Aeromarine_eng OP t1_jda8bc0 wrote

A new mission will search for habitable planets at Alpha Centauri by using a satellite with a small telescope.

>Discovering exoplanets is a major technological challenge, even for large space telescopes. For a mini satellite, the task is daunting. To achieve this, the team is developing a small custom-designed space telescope capable of extremely fine measurements.


Aeromarine_eng OP t1_j6ek8v7 wrote

A blink comparator was used.

> The photographic plates Tombaugh was comparing with this machine were 36 x 43 centimeters (14 x 17 inches), and were long exposures taken with a telescopic camera that sported a powerful 33-centimeter (13-inch) diameter lens.


Aeromarine_eng OP t1_j0xbidi wrote

Submission Statement:

A study from a group of researchers at the Colorado School of Mines looked at powering remote mining sites on earth that aren’t connected to any electric grid.

They found that solar power satellites aren’t yet economical enough to warrant the investment for powering remote mining sites that aren’t connected to any electric grid.

So, the answer to whether a space-based power satellite could power remote mines is “yes,” but there’s not much of a business case for it. There’s still a long way to go before beaming power from space becomes a profitable venture. But, as the authors note at the end of the paper, the whole calculation changes dramatically if some of the parts for the satellite are manufactured in space. So, there is still a point in the future, with a much more fleshed-out space infrastructure, where the price might eventually become competitive.


Aeromarine_eng OP t1_iz7bdfa wrote

European researchers are developing batteries that use a radioactive isotope to power long missions in the Solar System.

ESA has relied on US or Russian partners, which have used plutonium-238 batteries.

Americium’s big advantage over plutonium is that it is cheaper and more abundant, repurposing waste that would otherwise be useless.

Americium has a longer half-life than plutonium-238, which means it lasts longer but packs less power per gram. But because americium is more readily available, producing one watt of power costs about one-fifth as much as it does using plutonium.

Over the next three years, the European Devices Using Radioisotope Energy (ENDURE) team will develop prototypes into models that can be tested in mission-like conditions.