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Private Space Firm SpaceX Will Soon Send First Private Passenger To Moon

The new heavy-lift rocket that NASA is developing for deep-space missions -- known as the Space Launch System -- could serve as a core component of a moon trip.

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Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. Wikimedia.

In a step that commercialises space travel, US private space firm SpaceX on Friday announced that it will send the first private passenger to Moon and will reveal his identity on Monday.

The tourist will fly in the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) being designed to carry people into deep space, the Elon Musk led company said in a tweet.

“SpaceX has signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle — an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space.

“Find out who’s flying and why on Monday, September 17,” the tweet said.

The BFR will be used to explore Mars — a goal that Musk hopes to accomplish by 2022.

Moon, spaceX
A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket (VOA)

“SpaceX will probably build 30 to 40 rocket cores for 300 missions over five years. Then the BFR takes over and Falcon retires. Goal of BFR is to enable anyone to move to Moon, Mars and eventually outer planets,” Musk had said in May.

Only 24 humans have been to the Moon so far, and no one has visited since the 1972 Apollo mission.

However, it was not clear whether the BFR tourism mission has any link to an announcement SpaceX made in February 2017, the CNN reported.

At that time, SpaceX said two people signed a deal with SpaceX to make a trip around the moon aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket. SpaceX was tight-lipped about the financial terms of the deal and the identity of the individuals.

Moon
The Moon. Pixabay

In February, SpaceX debuted the long-awaited Falcon Heavy, which became the world’s most powerful operational launch vehicle, the report said.

But during a Falcon Heavy press conference earlier this year, Musk told reporters that, for the time being, SpaceX had no plans to certify the Falcon Heavy for human spaceflight.

Instead, Musk said, SpaceX would turn its focus to developing the BFR, which he deemed a better option for tourism missions.

Also Read: SpaceX Launches Communications Satellite

In December 2017, US President Donald Trump also issued a directive to “lead an innovative space exploration programme to send American astronauts back to the moon, and eventually Mars”.

The new heavy-lift rocket that NASA is developing for deep-space missions — known as the Space Launch System — could serve as a core component of a moon trip. (IANS)

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Study Reveals Solar Cells Can Retain Most Of Their Power Conversion Efficiency in Near Space

In the study, researchers from China's Peking University sent the devices fixed with PSCs into near space on a high-altitude balloon.

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solar energy
Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) are known for their potential of achieving higher efficiency and low production costs compared to traditional silicon solar cells. Pixabay

Chinese researchers have found that solar cells can retain most of their power conversion efficiency in near space, providing perspectives on the cells’ future application in space.

Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) are known for their potential of achieving higher efficiency and low production costs compared to traditional silicon solar cells.

These cells also have great potential for developing the new-generation energy technology for space application, but little research has been done to test the stability of PSCs in the extreme space environment, Xinhua news agency reported.

In the study, researchers from China’s Peking University sent the devices fixed with PSCs into near space on a high-altitude balloon.

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These cells also have great potential for developing the new-generation energy technology for space application, but little research has been done to test the stability of PSCs in the extreme space environment, Xinhua news agency reported. Piixabay

The balloon rose to near space at an altitude of 35 km, a region above Earth’s atmosphere where there is only a trace amount of moisture and ozone.

The region, considered to have “air mass zero” contains no atmospheric attenuation of solar radiation and therefore several high-energy particles and radiation, such as neutrons, electrons and gamma rays, originate from the galactic cosmic rays and solar flares.

solar cells
Chinese researchers have found that solar cells can retain most of their power conversion efficiency in near space, providing perspectives on the cells’ future application in space.
Pixabay

Also Read: Know About The Psychologists Team Helping To Prevent Farmers’ Suicides in Parts of Telangana

According to the findings, one type of PSCs used in the study retained more than 95 per cent of its initial power conversion efficiency during the test, the researchers reported in the journal Science China Physics, Mechanics and Astronomy.

They said the study is expected to play a crucial role in the future stability research of PSCs. (IANS)