Jupiter’s Watery Moon Europa

NASA is plotting a daring robotic mission to Jupiter’s watery moon Europa, a place where astronomers speculate there might be some form of life.FILE - This Feb. 13, 1979 photo released by NASA's …

The space agency set aside $15 million in its 2015 budget proposal to start planning some kind of mission to Europa. No details have been decided yet, but NASA chief financial officer Elizabeth Robinson said Tuesday that it would be launched in the mid-2020s.

Robinson said the high radiation environment around Jupiter and distance from Earth would be a challenge. When NASA sent Galileo to Jupiter in 1989, it took the spacecraft six years to get to the fifth planet from the sun.

Last year, scientists discovered liquid plumes of water shooting up through Europa’s ice. Flying through those watery jets could make Europa cheaper to explore than just circling it or landing on the ice, said NASA Europa scientist Robert Pappalardo .Past NASA probes have flown by Europa, especially Galileo, but none have concentrated on the moon, one of dozens orbiting Jupiter. Astronomers have long lobbied for a mission to Europa, but proposals would have cost billions of dollars.

NASA will look at many competing ideas for a Europa mission, so the agency doesn’t know how big or how much it will cost, Robinson said. She said a major mission goal would be searching for life in the strange liquid water under the ice-covered surface.

Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb said going to Europa would be more exciting than exploring dry Mars: “There might be fish under the ice.”

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A Robotic Mission to an Ocean-Bearing Moon of Jupiter

Earthlike PlanetsCAPE CANAVERAL, Florida  –  NASA budget plan for 2015 includes funding for a robotic mission to an ocean-bearing moon of Jupiter and could help boost commercial ventures to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, NASA officials said on Tuesday.

The White House is requesting a $17.5 billion budget for the U.S. space agency in the fiscal year that begins October 1.

That marks a 1 percent decrease from NASA’s 2014 budget. But NASA could also have access to an additional $900 million from  the President’s proposed Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative, a $56 billion fund for special projects that is separate from the regular budget.

If approved, the agency would have $1.1 billion next year to help at least two companies develop commercial space taxis to fly astronauts to and from the space station. The $100 billion research outpost, a project of 15 nations, flies about 260 miles above Earth.

Since the space shuttles were retired in 2011, the United States is dependent on Russia to fly crews to the space station at a cost of more than $65 million a seat.

For now, escalating U.S. tensions with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine have not affected the space partnership, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told reporters on a conference call.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation,” Bolden said. “Right now, everything is normal in our relationship with the Russians,” he said.

Currently, NASA is supporting space taxi designs by Boeing Co, privately owned Space Exploration Technologies and privately owned Sierra Nevada Corp.

The agency intends to select at least two companies for a final round of development funding this summer. NASA wants to have U.S. options for flying astronauts to the station before the end of 2017.

The so-called Commercial Crew program is receiving $696 million for the 2014 fiscal year ending September 30. The proposed funding increase would add as much as $400 million to the program for fiscal 2015.

The new budget also includes $3.1 billion for NASA to operate the station and provides $2.8 billion to continue development of the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket and Orion capsule for future human missions to the moon, asteroids and Mars. An unmanned Orion test flight is scheduled for September 18.

One of the first operational Orion missions would send astronauts to an asteroid that has been robotically relocated into a high orbit around the moon. Planning for the so-called Asteroid Redirect Mission gets a boost to $133 million in the 2015 budget proposal, up from $78 million in 2014.

As currently envisioned, hiking spending on the asteroid initiative means cutbacks in other programs, warns the Coalition for Space Exploration, a Houston-based industry advocacy organization.

“We remain concerned and opposed to the annual effort to drain funds from our nation’s exploration programs,” the group said in a statement.

Science missions would share nearly $5 billion in 2015, including $15 million to begin planning for a mid-2020s mission to Europa, an ice-encrusted moon of Jupiter.

Scientists have strong evidence that the moon has a vast ocean beneath its frozen surface. Water is believed to be essential for life.

“It’s one of those places where life might occur, in the past or now, and so we’re really excited about going there,” said NASA’s Chief Financial Officer Beth Robinson.

The proposed budget keeps the Hubble Space Telescope successor program – an infrared observatory known as the James Webb Space Telescope – on track for launch in 2018. It also lets NASA begin planning for a new telescope to probe the mysterious force known as “dark energy” that is driving the universe apart at faster and faster rates.

(Editing by Kevin Gray, Tom Brown , Ken Wills and Robert E)

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Wanna go live on Mars? Better get in line!

Mars

Wanted: Brave earthlings willing to take a one-way trip to the Red Planet

When: Take-off is scheduled for 2025

Requirements: No Earth-bound emotional connections that might interfere with the move to outer space; an openness to living basically only on water (assuming water is found on Mars) and whatever food scraps can occasionally be delivered from Earth; a willingness to take part in the most spectacular reality-TV show the Universe (as we know it) has ever seen, with cameras hung from balloons high above the planet’s surface, watching your every move.

