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Toyota Reveals ‘Self-Driving Electric Moon Car’ As Japan Prepares To Land Astronauts On The Moon

Japan is planning a moon landing for 2029 and wants its astronauts to explore the lunar surface in a vehicle built by Japanese automaker Toyota.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota announced Tuesday that it will collaborate on international space exploration, specifically on developing a manned, pressurized rover that uses Toyota’s fuel cell vehicle (FCV) technologies.

Toyota’s concept for a lunar rover will travel 10,000km. JAPAN AEROSPACE EXPLORATION AGENCY & TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION

“Manned, pressurized rovers will be an important element supporting human lunar exploration, which we envision will take place in the 2030s, ” said Koichi Wakata, JAXA Vice President. “We aim at launching such a rover into space in 2029.”

JAXA, which earlier this month landed its Hayabusa2 probe on the asteroid Ryugu, is hoping the collaboration with Toyota will “give rise to intellectual properties” needed for international space exploration.

The lunar rover will also have solar panels, which will be useful in lunar daylight, which lasts for two weeks in each month.JAPAN AEROSPACE EXPLORATION AGENCY & TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION

An FCV is a type of electric vehicle that, instead of using a battery, uses a fuel cell of oxygen and compressed hydrogen, which react with each other to generate electricity. The zero-emissions technology is already used on Toyota’s Mirai vehicle. “Fuel cells, which use clean power-generation methods, emit only water, and, because of their high energy density, they can provide a lot of energy, making them especially ideal for the project being discussed with JAXA,” said Shigeki Terashi, Executive Vice President at Toyota. He also mentioned that Toyota’s automated driving technologies were part of the project.

Although the amount of fuel that could be taken to the moon would be limited, said JAXA and Toyota, the pressurized rover would have a total lunar-surface cruising range of more than 10,000 km.

However, Toyota’s ‘space mobility’ concept for the pressurized rover being studied by JAXA and Toyota is pretty small. It envisions a 6 meter by 5.3-meter vehicle standing 3.8 meters tall. That’s enough room for two people, say JAXA and Toyota, or four in an emergency. Toyota and JAXA also revealed that they have been jointly studying the concept of a manned, pressurized rover since May 2018.

The moon presents some special challenges for any vehicle. Gravity is one-sixth of Earth’s, and the lunar surface is pocked by craters, cliffs, and hills. “It is exposed to radiation and temperature conditions that are much harsher than those on Earth, as well as an ultra-high vacuum environment,” said Wakata. “For a wide-ranging human exploration of the moon, a pressurized rover that can travel more than 10,000 km in such environments is a necessity.” Wakata also stressed the need for a ‘Team Japan’ approach to space exploration.

ispace’s HAKUTO-R mission will launch on a SpaceX rocket in 2020 to orbit the moon and be followed by a mission to land on the surface in 2021.HAKUTO/ISPACE

That’s a message that appears to be finding favor. Japan Airlines-backed startup ispace last month announced that its HAKUTO-R mission will orbit the moon in 2020 ahead of a mission to land on the surface in 2021. An finalist in the ill-fated Google Lunar XPRIZE, ispace plans to map, and eventually recover, water ice on the moon and learn how to use it as a resource. If it can separate lunar water into hydrogen and oxygen, it could provide fuel for Toyota’s moon buggy, as well as for a self-sufficient moonbase, and even rockets.

Aside from Japan Airlines, HAKUTO-R’s corporate partners include Japanese national daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun and Japan NGK Spark Plug, which wants to test solid-state battery technology on the moon in 2021. Another is Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, which last month announced a new lunar insurance service. “The availability of lunar exploration insurance will encourage new players to participate in the lunar industry by reducing the risk of entry,” said ispace founder Takeshi Hakamada last month. “With the ability to insure our landers and rovers, ispace and its customers will be able to concentrate on realizing our vision without hesitation.”

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes

Source www.forbes.com

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Von Braun Station: the first space hotel would be ready by 2025

Inspired by the concepts of a Nazi rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun, this station-hotel Von Braun Station will have its own gravity, kitchen, bars and interiors made with natural materials, and will be able to accommodate up to 400 people.

Von Braun Station

“The station could receive the first tourists in a few years,” said Tim Alatorre, senior architect of the Gateway Foundation , the company responsible for the station’s design.

“The goal of the Gateway Foundation is that in 2025 Von Braun already works and 100 tourists visit it per week,” he said.

According to the designer, the station, which will have the shape of a huge 190-meter diameter wheel, will turn constantly, creating an artificial gravitation comparable to that of the Moon and making the stay in it much more comfortable than in the ISS, where it is not possible to have a sense of direction.

The concept was taken from nothing less than Wernher von Braun, hence its name. This was a leading Nazi scientist who developed the V2 rocket. After World War II, NASA welcomed him to design, among other things, the Saturn V rocket that would take the human being to the Moon.

