Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

New Virgin Galactic Space Plane Unveiled


Virgin Galactic `Back on Track’ to take Tourist in Space

Online News had been informed by Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire tycoon, that he was of the belief that Virgin Galactic is `back on track’ in the race to take the tourists in space. Branson had been speaking during the unveiling of Virgin’s latest SpaceShipTwo in Mojave Desert in California. It is said that the six-seater vehicle would be replacing the earlier SpaceShipTwo that had broken up high in October 2014, over the same desert.

On investigation, it was observed that the pilot Michael Alsbury had organized a braking mechanism earlier resulting in the failure of the vehicle. Mr Alsbury had died in the crash and his co-pilot PeteSiebold had been injured badly. Virgin Galactic states that it expects to `democratise space’ by taking fee-paying passengers on momentary trips to the edge of space.

However it tends to face competition from competitors in its efforts of developing a `commercial space line’. Sir Richard informed Sky New at the unveiling that `all of us have tears in our eyes today. Eighteen months back was a difficult day to say the least for everybody picked themselves up and got straight back to work the next day, creating this beautiful spaceship and now we are back on track again. There is so much that can be achieved to the benefit of earth by exploring space’.

New Vehicle Virgin Spaceship Christened `Unity’

The naming ceremony for the new vehicle Virgin Spaceship – VSS, was performed with his one year old granddaughter Eva-Deia with a bottle of milk and was christened Unity. The spaceship tends to feature an image of the eye of physicist Stephen Hawking.

Hawking in an audio message had stated that Sir Richard had offered him a seat aboard one of the first flights in orbit. He further added that since that day he had never changed his mind and that if he was able to go and Richard would still take him, he would be very proud to fly on this spaceship. He had been an enthusiastic supporter of human space flight for long, making this huge human achievement more accessible and the first private astronauts would be pioneers.

Branson had stated according to a company press release, that the beautiful new spaceship VSS Unity seems to be the embodiment of his goal and a great testament to what can be achieved when true teamwork, great skill with deep pride are mingled with a common purpose.

Ferry Passengers up to 50 Miles above Earth’s Surface

Recently the company had informed that due to the fatal crash, the new spaceship would not blast off and head straight to space, anytime soon and faces a wide testing period. When the craft has been totally checked, Virgin Galactic intends to utilise it in ferrying passengers up to 50 miles above Earth’s surface, a height which the company states would qualify them as bona fide space tourists.

To book a seat, hundreds of people have already paid $250,000 with Virgin Galactic including stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Lady Gaga and Brad Pitt who have joined the list. The first flights had been scheduled for 2009; however the end of 2017 seems to be the earliest probable date.

The testing of the SpaceShipTwo would now be stepped up though the company seems to be uncooperative in setting the deadlines. It has stated that the lessons have been learned from what had occurred to the earlier craft. Sir Richard had commented that they have been working on it for the last 10 years and that they would not give up till they have achieved their dream.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Blue Origin’s Surprise Rocket Launch and Safe Landing


Blue Origin Launched Un-crewed Rocket in Space & Back on Earth

The Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has announced that his rocket company Blue Origin has launched an un-crewed rocket to the edge of the space prior to landing it back on Earth. The rocket had performed a surprising and a historic rocket launch and landing from their facility in Van Horn, Texas. A video had revealed how the launch vehicle had reached the edge of space before it returned back to Earth in a controlled landing.

In a statement, Bezos had mentioned that `rockets have always been expendable but not anymore. Safely tucked away at their launch site in west Texas is the rarest of beast, a used rocket. Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard space vehicle had flown a flawless mission, soaring to 329,839 feet and returned through 119-mph high altitude crosswinds making a gentle controlled landing just four and a half feet from the centre of the pad.

Fuel reuse is a game changer and we can’t wait to fuel up and fly again’. The launch vehicle and the firm’s New Shepard capsule had reached an altitude of around 100 kilometres before separating. It had deployed its parachutes, drifting to the rocket while the rocket utilised controlled firings to descend before deploying its landing leg for a successful return.

