Category Archives: Asteroids

How Humanity is Laying the Foundations of a Spacefaring Civilization

Humanity’s journey to become a spacefaring civilization is not a sprint. It is not one giant leap. It is the greatest marathon in history. It requires perseverance and grit. A slow crawl against all odds to fight our way out of Earth’s gravity well and gain a foothold in space…and eventually on another world. The cosmos is a truly inhospitable place, and we will need all of our technology and willpower to survive as a species. You will not wake up one day and realize that humans colonized the solar system. This is aspiration unlike any other…one that can only be achieved by stacking experience and technological advancement on top risk-taking, huge investments, and cutting edge engineering. To get there we need to see profitable growth and big returns as private companies forge partnerships with governments to open new markets. State Space agencies must begin rethinking their strategic goals as a the commercial space economy begins to emerge. 2014 was a hallmark year for the space industry — one filled with both triumphs and tragedy in pursuit of the stars. There were more space launches in 2014 than in any year in the previous two decades. It was a year greater than the sum of its parts, and one that will go down in history as one of the foundation years for our spacefaring civilization. Humanity is finally developing the framework and infrastructure necessary to become make the impossible…possible. Big things are starting to happen and the public and the investment community is becoming engaged in a way we have not seen since the space race of the 20th century. Over the next three weeks, we will show you why you should be so excited. We will start with rockets:

READ ON > via FuelSpace.

The Deadalus Interstellar Spacecraft. Image Credit: Adrian Mann & Icarus intersellar.org If you do know what this website is...please, please check it out. 

The Deadalus Interstellar Spacecraft. Image Credit: Adrian Mann & Icarus intersellar.org

 

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NASA’s Dawn Captures First Image of Nearing Asteroid – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has obtained its first image of the giant asteroid Vesta, which will help fine-tune navigation during its approach. Dawn is expected to achieve orbit around Vesta on July 16, when the asteroid is about 188 million kilometers (117 million miles) from Earth.

processed image of the asteroid Vesta

The image from Dawn’s framing cameras was taken on May 3 when the spacecraft began its approach and was approximately 1.21 million kilometers (752,000 miles) from Vesta. The asteroid appears as a small, bright pearl against a background of stars. Vesta is also known as a protoplanet, because it is a large body that almost formed into a planet.

“After plying the seas of space for more than a billion miles, the Dawn team finally spotted its target,” said Carol Raymond, Dawn’s deputy principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “This first image hints of detailed portraits to come from Dawn’s upcoming visit.”

Vesta is 530 kilometers (330 miles) in diameter and the second most massive object in the asteroid belt. Ground- and space-based telescopes obtained images of the bright orb for about two centuries, but with little surface detail.

Mission managers expect Vesta’s gravity to capture Dawn in orbit on July 16. To enter orbit, Dawn must match the asteroid’s path around the sun, which requires very precise knowledge of the body’s location and speed. By analyzing where Vesta appears relative to stars in framing camera images, navigators will pin down its location and enable engineers to refine the spacecraft’s trajectory.

Dawn will start collecting science data in early August at an altitude of approximately 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) above the asteroid’s surface. As the spacecraft gets closer, it will snap multi-angle images, allowing scientists to produce topographic maps. Dawn will later orbit at approximately 200 kilometers (120 miles) to perform other measurements and obtain closer shots of parts of the surface. Dawn will remain in orbit around Vesta for one year. After another long cruise phase, Dawn will arrive in 2015 at its second destination, Ceres, an even more massive body in the asteroid belt.

via NASA’s Dawn Captures First Image of Nearing Asteroid – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Welcome to Carnival of Space #191 – The Planetary Society Blog | The Planetary Society

Welcome, everyone, to the Planetary Society Blog for the 191st Carnival of Space! Every week, a different webmaster or blogger hosts the Carnival, showcasing articles written on the topic of space. If you run a space/astronomy related blog, and would like to increase your readership, participate in the Carnival of Space. It’s a great way to get to know the community, and to help your writing reach a wider audience. If you’d like to submit an article or be a host for the carnival, just drop an email to info@universetoday.com.

The asteroid tugboat

You never know what bloggers are going to contribute to each Space Carnival, and sometimes when I participate I’ve been the only person contributing a planetary science post. So I was very pleasantly surprised this week to see a huge number of people posting on planetary topics, with a leavening of other fascinating material from cosmology to astronomy to aliens to private space exploration.

via Welcome to Carnival of Space #191 – The Planetary Society Blog | The Planetary Society.

Video: Sounds of a Comet Encounter – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Sounds of a Comet Encounter

During its Feb. 14, 2011, flyby of comet Tempel 1, an instrument on the protective shield on NASA’s Stardust spacecraft was pelted by dust particles and small rocks.

via Video: Sounds of a Comet Encounter – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Again Ice is Found Aboard Asteroid

For the Second Time, Ice Found Aboard Asteroid, Suggesting Water in Orbit Could Be Common « Brainicane

Back in April, two teams of researchers caused a stir when they discovered the first-ever evidence of water ice and organic molecules riding around the solar system aboard an asteroid. Today, the same group has announced that it has found ice and organics on a second, larger asteroid as well, a finding that suggests water ice and organic molecules may be common passengers aboard asteroids throughout the solar system.

Of course, this also raises interesting possibilities for future generations of deep space travel. You need two key things to send a manned mission deep into space: fuel and water. The hydrogen in water can be split to provide fuel and oxygen, and naturally the stuff sustains human and plant life. If water ice is indeed circling the solar system in huge volumes on the other side of Mars, the asteroid belt could become a deep space filling station for future manned mission to the farthest regions of the solar system.

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Asteroid Lutetia's Close-up

Asteroid Lutetia

Asteroid Lutetia has been revealed as a battered world of many craters. ESA’s Rosetta mission has returned the first close-up images of the asteroid showing it is most probably a primitive survivor from the violent birth of the Solar System.

Read more @ ESA.int

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