Nasa is looking for private companies to help mine the moon

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Nasa has announced it is looking for private companies to go to the moon and collect dust and rocks from the surface and bring them back to Earth.

The agency announced it is buying lunar soil from a commercial provider as part of a technology development program,

The American space agency would then buy the moon samples in amounts between 50 to 500 grams for between $15,000 to $25,000.

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China is building a floating spaceport for rocket launches

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In the near future, launch facilities located at sea are expected to be a lot more common. SpaceX announced that it is hoping to create offshore facilities in the near future for the sake of launching the Starship away from populated areas. And China, the latest member of the superpowers-in-space club, is currently building the “Eastern Aerospace Port” off the coast of Haiyang city in the eastern province of Shandong.

This mobile launch facility is being developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s largest aerospace and defense contractor. Once fully operational, it will be used to launch light vehicles, as well as for building and maintaining rockets, satellites, and related space applications. As China’s fifth launch facility, it will give the country’s space program a new degree of flexibility.

The addition of a sea platform will also help mitigate the risk to populated areas. At present, all of China’s other launch facilities are located inland at Jiuquan (northwest China), Taiyuan (north), Xichang (southwest), and the coastal site at Wenchang (south) on the island of Hainan. Launches from these locations often result in spent stages falling back to Earth, which requires extensive safety and cleanup operations.

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Dragonfly is a ‘relocatable lander’ drone designed to fly on Saturn’s Titan moon

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It turns out that Titan, one of Saturn’s many moons, is a relatively optimal place to fly a drone. This is due to the fact that Titan’s atmosphere is four times denser than the Earth’s. So when NASA chose Titan as the next location to “search for the building blocks of life,” they decided to take advantage of that by using a drone instead of a typical rover.

Dragonfly will essentially be a large drone with eight rotors that weighs in at around 1,200 pounds. It will be approximately the same size as the Curiosity rover, only much more maneuverable due to its form factor.

Described as a “relocatable lander,” Dragonfly will travel by flight from location to location much quicker than even the fastest rover to date. NASA describes Dragonfly’s capabilities as being able to “fly its entire science payload to new places for repeatable and targeted access to surface materials.”

Dragonfly was chosen to be part of NASA’s New Frontiers program. The purpose of the program is to “support missions that have been identified as top solar system exploration priorities by the planetary community.”

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Alphabet’s Loon balloons are helping scientists study gravity waves

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The research could lead to better models for predicting the weather.

 In between beaming internet to people in developing countries and sometimes passing for UFOs, Alphabet’s Loon balloons have been busy helping scientists study how our planet works. A team led by Stanford professor Aditi Sheshadri recently published a report on gravity waves, ripples created by gravity when it pushes down on air forced up into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

To compile their report, professor Sheshadri and her team used data that Alphabet’s Loon balloons collected over 6,811 separate 48-hour periods between 2014 and 2018. “This was just a very lucky thing because they weren’t collecting data for any scientific mission. But, incidentally, they happened to be measuring position and temperature and pressure,” the researcher told Stanford News.

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Here’s how asteroid mining will transform the world

Asteroid mining sounds fantastically futuristic, but it is almost feasible with existing technology.

We have already landed spacecraft on asteroids and taken samples.

Now all of that “simply” needs to be done at a much larger scale mining a well-scouted space rock.

The payoff for humanity will be astronomical.
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The big future of satellite internet just took a promising step forward

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As companies like SpaceX and Amazon scramble the satellites to build internet constellations, an old piece of tech gets an update.

Some of the biggest companies in the world, like Amazon and SpaceX, are looking towards space for the future of the Internet. Satellite-based Internet is a nascent enterprise, but analysts believe that broadband Internet beamed to Earth from orbit could be a massive business fewer than 20 years, earning hundreds of billions of dollars.

Attention has focused on the “space” part of “space Internet,” with news stories focused on the rocket launches getting SpaceX’s Starlink satellites into space, and how Amazon plans to catch up with satellites of its own. But all of these satellites will need transceivers on Earth to send and receive data. Scientists at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Socionext Inc. have built a new one that is made to work with the next generation of Internet satellites.

