R&D Roundup: Sweat power, Earth imaging, testing ‘ghostdrivers’

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Near miss between science craft and Starlink satellite shows need to improve orbital coordination

A European satellite that measures the Earth’s winds using lasers had a close encounter with one of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation yesterday in a situation that illustrates the growing inadequacy of existing systems for global coordination of orbital issues. It’s getting crowded up there, and email and phone calls between HQs soon won’t cut it. The […]

Cryptographic ICE Cube tests orbital cybersecurity protocols aboard the ISS

Encryption in space can be tricky. Even if you do everything right, a cosmic ray might come along and flip a bit, sabotaging the whole secure protocol. So if you can’t radiation-harden the computer, what can you do? European Space Agency researchers are testing solutions right now in an experiment running on board the ISS. […]

ispace Europe tapped by the European Space Agency for mission to extract water from the Moon

Space startup ispace, which is headquartered in Japan but has a European subsidiary based in Luxembourg, will take part in PROSPECT, a program run by the European Space Agency (ESA) that intends to extract water from the Moon’s southern pole, with a target mission date of 2024 or 2025. PROSPECT isn’t just a cool reference […]

Rolling, hopping robots explore Earthly analogs of distant planets

Before we send any planet-trotting robot to explore the landscape of Mars or Venus, we need to test it here on Earth. Two such robotic platforms being developed for future missions are undergoing testing at European Space Agency facilities: one that rolls, and one that hops. The rolling one is actually on the books to […]