The game changer for access to space will be humanity moving away from the use of chemical rockets to get into orbit. The disrupters to the space industry will be the ones that perfect the alternative technologies.
A really quick round up of the week in space including a black hole swallowing a star, the Mars dust storm and Hayabusa’s journey to Ryugu.
Hayabusa2 is about to have a close up and personal experience with the asteroid Ryugu. In this mission the spacecraft will collect a bit of the asteroid and return to Earth.
New Horizons will make its next encounter on 1 January next year as it approaches the Kuiper Belt Object Ultima Thule, formerly known as 2014 MU69.
Orbital ATK is one of the commercial providers of transport services to the International Space Station (ISS) with its Cygnus spacecraft.
The Japanese and Russia are the only non-US nations currently routinely sending cargo to the ISS. ESA did a few missions with the ATV.
The 2018 Space and Science Festival, held at Onslow College in Wellington was fantastic, with great talks from NASA and Rocket Lab and plenty of interesting displays.
NASA launched Juno to look at Jupiter in 2011 and since 2016 it has been sending back fantastic images of the Solar System’s biggest planet.
Space exploration drives a lot of technological development that has spinoffs for Earth-bound applications.
The week in space includes the launch of the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, the planned helicopter for Mars and the BepiColombo mission is getting closer to launch.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Soviet Union and the United States launched a number of spacecraft to Venus that greatly increased our understanding of Earth’s twin.
A short video highlighting some of the events in the last week in space, including this morning’s launch of Mars InSight.
Supernovae cause the biggest explosions in the universe, often out shining their host galaxies. There’s plenty of flavours of supernova and they aren’t all just big stars blowing up.
Magnetars are a fascinating type of object that are really mind boggling. These incredibly powerful star remnants are worth giving a closer look.
This short video has a look at the current missions that are either on Mars or whizzing around it.
A wrap up of interesting space related news over the last week.
TESS was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX on 18 April. The satellite will survey the whole sky to look for exoplanets that transit their stars.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is set for launch on 31 July to begin it’s journey to the Sun’s corona to help us understand more about the solar wind and why the corona is so hot.
The US has two options for getting to Mars within the next decade and a half with the ambitious plans from SpaceX and the more risk adverse plans of NASA. Both Russia and China also have some plans for Mars and have design work underway to build large rockets to support missions to Mars and to the Moon.
It looks like NASA is going to get a good amount of funding in a bill set to fly through the US Congress and Senate. This is great news for programmes such as Europa Clipper that have dependencies on the SLS programme.
NASA’s plans to get to Mars are a bit slower than Elon Musk’s. They have many more steps and have plans to achieve some quite impressive things such as space station orbiting the Moon and capturing an asteroid.