NASA NIAC Study – Petabits of Planetary Survey Data Earth-Mars Cycler

The Solar System Pony Express is a global, multi-spectral, high-resolution planetary surveyor supported by regular visits from a cycler satellite network to retrieve petabits of data for transit to Earth. This is a phase 1 NASA NIAC study. The “courier” satellites use optical communications to receive 1-3 petabits from the surveyor at least once per …

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Roadmap to Increase Antimatter Production by 10 Billion Times

Fermilab was able to produce 2 nanograms of antimatter per year, but a new NASA NIAC plan by Gerald Jackson could increase this by 10 billion times to 20 grams per year with a $670 million per year energy cost antimatter factory. They also have a theoretical solution for long-term antimatter storage. They would use …

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Gravitational Lens Mission Proof of Concept Mission Proposed for 2023

NASA NIAC 2020 virtual meetings has an update on the affordable SGL (Solar Gravitational Lens) mission architecture design. National nonprofit The Aerospace Corp the Solar Gravity Lens concept received a phase III $2 million grant by NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program. They described a roadmap for building the required SGL mission capability, beginning with a …

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Mini Asteroid Mining

There is an update on mini-asteroid and optical space mining at the NASA NIAC virtual meeting. Apis is a breakthrough mission and flight system architecture designed to revolutionize NASA’s human exploration of deep space and to enable massive space industrialization and human settlement. Apis is enabled by Public Private Partnership (PPP) and a series of …

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Extreme Solar Sails Will Slingshot Around the Sun to 0.1% of Lightspeed

Solar sails made out of extreme metamaterials, nanostructured and with some ceramics will be able to withstand over 1000 degrees celsius. They will reach slingshot within 2-5 solar radii of the sun, which is 2 to 4 times closer than the Parker solar probe. The solar sails should cost about $10 million per launch and …

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Over 100 Times More Energy Efficient Moon Mining By Sorting Ice Grains

Micrometeoroid bombardment has already broken most solid material in the upper part of the regolith into fine grains. This includes solid material of all compositions, including the ice, which is as hard as granite at PSR temperatures and is therefore essentially another type of rock. These ice grains are intermixed with all the other minerals, …

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SPEAR Using a Fission Reactor and Advanced Thermoelectrics

The Swarm-Probe Enabling ATEG Reactor, or SPEAR, is a nuclear electric propulsion spacecraft that uses a new, lightweight reactor moderator and advanced thermoelectric generators (ATEGs) to greatly reduce overall core mass. This will subsequently require a reduction in operating temperatures and reduce the total power levels achievable by the core. However, the reduced mass will …

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Lunar Crater Telescope Would Be Ten Times the Area of Arecibo

NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts symposium has a presentation of the 1000 meter Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT). It would cover ultra-long-wavelength radio waves that have not been studied before because of noise on earth. It would be the largest filled-aperture radio telescope in the solar system at 1km in diameter. Arecibo is 300 meters …

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Inflatable Antennas for High Data Rate Satellite and 5G Communications

Freefall Aerospace is a NASA NIAC (NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts) success story. The inflatable antenna system enables big data from cubesats and small low-cost spacecraft. The 3-dimensional phased array antenna technology can provide high data rate communication at virtually any frequency at a fraction of the size and cost of any existing solution. They have …

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Proposed First Gravity Lens Mission by 2028 that Could Spot Large Islands on Exoplanets by 2050

A meter-class telescope with a coronagraph to block solar light, placed in the strong interference region of the solar gravitational lens (SGL), is capable of imaging an exoplanet at a distance of up to 30 parsecs with a few 10 km-scale resolution on its surface. The picture shows results of a simulation of the effects …

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