Interstellar Space Arks - Humanities Exodus From Earth

Interstellar Space Arks – Humanities Exodus From Earth

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Earlier this year, Professor Stephen Hawking warned the human race that, unless we found a way to colonise another planet in the next hundred years, we would face a very real threat of extinction. He said: “With climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious.” The idea of a brave band of people leaving Earth to start a new life elsewhere in the galaxy isn’t new. Rocket pioneer Robert H Goddard described an “interstellar ark” in 1918, and ten years later his Russian counterpart Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, known as the father of astronautic theory, …

What Happened to the Giant Hovercraft SR-N4? - The Concorde of the Seas

What Happened to the Giant Hovercraft SR-N4? – The Concorde of the Seas

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They were once known as the ‘Concorde of the Seas’: mighty flying boats that ferried their passengers with speed and style. Hovercraft were a symbol of national innovation and represented the future of transport in the 20th Century. And yet, like the Concorde, the huge iconic ‘Mountbatten-class’ hovercraft that once traversed the 22-mile English Channel from England to France carrying hundreds or passengers and cars are no longer with us. Today, the technology still attracts investment from the world’s militaries, industry and rescue services. These versatile machines have been used in the most inhospitable terrain, defying friction and coasting over …

Zeppelins of Mars - HAVOC on Venus

Zeppelins of Mars – HAVOC on Venus : NASA’s new Planetary Airships

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  If you thought airships like the Zeppelin were a thing of the past and consigned to the history books for their dangerous ability to burst into flames, then think again because NASA is looking at using them to explore Mars and Venus. On March 21st, 1999, a giant silver shape descended from the sky to thump down, bounce, then land in the Egyptian desert. It was the giant balloon Breitling Orbiter 3, and from the red capsule beneath emerged Bertrand Piccard: grandson of August Piccard, the first man to reach the stratosphere, and son of Jacques Piccard, who in …

Project Orion – The Atomic Bomb Powered Space Rocket

Project Orion – The Atomic Bomb Powered Space Rocket

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If I told that here was a plan to launch a spacecraft the size of an ocean liner, that would weigh 130 times more than the Space Shuttle, could travel with unrivalled speed across our Solar System and was powered by riding on a series pulses created by exploding thousands of miniature atomic bombs, one after another, another behind the ship, you would probably say that I’d been reading too many sci-fi books or websites. However, in the 1950’s and 60’s just such an idea was taken very seriously. ‘Project Orion’ was a classified American project to harness the power …

Hubble Trouble - How did the Space Telescope Mirror End Up Flawed ?

Hubble Trouble – How did the Space Telescope Mirror End Up Flawed ?

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In April of 1990 the American Shuttle Discovery launched up from the Earth, into a higher orbit than ever before, to deploy a special payload: the Hubble Space Telescope. Above even the thinnest part of the atmosphere, Hubble would be able to see far-off stars and galaxies without distortion and expand our understanding of the distant past. Or at least, that was the plan. But by June it was clear that there was something very wrong: the telescope with one of the most perfectly ground mirrors couldn’t focus properly. Apparently, the first great Space Observatory was ‘short-sighted’. Hubble’s 2.5-metre (8.2 …