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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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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