Blogs

Speaker's Bio

Narayan Prasad is a cofounder at satsearch.co, a global marketplace for space supported and incubated by the European Space Agency. He also serves as a Partner to SpacePark Kerala, a Government of Kerala initiative to develop a dedicated space activities hub in India.

Narayan is supporting the development of a NewSpace industry ecosystem in India by working with startups alongside the Government of Kerala’s initiative to create a home for NewSpace in India. He believes that there is an opportunity to create a $25 billion space industry ecosystem in India by 2030 which can take space-based products and services from India to the rest of the world.

He previously served as an Associate Research Fellow at the European Space Policy Institute where he contributed to enhancing cooperation between Europe and India in space. He has authored over 65 articles in various national and international publications and has previously studied in India, Germany, Sweden and France. He is also an elected member of the International Institute of Space Law and an awardee of Emerging Space Leaders by the International Astronautical Federation.

He is also the host of the NewSpace India podcast  India’s only space focused podcast.

Join us on this SpaceTalk to learn about space entrepreneurship from Narayan Prasad

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Sun's Own Lock-down

We are all currently in lockdown, and now it seems like the sun has gone into one of its own lockdown - experts believe. The sun is into a state called the 'solar minimum' and is about to enter the deepest period of 'sunshine recession' as sunspots are virtually not visibly at all. Some reports suggest that it has been almost 100 days this year when the sun has shown zero sunspots.

"Solar Minimum is underway and it’s a deep one. The sun’s magnetic field has become weak, allowing extra cosmic rays into the solar system.”Astronomer Dr Tony Phillips told The Sun.

The Sun

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had predicted the 'solar minimum" in a blog article back in 2017.

The solar cycle is a period of about 11 years during which the Sun experiences peaks and lows in activities, with the solar maximum marking the greatest number of sunspots and the solar minimum marking the lowest number. Last December, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel estimated the next solar minimum would occur around April 2020 (+/- 6 months). This means the Sun is either already at a solar minimum or is about to enter it.

"While intense activity such as sunspots and solar flares subside during solar minimum, that doesn’t mean the sun becomes dull. Solar activity simply changes form. For instance, says Pesnell, “during solar minimum we can see the development of long-lived coronal holes.”

NASA blog

TIMED is a satellite from NASA that monitors infrared emissions from carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO), these substances play a key role in the energy balance of air 100 to 300 kilometers above our planet's surface. SABER can assess the thermal state of gas at the very top of the atmosphere-a layer called the thermosphere by measuring the infrared glow of these molecules.

It is said that during solar minimum the thermosphere cools off and is one of the importatn ways solar minimum can affect our planet.

When thermosphere cools, it shrinks, when this happens the radius of earth's atmosphere literally decreases. This shrinkage of thermosphere decreases the aerodynamic drag on the satellites present in the low-earth orbit, which is actually good news because less drag extends the satellite's lifetime. What is bad is it also delays the natural decay of space junk, resulting in a more cluttered environment around earth.

However when it comes to the question that weather this solar minimum is going to affect us by bringing in an ICE AGE, experts say "NO".

"The reduction in temperature will result in cold weathers on Earth, wet and cold summers, cold and wet winters," Valentina Zharkhova of the Northumbria University said, according to Express. "We will possibly get big frosts as is happening now in Canada where they see [temperatures] of -50C."

But the NASA global climate change blog pointed out that Climate Change could be a factor that will prevent this ice age from occurring.

"The warming caused by the greenhouse gas emissions from the human burning of fossil fuels is six times greater than the possible decades-long cooling from a prolonged Grand Solar Minimum," NASA wrote. "Even if a Grand Solar Minimum were to last a century, global temperatures would continue to warm."

So, we have our own climate change keeping us warm during the solar minimum. According to NASA "Even if a Grand Solar Minimum were to last a century, global temperatures would continue to warm."

"Thus, a new Grand Solar Minimum would only serve to offset a few years of warming caused by human activities,"

NASA blog
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Speaker's Bio

Dr. Siddharth Pandey is the Head of Amity Space Center and the Center of Excellence in Astrobiology at Amity University India. As a part of this, he is leading an initiative to establish India's first center that will work towards studying the origins and distribution of life in the Universe.

Prior to this, he has experience in building sample collection instruments for Mars and Venus surface missions while working at NASA Ames, USA. He received the NASA Spaceflight Awareness Team Award and NASA Ames Technology Transfer Award for two successful spaceflight experiments onboard the International Space Station and co-owns a registered NASA patent.

Siddharth has led international expeditions to explore extreme environments in Ladakh and Lonar crater in Maharashtra, as sites to test experiments and systems for Mars exploration. He is a Director with the Mars Society Australia and is actively involved in planning analogue field projects in India and Australia. He has been engaged in education and public outreach activities and is motivated to use Space as a tool to spread awareness, social consciousness and inclusiveness within our communities.

He holds MS in Space Systems Engineering from TU Delft, Netherlands and BTech in Aerospace Engineering from Amity University, India.

Join us on a Search for Life Journey with Dr. Siddharth Pandey across the universe.

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Every industry is taking the blow to the gut by the corona pandemic. None-the-less we are seeing all industries, big and small do their part to help in the fight against COVID-19. Among all different efforts, the prominent developments are observed exploiting the world of 3D printing and rapid prototyping. Additive manufacturing is proving to be a powerful tool in the present global situation.

During the first week of April, with huge shortage of PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) everywhere. We have seen different companies jump in, to contribute towards managing the situation in numerous ways. One such company was Made-In-Space (MIS) - A company that normally manufactures 3D printers for use in space, like many different organizations around the world, shifted it's state-of-the art operation to respond to the fallout from covid-19.

Made-In-Space modified it's 3D printers to produce hundreds of 3D printed face shields for the local hospitals to help bridge the shortage of PPE supplies. According to MIS the design includes a 3D printed frame with an adjustable headband that allows a clear plastic shield to be easily snapped onto the frame. The Jacksonville based manufacturer was able to produce at a rate of 200 masks in 5 days, to support the local hospitals and first responders.

" In times of crisis it is important for everyone to come together and we have an obligation to support those on the front lines, Our team is using every available 3D printing resource we have to produce face shields to support our local healthcare personnel "

-- MIS Chief Engineer Michael Snyder (MIS Blog)

Fighting the pandemic with the help of 3D printing and rapid prototyping is not just limited to Made-In-Space alone. Many communities under Makerbot and Ultimaker are doing their best, coming forward to help out first responders and doctors in a similar way. There are volunteers coming in to help after working from 5am to 5pm and still put in more hours to assemble these 3D printed masks for the community.

Apart from the well known industries and organizations, there are independent designers, engineers and scientists coming forward across the globe, with innovative designs that allows anyone with a 3D printer to build a custom masks for themselves. The most popular designs consists of a mask, a cover, a filter that goes into the cover, and straps on the side. These masks are better than your normal tee-strip and probably not as good as your n95 masks. A lot of designs are coming in through a portal for the 3D printable designs by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - https://3dprint.nih.gov/ . Those designs are then assessed and clinical reviewed through partnerships like the ones with VA and FDA, they offer feedback on the regulations surrounding medical devices as well. This being said a lot of miniature printing factories are setup closer to the places that need them most, Hospitals.

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The Stellar Detective - Solving Mysteries of Massive Stars

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Sujay Sreedhar