Is Stratolaunch the Next Spruce Goose?
Microsoft co-creator Paul Allen wants to make an airplane that can launch satellites and perhaps manned crews. Is the engineering feasible or is this the next Spruce Goose?
What's the Latest Development?
Microsoft co-creator and billionaire Paul Allen recently announced his plan to create a revolutionary airplane, dubbed Stratolaunch, capable of launching rockets into space but now questions are being raised about the project's feasibility. "'I don't know that it's a better way' to launch payloads," said former NASA administrator Mike Griffin. "It's an approach which offers some very substantial operational flexibility, much reduced range requirements, freedom from a lot of the limitations that come from launching with land-based ranges."
What's the Big Idea?
If a giant revolutionary airplane can be made—the wingspan of Stratolaunch is longer than a football field—Allen's team may be up to the task. Combining his personal wealth with Griffin's advice and the engineering skills of Burt Rutan, the famed engineer who won the $10-million Ansari X PRIZE for designing what would become Richard Branson's space tourism vehicle, a veritable dream team for space entrepreneurship has been created. Allen views the decrease of the government's space budget as an opportunity for private investment.
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
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