Titan’s Dragonfly Take a look at, New Nuclear Missile, Shadow Universe

The Titan Dragonfly comes together, NASA considers a new type of nuclear missile, gets more warnings about solar flares, and locates carbon emissions from space.

Titan Helicopter begins to merge

A nuclear-powered helicopter called the Dragonfly is coming to Titan soon. The mission is scheduled to launch in 2027, so let’s start seeing it come together. NASA tested an arm with rotors in their wind tunnel. They could mimic the conditions on Titan and see how the helicopter’s rotors would perform. It’s one of the early stages of testing, and as the launch date approaches, more parts of Dragonfly are coming together.

More about the Dragonfly test.

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Mars in 45 days

NASA has developed two types of nuclear powered propulsion systems. One of these is nuclear thermal propulsion, in which a nuclear reactor heats a propellant and blasts the rocket nozzle. The other method uses a nuclear reactor to generate electricity to power an ion engine. A new NIAC grant proposes merging these two ideas into a single “bimodal nuclear thermal missile.” Once built, such a rocket could cut the flight time to Mars from months to just 45 days.

More about the design idea of ​​NASA’s new nuclear missile.

Lunar Flashlight is having problems

One of the missions currently en route to the moon is NASA’s Lunar Flashlight. It’s a CubeSat that will study ice deposits on lunar poles. But it faces some problems. NASA engineers found that 3 out of 4 of their engines were underperforming. There could be a blockage preventing the spacecraft from generating enough thrust. This can become a problem once the Lunar Flashlight has to perform orbit entry maneuvers. So NASA better solve the problems beforehand.

CO2 from space

NASA engineers were able to use satellite imagery to pinpoint the exact locations of the CO2 emissions. This is particularly interesting as the instruments were not designed for this level of precision. It is important to have such observations available as they provide concrete evidence of abusive actions by different countries and can provide more data for climate research.

More on NASA’s CO2 observations.

Orphaned Protostar

Astronomers are studying a star-forming complex called HH 24 and have identified seven separate protostars. One of them appears to be close to star fusion and should (astronomically) ignite any day now. The protesters even have rudiments of planetary discs around them, forming their planets as the stars themselves prepare to ignite. Because they are so densely packed, gravitational interactions propelled one of the objects into space. It flies out of the star-forming station at 25 km/s.

More about the orphaned protostar.

Measuring the universe with shadows

Astronomers map the universe in different wavelengths of light, from radio to visible to high-energy gamma rays. But they can also map the Universe with shadows and see foreground galaxy clusters blocking light from the cosmic microwave background. When photons from the CMB pass through these clusters, they occasionally get a boost in energy, making the region appear slightly warmer. By examining these shadows, astronomers can better understand the mass distribution in the Universe and help determine the properties of dark matter.

More about the Shadow Universe.

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