NASA Just Cancelled its Advanced Spacecraft Power Program
The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator was to use less Plutonium for cheaper missions.
The Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Program (ASRG) was just cancelled by NASA. This was to be the saving grace for Plutonium-238 availability, as it was a much more efficient way to generate electricity than classic RTG systems.
The European Space Agency has selected two astrophysics observatories as its next large science missions, overlooking every proposed planetary mission. ESA's current selection of planetary missions, however, means it will still be a major player in solar system exploration for the next two decades.
Mars Needs Plutonium! (And so do Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Points Beyond)
Planetary Radio Talks With Casey Dreier About Restoring Production of an Isotope
Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/10/29 10:38 CDT
Society Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator Casey Dreier visits Planetary Radio with the tale of an element that is essential to exploration of deep space.
We interview Dr. Franck Marchis from the SETI Institute about nanosats that can unfold in space to create sensitive telescopes that are orders of magnitudes cheaper than current hardware.
Plutonium-238 is Crucial for Space Exploration – and it's Running Out
The Planetary Society works to maintain plutonium availability for deep space missions
Plutonium-238 provides electricity to deep space missions, but NASA only has a little bit left. A new article in Wired highlights the disastrous consequences of no plutonium for use in space, something the Planetary Society is currently fighting for in Washington, D.C.
Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser spacecraft recently completed a series of range and taxi tow tests, which pave the way for free flights that could begin this fall.
Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/08/13 10:51 CDT
This week's Planetary Radio talks with the head of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program about its mission and 12 newly-funded projects that could change the world.
When the Space Launch System lifts off on its inaugural flight in 2017, eight engineering cameras will collect crucial in-flight data while providing breathtaking views for the public.
It had never occurred to me to think about geostationary satellites in Mars orbit before reading a new paper by Juan Silva and Pilar Romero. The paper shows that it takes a lot more work to maintain a stationary orbit at an arbitrary longitude at Mars than it does at Earth.
A fan-funded space telescope, usable by the public? It's an awesome idea, and it appears that a wide swath of the public agrees. Planetary Resources, headed by president and chief engineer Chris Lewicki, announced a Kickstarter project yesterday, with the goal of raising $1 million toward one of their ARKYD space telescopes.
NASA Administrator Highlights Advanced Propulsion Systems at JPL
An ion engine will be used on the proposed asteroid retrieval mission
Charles Bolden stopped by JPL to highlight research being done on advanced propulsion techniques that would be used in the proposed asteroid retrieval mission.
This week Jon Lomberg is attending the Starship Century conference, which brings together scientists, writers, and futurists to imagine the future of interstellar travel. Here he reports on presentations by Freeman Dyson, Peter Schwartz, Robert Zubrin, Geoff Landis, Neal Stephenson, and Patti Grace Smith.
This week Jon Lomberg is attending the Starship Century conference, which brings together scientists, writers, and futurists to imagine the future of interstellar travel. The organizers are Greg and Jim Benford, and among the attendees are: David Brin, Neal Stephenson, Vernor Vinge, Joe Haldeman, Alan Steele, Geoffrey Landis, Freeman Dyson, Jill Tarter, Paul Davies, Nalaka Gunawardene, and Daniel Richter.
Last week, planetary scientists gathered for the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Only a tiny fraction of the presentations at LPSC dealt with future missions. Even so, this is still one of the best sources for insights into details of missions under development. In this post, I’ll cover some of the abstracts for the presentations that give a flavor of the breadth of the proposals.
Imagine you had a Hubble-class telescope and could use in any way you wanted to explore planets. What would you do with it?
SpaceX's Grasshopper rocket passed its most ambitious test flight yet, rising 12 stories before hovering and settling gently back down onto its landing pad.