Reusable Rockets – Important Development for Space Travel

The rocket had travelled significantly, to a height which was officially beyond the boundary space of 100 kilometres high known as the Karman line, making it the first rocket to land successfully after journeying to space.

This is the second surprise test of Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule and launch vehicle, this year after a launch in April and due to loss of hydraulic pressure it meant that Blue Origin would not recover the rocket for that flight.

This competition has placed the firm in direct competition with SpaceX that had conducted successful ground landings from altitude of 1 kilometre and is now making efforts in landing its Falcon 9 rocket on barges in the sea once they tend to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. Reusable rockets have been viewed as an important development for space travel and it is said that reusable rockets could be bringing down the cost of space flight with the provision of new opportunities.

Blue Origin – Opened Important Space Tourism Avenues

Presently all rockets are expendable which means that new one need to be built for every launch. SpaceX and Blue Origin are making attempt to develop reusable rockets so that the same equipment could be utilised again and again thereby decreasing the cost of going to space. This has opened up important space tourism avenues for Blue Origin.

As for SpaceX, they are more dedicated in getting humans and equipment in orbit. So far, Blue Origin has launched its capsules without a crew, however in the video of the launch, it shows a reproduction of what paying passengers would one day tend to enjoy. The vehicle tends to carry six people who would enjoy four minutes of weightlessness and sight of the Earth from space. Bezos comments that they `are building Blue Origin to seed an enduring human presence in space in order to move beyond this blue planet which is the origin of all that we know’.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Hypersonic Rocket Engine Could 'Revolutionize' Air Travel


Breakthrough Aerospace Engine Technology – Revolutionize Air Travel

BAE Systems, British aerospace giant, is staking big on hypersonic travel, something which its prospective new partner states could be a reality in two decades. BAE has plans of investing around £20.6 million in a 20% stake of a UK based engineering firm, Reaction Engines which has invented a breakthrough aerospace engine technology that could probably be utilised for a new generation of reusable space vehicle as well as a commercial offshoot that could revolutionize air travel.

BAE’s website states that the partnership would enable alliance on SABRE technology of Reaction Engines, a new aerospace engine class which tends to combine jet as well as rocket technologies with the capabilities of transforming hypersonic flight and the economics of space access.

Together with hypersonic air travel, Reaction Engines’ managing director, Mark Thomas informed CNN’s Richard Quest that reusable space plane which takes off like an aircrafts is said to be one of the concepts which would be made available by this engine. SABRE – Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine, is an air-breathing engine that tends to use ultra-lightweight heat exchangers in order to cool off very hot air streams like those faced at hypersonic speeds

Technology Empowers Aircraft

According to Reaction Engines conveyed in a press release on its website, the technology tends to empower the aircraft to operate at speeds of up to five times the speed of sound or fly directly into Earth orbit, easily. With its capacity to utilise atmospheric oxygen for thrust, the engine’s design denies the need for heavy fuel reserves on boards thereby reducing the weight of a SABRE powered vehicle.

As per BAE’s statement, it says that SABRE can also transition to a rocket mode enabling spaceflight at speed up to orbital velocity or 25 times the speed of sound. The design has been described as an absolutely revolutionary, visionary concept by Thomas.

He has clarified that `SABRE is a rocket engine at heart but can breathe air whenever it is in the atmosphere and hence it is not essential to carry so much liquid oxygen on board the vehicle. It enormously decreases the weight and one can put that in vehicle design capability or payload’.

Advanced Heat Exchanger – Ease Hypersonic Air Temperature

The fundamental aspect of the engine’s design is the company’s advanced heat exchanger that tends to ease hypersonic air temperature by more than a thousand degrees in a hundredth of a second. The company is said to be focusing on enhancing the engine and according to Thomas, BAE would be helping in translating its potential into a range of practical applications.

