69 votes
Accepted

Why doesn’t NASA build its rockets using graphene?

The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of graphene is at 2 or 3 as far as I can tell. And that is TRL as related to making very tiny stuff. Anything used to build a structure for aircraft or spacecraft ...
BradV's user avatar
  • 3,292
42 votes

Why doesn’t NASA build its rockets using graphene?

Besides the fact BradV pointed out that we don't have the technology to do this yet, the fact is that graphene on a macroscopic scale would not perform as well as the numbers you cited suggest. All ...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
15 votes

Have we done any research trying to reach the speed of light?

Not on macroscopic scale. The Special Relativity theory is fairly well understood and says it's impossible for any objects that possess rest mass, period. The closer you get to speed of light the more ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
13 votes
Accepted

Concerns/challenges with LOX as a regenerative coolant

To answer your first question: one of the main problems with using the oxidizer in general is oxidizing of the cooling channels. Any hot oxidizer has this problem, but oxygen definitively has this ...
Ruben's user avatar
  • 1,154
12 votes

Titan vs Mars for colonization

The biggest obstacle of living on Titan is bound to be it's insane cold. People say space is cold, but space is a vacuum. A thermos bottle uses a vacuum as insulation. So wearing a space suit in a ...
Johnny Robinson's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Titan vs Mars for colonization

Some advantages of Titan are: abundant nitrogen, a thick atmosphere that will protect against radiation (the extra distance from the Sun also helps) Lower gravity (and atmosphere) makes access to ...
Steve Linton's user avatar
  • 19.6k
8 votes
Accepted

Starlink's autonomous collision avoidance

I don't think there are any papers about it, but here's what I've gleamed from my studies on it. As you mentioned, they use information from the DOD, specifically Space-Track, or C-SPOC, or J-SPOC. ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
8 votes

Has anyone seriously considered a space-based time capsule?

future Perhaps a time capsule will feature prominently in one of these: What would be the (most difficult) challenge to make a 10,000 year satellite? microfilm Answers to Is there really microfilm on ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
7 votes
Accepted

"UK schoolboy corrects Nasa data error" - what precisely was the "error"?

The source of the data is the Radiation Environment Monitor. Lawrence S. Pinsky is listed as co-investigator. This Radiation Environment Monitor demonstration will provide information that is ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
7 votes
Accepted

What did they expect to happen with Laika?

Laika was never expected to make it back alive because the Sputnik 2 capsule it was launched in didn't have any means of deorbiting. From Anatoly Zak's Russian Space Web page on Sputnik-2: As ...
TildalWave's user avatar
7 votes

What are the top grand challenges in space exploration today?

To give the desired global perspective, I surveyed grand challenges identified by NASA, Roscosmos, and ESA. 1. Human presence in space All three identified areas of growth in terms of human missions. ...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
7 votes
Accepted

Were any mammals born in space (or are there any confirmed planned missions to breed them)?

Almost certainly if a mammal would have given birth in zero gravity, it would have been mice, rats, or other similar rodents. I have found a few studies which had mice that were pregnant at launch, ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
7 votes

Why doesn’t NASA build its rockets using graphene?

Just because a substance has impressive specific strength, doesn't mean it has all the properties needed to make it generally useful. Specific strength, the ratio of strength to weight, is a very ...
ikrase's user avatar
  • 8,874
6 votes

What publishing authority (and year of publishing) was the first to use the term 'occultation'?

It was not "commissioned" in any sense; the word has been around for that purpose in scientific discourse for a very long time. See, for example: The Occultation of the Planet Mars by the Moon, ...
Andrew is gone's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Post-shuttle, "Have any animals that have been studied onboard the ISS come back alive?"

Yes. A nice example would be the recent splashdown of the first SpaceX Dragon capsule to have been re-used after a previous visit to the ISS. See for example Spaceflight Now's July 3, 2017 article ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
6 votes
Accepted

What is the smallest object our current technology is capable of launching into space?

The atmosphere makes it harder. On a per-kilogram basis, it is much more efficient to accelerate massive objects through the atmosphere than light ones. That's because the mass of the spacecraft is ...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

To Hyperspace and higher dimensions

Imagine two parallel lines. You are a line segment on the lower line, and your perception is completely limited to your line. All objects you are aware of are oriented along the line. You theorize ...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
5 votes
Accepted

Getting to Mars requires 12 ISSs of mass w/o tech advances?

I found the source. https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/553607main_APL_Bobby_5_27_11_DW2.pdf, slides 7 and 9. In case anyone else ever goes looking for the source of these images, I hope this post helps them.
Manuel J. Diaz's user avatar
5 votes

Mining lunar thorium for building nuclear rockets on the Moon

Mining lunar thorium gains you nothing. Thorium is not fissile and cannot be used to fuel a nuclear rocket, power plant, or RTG. Designs for "Thorium" nuclear power plants use thorium as a fertile ...
Kengineer's user avatar
  • 1,748
5 votes

How much power would a spacecraft's magnetic shield require?

This might be of interest: CERN, in collaboration with the European Space Radiation Super Conducting Shield project are using advances in super conductor technology to develop a super conducting ...
Robert Walker's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Rabbits in Space

Public information on rabbits in space is surprisingly sparse. The earliest instance I have been able to find is the July 2, 1959 launch of the Soviet R-2, which reportedly carried the first rabbit ...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
5 votes

Is railgun propulsion being researched?

I suspect that if you have the electric power available to fire macroscopic projectiles from a railgun, you're better off accelerating Xenon gas with it. Current ion thrusters yield exhaust velocities ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Is railgun propulsion being researched?

Yes, Made on Space is researching a similar idea. Plan to Turn Asteroids Into Spaceships the propulsion system might be some sort of catapult that launches boulders or other material off the ...
MarsOneOrBust's user avatar
4 votes

Where can I find data on current space agency contracts?

This website has access to "all current NASA contracts." The organization seems kinda goofy (it seems to be a way for politicians to find out how much NASA is spending in their district) but if you ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
4 votes

What animals, if any, have reproduced in space?

The first animal that conceived her offspring in space was a cockroach named Nadezhda. She was one of many cockroaches on board the Russian satellite Foton-M 3 (September 14 - 26, 2007) After they ...
Volker Moerbitz's user avatar
4 votes

Has dependent one-carbon metabolic pathway been successfully linked to ocular health of astronauts?

Yes, the 1C pathway has been successfully linked to ocular health of astronauts, and it seems Scott Smith is still involved in the research. A study involving 49 space station astronauts established ...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
4 votes

What plans exist for another future international space station after the ISS is retired, and what stage of development are the plans at?

The Russians have a plan (that is slowly disappearing as the oil crunch kills their budgets) to detach the future OM and MLM modules (Nauka) and all that go with it as a standalone station once the ...
geoffc's user avatar
  • 79.6k
4 votes

Getting to Titan and beyond - technology knowledge management to get... anywhere

No, there isn't. Each space agency (NASA, ESA, Roscosmos...) has its own databases and repositories, and even within e.g. NASA one hand doesn't always know everything about what the other hand is ...
Jan van Oort's user avatar

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