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Space Exploration

The Starship has successfully completed its fourth test without any explosions

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It went well with the fourth test of Starship. At 7:50 a.m. local time, SpaceX’s Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, was the place where the Starship and Super Heavy booster took off. Super Heavy had to show that it could land on Earth again, and Starship had to show that it could get back into the atmosphere after going into orbit.

Starship and Super Heavy both failed to land. That’s what they’re meant to do, but it wasn’t part of this test. Super Heavy used a virtual tower to make it look like it was landing on land and then started up its engines again just above the Gulf of Mexico. This showed that it is possible.

Before coming back to Earth, the starship flew as high as 212 kilometers (132 miles). The ship took some damage when it came back to Earth. The flaps broke apart a bit, and a camera got cracked. When it reached its safe top speed, it was able to turn around and do its first landing burn before splashing down safely.

There are no bigger or stronger rockets than Starship and Super Heavy put together. They add up to a rocket that is 122 meters (400 feet) tall. It will be used to send people back to the Moon, and its name is Space Launch System (SLS). It is 98 meters (322 feet) tall. In terms of history, Super Heavy has twice as much thrust as the Saturn V, which sent astronauts on the Apollo missions to the Moon. SpaceX wants to be able to boost the thrust up to three times what Saturn V was able to do.

For a short time, the SLS was the tallest and strongest rocket ever made. If there is competition, though, it’s not mean. To send people back to the moon, SLS and Starship need to work together. The Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit, a unique orbit around the moon, is where the Orion capsule will travel by SLS. There, it will meet Starship. The starship will then take the astronauts to and from the moon’s surface.

Right now, there is no way to get to the surface of the moon without a starship. That’s why these tests are so important for the future of exploring the moon. A ship needs to show that it is always safe and successful. This year, there will be two more tests, but SpaceX hasn’t said anything about them yet.

Starship has had some successes so far, but all of its flights have ended in fire. The rocket could fly on its first test flight in April 2023, but Super Heavy and Starship couldn’t separate. To keep the rocket from going off course, SpaceX blew it up on purpose.

A lot of people talked about how the first test was rushed at the request of Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. Musk was said to want to make a joke about weed because the launch date was 4/20. The rocket did a lot of damage to Starbase, which was used for the launch. This was another sign that the launch was rushed. In the end, its powerful engine blew out a piece of concrete from under its orbital launch mount and rained debris on the area.

In November 2023, the second test took place. Building on the first launch, it was mostly successful. The Super Heavy booster went off, but luckily only after it had split off from Starship. But Starship also went down in the end. After 9 minutes, Starship lost contact with ground control, and the computers on board blew up the ship.

The third test came the closest to being a success. It took place in March, and Starship flew faster and farther than ever before. The plans called for Super Heavy and Starship to both do a soft splash landing, but neither one did. The Super Heavy hit the Gulf of Mexico as quickly as an F1 car. The starship caught fire over the Indian Ocean instead of going down in it.

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

Physics

Light is the fastest thing that can “move” across a surface

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Einstein’s theory of special relativity says that it is impossible to move faster than light in a vacuum.

Things that don’t have mass have to move at the speed of light. But things that do have mass can’t get close to 299,792,458 meters per second (983,571,056 feet per second) without using up all of their energy. Physicists and sci-fi authors have tried to get around this by using concepts like the warp drive. But it’s likely that these will be illegal because of those pesky physics laws. Traveling faster than light can cause paradoxes that break the rules of the universe.

You are not in a dark room, though, because there is something in this room right now that can slow down or stop light. It is possible for shadows to go faster than light, and they can even smash through it.

You might ask things like, “What the hell are you talking about?” Imagine that you have a flashlight that is strong enough to light up some of the moon. If you quickly move your finger across the front of the flashlight, the shadow it casts can move across the moon’s surface at speeds much faster than light.

If you wave a laser across the night sky, you can get the same kind of effect. Think of a huge dome that is, say, 100 light-years across and surrounds you. When this laser hits that dome 100 years from now, the points will fly across it at speeds much faster than light.

But these two examples are just tricks.

Astrophysicist Michio Kaku told Big Think, “There is no message, no net information, and no physical object that actually moves along this image. There is only the image of the beam as it races across the night sky.”

No, the laser point isn’t really moving. What you’re seeing are photons hitting the dome and then different photons hitting a different part of the dome 100 years later after you moved your laser.

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The universe and physics stayed the same because nothing really moved faster than light, and no information was sent.

