SESE is training the next generation of explorers and citizen scientists. We engage the minds of our students, and by making our research available to all, we also engage the minds of our community. Through a variety of informal science education and public outreach (E/PO) activities, field trips, teacher workshops, and partnerships with local schools, we are increasing the science literacy of our community.
Have a science-related question? Visit our Ask SESE page!
For school groups, we offer a K-12 field trip experience that includes a variety of science-themed activities and a 3-D astronomy show.
Those visitors interested in seeing our various labs and facilities should schedule a tour as many of our facilities have limits on how many visitors can be accommodated. Our new building ISTB 4 offers several interactive exhibits on the first two floors which are open during normal business hours.
READ MORE> via Field trips, events and tours | School of Earth and Space Exploration.
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.
In 1988 I wrote an article “Airbreathers To Orbit: The Best Way To Go!”, which presented a host of arguments in favor of air-breathing launchers, most of which are still valid. In 1988, an air-breathing launcher was conceived of by many as a large supersonic airplane that would drop the orbiting part of the vehicle off, just like the White Knight Two drops the SpaceShipTwo during a test flight. Today, no true air-breathing spaceplanes or reusable boosters yet exist, but there is now renewed interest in air-breathing technology. At the same time, remarkable launch cost reductions in more conventional boosters are imminent due to the efforts of SpaceX and other firms. It is beneficial to everyone to explore alternate technological paths, since no one can predict which paths will pan out and produce an economical and reliable vehicle. In addition, the impending launch cost competition will stimulate new ways of thinking in the industry worldwide. What is happening now in the air-breathing launcher field and what strategies should companies and countries pursue in the face of these diverging space launch paths?
National Space Society Group News | LinkedIn.�
See the daring video of Virgin Galactics SpaceShipTwo as test pilots demonstrate the crafts novel “feathering” system to maintain stability during re-entry while flying high above the Mojave Desert. Credit: Virgin Galactic
via Virgin Galactics SpaceShipTwo Passes Re-Entry System Test | Space.com.
What if astronauts could take an express voyage to Mars—one that would last not two-and-a-half years but just a few weeks? A new rocket called VASIMR, powered by a million-degree plasma instead of traditional chemicals, could be the answer NASA is looking for—if only its designers could keep the super-hot engine from melting under its own heat.
via NOVA | Plasma Rockets.
Will humanity one day boldly go… somewhere? Credit: Paramount.
The idea for a 100-year starship has been tossed around recently, and now DARPA the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has put out a Request for Information (RFI) looking for ideas about how a long-term human mission to boldly go out to the stars could possibly happen. It’s been estimated that such a mission would cost over $10 billion, and the idea has gotten $100,000 from NASA and $ 1 million from DARPA – which means that as of now it is just that, an idea.
Pete Worden, the Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center announced the idea last fall, and it received plenty of coverage, but not much publicized research on how the idea could possibly come to fruition. Worden optimistically said he expected to see the first prototype of a new propulsion system within the next few years, but that seem unlikely given NASA’s frozen budget and a Congress that doesn’t seem very forward-looking in their vision for what NASA should be doing. But perhaps DARPA’s input could have some leverage.
There would be several technological obstacles to overcome, such as how to create an artificial gravity so that those aboard the ship wouldn’t experience the muscle and bone loss that astronauts on the ISS have after just six months in space. Then there’s how to manufacture food, and create other things the crew might need while they are out in the middle of nowhere. Those are just a few examples of what would need to be dealt with.
National Space Society Group News | LinkedIn.
After 30 years of development, the UK and European space agencies have given a go for the Skylon Spaceplane.
The Skylon, which is being developed at the Oxfordshire-based Reaction Engines in the UK, is an unpiloted and reusable spacecraft that can launch into Low Earth Orbit after taking off from a conventional runway.
Looking like something out of Star Wars, Skylon is a self contained, single stage, all in one reusable space vehicle. There are no expensive booster rockets, external fuel tanks or huge launch facilities needed.
The vehicle’s hybrid SABRE engines use liquid hydrogen combined with oxygen from the atmosphere at altitudes up to 26km and speeds of up to Mach 5, before switching over to on-board fuel for the final rocket powered stage of ascent into low Earth orbit.
via UK and European Space Agencies Give a Go For Skylon Spaceplane.