New worlds begins with TESS

Is earth the only inhabitable planet or are there more planets out there that could potentially become a home far away from home for us? Scientists are all ready to launch TESS or Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, which will reportedly look for planets outside the solar system that could potentially support life on their surfaces. TESS will look at the atmospheric compositions of these planets and determine whether they could support life.

TESS is all set for an April 16 launch, with scientists making the final preparations for its two year stint in space. TESS will look for planets around nearby starts that give hints of a livable atmosphere.
TESS will analyze Atmospheric compositions of planets:

Scientists believe that atmospheric compositions hold clues as to whether a planet can hold life or not and this is what TESS will be sent out to do.

TESS is tasked with finding exoplanets by analyzing something that is known as “transit”. Transit is when a planet passes in front of a start causing a dip in the brightness of that star. In the past, scientists have discovered many exoplanets using the technique of transit. Most of these planets are 300 to 3000 lightyears away from us.

TESS’s follow up program will look at the mass of various planets some 4 times the radius of the earth and others smaller than earth.

How will Transit Help scientists? 

With transit, TESS will be able to identify exoplanets and then scientists will use a technique known as “spectroscopy” which is the study of the absorption and emission of light, to determine the mass, density and atmospheric composition of a specific planet.

The water content and other molecules present in the atmosphere of a planet will give key clues as to the possibility of a planet to harbor life.

The Follow-up Observations: 

Follow- up observations of TESS’s findings will be made by scientists using MEarth telescopes which are robotically controlled observatories. Another way scientists plan on observing findings is through a KeplerCam present on a 48 inch telescope. MEarth and Kepler cam will be used to confirm the star that TESS identifies in the transit period.

TESS Guest Investigator Program: 

The worldwide scientific community will be able to participate in this mission through TESS Guest Investigator Program. This participation will maximize the return expected from the mission and contribute in the study of stellar astrophysics, exoplanet characterization and general solar system science.

Launch of TESS: 

TESS is expected to launch on April 16 of this year for its two year mission. The launch will be from Space Launch Complex 40 Cape Canaveral Air Force Station located in Florida.

With the help of gravity from the moon, TESS will begin a 13.7 day orbit of the earth and sixty days after its launch and after checking all its instruments it will begin its two year mission in space. TESS will be all set to discover planets that could potentially hold human life.

Friday, 23 February 2018

NASA Developing 3D Printable Tools to Help Analyse Biological Samples without Sending Them Back to Earth

NASA builds up 3D printable apparatus to help evaluate biological samples without transporting them back to our planet

To make possible astronauts on the ship the International Space Station (ISS) to study biological samples without transferring them back to our planet, NASA scientists, together with an of Indian scientist, are budding 3D printable apparatus that can hold liquids such as blood biological samples with no spill out into micro-gravity.

To understand, how to have an effect on team physical condition, how to formulate an enduring role to Mars furthermore afar, NASA told on 8 February. The innovative NASA’s mission, known as Omics in Space, plans to build up expertise to cram "omics" - in microbiology that are imperative to the health of humans. Omics comprises of exploration hooked on genome, microbiomes as well as proteomes.

NASA has by now deliberated omics by way of attempts such as the Microbial trailing 1 research that check up microbial multiplicity lying on the space station. However there is no method to route biological samples lying on the station, thus they enclose to be propel down to globe. It may possibly be months between the moment biological samples are taken as well as an examination is done, told Kasthuri Venkateswaran of NASA's (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and chief researcher meant for the Omics in Space mission.

He is a former pupil of Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu, told: This mission intends to widen an programmed structure meant for learn molecular biology by means of least team intercession.

This researcher proclaimed that this is one of the major achievements in microgravity. Astronauts amass a range of biological samples, takes account of their own saliva as well as blood, and microbes washed down from the hedges of the ISS. These biological samples could subsequently be jumble through water. Exclusive of the suitable apparatus, biological samples can dribble, glide or else structure air bubbles that could conciliate consequences.

Two years ago, NASA obtains a huge leap through progressive DNA hooked on space meant for the initial time. Astronauts make use of a small, hand-held succession utensil known as the MinION, founded by Oxford Nanopore Technologies. It is a corporation having its head office at Oxford, England.

NASA told the Space mission tactics to put up this sensation by means of budding a programmed DNA / RNA extractor that may put in order biological samples intended for a MinION apparatus. A significant component of this extractor is a 3D printable synthetic sealed unit required to haul out nucleic acids from the biological samples intended for the Minion progression.

Camilla Urbaniak, a Postdoctoral investigator on JPL in addition to co-investigator on Omics in Space, told this has been checked on our Planet. "We are obtaining what is on our planet to study DNA along with uniting the entire rung hooked on an programmed method," Urbaniak told. "What is innovative is a single stop store that could haul out and route the entire of these biological samples," Urbaniak said.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

NASA Contracts with BWXT Nuclear Energy to Advance Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology


NASA wants to reach Mars with nuclear power

How powerful does a space rocket have to get to Mars? Apparently, rather more than the more modern we have. This is what NASA thinks, which has reopened the door to Advance Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology whose possibilities in space exploration seemed forgotten: nuclear fusion.

Nuclear power propulsion is a fairly popular idea in science fiction. NASA has already done some experiments with it in the 1970s, although the risks of using it outweighed the benefits. Instead, he sent Apollo missions to the Moon with conventional fuel, much less powerful and efficient. The tests will take place at the Nevada National Security Site near Las Vegas. Its ultimate goal is to provide enough energy on the surface of the Red Planet for the production of fuel, habitats and other equipment, when humans settle there.

The last time NASA tested a fission reactor was during the 1960s Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power (SNAP) program, which developed two types of nuclear power systems. The first system - thermoelectric generators of radioisotopes, or RTGs - takes advantage of the heat released from the natural decomposition of a radioactive element, such as plutonium. RTGs have fueled dozens of space probes over the years, including the explorer Curiosity currently exploring Mars.

The second technology developed under SNAP was an atom division fission reactor. SNAP-10A was the first - and so far, only - US nuclear power plant to operate in space. Launched on April 3, 1965, the SNAP-10A operated for 43 days, producing 500 watts of electrical power, before an unrelated equipment failure ended the show. The spacecraft remains in Earth orbit.

