Автор Плейшнер, 12.04.2016 19:43:03
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ЦитатаBreakthrough Starshot has taken the first step towards their grand plans to one day send spacecraft to Alpha Centauri. On June 23, the $100 million initiative to send light-propelled spacecraft to our nearest star sent the tiniest-ever satellites into orbit.An Indian rocket carried six of these miniature satellites, called Sprites, into space. Two of them are attached to the sides of other, larger satellites: the Latvian Venta satellite and the Italian Max Valier satellite. Once communications are established, the Max Valier satellite will release the other four Sprites to orbit on their own.Each Sprite is a four-gram square of circuit board measuring 3.5 centimetres to a side. Despite their small size, the Sprites carry a lot of instruments. Each one has a computer processor, solar panels, a magnetometer, a gyroscope, and a radio for communicating with researchers on Earth. So far, researchers have only gotten a signal from one of the two Sprites hitching a ride on the larger satellites. The rest have not been released yet because the Max Valier satellite has not made contact with its mission controllers, possibly due to problems with its radio antenna. Without a functioning radio antenna, the satellite will be unable to receive any command to release its cargo.Zac Manchester, the Harvard researcher leading the project, views even that one signal as a triumph. "We were really just trying to get them up there and communicate with them," he says. "It's the first time that a spacecraft on this size scale has worked."
ЦитатаThe world's smallest space probe, conceived at Menlo Park's visionary Breakthrough Starshot, has phoned home. The flying computer chip dubbed "Sprite," the size of a Saltine cracker, is healthy, happy and sending us signals from Earth's orbit, 400 miles from home.It's still a long way from where its progeny may someday travel: our neighboring star system Alpha Centauri, 24 trillion miles away. The dream is for Sprite-like spacecraft to take close-up images and collect data - maybe even detect gases produced by alien life.The little Sprite could someday help answer the big questions of life in the Universe: Are we alone? Are there habitable worlds out there? If so, can we reach them?"But it's very good first step. It's proof of concept," said Breakthrough Starshot director Pete Worden, former director of NASA Ames Research Center, from his office on the valley's storied Sand Hill Road. "It's very exciting."Sprite is the brainchild of Zac Manchester, whose Kickstarter "KickSat" campaign at Cornell University raised the first funds to develop the concept. This month, he joins the faculty of Stanford's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His arrival at Stanford is expected to accelerate the chip satellite effort.Sprite weighs just four grams, lighter than a quarter. It has its own solar panel, communication capabilities and sensors.Such tiny spacecraft are possible thanks to rapid advances made in the semiconductor industry, according to Manchester. Most of the features of a traditional spacecraft can be integrated onto a chip-scale device. Sprite is built using the same devices and processes used in the consumer electronics industry.Sprite has siblings - several Sprites were launched on June 23 - but they've gone incommunicado. They don't fly on their own; they're piggybacking on two satellites.The one researchers hear is broadcasting a standard radio signal, charging its batteries with sunlight. News came of its signal late last month, via a Cornell ground station. (Amateurs can also listen in; Manchester's KickSat offered a design and instructions for a low-cost and portable Sprite receiving station. Consisting of a hand-held antenna, low-noise amplifier, low-cost USB radio receiver dongle, it can be built for about $200, plus a PC to run the software.)
Цитатаpkl пишет: А что с остальными?
ЦитатаКвантовые измерительные инструменты будут отправлены в космос в рамках миссии Cold Atom Space Payload (CASPA). Реализация этой миссии стала возможной благодаря самым последним достижениям в области технологий, позволяющих охладить атомы вещества при помощи лазерного света до температуры, близкой к абсолютному нулю. Все квантовые датчики, включая и лазеры охлаждения, поместятся внутрь наноспутника размера 6U CubeSats. В системе также будет использована еще одна квантовая технология, позволяющая производить высокоточные измерения промежутков времени, которая будет связана с системой спутниковой навигации.Измерительные инструменты спутника, основанные на квантовых технологиях, позволят произвести высокоточные замеры изменений массы полярных льдов, океанских течений, уровня моря, произвести контроль распределения грунтовых вод и обнаружить новые подземные залежи полезных ископаемых. А данные построенной гравитационной карты позволят ученым более точно регистрировать и предсказывать землетрясения, наводнения и прочие природные катаклизмы.