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NASA Space Science

NASA Tests New Moon Engine 75

Iddo Genuth writes "Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne of West Palm Beach, Florida has successfully completed the third round of its Common Extensible Cryogenic Engine (CECE) testing for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). CECE is a new deep throttling engine designed to reduce thrust and allow a spacecraft to land gently on the moon, Mars, or some other non-terrestrial surface." NASA is also set to launch a new satellite on Tuesday — the Orbital Carbon Observatory — that will monitor the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. On the research front, NASA has announced this year's Centennial Challenges. $2 million in prizes are available for a major breakthrough in tether strength (one of the major obstacles for developing a space elevator), and another $2 million is being offered to competitors who are able to beam power to a device climbing a cable at a height of up to one kilometer.
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NASA Tests New Moon Engine

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  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Saturday February 21, 2009 @11:23AM (#26941287) Homepage

    Another $2 million is being offered to competitors who are able to beam power to a device climbing a cable at a height of up to one kilometer.

    Wouldn't it just make more sense to have solar panels in orbit and transmit the power along the space elevator? If I remember correctly, this is what Kim Stanley Robinson envisioned with the space elevator in his science fiction novel Red Mars [amazon.com] . Being able to bring power down would be a nice bonus for a tool to get up to orbit easily.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 21, 2009 @12:11PM (#26941691)

    i call bs.
    for sheer impracticality, chemical rockets are one of the silliest ideas ever. and look, they still managed to catch on.

  • ust not bother???? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spineboy (22918) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @12:23PM (#26941779) Journal

    Why then try to do anything? Artificial light, nuclear power, cars, organ transplants? They were all impractical at first.

    If this was a rhetorical question, then I lost and bit, but otherwise, with this attitude, not much would have ever been invented or tried.

    The space elevator might be the best and most efficient way to get large amounts of material into space, unless we invent anti-gravity.

  • by khallow (566160) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @12:32PM (#26941859)
    Why should it make more sense to not bother? Even if a space tether from Earth proves to be too difficult to bother with this century, we currently have the materials to make less ambitious tether strutures in orbit or a space elevator on the Moon.
  • by Kleen13 (1006327) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @12:56PM (#26942023)
    And you are? What if he owned a hardware store? Would that count?
  • by robthebloke (1308483) on Monday February 23, 2009 @08:55AM (#26956683)
    A large metal wire cutting through the earths magnetic field is all you need to generate electricity (ask anyone who plays the electric guitar). All you need to do is find a way to harness the current that would be generated in the space elevator cable.

    If you attempted to stick a current through the elevator cable, my primitive understanding of physics says, oscillations will start to occur in the cable due to the way magnetism and electricity are related?

Make headway at work. Continue to let things deteriorate at home.