Russia has been much more active developing and flying spacecraft powered by small fission reactors, Radar Ocean Reconnaissance including 30 Satellites, or RORSAT, which flew between 1967 and 1988, and increased power TOPAZ systems. TOPAZ is an acronym for Thermionic Experiment with Conversion in Active Zone.

However, if the agency wants to meet its goal of sending a manned mission to Mars, it must get a whole rabbit out of the hat. It needs an energy source that will shorten the journey to the red planet for several months, thus reducing the exposure of astronauts and spacecraft to space radiation. The options are not too many, so they have ended up turning a blind eye to nuclear power.

To investigate whether it is possible to equip Advance Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology by testing such a motor in a manned spacecraft, NASA has awarded a contract worth 18 million to BWXT, a company specializing in generating atomic energy. His challenge is to create an atomic engine powerful enough to go and return to Mars without risking - at least not too much - the life of astronauts.

On the previous occasion they encountered a seemingly insurmountable problem: for an engine of this type to work, it should be heated to more than 2,000 degrees centigrade, a fairly high temperature that can cause an explosion.

The dilemma is there: if we want to explore the Solar System we need a better source of energy for our rockets. Otherwise, they will never be able to go beyond Mars with the greatest possible risks.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

NASA Unveils Spaceship Hatch 50 Years after Fatal Apollo 1 Fire

Apollo 1
In January 27, 1967, a massive fire broke out in the Apollo 1 capsule and the entire area filled with smoke, which caused the death of three of the NASA astronauts; Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Roger Chaffee and Edward White. This is the first of this kind of an accident in the earlier days of this space agency. After 50 years of that untoward incident, Nasa marked the anniversary of that fatal incident on 27 January 2017 and displayed that scorched hatch, which had trapped those three astronauts, during the normal pre-launch routine test, inside that execrable spaceship.

  •  The three men were badly stuck inside the spaceship and could not help themselves to get out of that capsule by opening up the three-part hatch and succumbed to death, as the entire area was engulfed by heavy and deadly smoke. 
  •  The Emergency rescue team rushed to the spot and tried their best to tame the fire but failed to do so as it was too late at the launchpad, which is now being known as the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It is now being uttered by several experts in this field that this lamentable incident helped in averting many accidents as the actual cause of the damage has been now in front of everybody. If this has happened in space, the actual cause of the incident would have been unknown to the world of space science and technology. 
  •  The destroyed hatch is now displayed at the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex, which works like a reminder to all about the risk factors of the spacecraft. It is now been noted that the death of these three astronauts has helped the future generation of space traveler to avert that kind of an accident, which is helpful for both the science and the mankind. 
  •  In the investigation of that horrific accidents revealed some of the major mistakes in the design of the Apollo capsule, the most complex electrical wiring, an environment of pure oxygen and inflammable materials inside the cabin of the astronauts, are considered some of the major problems that instigated the fatal incident. 
  •  After that incident, NASA has made some of the most important changes in the design and safety features of the future spacecraft and resumed the flying since October 1968, which paved the way for the most glorious and historic Lunar mission and the Apollo 11 was safely landed on the moon surface in July 1969.
  •  The ceremony was a part of the series of other events, those are commemorating the awful incident, where NASA paid fitting tribute to the crew of Space Shuttle Challenger, who were killed in January 1986 during the launching and also to the astronauts of Shuttle Columbia, who had met with the most horrible accident as their spaceship was broken apart, while trying to enter the Earth's atmosphere on the day of February 1, 2003. 
  •  Members of the families of Grissom, White and Chaffee; gathered at the same place, where the gruesome accidents had occurred, to pay their respects.

Monday, 12 December 2016

NASA’s Double Bubble D8

Double Bubble D8
NASA has long been longing at ways to revolutionize the air travel which has not seen any great technological advancement in the recent past. NASA has come up with a new design which can be fitted right into the aircraft’s wings. This new radical design is related to the segment of Double Bubble D8 which focuses on fitting the plane with extra equipment to increase its agility, speed and performance. NASA study has shown that this new design will help in boosting the fuel efficiency of the air crafts by eight percent through dramatically reducing the drag as well as weight of the future planes.

NASA working on a super project

NASA is actively engaged in testing new fan and inlet design at its Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Currently the design of jet aircraft ensures that the engines are located quite away from the aircraft body in order to avoid the slow flowing air which usually develops along the plane’s surface. This is also known as boundary layer.

NASA engineers have devised a new way of reducing the fuel burn through embedding the aircraft engine into these surfaces. Doing away with the boundary layer aircraft will generate the propel ability right through its mission with less fuel usage. NASA engineers are currently in testing phase but they are hopeful that the new design and required enabling technologies will help in revolutionizing the air transportation in near future.
How the testing is carried out?

Testing is an integral part of development of new design and its enabling technologies in order to make it safer for wide usage in future. NASA is conducting highly experimental test which will certainly require years of preparation but it will help in removing all the doubts about it in the right fashion. Research team will be testing out the new technology and hardware by pushing it against varying wind speeds and boundary layer thickness as well as the fan operation. This research will also help a number of aircraft design being pursued by the NASA along with other private and academic industry partners.

NASA has plan to get this ‘double bubble or D8’ into a twin hull plane for better fuel efficiency and lesser load and unload time factor. The design for Double Bubble D8 craft was developed in 2008 by Aurora Flight Sciences and MIT. NASA has given a contract worth $2.9 million to a company for developing a scale model of the aircraft. So far in terms of innovation only X planes has made distinct name for itself by breaking the sound barrier.

Benefits of the D8

In a nutshell this new design forwarded with the D8 will bring about a number of benefits which includes increased fuel efficiency, less community noise, improved air quality, heightened passenger experience, greater airport compatibility and faster boarding and deplaning. However the best thing worth noting about the D8 is that it will help in enhancing the efficiency of the planes at transonic cruise speeds.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Nasa Starts Work on Super Quiet Supersonic Jet


American space agency Nasa has finally given nod to development of new age breed of supersonic jets inquest to win over the sky. NASA has started development for so called low boom supersonic jets which will be much better on every scale against the traditional supersonic jets. These jets are aimed to be quieter, safer as well as greener than the current form of air transportations.

