Carnival of Space 478

1. Brown Spaceman – How direct fusion drive will revolutionize space travel

Direct Fusion Drive (DFD) has made lots of headway recently as it’s demonstrated huge benefits for spaceflight and exploration. This is the Princeton Satellite systems work and not the John Slough direct drive fusion work.

Princeton satellite system DFD is a fusion reactor that is 2 meter in diameter and a 10 meter long device. It’s heated by a novel radio frequency (RF) plasma-heating system, enabling high plasma temperatures for D-³He fusion reactions².

  • Travel 70 km/s vs. typical spacecraft travels between 20-40 km/s
  • Get to Mars in 3-4 months vs. 9 or Pluto in 4.5 years vs. 9
  • Help reduce risks for astronauts by less exposure to radiation during as a result of longer time spent in space traveling.
  • Instead of using plutonium-238 as fuel (more risk / controversial) using D-³He or deuterium and helium 3 instead. Much safer.
  • Ability to carry more payload and still fit on existing launch vehicles
  • DFD can transmit data rates of 1 million kbit/s vs. spacecraft like New Horizon’s 1 kbit/s.
  • Power supply is impressive with a 2 million W as a DFD spacecraft arrives to Pluto.

2. Universe Today – What are Cepheid Variables?

3. Universe Today – New Shepard Defies The Odds And Sticks Landing

4. Universe Today – Seeing Double: Jupiter Returns at Dawn

5. Cosmoquest – Citizen Science: What Attracts You? The CosmoQuest blog is requesting assistance in doing some research for NASA. We’d like people who engage in citizen science projects to fill out our short survey discussing what types of projects they’d like to do and what resources they most often use. Please spread the word and help us gather this useful information!

Added another 10 NASA press release images to the Lunar nad Planetary Institute Flickr page. Enjoy images of Mars, Ceres, Comet 67P, Titan, and Rhea

6. Blasting News – Boeing challenges Elon Musk’s SpaceX to a space race to Mars

7. Blasting News – Iran Space Agency is seeking cooperation agreements with NASA

8. Blasting News – Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin successfully tests New Shepard launch escape system

9. Blasting News – No matter who is elected president, America may be going back to the moon

10. Blasting News – How Barack Obama midwifed the birth of the Space Launch System by accident

11. Blasting News – NASA developing robot miner to help astronauts survive on Mars

12. Blasting News – Elon Musk should colonize the moon instead of Mars

13. Chandra xray space telescope – X-ray Telescopes Find Evidence for Wandering Black Hole

14. Digital Science – Women in Astronomy & Computer Science: There’s Still Work to do

15. Planetaria – Goodbye, Murray Buttes: Curiosity rover continues journey in next phase of extended mission

16. Nextbigfuture – The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is a future infrared space observatory. On February 17, 2016, WFIRST was formally designated as a mission by NASA.

In fiscal year 2014, Congress provided $56 million for WFIRST, and in 2015 Congress provided $50 million.The fiscal year 2016 spending bill provided $90 million for WFIRST. The WFIRST mission entered the “”formulation phase”” in February 2016.

WFIRST is on a plan for a mid-2020s launch. The total cost of WFIRST is expected at more than $2 billion; NASA’s latest estimate is around $2.0 billion in 2010 dollars, which corresponds to around $2.7 billion in real year (inflation-adjusted) dollars. WFIRST will use gravitational microlensing to find exoplanets down to a mass ten times less than the Earth

17. Most of the stars and planets in the universe are outside solar systems and in between galaxies. Many galaxies, stars, planets and objects have remained unseen.

As many as half of all stars in the universe lie in the vast gulfs of space between galaxies, an unexpected discovery made in a new study using NASA rockets. These stars could help solve mysteries regarding missing light and particles that theory had suggested should exist, scientists say. The stars were ejected from their birthplaces by galaxy collisions or mergers.

Some estimations suggest up to 100,000 times more rogue planets than stars in the Milky Way.

18. Boeing fears Spacex Raptor engine – CEO vows to put humans on Mars before Spacex but needs over $60 billion for Space Launch System. Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg sees a commercial space-travel market with dozens of destinations orbiting the Earth and hypersonic aircraft shuttling travelers between continents in two hours or less. And Boeing intends to be a key player in the initial push to send humans to Mars, maybe even beating Musk to his long-time goal.

“I’m convinced the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket,” Muilenburg said at the Chicago event on innovation, which was sponsored by the Atlantic magazine.

19. Nextbigfuture – Spacex and Elon Musk are developing the Interplanetary Transport System, the Raptor engine and the Falcon Heavy on spec. Spacex is mostly self-funding the initial development of those systems.

Elon Musk is spending tens of millions per year on developing his Mars colonization plans and the hardware for it.
This will scale up to $200-300 million per year by 2018 or so.

Space Launch System received $2 billion in the latest fiscal year 2016 annual budget.

Raptor-engined Spacex Heavy will crush the Space Launch System

The SLS has gotten US$9.8 billion (2011-16) and will get over $40 billion until 2025)

The Block 1 SLS which hopes to have a first mission in 2018 can lift 70 tons to low earth orbit. A Block 1B SLS plans to be able to launch about 100 tons to low earth orbit around 2022.

A Falcon Heavy has 27 Merlin 1D engines and lift 54.4 tons into low earth orbit.

A Raptor Heavy that used 12 Raptor engines would have three times the lifting capacity of a Falcon Heavy.

20. Nextbigfuture – A star known by the unassuming name of KIC 8462852 in the constellation Cygnus has been raising eyebrows both in and outside of the scientific community for the past year. In 2015 a team of astronomers announced that the star underwent a series of very brief, non-periodic dimming events while it was being monitored by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, and no one could quite figure out what caused them. A new study from Carnegie’s Josh Simon and Caltech’s Ben Montet has deepened the mystery.

These observations have gotten intense interest because one possibility is that it could be evidence of a mega-advanced alien civilization

21. Here at Links through Space we introduce a series of 7 articles on the Age of Astronomy.

This series focuses on tangible evidence such as relics, artifacts, astronomical alignments and star maps that establishes the age of Astronomy.

Follow our Ancient Astronomy Series: THE AGE OF ASTRONOMY.
Read the posts and find out the true age of astronomy. 5/7: Astronomical References: The Scarab and the Dung Beetle. 1813BC.

22. Nextbigfuture – Drum rolled Carbon fiber tethers five times stronger than Kevlar and a Mach 8 spaceplane can place payloads into orbit at super low cost