For nearly a century science fiction writers have predicted commercial space travel. They imagined consumers taking an interstellar cruise or simply hopping a shuttle from the earth to the moon for a vacation. Back in 1964 one science newsletter predicted that earthlings would be jaunting up to a space station by 1980 — for$11,700 which translates to about $90,000 in 2014 dollars.
Now, we know that space tourism isn’t a reality yet, but it will be by the end of the decade. Experts predict that 2020 is the year that private companies will begin sending people into space. It will likely be a quick trip out of the atmosphere, with a mere five minutes experiencing zero gravity before returning to land, but it still counts as space travel.… Read the rest
A test version of Orion is dropped from a C-17, while flying 13,000 feet above the Arizona desert at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground on April 23. The spacecraft is released from the airplane on a sled that moves it safely away. Then a series of programmer parachutes get it into position for the test before the three massive orange and white main parachutes deploy. This was the first parachute test to simulate a launch abort scenario.
Sending humans into space has become mundane. In addition to various government space programs, there are now private corporations either sending people to space or planning commercial space flights. The holy grail of all this development is to send a human mission to Mars.
In 1969 the first humans stepped onto the surface of the moon in a program that cost between $20-23 billion. Adjusted for inflation and current market prices, NASA estimated that the six moon landings of the Apollo program would cost $170 billion today. That seems likes peanuts compared to the estimated cost associated with sending one mission to Mars by 2040. … Read the rest
Over ten years ago, the first Rover was put on the surface of Mars to learn a variety of things about the “Red Planet.” One such discovery was that water may have existed at one time on Mars, but is now long gone.
New evidence has been found by two Mars Rovers, Curiosity and Opportunity, that suggest that Mars was once a water-rich planet. This information is highly important not just to understand more about Mars, but understand other planets in our solar system including our own. Read on for a look at why the Rover find is so important, and what is next for the Rover fleet.… Read the rest
Have you ever wondered who makes the tires for the space shuttle? Tires weren’t exactly necessary in the early days of the NASA space program. The first NASA space vehicles such as the Titan II and Saturn V rockets were just that — rockets. After returning from space these rockets would literally fall into the ocean and were retrieved by NASA afterward. When NASA launched the space shuttle program in 1981 it was clear that they were missing the one thing that rockets didn’t need – landing gear. Unlike NASA’s earlier rockets, the Space Shuttles were designed to make a standard airport landing after returning from space.… Read the rest