Highlights from Interbike 2014

Space Travel

The warp drive broke away from being a wholly fictional concept in 1994 (Image: Shuttersto...

The first steps towards interstellar travel have been taken, but the stars are very far away. Voyager 1 is about 17 light-hours distant from Earth and is traveling with a velocity of 0.006 percent of light speed, meaning it will take about 17,000 years to travel one light-year. Fortunately, the elusive "warp drive" now appears to be evolving past difficulties with new theoretical advances and a NASA test rig under development to measure artificially generated warping of space-time.  Read More

Photo of Jupiter taken September 10, 2012 by George Hall of a fireball caused by the impac...

Jupiter is a major player in protecting the Earth from impact events, and has been for billions of years. Between comets and asteroids impacting on Jupiter and being flung into the Sun or out of the Solar System entirely, Jupiter's enormous gravitational field has removed the greater proportion of debris left-over from the formation of the Solar System. Jupiter has again been caught in the act of attracting and eating dangerous space rocks—this time in simultaneous observations by two amateur astronomers.  Read More

Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 Commander, inside the Lunar Module as it rests on t...

Neil Armstrong, the test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator and American astronaut, has died at the age of 82 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His death was due to complications resulting from recent cardiovascular procedures carried out to relieve blocked arteries. He will forever be remembered by the history books as the first man to step foot on the Moon, the defining moment for a generation and inspiration to the generations that followed.  Read More

The Morpheus Lander just after ignition (Photo: NASA/Project Morpheus)

While the spotlight this month has been firmly on Curiosity's rendezvous with the Red Planet, NASA has also been showcasing some of the technology we can expect to see on future missions in the form of the Morpheus Lander.  Read More

VSS Enterprise glides to earth on its latest successful glide flight test (Photo: Chris Va...

Virgin Galactic’s suborbital, air-launched spaceplane, SpaceShipTwo (SS2), aka VSS Enterprise, is back in the air after a break of nearly nine months following a recent integration period for rocket motor systems and maintenance. The June 26 flight coincided with another successful full duration test fire of the spaceship’s engine RocketMotorTwo (RM2) on the same day. The tests mark an intensification of activity that sees Virgin Galactic aiming for powered flights by the end of the year.  Read More

The ESA's Seeker rover being put through its paces in Chile's Atacama Desert (Photo: ESA)

With remote control of rovers on Mars out of the question due to radio signals taking up to 40 minutes to make the round trip to and from the Red Planet, the European Space Agency (ESA) has developed a vehicle that is able to carry out instructions fully autonomously. The ESA team recently tested their Seeker full-scale rover in Chile where the rover was able to chart its own course through the Mars-like Atacama Desert.  Read More

Will antimatter fuel the interstellar spacecraft of the future? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Antimatter propulsion is the Holy Grail of spaceflight. When matter and antimatter react, the energy produced is several billion times larger than the thermomechanical energy resulting from burning a kilogram of a hydrocarbon fuel. Now a high school student has developed a new magnetic exhaust nozzle that would double the velocity of an antimatter-powered rocket.  Read More

Dutch company Mars One is planning an extremely ambitious way to land mankind on Mars and ...

The first people to colonize Mars might be reality TV show contestants. No, this is not a joke - it's a tremendously ambitious, eyebrow-raising plan devised by Dutch company Mars One. Next year, the company aims to select several teams of four astronauts each, and the public will be the final judge as to which team will get the ticket for a (one-way!) seven-month trip to the Red Planet in 2023.  Read More

Sam Wilkinson has come up with a way to make bread within the limitations of a spaceship’s...

Space travel can be boring. Voyages to Mars or the Asteroid Belt may sound exotic and exciting, but the fact is that most of the time there’s not much to see and not much to do. Wouldn’t it be great if morale on these long missions could get a boost by a reminder of home like fresh baked bread? Thanks to NASA’s “Space Apps” program, that might one day be a reality. Sixteen-year old “citizen scientist” Sam Wilkinson has come up with a way to make bread simply and efficiently using carbon dioxide and a slow cooker that is designed to work within the limitations of a spaceship’s galley.  Read More

100YSS will attempt to develop the capabilities needed for human interstellar flight in th...

Voyager 1, which is now in the outermost layer of the heliosphere that forms the boundary between the Solar System and interstellar space, is set to be the first man-made object to leave the Solar System. It has taken the car-sized probe over 35 years to reach its current point, but at its current speed of about 3.6 AU (334,640,905 miles) per year it would take over 75,000 years to reach our nearest star, Proxima Centauri. Despite the mind-boggling distances involved, DARPA has just awarded funding to form an organization whose aim is to make human interstellar travel a reality within the next century.  Read More

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