TAG: NASA

Space Based Solar Power

Solar power from space

Humans are resting their hope of finding alternative energy generation models on solar and wind power generation. But what if science could find some way to harness the power of the sleepless sun? This is not just a twist in a science fiction novel, as researchers are making good progress towards harnessing space based solar power. It all began when Isaac Asimov wrote of solar power being collected from space and transmitted to the planet with the help of microwaves. This concept was later extended by Peter Glaser in 1968 and he detailed the basic idea of creating a solar satellite which incorporated… read more

NASA Plans Europa Mission To Search For Life

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As we wrote two years ago, Jupiter’s moon Europa may actually be the best place in our solar system to seek out extraterrestrial life. It’s largely believed that the moon has an entire underwater ecosystem, ripe with the sort of conditions needed to support life, even if only on a bacterial level. A mission several years ago had been denied due to under funding, but renewed pushes seem to have been effective in swaying the minds that hold the money. So why should we detour money from the planned Mars mission and funnel it into this pipe-dream? For starters, it’s… read more

Discovery of Water on Exoplanets

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As Earth’s population grows in number and our natural resources dwindle, the day will come when our planet is officially too small for human expansion. If we haven’t discovered a way of leaving the solar system by that time, we may be in serious trouble. Of course, we’re planning on colonizing Mars in the next few decades, but the process of Terraforming, or turning it into an Earth-like planet, will take hundreds, if not thousands, of years. So how do we determine which planets in the night sky are capable of carrying water? It may seem downright impossible to look… read more

Contour Crafting Renovates The Construction World

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Called the Contour Crafting Robotic Construction System, it is a conceptual technology that uses a 3-D printing process to rapidly produce a prototype. It is made up of robotic arms and nozzles which are controlled by a computer aided program and a framework system that moves the nozzles. It can build a range of structures, including entire homes. The technology takes 3-D imaging to the next level, and the system is capable of producing over a 2,000 square foot house with all of the necessary components, including outlets for electricity and accommodations for plumbing and air. What gets really impressive… read more

Say Hello To NASA’s New Spacesuits

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The iconic image of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon still causes excitement today. In 1969, that level of achievement in the space race was huge…kinda like their 300lb spacesuits. You may look at that picture and think, “That was over 40 years ago. We’ve upgraded our suits by now, haven’t we?” Bless your heart for giving NASA the benefit of the doubt, but unfortunately, you’d be wrong. Ever since the United States “won the space race”, the drive to innovate and continue exploring the stars has all but died. Sure, NASA put the Curiosity Rover on Mars recently, but… read more

Bill Nye’s Open Letter To Obama About NASA

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Bill Nye, renowned scientist and educator, recently penned Pres. Obama a letter encouraging him to give NASA a healthy budget with which to explore the stars. Here’s the video: Space research is extremely important, as it helps us to better understand and monitor our constantly changing planet. Discoveries on other worlds also contribute to our knowledge of the greater universe beyond the solar system, and boost our abilities to leave the planet, since (according to Stephen Hawking), it’s kind of necessary that we do.

Self-Monitored Gardens

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The Greener Cities project, winner of the “Smart Cities, Smart Climate” challenge, proposes a way in which urban gardeners can poses the ability to know the state of their plants as they change. The class challenge was part of the larger International Space Apps Challenge, organized by NASA. It was designed to encourage public participation in the discovery of environmental connections with data-sets, such as traffic accidents; doing so using existing data, such as public health records. Greener Cities achieves this in three steps. First, the project introduces garden monitors, which will serve as low-cost sensors for urban planters. Secondly,… read more

Growing Plants on Mars: The Future of Martian Agriculture

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For years we have been determined to stick our flag in Martian soil. There are even opportunities for future volunteers to be launched off to Mars by 2023 – with over 200,000 applicants vying for one of just 4 available (and permanent) slots. Perhaps the most critical factor in determining the likelihood of human colonization on Mars is whether we can successfully implement a self-sustaining agricultural system within the planet’s extreme climate. Ever since the Mars rover, “curiosity”, took to the red planet, there has been a steady spike in proposals for Martian agriculture. Most utilize the idea of hydro-… read more

Nomadic Station Will Uncover Mysteries of the Ocean

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Ninety-five percent of the ocean remains unexplored, despite accounting for over 70% of the earth’s surface. Due to the ocean’s mysterious nature, some have gone as far to say humankind knows more about outer-space than aquatic life. While this is clearly unfounded, and our understanding of the universe largely underdeveloped and ever-changing, our future may well be sealed in the abyss, physically encompassing and yet evasive to even the elite of enlightened thinkers and scholars. On a conquest to equip scientists with a vessel to facilitate advanced exploration of oceanic bodies, Jacques Rougerie conceived plans for the SeaOrbiter, which could… read more

Are We About To Experience Another Ice Age?

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The sun has been unusually quiet recently, and nobody really knows why. Could this possibly be the beginnings of a mini-ice age? The scientific term for the cooling phenomenon is a “Maunder minimum”. Here’s the definition as stated by the Encyclopedia Britannica: Maunder Minimum, an unexplained period of drastically reduced sunspot activity that occurred between 1645 and 1715. When solar activity slows down for lengthy periods of time, our planet’s temperature cools, as the sun is our sole provider of heat. English astronomer Edward Walter Maunder first noticed in 1894 that we’d observed very few sunspots in between 1645 and… read more