NASA bets on Busek’s BET-100 miniature cubesat propulsion system
Busek today announced that its BET-100 miniature cubesat propulsion system has been selected for a $1.6 million NASA award. The contract is sponsored by the Small Spacecraft Technology Program within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), and carries a total value up to $2.3 million.
NASA’s Commercialization Readiness Program identifies and advances the highest value technologies for spaceflight, the BET-100 now being a candidate for a Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator space mission. NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley will lead the project in collaboration with NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The Busek micro-propulsion system will enable unprecedented in-space maneuverability for cubesats and small satellites.
China sets up laboratory to research building solar power station in space
China has started laboratory research to develop a solar power station in high orbit to beam potentially huge amounts of energy back to earth.
The plan envisages putting a space station with a huge solar array in orbit about 35,000 km from earth. A solar power station would potentially be able to produce huge amounts of energy as it directly receives sunlight without filtering from the earth’s atmosphere and it could operate 24 hours a day.
Mars’ mysterious moon Phobos revealed in new photo
This eerie portrait of Mars’ moon Phobos in ultraviolet light was snapped by the NASA orbiter MAVEN as their orbits crossed paths.
Phobos is the nearer and stranger of Mars’ two moons — in the 1950s and 1960s, some scientists thought that its unusual orbit, spiraling inward, suggested that it might be a hollow, artificial body. The little moon has long, shallow grooves along its sides, likely caused by the pull of Mars, and it moves about 6.6 feet (2 meters) closer to the Red Planet every hundred years, NASA officials have said.
In fact, Phobos is the closest moon to its planet in the solar system, circling Mars at just 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) above its surface. It’s so close that it orbits within the sphere of Mars’ thin atmosphere — the blue pixels that form the new portrait’s background are the ultraviolet light scattered from hydrogen gas in Mars’ extended upper atmosphere. The orange comes from longer ultraviolet wavelengths of sunlight reflected from the moon’s surface.
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