Author Topic: Space News  (Read 35639 times)

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Offline ThePerm

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Space News
« on: November 16, 2011, 07:08:45 PM »
I hope to start a thread similar to the Paleontology discovery thread and the New Technology thread, this will however focus on Space Travel, and Space discoveries. I'm not an expert on space stuff in the way that Halbred is an expert on dinosaurs, but this stuff still interests me. This would fit into the tech thread, but I think Space news is a genre itself.

So, Europa has long been known to be possibly habitable for life, but its been only thought to have methane seas under its thick ice or something like that, but they might have found a water lake.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-scientists-evidence-great-lake-jupiter.html
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Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Space News
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 07:14:18 PM »
We knew there was most likely liquid water beneath the icy surface of Europa, but the news here is that this is a lot closer to the surface than we'd thought.
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Offline broodwars

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Re: Space News
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2011, 07:22:28 PM »
It's an interesting story with intriguing implications for our understanding of the origin of life, but I don't see what practical use that information is unless we could figure out how to Terraform that moon (and Mars, too, for that matter).  The article estimates the amount of water to be equivalent to that of the NA Great Lakes.  Well, that's great if you're going to build a small space station or observation post there, but that's way too little water with no means of replenishing it to sustain a larger population as mankind...eventually...expands out into space.
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Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Space News
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2011, 07:27:49 PM »
The whole possibility of life part that you glossed over is the reason this is exciting. It has no real practical benefit, as if we just wanted the water it wouldn't be terribly hard to melt the ice.


EDIT: And with modern recycling techniques, you could maintain a small moon colony with the frozen water that's already there.
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Offline broodwars

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Re: Space News
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2011, 07:37:16 PM »
The whole possibility of life part that you glossed over is the reason this is exciting.

The thing is, in regards to space we've spent so much time sending shuttles out for "scientifically interesting" missions in orbit rather than practical ones that advance the cause of space travel.  As scientifically fascinating as such information can be, it's hard to muster up much interest after years without our own "moon landing" kind of advancement in space travel.

That is why I find stories like NASA working on developing a tractor beam for collecting small particles of energy much more immediately interesting.
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Offline Stogi

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Re: Space News
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2011, 07:40:31 PM »
To continue Insano's point, finding life on another planet will shock the world. Even if it's small, like bacteria, it is an alien life form and will transform our perceptions of our world and its relationship with the universe with proof. Therefore, those uninterested in the "scientifically interesting" missions will become more interested, thus funding the practical ones. Because if something else can live on another planet, maybe we could as well.
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Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2011, 07:42:49 PM »
well actually if its the size of a great lake then thats huge. You could support a million people on that amount of water alone, and this is without accounting for recycling water. Lake Ontario is a small Great lake, but thats 712 miles of lake with a surface area of 7,540 sq miles and a depth of 802 feet. That 1,638,095,457,398,147.5 liters. 15 figures. Thats a shitload of water.
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Offline bustin98

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Re: Space News
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2011, 10:58:35 AM »
Mars (and the Moon for that matter) will never be terraformed. Its core is too cool and is unable to produce the electromagnetic fields required to shield an atmosphere from the sun. Localized habitats may be possible if a cheap source of power can be discovered and harnessed.

Europa would be interesting, though again atmosphere calls the likelyhood into question. The water can be converted into hydrogen and oxygen, but we need nitrogen, possibly helium depending on the pressures under the ice.

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Offline nickmitch

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Re: Space News
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2011, 06:47:29 PM »
Look, once we have the energy resources necessary to be even to reasonably send people to Europa, I'm sure we'll be able to find more Nitrogen or whatever gases we need. We might even be making making them at that point, if nuclear fusion is ever perfected.

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Offline UltimatePartyBear

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Re: Space News
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2011, 07:05:32 PM »
Well, if we had infinite energy to work with, we'd be better off using it to make Venus habitable, since it's the only object in the solar system of comparable size to Earth, and therefore the only one with comparable gravity.  We "just" have to push it farther away from the sun and make it spin faster.  No colony on any other space rock would be very useful for the purpose of saving the human race from, say, a supernova powered X-ray beam killing everything on the planet, because the people living there wouldn't be able to support their own weight upon return to Earth.  You can't repopulate the planet if your bones are too frail to withstand sex at 1g.

Of course, in the absence of infinite energy, space colonies of all sorts and sizes would be excellent learning opportunities along the road to all that lovely science fiction technology.  Europa's too distant for that, though.  And if there's a chance of finding life there that didn't come from Earth in the first place, we'd better keep our filthy paws away from it to avoid contamination, or nobody would ever believe it.

Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2011, 12:21:24 AM »
theres no hydrogen on venus, so Venus isn't a great candidate. I don't think we'll terraform any planets for over a hundred years, but we could still have biodome like colonies. Also, having some sot of base on the moon would be beneficial because it takes less energy to launch stuff off the moon(but you have to get things to the moon first) Also, Nuclear energy is probably much more efficient in space given melt down concerns are always less when everything is freezing temperature. There is actually a lot of resources on the moon, its just they don't have "immediate" use. Theres a probe heading to Ceres soon which is about the size of Pluto and its between mars and Jupiter inside the asteroid belt. Indications are its like a big rock tundra with likely ice and liquid water and stuff. It actually takes less time to get there than Mars because of gravity and planetary revolutions.
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Offline UltimatePartyBear

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Re: Space News
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2011, 04:01:41 PM »
theres no hydrogen on venus, so Venus isn't a great candidate.
If we actually had the ability to move a planet into a different orbit, I don't think that would be an issue, but I lost my main point in there.  I think that in reality, space colonies of any sort could only serve research purposes.  There is no chance of large scale colonization of space at all.  I'm not opposed to trying, and I'd like to go to space, but life as we know it has requirements that I don't think we'll be able to artificially manage, at least not indefinitely sustainably. 

Quote
Also, Nuclear energy is probably much more efficient in space given melt down concerns are always less when everything is freezing temperature.

Space isn't cold.  It's just mostly empty.  Not the same thing.  Being in a vacuum means no convection, which essentially means no cooling at all.

Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2011, 04:54:25 PM »
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Offline Guitar Smasher

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Re: Space News
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2011, 06:19:15 PM »
Space isn't cold.  It's just mostly empty.  Not the same thing.  Being in a vacuum means no convection, which essentially means no cooling at all.
Space is cold!  Regardless of medium, you will still radiate away almost all of your thermal energy.  In fact, one scientist from the Canadian Space Agency told me yesterday that their tests showed that a particular Earth-orbiting satellite's temperature will stabilize at 188K (I think that was the number he quoted).  The further away you are from the planet, the less reflected light you'll see, meaning even more cooling.

Offline nickmitch

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Re: Space News
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2011, 09:19:59 PM »
Better bring fire.
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Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2011, 09:58:55 PM »
also, i think that its a misgiving that space it empty, it can't be totally empty, its just extremely un-dense. Being though that there is little to no convection though, then that means theres no source of heat, if theres no source of heat then things get cold quick. However, this depends on where you are in relation to the sun. If your in a spot that gets no sun on the moon then its 50 below zero, a spot that gets sun and it could be 200 degrees. Those spots could be 2 feet away with little heat transfer.  Regular matter becomes like aerogel. If you wanted to keep your nuclear reactor cool all you would have to do is prevent sunlight from reaching it. Surrounding it with aerogel is not a bad idea either. Either option is extremely expensive at this point though.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 10:04:56 PM by ThePerm »
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Offline UltimatePartyBear

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Re: Space News
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2011, 04:19:18 PM »
The nuclear reactor itself is a source of heat.  That's how they work.  It is virtually impossible to radiate away enough heat for something like that to work.  And space, being mostly empty, is a better insulator than aerogel.

Offline Ceric

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Re: Space News
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2011, 04:31:54 PM »
Confused now.  Nuclear is used to fuel Space Vehicles much more often then Terrestrial vehicles.  They seem to do ok.  Though my beef with Nuclear are that most plants are really just steam generators.  We're  not actually take energy directly from the nuclear material.  We're boiling water.  Anything that produces enough heat could replace the nuclear material...
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Offline UltimatePartyBear

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Re: Space News
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2011, 04:46:33 PM »
Those are RTGs, not reactors.  They work by converting heat resulting from natural radioactive decay into electricity.  RTG output is measured in watts.  Nuclear reactor output is measured in megawatts.  There is a dramatic difference in the amount of cooling necessary.

Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2011, 05:32:42 PM »
If you just dig a deep enough hole that it was near the mantle and ran a pipe in a circle and fill it with water you would create a water cycle and this could spin turbines and generate electricity. This is Geothermal Energy which should be taken advantage of a lot more. Also Piezoelectricity.
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Offline oohhboy

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Re: Space News
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2011, 05:42:36 PM »
To clarify, a RTG doesn't directly use the radioactive decay to generate electricity, it uses the resultant heat differential to generate power. Any source of heat will do as long as there is a heat sink large enough to cause a significant differential. Space is "Cold" but there is nothing to conduct or convect the heat, so everything has to radiate away which can take a long time depending on surface area and "fins don't work in space!. RTGs are very inefficient for the equivalent amount of fuel used and energy extracted compared to normal nuclear reactor.

You can't directly convert radioactivity into electricity. There is no radioactive equivalent to what solar panels do with light. Even if there was such a device, the radiation will quickly destroy it. There is a very good reason why nuclear power plants only run for about 50 or so years. The radiation bombarding every bit of the reactor severely weakens it by literally blowing atom size holes in the structure and transmuting the metal into other weaker substances some of which are also radioactive.