Where to apply: You can join the 200,000 other prospective space travelers who have already paid fees of as much as $75 per application to the Mars One foundation, the Dutch company which announced this week that it’s moving ahead with contracts to first build an unmanned spacecraft, whose 2018 mission to Mars will be followed a few years by the first group of four Earthlings making the big move out of town.

Waaaaaay out of town.

Forever.

The idea is that the space pioneers would basically colonize Mars, settling in for the long haul since there is currently no launchpad up there to get them back to Earth.

As reported by The Guardian, Mars One “has lined up two major companies to work on a robotic mission to the planet. Slated for launch in 2018, the Mars One mission aims to pave the way for the volunteer crew by testing technology they will need should they reach the red planet in good enough shape to start the first human space colony.”

And the companies Mars One is working with are no slouches in the field of high-altitude extravaganzas:

The US aerospace company, Lockheed Martin, which has worked on scores of NASA missions, has agreed to draw up plans for a lander based on the US space agency’s Phoenix probe that touched down on Mars in 2008.

And CNN reports that  Mars One has a deal in place to put together “a robotic lander and a communications satellite. Lockheed Martin has been contracted to study building the lander, and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. will develop a concept study for the satellite, Mars One said.

This first mission will demonstrate technology that would be involved in a permanent human settlement on Mars. If all goes well — and that’s still very much an “if” — the first pioneers could land on Mars in 2025.

Credit NASA

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The First Space Factory (E-Vectors INC.)

space craft power by positron reactor After gathering the materials from the moon landings , we have discovered the fuel need for space travel to other worlds . The fuel is a product from element 115 also known as Ununpentium. The product of element 115 is not  sent to earth but kept in space, on a space payload ship.

Using a Space Station type ship, large enough to house the people,the wares, and materials ,we  begin to mass produce spaceships.  The materials used are a Kevlar solution which is light weight and stronger than steel, and a product from the martian soil that absorbs water which protects against high levels of radiation.  3 D Printers are used for the configuration of the crafts.  Some of the basic components will be made on Earth  .\

We will discover the solution to space travel.  The equations  Space x Unknown = TIME  and Time x Unknown = SPACE meaning Space equals Time.   Yes when we look up at the stars ,we are looking back in tjme .  So to traveling  through space we will be traveling through time.

8.8 Billion Earth Like Planets In The Habitable Temperature Zone

By   Seth Borenstein       Space is vast, but itEarthlike Planets may not be so lonely after all: A study finds the Milky Way is teeming with billions of planets that are about the size of Earth, orbit stars just like our sun, and exist in the Goldilocks zone — not too hot and not too cold for life.

Astronomers using NASA data have calculated for the first time that in our galaxy alone, there are at least 8.8 billion stars with Earth-size planets in the habitable temperature zone.

The study was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

For perspective, that’s more Earth-like planets than there are people on Earth.

As for what it says about the odds that there is life somewhere out there, it means “just in our Milky Way galaxy alone, that’s 8.8 billion throws of the biological dice,” said study co-author Geoff Marcy, a longtime planet hunter from the University of California at Berkeley.

The next step, scientists say, is to look for atmospheres on these planets with powerful space telescopes that have yet to be launched. That would yield further clues to whether any of these planets do, in fact, harbor life.

The findings also raise a blaring question, Marcy said: If we aren’t alone, why is “there a deafening silence in our Milky Way galaxy from advanced civilizations?”

In the Milky Way, about 1 in 5 stars that are like our sun in size, color and age have planets that are roughly Earth’s size and are in the habitable zone where life-crucial water can be liquid, according to intricate calculations based on four years of observations from NASA’s now-crippled Kepler telescope.

If people on Earth could only travel in deep space, “you’d probably see a lot of traffic jams,” Bill Borucki, NASA’s chief Kepler scientist, joked Monday.

The Kepler telescope peered at 42,000 stars, examining just a tiny slice of our galaxy to see how many planets like Earth are out there. Scientists then extrapolated that figure to the rest of the galaxy, which has hundreds of billions of stars.

For the first time, scientists calculated — not estimated — what percent of stars that are just like our sun have planets similar to Earth: 22 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 8 percentage points.

Kepler scientist Natalie Batalha said there is still more data to pore over before this can be considered a final figure.

There are about 200 billion stars in our galaxy, with 40 billion of them like our sun, Marcy said. One of his co-authors put the number of sun-like stars closer to 50 billion, meaning there would be at least 11 billion planets like ours.

Based on the 1-in-5 estimate, the closest Earth-size planet that is in the habitable temperature zone and circles a sun-like star is probably within 70 trillion miles of Earth, Marcy said.

And the 8.8 billion Earth-size planets figure is only a start. That’s because scientists were looking only at sun-like stars, which are not the most common stars.

An earlier study found that 15 percent of the more common red dwarf stars have Earth-size planets that are close-in enough to be in the not-too-hot, not-too-cold Goldilocks Zone.

Put those together and that’s probably 40 billion right-size, right-place planets, Marcy said.

And that’s just our galaxy. There are billions of other galaxies.

Scientists at a Kepler science conference Monday said they have found 833 new candidate planets with the space telescope, bringing the total of planets they’ve spotted to 3,538, but most aren’t candidates for life.

