The first probe Moon Express intends to launch is the Lunar Scout, which the company hopes to launch before the end of 2017 as part of its quest to win the Google Lunar XPrize. The probe will carry a number of payloads, including, “the International Lunar Observatory, “MoonLight” by the INFN National Laboratories of Frascati and the University of Maryland, a Celestis memorial flight.” Lunar Scout will also attempt to fulfill the terms of the Google Lunar XPrize by returning high-resolution images and video of the moon’s surface to Earth and hopping 500 meters from its landing site by reigniting its engine and flying to a new location.
The second expedition is called the Lunar Outpost which will attempt to land at the moon’s south pole. Once there, the probe will prospect for minerals and water from the moon and will carry a number of other scientific instruments.
The most ambitious mission Moon Express is planning is called Lunar Harvest. The probe will land on the moon’s surface and take a sample of lunar soil and minerals. Then a return vehicle will take off and take the sample back to Earth.
Nextbigfuture- The US-Australia Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HiFIRE) program had at least one successful hypersonic flight at Woomera testing range in South Australia last week. A round of experiments concluded on 12 July, confirmed Australian defense minister Marise Payne.
UQ hypersonics researchers collaborated with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group) and US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Boeing, and BAE Systems for test flights in July 2017. This vehicle is a free-flying hypersonic glider, designed to fly at Mach 8 (8000 km/hr). It is designed to separate from its rocket booster in space and perform controlled manoeuvres as it enters the atmosphere. The test flight was intended to enable learning about how to fly a hypersonic vehicle at high altitude.
BAE Systems Australia said in a statement that “the successful flight trial [was] the most complex of all HIFiRE flights conducted to date”.
A Christmas 2018 soft opening remains in the realm of possibility. If both Star Wars Lands are going to open in 2019 (as Disney has announced), it seems likely Disneyland’s Star Wars Land will have a longer soft opening period beforehand.”
“John Becknell designer of the Nuclear Thermal Turbo Rocket (NTTR) and x-senior engineer on the Space Raptor engine is answering questions at nextbigfuture. He is answering on the previous article on his air enhanced nuclear thermal rocket that has 5 times the ISP of a chemical rocket and 10 times the payload. The increased payload is from having ten times higher payload fraction.
In 2015, Bucknell presented the Nuclear Thermal Turbo rocket which added air-breathing to a nuclear thermal rocket. Buchnell design would have 1664 ISP. 60% more than the best prior nuclear thermal rocket designs.
Nextbigfuture- John Bucknell was Senior Propulsion Engineer for the Raptor full-flow staged combustion methalox rocket at Spacex and is currently the Senior Propulsion Scientist for Divergent3D in Torrance, CA developing additively manufactured vehicle technologies.
In 2015, Bucknell presented the Nuclear Thermal Turbo rocket which added air-breathing to a nuclear thermal rocket.
Specific impulse (usually abbreviated Isp) is a measure of the efficiency of rocket and jet engines. By definition, it is the total impulse (or change in momentum) delivered per unit of propellant consumed and is dimensionally equivalent to the generated thrust divided by the propellant mass or weight flow rate. You can think of it like miles per gallon for cars. Higher ISP is better.
Regular chemical rockets have an ISP of about 300 to 360.
Previous nuclear thermal rockets designs had an ISP of 800 to 1100, so they were 2 to 3 times more efficient than chemical rockets.
An air breathing chemical rocket could get to an ISP of 3600 while in the atmosphere.
The air enhanced nuclear thermal turbo rocket can have an ISP of 1663. This is five times better than a chemical rocket and almost double the nuclear thermal rockets tested in the 1960s.
Nextbigfuture- The smallest star yet measured has been discovered by a team of astronomers led by the University of Cambridge. With a size just a sliver larger than that of Saturn, the gravitational pull at its stellar surface is about 300 times stronger than what humans feel on Earth.
The star is likely as small as stars can possibly become, as it has just enough mass to enable the fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium. If it were any smaller, the pressure at the centre of the star would no longer be sufficient to enable this process to take place. Hydrogen fusion is also what powers the Sun, and scientists are attempting to replicate it as a powerful energy source here on Earth.
These very small and dim stars are also the best possible candidates for detecting Earth-sized planets which can have liquid water on their surfaces, such as TRAPPIST-1, an ultracool dwarf surrounded by seven temperate Earth-sized worlds.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.