Each of these projects receives $175,000.00 in grants for phase one work - you can read more about the program here, where you will also find links to detailed descriptions of each of the projects.
If I wanted to make this post extremely short, I could probably leave it at this: we humans are absolutely terrible at energy storage.
There is a public comment period open from now until May 31st for NASA's defined objectives in the Moon to Mars program, which can all be found here: Moon to Mars Objectives. NASA has some details about the public comment period here: NASA Seeks Input. To make comments, go here: Feedback on the draft.
I couldn't decide between two articles this week, so I decided to just post two. First up, a research paper I came across in Science Advances that studies how suction cups adhere underwater.
In any closed system, quantities must be conserved. Thermodynamics inform us that energy is conserved. Linear and angular momentum are both conserved, whether we’re looking at billiard balls in a Newtonian paradigm, or photons in a quantum system. Special relativity expands conservation even further to the equivalence between matter and energy. In a closed system, where nothing can escape, quantities are inevitably conserved.
This has been decades in the making, and I have been watching the observatory be delayed again, and again, and again for years now, so it was remarkable when it finally launched.
As a bit of a side project at work recently, I did some modeling work on TESS, which is a NASA spacecraft that was launched to help search for exoplanets using the transit method (I know, you could never have guessed that from the name's acronym breakdown). Working with satellites as much as I do, this was a really interesting project, because it was quite distinctive in its orbit and mission architecture from most spacecraft that I get to study on a regular basis. For one thing, it is a remarkably low-cost, robust, straightforward system, quite different from what you often see with NASA programs, which because of their scientific goals are often pushing the very edge of our capabilities and therefore become very complex and very expensive. For another, it utilizes a simply fascinating orbit. Since I've been trying to post occasional in-depth articles on various academic topics, it seemed appropriate to share some of what I learned from that project here.
A few weeks back, we posted about how NASA was planning to contract with commercial entities to obtain material from the lunar surface, known as lunar regolith. I came across an article on NASA's website this morning (which may or may not be my internet browser's homepage) that announced they had made selections for that exact mission.
I didn't put any really complex thought into deciding what the first educational post was going to be about; I just came across an article that I found interesting, and went from there. In this case, it was an article from NASA about purchasing lunar regolith (yes, NASA.gov is my browser's homepage). There were two, primary dimensions to this article, and they're worth analyzing independently: in-situ resource utilization, and international space law.
There was more than just discussion of Apollo in Rocket Men. Kurson sought to place the mission in its historical and geopolitical context. Although 1969 and Apollo 11 is what most people remember today, Apollo 8 and the events of 1968 were perhaps the true "moon shot" part of the entire program. Considering the events of this year, the inclusion of that context made for a more meaningful story. In 1968, America was torn by riots, deep political divisions, repeated tragedy, and a flu epidemic. Sound familiar? We do not today live in unprecedented times. History may not repeat itself, but as Mark Twain said, it does rhyme.