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Virgin Galactic offers peek inside new space plane for tourists

Inside of VSS Unity unveiled, showing the cabin in which six passengers will be able to float in zero gravity on the edge of space

Virgin Galactic has revealed the interior of its centrepiece space plane, showing off a cabin with new custom seats and a “space mirror” in a virtual tour of what its passengers can expect to experience on flights to the edge of space.

For $250,000 a ticket, passengers who have signed up for the suborbital flight aboard the air-launched plane VSS Unity will strap into six tailored seats and be able to peer out of the cabin’s 12 circular windows as they ascend 97km (60 miles) above Earth. The plane has five other windows.

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Hope Probe: UAE spacecraft blasts off in first ever mission to Mars

Mission had been delayed twice due to bad weather

The United Arab Emirates has launched its first mission to Mars, the first of three missions to the Red Planet to take place this month.

The Hope Probe launched from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center for seven-month voyage, facing off bad weather which caused the mission to be delayed twice.

The mission originally intended to leave Earth on 14 July.

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Space tourists could ride this cosmic balloon to the edge of space

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Competition in the space tourism industry is heating up, and a new company is taking a unique approach to near-space exploration.

The prospect of space travel has long-since enchanted humanity. Now, as competition heats up across the burgeoning spaceflight industry, this sci-fi fantasy may soon become reality. The company Space Perspective is offering a unique transport twist on the standard spacefaring business model. Rather than harnessing the latest propulsion technology or rocket busters, the company is using a pressurized cabin and a high-altitude balloon to chauffeur tourists to the cusp of the final frontier. But how much will it cost? Also, why balloons?

Space Perspective was founded by co-CEOs Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum. While a balloon may not immediately strike some as the ideal mode of transport for such an undertaking, the “serial entrepreneurs” behind the company have a rich history of lofty ideas tethered to these buoyant instruments.

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Send your ashes into orbit for a funeral in space

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Services such as Celestis and Aura Flights send remains to the skies in an epic final journey.

Even in the freezing cold, Steven Schnider would often drag his wife Christine outside to look up at the night sky. He’d point out everything from planets to comets to satellites he’d tracked down using an app called Heavens Above.

“He’d say, ‘Do you see it?’ It’s right there. And it would be the faintest little piece of light going across the sky,” Christine recalls. “He was just so excited about it.”

When Steven was close to death in 2017, there was a consensus among family members that a space burial would be the best way to send him off. Their daughter took out her phone, did a quick search and pulled up a company called Celestis.

Last June, a portion of Steven’s ashes — along with cremated remains from over 150 other Celestis clients — were flown into Earth’s orbit aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Another portion of his ashes will fly aboard the Luna 02 mission, which is slated for takeoff in 2022.

“He’d be so excited that he was in space,” Christine says.

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Chinese automaker plans satellite network to support autonomous vehicles

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Geely’s constellation will provide connectivity to its next-gen autos.

 One of the most important components in an autonomous vehicle is its communications technology—which allows it to access the data needed to navigate its route. Chinese automobile company Geely has developed a solution to maintain a reliable data feed for its products: making its own satellite constellation.

The giant automaker—which sold 2.18 million vehicles in 2019 and also owns Volvo and a stake in Daimler-Benz—is investing $326 million in a new satellite manufacturing plant in Taizhou, close to its existing assembly lines. The plant will manufacture 500 satellites a year by 2025—with its first launches scheduled for later this year—and will have the capability of producing different satellite models. It will feature modular satellite manufacturing lines, research and testing centers and a cloud computing facility. The facility will be the first private satellite factory in China.

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NASA is offering $35,000 in prizes to design a toilet that will work on the moon

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NASA is seeking new designs for a toilet that will work on the moon.

(CNN)NASA wants you to help put the loo in lunar, so it’s offering $35,000 in prizes to design a toilet that can be used on the moon.

The space agency has set an ambitious goal of sending astronauts back to the moon by 2024 and the crew will obviously have to go to the bathroom during the mission.

NASA may adapt the toilet design for its Artemis lunar lander, so it will need to work both in the microgravity of space, or “zero-g,” and on the moon, where the gravity is about a sixth of what we feel on Earth, according to the design guidelines posted by NASA and HeroX, which allows anyone to create challenges to solve a problem facing the world.

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