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16 votes
4 answers
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
3 answers
375 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 ...
  • 52.9k
13 votes
2 answers
776 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 ...
  • 1,633
11 votes
2 answers
224 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 ...
  • 483
18 votes
6 answers
6k 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. ...
  • 1,095
3 votes
2 answers
499 views

What are the hurdles we face in deep space exploration? [closed]

I think the Radiation beyond earth will be the greatest challenge for space exploration. what are other factors we face in this area?
  • 351
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

What would be the most cost effective camera solution for CubeSat satellite [closed]

Commercial cubesat cameras are a bit expensive: http://www.cubesatshop.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=63&category_id=16&option=com_virtuemart&...
6 votes
1 answer
144 views

What would an effective means be of protecting a habitat from UV-C radiation?

We are lucky on Earth, the ozone layer protects us from UV-C by absorbing wavelengths below about 280nm. However, the same can not be said for in space and on places like Luna and Mars. I would ...
user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is there an ISS replacement planned?

Are there plans for another space station when the ISS is deorbited or de-manned? What are the details of these plans, if any? Bonus: How would a space station be built without the Space Shuttle?
user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is it possible to prevent muscular atrophy in microgravity with proper exercises?

Is it possible to prevent muscular atrophy in microgravity (space station, spacecraft etc.) by proper exercises? Urban dwellers here on Earth can train/develop arm muscles to the equivalent of their ...
27 votes
2 answers
3k views

At what height does it become international territory / outer space, instead of state-controlled air territory?

According to International Law, to what altitude does the jurisdiction of a state extend? Is there a definite limit mandated either through treaties or court judgements? After reaching that limit, ...
17 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is current state-of-the-art additive manufacturing (aka 3D printing) good enough to build parts out of Moon/Mars dust?

Additive manufacturing is currently being proposed as a way to greatly decrease the cost of establishing a permanent (robotic or human) presence on the Moon or Mars by sending only 3D printers to ...
8 votes
1 answer
729 views

What are the health risks facing humans on long-term space flights?

There are lots of engineering challenges associated with long-term space flight. Many of these are driven by the humans on board the vehicles -- specifically the mitigations required to control ...
  • 10k
36 votes
5 answers
27k views

Which planet or moon would be most feasible to terraform? [closed]

In terms of practicality, which of the planets proposed for terraforming would require the least resources to make fully habitable? In other words, which would be the most practical given technology ...
  • 2,907
13 votes
1 answer
10k views

What material properties would be necessary to shield a lander from the environment of the Venusian surface?

On March 1, 1982, the Venera 13 lander survived for 127 minutes in an environment with a temperature of 457 °C (855 °F) and a pressure of 89 Earth atmospheres (9.0 MPa). This says nothing of the ...
12 votes
1 answer
715 views

What engineering challenges would be posed by a manned mission to Ceres?

I have read a lot of literature concerning manned missions to the Moon, Mars, and the Jovian moons. Something I have not heard much about, despite it's relative distance and interesting composition, ...
20 votes
1 answer
3k views

At what approximate distance will the New Horizons spacecraft resolve Pluto better than the Hubble Space Telescope?

As of July 2013, the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) can resolve Pluto and Charon as separate objects. From what I've read, it will still be some time until the spacecraft is ...
18 votes
1 answer
503 views

How will Curiosity manage its power when its nuclear power starts to run low?

As we've already determined, Curiosity should last about 14 years on its nuclear power. What happens near that timeframe? Will NASA start to manage the rover's use of power by shutting down unused ...
  • 17.8k
24 votes
1 answer
2k views

What problems led to the use of the Sky Crane system used by Curiosity?

We all know about the fancy 'sky crane' system used on NASA's Curiosity rover. The rockets slow the descent to 1 ½ mph and power a sideways parry to avoid the faster falling chute. As Sky Crane ...
  • 17.8k
17 votes
1 answer
864 views

What was the space-worthiness determination procedure for STS-1?

I am specifically interested in on-ground tests that were conducted after the full shuttle was pieced together (orbiter, tank, engine, boosters) for the first time (before STS-1). Of course the ...
user avatar
35 votes
3 answers
23k views

About how long will Curiosity last on its nuclear power?

Curiosity, we know, has no little nuclear reactor, it has a RTG. Great! But how long will it last? For how many years will our little 1-ton friend be roaming around another planet?
  • 17.8k
16 votes
3 answers
2k views

What types of items are prohibited on space missions?

What items are not allowed to be brought aboard space exploration missions? What can't be brought back from a space mission (without prior authorization)? Why were these regulations originally put ...
  • 571
12 votes
2 answers
943 views

How do people drink from cups in Space?

How do people drink from cups (an activity which heavily relies on the presence of gravity) in space? I know they could try to wait for the liquid to 'split up' and try to catch a chunk, but is there ...
  • 1,127
17 votes
3 answers
4k views

Would wearing heavy clothing be enough to solve the health effects of reduced gravity on other planets?

One of the most often cited drawbacks to settlement of other planets and satellites is the negative health effects of reduced gravity. Among the most severe of these is loss of bone density, reduced ...
  • 2,907
7 votes
6 answers
2k views

What are the effects of body building on heavy planets?

This answer suggests that outer planets are very heavy and that lifting things on it is very energy expensive. If someone was to workout on a planet that is considered 'heavy' (whatever that means) ...
17 votes
2 answers
915 views

What specifically makes launching objects from Earth into space expensive?

I always wondered about this. Is it because the fuel is too costly? Because the equipment will be trashed?
  • 307
20 votes
2 answers
10k views

How would an astronaut's hand react to a hard vacuum?