Kepler has identified only 10 planets that are about Earth’s size circling sun-like stars and are in the habitable zone, including one called Kepler 69-c.

Because there are probably hundreds of planets missed for every one found, the study did intricate extrapolations to come up with the 22 percent figure — a calculation that outside scientists say is fair.

“Everything they’ve done looks legitimate,” said MIT astronomer Sara Seager.

By   Seth Borenstein

NASA’s New Moon Probe Enters Lunar Orbit

NASA's_New_Moon_Probe_Enters-aaf4773e03540b0b370bc40b05916528[1]
by Miriam Kramer
NASA’s New Moon Probe Enters Lunar Orbit

Artist’s concept of NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft in orbit …

NASA’s newest lunar probe is officially orbiting the moon.

After a month-long journey, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft — designed to probe the moon’s thin atmosphere and lunar dust — performed an engine burn on Sunday (Oct. 6) that took it into orbit around the moon.

While the current U.S. government shutdown has all but halted work at NASA, operations for the $280 million mission are not affected because LADEE is in a critical phase, Rachel Hoover, a spokesperson at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California told Spaceflight Now before the shutdown. NASA’s federal shutdown plan has furloughed most of the agency’s 18,000 employees, but does allow the agency to watch over spacecraft in flight like LADEE and the International Space Station. [Photos: NASA’s LADEE Moon Dust Mission in Pictures]

Before arriving in lunar orbit, the LADEE spacecraft (the name is pronounced “laddie”) made three elliptical orbits around the Earth, moving into a higher orbit on each pass around the planet. Once its orbit was high enough, the moon’s gravity took over and LADEE performed its big burn to transfer to lunar orbit, mission managers have said.

LADEE now needs to perform two more lunar orbit insertion maneuvers before the probe’s approximately month-long checkout phase can begin. The probe’s next burn is scheduled for Oct. 9 and the third is scheduled for Oct. 12, which will lower it to an altitude of 155 miles (250 kilometers).

During the checkout period, scientists will test out LADEE’s laser-communications demonstration. The experiment used laser technology to send large amounts of data back to Earth. The laser communication model could allow spacecraft to send 3D information, high-definition video and other data back to ground controllers, scientists have said.

Once LADEE’s commissioning phase is finished, the probe will begin 100 days of science designed to probe the mysteries of the moon’s atmosphere and a moon dust mystery dating back to the Apollo program.

Apollo astronauts saw streamers of light on the horizon before sunrise on the moon. LADEE’s instrumentation will help scientists understand what could have caused the glow.

NASA officials wrote in a facts sheet: “Was lunar dust, electrically charged by solar ultraviolet light, responsible for the pre-sunrise horizon glow that the Apollo astronauts saw?”

LADEE will also investigate the moon’s extremely thin atmosphere. Called a surface boundary exosphere, the lunar atmosphere represents the most common kind of atmosphere in the solar system. Some planets (like Mercury), moons and even certain large asteroids play host to these kinds of atmospheres, making LADEE’s research wide reaching.

“It’s a class of atmosphere we actually don’t know that much about, so it turns out that the moon actually is a really convenient place to go and learn about this very common type of atmosphere,” Sarah Noble, LADEE program scientist, said before the probe’s Sept. 6 launch.

LADEE launched to space atop the first flight of the Minotaur V rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va.

Fuel of the Future

Spaceship

Alternative fuels will eventually be the thing that breaks space travel wide open, and will  make it possible to really explore most of space . As new fuel sources are discovered they will be cleaner, more efficient, and more powerful. At some point in the future alternative fuels may make it possible to go  into unknown areas of space and beyond.

 

 

HOW SPACE EXPLORATION HAS CHANGED THROUGH HISTORY

space-explorationThe first Space Exploration occurred in 1957 with the launch of the very first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, sent in to space by the Soviets. Since ancient times individuals have dreamed of departing the Earth and discovering other planets not known to man. Each era through history has developed a belief in regard to what the “heavens” are created form. The Greeks believed that the heavens and space were made from a material known as “Quietness”, and other traditions once believed that the stars had been made of their own people who had died.

We now k now what stars are made of; they’re made of numerous gases which explode again and again. Up until 43 years ago people could not travel in, nor even send objects into space. The most challenging part of traveling in space had been developing rockets which were powerful and dependable enough fling an object or people into space.

When speaking of space, objects that are frequently discussed are Comets and Asteroid’s. A comet is basically, little, rocky, icy and also revolves around the sun. When a comet travels close to the sun, some of the ice turns to gas. This gas mixed with some dirty rock creates a lengthy, bright tail that points away from the comet.

If a comet where to hit our planet, it could trigger damage. Even if some thing relatively little in size striked the earth, it might cause significant damage. Little, from a comet`s point of view is something under 200 meters across. A comet that size hitting the Earth could wipe out an entire city.

Asteroid’s are small or minor  planets that move in what elliptical orbits. They are usually discovered between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. They may be the debris of a planet that was destroyed by being hit by comets and then did not have enough mass to reform as a planet. Our current knowledge of space may not be as romantic as that of past civilizations, but it no less interesting.

 

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