Hey everybody, welcome to the 398th Carnival of Space, where I’m lucky enough to be your host for the week. It seems to be a slow time of year so not too many submissions have been made, but that’s okay. I like a more intimate performance!
First up, from Dr. Schenk’s 3D House of Satellites, we have an article about the asteroid Ceres coming into view of the Dawn spacecraft. Dawn is on a mission to study the largest minor planets in the asteroid belt, and will be arriving at Ceres within the next few weeks.
Next Big Future, current home of the Carnival of Space, brings us two articles: According to the first, the Reaction Engines team are expanding in staff and activities to complete the SABRE demonstrator programme, with delivery on track for 2019. The company has relocated to larger premises on Culham Science Centre; consolidated its two manufacturing subsidiaries to a single new location in Didcot; and is recruiting across the company, ready for the design, manufacture and testing of the full SABRE engine cycle. This growth phase has also included the purchase of new, bespoke equipment which will enable Reaction Engines to manufacture its proprietary SABRE pre- coolers in-house, at full scale.
And in the second, Paul March provided an update on the NASA Eagleworks experiments with the EMDrive. Experimental Thrust is at 50 micronewtons but need at least 100 micronewtons to go to Glenn Research Center (GRC) for a replication effort in the next few months. The NASA Eagleworks Lab is still working on the copper frustum thruster that was reported on last summer at the AIAA/JPC. They have now confirmed that there is a thrust signature in a hard vacuum (~5.0×10^-6 Torr) in both the forward direction, (approx. +50 micro-Newton (uN) with 50W at 1,937.115 MHz), and the reversed direction, (up to -16uN with a failing RF amp), when the thruster is rotated 180 degrees on the torque pendulum. However they continue to fight through RF amplifier failures brought on by having to operate them in a hard vacuum with few $$$ resources to fix them when they break, so the desired data is coming along very slowly.
Our final contributor, Universe Today, bring us home with two articles of their own. First, a spectacular view of the Moon, showing its phases as you’ve never seen them before: From the far side! The images were sourced from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. And in their second article, we get the news that on Valentine’s Day, the Rosetta orbiter will be closing in to a close, intimate orbit of only six kilometers from Comet 67/P. I’m looking forward to see the spectacular views that will certainly result from this.