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With past years our understanding of science and the universe has expanded exponentially giving us a complete new outlook towards it and opening up a very controversial idea, yet an intriguing one: do parallel universes exist?
Saturn has a lot of moons. Two of them are really odd, and bear a striking resemblance to the Death Star from the Star Wars movies. Mimas has a crater of approximately the same scale as the one on the Death Star. Iapetus also has large craters, but the resemblance lies in its equatorial ridge.
An exoplanet that orbits around two stars, known as a circumbinary planet, has recently been discovered by astronomers using the Kepler space telescope. The planet dubbed Kepler-16b has been compared to the planet Tatooine from Star Wars, due to the fact that it has two Suns in its sky.
This is the fourth and final part of the tether propulsion article of the non-rocket spacelaunch methods article series. This post will focus on references to the tether propulsion concept in fiction. The most prominent science fiction novels on the subject include the following.
The use of tethers in space poses many challenges and safety issues. This third part to the tether propulsion article will focus on those issues. A lot of the challenges and safety issues of a space tether system are similar to those of a space elevator described in a previous article, but some are unique to the space tether concept.
Tether propulsion consists in using long, very strong cables (known as tethers) to change the velocity of spacecraft and payloads. The tethers may be used to initiate launch, complete launch, or alter the orbit of a spacecraft. This form of propulsion would be significantly less expensive than spaceflight using modern rocket engines.
This is the fourth and final part of the space elevator article of the non-rocket spacelaunch methods article series. This post will focus on references to the space elevator concept in fiction. The first mention of anything remotely similar to a space elevator was the beanstalk in the children's fairy tale called Jack and the Beanstalk, published in 1807.
Space elevators, a futuristic concept, could be adapted for various celestial bodies: Mars, the Moon, and even asteroids, they promise a revolution in space access.
The space elevator is a gigantic concept and as such it has many safety issues that would have to be resolved before construction begins. A space elevator would present a navigational hazard, both to aircraft and spacecraft.
Why non-rocket spacelaunch? Because the current chemical rockets are really expensive. In order to further explore outer space and establish a permanent human presence in space we need more cost efficient spacelaunch methods.
I'm now officially done with all that college work. The semester is finally over! :) Therefore I will be able to write more regularly. I will bring back all the weekly series that I couldn't keep up with during the end of semester exam period. So now, other than the "Weekly Stargazing Calendar", there will also be the "Astronomy Picture of the Week" and the "Follow Friday & Weekly Stumbles" series and possibly more.
Some time ago, I posted an image of the Copernicus Crater for the Astronomy Picture of the Week. Now I stumbled upon an amazing painting by Marshal T. Savage depicting his vision of a future colony on the Moon. It’s the same Copernicus Crater, except it’s domed over and terraformed to create an ecosphere. At first I thought that this was really cool, but it would be impossible to build such a gigantic structure. (The crater has a diameter of 93 kilometers!) However after giving it some thought I changed my mind. If it was built with a material strong enough like carbon nanotubes, it could in theory be built. While…