Sunday, April 26, 2015

Obstacles blocking colonization of Mars

Getting to Mars
With current rocket technology, it takes between seven and nine months to reach Mars. That’s a long time to be cooped up inside a tiny spacecraft with, presumably, a small number of crewmates.
The potential psychological effects of such isolation are not fully known, although there are parallels here on Earth with long-duration submarine deployments and wintering expeditions in Antarctica.
NASA announces world's biggest-ever rocket to take man to Mars and beyond
Then there are the physical health issues — in weightlessness, your bones and muscles begin to deteriorate. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station take regular exercise, but even that does not fully stop the decline.
And then there’s food. Who wants to spend seven months eating instant meals? Growing some edible plants during the journey sounds like a good idea, but it’s a bit of a risky proposition — what happens if your crops fail?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Making and storing anti-matter

Fictitious antimatter trap from movie Angels & Demons
If we really wish to fathom the mysteries of antimatter, we must first get to grips with the stuff itself. Easier said than done. How on earth do you pin down a substance that vanishes the moment it touches anything?

Although it sounds exotic, antimatter would look no different to matter if you came across a lump of it. Even individual atoms of matter and antimatter would be indistinguishable. It’s only inside the atoms that their true nature is evident.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Bring the Warp Drive to life: Alcubierre Warp Drive

The Alcubierre drive or Alcubierre metric is a speculative idea based on a solution of Einstein's field equations in general relativity as proposed by theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre, by which a spacecraft could achieve faster-than-light travel if a configurable energy-density field lower than that of vacuum (i.e. negative mass) could be created. Rather than exceeding the speed of light within a local reference frame, a spacecraft would traverse distances by contracting space in front of it and expanding space behind it, resulting in effective faster-than-light travel.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Anti matter & Fusion drives to take us to the stars

Artist's conception of an antimatter rocket
Nuclear fusion reactions sparked by beams of antimatter could be propelling ultra-fast spaceships on long journeys before the end of the century, researchers say.

A fusion-powered spacecraft could reach Jupiter within four months, potentially opening up parts of the outer solar system to manned exploration, according to a 2010 NASA report.

A number of hurdles would have to be overcome ― particularly in the production and storage of antimatter ― to make the technology feasible, but some experts imagine it could be ready to go in a half-century or so.