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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Princeton Satellite Systems – $100 Million Plan for a Fusion Space Drive by 2027

Direct Fusion Drive (DFD) FD is a conceptual fusion-powered spacecraft engine. It should produce between 5-10 Newtons thrust per each MW of generated fusion power, with a specific impulse (Isp) of about 10,000-20,000 seconds. They would have 200 kW – 2MW available as electrical power. Approximately 35% of the fusion power goes to thrust, 30% …

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Magnet Enhanced Aerocapture Would Enable 39 Day Mars Crewed Flights

Direct comparisons were made between aerocapture and competing orbit insertion techniques based on state-of-the-art and advanced chemical propulsion, solar electric propulsion, and aerobraking. Aerocapture is enabling for three missions: delivery of spacecraft into elliptical orbits at Neptune and circular orbits at Jupiter or Saturn. Aerocapture significantly enhances five other missions by putting larger, and usually …

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Plan to Explore Proxima Centauri For Decades Usings Thousands of Chipsats

Hbar Technologies looks at using Breakthrough Starshot laser acceleration to reach Proxima Centauri and then use antimatter propulsion to decelerate. This would not be a flyby mission where a mission would pass through the solar system at 10% of the speed of light. A ten-kilogram spacecraft would have a decades-long exploration and scientific data return …

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Gene Edited Algae and Microbes to Make Fuel on Mars

NASA NIAC fund work to use bioorganisms to perform atmospheric in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). Utilizing 100% ISRU for propellant production, they aim to reduce the Entry Descent Landing (EDL) mass of a crewed mission to Mars by approximately 7 tons. This technology will enable long-term human presence on Mars and beyond because costly propellant deliveries …

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Lightweight Nuclear Electric Space Propulsion With Ten Times the Power

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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Kilometer Arrays from Chipsats

Davide Guzzetti, Auburn University, has NASA NIAC funding feasibility analysis of integrating an array of microchips with space satellite functions, or ChipSats, on a multifunctional shape memory polymer (SMP) bus that is capable of self-folding when exposed to solar radiation. This technology may enable the flat fabrication of kilometer-sized antenna arrays for radio astronomy that …

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