Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: 2016

October 4, 2016

SpaceX is considering sabotage as cause of Falcon 9 explosion

Dear readers and followers,

As SpaceX’s investigation of a Falcon 9 rocket explosion on September 1st drags into its second month, rumors are flying that this may have been more than a random technical failure. According to a Washington Postreport, SpaceX is considering the possibility of sabotage.

In a Holmesian twist to the investigation of the sudden fireball that eviscerated a Falcon 9 rocket, a $95 million internet satellite, and a chunk of Cape Canaveral’s launch pad 40, a SpaceX employee recently requested rooftop access to a building owned by competing rocket consortium United Launch Alliance. As industry officials who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Washington Post, SpaceX was following up on “something suspicious” it had seen while reviewing video footage of the rocket explosion—a weird shadow and a white spot on the roof of the ULA building, which sits about a mile from the launch pad.

According to the Washington Post’s unnamed experts, SpaceX was denied access to the rooftop, which was instead investigated by Air Force officials who found no evidence of a connection to the September 1st explosion. 

SpaceX’s official line—that it’s simply trying to leave no stone unturned—may well be true. But that hasn’t stopped the internet from offering up its own conspiracy theories, including that maybe a guy with a rifle shot the rocket from a mile away. (After all, Musk did say his company is trying to figure out the source of a “quieter bang sound” a few seconds before the fireball!)

Then again, as Elon Musk noted during his Martian colonization speechlast week, SpaceX has already investigated all obvious possibilities. “What remains are the less probable answers,” he said.

A ULA spokesperson responded to Gizmodo’s request for comment in an email, stating that “ULA cooperated with the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing, and nothing associated with the SpaceX accident was found.”

Source: Fortune

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July 25, 2016

NASA Kelpler mission reveals that huge solar flares sparked the creation of DNA molecules leading for life on Earth

Dear readers and follower,

NASA’s Kepler Mission found stars that resemble our sun about a few million years after its birth. The Kepler data showed many examples of what are called “superflares” – enormous explosions so rare today that we only experience them once every 100 years or so. Yet the Kepler data also show these youngsters producing as many as ten superflares a day.

“Early Earth received only about 70 percent of the energy from the sun than it does today,” said Vladimir Airapetian, a solar scientist at +NASA Goddard center. “That means Earth should have been an icy ball. Instead, geological evidence says it was a warm globe with liquid water. We call this the Faint Young Sun Paradox. Our research shows that solar storms could have been central to warming Earth.”

Credit image: +NASA 

Our sun’s adolescence was stormy, and new evidence, shows that these tempests may have been just the key to seeding life as we know it. Some 4 billion years ago, the sun shone with only about three-quarters the brightness we see today, but its surface roiled with giant eruptions spewing enormous amounts of solar material and radiation out into space. These powerful solar explosions may have provided the crucial energy needed to warm Earth, despite the sun’s faintness.The eruptions also may have furnished the energy needed to turn simple molecules into the complex molecules such as RNA and DNA that were necessary for life.

Understanding what conditions were necessary for life on our planet helps us both trace the origins of life on Earth and guide the search for life on other planets. Until now, however, fully mapping Earth’s evolution has been hindered by the simple fact that the young sun wasn’t luminous enough to warm Earth.

Scientists are able to piece together the history of the sun by searching for similar stars in our galaxy. By placing these sun-like stars in order according to their age, the stars appear as a functional timeline of how our own sun evolved. It is from this kind of data that scientists know the sun was fainter 4 billion years ago. Such studies also show that young stars frequently produce powerful flares – giant bursts of light and radiation — similar to the flares we see on our own sun today. Such flares are often accompanied by huge clouds of solar material, called coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, which erupt out into space.

While our sun still produces flares and CMEs, they are not so frequent or intense. What’s more, Earth today has a strong magnetic field that helps keep the bulk of the energy from such space weather from reaching Earth. Space weather can, however, significantly disturb a magnetic bubble around our planet, the magnetosphere, a phenomenon referred to as geomagnetic storms that can affect radio communications and our satellites in space. It also creates auroras – most often in a narrow region near the poles where Earth’s magnetic fields bow down to touch the planet.