BAE’s anticipated 20% investment is awaiting the approval of Reaction Engine’s shareholders. Reaction Engines had announced that it would partner with defense multinational BAE System in a working collaboration in order to create its supersonic plane SABRE. BAE had purchased 20% of Reaction Engines offering the strategic investment essential in accelerating the project, a form of jet rocket engine hybrid.

As per Reaction Engines, driving Sabre seems to be a brand new form of aerospace engine that enable the operation of planes from a standstill on the landing strip to speeds that is five times more than the speed of sound in the atmosphere.

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.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Philae Space Probe Finds 'Building Blocks of Life' on a Distant Comet


Philae Space Probe – Building Blocks of Life

Some scientists are suspicious that comets `seeded’ life on Earth and have now moved a step closer in proving that theory. The Philae space probe, on comet 67P, found the so-called, `building blocks of life’. Professor Monica Grady of the Open University informed the Times that they had found things which were on the pathway to building sugars and amino acids which tend to be important in the construction of DNA and this is the confirmation that building blocks of life are present in comets.

This fearless probe observed water, carbon monoxide and 14 other organic compounds which included four of which had never been seen on a comet, earlier. Information published in the respected journal Science, recently also portrayed that the comet is only loosely packed with about 80% of its mass made up of empty space which is covered by a 20 cm layer of dust coating, a hard cratered surface with rocks and boulders. The temperature ranges from -143 to 183 C. at daytime and though the environment is not favourable to life, Professor Ian Wright, lead scientist states that the chemicals which are present on the comet could spark the development of living organisms.

Comet Loaded with Raw Materials –To Assemble Complex Organic Molecules

According to him, if the material are placed on the surface of a primitive body like the Earth and provide the right amount of heat and whatever is needed, possible, it could form life. In November, the space explorer had crash landed on the comet as first bouncing off prior to managing in anchoring itself to the speeding rock’s surface. The scientists immediately set to work conducting 63 hours of experiments till the system became inactive due to lack of power from the Sun.

 The craft woke briefly in June on capturing adequate energy from the sun to start transmitting once again. However, the connection by then had been lost and it is not sure if Philae would be communicating again. The craft has used two separate instruments for sniffing molecules at the time of its mission on the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet.

A senior scientific adviser at the European Space Agency, Mark McCaughrean, informs that the `comets are loaded with all the raw materials such as water, CO2, ammonia, methane, that are needed to assemble more complex organic molecules, perhaps sparked by UV-photons from the Sun or cosmic rays, or in the shock that occurs when a comet hits the surface of a planet like the young Earth’.

Comets Good Place for Building Blocks of Molecules

Researchers have stated in an article published in the journal Science that, it was not clear whether the complex molecules that were found in the comet were made in the early solar system or formed later on. Mr McCaughrean has commented that either way it seems that comets are pretty good places to find the building blocks of molecules which later on could be used for life.

The scientists have also gained new visions in the comet’s rocky ground together with its unexpectedly hard surface which could prove vital to future comet missions. Philae project manager Stephan Ulamec has added his comments saying that `they have definitely learned at least one thing with this first comet landing – bouncing is a bigger problem than a possible sinking into the ground’.

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.

Monday, 10 November 2014

NASA Releases Over 60 Space Audio Recordings on Soundcloud

After many decennaries, NASA has been able to put up a SoundCloud account, which will allow them to stream out the audio clips they have collected and which includes celestial sounds like the ones from the launching of the rockets, the dialogue of the astronaut with that of alien lightning and also the interstellar plasma.

Now, NASA has released nearly 60 space recording for people to hear anywhere online. These released recordings contain sounds that came from the launching of the shuttle, Saturn’s rings, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and some of the most famous quotes from the astronauts.

So what’s special about these recordings?

At the moment, there are 63 recordings in offering, but the emphasis was on the fact they uploaded the very first audio consisting on Neil Armstrong’s voice. If the reports from 'mother nature network' have to be believed, the first video which was posted by NASA contained the most famous word “A Giant Leap”, said by Neil Armstrong when he first put his foot on the surface of the moon and touched it.


