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Space bricks for lunar habitation

space bricks for lunar habitation

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Credit: Divakar Badal

In what could be a significant step forward in space exploration, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a sustainable process for making brick-like structures on the moon. It exploits lunar soil, and uses bacteria and guar beans to consolidate the soil into possible load-bearing structures. These ‘space bricks’ could eventually be used to assemble structures for habitation on the moon’s surface, the researchers suggest.

“It is really exciting because it brings two different fields—biology and mechanical engineering—together,” says Aloke Kumar, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, IISc, one of the authors of two studies recently published in Ceramics International and PLOS One.
Space exploration has grown exponentially in the last century. With Earth’s resources dwindling rapidly, scientists have only intensified their efforts to inhabit the moon and possibly other planets.
The cost of sending one pound of material to outer space is about $10,000. The process developed by the IISc and ISRO team uses urea—which can be sourced from human urine—and lunar soil as raw materials for construction on the moon’s surface. This decreases the overall expenditure considerably. …

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Japan’s ispace aims for 2022 moon landing for private Hakuto-R spacecraft

japan’s ispace aims for 2022 moon landing for private hakuto-r spacecraft

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A Japanese company that hopes to land people on the moon one day has unveiled the final design of its first robotic lunar lander, which will launch in2022  on a SpaceX rocket. Tokyo-based ispace revealed the Hakuto-Reboot (Hakuto-R) lander design July 30, stating that the mission is now slated to touch down on the moon in 2022. That’s a year later than a previous target, which aimed for a moon landing in 2021. Unspecified “technical issues” held up construction in recent months, ispace said, although the lander did pass a critical design review that allows for the hardware to be finalized for construction.”The new target launch date was chosen in order to ensure higher reliability for Hakuto-R customers and overall mission success. The lander is still planned to launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket,” ispace said in a statement.Related: The 21 most marvelous moon missions of all timeThe company has indicated an interest before in competing for NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, which aims to put private landers on the moon in support of human missions. NASA made its latest CLPS mission announcements in January. The Japanese company ispace aims to launch the private Hakuto-R moon lander in 2022 on a SpaceX …

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Opinion: The U.S. unraveling of science insulation from politics

opinion: the u.s. unraveling of science insulation from politics

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With myriad suggestions for addressing the coronavirus pandemic, there is a common refrain: Trust the scientists.But some scientific voice can be found to support nearly any assertion. Each year, nearly 2.5 million new scientific papers are published in about 30,000 journals. We can’t make policy based on single studies or the opinion of a single scientist.
There are legitimate disagreements about whether the virus is spread by droplets or airborne mists. There is evidence that opening schools will either harm or not harm small children. We don’t know for certain if the protection offered by cloth masks is similar to N-95s or how far we need to distance from each other. Knowing whom to trust is challenging.
Until very recently, the United States was the world’s exemplar in making sense from divergent scientific opinions. More than 150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln and Congress created the National Academy of Sciences to provide independent, objective advice on science and technology. In the 1940s, engineer Vannevar Bush persuaded President Franklin Roosevelt that science was the ticket to a successful war effort and to a continuing strong economy.
Starting in 1933, U.S. presidents, Republicans and Democrats alike, made extensive use of …

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A Crazier Crazy Straw for Cutting-Edge Science

a crazier crazy straw for cutting-edge science

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In this artist’s conception, data from the small angle neutron scattering (SANS) experiment at the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) form a colorful backdrop to transparent spheres representing part of a worm-like micelle, a tiny structure often found in soaps. Higher-intensity neutron scattering (red regions) indicates that the micelles are aligning strongly with the direction of flow through the NCNR’s capillary rheoSANS device, lining up like toothpicks in a tube. The micelles are one of many substances whose properties under extreme flow conditions could become better understood with the new research tool. Credit: R. Murphy/NIST
Curlicued research tool propels fast-moving fluids for study by neutrons.
What do the loopy straws that children like to sip drinks through have in common with cutting-edge science? Ask Ryan Murphy and his colleagues at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where the team has thought up a creative way to explore the properties of fluids under extreme conditions.
The team invented a device that can push fluids through a narrow tube at the velocity of a car hurtling down a rural interstate — about 110 km per hour. This might not sound overly fast to a road tripper, but the …

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Space Bricks: Scientists publish paper on making it on Moon | India News – Times of India

space bricks: scientists publish paper on making it on moon | india news – times of india

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BENGALURU: The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) on Friday said that in what could be a significant step forward in space exploration, a team of its researchers and the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has developed a sustainable process for making brick-like structures on Moon. The TOI was the first to report about this project as early as on January 30, 2020. It exploits lunar soil, and uses bacteria and guar beans to consolidate the soil into possible load-bearing structures. These “space bricks” could eventually be used to assemble structures for habitation on the moon’s surface, the researchers suggest. “It is really exciting because it brings two different fields — biology and mechanical engineering — together,” says Aloke Kumar, assistant professor, IISc department of mechanical engineering, and one of the authors of two studies recently published in Ceramics International and PLOSOne. Space exploration has grown exponentially in the last century. With Earth’s resources dwindling rapidly, scientists have only intensified their efforts to inhabit the moon and possibly other planets. “…The cost of sending one pound of material to outer space is about Rs 7.5 lakh. The process developed by the IISc and Isro team uses urea — which can be sourced from human urine — and …

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Space Force Publishes Its First Doctrine

space force publishes its first doctrine

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The Space Force has published its first doctrine, reflecting the concept of space as a potential warfighting domain.
“Agility, innovation and boldness have always been the touchstone traits of military space forces. Today, we must harness these traits to pioneer a new service and a new professional body of knowledge,” wrote Gen. John W. Raymond, the chief of Space Operations, in the introduction to Space Capstone Publication, the doctrine’s formal name.

