Saturday, November 28, 2015

What is a Wormhole?

A wormhole is a theoretical passage through space-time that could create shortcuts for long journeys across the universe. Wormholes are predicted by the theory of general relativity. But be wary: wormholes bring with them the dangers of sudden collapse, high radiation and dangerous contact with exotic matter.

I was reading a while ago a transcript of Stephen Hawking’s lecture on Space and Time Warps...and now I'm having a few more questions plus a bunch of scenarios that my brain is trying to evaluate.

Read the transcript here but addictive:

Funny and Weird Clips (636)

Friday, November 27, 2015

What is E-Sail?

E-sail is a proposed form of spacecraft propulsion using the dynamic pressure of the solar wind as a source of thrust. It creates a "virtual" sail by using small wires to form an electric field that deflects solar wind protons and extracts their momentum.

All this sounds good but is it operational for robotic spacecrafts?
A study into the system, known as  Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS), has received two rounds of funding from NASA, and if successful could be in use next decade.

The system uses 10 to 20 extremely long and thin wires of up to 12 miles long and only 25 microns in diameter. By applying a high voltage to the wires while keeping them sideways to the solar wind flow, the reactionary force from the protons in solar wind bouncing off the wires would be enough to accelerate the spacecraft to never before seen speeds of up to 150km/s.

Those speeds would be enough for any spacecraft using HERTS to reach the heliopause in less than a decade from launch - something that took the Voyager 1 spacecraft almost 35 years.

Further testing is still required to ensure the high voltage in the wires would be enough to keep them from being ‘blown’ sideways, making the system useless. Results of further testing in this area are expected within two years.


Know more about HERTS:

Know more about E-sail:

Artist's illustration of a spacecraft powered by an "electric sail," which would gain momentum from protons in the solar wind.
Credit: Alexandre Szames, Antigravite, Paris, France

Funny and Weird Clips (635)