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    A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018

    Flight of Fantasy: Space Ventures That Are Hard Nut to Crack Even for Musk

    © REUTERS / SpaceX
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    On February 6, SpaceX historically made headlines worldwide as it launched the world's most powerful Falcon Heavy rocket, inspired and designed by the tech company’s mogul Elon Musk. Often labelled a true genius, there are some unrivaled space projects currently underway, in comparison to which Musk’s ventures look pale.

    Miners on Meteors

    Money making in space seems to be a comparatively new idea. It’s highly improbable that business titans will ever be interested in purely scientific research, thus the future of the space industry is very much dependent on a surge in commercial projects. Indeed so, since the discovery of the vast lands of America was also triggered to a greater extent by an itch for gain than thirst for knowledge.

    Asteroid mining is perhaps the boldest and the most ambitious venture aimed to make money from resources found outside Earth. Interestingly, at least two companies are already striving hard to become pioneers in the field –and these are Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources, on whose projects around 200 million dollars has been already allotted by the Luxembourg government.

    Meteor mining isn’t science fiction: Planetary Resources’ nanosatellite was successfully delivered to orbit. Missioned for the first time ever to detect celestial bodies potentially suitable for mining, the spacecraft is experimental in a sense. Arkyd-100 is soon expected to join the previous one and is a full-fledged satellite, sufficiently equipped to spot meteorites.  Arkyd-200 and Arkyd-300 are projected to contribute still further to research on how close the satellites would come to the stellar body.

    Lunar Funeral

    As mankind won’t live forever the space era should also oversee its after-life journey. At least this is what the Elysium Space company believes in, as it is set to provide options for people to send their relations’ ashes into space. As it is stated on the company’s website, instead of looking down under your feet as you pay tribute to the deceased you might look up into the eternally beautiful night sky, feeling that those dear to us are also here, with us. 

    Elysium Space
    © Photo : Elysium Space, Inc.
    Elysium Space

    There two options so far: you may pay $2,500 to send the ashes to the orbit, where the urn will spend two years, which could be followed via a relevant smartphone app, or for perhaps a bigger sum the urn will travel to the Moon to stay there forever.

    Drone and Sub on Saturn's Satellite

    In contrast to the projects we looked into above, the US’ NASA space giant is focused primarily on research missions, which crave more and more fantasy and boldness. One of these projects is the launch of a drone and a submarine on Saturn’s Titan satellite, which, scientists argue, is perhaps most likely to offer conditions compatible with life.

    Dragonfly is a dual-quadcopter lander that would take advantage of the environment on Titan to fly to multiple locations, some hundreds of miles apart, to sample materials and determine surface composition to investigate Titan's organic chemistry and habitability, monitor atmospheric and surface conditions, image landforms to investigate geological processes, and perform seismic studies
    © NASA .
    Dragonfly is a dual-quadcopter lander that would take advantage of the environment on Titan to fly to multiple locations, some hundreds of miles apart, to sample materials and determine surface composition to investigate Titan's organic chemistry and habitability, monitor atmospheric and surface conditions, image landforms to investigate geological processes, and perform seismic studies

    The "Dragonfly" project was devised at the Applied Physics Laboratory of John Hopkins University and is one of the two winners of the New Frontiers competition  for the best space mission project to carry out research into the Solar system.

    First Interstellar Flight

    The Search for Life is one of the top priority goals of contemporary science, but it doesn’t mean that mankind would ever say no to flights to…the stars.

    an artist rendition of NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft as it speeds beyond the boundary of the Solar System and enters interstellar space
    NASA/JPL/Caltech
    an artist rendition of NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft as it speeds beyond the boundary of the Solar System and enters interstellar space

    The breakthrough Starshot initiative, lobbied by Russian tycoon Yury Milner and famed British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, envisions the launch of nanosatellites featuring a laser sail to Alpha  Centauri – the closest star to our own solar system.

    Nanosatellites are hoped to be used on the mission given their minute weight and impressive speed — about 20 percent of the speed of light. And, most importantly, Milner has already allocated $100 million for that.

    Space Elevator

    This is one of the most ambitious ventures for years to come, which is destined to radically change human fate and the way we see ourselves.

    The idea itself was first voiced by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

    Birthday of Tsiolkovsky: Fonding Father of Russian Rockery
    © RIA Novosti .
    Birthday of Tsiolkovsky: Fonding Father of Russian Rockery

    Schematically, the space lift looks like a structure in which one end of the hawser is attached to Earth, whereas the other one is put at some spot on the orbit, which is immobile against spinning Earth.

    Design concept of Thoth space elevator.
    Design concept of Thoth space elevator.

    The elevator could perhaps be made of carbon nanotubes, often dubbed the most promising material in the 21st century, since it is impressively hard and can boast an incredibly high ratio of strength to density.

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    Tags:
    interstellar, projects, mining, meteor, space, space exploration, NASA, Elon Musk, United States
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