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NASA loads 14 companies with $370M for ‘tipping point’ technologies – TechCrunch

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NASA has announced more than a third of a billion dollars worth of “Tipping Point” contracts awarded to over a dozen companies pursuing potentially transformative space technologies. The projects range from in-space testing of cryogenic tech to a 4G LTE network for the Moon.

The space agency is almost always accepting applications for at least one of its many grant and contract programs, and Tipping Point is directly aimed at commercial space capabilities that need a bit of a boost. According to the program description, “a technology is considered at a tipping point if an investment in a demonstration will significantly mature the technology, increase the likelihood of infusion into a commercial space application, and bring the technology to market for both government and commercial applications.”

In this year’s awards, which take the form of multi-year contracts with multiple milestones, the focus was on two main areas: cryogenics and lunar surface tech. Note that the amounts provided are not necessarily the cost of developing the tech, but rather the sums deemed necessary to advance it to the next stage. Here’s a brief summary of each award:

Cryogenics

  • Eta Space, $27M: In-space demonstration of a complete cryogenic oxygen management system
  • Lockheed Martin, $89.7M: In-space demonstration of liquid hydrogen in over a dozen cryogenic applications
  • SpaceX, $53.2M: Flight demonstration transferring 10 tons of liquid oxygen between tanks in Starship
  • ULA, $86.2M: Demonstration of a smart propulsion cryogenic system on a Vulcan Centaur upper stage

Lunar surface innovation

  • Alpha Space Test and Research Alliance, $22.1M: Develop a small tech and science platform for lunar surface testing
  • Astrobotic, $5.8M: “Mature” a fast wireless charging system for use on the lunar surface
  • Intuitive Machines, $41.6M: Develop a hopper lander with a 2.2-pound payload capacity and 1.5-mile range
  • Masten Space Systems, $2.8M: Demonstrate a universal chemical heat and power source for lunar nights and craters
  • Masten Space Systems, $10M: Demonstrate precision landing an hazard avoidance on its Xogdor vehicle (Separate award under “descent and landing” heading)
  • Nokia of America, $14.1M: Deploy the first LTE network in space for lunar surface communications
  • pH Matter, $3.4M: Demonstrate a fuel cell for producing and storing energy on the lunar surface
  • Precision Compustion, $2.4M: Advance a cheap oxide fuel stack to generate power from propellants
  • Sierra Nevada, $2.4M: Demonstrate a device using solar energy to extract oxygen from lunar regolith
  • SSL Robotics, $8.7M: Develop a lighter, cheaper robotic arm for surface, orbital, and “terrestrial defense” applications
  • Teledyne Energy Systems, $2.8M: Develop a hydrogen fuel cell power system with a 10,000-hour battery life

You can read more about the proposal process and NASA’s areas of interest at the Tipping Point solicitation page.

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The metallic asteroid between Mars and Jupiter is … – AlKhaleej Today

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According to a new Planetary Science Journal report published by CBS News, a giant metallic asteroid, valued at around $ 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 – more than the entire earth’s economy – orbits Mars and Jupiter.

The massive asteroid 16 Psyche is the subject of a new study by SwRI scientist Tracy Becker, who observed the object at ultraviolet wavelengths.

Asteroid 16 Psyche, as it is called, is possibly the remainder of a planetary core that never properly formed into an actual planet. While most asteroids are made of stone or ice, the incredibly dense psyche is mostly metal and about 140 miles in diameter, making it the size of Massachusetts.

The new study by the Planetary Science Journal found that psyche may be composed of iron and nickel, which are typically found in the cores of planets.

“We have seen meteorites made mostly of metal, but Psyche may be unique in that it is an asteroid made entirely of iron and nickel,” said lead study author Dr. Tracy Becker in a statement. “The earth has a metal core, a mantle and a crust. It is possible that when a psyche protoplanet was forming, it was hit by another object in our solar system and lost its mantle and crust. ”

NASA plans to launch an unmanned spacecraft called Psyche on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in 2022 to reach the asteroid and study its composition and history. This is the first time NASA has reached a body made entirely of metal. The spaceship will hit the psyche in January 2026.