NASA supersonic jet plane is currently under development through the X Plane programme. It should be noted that Nasa’s X Plane programme was established way back in 1940’s with the goal of creating new age jets for the future. However over the years this program was left to eat dust due to the shortage of funds. Nasa has finally found a partner in name of Aviation Horizons which will be funding the development of supersonic jets till 2017.

Nasa aims to bring greener jets

Aviation Horizons has made it clear to the Nasa that they are looking forward to development of greener supersonic jets which doesn’t cause too much strain on the fossil fuels for power. These jets will feature reduced fuel usage, emissions along with revolutionary innovation basically in the aircraft design which can also reduce the noise emission to a great extent.

Nasa is working towards bringing a new age in supersonic jets

The current form of air travesl are not only a huge guzzler of natural resources in order to derive power but also happens to great noise emitter. Nasa’s X Plane programme is almost seventy years old and during this Nasa has performed huge number of test which has push forwarded its understanding and technological expertise in the arena of supersonic jets development. It all started seventy ago when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier and opened a new world of opportunities to the super-aircraft development.

Charles Bolden one of the Nasa administrator has stated that they are looking forward to continue the legacy of the X Plane by carefully working towards the development of first of its kind quieter supersonic jets. Hopefully these will find their way into the aviation industry and one day it will cater the needs of millions of people flying worldwide.

The biggest problem faced by the engineers is to reduce the sound emission along with the fuel emission is a challenging task for the Nasa. New age supersonic jets will likely to have a ‘sonic heatbeat’ rather than the booming sounds.

Nasa pioneering commercial space flights with experimentation

The development of new supersonic jets is among the some of the great experiments undertaken by Nasa to improve the aviation industry. Nasa has even unveiled an unique one of kind ten engine drone which has the design ala helicopter. Nasa is also experimenting with various kind of wing shapes in order to improve the fuel usage ratio along with coming with an option of removing wide wings on the aircrafts. In order to open the space for commercial flights it is necessary to decrease the weight which will ensure faster flight with reduced use of fuel.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Watch a Floating Green Ball of Water Effervesce in Space in Glorious 4K


NASA Astronauts aboard ISS Assessing 4 K Cameras

The astronauts of NASA, aboard the International Space Station- ISS, have been presently assessing a 4K camera for filming science experiments which means that the recording would be at higher frame rate, higher resolution than the usual HD camera and would be offering more information to researcher studying the recordings. Moreover, it would also add more fun together with interesting videos.

Most recent is the video starring astronaut Scott Kelly and the ball of changing colours is unique because of the first space videos which NASA shot in 4K ultra-high definitions HD. Kelly who is part of NASA’s crew, had spent a year in space instead of the standard six months, in order to scale the effects on the body of long term Mars mission, toying with water.

 Subsequent to the 8K UHD, 4K UHD is said to provide the highest resolution viewing experience one can get and is four times the definition which the standard 1080p HD television could offer. NASA has explained in a description of the video that astronaut Scott Kelly had taken on board the ISS, that the higher resolution images and higher frame rate videos seems to disclose more information when utilised on science investigations providing the researchers with valuable new tool aboard the space station.

Video Beautiful Highlighting Various Colours/Texture/Movements

His video is just not beautiful but tends to highlight various colours, textures as well as movements which show the high resolution camera’s tremendous potentials. Kelly has a globule of water in which is added things and is filming the effects.

Water floats in the air as quivering blobs, in microgravity, which tends to make for some experiments which the astronauts finds it fun, like the popping water balloons, or injecting air bubbles and watching how the water tends to move.

In July, Terry Virts, NASA astronaut had inserted an effervescent tablet in a ball of water to observe it dissolve and release gases in the water and in the air. In Kelly’s experiment, he tends to switch it a little wherein he creates the water globule first and then adds what seems like blue and yellow edible dye to colour the water into an algae green.

Camera – Huge Sensors/Potential of High Resolution Imaging

Thereafter he adds effervescent tablets that cause the green globule to bubble and distort as tablet tends to quickly break down producing carbon dioxide. One can observe individual pockets of water explode off the surface after the effervescent tablet has dissolved which is because as the tablet liquefies it generates bubbles of carbon dioxide gas in the water which would generally rise to the surface of a glass on Earth.

However in space it moves to the outer edge of the sphere increasing in size till the bubbles pop flinging bits of water everywhere.The camera – the Red Epic Dragon 4K has also been utilised in the production of films like Peter Jackson’s – the Hobbit, series. Rodney Grubbs, program manager for NASA’s Imagery Experts Program of the camera in July, informs that this is a big leap in camera technology for spaceflight.

These cameras tend to have huge sensors with the potential of very high resolution imaging at high frame rates. It seems like having a high speed 35MM motion picture film camera though it is compact and can use lenses which are already up there besides being digital.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

NASA’s Dirt-Scanning Satellite is Down to a Single Peeper


NASA’s - Soil Moisture Active Passive Satellite

Rocket mission to space is always a risky one and when things seem to go wrong, lethargy could lead to mishap. One such mission is the almost billion dollar Soil Moisture Active Passive – SMAP satellite that had lost one of its radar imagers a few months after coming online. SMAP’s sensors pair was intended to generate high resolution, extremely accurate maps of soil moisture, the core of the Earth’s water, energy as well as carbon cycles.

The blackened electric eye does not tend to blind the mission but does cause a hindrance to the satellite’s high definition mapping abilities and recently was announced by NASA that the extra eye was not coming back. SMAP had been launched by NASA in January to guard over the water which Earth stores in its soil where more than 97% of all the water on Earth is stored in the oceans.

The rest is sheltered up in ice caps and glaciers as of now and less than a single percent of all water on Earth seems to be in the form of soil moisture. However gallon for gallon, fraction of water seems to be of more importance than any other source on the face of the Earth which is due to the soil where the plants tend to grow.

Susceptible to Interference

The content of moisture in the soil regulates how many plants tend to grow in a certain area that controls how much carbon in absorbed out of the atmosphere. Moreover, when plants tend to absorb the carbon, they give out water vapour that provides the cool temperature on the Earth’s surface as it evaporates. The SMAP, after its winter launch tends to send soil moisture maps home in April.

 However towards July, something was incorrect with one of its paired sensors. Both the sensors were intended to collect data from the same slice of the RF spectrum but they use different systems. The `A’ in the SMAP, the active radar spring up energy from the Earth’s surface, taking the moisture readings centred on the return signature.

