NASA partners with Elon Musk for ‘Red Dragon’ mission to Mars
Elon Musk’s interest for Mars is well known by now, which is why the SpaceX and Tesla boss is partnering with NASA for a mission to the Red Planet. This isn’t the highly anticipated manned mission, but it’s still pretty important in its own right nevertheless. The space agency wants to go to Mars in order to retrieve samples collected by Mars rover 2020. As it happens, Elon Musk wants to go to Mars as well and came to an arrangement with NASA so that the two can work together on a project known as Red Dragon.
The plan will be put into action by 2022 when a SpaceX Falcon rocket will take a capsule dubbed Dragon 2 to the Red Planet. The Dragon 2 is a modified version of the regular Dragon capsule that NASA and SpaceX have been using to send supplies to the International Space Station. According to a tweet sent by Elon Musk, the “Dragon 2 is designed to land on any surface (liquid or solid) in the solar system. Am glad to see people thinking about applications!”
The Falcon rocket itself will also undergo modifications, with the version heading to Mars in 2022 said to be much more capable than the current model. Dubbed Falcon Heavy, the new rocket will be able to send capsules as far as Jupiter’s moons. Musk also seems interested in participating in a mission to Europa, though it may take a while longer until that happens.
In expendable mode, Falcon Heavy can send a fully loaded Dragon to Mars or a light Dragon to Jupiter's moons. Europa mission wd be cool.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 14, 2015
The Red Dragon project was formed in order to allow researchers on Earth to carefully analyze Mars samples without having to go there. Earlier this year, there was a lot of buzz when the Curiosity rover discovered water on the Red Planet, which seems to indicate that life was at one point present on Mars. Who knows, maybe some small remnants are still out there. While chances of finding alien life are slim, the Red Dragon project is still a worthy investment because both NASA and Elon Musk would want to see humans on Mars sometime in the next couple of decades and it is imperative to have as much data as possible about the planet before the first colonists arrive.
Even though Curiosity is still exploring Mars as we speak, NASA already drew projects for a more advanced robot dubbed Mars rover 2020. If everything goes according to plan, this new rover will gather and stash plenty of samples by the time Red Dragon arrives. It’s worth mentioning that the project itself is just a concept for now, however, all those involved seem really excited about the idea and will most likely end up putting it into practice.
Elon Musk himself already shared concept images of Dragon 2 and its journey to Mars. Meanwhile, NASA reacted very positively to the concept upon speaking about it last Wednesday at a presentation with the Future In-Space Operations group. The Red Dragon project is “technically feasible with the use of these emerging commercial technologies, coupled with technologies that already exist,” said Andy Gonzales, Senior Systems Aerospace Engineer at NASA Ames Research Center.
Starship could make its first orbital voyage in December thanks to SpaceX
The initial test orbital flight of the Starship has previously been postponed numerous times.
The first test orbital flight of the Starship might occur as soon as next month. The information was disclosed by Mark Kirasich, a senior NASA official in charge of the Artemis moon program’s development, during a live-streamed NASA Advisory Council meeting. Reuters reported that Kirasich stated NASA keeps tabs on four significant Starship flights, the first of which is scheduled to take place in the first part of December.
According to the previously disclosed plans, SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility in Texas will serve as the launch site for the Starship spaceship and its Super Heavy launcher. Three minutes into the journey, the launcher will separate and splash down in the Gulf of Mexico, while the Starship vehicle itself will enter orbit before reentering the atmosphere and landing on the ocean close to Hawaii. The test flight’s total duration is anticipated by the business to be 90 minutes.
Since the middle of 2021, SpaceX has been planning Starship’s first orbital voyage, but it kept getting postponed for various technical and legal reasons. For instance, the environmental evaluation for the launch facility owned by the space business in Boca Chica was just just approved. Even so, the FAA demanded more than 75 adjustments from the corporation before approving a launch license for the site to lessen the impact of its flights on the environment.
