Category Archives: Space Travel

Mystery pyramid found on Ceres

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has been an amazing source of information since it was sent on its journey to the dwarf planet of Ceres, which lies between Mars and Jupiter. The dwarf planet has been a major source of controversy since it was discovered in 1801 and the approach of Dawn has seen many of the features of the planet finally revealed for the first time in images sent back to Earth. Sky News is now reporting a mysterious mountain shaped like a pyramid has been seen in the latest images and will be investigated further when the Dawn spacecraft falls to a lower orbit in August stated MarketWatch. 

Dawn is currently orbiting at 2,700 miles above the surface of Ceres, but will fall to just 900 miles of orbit after June 30th in a bid to investigate more of the surface of this mysterious planet. The spacecraft will look for reasons why bright spots are seen on the surface of the planet with many scientists believing ice and salt deposits could cause these mysterious bright areas. The three mile high pyramid is one of the most mysterious features on the surface of the planet, which is largely flat aside from a number of wide craters. Many theories have risen out of the images, including those who claim alien lifeforms built the structure in the past.

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Successful Test of a New Space Propulsion Method

There has been a lot of work by scientists and engineers on various propulsion methods for reaching the other planets of our solar system and reducing the cost of going to the moon. Chemical rockets are very expensive and inefficient. They have to carry the tremendous weight of their liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuel which reduces the amount of weight left over for the payload. Chemical rockets are really only needed to get off the earth’s surface and into space. Once in space, methods that involve more gradual acceleration but use little to no propellant can be utilized to get around far more efficiently and at a much lower cost. One such method that FreedomPop users have been hearing buzz about is the idea of a solar sail that deploys and uses the sun’s energy to propel it.

The first step in such a solar sail propulsion method has been taken recently. A small version of this concept, in the form of a spacecraft named LightSail, has been launched into space. After a few problems along the way, LightSail successfully deployed its solar sail. The sail is about the size of a basketball court and it is made to be struck by energy from the sun to propel it forward at very gradual acceleration. This first one is a tiny test version and is expected to enter and burn up in the earth’s atmosphere before long, but a second mission is already planned to continue to develop this propulsion method.

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