Credit video: +NASA Goddard 

Our young Earth, however, had a weaker magnetic field, with a much wider footprint near the poles. “Our calculations show that you would have regularly seen auroras all the way down in South Carolina,” says Airapetian, lead author of the paper. “And as the particles from the space weather traveled down the magnetic field lines, they would have slammed into abundant nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere. Changing the atmosphere’s chemistry turns out to have made all the difference for life on Earth.”

The atmosphere of early Earth was also different than it is now: Molecular nitrogen – that is, two nitrogen atoms bound together into a molecule – made up 90 percent of the atmosphere, compared to only 78 percent today. As energetic particles slammed into these nitrogen molecules, the impact broke them up into individual nitrogen atoms. They, in turn, collided with carbon dioxide, separating those molecules into carbon monoxide and oxygen.

The free-floating nitrogen and oxygen combined into nitrous oxide, which is a powerful greenhouse gas. When it comes to warming the atmosphere, nitrous oxide is some 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The teams’ calculations show that if the early atmosphere housed less than one percent as much nitrous oxide as it did carbon dioxide, it would warm the planet enough for liquid water to exist.

This newly discovered constant influx of solar particles to early Earth may have done more than just warm the atmosphere, it may also have provided the energy needed to make complex chemicals. In a planet scattered evenly with simple molecules, it takes a huge amount of incoming energy to create the complex molecules such as RNA and DNA that eventually seeded life.

While enough energy appears to be hugely important for a growing planet, too much would also be an issue — a constant chain of solar eruptions producing showers of particle radiation can be quite detrimental. Such an onslaught of magnetic clouds can rip off a planet’s atmosphere if the magnetosphere is too weak. Understanding these kinds of balances help scientists determine what kinds of stars and what kinds of planets could be hospitable for life.

“We want to gather all this information together, how close a planet is to the star, how energetic the star is, how strong the planet’s magnetosphere is in order to help search for habitable planets around stars near our own and throughout the galaxy,” said William Danchi, principal investigator of the project at Goddard and a co-author on the paper. “This work includes scientists from many fields — those who study the sun, the stars, the planets, chemistry and biology. Working together we can create a robust description of what the early days of our home planet looked like – and where life might exist elsewhere.”

Source: NASA

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July 21, 2016

Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral mistaken for UFO

Dear reader and followers,

In order to stop rumors on social network, such as facebook about UFO over an US airport, the explanation has been released:
It was Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, over the Miami Airport, in Florida, USA.
Actually, As the rocket climbed into the atmosphere, the combination of the pre-dawn light and the atmospheric conditions meant that the plume of the rocket formed an elongated shape as it climbed into space. 
In some videos, like the one below, as the rockets travels upwards at an angle it almost looks like the rocket is moving horizontal across the sky – although this is just an illusion, and it is actually travelling into the distance.

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June 9, 2016

SpaceX plans to launch reused Falcon 9 this fall

Dear readers and followers,

Elon Musk the CEO of Space X tweeted announced this week by a tweet that the company was planning the first reflight of a recovered first stage in September or October.

That date is slightly later than what he mentioned at a conference last week, where he said that flight was planned to take place in two or three months. The company has not disclosed who would be the customer of that launch.

As you know Space X succeeded many time to bring back the first stage the Falcon 9 space launcher. Before this successes, Space X changed its approach, and the SpaceX rocket touches down, it will be on solid ground. Actually, After its next launch, SpaceX hopes to fly a Falcon 9 booster back to a landing site on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, making its first attempt to bring a booster down on land rather than on a platform in the ocean.

it is super hard to land a rocket on a platform in the middle of an ocean. Elon Musk has had to learn that the hard way, and now, you too can experience the crushing disappointment of trying to land the SpaceX Falcon 9 lander, thanks to a new internet game (completely unaffiliated with SpaceX)

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April 28, 2016

Successful space launch for Soyuz with Sentinel-1 satellite, Cubesats and MicroSCOPE satellite

Dear readers and followers,

The second Sentinel-1 satellite, called Sentinel-1B was launched on April 25 2016 to provide more ‘radar vision’ for Europe’s environmental Copernicus programme. The launch has been done on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 21:02 GMT (23:02 CEST), separating from the rocket’s Fregat upper stage 23 min 35 sec later.

Sentinel-1B joins its identical twin, Sentinel-1A, in orbit to deliver information for numerous services, from monitoring ice in polar seas to tracking land subsidence, and for responding to disasters such as floods.

