There are an estimated 129 million tiny bits of debris floating in orbit that, due to their high velocity, can cause catastrophic damage to space vehicles and satellites. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers are developing a compact orbiting device to semi-autonomously seek out the debris and catch it in a net. Designed as a system of CubeSats, each just 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm, the trash collector, called OSCaR (Obsolete Spacecraft Capture and Removal), will collect the tiny pieces of junk until it's full and then deorbit itself to burn up in the atmosphere. From RPI:
One of (the three) CubeSat units (in each complete system) will house the “brains” of OSCaR including GPS, data storage, and communication, as well as the power and thermal management systems. Another will hold propellant and the system’s propulsion module to drive OSCaR forward. The third unit will contain four gun barrels, nets, and tethers to physically capture debris, one piece at a time. This capture module will also have optical, thermal, and RADAR imaging sensors to help OSCaR locate debris in the vastness of its surrounding space...
“There’s an informal agreement that’s been in place for a few years that people who put space objects up there should be practicing good citizenship,” (Rensselaer engineering professor Kurt) Anderson said. “We envision a day where we could send up an entire flock, or squadron, of OSCaRs to work jointly going after large collections of debris.”
Next year, the United States Mint will release a silver dollar coin commemorating astronaut and elementary school teacher Christa McAuliffe who died with her six crewmates when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after liftoff on January 28, 1986. The candidate coin designs (below) were presented to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the group’s […]
Definitely book me on the very first flight off this hell-planet 2020, yes please.
Mary W. Jackson was one of the black women mathematicians at NASA whose contributions to the space race were made in a segregated and sexist environment and left unsung until the publication of Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures [Amazon]. Jackson’s name will now grace NASA’s D.C. headquarters, permanently honoring a “human computer” who made […]
This is truly a golden age for fans of a big ginormous TV screen. Not too long ago, to buy a television over 40 inches usually meant wheeling one of those massive Mitsubishi or Toshiba projection monoliths into your home, consuming a vast portion of any room at a cost of potentially $7,000 to $8,000. […]
Nearly 30 years after it started its run as the most dominant productivity software ever created, the Microsoft Office suite of programs are now virtually synonymous with personal computing. From its days bundled with Windows to its current life as Office 365 cloud-based apps, there’s no reason to think perennial hits like Word, Excel and […]
Photography isn’t just about lighting and composition anymore, especially when you’re shooting with your smartphone. While a wealth of expertise can absolutely help you grab better images, sometimes it’s just about having a great light or an amazing smoothing gimbal to instantly elevate your Instagram pics and other social videos from meh to standout. To […]