What would happen if an astronaut took his/her glove off in space but had the rest of their body completely sealed off? My guess is that the hand would start to boil or freeze depending on location.
14 votes
2 answers
423 views

What, if any, plans have been made for handling events like a geomagnetic reversal?

Although a substantial changes in the Earth's magnetic field (e.g., as associated with a geomagnetic reversal where the magnetic field strength may be reduced to 5% of the current strength) are rare ...
12 votes
2 answers
586 views

What is the status of concentrated solar energy (CSE) in space exploration?

The Cassini Environmental Impact Statement, Chapter 2 (page 53–54) describes the status of Concentrated Solar Energy in space: A 1981 conceptual study of the system impacts of using a concentrated ...
  • 11.2k
15 votes
5 answers
2k views

Are Mercury/Apollo/Gemini capsules visible in any museum?

Is it possible to visit some of the famous American capsules in any museum?
user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
353 views

Have there been any official feasability studies into descending balloons into outer planetary atmospheres?

The Vega program included a balloon floating in the Venus atmosphere. It seems no more balloons have been used on other planets since then. The Wikipedia article on Aerobots mentions JPL feasibility ...
  • 11.2k
13 votes
2 answers
24k views

"Failure is not an option" is really a quote of flight director Gene Kranz?

"Failure is not an option" is attributed to Gene Kranz, flight director of Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle missions. In the movie Apollo 13, Ed Harris says it but IMDB trivia states that it was not ...
user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is the Nudelman-Rikhter gun installed on Zvezda module?

By having a gun on board, one can conduct military kinds of experiments. Exploring armoring approaches for spacecraft, warning systems for the personnel, orbital ballistic studies for the multi-body ...
user avatar
24 votes
4 answers
1k views

Could any life from Earth survive in Enceladus' oceans?

Enceladus, the sixth-largest moon of Saturn, is probably unique in being the only body in our solar system besides Earth (and possibly Europa) to have significant amounts of liquid water. Most of this ...
  • 2,907
15 votes
2 answers
321 views

To what extent are the US modules of ISS based on the Spacelab design?

Various sources, for example the Spacelab wikipedia page, report that several modules used in American sector of the ISS are based on the Spacelab legacy. To what extent has its legacy been used? ...
user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is it that during reentry phase a capsule cannot communicate with mission control?

During reentry phase into the Earth's atmosphere the heat produced by air friction does not allow any communication with the surface. Why does the heat interfere with electronic frequencies and ...
user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
290 views

What research has been done into using virtual reality to counteract the psychological effects of extended space travel?

One of the biggest challenges in long space flight is the psychological impact it has on the crew. I've seen a lot of research into preventing the effects, but what about "preventing" the cause ...
33 votes
4 answers
7k views

What is the total mass sent into orbit over all history?

I would like to find a good estimate of the sum total amount of payload that humans have put into space, that is, over all years, all space programs, and all types of payload that reached orbit. ...
  • 16.1k
16 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is there any reason why American spacesuits color changed over years?

From Mercury silver suits to orange Space Shuttle ones, color of space suits have changed over years. Is there any reason for it?
user avatar
21 votes
4 answers
1k views

Could a spacecraft be made out of lunar materials?

Would it be possible to construct a working spacecraft using only materials extracted from the lunar surface? If not, what materials would we have to be ferried from Earth for this purpose?
  • 2,907
17 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is it more efficient to assemble spacecraft in orbit, or assemble on the ground and launch?

My friends and I were trying to figure this out a while ago. I was thinking that by transporting smaller pieces into space via a lighter re-entry spacecraft, there would be overall less fuel used ...
  • 808
20 votes
1 answer
754 views

How much of the Interplanetary Transport Network is currently known?

The Interplanetary Transport Network is a network of mathematically-defined paths through our solar system that would require little to no energy for a spacecraft to follow them, albeit at very low ...
  • 2,907
12 votes
3 answers
420 views

What is the jurisdiction for contracts signed in space?

What would be the jurisdiction for contracts signed in space? Let's say, an american citizen runs company registered on Cyprus, and operates a space station launched from the territory of Kazakhstan....
46 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why does the International Space Station produce so much methane?

According to NASA, roughly "1,000 pounds of methane are produced on International Space Station and dumped overboard as waste gas every year"[1]. It seems like an awful waste to just get rid of it. ...
  • 2,154
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are there international regulations for launching objects into space?

In the United States access to space is restricted by the FCC / FAA, which licenses private, commercial, and government entities for potential launches into space. Is there any international ...
26 votes
2 answers
2k views

What are the possible legal consequences of an unauthorized launch of a satellite?

Consider the situation, where the private company (let's say, registered on some Caribbean country, but owned by the citizen of United States) does the unauthorized launch of satellite or other ...
13 votes
3 answers
721 views

Is there any research going on launching into orbit with "space guns"? Why (not)?

Many have said that rocket launches are an outdated and inefficient technology and have predicted that other technologies will take over, yet to date, it's still the only thing we have to launch into ...
  • 11.2k
25 votes
2 answers
4k views

What medical conditions can impede someone from going into space?

Are there any physical, mental, or health-related medical conditions that could permanently exclude someone from going into space? Do the criteria differ from one country's (government sponsored or ...
  • 571
15 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is it possible that a giant 10th planet exists in our solar system? [closed]

It seems that some people maintain the existence of a "planet X" is all but science fiction, while others claim that its existence is a possibility, even if that's relatively a remote one. ...
  • 2,023
13 votes
4 answers
782 views

What are the actual legal prerequisites for extracting natural resources from asteroids by private entities?

The Moon Treaty states that no extraterrestrial property can be owned by any organization or person, with the exception of international and governmental organization. So, taking the current state of ...

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