At the end of the day most sources of power generation are very similar. You need a source of heat, usually the hotter the better and large heat sink to match. That is why virtually all thermal power plants are built near convenient water supplies like major rivers and coastlines. You cause/find a differential and you extract the difference.
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Offline UltimatePartyBear

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Re: Space News
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2011, 05:53:07 PM »
To clarify, a RTG doesn't directly use the radioactive decay to generate electricity,

Never said it did, dude.

Offline oohhboy

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Re: Space News
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2011, 06:24:17 PM »
Dude, there are like 3 whole paragraphs clarifying and expanding on how power generations works correcting some of the misconceptions expressed in this thread. You weren't wrong, I just used your post as a jumping off point. Chillax.
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Offline UltimatePartyBear

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Re: Space News
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2011, 06:30:10 PM »
I am chillaxed, dude.  You chillax.  ;)

Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2011, 02:19:24 AM »
you can convert radioactivity into electricity, thats how geiger counters work..which makes me wonder why the **** nobody ever thought to make a gigantic geiger-mueller tube?

« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 02:35:29 AM by ThePerm »
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Offline oohhboy

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Re: Space News
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2011, 03:56:06 AM »
No it doesn't. The radiation ionizes the gas inside allowing electricity to conduct from the from the cathode to the anode. Note in your picture the 500 volt power source. The radiation only usually ionizes one atom, but the applied voltage differential causes a electron avalanche which allows the gap to be bridged which sets off the counter. The electron avalanche is caused by the radiation, but it is not powered by it, the battery does that.

If you want to capture energy from radiation, you simply place enough matter in front of it so it will interact with it, converting it to heat. What you do with that heat is up to you.
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Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2011, 06:56:16 AM »
well its not exactly how it works, but principles from it can be used to capture electricity. There are non-thermal atomic batteries, but they haven't been employed much because of....issues.

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Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2020, 08:26:48 PM »
To clarify, a RTG doesn't directly use the radioactive decay to generate electricity, it uses the resultant heat differential to generate power. Any source of heat will do as long as there is a heat sink large enough to cause a significant differential. Space is "Cold" but there is nothing to conduct or convect the heat, so everything has to radiate away which can take a long time depending on surface area and "fins don't work in space!. RTGs are very inefficient for the equivalent amount of fuel used and energy extracted compared to normal nuclear reactor.

You can't directly convert radioactivity into electricity. There is no radioactive equivalent to what solar panels do with light. Even if there was such a device, the radiation will quickly destroy it. There is a very good reason why nuclear power plants only run for about 50 or so years. The radiation bombarding every bit of the reactor severely weakens it by literally blowing atom size holes in the structure and transmuting the metal into other weaker substances some of which are also radioactive.

At the end of the day most sources of power generation are very similar. You need a source of heat, usually the hotter the better and large heat sink to match. That is why virtually all thermal power plants are built near convenient water supplies like major rivers and coastlines. You cause/find a differential and you extract the difference.

https://actu.epfl.ch/news/a-novel-material-turns-space-radiation-into-electr/

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/mrs-online-proceedings-library-archive/article/direct-energy-conversion-from-gamma-ray-to-electricity-using-silicon-semiconductor-cells/AD86142E057DC2D41E77AD7E28DD10A7

in other news

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz4XjPoUgoA
« Last Edit: October 05, 2020, 08:36:51 PM by ThePerm »
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Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2020, 09:09:40 PM »
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Offline nickmitch

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Re: Space News
« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2020, 10:45:55 PM »
Love a good "life imitates art".
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Offline MASB

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Re: Space News
« Reply #30 on: October 19, 2020, 10:11:52 PM »
I hope the "A Giant Calculating Brain Decides To Rule The World!" part doesn't happen.

Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Space News
« Reply #31 on: October 19, 2020, 10:53:12 PM »
I hope the "A Giant Calculating Brain Decides To Rule The World!" part doesn't happen.

I mean, if you look at how the world's being run right now, maybe it's worth a shot.
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Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2020, 12:33:00 AM »
I mean... it might be an improvement?

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Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2021, 01:09:16 AM »
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Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #34 on: February 23, 2021, 03:54:15 AM »

Height comparison
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Offline RABicle

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Re: Space News
« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2021, 05:10:55 AM »
Every time I massively fail I'm going to tell people I collected so much data from it.
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Offline Khushrenada

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Re: Space News
« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2021, 10:31:03 AM »
Every time I massively fail I'm going to tell people I collected so much data from it.

LOL! I love this strategy! Definitely going to use it now too. That gets a honk!

Offline MASB

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Re: Space News
« Reply #37 on: March 09, 2021, 11:14:58 PM »
Best to use the Parrot Sketch excuse: That rocket didn't crash! It's resting!"

Offline ThePerm

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Re: Space News
« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2021, 07:00:31 AM »


From the 1950 movie Rocket X-M
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