Tag: European Space Agency

Moving to the Moon – What Will the First Extraterrestrial City Look Like?

Article by Steve Cowan                                  December 1, 2020                                (freenews.live)

• The Chinese probe “Chang’e-5” has successfully collected lunar rock and soil samples from the Moon, and is on its way back to Earth. This feat marks another stage in China’s ultimate plan to establish a permanent base on the Moon. Russia’s Roscosmos and NASA are also planning “lunar cities”.

• The last time humans were on the Moon was on December 14, 1972 when American astronaut Eugene Cernan walked on the lunar surface. In the coming years, we will inevitably witness a substantial increase in the Moon’s active development. However, unlike in the past, space agencies find it too expensive to launch heavy rockets whenever they want to visit the Moon. Today’s space programs will be more inclined to create permanent bases both in the Moon’s orbit and on the lunar surface.

• The Moon is attractive for several reasons. First, as an outpost for flights to other planets in the solar system. Secondly, as a source of minerals – primarily helium-3 which is used to produce thermonuclear fuel. Third, scientists plan to place a radio telescope on the Moon’s far side, protected from Earth’s interference. Using this telescope, scientists hope to discover the ‘cosmic microwave background’ allowing them to reconstruct the events of the universe during the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang. Fourth, and perhaps the most important benefit of establishing a Moon base, will be to test experimental technologies that will assist human migration to other planets in the future.

• While the 1967 Outer Space Treaty does not specifically regulate the use of space resources, an unratified December 1979 UN General Assembly Agreement does attempt to address the activities of states on the Moon and other celestial bodies. However, on April 6, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order approving the commercial development of resources by the US on the Moon and other planets and asteroids of the solar system.

• The first problem with everyone wanting to colonize the Moon is not about science, but the legal and commercial aspects of everyone aiming to use the same locations and resources at the South Pole of the Moon (although it would be technically easier to make shuttle flights to and from an orbital space station). The South Polar Region is ideal because it contains relatively large “cold traps” where permanently shaded areas hold water ice which is essential for everything from drinking and growing food, to obtaining oxygen for breathing and hydrogen for rocket fuel. Also, it is never dark at the South Pole so you can continuously recharge solar panels. On the rest of the Moon’s surface, the night lasts for two weeks.

• Moon base developers suggest that mirrors can be fixed on craters’ edges and direct sunlight to shaded areas. The heated ice will turn into steam, which will go through a pipeline to an electrolysis plant where it is split into hydrogen and oxygen. Experts estimate that there are up to ten billion tons of ice in the cold traps near the South Pole. The water and oxygen needed to sustain a base with only four people would require several tens of tons of water per year.

• Ice can also be found in miniature cold traps, up to a centimeter in diameter, mostly in the circumpolar regions. Up to forty thousand square kilometers of the lunar surface could be covered in water ice. More recently, the SOFIA stratospheric Observatory’s infrared telescope detected signs of molecular water ice filling the voids between the grains of minerals in the lunar soil. If this ice could be harvested, the list of places to build a lunar base would expand significantly.

• The composition of lunar soil is 43 percent oxygen. By combining oxygen with hydrogen taken from other sources or delivered from Earth, you can produce water. For Moon dust to decompose in order to extract the oxygen, it needs to be heated up 900 degrees Celsius (1652 degrees Fahrenheit) which takes a lot of energy. Scientists suggest using giant mirrors that focus sunlight on the shell of a small reactor. Still, it would take years for a lunar facility to generate enough water fuel to send just one Apollo-sized spacecraft into lunar orbit.

• Despite all the difficulties, the European Space Agency (ESA) has already allocated funds to the British company, Metalysis, to finance the extraction of oxygen from lunar regolith. The company, along with scientists from the University of Glasgow, said that they successfully extracted 96 percent of oxygen from artificial lunar soil in experiments on Earth, turning the rest into useful metal powders.

• Unlike the Earth, the Moon does not have an atmosphere and a magnetic field. So structures in lunar bases must protect human inhabitants from cosmic rays, solar radiation, and a stream of meteorites. Shelters could be covered with a multi-meter layer of lunar soil, or the base could be located within a canyon or cave. Scientists have proposed a lava tunnel under the Marius Hills in the central part of the Ocean of Storms.

• The lunar base buildings themselves could be built using 3D printing from regolith particles, or with bricks made by melting regolith using a focusing solar reflector. Researchers calculate it would take three years to manufacture enough regolith bricks to build a two thousand square meter structure. Once built, the base could use a Sun reflector to illuminate residential premises and greenhouses. As part of a closed ecosystem, greenhouse plants would process organic waste and convert carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen. Astronauts on the International Space Station are already hydroponically growing and eating leafy green vegetables on board the station.

 

Yesterday, the lander of the Chinese probe “Chang’e-5” successfully separated from the orbital module and started landing on the Moon. It must collect and deliver samples of lunar soil to Earth. This is the next stage of an ambitious program, the ultimate goal of which is a permanent base on the satellite. Roscosmos and NASA are also planning “lunar cities.” About what will be the first human settlement outside of our planet is in the material.

  Apollo 17’s Eugene Cernan

To Leave, To Return

The last time humans landed on the Moon was 48 years ago. Then, on December 14, 1972, American astronaut Eugene Cernan, after walking on the lunar surface, said: “We are leaving as we came, and with God’s help, we will return.”

Over the past few years, several countries have declared their readiness to resume lunar programs. The Moon is attractive for several reasons. First, as an Outpost for flights to other planets in the Solar system-it is easier to start from it than from Earth.

Secondly, as a source of minerals-primarily helium-3: it can be used to produce thermonuclear fuel.

Third, on the Moon’s far side, scientists plan to place a radio telescope protected from earth’s interference. And with its help, they discover the cosmic microwave background, which they hope to reconstruct the events of the “dark ages” of the Universe-the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang.

And last, perhaps most important, the Moon’s base should become an experimental testing ground for testing technologies for human migration to other planets.

Therefore, in the coming years, we will inevitably witness the Earth’s satellite’s active development. But it is too expensive to send heavy missiles there every time. Today, no space agency will finance the sending of crews, as in the Apollo program. Everyone is inclined to create permanent bases — first in the Moon’s orbit and then on its surface. But this is not an easy task.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

Europe’s Space Agency is Spending $103 Million to Remove Space Junk

Article by George Dvorsky                                    November 30, 2020                                       (gizmodo.com)

• The time has come for us to clean up our mess. So the European Space Agency has hired Swiss startup ClearSpace to remove the first item of space debris in 2025 for $103 million. More importantly, it will herald the beginning of an entirely new space industry of removing the 22,300 (at last count) pieces of debris currently in low earth orbit. The presence of useless machine parts traveling at up to 17,400 miles per hour creates a dangerous environment for satellites, astronauts, and possibly even the International Space Station.

• This particular useless piece of debris is the 247-pound Vega Secondary Payload Adapter (or Vespa), which has been circling in low earth orbit since 2013.

• The ClearSpace mission will test the concept of a “conical net” that will engulf the Vespa payload adapter (as pictured above). This will require unimaginable precision. Slight miscalculations could make the target object bounce out before the net can close or even cause a serious collision. With its cargo secured, the ClearSpace spacecraft will simply fall into Earth’s atmosphere and burn up on re-entry. Several other companies are developing their own concepts. RemoveDEBRIS, for example, uses a harpoon to snatch wayward objects in orbit. Only time will tell which strategy works best. Ultimately, ESA is hoping to launch “a new commercial sector in space.”

• ClearSpace is a spin-off of the commercial provider, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, and it will seek the help of partners in Germany, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, and several other European countries.

 

The European Space Agency has signed a historic deal with Swiss startup ClearSpace to remove a single item of space debris in 2025. The $103 million price tag is steep, but this mission—involving an orbiting, mouth-like net—could herald the beginning of an entirely new space industry.

The new contract, announced late last week, is unique in that the mission will involve “the first removal of an item of space debris from orbit,” according to ESA. ClearSpace, a spin-off of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), is the commercial provider for this mission, and it will seek the help of partners in Germany, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, and several other European countries.

The target in question is the Vega Secondary Payload Adapter (or Vespa), which has been circling in low Earth orbit (LEO) since 2013. This 247-pound (112-kilogram) payload adapter successfully dispatched a Proba-V satellite to space, but, like so many other items in LEO, it currently serves no purpose, presenting a potential hazard to functioning satellites and possibly even the International Space Station.