How will it be built?

The hotel station will be built by using automated systems, such as drones and robots, while in orbit. It will also use GSAL, special space construction machinery developed by Orbital Construction.

Once completed, some modules will be rented as individual residences, while others will be offered to different governments for scientific purposes. In total, the Gateway Foundation expects the population of the Von Braun wheel to be about 400 people.

In space … at home

Apart from rooms, the hotel part of the wheel will feature many of the things that are seen on cruises, such as restaurants, bars, music concerts, film screenings and educational seminars. Also, the interiors will have nothing to do with the sterility of the space stations of science fiction films.

«As humans, we are innately connected with natural materials and colors. […] The use of fabrics, lighting and warm-colored paints and textured materials help us connect and feel at home, ”said Alatorre, although he admitted that heavy materials, such as wood and stone, will be replaced by“ substitutes for light and easy to clean natural materials ».

The architect said that the project, which presupposes the creation of even larger space hotels, tries to put an end to the current high prices of orbital tourism, making it accessible to broad social sectors and facilitating extraterrestrial exploration.

” Gateway Foundation aims to make space travel open to everyone and this and the company’s next project will be true cities in space that will be ports of call for those who come and go from the Moon and Mars,” he concluded. .

Source: Dezeen

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Ariana Grande Responds to NASA Interns Remixing Her Song

It’s no secret that Ariana Grande is a fan of space and, by extension, the folks over at NASA. And it turns out that the love is reciprocal, seeing as how a group of interns at NASA’s Johnson Space Center have just given her song “NASA” the remix treatment.

An “educational parody” of Grande’s track, the interns created an accompanying video “in order to inform the public about the amazing work going on at NASA and thee Johnson Space Center,” per its description.

Even cooler? The specific project the interns that inspired the interns is NASA’s forthcoming Artemis missions, which aims to send the first woman to the moon by 2024.

Given all of this, Grande was obviously over-the-moon about the parody. No pun intended.

“Oh my. this is so pure and special and insane,” she tweeted in response. “hi everyone over there that is doing such incredible work ! thank u for taking the time to make this ! my heart is ….. bursting.”

Watch the entire remix video for yourself, below.

Source www.papermag.com

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Another Interstellar Comet Has Arrived

“Based on the available observations, the orbit solution for this object has converged to the hyperbolic elements shown below, which would indicate an interstellar origin. A number of other orbit computers have reached similar conclusions, initially D. Farnocchia (JPL), W. Gray, and D. Tholen (UoH).”

Remember ‘Oumuamua, the first interstellar object ever discovered in our solar system? You won’t for long as another one was picked up by multiple observers and reported this week by The Minor Planet Center (MPC) at Harvard University. Unlike ‘Oumuamua, this one is definitely a comet and has been identified earlier enough in its trip through the solar system to be analyzed intensely – possibly revealing where it came from and how astronomers can locate more of them.

‘Oumuamua

“The comet’s current velocity is high, about 93,000 mph [150,000 kph], which is well above the typical velocities of objects orbiting the sun at that distance. The high velocity indicates not only that the object likely originated from outside our solar system, but also that it will leave and head back to interstellar space.”

The BBC reports that object gb00234, now known as Comet C/2019 Q4, was discovered by amateur (but experienced) astronomer Gennady Borisov on August 30th, 2019, at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in Bakhchysarai. When he noticed it, C/2019 Q4 was three astronomical units (450 million km) from the Sun. Since then, other astronomers have seen its tail – confirming C/2019 Q4 is a comet – and measured its eccentricity at 3.2, based on current observations. A perfect circle has an eccentricity of 0, while a closed elliptical orbit ranges from 0 to 1. Anything greater than one indicates an arc-shaped trajectory and is likely an interstellar comet or object making a one-time visit. While not confirmed yet, together these make Comet C/2019 Q4 the first ‘true’ comet to visit use from outside our solar system.

Unless it’s a spaceship.

Good point. Anyone?

Karl Battams
@SungrazerComets
Unlike ‘Oumuamua, whose asteroid-or-comet nature still gets debated, this one is definitely a comet. If it is unequivocally interstellar, it’ll be fascinating to see how its composition (spectral properties) compare to the variety we see in comets from our own solar system.

Astrophysicist Karl Battams, from the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, tweeted an end to that comet-asteroid-spaceship-or-what debate which has trailed ‘Oumuamua like a tail (if it had one) since it was discovered hightailing out of here. Comet C/2019 Q4 will have plenty of eyes on it as it will be visible to even low-powered professional telescopes for at least a year, including when it makes its turn around the sun (perihelion) around December 10. However, the MPC leaves an opening for the unusual:

“Absent an unexpected fading or disintegration, [C/2019 Q4] should be observable for at least a year.”

In lieu of seeing windows with aliens waving out of them, an “unexpected disintegration” would be the next coolest thing.

Source: Mysterious Universe

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