Dara Entekhabi, SMAP mission’s principal investigator and climate scientist at MIT informed that `the advantage is that it actually illuminates the surface having high spatial resolution, but is more susceptible to interference’.

Cause - Faulty Power Supply

The P in SMAP is the big cake pan shaped antenna that dangles off its side and as its name indicate, the passive microwave radiometer tends to sit back and gather the releases of the planet. It measures up a ton of data soil and can also see through clouds and tree cover though only views around 25 miles per pixel.

The active radar would have brought that resolution below to less than two miles but due to the active sensor affecting the big clock in the sky; the passive radiometer did everything on its own.Entekhabi has stated that the culprit was a faulty power supply and to amplify a signal, power was essential.

The failure could have been the result of faulty parts, a freak ion static occurrence or one of the several low probability events. The radar being unique was global mapping radar, producing a map every two to three days, according to Entekhabi and on a mission level, it crippled SMAP’s potentials in making high resolution maps and gather the data on how changes in soil moisture could affect long term climate.

The radar’s fleeting months of operation enabled NASA watch the climate change in real time, season vegetation changes, sea ice extent, and new bodies of water developed by melting permafrost. These maps are expected to be released later this month.

Monday, 13 July 2015

New Horizons Hiccup won't Affect Pluto Mission Science

Now space scientists are planning to return New Horizons on the normal science operations, just before its historic Pluto flyby because scientists have figure out that what was the reason for its weekend glitch, says NASA.

As per the statement of Jim Green, who is Director of planetary science in NASA, “I am pleased to inform that our mission teams have quickly identified the problem which assured the health and proper operation of the spacecraft”. According to Jim, with these insights of Pluto, we are on the verge to return on the normal operations and now going for the gold.

On last Saturday, team of New Horizons traced the reasons for failure and they found that it’s hard to detect the timing flaw when it comes spacecraft command sequence which occurred during the operations preparation for the flyby of July 14. However; it is well known fact that due to the flaw spacecraft went out of communication for the duration of more than 90 minutes.

But again it comes back in protective safe mode communication when they switched control from its primary backup computer. According to Glen Nagle, spokesman of Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla, “Now again spacecraft is fully operation and we are able to download data and receive the commands”.

This spacecraft, which is of piano-size, let the scientists and engineers to know that it was good enough to receive and transmit the messages and commands. However; team members of New Horizons went through the routine troubleshooting to track down that particular glitch. Now scientists are putting all efforts to bringing the spacecraft in normal mode, but the whole process need few days meanwhile; for signals it takes four and a half hours to reach the probe when it travels with speed of light and it again takes four and a half hours to receive the response from spacecraft.

The operation triggered that same flaw will not happen again in future as currently New Horizons is 9.9 million kilometers or 6 million miles away from Pluto and in its flyby; it is traveling with the speed of 50,000 kilometers per hour or 30,000 mph.

According to NASA this outage will not affect the mission ability (cost of mission is $ 728 million) to meet its primary objectives. According to Alan Stern, who is mission's principal investigator and from Southwest Research Institute, “In terms of output it will not change A into A-plus”.

New Horizons was launched before nine years with sole objective to study the environment of Pluto and its moon. With the available instruments, spacecraft will map the surface of dwarf planet and gather the data about its composition to taste the dust in nitrogen-rich atmosphere which is in surrounding.

Apart from that the main objective craft will click the high resolution close picture of the dwarf planet to understand its surface composition. After flyby it’s expected that New Horizons will send back data in the period of 16 months or more however; currently team is drawing up plans for next flyby.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Build A Mars Base with A Box of Engineered Bugs

Travel to Alien Planet – Bug Boxes – Engineered Microbes

The next time humans intend to set foot on an alien planet, they may not have to travel alone but travel along with small lightweight `bug boxes’ that could be full of engineered microbes that would make life on these planets much more liveable.

The pioneering settlers would be needing food, fuel as well as shelter in order to survive on a distant world and tugging along bulky supplies from the Earth could be costly. Another option has been offered by Synthetic biology.

It is said that microbes weigh less and the space taken is next to nothing on a spacecraft though once the mission lands on Mars it is said that they could multiply by feeding on the materials that may be available there. The outcome of their labour could provide the essentials for human settlement.

A research has begun by NASA to realise this vision, according to Lynn Rothschild at the Ames Research Centre in Moffett Field, California. Rothschild who is the leader of NASA’s new Synthetic Biology Initiative, aims to build designer microbes for future crewed space missions and shared her vision at the BioDesign Forum, last week in Cambridge, UK.

Synthetic Biology – At Crossroads of Biology/Engineering 

Synthetics biology lying at the crossroads of biology and engineering has its practitioners building a biological toolkit comprising of chunks of genes, known as biobricks, each performing a certain function of making a bacterium generate natural antifreeze molecule, for instance: Biobricks could be inserted into other microbes to provide that function.

With this approach, a microbe having the capabilities of surviving on an alien planet could become one that can endure human life there. With regards to energy, several earthly microbes would have died in extra-terrestrial environment that are rich in carbon dioxide and nitrogen, the two main elements of Martian air. Anabaena, an ancient cyanobacterium tends to thrive in these conditions though metabolising both gases in order to make sugar.

Rothschild states that `as long as it has warmth and some shielding from ultraviolet light radiation, it could do well on gases in the mars atmosphere’. Anabaena utilises most of the energy produced, from carbon dioxide and nitrogen but synthetic biologist could encourage the cyanobacteria to share its supplies.

Waste – Feed the Microbes

At a synthetic biology competition last year – International Genetically Engineered Machines – iGEM, a team from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and Stanford University in California portrayed how inserting genetic machinery from E.coli made Anabaena excrete more of its energy as sugar.

