November 13th, 2000

How an Interplanetary Internet Will Work

You can talk to almost anyone, in any corner of the world, almost instantly because of the Internet and other advances in electronic communication. Scientists and space explorers now are looking for a way to communicate almost instantly beyond Earth. The next phase of the Internet will take us to far reaches of our solar system, and lay the groundwork for a communications system for a manned missions to Mars and planets beyond.

November 2nd, 2000

How inflatable spacecraft will work

As the space industry continues to cut costs by using lightweight materials and alternative types of energy, it is opening up the possibility that you and I may one day have the opportunity to live in space. The idea of a colony on the moon or Mars might be made possible with new spacecraft technologies being developed today. Inflatable space telescopes will be much lighter than their glass and metal predecessors, making them cheaper to put into orbit. (NASA) One of the remaining barriers to affordable space travel or even placing spacecraft in orbit is still the high price of launching these spacecraft. At today’s prices, it would cost $12,500 just to launch an object as light as an inflated basketball (1.25 pounds) into space. The heavier the spacecraft, the more rocket fuel is needed to get the vehicle off the ground. NASA and other space agencies are working on constructing a new breed of inflatable spacecraft made of lightweight materials.