Small Cubesat Satellites Test New Technology

The spacefaring nations of the world are competing with private companies to build an economy in orbit, colonize the moon and exploit resources from passing asteroids, but to reach other planets something more is needed.

That’s why NASA launched its Cube Quest competition to encourage students and amateur rocketeers to build very small satellites called cubesats to test new technology.

Amateur scientists are building small cubesats that can be powered by everything from water to the controversial EmDrive.

Competitors are starting to line up to build small EmDrive powered spacecraft to prove the “impossible warp drive” engine actually works.

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Europe’s New Map Of The Milky Way Could Help Save Earth From An Asteroid

If a killer asteroid struck the Earth, humanity could be devastated, but a new groundbreaking three-dimensional map of the Milky Way galaxy could help astronomers spot incoming space rocks before they become a threat.

The European Space Agency launched the space-based observatory Gaia in 2013 and now 1,000 days later the probe has transmitted the best star chart ever produced.

It will help astronomers plot the location of distant stars and near-Earth objects that pose a threat to life on our planet.

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Blue Origin Unveils New Reusable Rocket Design

Blue Origin, the space travel company founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, unveiled the newest addition to its reusable rocket lineup Monday, and it’s enormous.

The reusable New Glenn rockets come in two sizes: 2-stage capable of delivering cargo to low-Earth orbit and 3-stage designed to carry astronauts into deep space.

The rockets are named after the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth and once they’re built will move Blue Origin from a space tourism company to a major player in the industry.

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft To Visit Asteroid Bennu Lanches From Cape Canaveral

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is waiting to lift of from its Cape Canaveral launch pad aboard an Atlas V rocket on a quest to visit the earthbound asteroid Bennu before it comes near the planet.

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will launch Thursday night if the weather remains good and spend the next two years traveling out into the depths of space.

In 2020 it will rendezvous with the asteroid Bennu, map it and land to take a sample before returning to Earth in 2022.

NASA scientists hope that by studying the sample they will be able to learn more about the origins of the solar system, but they also want make sure the space rock won’t strike the Earth when it returns in the late 22nd century.

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Company Plans New Space Based Economy With Reusable Rockets

Instead of planning to build a city on Mars, one SpaceX competitor is building cargo trucks to ferry supplies into orbit above Earth in a new space-based economy employing thousands of people.

The United Launch Alliance is building reusable rockets to ferry cargo into space where the supplies can be traded to companies mining valuable resources from the moon and passing asteroids.

The ULA reusable rocket is different from the one used by SpaceX, however. While SpaceX reuses the first stage of the rocket, ULA plans to reuse the second, the piece that normally carries the cargo to its final destination.

The company pictures a fleet of these space trucks permanently parked in orbit above the Earth.

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Concept Space Train Could Travel To Mars In Days

A concept spacecraft designed to carry humans and cargo from Earth to Mars in mere days could help mankind colonize the stars, but there’s just one problem: it never stops.

The most expensive part of space is when the craft speeds up and slows down so the space train is designed to keep moving. To reach it, travelers would launch from nearby space stations and catch up to the train in order to board.

The concept vehicle was designed as part of a larger space travel network to help mankind colonize the stars.

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Scientists Spot Second Star With Possible Dyson Sphere

Out in the far reaches of space there lies an alien star that has been bewildering scientists since early this year because of the strange variations in its brightness levels and its tendency to dim inexplicably.

Now, they’ve found a second star that exhibits the same strange behavior. Months ago researchers floated several theories about why the strange star was dimming, but none of the answers seemed to fit.

Now, they’ve think they’ve find the answer and it has nothing to do with aliens.

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NASA To Publish EmDrive Research In Peer Reviewed Journal Proving It Works

An “impossible” EmDrive thruster that breaks the laws of physics could one day carry astronauts to Mars in 10 days at “warp speed” thanks to research being published soon.

The EmDrive, the brainchild of Roger Sawyer, uses no fuel and could potentially propel a spaceship to Mars in 10 weeks and reach Alpha Centauri in 100 years.

When Sawyer first came out with the idea for the EmDrive in 1999 the mainstream scientific community largely ignored him because his engine appeared to break the laws of physics.

Now, NASA’s Eaglework’s lab along with four other laboratories are conducting research into the theory. The peer-reviewed journal AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power agreed to publish their research this week.

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Astronomers Spot New Asteroid Mere Hours Before It Zips Past Earth

A previously undiscovered space rock just narrowly missed hitting the Earth as it zoomed by mere hours after astronomers spotted it for the very first time. Saturday night, a 150-foot-long asteroid dubbed 2016 QA2, was spotted approaching Earth, and Sunday morning, it zoomed harmlessly by our planet at less than one-quarter of the distance to the moon.

Although NASA has been tracking thousands of near Earth asteroids to make sure they don’t strike the planet, they haven’t found them all.

This one was roughly twice the size of the asteroid that exploded over Russia in 2013. The asteroid 2016 QA2 wouldn’t have ended civilization if it had hit, but it would have caused significant damage.

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