 Moreover they also showed that they tend to support colonies of other bacteria as well on sugar. Such microbial colonies, in theory tend to make oil, plastic or fuel for the astronauts. The team which was led by Andre Burnier, a recent Brown graduate who had been advised by Rothschild had also come with options of supplying human settlers on Mars with mortar and bricks and had started with a bacterium known as Sporosarcina pasteurii that unusually tends to break down urea which is the main waste product in urine, excreting ammonium, making the local atmosphere alkaline enough for calcium carbonate cement to form. The waste created by the astronauts could feed the microbes and they in turn could help strengthen fine rocky material on the planet’s surface to create bricks.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Discover Asteroids for NASA with This Free App

Now everybody will be able to help NASA by identifying new asteroids for them. Asteroid tracker desktop software has been released by the space agency today at the southwest today. This software has been released in collaboration with the Planetary Resources, which is an asteroid mining company. This conjunction happened through an online competition.

The new Asteroid Tracker Software: 

Reports suggest that this software has the ability to run on any standards PC and MAC. The software will be able to capture images from a telescope and in turn run it through an algorithm and thereby determine as to why some of the celestial bodies are on par and consistent with the asteroid behaviour.

Asteroid Data Hunter App: 

The Data Hunter app enabled with the Asteroid tracker software can be easily installed on any MAC computer or personal computer. The Online competition, which resulted in the development of the new app, was ended in December. This hunter app, however, requires the astronomers to have a little experience about the astronomy to operate it efficiently. Any original images captured from this new app can be reported out to Minor Planet Centre for further confirmation. This app can be downloaded on Topcoder.

The New Algorithm: 

The space agency claims that this new algorithm has been their biggest achievement. The agency reported that compared to the previous version, this new algorithm has the capacity to spot 15% more asteroids in the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. Another advantage of the algorithm is not only limited to the identification of asteroids in the space, but it can also endeavour to match these asteroids with the NEOs (near-Earth objects). Any amateur astronomer by means of this new app will be able to examine images which have been taken from the telescopes. These amateur astronomers can also send any of these images which match with the asteroid to be considered as part of the NASA database.

Benefits of the new algorithm: 

NASA seems to have been struggling with the increasing number of NEOs swirling around the earth and this new algorithm can be quite useful for handling this complicated situation. Through this efficient algorithm, the space agency will be able to track down possible asteroids which can be threatening to our Earth. Through this new app and contribution of astronomers, the agency will be able to sort out possible candidates for future missions related to asteroids.

NASA has been very much interested in locating space rocks that can be harmful to Earth from a very long time. The space agency is also hopeful of redirecting an asteroid and further placing it in moon’s orbit. This is expected to happen in the next few decades, post which the agency is hoping to send astronauts to further study this space. They are planning to carry out this process by means of Orion spacecraft as well as the space launch system. The space agency understands that there is immense mineral wealth in a single asteroid.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Rosetta Spacecraft Raises New Questions About Comet’s Origin

Rosetta – To Orbit a Comet’s Nucleus

According to a new research released recently, Scientists using Europe’s comet-orbiting Rosetta spacecraft have discovered that its complicated ancient body is coated with simple organic molecules surrounded by a changing cloud of gases.Rosetta will be the first mission to orbit a comet’s nucleus to land and probe on its surface and will also be the first spacecraft to fly along with a comet heading towards the inner Solar System, to observe how a frozen comet gets transformed by the warmth of the Sun.

After a long journey of 10 years, Rosetta reached Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August, placing itself in an orbit for an unprecedented long term study. It released a piggyback-riding spacecraft in November which descended on the comet’s surface for various series of independent research.

Comets are presumed to be frozen leftovers from the formation of planets around 4.6 billion years back and the Rosetta mission would probably give us some understanding on the solar system’s early days, on studying one of its pristine comet remnants. Though the results from the Philae spacecraft experiments remains pending, scientists recently released 7 papers in the journal Science which provides information on Rosetta’s discoveries during its initial two months around 67P.

Discovery of Wide Variation in Gases

It was found that the comet’s body which is around 100 million time more massive than the International Space Station is covered in ripples and dunes with little water ice on its surface together with generous amount of hydrocarbons. Scientists are of the opinion that they are expecting to find more complex carbon containing molecule though have found mostly simple hydrocarbons.

This has led them to queries on how organic compounds could have been formed and spread through the solar system. The first thing that scientists need to figure out is how the comet has changed over a period of time, details of which will emerge as 67P travels towards the sun and heats up developing a coma or a visible atmosphere together with a tail.

Researchers have already discovered wide variation in the gases that are released from the nucleus, the comet’s body and the changes in the quantities of these gases seems to appear to be tied to speculation on a section of the rotating nucleus which is made of dust, rock and frozen gas, is in daylight or darkness.
Research – Understanding of Comet Formation & Evolution

According to Rosetta scientist, Myrtha Hassig of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonia, Texas, she states that seasonal effects could also be discovered over a period of time. These studies would have an ultimate impact on the scientist on their understanding of comet formation and evolution.

Another scientist, Stephen Fuselier, also from Southwest Research Institute, commented that they were taught that comets were made mostly of water ice and for this comet, the coma sometimes contains much more carbon dioxide than water vapour’.

Scientists are working in figuring out if the 67P which is shaped as a rubber duck, was actually two smaller comets which had melded together. Rosetta will carry on flying around the comet moving towards and then away from the sun, the closest approach being about 116 million miles away from the Sun on August 13.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Kepler-438b and 442b: Are These the Planets We're Looking For?

Tuesday was one of best days for astronomers as they announced that they have discovered eight new planets which are potentially habitable planets and they are further than our solar system. Two of discovered planets are mostly similar to our planet Earth. All these eight planets have been located for the first time in their far-away suns by NASA's Kepler mission. These planets are pretty much in their habitable zone or so called region which is expected to have liquid water existing on the surface of their orbiting planet. However, two of these eight planets are expected to be made out of Rock and similar to Earth.

What are these planets? 

Kepler-438b, which is 12 percent greater than Earth in diameter and made up of 70 percent of being rocky actually lies nearly 475 light-years away. On the other hand, Kepler-442b is expected to be light-years away and nearly one-third larger than Earth. This also has 60 percent chances of being rocky. These new candidates have already been added to the "Hall of Fame" of NASA Kepler for being a potential habitable-zone planet.

All about these promising candidates

Both Kepler-442b and Kepler-438b, orbit red dwarf stars. These stars are not only smaller but also cooler when compared to the sun. Kepler-438b has been expected to circle its star every 35 days but still can receive more than 40 percent light when compared to Earth. According to the parameters, this planet has 70 percent chances of being in the habitable zone of its star.