Back in 2017, researchers told CBS News that they would not use the asteroid’s $ 10,000 trillion metal mass for business profits.

“What makes Psyche and the other asteroids so interesting is that they are seen as the building blocks of the solar system,” said Becker. “It’s fascinating to understand what really makes a planet and possibly see the inside of a planet.” Once we get to Psyche, we will truly understand whether this is the case, even if it is not what we are expect. Whenever there is a surprise, it is always exciting. ”

If you like weird and wild science stories head over to IGN’s science news hub. A rogue planet swimming through the Milky Way was also recently discovered. In addition, scientists discovered that the amusingly named “Black Widow Star” is the source of the gamma rays that give Hulk his superpowers.

Oh, and the moon is wet.


Joseph Knoop is a writer / reporter / floating crowd for IGN. Keep it circulating on Twitter.

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It’s also worth noting that the original news has been published and is available at de24.news. AlKhaleej Today’s editorial team has confirmed this and it has been changed and it may have been fully retransmitted or quoted and you can read it and follow this news from its main source.

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Blue moon to light up Halloween sky – Sudbury.com

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Not only is it Halloween, but Saturday night also marks two rare lunar events.

We are in for a blue moon and a micromoon.

According to NASA, a blue moon occurs about seven times every 19 years.

The moon will not actually be blue Saturday night, the term refers to the time when a second full moon occurs in one month.

The last full moon was on October 1. 

A micromoon, opposite to a supermoon, is when the moon is at its furthest point from Earth. 

Victor Arora, observatory co-ordinator at the University of Waterloo, said not only will the special moon be visible all night, but Mars will also be easy to spot.

“On this evening you’ll be looking at the confluence of these two or three different cosmic events…it makes it a little bit more meaningful…If you want to see the full moon rise just basically look towards the sun, and turn around so your back is against the sun, and that’s the direction the moon will be rising from.” 

Arora added being outdoors and enjoying a unique event such as a blue moon, is a great pandemic-friendly activity.

“There has been an uptick in interest among people wanting to observe in the evenings. Things like telescope sales have gone through the roof – I’ve heard, and spending time with your close circle and getting out into nature.” 

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Watch a NASA spacecraft approach and touch down on asteroid Bennu – Mashable

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The rock-strewn asteroid Bennu.

The rock-strewn asteroid Bennu.
Image: nasa

Touchdown.

Earlier in October, NASA successfully collected rocky samples from asteroid Bennu, a relatively small, well-preserved space rock some 200 million miles from Earth. On Friday, NASA released footage of the spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, approaching and briefly touching down on the rubbly Bennu. The events, seen in the space agency’s tweet below, show OSIRIS-REx carefully descending to Bennu’s rock-strewn surface.

The spacecraft collected some 60 grams, or about two ounces, of fine-grained material during the quicktouchdown, which lasted under 16 seconds. To planetary scientists, this asteroidal stuff is invaluable: Bennu hasn’t changed much since the formation of our solar system (4.5 billion years ago), so the samples provide a glimpse into our past, and how our planets formed.

“They are like time capsules from the beginning of our solar system,” Richard Binzel, an astronomer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a scientist working on the OSIRIS-REx mission, told Mashable. “This is like sampling the original ingredients for making planets.”

(The first ambitious mission to carry asteroid samples back to Earth, Japan’s Hayabusa mission, returned in 2010.)

NASA called the endeavor a “Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event.” The maneuver was indeed a quick “tag” of Bennu’s surface. OSIRIS-REx carefully approached the asteroid for over four hours before briefly touching down and firing nitrogen gas to stir up fragments into Bennu’s sample collector. Then, the spacecraft promptly blasted away. 

OSIRIS-REx captured so much surface material that some of the fine grains even escaped before the collector was stowed away for the return trip home. The spacecraft is expected to arrive on Earth with the invaluable cargo on Sep. 24, 2023. 

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