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Space Exploration

Someone in high school builds a model rocket that can land vertically, like a Falcon 9 Booster

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After three years of hard work, a high school student has finished a big project: making a model rocket that lands vertically.

It’s really rocket science to say that landing a rocket vertically is not easy. And SpaceX will tell you that they have blown up many a rocket stage while trying to land rocket boosters. But sometimes they do land before they blow up.

A student named Aryan Kapoor started building his own vertical lander in August 2021. At the end of May 2024, he finally hit the ground.

In a video for his YouTube channel JRD Propulsion, Kapoor said, “This rocket works differently than other model rockets of its kind.” “My rockets don’t have fins to keep them stable; instead, they use thrust vector control.” Thrust vector control lets the rocket’s engine move like a gimbal, giving the pilot control over the rocket’s path in space.

Even more impressive is the fact that software controls the rocket’s flight on its own.

“To guide the rocket, a flight computer makes all inflight decisions, such as steering the rocket and deciding when to ignite the landing motor.”

The onboard barometer gave the wrong reading of the rocket’s altitude during its first test flight in 2023. Kapoor wrote on his JRD Propulsion website, “The rocket did well in all other ways and collected useful data.” “Future flights will use only the accelerometer to measure altitude, providing much higher accuracy and precision.”

On his fifth attempt, Kapoor has landed successfully once more.

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Space Exploration

The Moon’s first cave has been found – Is it ready to be lived in?

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Atunnel has been found for the first time under the moon’s surface, right where people first set foot on the Sea of Tranquility. Although this isn’t the most likely place to build a colony, there are probably more caves in the area, which makes it more likely that people will move there in the future.

Even though the cost of launch is going down, it will still be very expensive to send heavy things to the moon for a while. Being able to get as much as possible on site is important for even a short-term base, let alone something permanent. A lot of attention has been paid to finding water sources lately, but shelter is also very important.

If future astronauts want to stay on the Moon for a long time, they will need to be well protected from space radiation and the huge changes in temperature that happen there. Also, we want something that is strong enough to survive a small asteroid strike, which happens a lot when there is no atmosphere to protect it. It would be much better if this was found naturally instead of having to build or dig our own.

In a statement, Professor Lorenzo Bruzzone stated that the Miniature Radio-Frequency (Mini-RF) instrument discovered a pit in Mare Tranquilitatis in 2010 as part of the ongoing Luna Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) NASA mission. After a while, we looked at these data once more using sophisticated signal processing techniques and discovered radar reflections from the pit area that are only consistent with an underground cave conduit. This finding is the first direct proof of a lava tube that can be reached below the moon’s surface.

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There have been more than 200 observations of pits like the one Bruzzone and his colleagues looked at. It is called the Mare Tranquillitatis pit. Some or all of these look like they were made when the ceiling of a lava tube caved in. But the fact that there is a pit like this doesn’t mean there is a cave below that is big enough to be useful.

That’s why the Mare Tranquillitatis pit looked like a good place to begin. It’s about 100 meters (328 feet) across, and the walls are so steep that they might hang over. For that reason, it’s one of the few big enough for the LRO’s radar to be able to pick up on internal features.

Orbital synthetic aperture radar images taken from the side by the LRO show a bright spot on the west side of the pit. Based on simulations, it looks like a pipe that is 30 to 80 meters (98 to 262 feet) long and 45 to 148 meters wide. It might not be big enough for a city, but it would be a good place for a lunar village. It is thought that the cave’s floor is flat enough to be useful. There are more than 100 meters (328 feet) between the cave entrance and the surface, but since the moon has low gravity, that might not be a big problem.

The authors made two models of the pit and cave that were based on different assumptions about their sizes. The main difference was the height of the rock pile that formed when the pit’s ceiling collapsed, which affected how steep the floor was.

gif of entering a lava tube on the Moon

The Sea of Tranquility is like New York: it’s a great place to visit, but we wouldn’t want to live there. That’s because it doesn’t have ice, which is another important thing about living on the moon. There is probably frozen water at the poles of the moon, especially at the south pole, which is what started the race to land there.

Mare Tranquilitatis is a flat equatorial plane. Any ice that was close to the surface of this plane would have melted in the hot lunar days. Being about 7 degrees north of where Armstrong took “one small step” won’t make up for not having anything to drink.

However, the work makes it more likely that these kinds of lava tubes could exist at the poles. What’s more, it may be more important that we can find them in space with a little better detail. “People have thought about these caves for more than 50 years, but this is the first time we have proven they exist,” Bruzzone said.

The study was written up in Nature Astronomy.

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