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X-Rays: Next-Gen Way to Travel and Talk in Space?


NASA scientists say they have figured out a way to use X-rays to both communicate with long-distance spacecraft, as well as navigate as they sail past the outer limits of the solar system.

They say that using X-rays is faster than existing radio wave communications, can carry more information and won’t be blocked when spacecraft enter a planet’s thick atmosphere.

“While we are using X-ray navigation to guide us to Pluto, we might also use X-ray communication to talk back to Earth,” said Keith Gendreau, principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

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3-D Printed Engine Parts Withstand Hot Fire Tests


Today’s innovations in science and technology are being driven by new capabilities in additive manufacturing. Also known as 3-D printing, this approach is changing the speed, cost and flexibility of designing and building future machines for space and earth applications.

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program in the Space Technology and Mission Directorate has been actively funding research in 3-D printing and co-funded a recent groundbreaking test series with Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR) at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. Recently, AR in partnership with NASA, successfully completed the first hot-fire tests on an advanced rocket engine thrust chamber assembly using copper alloy materials. This was the first time a series of rigorous tests confirmed that 3-D manufactured copper parts could withstand the heat and pressure required of combustion engines used in space launches.

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NASA aerospace engineer to discuss Mars and space program Nov. 20

A distinguished aerospace engineer will speak at Purdue to share her knowledge of landing humans on Mars and NASA’s approach to the future.

Michelle Munk, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center, will speak during the presentation “From the Beach to Mars: One Engineer’s Journey” at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 20 in Armstrong Hall, Room B061.

Sponsored by the Women in Engineering program and the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the talk will focus on Munk’s 20-year career and her work on the mission to land a human on Mars.

Munk worked on the instrumentation of the heat shield on the Mars Science Laboratory. The MSL heat shield instrumentation was the most extensive ever sent to Mars. The data returned is vital to missions of the future.
Since 2013, Munk has been the principal investigator of entry, descent and landing technologies within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. In this position, she coordinates NASA’s EDL investments across nine programs in the directorate.

Munk earned her bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Virginia Tech University and has been a NASA employee for more than 26 years. She has won several NASA group and individual achievement awards, including the Space Flight Awareness Award and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.

*Source: The Exponent Online

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