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View Full Version : NASA pushing the envelope



ToSeek
2004-Sep-29, 04:26 PM
NASA explores advanced space concepts (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0409/28advanced/)


Proposals selected for the 2004 Phase 1 awards:

* A Deep-Field Infrared Observatory near the Lunar Pole (Principal Investigator (PI): Dr. Roger J. Angel, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.)

* Extremely Large Swarm Array of Picosats for Microwave/RF Earth Sensing, Radiometry, and Mapping (PI: Ivan Bekey, Bekey Designs Inc., Annandale, Va.)

* Redesigning Living Organisms to Survive on Mars (PI: Dr. Wendy F. Boss, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.)

* Analysis of a Lunar Base Electrostatic Radiation Shield Concept (PI: Dr. Charles R. Buhler, ASRC Aerospace Corporation, Kennedy Space Center, Fla.)

* New Worlds Imager (PI: Dr. Webster Cash, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.)

* Efficient Direct Conversion of Sunlight to Coherent Light at High Average Power in Space (PI: Dr. Richard Fork, University of Alabama, Huntsville, Ala.)

* Use of Superconducting Magnet Technology for Astronaut Radiation Protection (PI: Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston)

* Wide-Bandwidth Deep-Space Quantum Communications (PI: Ricky Morgan, Morgan Optics Corporation, San Diego)

* Lunar Space Elevators for Cislunar Space Development (PI: Jerome Pearson, Star Technology and Research, Inc., Mount Pleasant, S.C.)

* Large-Product General-Purpose Design and Manufacturing Using Nanoscale Modules (PI: Chris Phoenix, Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, Brooklyn, N.Y.)

* Magnetized Beamed Plasma Propulsion (PI: Dr. Robert M. Winglee of the University of Washington, Seattle)

* A Self-Sustaining, Boundary-Layer-Adapted System for Terrain Exploration and Environmental Sampling (PI: Dr. Craig A. Woolsey, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.)

Demigrog
2004-Sep-29, 04:48 PM
* Redesigning Living Organisms to Survive on Mars (PI: Dr. Wendy F. Boss, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.)

This sounds like the premise for a B-Movie Scifi-Horror flick. The organisms turn on us in violent, gory ways.



* A Self-Sustaining, Boundary-Layer-Adapted System for Terrain Exploration and Environmental Sampling (PI: Dr. Craig A. Woolsey, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.)

Nice to see my Alma Mater on the cutting edge. :)

bigsplit
2004-Sep-29, 05:37 PM
[quote=ToSeek]
* Redesigning Living Organisms to Survive on Mars (PI: Dr. Wendy F. Boss, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.)



We should return the favor, it's only fair.

ToSeek
2004-Oct-01, 04:29 PM
More about one of them:

Pinhole Camera to Image New Worlds (http://www.astrobio.net/news/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid= 1226&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0)


The football field-sized starshade would be made of thin, opaque material and contain an aperture, or hole, in the center roughly 30 feet in diameter to separate a distant planet's light from the light of its adjacent parent star, Cash said. A detector spacecraft equipped with a telescope would trail tens of thousands of miles behind the orbiting starshade to collect the light and process it.

Evan
2004-Oct-01, 04:33 PM
Pinhole camera? Not needed.

http://www.planetary.org/news/2004/planet_pic_0916.html

ToSeek
2004-Oct-01, 05:16 PM
Pinhole camera? Not needed.

http://www.planetary.org/news/2004/planet_pic_0916.html

But couldn't the pinhole camera approach still make more and/or better observations? I note that the star in your example is a brown dwarf and hence very dim, which makes observing its planets much easier.

Evan
2004-Oct-01, 05:55 PM
"But couldn't the pinhole camera approach still make more and/or better observations? "

It may well work better, but probably isn't needed. With the advances in adaptive optics and the plan at Paranal to tie all four scopes together as an optical interfereometer they will be able to image much closer planets than that one. I did the math for an eight meter telescope when I saw the story. Assuming diffraction limited optics with seeing nulled out and the star system at the stated distance of 230LY the single scope they used would just be able to split objects at about the orbit of Earth. The pic shown is well resolved and obviously they could resolve something as close in as Saturn or so. The smaller object in the pic is at an orbit somewhat beyond Pluto here but is likely a huge gas giant.

ToSeek
2004-Oct-01, 07:04 PM
But how about stuff like this (quoting from the article I linked to)?:


"In its most advanced form, the New Worlds Imager would be able to capture actual pictures of planets as far away as 100 light-years, showing oceans, continents, polar caps and cloud banks," said Cash. If extra-terrestrial rainforests exist, he said, they might be distinguishable from deserts.

Evan
2004-Oct-01, 07:28 PM
That would be very cool. Sounds hard to point though. It could be used to further image suspects found by other means. I think there may be a station keeping problem 'cause of solar wind, light pressure etc.