Header image: Cherenkov radiation in a nuclear reactor (image source: Argonne National Laboratory.) “This is not nuts, this is super-nuts.” Richard Courant, on viewing a test of the Project Orion nuclear propulsion system Last installment, we delved into the inner… Read More »Rocket Physics, the Hard Way: Nuclear Thermal Rockets
In our previous article, we covered the basics of rocket engines, but we only scratched the surface when it came to fuel-oxidizer combinations. While hydrogen-oxygen and kerosene-oxygen dominate the world of launch vehicles, numerous other propellant combinations are in common… Read More »Rocket Physics, Extra Credit: Rocket Fuels
Header image: SpaceX Raptor test fire (image source: SpaceX.) “Anyone who sits on top of the largest hydrogen-oxygen fueled system in the world; knowing they’re going to light the bottom, and doesn’t get a little worried, does not fully understand… Read More »Rocket Physics, the Hard Way: Rocket Engine Engineering
Header image: Artist’s impression of Perseverance in powered descent under its skycrane (image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech.) Perseverance, if all goes well, will land on Mars on Thursday! Previous installments of Rocket Physics, the Hard Way have discussed the rocket equation and… Read More »Rocket Physics Special: The Physics of Perseverance
This is a follow-up to Rocket Physics, the Hard Way: How to go to Mars which covered the basics of orbital mechanics. Building on our foundation of intuitive understanding, we will now cover the more technical aspects. What is an… Read More »Rocket Physics, the Hard Way: How to go to Mars – Extra Credit
“There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams In this series, Rocket Physics, the Hard… Read More »Rocket Physics, the Hard Way: How to Go to Mars
“Rocket science is tough, and rockets have a way of failing.” – Sally Ride, NASA astronaut To go to Mars, we need rocket science. But why is rocket science so hard? In this series, Rocket Physics, the Hard Way, we… Read More »Rocket Physics, the Hard Way: The Tyranny of the Rocket Equation
2020 has been, to say the least, a difficult year for humanity. However, it has also been marked by great achievements in space exploration; a testament to our relentless pursuit for knowledge despite adversity. Before we enter 2021, let’s take a look at the year’s highlights in space exploration.
Yesterday evening marked a significant turning point in human spaceflight, with the first operational mission of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program getting underway. CSA Astronaut David Saint-Jacques shared his comments on this historical moment. From Yuri Gagarin’s landmark voyage 59 years… Read More »Canadian Astronaut: NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 Mission is “the dawn of a new era”
Last month, scientists confirmed the presence of multiple subsurface lakes under glaciers at the Martian south pole. How were these lakes found and why do they matter? Let’s dive into geophysics, astrobiology, and chemistry with this infographic!
Today Jim Bridenstine showed us under the hood of NASA’s current Moon program, with a candor that cuts through otherwise nebulous public relations rhetoric. Finally, I almost get it. The Artemis program often receives harsh criticism within the space exploration… Read More »NASA Administrator points to the Moon as a political gateway to Mars (opinion)
Header image: NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor harvests kale and lettuce from the Veggie (Vegetable Production System) experiment on the International Space Station (ESA/Alexander Gerst) “‘They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially colonized it. So, technically, I colonized Mars.… Read More »ISRU Part IV: How to Grow Food on Mars
Access to energy is arguably the most important indicator of a civilization’s development. On Mars, having access to energy can mean the difference between life and death – not only is it necessary to power life support systems, but it… Read More »ISRU Part III: How to Generate Energy on Mars
In Part I, we discussed making the essentials for life on Mars: fuel, oxygen, and water. After the initial exploration phase, the construction of permanent settlements and structures will begin to become a priority. When humanity settles Mars, Martian architects… Read More »ISRU Part II: How to Make Construction Materials on Mars
Of the plethora of acronyms in Mars exploration circles, one in particular forms the cornerstone of many Mars and Moon exploration plans: In-Situ Resource Utilization, or ISRU. It is key to establishing a permanent human presence beyond Earth, and both… Read More »ISRU Part I: How to Make Fuel, Oxygen, and Water on Mars
Are you new to the concept of Mars colonization? Having seen images of the dusty surface, perhaps you found yourself wondering: “How could we possibly bring enough supplies to survive there?” The human exploration and settlement of Mars will not… Read More »Mars Resources Infographic