Could an asteroid be turned in to an interstellar spacecraft ?
Researchers have put forward the idea of hollowing out an asteroid and using it to travel between the stars.
It might sound like something out of an Arthur C. Clarke novel, but the idea of using asteroids as frameworks for multi-generational interstellar ships could actually have some merit.
Known as the Evolving Asteroid Starship, the concept was devised by the TU Delft Starship Team - a group of students and researchers who share a passion for interstellar spaceflight.
Given the amount of time such a journey could take, long-term sustainability would be crucial.
"We need self-sustaining and evolvable space technology capable of enduring the many decades needed to journey from our Solar System to another," said team founder Angelo Vermeulen.
"As part of that, we are looking at the kind of regenerative life support system pioneered by the ESA-led MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) program."
The team has also suggested that the ship would need to act almost like a living organism.
"A starship therefore also needs to be capable of evolving," said Vermeulen.
"After all, returning to earth to tackle problems, as we saw during the subsequent missions towards the moon, is out of the question. The ship needs to be able to behave like a living organism that uses raw materials available in space, such as asteroids."
"These can be exploited for fuel and building materials, for example."
THE MOON RINGS LIKE A BELL The Apollo missions and subsequent moon landings have been at the center of controversy and conspiracy for years. There has been interminable debate as to whether we actually landed on the moon, what was found there, or to what extent NASA has been hiding information from us. But amid the quarreling and speculation, the number of anomalous features on the moon has puzzled scientists and conspiracy theorists alike.
Toward the latter end of the Apollo missions, NASA astronauts placed seismic recording devices on the lunar surface to document artificial and natural moonquakes. Their equipment recorded activity ranging from meteorite strikes, to man-made explosions, and crash landings of Apollo rockets. Even the sun’s heat created seismic activity when it caused the moon to thaw on a daily basis.
The astronauts were given a series of ALSEPs, or Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Packages to set up seismographs and initiate detonations ranging from shotgun-like charges, to mortars with multiple grenades. Eventually NASA intentionally crash-landed the Apollo 12 module as well as the S-IVB rocket setting off an explosive force equivalent to nearly 12 tons of TNT.
What they found was that the moon rings like a bell, reverberating sometimes for hours at a time. Not knowing much about the moon’s material composition, NASA and the Apollo astronauts were astounded by what they heard and the results that it entailed. Clearly the moon’s density was significantly less than the Earth’s.
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