Payroll growth rebounded sharply in June as the U. Stocks fell from all-time highs after the release of stronger jobs data dampened hope for easier Federal Reserve monetary policy. In , a collection of astronauts, academics, and aerospace industrialists convened to review NASA's present and future plans for manned space flight. Informally dubbed the "Augustine Commission," the more-stuffily named Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee determined that our ultimate goal ought to be nothing less than "to chart a path for human expansion into the solar system.
Considering that Earth's resources are finite and that the well of human desire knows no bottom, a continued future for our species will likely require robust manned spaceflight to leave the planet. But it remains incredibly expensive and logistically complex to see humans break the planet's escape velocity, let alone with any regularity. The ostensibly modern spacecraft of today carry all their fuel with them from the start — a lot of that fuel is required simply to transport other fuel. It's comically inconvenient. Contemporary spaceflight is impractical by virtue of being unsustainable; it's a pursuit for governmental agencies and rich visionaries.
Now an industry with its roots in prehistory is changing that tune, summoning up a modern set of incentives for people to get more intimate with outer space. More from NBC News: Thousands of workers got raises after Obama's overtime law failed Far-right German party looks to tap into terror attacks backlash Russian minister: Error or tech failure eyed in plane crash.
The minerals we pull out of the the ground — whether they're worth money or are useful for some process — have the same composition as the minerals that comprise planets and asteroids. So what good are those minerals doing us out there? The incentive is undeniable.
More than turning asteroids into money, however, today's space mining entrepreneurs are intent on turning asteroids into figurative gas stations. The ubiquitous space rocks are commonly home to water ice — or hydrogen and oxygen, the building blocks of rocket fuel. Deltion Innovations is a Canadian company developing hardcore robotic drills and excavation systems to sell to others for use in outer space.
Once a mining operation has successfully harvested ice, CEO Dale Boucher says, "We can break that water ice into its hydrogen and oxygen components by putting a DC voltage into it. This breaks the bonds of water apart, with the hydrogen going to one electrode and the oxygen going to another. This is called electrolysis, and we can use it in space to make fuel. In its perfect, refined form to come, space mining stands to radically normalize the notion of interstellar travel. With an easily refilled gas tank, future spacecraft will be free of the usual time and planning restrictions.
Suddenly the whole galaxy is the scenic route. Nations are of course paying attention at the political level. The Outer Space Treaty of asserts that no country can claim ownership over an asteroid, planet or other heavenly body. But President Barack Obama signed the U.
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Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act in November specifically to make it legal for American space mining companies to pursue their goals the Act protects these companies and others from regulatory oversight until October 1, — the tone is perhaps, "Do what you have to do to make this work, then we'll worry about making it safe". But after all these years of stagnation and bureaucratization, NASA lacks the will to attempt such a feat.
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A second-best alternative — one that could potentially transform NASA back into the can-do agency it once was, and that it needs to be again if it is ever to attempt to reach Mars — is to reverse the retreat by reopening the lunar frontier. The gateway is a planned space station that will orbit the Moon, supposedly serving as an outpost for human explorations to the Moon, Mars, and deep space. The idea is silly. There is no need to have a space station circling the Moon in order to go to the Moon or Mars or anywhere else.
But none of these activities requires human presence in lunar orbit. Retrieved September 20, Spaceflight Now.
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Retrieved September 8, NASA, January 6, NASA News. The National Academies Press. Future Planetary Exploration. August 4, PDF M. Choukroun, C. Raymond, M. EPSC Abstracts. European Planetary Science Congress PDF S. Sandford, N. Chabot, N. Dello Russo, J. Leary, E. Reynolds, H. Weaver, D. Calla Cofield, Space. Five Missions Proposed to Follow Cassini. Spaceflight Insider. Simon, Amy Banfield, D. Atkinson, D. Atreya, S. Brinckerhoff, W.
- The Next Frontier: Space Miners are the Universe's Future Tycoons.
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Colaprete, A. Coustenis, A. Fletcher, L. Guillot, T. Hofstadter, M. June 11, PDF Esposito, L. PDF L. Glaze, J.
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