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With a new engine, the entire solar system can be crossed in 5 years

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NASA has awarded a grant to develop a radical propulsion concept that
could theoretically send a heavy spacecraft to the edge of the Solar
System in less than five years. The concept, called ‘pellet-beam’
propulsion, is based on shooting a stream of tiny particles at a
spacecraft to accelerate it to high speeds, reports sciencealert.com.

The
idea was inspired by the Breakthrough Starshot initiative, which aims
to send a light-sail probe to the nearest star system, Proxima Centauri,
in 20 years. However, the pellet-beam concept is designed to move much
larger payloads, such as one-ton spacecraft that could carry scientific
instruments or even humans.

The concept involves two spacecraft:
one that orbits Earth and one that travels to interstellar space. The
Earth-orbiting spacecraft would use lasers to heat up and accelerate
microscopic pellets made of solid material.

The pellets would
reach speeds of up to 120 km/s (75 miles/s) and hit a sail or a magnet
on the interstellar spacecraft, giving it a boost of momentum.

According
to Artur Davoyan, an aerospace engineer at the University of
California, Los Angeles, and the lead researcher behind the proposal,
the pellet-beam propulsion could enable fast exploration of the Solar
System and beyond.

He estimates that with this system, outer
planets could be reached in less than a year, 100 astronomical units
(AU) – the distance from Earth to the Sun – in about three years, and
the solar gravity lens at 500 AU – a region where light from distant
objects is magnified by the Sun’s gravity – in about 15 years.

For
comparison, it took the Voyager 1 probe 35 years to cross into
interstellar space in 2012, at about 122 AU from the Sun. The
pellet-beam concept could potentially reach that distance in less than
five years.

The concept is still in its early stages of development and faces
many challenges, such as ensuring the accuracy and stability of the
pellet beam, minimizing the mass and power requirements of the system,
and protecting the spacecraft from collisions with interstellar dust.

Davoyan and his team plan to use computer simulations and laboratory experiments to test and refine their idea.

If
successful, the pellet-beam propulsion could open up new possibilities
for interstellar exploration and discovery. As Davoyan said, “We want to
start creating a map of this unknown region between our Sun and the
interstellar medium.”

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Space

‘October Surprise’: Russia To Launch Nukes in Space

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The ‘national security threat’ announced on Wednesday is
about Russia planning to launch nuclear weapons in space, causing some
to speculate whether it’s really an election year ploy.

The panic began when House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner
(R-Ohio) asked President Biden to declassify information about a
“serious national security threat”.

Modernity.news reports: The weapon would reportedly be designed to be used to take out satellites.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) responded by telling reporters he wanted “to assure the American people, there is no need for public alarm.”

The big, scary threat is serious business and involves a space-based nuke controlled by evil dictator Putin, but it’s also “not an immediate crisis,” according to what three members of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee have told Politico.

Okay, then. Just for election season, is it?

Zero Hedge reports: “So, the question is – was this:

a) a distraction from Biden’s broken brain, or

2) a last desperate attempt to get more funding for anything-but-the-US-border, or

iii) a path to pitching Putin as the uber-bad-guy again after his interview with Tucker Carlson.”

Just by coincidence, Mike Turner recently returned from Ukraine having lobbied for billions more in weapons and aid for Zelensky’s government.

Some questioned the timing, suggesting it might all be a deep state plot to keep American voters afraid when they hit the ballot box.

Speculation will now rage as to whether this is “the event,” real or imagined, that billionaires and elitists the world over have been building underground survival bunkers in preparation for.

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Earth has built-in protection from asteroids

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Asteroids are not just wandering space rocks, but a potential threat
to Earth. But what if the Earth already has its own built-in defenses
against them? Recent research published on the preprint server arXiv puts forward an unusual theory: Earth’s gravitational forces may serve as its secret shield against asteroids.

Our
planet uses powerful gravitational interactions with other celestial
bodies to break apart asteroids that approach it. These tidal forces,
akin to those that explain Earth’s tides caused by the Moon, can be so
intense that objects undergo tidal disruption, causing them to be torn
apart.

Observations of fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 after
its collision with Jupiter in 1994 provided the first confirmation of
this phenomenon. However, for decades astronomers have been looking for
evidence that Earth or other terrestrial planets could have a similar
effect on asteroids and comets.

Planetary scientist Mikael Granvik
from the Swedish University of Technology, Luleå, led the research that
came closer to solving the above phenomenon.

His
discovery is linked to the search for gravitationally disrupted
near-Earth asteroids (NEAS), and provides compelling evidence that our
planet’s gravitational forces are not just an abstract concept, but a
factor capable of breaking asteroids into small pieces.

Based on
modeling of asteroid trajectories, Grunwick and colleague Kevin Walsh of
the Southwest Research Institute found that collisions with rocky
planets can cause asteroids to lose a significant portion of their mass,
turning them into debris streams.

New data shows that small
asteroid fragments, while not posing a threat to life on the planet, may
nevertheless increase the likelihood of local collisions like those
that occurred in Tunguska and Chelyabinsk.

Granwick assures that
asteroids smaller than 1 km in diameter are not a critical threat, but
increase the likelihood of incidents. However, it is worth remembering
the additional risks that may arise due to the formation of new debris
clouds.

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