SpaceX and the Inspiration4

               SpaceX has done extraordinary things over the years, making a name for itself with several missions to study the universe. This September, they plan to make history again with a first-of-its-kind mission entirely made up of civilians. The four-person crew will be entering low Earth orbit for a 3-day duration. The targeted date for no later than September 15. The crew members chosen are geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor who completed four previous NASA missions, former Air Force member Chris Sembroski who served as a space camp counselor working with Lockheed Martin and earned a degree in aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Another member is 29-year-old Hayley Arceneaux, a bone cancer survivor and former patient of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Hayley has a physician’s assistant degree and will also be the youngest person ever to travel to space. Hayley was chosen by St. Jude’s themselves to go on this civilian-only mission. The man behind this idea and the last member is Jared Isaacman, the billionaire CEO of Shift4 Payments. He will also serve as commander. Jared will give all money from this endeavor to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

               Training for missions usually takes around two years, but for this Dragon crew, time is short. The training provided by NASA will be based on a NASA-approved curriculum. Given the mission only lasting three days, the team will not need to learn traditional spacewalks and station operations training. Isaacman plans to put the crew through their paces, testing them in isolated environments in close quarters. The mission will get to space using a retooled Falcon 9 rocket from past Dragon crew missions. With this mission being the first all civilian crew flight, it will set a record for history. None of the four people selected have past space experience but have worked with the government and other divisions. They will receive commercial-style training and be the first to complete a space mission with no government oversight. Isaacman could not be more thrilled partnering with SpaceX; with their past achievements, he knew that they were the right people for the job. For Hayley, being a part of this mission was a dream come true, and her family was happy to do anything to make it happen.

               This mission is extraordinary because not only does it give ordinary people a fantastic opportunity, but it also gives hope to the many people fighting cancer. For more information, please visit Inspiration4’s website. If you would like to read more about this, please click here for an article about it from MSN.

Potential for Microbial Life on Mars

Courtesy of NASA

When the Mars Perseverance rover landed on the planet in February, it astonished the world with detailed photos of the planet and audio of the surface. After discovering water and ice on Mars, the next endeavor starting the search for evidence of possible life and life-supporting properties on the planet. A new study conducted by the Astrobiology Journal concluded that there is indeed the right amount of ingredients to support microbial life. The study looked at the planet’s Martian meteorites and their chemical makeup. Observing the chemical reaction whenever these meteorites had continuous constant contact with water once the meteorites fell back to Earth.

Among the many reactions studied, Radiolysis was of massive interest. The reaction is created when radioactive elements like potassium uranium and thorium could be converted sulfates, so much so that they tap water. One of the reasons is that there’s water on the planet because there is a flowing lake somewhere on the planet in the subsurface. It is now believed that once the components of that lake are studied further, how microbial life could exist could possibly be revealed. Also, different wavelengths of light being investigated to potentially give way to a better understanding of Mars’s past.

Further study will be ongoing, but the full extent of the findings may not be known for some time. The idea of life on another planet could be an extraordinary mark left on history forever. We wish all the very best of luck to the teams in their search for answers.

If you would like to read more, please click here.

2012 Psychophysics Study Using Optical Slits

               Over the years, science has given us many ways of studying and exploring vast possibilities. One of those miraculous ways is psychophysics, which is defined as the part of psychology the deals with mental phenomena and physical stimulation. Psychophysics works by studying the specifics of physical stimulation and sensation and looking at the responses produced. In psychophysics, three models of study are most used: the method of constant stimuli, the method of limits, and the method of adjustment. The limits method determines the sensory threshold by increasing or decreasing stimulus level gradually. The method of adjustment is, as it sounds, studying the patient’s adjustment to stimulus levels. These are just some examples of what psychophysics can do. Young’s double-slit formula is another physics example using light that studies and displays light particles’ characteristics and defines light waves.

               In a 2012 study, the double-slit experiment was used in about 25 people to record their individual reactions to stimulus. With the initially planned analysis, there was no psychophysical effect found on the subjects. However, as the study notes, there may be causal links found with more detailed analyses. To look at the study more in-depth, please click here.

               At Lenox Laser, we offer various optical products that are probably built in many ways that use the ideas of psychophysics. We have everything from apertures to slits to pinhole photography, gas and liquid separators, particle counters, molecular beam masks, and more. To see our product line, please visit us here and explore our many variations and possibilities.

               It will be interesting to see just how far the evolution of psychophysics will go, along with the uses of Young’s double-slit experiment. Science never stops evolving, and neither should our eagerness to learn all that we can for future endeavors. That curiosity could make the future even brighter.

NASA and Aerosol Jet Printing

Through the years, there have been many different styles of printing, from newspapers on paper presses to photo printing and art design. With these techniques, the amount of ease using them continues to evolve. Aerosol jet printing is a method that allows contactless direct printing for mass manufacturing that uses inkjet technology to put materials on substrates. It is the process of coding a base material used as a foundation for the object or image being printed on material. This process would also aim to significantly reduce printing time and manufacturing costs for companies. Aerosol jet printing can allow fine detail printing of 10 µm for high resolution printing onto different types of hardware and electronics.

The technique is also being used recently by NASA with a combination of 3-D printing that can print electronics such as transistors, conductors, and even cell phone cases. NASA is using it to create motherboards with digital to analog converter chips. If successful, NASA could later use it to mass-produce and print hardware for their many spacecraft.

Non-particle ink such as silver ink would allow extraction of silver non-particles from 10 to 100 µm of extraction. The type of non-particle can also be determined by the metal material used, such as titanium, aluminum, alloy, steel, and more. The difference between inkjet printing and aerosol printing is that aerosol allows 2 to 4 times higher resolution than inkjet, print resolution, and ink viscosity. Aerosol also has a clone-resistant nozzle; inkjet does not; aerosol is more tightly focused on its direction when printing, whereas inkjet is random directionality. Inkjet is a single drop; aerosol can be continuous.

Lenox Laser was able to use our cutting-edge processes in laser drilling flow restrictive orifices to assist in these technological advancements in the field. The full potential of aerosol printing has yet to be realized. However, we at Lenox Laser very helpful for the future and happy to be a part of it.

If you would like to read more about this piece of news, click here for an article from 3DPrintingIndustry and here for an article from ResearchGate.

James Webb Telescope Mirror Packing Update

               The James Webb Space Telescope has taken many years to get to where it is today. It survived complete cancellation in November 2011, infrared systems installation, and other instrument installs in 2012 through 2014. Despite a delay last year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the project is still managing to gain momentum toward the finish line. The James Webb Space Telescope is continuing towards its Halloween 2021 launch by hitting the milestone of having its massive protective sunshield folded and packed up to journey into space.

               The telescopes mammoth sunshield will protect the telescopes many optics from the immense heat and light of the sun. Folding the mirrors took one month to complete; they fold up on two sides of the telescope when not in use. The sunshield is about the size of a tennis court when fully deployed and is made up of 18 individual mirrors composed of five layers. Its entire span measures an estimated 70′ x 47′ with a cost of almost $10 billion. Since this telescope has infrared to detect and read heat signatures, the mirrors must be kept extremely cold. Once in space, one side of the mirror will reflect the heat and light from the Earth, Sun, and the Moon, which studies show to be approximately 230°F on the outermost layers. NASA worked with Northrop Grumman to build James Webb into a reality.

               We, at Lenox Laser, designed and provided alignment targets for the infrared systems on James Webb, for which we are most grateful for the opportunity. If you would like to know more about Lenox Laser’s work for the James Webb telescope, click here. If you would like to read more about the latest development on the telescope, click here for an article by phys.org.

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