Tag: asteroids

Honeybee Robotics Developing Prospector Spacecraft That Can Refuel Itself

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honeybee_roboticsNASA has selected Honeybee Robotics for four Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and one Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR) Phase I contracts, including one that would help develop a resource prospecting spacecraft capable of refueling itself using in-situ resources.

The five proposals include:

  • The World is Not Enough (WINE): Harvesting Local Resources for Eternal Exploration of Space (STTR)
  • Planetary Volatiles Extractor for In Situ Resource Utilization (SBIR)
  • Development of a Hermetically Sealed Canister for Sample Return Missions (SBIR)
  • Lunar Heat Flow Probe (SBIR)
  • Miniaturized System-in-Package Motor Controller for Spacecraft and Orbital Instruments (SBIR)

WINE, which is being done with the University of Central Florida in Orlando, involves a 3D-printed CubeSat that would be able to refuel itself by extracting in-situ resources. The spacecraft would be able to land on an asteroid or moon, examine the location, and fly to another location using the water it extracted in its thruster system.

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Sparks Fly in House Science Committee Over Asteroid Property Rights Bill

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Welcome WRANGLER, a NIAC-funded idea to capture and de-spin asteroids and space debris. (Credit: Robert Hoyt/Tethers Unlimited)

Welcome WRANGLER, a NIAC-funded idea to capture and de-spin asteroids and space debris. (Credit: Robert Hoyt/Tethers Unlimited)

In a contentious hearing on Wednesday, the Republican controlled House Science Committee approved a measure that would give companies rights to materials they mine from asteroids over complaints from Democrats that the measure was unconstitutional and drawn up to benefit a single company.

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Posey Introduces Measure Calling for Return to Moon by 2023

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moon_rise_half
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) has introduced a measure directing NASA to plan a return to the moon within eight years and the establishment of a permanent presences there.

“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall plan to return to the Moon by 2023 and develop a sustained human presence on the Moon, in order to promote exploration, commerce, science, and United States preeminence in space as a stepping stone for the future exploration of Mars and other destinations,” the measure reads. “The budget requests and expenditures of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall be consistent with achieving this goal.”

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Asteroid Property Rights Legislation Introduced in Congress

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Welcome WRANGLER, a NIAC-funded idea to capture and de-spin asteroids and space debris. (Credit: Robert Hoyt/Tethers Unlimited)

Welcome WRANGLER, a NIAC-funded idea to capture and de-spin asteroids and space debris. (Credit: Robert Hoyt/Tethers Unlimited)

Legislation that would grant property rights to entities mining asteroids has been introduced in Congress.

“Any asteroid resources obtained in outer space are the property of the entity that obtained such resources, which shall be entitled to all property rights thereto, consistent with applicable provisions of Federal law,” the measure states.

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Deep Space Industries Selected for NASA SBIR Contract

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Deep Space Industries will build a constellation of 24 nano-sats, called BitSats for Dunvegan Space Systems. (Credit:  Bryan Versteeg, DSI)

Deep Space Industries will build a constellation of 24 nano-sats, called BitSats for Dunvegan Space Systems. (Credit: Bryan Versteeg, DSI)

NASA has selected Deep Space Industries for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award to develop asteroid simulants for use in testing technologies on the ground.

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Honeybee Robotics Selected for SBIR & STTR Phase II Awards

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honeybee_roboticsNASA has selected Honeybee Robotics for two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards and a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award to continue development of new technologies to explore and sample planets, asteroids and comets.

The SBIR Phase II awards are focused on a comet sampler system and a high-temperature (HT) Venus drill and sample delivery system. The STTR Phase II project is for developing asteroid prospecting technologies.

“Samples from comets, asteroids and small moons hold great scientific interest,” according to the comet sampler project summary. “Near term missions that would benefit this technology include NF4 Comet Surface Sample Return and Cryogenic Comet Nucleus Sample Return (CCSNR) Mission. The sampler can also be used on NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission.

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House Space Subcommitee’s Surreal NASA Budget Hearing

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Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith

I woke up early this morning with a low-grade headache. Checking Twitter, I discovered I’d slept through the beginning of a House Subcommittee on Space’s hearing on NASA’s budget with Administrator Charlie Bolden.

My headache immediately worsened as I found the hearing webcast on my cell phone. A whole range of largely unprintable words and phrases came immediately to mind, but there was one that kept coming back: clown car. The House Science Committee really needs a bigger clown car.

It’s not the committee members’ criticism of the Boulder (sorry, Asterorid) Redirect Mission that I had a problem with. Or their demands that NASA actually present a road map to help guide the nation on the road to Mars. I even understood why they felt the Obama Administration’s request for Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion was low. And the Europa mission probably needs more money. All those things are the subject of legitimate debate.

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ESA, NASA Prepare to Blast Asteroid to Kingdom Come

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ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission will provide before-and-after data on the ‘Didymoon’ asteroid, set to be struck by NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) probe in late 2022. A plume is expected to be triggered by the highly energetic collision. (Credit: ESA-Science Office)

ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission will provide before-and-after data on the ‘Didymoon’ asteroid, set to be struck by NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) probe in late 2022. A plume is expected to be triggered by the highly energetic collision. (Credit: ESA-Science Office)

PARIS (ESA PR) — If an asteroid were spotted headed towards Earth, what could humanity do about it? ESA’s latest mission is part of a larger international effort to find out.

This month marked the start of preliminary design work on ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission, or AIM. Intended to demonstrate technologies for future deep-space missions, AIM will also be the Agency’s very first investigation of planetary defence techniques.

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Asteroid Redirect Mission Video: Crew Segment

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Video Caption: NASA announced the next step in the plan to retrieve an asteroid boulder from a near-Earth asteroid and redirect it into a stable orbit around the moon to carry out human exploration missions, all in support of advancing the nation’s journey to Mars. For NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), a robotic spacecraft will capture a boulder from the surface of an asteroid for exploration by astronauts in the mid-2020s to test a number of new capabilities needed for future human expeditions to deep space, including to Mars. This animation illustrates the crewed part of ARM, showing how astronauts will travel to the asteroid using NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft, investigate the boulder and return a sample of the asteroid back to Earth.

NASA to Spend Over $1 Billion to Move a Space Boulder

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In this concept image, the robotic vehicle descends to the surface of a large asteroid to collect a boulder that it can redirect to a distant retrograde lunar orbit. (Credit: NASA)

In this concept image, the robotic vehicle descends to the surface of a large asteroid to collect a boulder that it can redirect to a distant retrograde lunar orbit. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Wednesday announced more details in its plan for its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which in the mid-2020s will test a number of new capabilities needed for future human expeditions to deep space, including to Mars. NASA also announced it has increased the detection of near-Earth asteroids by 65 percent since launching its asteroid initiative three years ago.

For ARM, a robotic spacecraft will capture a boulder from the surface of a near-Earth asteroid and move it into a stable orbit around the moon for exploration by astronauts, all in support of advancing the nation’s journey to Mars.

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