Credit image: +European Space Agency, ESA 

ESA’s Director General Jan Woerner announed that “the launch of Sentinel-1B marks another important milestone as this is the first constellation we have realised for Copernicus,” Both satellites carry an advanced radar that images Earth’s surface through cloud and rain regardless of whether it is day or night.

Credit image: +European Space Agency, ESA 

During the launch, the satellite’s 12 m-long radar antenna and two 10 m-long solar wings were folded up to fit into the Soyuz rocket’s protective fairing. The solar wings and radar open together in a careful sequence that will take about 10 hours to complete.

Now that Sentinel-1B has been placed safely in orbit, the team of controllers at ESA’s operations centre in Germany will ensure that everything is working correctly and commission the satellite for operations.

Volker Liebig, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, said, “We have seen some marvellous results from Sentinel-1A. Only two weeks ago, for example, it captured images of large icebergs breaking away from Antarctica’s Nansen ice shelf

In the other hand, three CubeSats took advantage of this space launch. These small satellites, each measuring just 10×10×11 cm, were developed by teams of university students through the ‘Fly Your Satellite!’ programme, run by ESA’s Education & Knowledge Management Office in close collaboration with European universities. The three CubeSats are: OUFTI-1 from the University of Liege, Belgium, e-st@r-II from the Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, and AAUSat-4 from Aalborg University, Denmark.

“Importantly, the programme is helping to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers by transferring ESA knowhow in designing, building, testing, launching and operating satellites,” said Piero Galeone, ESA’s Head of the Tertiary Education Unit. “This way we are helping to shape the space workforce of the future by enabling students to experience the full lifecycle of a real space project according to ESA’s standards.”

Credit image: +European Space Agency, ESA 

The other satellite that piggybacked a ride today is Microscope from the French space agency, CNES. MicroSCOPE (Micro-Satellite à traînée Compensée pour l'Observation du Principe d'Equivalence) is an approved CNES/ESA gravity-research minisatellite mission, put forward in 2000 by ONERA (Office National d'Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales), Châtillon, France, and by OCA (Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur) in Grasse, France. The mission is a collaboration between CNES, ZARM laboratory (University of Bremen), PTB (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt) of Braunschweig, Germany, OCA and ONERA.
The objective is to conduct a fundamental physics experiment, namely to test the general theory of relativity.

Credit image: +CNES 

More details about this scientific space satellite will be published in the coming days, so stay tuned.

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January 14, 2016

Europe pushing by ESA will start a new space project and will send humans back to the moon by 2030

Dear readers and followers,

+NASA and the private space industry has its sights set on putting a human on Mars. Europe, however, has slightly more modest goals; it wants to put humans back on the moon and build a base.

The +European Space Agency, ESA has announced its intentions to send astronauts to our nearest satellite by 2030. A video posted on the agency's website titled 'Destination Moon' sets out the plan that  will see European developed robots sent to the surface first.

"This return to the Moon envisions a series of human missions starting in the early 2020s that would see astronauts interact with robots on the lunar surface from orbit," a statement on the ESA website says. "Eventually we will see a sustained infrastructure for research and exploration where humans will live and work for prolonged periods," the video's narrator says. This plan could look like the space base presented in the movie The Martian, but on the lunar land.

"Here we will put into practice the lessons of the International Space Station, to establish a facility akin to those we see in Antarctica today. In the future the moon can become a place where the nations of the world work together."

The ESA says that it will learn "lessons" from its experience in building and maintaining International Space Station, where British astronaut Tim Peake is currently based.
Unlike the 1960s space race, which led to the Apollo missions putting man on the moon's surface for the first time, this attempt will not be a competition. Both the Russian space agency and the China National Space Administration each have their own plans to explore the moon. ESA's announcement may be welcome however, with Russian plans for exploration potentially faltering due to economic problems.
"This new exploration will be achieved not in competition, as in the past, but through peaceful, international cooperation," the video says.

Plans for the mission include projects to explore the unknown parts of the moon, as human and robot exploration of the satellite has mostly focused on the surface that faces the Earth and that around the equator. The ESA-led mission, which will work in collaboration with others, including Nasa, will look to learn more about "the polar regions hand-in-hand with robots".
"In the coming years we will see explorers at the lunar poles; exploiting the sunlight for solar power and performing research to benefit life on Earth and to understand our place in the universe," the video says.

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