3
$\begingroup$

This is the second quarter 2014 Topic of The Week thread, where we are gathering suggestions for which of our main site tags should receive more attention and we should focus on providing more contents for them during the week they're featured. Old threads are here:

We'll be gathering suggestions for future ToTW roughly each quarter into a new thread to reduce clutter, as new suggestions in old threads tend to not attract as many votes being pushed on the page down low and barely visible.

Rules are still the same and simple enough:

Each Sunday, one of the mods will pick a highly voted answer to this question for which to select as the topic of the week. This will keep going as long as there is interest, both from the mods and the community as a whole. During that week, we encourage all of the active members to ask at least one question on that specific topic. Do research if you have to. In the end, we will be able to fill out this site, to include things which we don't have enough activity yet.

Please give a single tag per question which you feel is underrated, and give an explanation of that tag to the group, so everyone can understand enough to start asking questions. Linking relevant Wikipedia articles can be of help, or other useful starting points for research. Finally, if you have a request for a specific week, then please include it in your answer. For instance, if there is a significant anniversary, a new launch, flyby, etc, then it seems logical we should have a topic of the week built around that subject.

Once this thread becomes active, we'll change its title to reflect currently running ToTW and feature it, so it shows in our Community Bulletin (the yellow box to the right hand side of our main site pages).

Here are a few last selected ToTW to the list for easier reference (links on dates point to the suggestion), and we'll add new ones as they gather sufficient support by voting on them:


Topics of The Week (currently running one in bold):


Ideally, we need at least 3 upvotes on suggestions to make it as our ToTW! Please support those you're interested in and haven't yet been selected with your vote, and add your own below, each in a new answer, starting with the tag name (markup is in [tag:tag_name] format and links to main site tag with a given tag_name), followed by short description of it and optionally why you believe it should be selected and/or links to any already existing example questions, so it's clearer what you had in mind.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

Used on the week of Apr. 20 - Apr. 26, 2014

It seems we could come up with more questions than we have about various near-term targets for sample return and the different challenges that have to be overcome to accomplish a sample return mission. Specifically, we could talk about the Mars 2020 rover and details on how it plans to returns samples, assuming specific plans or ideas are out.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

Used on the week of Apr. 27 - May 03, 2014

Since space exploration on stack is still in it's beta I'd guess upping the sits hit count would be a good move; space debris is a hot topic in the media and will continue to be a hot topic as the problem persists/agencies spend money trying to fix it.

It would be good to see a few question on the modelling of space debris - the environment evolution is a pretty well define (albeit inaccurately predicted) topic in of it's own right. My main thinking is a lot of people have questions about space debris, and the space industry seems to be putting some real money behind the problem now! No specific date for when to have this as a topic of the week (unless there's a massive in orbit collision - but if you could predict those then they wouldn't exist!). There are currently 24 questions with the debris tag:

https://space.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/debris?page=1&sort=newest&pagesize=15

But I think we could knock out a cool 100 or so without too much of a hitch.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

I find spaceflight related terminology simply fascinating. There's so much history and tradition associated with it, that just investigating deeper meaning and historical use of some of the frequently used terms often reveals whole stories. Since they borrow from nearly any field imaginable, scientific or otherwise, I believe this could be interesting for all of us.

Some example questions discussing spaceflight terminology from a variety of sources:

There's currently only 14 terminology related questions, and even adding to these a few of those asking about the countdown procedures, polling station acronyms, and terminology used with that, I believe we could have many, many more. From mythology, history, various fields of science, to popular culture, spaceflight terminology doesn't seem shy in coining new terms from nearly anywhere, and more often than not, there's an interesting story behind them, too.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

,

I was a bit surprised that we only have a single question tagged as space observatory, but we do have a few other questions about , , , , and so on, so these could use a few additional tags so they're easier to find and score better on search engines. That could be one reason for selecting this as one of our ToTW. For orbiters, we don't even have a specific tag yet, which is also surprising, but is doing quite well with roughly 40 questions. This seems a bit too selective and I suspect some of those could use retagging.

But my main idea is that we often only discuss orbits, trajectories, station-keeping, technical troubles, life-expectancy, and limits of specific space observatories and orbiters, and less so their main purpose, discoveries made and scientific literature their data was used for and help us better understand our solar system and beyond. And there are some absolutely fantastic observatories already deployed (Hubble, Chandra, Kepler, Herschel, Planck, Messenger, Stereo, SDO,...), some that have just now started doing their science or are about to (Gaia, LADEE, Juno,...), and even more fantastic ones that will relatively soon be joining them (Webb, BepiColombo, LISA Pathfinder, Juice,..). Well, soon in complex and expensive space exploration mission terms. Still, let's discuss these more, create new, more specific tags for them, and retag those that could use that.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Drag augmentation is probably a new term for most, so I thought it would be an interesting concept to discuss a bit more on our site. If I had to define it, it would go something like this:

Drag augmentation is one of the proposed space debris mitigation methods of de-orbiting Low Earth Orbit (LEO) space debris and defunct satellites that lost means of active propulsion or control, by increasing their atmospheric drag so their orbits decay faster than they would naturally, and artificially increasing their cross-sectional area and with it their air resistance.

How could this be done? Some proposed methods are using gossamer (very light fabric) drag augmentation structures and deployable sails, while others suggest spraying debris with adhesive expanding foam (PDF). And there might be other methods, each with their own set of challenges.

Since we currently don't have any questions tagged as , I've temporarily made it a synonym of , so it's available in the list before the tag gets its own proper questions. I'll make it a standalone tag and add a description for it as soon as we get some questions. Some other suggested tags it could be used together with are , and .

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Questions regarding mission or spacecraft plans which are not material, but are only concepts.

We currently have only 5 questions tagged as conceptual but that doesn't seem to be a good representative number of how many questions asking about space exploration conceptual projects and ideas that are still competing for attention (funding, approval, feasibility studies,...) we actually have. For example, certainly falls in this category, and there are other examples, so if this suggestion is selected, we could take this opportunity to add this tag to questions it applies to.

It is also a broad topic, and while I believe that draming big is an important part of development of space technologies and outlining possible missions, I also believe it is important to clearly classify it as such, so they can be considered for what they are - concepts.

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .