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11
votes
1answer
797 views

The upcoming landing of Chang'e 3 on the Moon - Is there detailed information about it anywhere?

China is supposed to land a rover on the Moon soon (2013). This will be the first landing on the Moon from any nation in quiet a few decades - if none of the Google-Lunar-X-Price teams is faster, of ...
8
votes
3answers
631 views

Does NASA have a space tug project to bring a habitable module to the ISS?

The habitable modules of US sector of the ISS didn't have any propulsion systems to rendezvous the ISS by themselves. They were intended to be brought there by the Space Shuttle. Most of the Russian ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Techniques to reduce radio interference or noise

As a member of a pulsar search team that works through the Pulsar Search Collaboratory, I've noticed that many data plots (except the tests) are radio frequency interference (RFI) or noise. As a ...
25
votes
5answers
27k views

What materials provide the best protection from cosmic radiation?

For long-distance manned missions, such as a mission to Mars, we are inevitably going to have to shield astronauts from cosmic radiation, especially in the event of a solar flare or SEP. What ...
7
votes
1answer
658 views

Techniques for digital superluminal communication

Considering photons only travel at the speed of light (and cannot travel faster), our main technique of digital communication (at least I believe, but I could be wrong) is off the table. What ...
1
vote
0answers
89 views

What are the barriers to partial nonrocket spacelaunch? [closed]

What technological and financial barriers prevent proposals for partial nonrocket spacelaunch such as magnetic levitation trains from becoming a reality? These systems, if created, could ...
8
votes
3answers
729 views

What advances are being made to shield astronauts from peaks in radiation?

One potential issue that will be faced with long, manned, space exploration will be exposure to fluctuating radiation levels. The current method of safety seems to be launching at times when ...
17
votes
1answer
7k views

Why did the Russians never land on the Moon?

During space race, the Russians were leading the game until the Gemini program (Gemini 6/7 rendezvous was the overtaking moment in my opinion). I do not know of any Soviet claim similar to Kennedy's ...
51
votes
7answers
8k views

Can you tack against the sun using a solar sail?

Solar sails are a great, inexpensive way to move out from the sun, if you’re not in a hurry. Ocean going ships are able to tack against the wind, and to move up wind. Could a solar sail gain inbound (...
11
votes
1answer
278 views

How can I shield against micro-meteors?

It is well known that micro meteorites, space junk, and other small objects can put a dent (Or rip through) in a spacecraft quite effectively. How can I protect people, sensitive electronics, and ...
16
votes
3answers
363 views

Are there any existing technologies, or research, that investigate the sustainable production of food for manned exploration trips?

With NASA planning to eventually get people to Mars, and with privately funded attempts such as Mars-One planning to do the same, and relatively soon, there is the issue of having to feed anyone you ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Can multiple space telescopes be grouped together to explore the space

On Earth one can group multiple telescopes to observe a specific region. They can be moved around and focus different areas. Also they give a higher resolution of the area they observe. Would this be ...
12
votes
1answer
5k views

What are the most promising non chemical rocket space launch approaches?

I read this essay by Neal Stephenson recently, which makes the case that, had we not been locked-into chemical rocket technology through years of investments, other approaches might have been more ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

How do spacecraft measure onboard gravity?

How do spacecraft measure onboard (micro)gravity at any given point in time (especially when subject to the gravitational fields of multiple bodies)? I'm guessing that rudimentary accelerometers won't ...
34
votes
3answers
24k views

When will we have the technology to directly observe an exoplanet with significant clarity?

Are there currently any projects underway to develop a telescope which will have the ability to directly observe an exoplanet with any clarity? I don't mean blurry (yet impressive) images like this ...
15
votes
2answers
714 views

What are the constraints for a successful robotic mission to Europa?

Of all the destinations within our solar system, the one that intrigues me the most is Europa. Every location has its own merits and beauty, but I'm most optimistic about finding life on Europa. It's ...
16
votes
2answers
5k views

How often must the ISS desaturate its control moment gyros?

I understand ISS uses control moment gyros as the primary attitude control system. As the article states, CMGs eventually get "saturated", a state in which they can no longer absorb momentum. This can ...
12
votes
1answer
912 views

Was quarantine continued after Apollo 11?

After returning from the Apollo 11 mission, astronauts were placed in quarantine for 18 days (July 24 - August 10, 1969).              &...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

What data compression algorithms have been successfully used in spacecraft?

Scientific spacecraft can generate very large amounts of data. However, both the storage available onboard the spacecraft and the bandwidth available to transmit the data to ground stations are ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Do spaceships carry plants? If not, why?

Has there ever been an experiment were a plant was brought on board? I would think that if a plant was able to go through normal cycles of photosynthesis, it would be helpful to bring a plant on board ...
27
votes
4answers
18k views

What time zone is used on ISS to define a day?

What time zone is used on ISS to define when a day starts? Is it the same as mission control? Do Russian cosmonauts use a different time zone respect to European and American astronauts?
17
votes
4answers
5k views

Decay of a corpse in space?

This is not nice perspective, but eventually it will happen. An astronaut falls out of spaceship because of damage caused by collision with other object, or because of suit decompression. The fluids ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

International regulations about littering in space?

Are there any international regulations about littering in space? What, except from general social norms, would prevent private operator from discarding waste into deep space? And, in case of damage ...
15
votes
2answers
564 views

Under what circumstances would an object falling out of spacecraft start orbiting that spacecraft?

In one of the short stories of Stanislaw Lem the main character, Ijon Tichy, accidentally drops off a piece of pork out of his spaceship, and this pork becomes a satellite of the spaceship, causing ...
10
votes
2answers
460 views

Are there any experiments in progress designed to explore the interiors of gas giants like Jupiter or Saturn?

I know that the high atmospheric pressure on these planets make a unique challenge to learn about the planets interiors. Are there any active projects designed to learn more about the interior of the ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

What power source options provide reliable and sustainable power generation for a Martian Colony

In order to maintain a Colony on Mars, we will need to be able to provide consistent, safe, and sustainable power on the planet. The extremely cold temperature means that the need to maintain ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Is artificial gravity feasible in manned long-term space exploration?

We know that it is possible for humans to stay physically in shape during long term space missions (see for example Valeri Polyakov who stayed on Mir for more than 14 months for one trip). However, ...
14
votes
6answers
8k views

What maximum speeds can be expected from meteorites?

Yes, I know, c is the limit, but let's say we want to build a shelter that will be meterorite-impact-proof, on the Moon, or some asteroid or anywhere without the atmosphere. We can spot anything ...
36
votes
3answers
8k views

Why should the James Webb Space telescope stay in the unstable L2?

We all know that James Webb Space telescope is planned to be launched in 2018. It has been decided that the orbit of JWST will be elliptical around the Lagrange point L2, which has been declared as ...
36
votes
1answer
16k views

What would the size and rotation of a station need to be to produce 1g gravity from head to toe?

A structure with a radius of 224m rotating at 2 rotations per minute will generate 1g of force on the inside (spincalc). It will generate that force on the feet, but as you travel up the body the ...
15
votes
1answer
358 views

Why so few aerobot missions?

In 1996-1997, I became extremely enthusiastic about the space exploration prospects for aerobot technology. There seem to be at least 10 celestial bodies suitable for aerobot deployments: Venus, ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

What would the Δv cost of bringing the space shuttle external tank to orbit be?

There was an independent proposal that the space shuttle external tank could have been lifted all the way to orbit, and then used as a structural material in space stations. In terms of propellant ...
33
votes
3answers
3k views

Could a partial space elevator be practical and useful?

Would it be technologically and economically practical to build and operate a space elevator that only provided transport between lower and higher orbital paths? Such a mechanism would only avoid some ...
52
votes
9answers
5k views

Why are spacecraft computers obsolete at launch?

One might think that spacecraft would be on the cutting edge of technology. However, when looking over details of spacecraft, it seems their computer systems are often very much behind the times. ...
10
votes
2answers
643 views

Are there enough oxygen molecules in space that they could be compressed into breathable oxygen?

There is stuff floating around in space - everything from asteroids to planets to molecules. I was thinking - would it be possible to harvest stray oxygen molecules, compress them, and get breathable ...
9
votes
1answer
249 views

Have Mercury/Gemini/Apollo produced any unmanned descendants?

It is well known that Russian manned spacecrafts gave birth to multiple unmanned satellite projects (such as Bion spacecrafts, for example). Have Mercury/Gemini/Apollo spacecrafts or their direct ...
10
votes
1answer
727 views

Does ISS perform any commercial operations?

Other than accepting space tourists, that is. I mean, does the ISS perform any commissioned experiments for private-owned entities, manufacture products that require space conditions, produce ...
38
votes
3answers
15k views

Why decommission the ISS?

What concerns, besides orbit decay and continued cost of operation (and potentially, a critical failure) are the motivations behind decommissioning the ISS by 2020? I mean, I'm fairly sure it would be ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

How deep is the force well of L4 and L5 Lagrangian Points of Earth-Sun set?

The Lagrangian Points are points in space, where the combination of gravitational pull of a set of two bodies and the centripetal force of orbiting one of them add up to zero. The special property of $...
21
votes
4answers
5k views

What's the (particle) density of the asteroid belt?

Obviously the asteroid belt is pretty sparsly populated. But how sparsly exactly? What is the state of knowledge regarding how many particles are there in a given size bracket and a volume, what ...
12
votes
2answers
793 views

How could I travel to space as an ordinary citizen?

I have heard about people paying lots of money to become Russian cosmonauts, essentially space tourists. Is it still possible to 'buy your way' into space? What sort of training would be required ...
26
votes
1answer
9k views

Which artificial satellites in lunar orbit are currently active?

Most of artificial satellites of the Moon has depleted their batteries, lost communication, been deorbited or impacted the surface after orbital decay. The list doesn't exactly make it clear which ...
21
votes
3answers
881 views

Does long-term residence on the ISS affect eyesight?

Life on a space station is very confined. For months on end, astronauts are kept in a structure that's about the size of a football field on the outside and much smaller on the inside. The nearest ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How is equipment sterilized for space missions?

This refers to the sterilization of space exploring tools like rovers and probes. It is important to not send out rovers that contain any bacteria, because another rover, from another mission, could ...
17
votes
1answer
561 views

Are Lagrange points stable over a long period of time?

Do Lagrange points ever move or are they on the same spot as long as the solar system exists in it's current form with all it's planets in its current order?. They could move due to orbital objects ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Who owns the moon?

I see two parallels to the forthcoming lunar exploration and human colonisation: The influx of Europeans to America in the 17th Century. The division of, and disputes about, ownership of Antarctica. ...
9
votes
3answers
372 views

What is the current state of affairs concerning space telescopes?

With the Hubble telescope to be decommissioned any time now, and the James Webb Space Telescope at least in 2018 and unlikely to be active while Hubble still remains, will there be a gap when we have ...
13
votes
2answers
768 views

What level of protection is required for spacewalkers?

If you're going on a space walk, you need to be shielded from cosmic rays, temperature, and possibly other issues. What components of cosmic rays are dangerous? What sort of protection is used to ...
11
votes
2answers
214 views

What shielding would be required to use commercial components in lunar exploration?

The processing power in current exploration rovers like the MER's RAD6000 (20Mhz) and Curiosity's RAD750 (200Mhz) is far below anything you would find in any mobile phone today. As far as I understand ...
18
votes
6answers
5k views

Methods for propulsion other than rockets for leaving Earth's atmosphere?

Due to the large amount of energy required, the standard method for leaving the Earth's atmosphere is rocket propulsion. Is there any other methods in development that don't involve rockets? E.g. ...

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