Architects have designed a Martian city for the desert outside Dubai

 

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Martian city for the desert outside Dubai

 Dubai is a city where firefighters use jetpacks, archipelagos are built from scratch, and buildings climb into the clouds; a slick metropolis in the middle of a vast red desert. First-time visitors would be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled onto a film set for a sci-fi movie.

Now Dubai is set for what must be its most other-worldly architectural project yet.

In 2017, the United Arab Emirates announced its ambition to colonize Mars within the next 100 years. But architects are already imagining what a Martian city might look like — and planning to recreate it in the desert outside Dubai.

Mars Science City was originally earmarked to cover 176,000 square meters of desert — the size of more than 30 football fields — and cost approximately $135 million.

Intended as a space for Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) to develop the technology needed to colonize Mars, architects Bjarke Ingels Group were asked to design a prototype of a city suitable for sustaining life on Mars — and then adapt it for use in the Emirati desert.

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Scientists create world’s most heat resistant material with potential use for spaceplanes

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Unmanned aircraft flying in the upper atmosphere.

Reusable spacecraft would make space exploration both more cost-effective and accessible, which is why space agencies have been actively pursuing their development. However, spaceplanes are subjected to extreme temperatures on exiting and re-entering the atmosphere. So, materials which can withstand the scorching temperatures are needed in their construction.

Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Moscow have now fabricated a ceramic material which is more heat resistant than any other.

The previous material to hold the title of “most heat resistant” was tested in 2016 by a team from the Imperial College London. Using a laser heating technique which allowed them to test the material at extreme temperatures, they calculated that a chemical compound of the elements hafnium, a transition metal, and carbon had the highest melting point ever recorded at the time. Their findings showed hafnium carbide melted at just under 4000 degrees Celsius.

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Want to leave this planet? NASA is offering some seriously cool virtual space tours right now

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Get ready to blast off.

The aerospace experts at NASA are helping everyone socially distancing at home to pass the time.

NASA is ready to entertain and educate you all weekend long.

The aerospace experts are pulling out all the stops to help everyone pass the time home socially distancing. That includes releasing some seriously cool virtual tours and highlighting a few of its coolest places. Check out a selection of seven tours available from NASA below.

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope full mirror deployment a success

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The primary mirror of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is planned to be deployed only once more on Earth, before being packaged for delivery to South America.

In a recent test, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope fully deployed its primary mirror into the same configuration it will have when in space.

As Webb progresses towards liftoff in 2021, technicians and engineers have been diligently checking off a long list of final tests the observatory will undergo before being packaged for delivery to French Guiana for launch. Performed in early March, this procedure involved commanding the spacecraft’s internal systems to fully extend and latch Webb’s iconic 21 feet 4-inch (6.5 meter) primary mirror, appearing just like it would after it has been launched to orbit. The observatory is currently in a cleanroom at Northrop Grumman Space Systems in Redondo Beach, California.

The difficulty and complexity of performing tests for Webb has increased significantly, now that the observatory has been fully assembled. Special gravity offsetting equipment was attached to Webb’s mirror to simulate the zero-gravity environment its mechanisms will have to operate in. Tests like these help safeguard mission success by physically demonstrating that the spacecraft is able to move and unfold as intended. The Webb team will deploy the observatory’s primary mirror only once more on the ground, just before preparing it for delivery to the launch site.

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Japanese spacecraft fired cannonball into asteroid

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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa2 spacecraft fired a copper cannonball into Ryugu, an 850 meter-wide near-Earth asteroid. The 2 kilogram “Small Carry-on Impactor,” a bit larger than a tennis ball, hit the asteroid at approximately 7,200 kilometers/hour and blew out a 14.5 meter wide crater with a depth of .6 meters. After a year of analysis, scientists have reported their analysis of the plume created by the impact and properties of the crater. From Space.com:

The number and size of craters that pockmark asteroids such as Ryugu can help scientists estimate the age and properties of asteroid surfaces. These analyses are based on models of how such craters form, and data from artificial impacts like that on Ryugu can help test those models…

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Human settlements in space are closer than we think. Here’s what it will look like

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From vast spaceships orbiting close to Earth to tunnels the size of Los Angeles under the surface of the moon

 European Space Agency’s plan for the Moon Village.

“We already have, or at least understand, the technology needed for a moon base,” says Lewis Dartnell, an astrobiologist from the University of Westminster in London. “The time frame could be in a matter of years,” he adds, “if money were no object and nations around the world were to decide that they needed to build a lunar base together.”

Prof. Dartnell is not alone in his optimism. Many scientists, space engineers and industrialists believe that humanity is on the brink of a breakthrough in settlement. Recent developments could advance the realization of this vision.

For example, a report published last month stated that the radar used by the Chinese spacecraft that was the first to reach the far side of the moon is particularly useful for locating subterranean ice layers. One day, that ice may make it possible for people to remain on the moon for lengthy periods.

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The next challenge for getting to Mars: What happens to the human body in space

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From NASA’s Moon to Mars program to Elon Musk’s ambitious plan to send a million people to Mars by 2050, the race is on to get human feet on the red planet. With increasingly sophisticated rockets and robotics, the technological challenges standing in the way of this goal are fast being eroded.