On the other hand, Kepler-442b usually completes its orbit in about 112 days and can get 2/3rd as lighter as Earth. According to the scientists, there are 97% chances of the planet being in the habitable zone. According to David Kipping, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics and second author on the paper, they are not sure if the planets are habitable based on their samples but still they fall in being the promising candidates.

According to the records, the two most Earth-like planets known were Kepler-186f is 1.1 times the size of Earth and Kepler-62f, which is 1.4 times as big as Earth.

Neighbourhood like Earth: 

At the moment, the data can only help in giving details about the size of the planet, the distance of the planet and the amount of energy it gets from its sun. The data still doesn’t give a clear picture about the actual facts about a planet. However, Kepler-438b is expected to be the closest to Earth. Astronauts have been able to find many planets not only similar to Earth but they are most likely filling up our neighbourhood.

According to NASA, Kepler mission was mainly designed to establish the statistics of Earth-like planets and finding planets similar to stars is no longer rare. Even though there are a promising future in studying these planets, but still it is difficult to find complete information about them. Scientists believe that there are millions and millions of planets in our milky way.

Friday, 16 January 2015

NASA Designs Ape-Like Robot for Disasters

NASA has developed the “RoboSimian”, which is an ape-like disasters relief robot designed to pick up and manipulate the objects in emergency response at the time of disasters. “RoboSimian” is headless robot; NASA has designed it in Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “RoboSimian” has four identical limbs to do double duty as legs and arms, seven cameras as eyes, the robot is able to run on any surface as it has wheels that makes it smooth enough.

NASA scientists has also designed a robot named as “Surrogate” with the help of left-over parts of “RoboSimian” and “Surrogate” was more traditional to ran on the tracks of complicated disaster. According to researchers “Disaster relief robots can go into dangerous environments where human rescue workers can’t go and these robots can also execute the simple tasks such as; lifting debris off survivors or the turning off a valve.

As per Supervisor, Brett Kennedy from RVMG (Robotic Vehicles and Manipulators Group) of JPL, “The stable, durable and deliberate approach suites to their technical strengths and it also provides the model for different vital element of the ecosystem, it is expected that robots will be deployed for disaster scenarios in the future”.

The tasks of RoboSimian will also include the maintenance and assembly of orbital structures, exploration of low-gravity bodies such as; comets, moons and moons; exploration of cliffs and caves on Moon and Mars. The software technique of RoboSimian was influenced by programs which can control the Mars rovers, but now JPL is focusing on the ape-like design, so that it can be used for Earth-bound applications.

If you will imagine the robots of the future, so they will work and move more like humans via using a pair of arms to work and grab the objects and standing up on two legs, but Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA was working on a different type of robot, which can help them in disaster response, which is designed to look and move like an ape. The seven cameras will act like head in this headless robot, whereas; the four identical limbs will act as pair of arms and legs.

RoboSimian is the final entry in DARPA Robotics Challenge from JPL. DARPA Robotics Challenge is 27 month long competition among the world’s top organizations and individuals, who have create robots for an emergency response such as; a nuclear disaster, climate disaster and more. In June 2015, RoboSimian along with other 18 finalists will have to find their way through multiple obstacles simulates eight common scenarios to test the strength and artificial intelligence of robots. In this each and every robot will have to drive car, use a tool and climb stairs, move across rubble and more without human controlling or support. The final winner will receive the prize of $2 million.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is well known and recognized for robotics the robots for space exploration like those robots who can work on Mars and Moon, but the DARPA competition will be an opportunity for the JPL group to come up with new robotics research where they can directly approach to other talented teams.

Friday, 9 January 2015

NASA Plans Airships, Floating City for Manned Venus Mission

NASA To Explore Venus

The team at NASA have always looked forward in expanding their horizons and have now come up with a project to explore the planet Venus. A research project has been unveiled by NASA’s Space Mission Analysis Branch, proposing to send astronauts to Venus speculating that the `lighter than air’ pods would be hovering above the clouds that would be housing the explorers.NASA has revealed that they intend sending astronauts to explore Venus with inflatable air born habitats and a movie together with an image has been published on a NASA website portraying a conceptual design for inflatable silver blimp type air balloons for the purpose of living and working which would be accommodating the two astronauts for a period of one month in the planet Venus atmosphere.

A statement from NASA’s Space Mission Analysis Branch – SMAB, states that “a recent internal NASA study of a High Altitude Venus Operational Concept – HAVOC, has led to the development of an evolutionary program for the exploration of Venus with focus on the mission architecture and vehicle concept for 30 day crewed mission to Venus’s atmosphere. A lighter than air vehicle can carry either a host of instruments and probes or a habitat and ascent vehicle for a crew of two astronauts to explore Venus for up to a month”.

Atmosphere Relatively Benign

Mission to the planet Venus, according to the American space agency would need less amount of time when compared to a similar manned mission to Mars. It is also considered that the mission would be much simpler since the atmosphere of the planet is relatively benign together with similar gravity, pressure and density to Earth. According to SMAB, the atmosphere of planet Venus seems to be an exciting destination for further scientific study as well as future human exploration and the main technical challenges for the mission would include performing the aero capture manoeuvres at Venus as well as Earth, inflating and inserting airship at Venus together with protecting the solar panels and the structure from the sulphuric acid in the atmosphere.

Need Advanced Technology/Further Refinement

NASA has also stated that there would be a need of being advanced in technology as well as further refinement of the proposed venture before its implementation. Presently, there has not been any successful manned mission to any planet though the moon seems to be the only natural satellite that man has ever set his foot on.

NASA had disclosed earlier this year, that it had managed in creating the first 3D printed object in space together with a machine on the International Space Station and is now a 3D printing tools for use on the station. Several designers have created concepts for extra-terrestrial adventures which include a London firm Priestmangoode, who had designed a capsule which would be floating tourists to the edge of space together with ZA Architects, who intend sending robots to Mars to build caves for the purpose of human habitation. Stay tuned for more interesting updating details coming up for future exploration on the planet Venus.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Launch of New Orion Spaceship Has NASA Flying High

Looking back at the space shuttle days, the recent impending debut of Orion spacecraft has left NASA on a high note. According to the sources, shuttle veterans are expected to be leading the charge in two-orbit, 4½-hour test flight, which is meant to shake out the capsule, before the astronauts can climb aboard. The destination at the moment has been said to be Mars. As per the lead flight director stationed at Mission Control in Houston, Mike Sarafin, they never felt this kind of feeling since the closure of the shuttle program. This is a very proud moment for them, as they will be launching an American spacecraft from the United States of America’s soil, which is meant for starting something new and explore some of the dark secrets of the space.

