Tiny gram-scale interstellar probes pushed by laser light are probably the only technology capable of reaching another star in this century. A laser beamer powerful enough (~100-GW) to boost a few grams to relativistic speed will probably be available by 2050 as well as laser sails robust enough to survive launch, and terrestrial light buckets (~1-sq.km) big enough to catch the optical signals.
The use of non-model organisms in medical research is an expanding field. It has already made a significant impact on human health. Insights obtained from the study of unique mammalian traits are being used to develop novel therapeutic agents.
Water is the lifeblood of human survival and civilization on Earth. It is also critical for our sustained exploration beyond Earth. Mars has plenty of water to sustain our exploration and colonization in the form of subsurface ice. However, it is not clean water. It is contaminated by toxic perchlorates which are a serious environmental hazard on Earth.
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program seeks innovations from diverse and non-traditional sources. NIAC projects study innovative, technically credible, advanced concepts that could one day “change the possible” in aerospace. Here is a NAIC program from 2024.
Rocket propulsion technology has progressed far beyond the first weaponized rockets of the Chinese and Mongolian empires. They were really nothing more than rocket-powered arrows and spears but they set the foundations for our exploration of space. Liquid propellant, ion engines and solar sails have all been featured in the media as we strive for more efficient methods of space travel.
The chief of the U.S. Space Force has reviewed how Washington may respond if Moscow shoot down Western commercial satellites.
Rolls-Royce in the U.K. has recently announced a new type of nuclear reactor that could power a future lunar colony. The mini reactor is about three feet wide and ten feet long. It is not yet able to produce any electricity. It will take about six years and a few million dollars to prepare it for its first space trip.
Blue Origin is an aerospace company founded by Jeff Bezos. It recently announced its new and upcoming Swiss army knife-style spacecraft platform called Blue Ring. There has been little public discussion by Blue Origin regarding this project. In January of 2023, a story broke when Blue Origin briefly announced a job posting for Blue Ring Senior Program Manager on its Careers page.
Desert-dwelling bacteria that feed on sunlight, absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen could be incorporated into paint that supplements the air in a habitat on Mars.
Extraterrestrial mining and metal processing are key goals for space exploration. Rodolfo Marin Rivera at KU Leuven and a team of scientists in materials sciences have published a new report in Scientific Reports. They conducted catalytic dissolution of metals from meteorite proxies of metal rich asteroids by using a deep eutectic solvent.