But there might be a different issue which hampers plans to take people off-planet and send them out to explore the rest of the solar system. Strange things happen to the human body in space, and we’re going to need to find ways to address these medical issues if we want to be able to send astronauts on long-duration missions like the several years that a Mars mission might require.

Digital Trends spoke to University College London cardiologist Dr. Rohin Francis, who has performed studies into space medicine, about how human bodies respond to long-term habitation of the space environment and what that might mean for manned missions to Mars.

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You can now book an all-inclusive 10-day trip to the International Space Station for $55 million

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The trip is expected to launch during the second half of 2021.

It may not be a trip to the moon, but Axiom Space is offering deep-pocketed customers a trip to space. And no, we’re not talking a quick little jaunt into orbit either. Instead, the company is offering an all-inclusive stay on the International Space Station for the humble sum of $55 million.

On Thursday, Axiom announced it had signed a contract with SpaceX that will allow a trained commander and three private astronauts the chance to hitch a ride to the space station aboard one of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsules, reports the New York Times. Expected to take place next year, the trip could very likely be the first fully private human spaceflight to orbit.

Currently scheduled to launch during the second half of next year, the trip will give customers the chance to “experience at least eight days of microgravity and views of the Earth that can only be appreciated in the large, venerable station,” according to a press release from Axiom. In addition to the two days of travel and room and board on the ISS, the company will also provide training, planning, life support, medical support, crew provisions, certifications, on-orbit operations and overall mission management.

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Terraforming Mars might be impossible… for now

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Making Mars more Earth-like would be a gargantuan task. From giant mirrors to tiny microbes, here’s the thinking behind making Mars habitable for humans.

This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

At the end of 1990’s sci-fi adventure Total Recall, all it takes is the push of a button. In a matter of minutes, Mars’ sky transforms from a hellish red to an Earth-like blue. After nearly suffocating on the Martian surface just moments before, Arnold Schwarzenegger takes in lungfuls and lungfuls of that sweet, sweet breathable Martian air.

This is terraforming, the concept of making a planet more hospitable to humans, and it’s been cropping up in pop culture since the early 1900s, everywhere from books to movies to video games. Once upon a time, the idea of turning Mars into Earth 2.0 might have been merely a fanciful notion, as theoretical as actually going to the planet at all.

But in 2020, Mars is very much on the agenda. NASA, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic — they all want to put space boots on the ground, and in some cases as soon as the 2030s. But as scientists work toward blastoff, the concept of terraforming will most likely be a case of “failure to launch.”

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Here are all the ways to visit space this decade (if you’re extremely rich)

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Glamping in zero gravity will cost a few millions bucks at least.

Have you always dreamt of leaving Earth? Are you a member of the two, or better yet three commas club? Well it’s a great time to be alive because after decades of delays, the space tourism industry may finally be taking off. Not just the kind Dennis Tito pioneered in 2001, where you buy a ticket from the Russian government to visit the International Space Station (ISS), but real honest-to-goodness free market tourism with multiple private companies vying to turn your hard-earned millions into an out-of-this-world experience.

SpaceX, which is preparing to launch astronauts to the ISS any month now in its newly human-rated Crew Dragon capsule, announced last week that NASA won’t be the only paying customer for its new vehicle. The private company is also offering to launch up to four private citizens into orbit in late 2021 or 2022. And SpaceX is far from the only company on the verge of starting space tourism operations. Here’s a primer to where and when you can go, and how much it might cost you.

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The sun is still a burning mystery. That may be about to change.

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The historic launch of the new European Solar Orbiter helps foster a golden age for understanding our nearest star.

On Sunday evening, a rocket lit up Florida’s nighttime sky as it ferried a spacecraft toward a first-of-its-kind adventure to the sun.

Even though our home star smolders every day in our skies, humans have only ever seen the sun from one perspective: face-on, from within the plane of the planets. The European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter, or SolO, is about to change that, as it is designed to perform a detailed reconnaissance of the sun that will allow it to see the star’s previously invisible polar regions.

From this unique vantage point, SolO’s suite of 10 instruments will help uncover how the star sends streams of energetic particles called the solar wind throughout our planetary system. It will also help answer what controls the sun’s 11-year magnetic cycle, which varies in intensity and creates unanticipated fluctuations in solar activity.

“We fundamentally really don’t understand that,” says ESA’s Daniel Müller, SolO project scientist. “Hopefully, we’re filling in that gap with Solar Orbiter.”

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Spin launch’s ginormous centrifuge plans to slingshot rockets into space

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One of the greatest obstacles in launching spacecraft off our planet is the tremendous volume and cost of fuel required to achieve escape velocity and break out of Earth’s gravity well into the vacuum of outer space.

Aerospace firms have offered a number of novel solutions to this dilemma, but we’re still stuck with the good old-fashioned method of firing up a rocket engine and blasting ourselves off our spinning rock in a thunderous display.

Hoping to build a better mousetrap, California startup firm SpinLaunch is taking a kinetic energy approach and has lofty plans to construct a football field-sized, vacuum-sealed centrifuge that will accelerate a 25-foot-long rocket to over 5,000 miles per hour, then release it to slingshot into the heavens before its booster engine fires to attain a proper orbital attitude.

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