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Space Junkies update/Early September


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Hello Fellow Space Junkies!

I had intended to wait until Mid-September to post again on the goings-on in space, but it is a slow news day and I read some great articles, so...


This is a photo of Jupiter (enhanced) from the third quoted link below. 

Ain't it wonderful? Ain't it beautiful? What would you give to be in orbit and see that out of your window?

Much of the discussion regarding the JWST has been 'looking back through time' at the early origins of the universe, but I suspect that the greatest discoveries might occur within our own solar system; the simple fact is that it takes many years to send a probe/ship to Jupiter, much less the others, and we can learn huge amounts quickly just by pointing the JWST closer to home for a while.

The link from Space.com is a guide to Jupiter; it is worth reading to refresh and/or enhance your general knowledge of the Red Giant and its surroundings.


Second and third are from the BBC and Astronomy.com (respectively) which both delve into what we have learned about Jupiter recently. The BBC article is easier to read, but I found the Astronomy.com one more interesting and detailed.



Next is the first photo from the JWST of an Exoplanet (a planet from outside our solar system) in the four different modes/cameras utilized.


It is the first Exoplanet captured, and I'll let the New Scientist article itself explain everything. 😎


Finally, two more stories that aren't the JWST, but are so cool that I had to include them.

First, I have hit my limit of 2 photos per post, but if you look at the article, it encompasses a photo of a star with what looks like square-ish concentric rings emanating outwards. Again, I'll let the Science Alert article speak for itself.


Finally, another article from Science Alert regarding two Super Massive Black Holes smashing into each other, possibly in about three years. I have said it before and will say it again; if you ever come across news about Super Massive Black Holes smashing into each other, drop what you are doing and read on.


Okay, that is it for today. I'll be back with more Space news in a few weeks, or when it gets interesting.

Happy reading!


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It would be remiss to post for Space Junkies and not include information on NASA's Artemis project which will be all over the news as a test launch is imminent.

There is some debate regarding NASA's Artemis project; there are several serious people (Er... and me) who think it has all been a giant boondoggle and waste of cash. Moreover, many serious people (Er... again, and me) who think that it is time for NASA to 'step back' and get out of the way of private businesses who can deal with Space far more effectively and efficiently than NASA. Finally, there are serious people (Er... again, for the last time, and me) who consider this project more of a gift to old legacy corporations rather than an innovative way towards the future.

The basic argument is quite simple and is best explained by looking at both the aviation and telecommunications industries. The early days of air travel required the sort of investment in airports, air traffic control, infrastructure, etc. that only governments could provide on a large scale, and they did it wonderfully. However, once the basics were there, governments got out of the way and global air travel boomed, fed by the power of the private sector. Telecommunications followed a similar path; the early days of creating proper infrastructure (switching stations, telephone poles and wires, etc.) could only have been done by governments, realistically. However, once those basics were in place, government got out of the way and costs for calls plummeted, the Internet was born, and humanity is now connected like never before.

Space travel and exploration should follow a similar path, and we have private companies that can handle the load. We have seen Space-X, Blue Horizon, Virgin, etc. fund and build space ships, and we should allow them to continue with governmental oversight, but not with government competition. Simply put, it is time that government gets out of the way and allows the full power and innovation of the private sector lead us into space.

There are several good articles for weekend reading.

Scientific American provides a great overview of Artemis.


Space.com and Vox.com provide an explanation as to why humanity is going back to the moon.



To get a sense of what people who don't agree with NASA's push to the moon and beyond, have a look at an article by GRID which makes a case that it is all a boondoggle.


I am always happy to see space exploration; the day that humanity stands back and says that there is no need to further push the boundaries is the day we begin to die as a species. However, although I am not a fan of the billionaire class, they are the ones who will guide us into space, and I hope that they do wisely.


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I saw a news report about the Artemis mission and a couple of side notes about other missions blew my mind.

1. Voyager 1 is traveling at 17km per second and is “scheduled” to enter its next star system in 40,000 years.

2. Dragonfly will launch in 2026. A 450kg drone sent to explore one of Saturn’s moons.

Space is big 😳. And things are getting serious up there.

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45 minutes ago, BigHewer said:

I saw a news report about the Artemis mission and a couple of side notes about other missions blew my mind.

1. Voyager 1 is traveling at 17km per second and is “scheduled” to enter its next star system in 40,000 years.

2. Dragonfly will launch in 2026. A 450kg drone sent to explore one of Saturn’s moons.

Space is big 😳. And things are getting serious up there.

You are correct that Space is a big place, BH, but let me give you another number which shocks the conscience; 

"A report from NASA's Office of Inspector General released in November 2021 outlines just how much development costs increased for SLS between its first iteration and now, and revealed how expensive each SLS launch will be. According to the report(opens in new tab), NASA will end up spending a total of $93 billion on the Artemis program between 2012 and 2025, and each SLS/Orion launch will have a price tag of about $4.1 billion."


Yes, you are reading that correctly; the Artemis program is projected to cost 93 BILLION dollars and each launch will cost 4.1 BILLION dollars. Yes, the article cited above is a good one and should be read by all.

I am not sure what Space X costs per launch, but it is massively lower than that AND their rockets are re-usable.

 I get that sometimes governments spend too much as they have other motives to consider; no country wants to see a Brain-Drain of space engineers. That said, the days when governments build rockets are/should be over; time to turn it over to the private sector while maintaining some oversight in the public interest.

Sometimes the wisest thing to do is simply step aside gracefully.

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Looks like the Artemis launch has been postponed again, with another hydrogen leak during attempts to fuel the rocket. Disappointing, but reminds me of the first shuttle launches with those often being rescheduled for one reason or another.


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