Is the Truth in Asteroid Dust?

Is the truth in asteroid dust? Perhaps we’ll soon learn the answer. This month, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully brought asteroid dust back to Earth for the second time in history. A small asteroid doesn’t have a heated interior. Scientists believe that means that since the materials on an asteroid have never experienced that intense heat and altered, they have the “initial characteristics of the solar system.” Studying this material could lead to a new understanding of the history and development of our solar system. What Is an Asteroid It’s an irregularly shaped celestial body usually found between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. (See the illustration above.) They can be as small as pebbles or hundreds of miles in diameter. Most asteroids are rocks, but some have clays or metals in them. There are currently 1,038,96 known asteroids. Scientists believe that during the formation of our solar system some rocks and materials were “left overs.” These left overs are what we call asteroids.  How Do Scientists Study Asteroids? Astronomers have spent years observing celestial bodies like asteroids with powerful telescopes. Some scientists have been fortunate enough to work with meteorites, tiny bits of asteroids that survived the […]

Beyond the Imagination of the Earthbound

Did you watch Launch America? This weekend’s successful launch and docking of the Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon is the culmination of a lot of dreams-come-true. We’ve got a long way to go before commercial space travel will be available to everyone. But we will get there. What we will discover in space travel and exploration is beyond the imagination of the Earthbound. We cannot predict the new forces, powers, and discoveries that will be disclosed to us when we reach the other planets and set up new laboratories in space. They are as much beyond our vision today as fire or electricity would be beyond the imagination of a fish. –Arthur C. Clarke, “Space and the Spirit of Man” Or is it? Imagination Kindled The first known story about flying in space may have been the Hindu epic Ramayana (5th to 4th century BC). But most likely humans have dreamed of space travel since they first saw the moon and stars. There was a lot of dreaming before Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin launched into space on April 12, 1961. To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit. –Stephen Hawking And even more dreaming […]

Your Out-of-This-World Vacation

It’s possible that in 2025 there will be a hotel orbiting the Earth. You can plan your out-of-this-world vacation today, but would you? Would you be willing to be one of the first to stay in the orbiting hotel? Who Will Build it? In 2018 National Geographic published an article about, Orion Span, a Houston-based space tech startup. Orion announced plans to launch the first-ever luxury space hotel into Earth’s orbit. The Gateway Foundation, a private company is developing plans for the orbiting Von Braun Rotating Space Station. Axiom Space is another company planning a space hotel. Their plan includes building their first module or two attached to the International Space Station. When ISS retires in 2025, the Axiom modules will separate from ISS to become independent orbiting objects.  Who Will Stay There? The Von Braun station will accommodate both scientific research and visiting tourists. Designed to be the largest human-made structure in space, it will house up to 450 people. Orion says intend to offer short- and long-term leases to governments, to lease for government and private manufacturing and research, and up to four space tourists can visit for twelve days. Axiom offers trips to space tourists who want to take part […]