Latest Space Missions (& Other Science Stuff)

Hopefully, sooner or later we will overcome this problem. Therefore, it could become a starting point for exploration of other planets. Just taking into consideration that fact that space travelling will become a common thing just blows my mind


We will see. JWST is the greatest telescope we’ve ever had. It has much to show us.
Generally, its main goal is to show us the birth of galaxies and looking for planets to live on, which is as captivating as it could be. So, fingers crossed, waiting for June to see the first results


I spent most of yesterday engrossed over that silly thing :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: though I learned a lot. One thing that’s fascinating is that anyone with a laptop or computer can propose a project for Webb, and if approved, they can use the telescope to take a closer look at whatever curiosity is out there.

I was disheartened to learn that the first photo albums won’t start filling till June or July, but this special doohickey is quite a bit more complex than Hubble, which will likely be tag teaming with Webb over the years. In order to start working, it has to “cure” in the shadow of its sunshield to a temp close to -400F, which is pretty close to absolute zero where molecules stop moving, but that will happen within two weeks. The engineering of getting all its parts to work right in such extreme cold is amazing itself. Then comes calibration, and this part amazed me. Not only does it have to focus all of its mirrors on the same subject, and the mirrors shaped with extremely precise tensors to make a true virtual parabola - well, this deserves its own little paragraph.

The devices which position and make sure these 18 mirrors are a proper optically perfect reflector must be so perfect that they can make movements 1/20,000th the width of a human hair - a few thousand molecules! So, not only the previous bit, but then it has to be super-precise for the kinds of observations asked of it. Now these mirrors have to be positioned so carefully, and shaped so carefully, that each wave of photons from the source reach the detector at the same time! This is crazy precise and will deliver unheard of resolution, but necessary to be able to look across the insane distances required to see a baby universe just 200 million years old, give or take a diaper.

And keep in mind what the crafters of this amazing piece of tech were facing. In essence, they were going to load this treasure of technology which puts a Swiss watch to shame, onto the equivalent of a truck going over the bumpiest road on Earth, at high speed. While possibly being shot at. So I can understand why they were all in conniptions over this all working out well. But wait, there’s more! The Ariane rocket flew so well - and through some iffy weather to boot on Christmas day - that only two course corrections had to be made. So the Webb will have a mission life of not ten years, but possibly twenty or more. Woo!

There are more telescopes in development, many of them Earth based with their own crazy tech, but Webb will be delivering ever more eye-popping images for years to come. Which is almost as cool as flying around the universe. :wink:

Now, for some creativity…


In response to the earlier question about a possible collision with space debris (not full blown meteors) :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
Futurism: NASA Says Space Debris Will Definitely Slam Into the James Webb Space Telescope.


ISS Operations Extended 2030


I really do wonder if that concept’s going to work out. Having a tower in the way when trying to land a big-ass rocket still feels like the wrong idea to me…


Oh boy… NASA Space Kids. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: I can tolerate… some of that, though I guess they’re only really obnoxious during Starship test flights. Mostly.

Edit: strike that, BocaChicaGal, no talking, she’s cool.

Many of us were betting against this. It makes a weird sort of logistical sense to have the landing weight on Earth rather than on the spacecraft, but the execution … well, we’ll find out how crazy those engineers are when the candle comes in for a catch. Wee. :no_mouth:


Though, there is no need in panic. Its primary and secondary are ready for being slightly hit.


Hubble’s picture of the deep space has turned out to be even more interesting!
The image revealed that some of the galaxies in the HUDF (Hubble Ultra-Deep Field*) view are nearly twice as big as it used to be thought.

Hubble Ultra-Deep Field* - Hubble combines a huge amount of pictures into one image.


I’m sure everything is going to be OK. It’s said that JWST will be capable of lasting 20 years using its fuel

I have a hope it will last even longer than Voyagers :slight_smile:

See? See? Hubble is still cool! :grin:

I’m curious how well Webb is going to work at peering back to the youngish universe of 200 million or so years old. Our beloved golden mirror is going to be given a task rather like a photographer trying to get a picture of a celebrity through a crowd of people, very tall people, and a lot of them. And getting all the thicker as the throng spreads out from them. This is why the Hubble Deep Field images are so cool, because that’s a thin part of the crowd of galaxies, and stars in our own galaxy. A unique void, with less of a crowd to see through. So to get the best view, Webb will have to find a void in the Milky Way that lines up with a void in the supercluster of galaxies we live in who’s name escapes me right now, all the way out to the hypothetical Edge of the Universe.