The launch of new Orion spacecraft: 

The spacecraft is expected to fly farther than any human-rated spacecraft (this is since the Apollo moon program) and it will aim at a distance of 3,600 miles, which is 14 times higher than the International Space Station and it is expected that altitude will provide a momentum for a 20,000-mph and 4,000-degree entry over the Pacific. The most vital part of the test flight is called the "trial by fire” by NASA, which is the 11 short minutes to splashdown. The heat shield at Orion's base is the largest of its kind ever built, which is at 16.5 feet across.

If sources have to be believed, nearly 650 journalists and around 26,000 guests are expected at the Kennedy for the sunrise launch. The space center press site was packed with many out of station reporters who have not been since the last shuttle flight in 2011. The capsule's inaugural run was put on par with that of the formative steps of Apollo and the space shuttles by the NASA's Orion program manager, Mark Geyer. He stated that they are starting a new mission, which is at the region on the moon and looking forward to something beyond than that. As per Jeff Angermeier, “Ground support mission manager from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, everybody can feel the buzz as this is a very exciting time for them”.

According to Charles Bolden Jr, Administrator of NASA, “In past 40 years, it will be the first time when America is going to launch a spacecraft meant to carry humans beyond low-Earth orbit. That’s what makes it a big deal”. Before 2012, Orion is not planning to carry any astronauts. NASA wants to test some of the most critical parts of the capsule as it will be travelling through the high-radiation Van Allen belts surrounding Earth and engineers are looking forwards to check on the effect on the on-board computers.

As if now the spacecraft will be hoisted by Delta IV rocket but for the next flight in 2018, it will use mega-rocket which is still under development. The spacecraft without any humans has taken some of the stress off the NASA scientists, as they are still trying to overcome the October's explosion moments of the commercial rocket, which was carrying supplies for the International Space Station.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

NASA Explores Inflatable Spacecraft Technology

At NASA’s Langley Research Centre located in Hampton, engineers have been devising a way to land astronauts on Mars which according to them seems that a simple thing like a child’s toy design would help to solve the problem. The progress is on, in the development of an inflatable heat shield which looks like a super-sized version of a stacking of doughnuts which an infant normally plays with.

The engineers are of the belief that a lightweight, inflatable heat shield could help to slow the craft to enter a Martian atmosphere which is much thinner to the Earth’s atmosphere. Landing safely in a large spacecraft on the Red planet is one of the many challenges faced as they are keen on sending humans, deep into space later this century.

This designed inflatable heat shield will enable the spacecraft to reach high altitude southern plains of Mars as well as other areas which otherwise would not be accessible under the prevailing technology. According to the experts, the rockets cannot be used to land a large spacecraft on Mars as done on the moon. Moreover, parachutes too would be of no use for a large spacecraft to send humans to the planet Mars.

Rings Filled with Nitrogen/Covered with Thermal Blanket

The inflatable rings would be the most appropriate option which would be filled with nitrogen and then covered with thermal blanket and once deployed to land, the rings could sit atop the spacecraft which resembles to some extent like a giant mushroom.

According to the senior engineer at Langley for advanced entry, descent and landing systems, Neil Cheatwood, he states that they are trying not to use propulsion if not required and will make use of that atmosphere as much as possible since it would mean that they will not have to carry the fuel with them. NASA’s leaders accept that getting humans to and from Mars safely, as early as 2030 would be very challenging. The scientists’ agency also agree that they should design new in-space propulsion systems with advanced spacesuits, long term living habitats abroad spacecraft as well as communication systems for deep space.

Work in Progress and Ready for Operational Use - By2016

This experiments needs to be tested on how second generation inflatable spacecraft technology would perform on re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere. The testing is important since NASA officials are of the belief that an inflatable heat shield could be helpful for the astronauts to land on Mars and return with larger loads of supplies from the International Space Station and the experiment is scheduled on the next Antares rocket in 2016.

This new technology would be needed to land the astronauts on Mars since the kind of spacecraft which land humans would be larger than that which had landed on the planet earlier. The present heat shield technology is too much on the larger side with regards to weight which means that it cannot land anything larger than the rover which had been sent previously. Since the Viking program in the 1970s, NASA had relied on parachute based deceleration on Mars.

Work on the inflatable technology by the engineers at Langley has been going on for about a decade and is probably close to being ready for operational use.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

NASA Prepares Launch Of Four Satellites That Will Finally Explore Out The Origins Of Earth’s Mysterious Magnetic Field

A scientist might be able to answer any question pertaining to the magnetic fields, but actually how much information do we have about the Earth’s magnetic field. If we tend to change our focus from the Earth’s magnetic field, how much information do we have about other magnetic fields like subatomic or terrestrial.

In March 2015, NASA is expected to be launching their Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS). The scientists have been putting in effort in this mission from past 10 years, mainly to get answers to some of the unbelievable questions pertaining to the Earth’s magnetic field.

The mission consists of 4 satellites and these satellites are expected to get arranged in a Pyramid form. This pyramid form has been opted to create a first detailed three-dimensional map of a process called as magnetic reconnection. The magnetic reconnection is the phenomenon which is experienced directly as solar flares, geomagnetic storms, and even australis and aurora borealis.

Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission: 

This mission is expected to be the extended version of the European Space Agency’s successful Cluster II Mission. In March 2015, NASA is planning to launch the MMS vehicles together as a stack in an Atlas V 421 rocket, rather than launching them in pairs.

The picture of the satellites released by NASA shows that these vehicles push the size limit for the cross section of a craft which can be easily carried out in a rocket in an assembled form. On the similar concept, NASA has also been working on a separate project, called the ATHLETE robot, which resembles the outlook of MMS and also has the ability to pile multiple vehicles in the core of the rocket.

How it will work? 

