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Thursday 23 April 2015

S.A.B.R.E and space Geckos

Even though I'm deep into planning a deep space mission to an undiscovered planet........ ok I have lots of work and a mouse nest in my flat,  and that's why I'm really busy.....  but even though I'm a bit pushed there're a few things I can't resist telling you about:

S. A. B. R.E

SABRE stands for Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine. This is an engine -  well in fact it's more of a design that's on its way to becoming an engine -  that could revolutionise how we fly into space. They are intended to power the Skylon robotic space plane,  which would be the first commercial space launcher that launched like an airplane,  flew into space, did stuff then landed like an airplane.  It could bring the cost of sending things into space waaaay down.  Even better it's British!

Above: A run down on the SABRE engine, courtesy of Reaction Engines

The news on this is that the US airforce research laboratory have looked over the engine's design and decided it's probably going to work (ok there's a bit more to it than that - link here),  which adds to a recent assessment that the Skylon project shows economic promise.  It's all still a long way off but I like to dream about the day I can afford to launch my neighbours DIY tools into space (it sounds like they're about to break through the walls sometimes)...

Elsewhere in the Universe:

Planetary defence:
Did you know there's genuinely such a thing as a planetary defence conference? It's a gathering of scientists and astronomers, who look at threats to our planet from asteroid strikes. The conference has just finished, and here's a link to the site. The whole thing has been recorded, so here's a link to the videos and here's the first one to give you a feel for it where they're going through a rehearsal for if they ever need to confront a real asteroid threat...

There are Geckos in space:
They're part of an experiment into how weightlessness affects biology, but to be honest I just got caught up in this video where their sticky feet give them a huge advantage in microgravity, and let them set up a game between themselves:

Hey, it's Friday, I can't show you all a video about space Geckos playing?

Hubble hits 25:
The granddaddy of space telescopes has been exploring the universe for 25 years - here's a look back (and forwards) on its achievements. This is the full hour and a half version, so put on a cup of tea/coffee and leave the mobile on silent in the next room...

Elsewhere on the internet:

Throttle issue to blame for Falcon 9R crash
...but SpaceX is already at work on the next milestone
Into the void - runaway galaxies
Spectrum of exoplanet seen, tantalising hint of things to come


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