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100-Years Starship… What is ist?

Posted on 27 October 2010 by yizhan

Read in The Week today that  NASA Ames and the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)  just started a project called the ” Hundred Year Star ship ” .  With $1 million funding from DARPA and $100K This project is designed to take astronaut a one way trip to Mars or to another planets.  So what is this project really is? what do they mean by the term “one way trip” .  Evan Dashevsky at GearLog mention that space is “annoyingly, impractically huge” and it will took a long time for us to travel, assuming that the nearest planet to earth is 24 million miles away.   ” Also, it will cost a lot less, since the major expense of any plan to travel to other worlds is bringing the astronauts home, say geologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch and physicist Paul Davies in the Journal of Cosmology.

Now, who would volunteer for this kind of task?  Rebecca Boyle in Popular Science, noted that price tag does not include the inestimable cost of saying goodbye forever,”  “It would really be little different from the first white settlers of the North American continent, who left Europe with little expectation of return,” says Davies.

NASA is looking at electric and ground-based microwave thermal propulsion systems to boost the ship into space, rather than using heavy rocket fuel.  This will cost less in achieving this mission.

“Within a few years we will see the first true prototype of a spaceship that will take us between worlds,” he says. “I think we’ll be on the moons of Mars by 2030 or so.”

Microwave thermal propulsion

Microwave thermal propulsion (Kevin Parkin)

The microwave thermal thruster using beamed propulsion is an excellent idea,” said Dr. Narayanan M. Komerath, a professor at Georgia Tech College of Engineering and a NASA Institute of Advanced Concepts Fellow. “[Kevin Parkin] picks the 140 GHz window, which apparently offers strong advantages in absorption by the materials that he uses in the propulsion system.

Well I think they should also try this technology in commercial  flight. It would be cheaper and will benefits us all including our environment. Less carbon emission means less pollution…. What do you think?

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Latest Image Of The Sun

Posted on 22 April 2010 by yizhan

Solar Dynamics Observatory that was lunched by NASA last Feb. 11, 2010 just sent an early image of the sun’s activities, this latest technology saids to give capabilities for researchers and scientist to better understand the sun’s dynamic processes.

Some of the image that was sent show the latest activities, you can see a detailed view of a solar flare emitted by the sun. Richard Fisher, Director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington said, ” These initial image show a dynamic sun that i had never seen in more than 40 years of solar research. ” SDO will change our understanding of the sun and its processes, which affects our lives and society. This mission will have a huge impact on science, similar to the impact of the Hubble Space Telescope on modern astrophysics.

Image Courtesy of NASA

SDO was lunched last Feb. 11, 2010, it is said to be the latest and most advance spacecraft that was design to study then sun. it will examine the sun’s activities and its magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of its effect to planet Earth’s climate and atmospheric chemistry . One capability of the SDO is that it can provide image that is more clear than HD TV.

Image Courtesy of NASA


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