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Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.

The concept

The Oxyde is a spacecraft/space module designed to carry robots to the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. It would also be used to pull smaller asteroids back closer to the Earth and Moon and could house engineers in charge of mining operations.


The background

Travelling within our solar system will probably become a possibility in the next 50 years. The next logical step will be to mine rare metals in space – if the numbers add up.

How will we do this? Will we develop multipurpose vehicles for this task? That’s the idea behind the Oxyde concept.

The Oxyde would fly into space by riding on top of a super heavy lift-launch vehicle.
The Oxyde would fly into space by riding on top of a super heavy lift-launch vehicle.

How it works

The Oxyde would be designed to carry humanoid robots into space. (See Robonaut 2by NASA.) It would not, however, be engineered to re-enter our atmosphere. It would fly out into space by riding on top of a super heavy-lift launch vehicle and remain there for the duration of its useful life.

The first Oxyde would be equipped with a chemical rocket powerful enough to reach the asteroid belt and bring back a small asteroid. Once it reached its destination, robonauts would exit the spacecraft and begin to survey and select suitable asteroids to mine.

Pulling an asteroid back to Earth will not be an easy task.The mass of the targeted asteroids would be limited by the thrust and fuel available on the Oxyde for the return trip. However, it would also be possible to send fuel to the surveying team once a candidate is selected.

Once the Oxyde is back near the moon, it could enter a lunar orbit with the asteroid and mining operations could begin.

At this point, a crew of human engineers could take their places aboard the Oxyde and live there to supervise mining operations. Basically, the Oxyde would become a space module for the mining crew.

The Oxyde would allow mining to take place in space, a necessary financial incentive for colonizing the solar system.
The Oxyde would allow mining to take place in space, a financial incentive to colonize the solar system.

What it’s used for

Would you like humans to colonize the solar system one day? If the answer is yes, then there will need to be a financial incentive, and mining is probably one of the best ones to attract investors. Of course, the cost will still be astronomical ($100-million (U.S.) for each launch, plus the spacecraft, preparation, etc.). There are thousands of unanswered questions, but this concept was meant first and foremost to continue the discussion around space mining .

The designer

I would like to thank Martin Rico for creating the images of the Oxyde concept. Rico lives near Buenos Aires and studied design at the University of Buenos Aires and now works as a freelance industrial designer. He also designed the Seataci Yacht concept and the Sutton and Maui snowboard and surfboard mobile rental units.

Source: This article was published theglobeandmail By CHARLES BOMBARDIER

Categorized in Internet Technology

Here’s what happened to global temperatures after the dinosaur-killing asteroid struck

The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs wreaked apocolyptic havoc on Earth due to circumstance rather than size, scientists have argued.

New research suggests the relatively minor nine-mile wide asteroid — equivalent to a grain of sand hitting a bowling ball — smashed into a huge lode of sulphur-rich rock, subsequently plunging the planet into a global winter and pulverising numerous species.

Scientists drilled a mile down into the 20-mile deep impact crater, located in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Yucatan peninsula, in a bid to further understand how the catastrophic end to the dinosaurs' 150 million year reign on earth came to such an abrupt end 68 million years ago..

The site, dubbed Chicxulub after its discovery by geologists in 1991, has long baffled scientists, who have so far unable to explain the ill-fitting scale of the impact — known to be 110 miles wide — compared to its catastrophic consequences.

But, after analysing extract samples from the crater, the team, led by Sean Gulick, professor of geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin and Professor Joanna Morgan, of Imperial College London, believe an answer may have been found.

"That asteroid struck Earth in a very unfortunate place," Gulick told The Sunday Times.Asteroid hit

"Had the asteroid struck moments earlier or later, it might have hit deep water in the Atlantic or Pacific. That would have meant much less vaporised rock. Sunlight could still have reached the planet's surface, meaning what happened next might have been avoided."

Morgan added: "The samples suggest more than 100bn tons of sulphates were thrown into the atmosphere, plus soot from the fires that followed.

"That would be enough to cool the planet for a decade and wipe out most life."

As a consequence the global surface air temperature decreased by at least 26C, with three to 16 years of subfreezing temperatures and a recovery time longer than 30 years, a recent research paper from Julia Brugger, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, concludes.

The results are to be revealed in the BBC2 documentary The Day the Dinosaurs Died, scheduled to air on Monday (15 May).

This theory mirrors a hypothesis put forward by Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at Edinburgh University.

In a 2014 report in the Biological Reviews, Brusatte found dinosaurs were faring well over at the time of impact. However, the strike coincided with a period in the dinosaur biodiversity timeline that reduced the plant eating herbivore types who could have survived the impact.

The key to human life?

Programme presenters, Professors Alice Roberts and Ben Garrod, gained unique access, in part due to being scientists themselves.

Garrod, an evolutionary scientist, added: "Had the asteroid struck moments earlier or later, it might have hit deep water in the Atlantic or Pacific. That would have meant much less vaporised rock. Sunlight could still have reached the planet's surface, meaning what happened next might have been avoided."

Source: This article was published International Business Times By Alex Taylor

Categorized in Internet Technology

 

The telescope at China's Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing has captured images of an asteroid approaching Earth. The asteroid, coded as 2009ES by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), was observed Wednesday night. This is the first time that a telescope in China has captured images of the asteroid, one of 1,640 minor bodies listed by MPC that could have a close encounter with the Earth.

Scientists estimate that should an asteroid measuring 10,000 meters collide with Earth, the impact would equal the explosion capacity of 3 billion atomic bombs. Astronomers widely believe that such an asteroid hit the Earth 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs.

The observatory's 1.2-meter Schmit is the largest telescope of its kind in Asia.
The observatory was notified by MPC on Sept. 5 to observe the asteroid. It passed Earth within a range 18.8 times of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

Zhao Haibin with the observatory said minor planets' trajectories could be changed by stellar attraction from planets such as Mars. Continuous observation is needed to keep track of any changes.

"With the help of our images, astronomers across the globe have a more accurate moving trajectory of the asteroid," he said. Previously, eight other telescopes around the world had captured images of the asteroid.

The Daily Galaxy via Chinese Academy of Science and Xinhua

Source : http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2016/09/chinas-largest-telescope-sights-an-asteroid-approaching-earth.html

 

Categorized in Others

Asteroids pop up out of nowhere sometimes. It can be a bit scary.

Know what's really comforting? When a completely unobserved asteroid snuck up on Earth at the end of last month and went whizzing by our planet like a golf ball, without so much as a "Fore!" from any of our detection systems. And it happened this week. Again.

The new asteroid, both smaller and a closer call than the next most recent specimen (from like two weeks ago—seriously this isn't comforting), was still tens of thousands of miles away and had no chance of hitting Earth as it sailed by. And I guess that's comforting to someone.

But regardless, sailing by unnoticed is not a good sign when we're trying to build early warning systems to protect ourselves from the potential of mass extinction events caused by impact.

Someone should really try and study these things.

I suggest everyone go re-watch Deep Impact and take a few hours to reflect on how this isn't something we should make mistakes with.

[H/T Gizmodo]

Source : http://www.popsci.com/second-asteroid-in-month-sails-by-without-us-detecting-it-first

Categorized in Others

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