GRAVITY NEWS 12
GRAVITY NEWS 12
Lunar laser ranging: 40 years of high-level science
"Lunar reflectors left by Apollo astronauts have been used continuously since 1969 to study the earth-moon system and test the validity of the laws of physics. Five "corner mirrors" or "retro-reflector arrays" were taken to the moon in 1969 and the early 1970s (Figures 1 and 2). Corner mirrors are important scientific instruments because, when struck precisely by a laser beam, they reflect the beam in a parallel path back to the source of the laser. The arrays left on the moon were used continuously in the lunar laser ranging, or LLR experiment. "
This is kinda burried in a page of data, but may be of interest;
"The FE will also turn on the Russian TEKh-15/DAKON-M IZGIB ("Bend") experiment hardware in the SM to take structural dynamics data during the undocking operation. Afterwards, DAKON will be deactivated again. [IZGIB has the objective to help update mathematical models of the ISS gravitation environment, using accelerometers of the Russian SBI Onboard Measurement System, the GIVUS high-accuracy angular rate vector gyrometer of the SUDN Motion Control & Navigation System and other accelerometers for unattended measurement of micro-accelerations at science hardware accommodation locations - (1) in operation of onboard equipment having rotating parts (gyrodynes, fans), (2) when establishing and keeping various ISS attitude modes, and (3) when performing crew egresses into space and physical exercises.]"
First stop for Flexible Path?
"The flexibility is in response to technological advances. Such flexpath destinations could well include these individual bodies, but also opportunistic sites bereft of deep gravity wells such as NEOs, Lagrange (libration) points in the vicinity of the Earth, and eventually a Martian moon to be used as a teleoperations center for work on the Red Planet. It is recognized that both the flexpath strategy and a strategy directed wholly towards the Moon, as is the baseline plan, were both considered by the Augustine committee to be exploration strategies that were viable."
Russia to develop nuclear-powered spacecraft for Mars mission
"MOSCOW. (Yury Zaitsev, for RIA Novosti) - At its recent meeting, the Presidential Commission for Modernization and Technological Development of Russia's Economy called for developing a transport-energy module with a megawatt-class nuclear propulsion unit.
President Dmitry Medvedev approved the project and promised to find funding for it. Analysts say Russia could restore its status as a leading space power if it scores a breakthrough with nuclear propulsion.
Soviet and U.S. nuclear spacecraft programs were marred by a number of accidents."
Dancing Black Holes Found In Distant Galaxies
"Astronomers are announcing today that they have discovered 33 pairs of waltzing black holes in distant galaxies. This result was presented by Dr. Julia Comerford of the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California to the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, DC. This result is particularly important because it shows that supermassive black hole pairs are more common than previously known from observations, and because the black hole pairs can be used to estimate how often galaxies merge with each other."
Propelled by light: the promise and perils of solar sailing
"The Society hopes to launch the sail in about a year as part of a three-stage plan to demonstrate the viability of solar sail propulsion, which has never been tested in orbit. The group says it is the only practical technology that might be used for interstellar travel, since the light generates a small but constant pressure that should accelerate a sail to high speeds over time"
Russia plans to save Earth from asteroid hit but NASA unperturbed
"Russia kicked up a celestial storm after the head of its space agency claimed it may send a spacecraft to deflect a large asteroid off its course. Roscosmos chief Anatoly Perminov said this will reduce the possibility of an earth impact.
Though scientists elsewhere are sceptical, there is concern that the Russians might still go ahead because such a 'space cowboy' project can capture people's imagination and attract a lot of sponsors."