Once these reach their desired destination, which is a highly elliptical orbit around Earth, these vehicles will separate from each other and form a pyramid keeping one craft at each vertex of the tetrahedron. Later on they will release the feelers. Scentists will be using the smaller probe separations (few kilometers) for exploring the actual reconnection processes and Large distances between each craft (Ranging up to 250 miles/400 kilometers) for the identification of the reconnection events.

The day-side magnetopause and the magnetotai will be the places where the magnetic connection will be showcased and this will done through the optimization of the highly elliptical orbit of the formation around the Earth. The magnetopause is the place where the pressure from the planet’s magnetic field and the solar wind and are equal, on the other hand, the magnetotail spreads to great distances from the originating planet due to the magnetosphere (pressure from the solar wind).

The Magnetic reconnection happens in the thin layers where there is a high concentration of magnetic and mechanical energy. In order to create a fusion, it is important to understand the magnetic reconnection. This will help in understanding the magnetic confinement of the materials which scientists are looking towards fusing.

This mission has be launched to understand the magnetic field of the earth and how the core temperature of the earth affects the same.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Will NASA Pull Off a Piece of an Asteroid

NASA’s Plan – Asteroid Redirect Mission

NASA has plans on Asteroid Redirect Mission, to snatch an asteroid out of space and send it in lunar orbit for study and recently the agency announced when its first phase of the operation would begin, the spacecraft would be launched in 2019.

NASA has indicated that it needs more information before plunging into the signature space mission. Examining an asteroid from space which does not change over a period of time could provide the scientist with some understanding about the earliest stages of the universe and if all goes well, NASA would pick out an asteroid in 2018 and send up the spacecraft in 2019, either by attaching it to a small asteroid or use it to chip off a piece of a large asteroid. Thereafter it would send both the asteroid- grabbing machine and asteroid to travel around the moon.

A crew of astronauts would be following the rock somewhere in 2020 for hooking the spacecraft and mining the 32 meter asteroid with regards to information on cosmic past. The final design for the craft is yet to be shaped with NASA accepting ideas and has released some sketches on how it would look.

Progress on the Orion Spacecraft

In the meanwhile NASA is also progressing on the Orion spacecraft, with the crew that will go up with it and has another asteroid program in the pipeline, a plan to launch a robot into space in 2016 to have it latched onto an asteroid and return back with samples by itself in 2023.

NASA Associate Administrator, Robert Lightfoot informed reporters during a teleconference recently on, whether taking that option is worth the extra expense and mission risk involved.Lightfoot had presided over the meeting to decide between the boulder grabbing mission known as Option `B’ and an Option `A’ plan, which involved intercepting a small near Earth asteroid and then bring it back intact.

At the end of the meeting, Lightfoot has commented that it would take another two or three weeks to obtain the data that was needed to form the decision and a mission concept review is scheduled for next February. Lightfoot had informed that Option B would be testing more of the technologies which would be used at the time of the future missions to Mars.

Mission Complex/Costlier

The mission would be more complex and around $100 million costlier and the target price tag is roughly $1.25 billion which excludes the launchcosts. Besides this, the figure also excludes the cost of sending astronauts to rendezvous with the space rock in mid-2020. The aim is to execute a manned mission to the captured asteroid by 2025 and in doing so, would manage an exploration goal that had been laid for NASA by President Barack Obama in 2010.

The retrieval mission of the asteroid would also help to develop the technology as well as its techniques that may be essential for a manned Mars trip which is planned according to the agency officials by mid-2030.To fund 18 six month studies `to mature system concepts and key technologies as well as assess the feasibility of potential commercial partnerships in order to support the agency’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, NASA has made a commitment of $4.9 million.

Friday, 5 December 2014

NASA Wants To Launch Tiny Moon Satellites on Its Next-Generation Rocket

Tiny Moon Satellites
NASA is keen on launching tiny moon satellites on its Next Generation Rocket and December 4th unscrewed the launch of the Orion spacecraft. The vehicle was proposed to bring the astronauts in the solar system in the next decade and NASA is thinking ahead to the next space test somewhere in 2017 or 2018.

The Cube Quest Competition which was sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission directorate Centennial Challenge Program has been offering around $5million to those who meet the challenge objective of designing, building as well as delivering flight qualified small satellite which would be capable of advanced operations anywhere near and beyond the moon.

The team members of Cube Quest would have the opportunities of competing for a secondary payload spot on the first mission of NASA’s Orion spacecraft that would be launched atop the agency’s Space Launch System – SLS rocket.

There are three stages to the competition namely: Ground Tournaments, Deep Space Derby and Lunar Derby wherein all the teams could compete in any one of the Ground Tournaments. The team which rates high on mission safety as well as probability of success would be receiving incremental awards. The Ground Tournaments would be held every four to six months providing opportunities to earn a spot on the first integrated flight of SLS and Orion.

Innovative Solution to Deep Space Communication

Focus of Deep Space Derby would be on finding innovative solution to deep space communication with the use of small spacecraft while the Lunar Derby would be focusing mainly on propulsion for small spacecraft and near Earth communications.

With the combinations of these challenges, it is expected in making a contribution to the opening of deep space exploration to non-government spacecraft for the first time. Small spacecraft capabilities in advancements may not only provide benefits to the future missions but also make it possible for new mission scenarios and the Cube Quest Challenge seems to establish priority for all subsystems in need of performing deep space exploration with the use of small spacecraft.

If all goes well, riding atop of the new Space Launch System rocket, it will be a suite of CubeSats which will explore the Moon as Orion journeys out to our largest nearest celestial planet.CubeStats, tiny satellites are so small that they are within the reach of universities as well as other similar institutions which may desire to perform science in space without the help of cost on operating a huge mission.

NASA – CubeStats Challenge

The concept has been of great success resulting in some companies using it as a base for their entire business model like the Planet Labs which is a company that is performing Earth observation with the small machines.

The competition would be divided in several sections inclusive of ground tournament in order to see if the CubeSats could fly on the SLS, s lunar derby ensuring that they could communicate at a distance of about 10 times the Earth moon distance with a deep space derby to put the CubeStats in stable lunar orbit and function well there.

NASA states that `the Cube Quest Challenge seeks to develop and test subsystems necessary to perform deep space exploration using small spacecraft and advancements in small spacecraft capabilities will provide benefits to future mission and also enable entirely new mission scenarios including future investigations of near-Earth asteroids’.