The FAA will issue the business a launch license “only when SpaceX produces all outstanding information and the agency can fully review it,” a representative for the organization told Reuters. Prior to the flight, SpaceX must also carry out and pass further tests, including a static fire test of all 33 Raptor engines on the Super Heavy booster, according to SpaceNews.
The Starship’s static fire test in July went horribly wrong when propellants under the booster caught fire. The company’s subsequent effort in August was successful, however only one Raptor engine was ignited on the Super Heavy. Starship also needs to go through a full wet dress rehearsal, which involves a rocket that is loaded with propellants going through the launch countdown but not really lifting off.
SpaceX will do a lot of test flights of Starship, including an uncrewed landing on the moon, before landing astronauts there, Kirasich says. But the first time it will dock with Orion will be on the Artemis III mission in lunar orbit.
— Christian Davenport (@wapodavenport) October 31, 2022
NASA’s DART probe successfully collided with an asteroid.
At the time of impact, the impactor vehicle, about the size of a vending machine, was moving at about 14,000 mph.
After traveling for over a year, NASA‘s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which attempted to provide answers, “Could a specially crafted satellite be used to divert an asteroid from its planet-destroying course? How about a number? “has effectively impacted the Dimorphos asteroid. However, NASA ground control has confirmed that the DART impact vehicle has intercepted the target asteroid. The results and data from the collision are still being received. Yes, Dimorphos is about the size of a football stadium, but space is very big, extremely dark, and both the asteroid and the spaceship were traveling rather quickly at the time.
“It’s been a successful completion of the first part of the world’s first planetary defense test,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said after the impact. “I believe it’s going to teach us how one day to protect our own planet from an incoming asteroid. We are showing that planetary defense is a global endeavor and it is very possible to save our planet.”
In an effort to investigate the employment of defensive satellites as a method of planetary defense against Near Earth Objects, NASA launched the DART mission in November 2021. Nearly 68 million miles from Earth, the DART impactor vehicle, about the size of a vending machine, tragically crossed Dimorphos’ path while traveling at about 14,000 MPH.
It remains to be seen if future generations of a planetary defense system will be packed with satellites ready to go full June Bug vs. Chrysler Windshield against real planet-killer asteroids. Dimorphos is one of two asteroids that are gravitationally entangled; its parent rock is more than five times larger than Dimorphos itself, but both are dwarfed by the space rock that struck Earth 66 million years ago and destroyed 75% of the planet’s multicellular life while gouging out the Gulf of Mexico.
Industry and Service
Aurora Station, The First Luxuxry Hotel Experience in Space
Living in space has been the dream of a lot of people. Some just really want to see what wonders the Final Frontier has to behold. As such, the moment we get updates about life in space, a lot of people’s heads tend to turn and some eyebrows rise.
This time, we’re going to see the first ever luxury space hotel which was introduced during the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California. The Aurora Station is being developed by Orion Span and a group of space industry veterans.
The exclusive hotel will host six people at a time – including two crew members. Space travelers will enjoy a completely authentic, once-in-a-lifetime astronaut experience with extraordinary adventure during their 12-day journey, starting at $9.5 million USD per person.
Yeah, I forgot to say that the price is a little bit high for a lot of people, this is a luxury hotel, after all. And hey, right now those who read this article and have the money to fork over the experience, deposits are now being accepted for a future stay in the station.
The Station aims to launch in late 2021, with the capability to host its first guests the year after that. Those who can spare the coin have to pay up $80,000 USD per person online which is fully refundable.
So, users who are going to stay at the Aurora Station will have the absolutely incredible experience of living in a zero-gravity environment. Not only that but they can also be part of the experiments going on in the station such as growing food while in orbit.
Now, considering I am scared of Space because games like Dead Space have told me that it’s bad. I’d rather stay on the floor for a while longer. However, those interested into their own space experience can go and make their reservations here.
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