Mitsubishi Develops Technology for 3D Printing in Outer Space

"Made In Space, Redwire, and Bigelow, move over," writes long-time Slashdot reader Dr. Crash. "There's yet another 3D printing in space group — and it's not a startup." Mitsubishi Electric just went public with a UV-sensitive resin specially made to print in zero-G and in a hard vacuum — as in outside the airlock. The polymer is tuned to harden with solar ultraviolet light, so no UV lasers needed (saving power and launch weight). Their first goal? Printing cubesat parabolic dishes in orbit, so a 300mm cubesat could have what looks like a one-meter dish antenna — or anything else that can be freeform-printed. This "photopolymerization" technology "specifically addresses the challenge of equipping small, inexpensive spacecraft buses with large structures, such as high-gain antenna reflectors," according to Mitsubishi's announcement — arguing that it also ultimately "enables on-orbit fabrication of structures that greatly exceed the dimensions of launch vehicle fairings." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2022-05-21 16:45:02 preview's
The Closeby Habitable Exoplanet Survey (CHES) Could Detect Exoplanets Within a few Dozen Light-Years of Earth Using Astrometry

A team of Chinese researchers has proposed a new mission to find Earth-like planets in neighboring star systems - the Closeby Habitable Exoplanet Survey (CHES)! The post The Closeby Habitable Exoplanet Survey (CHES) Could Detect Exoplanets Within a few Dozen Light-Years of Earth Using Astrometry appeared first on Universe Today.
2022-05-21 16:15:03 preview's
Boeing's Starliner Docks with International Space Station. Hatch Opening Now

Boeing's Starliner successfully docked to the International Space Station Friday night for the first time. And right now, Boeing is beginning the official hatch-opening ceremon, in which the space station astronauts already on the ISS "open the hatch to the vehicle and retrieve some cargo that's packed inside," explains the Verge: NASA tasked Boeing with conducting an uncrewed flight demonstration of Starliner to show that the capsule can hit all of the major milestones it'll need to hit when it is carrying passengers... This mission is called OFT-2 since it's technically a do-over of a mission that Boeing attempted back in 2019, called OFT. During that flight, Starliner launched to space as planned, but a software glitch prevented the capsule from getting in the right orbit it needed to reach to rendezvous with the ISS. Boeing had to bring the vehicle home early, and the company never demonstrated Starliner's ability to dock with the ISS.... Using a series of sensors, the capsule autonomously guided itself onto an open docking port on the space station.... Docking occurred a little over an hour behind schedule, due to some issues with Starliner's graphics and docking ring, which were resolved ahead of the docking.... [Thursday] At 6:54PM ET, Starliner successfully launched to space on top of an Atlas V rocket, built and operated by the United Launch Alliance. Once Starliner separated from the Atlas V, it had to fire its own thrusters to insert itself into the proper orbit for reaching the space station. However, after that maneuver took place, Boeing and NASA revealed that two of the 12 thrusters Starliner uses for the procedure failed and cut off too early. The capsule's flight control system was able to kick in and rerouted to a working thruster, which helped get Starliner into a stable orbit.... Today, Boeing revealed that a drop in chamber pressure had caused the early cutoff of the thruster, but that system behaved normally during follow-up burns of the thrusters. And with redundancies on the spacecraft, the issue "does not pose a risk to the rest of the flight test," according to Boeing. Boeing also noted today that the Starliner team is investigating some weird behavior of a "thermal cooling loop" but said that temperatures are stable on the spacecraft. From the space station, NASA astronaut Bob Hines said the achievement "marks a great milestone towards providing additional commercial access to low Earth orbit, sustaining the ISS and enabling NASA's goal of returning humans to the Moon and eventually to Mars. "Great accomplishments in human spaceflight are long remembered by history. Today will be no different." Long-time Slashdot reader mmell shares this schedule (EST): 5/20, 3:30 pm — Starliner docking with ISS. 5/21, 11:30 am — Safety checks completed. Hatches opened. 5/24, 12:00 pm — Starliner loading completed. Hatched closed. 5/25, 2:00 pm — Starliner undocking from ISS. 5/25, 5:45 pm — Coverage of Starliner landing begins. Again, the streams will be broadcast at NASA Television. I don't know about any of you, but I know what I'm doing this weekend. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2022-05-21 11:45:02 preview's
What the World’s Largest Organism Reveals About Fires and Forests

In Oregon, the tree-killing Humongous Fungus never would have gotten so large without the accidental help of modern fire suppression tactics.
2022-05-21 08:15:03 preview's
Biden administration lays out plan for four carbon-capture facilities

Big infrastructure package includes funds for the underdeveloped technology.
2022-05-21 07:15:03 preview's
Is the World's Oldest Tree Growing In a Ravine In Chile?

sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: Some 5400 years ago, about the time humans were inventing writing, an alerce tree (Fitzroya cupressoides) may have started to grow in the coastal mountains of present-day Chile. Sheltered in a cool, damp ravine, it avoided fires and logging that claimed many others of its kind, and it grew into a grizzled giant more than 4 meters across. Much of the trunk died, part of the crown fell away, and the tree became festooned with mosses, lichens, and even other trees that took root in its crevices. Now, the tree -- known as the Alerce Milenario or Gran Abuelo (great-grandfather) tree -- might claim a new and extraordinary title: the oldest living individual on Earth. Using a combination of computer models and traditional methods for calculating tree age, Jonathan Barichivich, a Chilean environmental scientist who works at the Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory in Paris, has estimated that the Alerce Milenario is probably more than 5000 years old. That would make it at least 1 century senior to the current record holder: Methuselah, a bristlecone pine in eastern California with 4853 years' worth of annual growth rings under its gnarled bark. (Some clonal trees that originate from a common root systems, such as that of the Utah-based aspen colony known as "Pando," are thought to be older, but dendrochronologists tend to focus on individual trunks with countable rings.) Many dendrochronologists are likely to be skeptical of Barichivich's claim, which has not yet been published, because it does not involve a full count of tree growth rings. But at least some experts are open to the possibility. "I fully trust the analysis that Jonathan has made," says Harald Bugmann, a dendrochronologist at ETH Zurich. "It sounds like a very smart approach." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2022-05-21 03:15:02