Carnival of Space 397

The Carnival of Space 397 is up at Brown Spaceman.

Universe Today – This Is The Asteroid That Didn’t Hit Us The designation for the object above is 2015 EO6. On March 10, 2015, a 12–28 meter asteroid dubbed 2015 ET cosmically “just missed us,” zipping past Earth at 0.3 lunar distances – 115,200 kilometers, or 71, 580 miles.*

Nextbigfuture – NASA’s 2016 budget proposal has funding to create a flagship Europa mission. In 2015, NASA received $100 million from Congress to begin preliminary work on such a mission, but was missing the commitment to further funding for a period long enough to plan a mission. NASA now has another $255 million budgeted over the next 5 years. NASA can now fully develop the Europa mission.

The mission will probably involve a spacecraft orbiting Jupiter and making multiple fly-bys of Europa, rather than landing on or orbiting Europa itself. This will make the mission much cheaper and safer, as Europa sits in a harsh radiation environment that can be dangerous for spacecraft. NASA will choose instruments for the spacecraft in spring this year, and aims for a launch date in the mid-2020s.

Nextbigfuture – Titan is suggested as a target for colonization, because it is the only moon in the Solar System to have a dense atmosphere and is rich in carbon-bearing compounds. Robert Zubrin identified Titan as possessing an abundance of all the elements necessary to support life, making Titan perhaps the most advantageous locale in the outer Solar System for colonization, and saying “”In certain ways, Titan is the most hospitable extraterrestrial world within our solar system for human colonization””.

1. Titan has a lot of water ice.
2. Titan has 100 times the hydrocarbons as the Earth. Liquid methane lakes the size of the Great Lakes on Earth. Regular combustion engines or fuel cells could be run on the liquid methane.
3. Titan has an atmosphere that protects against radiation.

Nextbigfuture – Small satellites are becoming increasingly popular tools for Earth-imaging, communications, and other applications. But they have major control issues: Once in space, they can’t accurately point cameras or change orbit, and they usually crash and burn within a few months.

What these satellites lack is a viable propulsion system.

Accion Systems has developed a commercial electrospray propulsion system — their first is about the size of a pack of gum — made of tiny chips that provide thrust for small satellites. Among other advantages, Accion’s module can be manufactured for significantly less than today’s alternatives.

This technology could enable low-cost satellites, such as those known as “CubeSats,” to become more viable for various commercial and research applications, including advanced imaging and communications, where numerous satellites could provide global coverage.

Nextbigfuture – Star Wars 8 is set for May 26, 2017

Rogue One is the first Star War stand alone movie. Rogue One will explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga. Rogue One will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz). Rogue One is set for December 16, 2016. This movie will probably feature the rebel X-wing fighter squadrons.

There are reports that the concept art looks like soldiers with Halo exoskeleton armor.