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Raymond emphasized that this initial policy statement no doubt would evolve as the mission of ensuring security in space operations changes. Whereas space exploration once involved nations competing to project societal superiority, the domain has emerged as one where potential adversaries’ actions have increased “the likelihood of warfare in the space domain.”
The Space Force mission will focus upon protection the nation’s interest from entities that “threaten peace and prosperity for free people in every corner of the world.”The doctrine articulated five guiding principles:
* U.S. desire for “a peaceful, secure, stable and accessible space domain,” maintained by a national security strategy capable of deterring and defeating* Defining spacepower as “inherently global,” affording the “ability to conduct activities with unrivaled reach, persistence, endurance and responsiveness.”* …

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NASA TV to Air Departure of Japanese Cargo Ship from Space Station

nasa tv to air departure of japanese cargo ship from space station

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Eleven years after the launch of the first H-II Transfer cargo vehicle (HTV) to the International Space Station, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) HTV-9 will depart the orbital laboratory Tuesday, Aug. 18, with live coverage beginning at 1:15 p.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA will use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the spacecraft from the station at 1:35 p.m., ending its three-month stay. To prepare for release, flight controllers operating from NASA’s Mission Control Center at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will send commands to unbolt and detach the uncrewed cargo craft from the station’s Harmony module and remotely operate Canadarm2 to move it into place for departure.
This will be the final station departure of JAXA’s Kounotori, or “white stork,” model cargo craft, nine of which have delivered more than 40 tons of supplies to space station crews.  JAXA is developing a new fleet of HTV cargo craft, the HTV-X, which is targeted for its first launch in 2022.
The spacecraft, which launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan on May 20, delivered about four tons of supplies and experiments to the orbital complex, including …

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This Week in Science

this week in science

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PaleoanthropologyAndrew M. SugdenThe Border Cave site in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa has been a rich source of archaeological knowledge about Stone Age humans because of its well-preserved stratigraphic record. Wadley et al. now report the discovery of grass bedding in Border Cave, dated to approximately 200,000 years ago. The bedding, identified with a range of microscopic and spectroscopic techniques, was mingled with layers of ash. It also incorporated debris from lithics, burned bone, and rounded ochre grains, all of which were of clear anthropogenic origin. The authors speculate that the ash may have been deliberately used in bedding to inhibit the movement of ticks and other arthropod irritants. These discoveries extend the record of deliberate construction of plant bedding by at least 100,000 years.Science, this issue p. 863

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Michael Soulé (1936–2020)

michael soulé (1936–2020)

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Michael Soulé, widely credited with starting the field of conservation biology, died on 17 June at age 84. Michael’s research laid the intellectual groundwork for a new avenue of study, and he cofounded the Society for Conservation Biology in 1985 to ensure that the nascent field had the resources and organization to address the critical environmental issues we face today. Michael’s vision of a better world, in which nature holds a central place, has inspired scientists and nature enthusiasts across the globe.Born on 28 May 1936, Michael grew up in San Diego, California. His free-ranging childhood, spent exploring tide pools and collecting abalones and lobsters, sparked his lifelong love of natural history and helped shape his interest in ecosystems. Michael obtained his undergraduate degree in biology at San Diego State College and his Ph.D. in biology in 1964 from Stanford University in Stanford, California.After joining the biology faculty at the University of California (UC) San Diego in 1967, Michael became troubled by the rapid loss of natural habitats in Southern California. He resigned from the university in 1979 to become director of the Kuroda Institute for the Study of Buddhism at the Zen Center of Los Angeles. In 1984, he returned to academia, first teaching at …

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Space Café WebTalk Recap: Kenneth Hodgkins on Global Space Economy

space café webtalk recap: kenneth hodgkins on global space economy

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Ken Hodgkins. Image courtesy of the author.
In this week’s Space Cafè WebTalk, Kenneth Hodgkins, President of International Space Enterprise Consultants in Virginia talked about his wide-ranging thoughts on working towards a shared vision for our future global space economy, with a focus on international space policy and law.
With 40 years of US Government experience, he is advocating for transparency and predictability in space operations, long-term sustainability of space, an international architecture supportive of new commercial space ventures, and collaboration on space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.
He also answered relevant questions from the audience.
This Space Cafè WebTalk, held on 11 August 2020, was hosted by Torsten Kriening, publisher of SpaceWatch.Global. The Space Cafè WebTalk series is SpaceWatch.Global’s innovative webinar platform featuring global space experts.
The complete video can be seen here:

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