Hypothetical? This is a curiosity of how the universe we call home works. If you could fly around the Cosmos, capitalized in memory of one of my fave science geeks Dr Sagan, you would discover something fascinating. All those weird, rambunctious, often violent spectacles that cluttered the younger universe like Seifert galaxies, Quasars and Blazars - I’d forgotten that one - won’t be there. In fact, they would have changed so much and moved so much, they might be hard to identify. They would either be much more normal, quiet galaxies, or might have wrecked into another and been torn into smaller guys.

You would basically find that the Event Horizon, the inner ring of the Big Bang, would still be there roughly 13 billion light years away, and would seem to follow us around no matter where we go. So that we’re always in the middle of this bubble of fire, with a mature, more or less quiet universe near us. And the universe would seem to be endless.

Also, depending on how space is curved, we might even find ourselves eventually returning to where we started, at the quaint little home base of the Milky Way. So, no matter where you go, eventually, there you are, again. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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I was wondering if it is possible to produce rocket out of plastic waste, because it would solve a few problems at the same time.
While searching I found out that fuel can be even made of co2, 'cause a Canadian company Carbon Engineering has made it real

As I also remember SpaceX is about to use co2 to create fuel, such an interesting technology. Then I found a rocket launch company from Scotland, which produces fuel out of plastic wastes. It’s 1-3% better than kerosene according to energy characteristics. Sounds cool, what do you think?


The concept has been proposed for a while now. First time I heard about it was when Swiss university ETH built a prototype:

Note that the article is recent, but it’s more talking about the plans of swiss company Synhelion to build a prototype industrial plant in germany to see how well it scales. So the original prototype mentioned in the article is pretty old news by now.

That is, in the end, always the killer criteria for any such concepts. They need to be able to be scaled to global industrial levels at competitive cost to have a chance, and the process of figuring that out is usually a lot more complicated and lengthy than just proving the concept in and of itself. The process of then actually scaling to global production levels once you think you can actually do it, is an even longer process. So if that tech works out, I’d guess it’s going to be at least 20 years before we start seeing any meaningful impact. Quite possibly more, depending on how hard they have to fight the lobbies of existing industries…


Since it’s usually cheaper to get stuff than make it, and pouring energy into a product to get energy from it is its own waste, I don’t think the industries in question are going to feel too threatened.

I’d hope in twenty years, the phobia over nuclear and potential fusion power will be quieted a bit. Particularly if alternatives like thorium reactors and fusion itself prove workable. Or other fantastic science like space based solar energy harvesting, Earth’s magnetic field induction… the future of energy will be limited as much by our ingenuity and determination as anything. Well, and Earth politics, which is beginning to wear me out. I’m hoping that India will begin to flex some superpower muscle soon to be a counter to China.

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I’m not aware of any fusion phobia. Except the aversion by politicians to give fusion research decent funding, but that just goes back to their general illusion that you can solve problems without spending money, not an outspoken opposition to fusion power.

And fission… ah well. If the phobia has died down in 20 years, that means we will then be able to start developing decent reactor designs that don’t have all the ridiculous flaws of the current one, which are a rather large cause of said phobia.
Well, that’s a bit misunderstandable, I guess. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the current designs. But everything is wrong with the fuel they were forced to use, with which you just can’t make a cleaner and more efficient reactor. And we all know where that came from…
No, fission is not going to get the coals out of the fire in time. The industry itself has seen to that by their staunch refusal to progress their technology by a single penny.

It all depends on the economics of scaling the concept, really. Way to early to call it either way.

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Hmmm…ugly link but it leads to a nice summary of 2022 celestial events


What, you people have no almanach as toilet reading? :wink:

By the way, if you get suspiciously long links, look for a question mark and the word UTM afterwards. In this case, the link can be shortened by dropping the question mark and everything after.

UTM codes are tracked by Google Analytics for marketing campaigns, and when you click such a link, the sender’s web statistics can track extra (anonymous, harmless) information such as, whether the link originated in an email or social media, which marketing campaign it was part of, maybe the date or time when the campaign started, etc. This allows the sender to sort their statistics by this extra info, and instead of merely “10k people visited our web site this month”, they get “… and 15 of those came because they clicked a link in our email newsletter, and 9k came because they clicked the same link in a tweet”. So they can tell that the topic was indeed interesting to readers, and that email was a drastically less effective channel — for example.

If we here now all click sheralmyst’s link, the sender knows that their January email newsletter was so popular, that even people clicked it that are not even subscribed to the newsletter! :exploding_head:


Ok. Chopped off the tail. Still ugly.