The Chorus, which is also known as “Earth-song” is known to be one of the most popular NASA feeds. Earth-song is essentially the noise which is made by the electromagnetic phenomenon, which is actually caused by the plasma waves in the radiation belts of Earth.

These plasma waves become visible at least 12,874 km (8,000 miles) on top of the surface. These Earth-song recordings were recorded by NASA in 2012 with the help of the EMFISIS probe.

Saturn Radio:

Saturn Radio is one of the other recordings uploaded by NASA. Saturn is known to be the hub of dramatic sounds and aurora which are similar to that of the southern light and the northern sounds which roams around the Earth’s pole, and this happens when the upper atmosphere is hit by the solar wind.

The Northern and the Southern lights look similar to that of the strong radio emissions from the planet and this was detected the very first time in 2002 by the Cassini spacecraft.

The Sounds of Interstellar:

The Sounds of Interstellar is another audio clip which basically represents the data that was collected outside the Heliosphere by NASA's Voyager 1in 2012 and 2013.

Lift Off:

These sounds were from the very first manned-mission, Apollo 11. This mission conducted on the moon was called as Lift off. These clips consist of the sounds of lift off as well as the appreciation in the space center.

On the similar lines, even ISRO (India's space research Organization) reached out to millions of the people from the social media by giving out the step by step information about all their historic Mars Orbit Insertion which were successful in the month of September.

The ISRO got lots of appreciation for their initiative from the users of the social media. Constant tweets between NASA and ISRO became the trending news in the media and very much appreciated.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Space-Time Affects Behaviour of Hypothetical Quantum

With regards to quantum physic, one often comes across a phrase `quantum field theory’, which is referred to the general idea that quantum particles are just localized excited states of a general quantum field that underlies them, though it is mathematically a useful idea which interacts with Einstein’s classical conception of space-time in a complex ways.

Gravity is the outcome of curvature in the ineffable medium of space-time and modern quantum physics states that curved space-time should somehow affect the behaviour of hypothetical quantum.

One option to explore the link between the general relativity and quantum mechanics is to learn the physics which occurs on a small scale in highly curved space-time, though these conditions tend to occur only in most extreme environments like at the edge of block holes or in instances after the Big bang. However, physicists now tend to describe the possibility to create curved space-time in ordinary quantum optics lab.

Space-time Curving – Difficult Synthetically

Space-time curving is quite difficult synthetically. It is easy through classical means though to generate a curve steep with measurable effects on single quantum particles; it may need densities which are found only near black holes and the like. In a more direct way, curving space-time with magnetic fields or `exotic matter, was proposed in halls as hallowed like those at NASA, though such technology enables to build a literal warp drive.

German researcher, Nikodem Szpak had found a loophole which helped to study the effects of curved space-time without the need to actually curve it. His idea was that the ultracold atoms embedded in optical lattice were mathematically equivalent to quantum field in curved space-time and instead of finding a solution to the equations which describe quantum fields and together with curved space-times, there was a possibility to measure the behaviour rather than in any decent quantum optics lab.

Laws of Quantum Mechanics

The overlapping of two laser beams created an interference pattern and on careful control on the shape and frequency of the lasers, physicists were capable of creating interference patterns which took the shape of egg boxes.

This comes useful in trapping ultracold atoms that could settle in the minima in the field wherein the structure is known as optical lattice which is a standard fare in any quantum optic lab across the globe.

When the atoms tend to be close to absolute zero, they are not entirely still which is due to the laws of quantum mechanics enabling them to tunnel from a position to another in the optical lattice. Moreover, Szpak has also indicated that there is a formal mathematical analogy with this movement of atoms through the optical lattice together with their movement through quantum field in a flat space-time.

The pattern of movement of the atoms in an optical lattice is equivalent to the way they would move in a quantum field in a flat space-time and when the optical lattice tends to be regular, it is equivalent to a flat space-time. However, changing the optical set up in order that it varies in space would be equivalent in creating a curved space-time.