€86 million (USD $103 million) seems like an awful lot of money to spend on the removal of a single item of space debris, but ESA is making an important investment. The technology required for the ClearSpace-1 mission, in which a spacecraft will “rendezvous, capture, and bring down” the Vespa payload adapter, will likely be leveraged in similar future missions (assuming this particular strategy will work). Ultimately, ESA is hoping to launch “a new commercial sector in space.”

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

Russian Cosmonauts On How to Greet Extraterrestrials

September 24, 2020                                (sputniknews.com)

• On September 24th, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Kud-Sverchkov spoke at a press conference organized by the government news agency, Rossiya Segodnya. Flight engineer Kud-Sverchkov will join mission commander Sergei Ryzhikov and NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins in the ‘Expedition 64’ (all pictured above) to the International Space Station in October. This will be Kud-Sverchkov’s first flight to space.

• Russian scientists join with those from other countries in the search for extraterrestrial life, making plans to launch multiple new scientific missions to the Moon, Mars and Venus, and, earlier this year, announcing the construction of a high-powered telescope that can be used to search for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations transmitted in the optical spectrum.

• In 2012, veteran cosmonaut Gennady Padalka told Chinese media that “detailed instructions” had been created at the United Nations “in case of first contact” with extraterrestrial beings. He added at the time that “sooner or later we will meet our like-minded brothers” from another planet.

• However, Kud-Sverchkov sats that Russian cosmonauts have not been given any special instructions when it comes to greeting aliens, but would try to do so in a diplomatic matter. “I think that when meeting intelligence extraterrestrial life, we will exhibit friendliness, goodwill and consideration, just as we do when meeting intelligent and unintelligent life on Earth,” the cosmonaut said.

• The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 14th upon a Soyuz-2.1 ‘carrier rocket’. The spacecraft expected to reach the ISS in a record 3 hours, 20 minutes. The mission will last until April 2021, during which the team will activate the Bartolomeo scientific platform outside the European Space Agency’s Columbus lab module. Ryzhikov, Kud-Sverchkov and Rubins will be joined by three more NASA astronauts and a Japanese astronaut, who will make their way to the ISS in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule shortly after the Soyuz craft’s arrival.

• A cosmonaut doll knitted by Kud-Sverchkov’s wife will become the expedition’s mascot, named Yuri after Yuri Gagarin, the first human being in space. Mission commander Ryzhikov told reporters that he would take with him a miniaturized set of Gospels, as well as a handful of Russian soil and stones from Mount Tabor, which Christians believe was the site of the transfiguration of Jesus following his resurrection.

• NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins said she plans to collect thousands of microbial samples inside the space station, and revealed that she plans to vote in the US presidential election from aboard the ISS.

 

    Sergei Kud-Sverchkov

As one of the world’s major space powers, Russia has done its part helping humanity search for extraterrestrial life,

                      Kathleen Rubins

recently beginning the construction of a powerful telescope capable of searching for signals coming from distant alien civilisations.

Russian cosmonauts have not been given any special instructions when it comes to greeting aliens, but would try to do so in a diplomatic matter, cosmonaut Sergei Kud-Sverchkov has said.

“I think that when meeting intelligence extraterrestrial life, we will exhibit friendliness, goodwill and consideration, just as we do when meeting intelligent and unintelligent life on Earth,” the cosmonaut said, speaking at a press conference organized by Rossiya Segodnya, on Thursday.

Kud-Sverchkov will join mission commander Sergei Ryzhikov in Expedition 64 to the International Space Station in

              Sergei Ryzhikov

October as a flight engineer. This will be his first flight to space.
The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft will carry the two Russian cosmonauts and NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins to the ISS aboard a Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 14,

        Yuri Gagarin

with the spacecraft expected to reach its destination in a record 3 hours, 20 minutes.

Kud-Sverchkov says a knitted cosmonaut doll named Yuri will become the mascot for Expedition 64, with the doll knitted by his wife, and named after Yuri Gagarin, the first human being in space.

Mission commander Ryzhikov told reporters that he would take with him a miniaturized Gospels, as well as a handful of Russian soil and stones from Mount Tabor, which Christians believe was the site of the transfiguration of Jesus following his resurrection.

For her part, NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins said her plans include work collecting thousands of microbial samples inside the space station, and revealed that she plans to vote in the US presidential election from aboard the ISS.

 

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

Copyright © 2019 Exopolitics Institute News Service. All Rights Reserved.