Archive for the ‘space’ tag
Oct 20, 2015
Posted by Laura Samsó in categories: government, military, science, space, weapons
Sep 24, 2015
Posted by Philip Raymond in categories: astronomy, science, space
While NASA has already shown us Pluto’s best images yet, the administration is anything but done blowing our minds. What you see above is an enhanced high-resolution color view of Pluto, created with a combination of blue, red and infrared images. NASA says this photo, taken by New Horizons spacecraft, highlights Pluto’s diverse landforms and shows us its complex geological and climatological story — as much as scientists have been able to figure out, anyway. Over the past few months, NASA’s shared many things related to Pluto, including a closer look at its desolate surface and icy mountain range.
Apr 3, 2015
Posted by Mark Nall in categories: futurism, habitats, robotics/AI, space, space travel, strategy
A realistic and desirable human destination would produce a different space program than what we have today.
“We reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.” This is NASA’s Vision Statement. This is NASA’s reason for being, its purpose. This is a vision statement for science and knowledge. This vision statement was crafted in a solar system that has only one planet that is environmentally friendly to human life.
Thanks to the ongoing search for exoplanets, we’ve identified several planets in our galaxy that are Earth sized and in their star’s habitable zone. Based on statistics, potentially billions more are waiting to be found. We are just now developing the technology to detect them. But we’re nowhere near having the technology needed to get to visit them. They are simply too far away.
Now here is where I’d like to pose a what if question: What if there was another habitable planet just like Earth, right here in our own solar system? What would Earth’s space programs look like, if anyone with a good telescope could look up and see another world with oceans, and continents, and clouds, and green forests? I think that it is safe to say that space programs in this imaginary solar system would be vastly different than ours today. This is conjecture, but it seems likely that the vision statement above, would be more in line with making that new world available for humanity.
Mar 27, 2015
Posted by Mark Nall in categories: automation, disruptive technology, economics, futurism, governance, robotics/AI, space, space travel, strategy
One of the things that I’ve always liked about Star Trek, is the concept of a galaxy spanning civilization. I would expect that before we ever get to that point, we will have a civilization that spans our solar system. Having a solar system spanning civilization has many advantages. It would give us access to resources many times greater than what is found here on Earth. It also provides the opportunity for civilization to expand, and in a worst case scenario, help ensure the survival of humanity.
Millions of people living in spacious environmentally controlled cities on planetary surfaces and in rotating cylinders in free space, with industry that extends from Mercury to the comets is to me, a grand vision worthy of an ambitious civilization. But trying to make that vision a reality will be difficult. The International Space Station has the capacity to house just six people and cost approximately $100B to put in place. With a little simple division, that works out to about $17B per inhabitant! If we used that admittedly crude figure, it would cost $17 trillion to build a 1,000 person habitat in Earth orbit. Clearly, the approach we used to build the ISS will not work for building a solar system civilization!
The ISS model relies on building everything on Earth, and launching it into space. A different model championed by Dr. Philip Metzger, would develop industrial capacity in space, using resources close to home, such as from the Moon. This has the potential to greatly reduce the cost of building and maintaining systems in space. But how to develop that industrial capacity? Remember we can’t afford to launch and house thousands of workers from Earth. The answer it would seem, is with advanced robotics and advanced manufacturing.
But is even this possible? The good news is that advanced robotics and advanced manufacturing are already being rapidly developed here on Earth. The driver for this development is economics, not space. These new tools will still have to be modified to work in the harsh environment of space, and with resources that are different from what are commonly used here on Earth. While learning to adapt those technologies to the Moon and elsewhere in the solar system is not trivial, it is certainly better that having to develop them from scratch!
Mar 9, 2015
100 Year Starship Establishes EU Hub in Brussels to Advance Space, Science and Technology Initiatives with European Partners
Posted by Jason Batt in categories: space, space travel
International Audacious SpaceInitiative Partners with Brussels-Based ISC Intelligence to Support EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Goals to Meet Global Challenges on Earth
BRUSSELS/HOUSTON, March 5, 2015 – 100 Year Starship™ (100YSS™), an independent, long-term global initiative working to ensure that the capabilities for human interstellar travel, beyond our solar system to another star, exist within the next 100 years today announced the establishment of its hub in the European Union. The inaugural 100YSS@EUä Hub debuted at the ES:GC2 (European Science: Global Challenges Global Collaboration) Conference held by the Brussels partner ISC Intelligence.
The 100YSS@EU Hub will further the 100YSS mission and facilitate robust transatlantic and international collaboration in research and innovation, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) capacity building, entrepreneurship and education projects between organizations, companies, universities and individuals, as well as support the objectives of the EU’s Horizon 2020. The U.S.-based 100YSS began with a competitive seed-funding grant from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).
Horizon 2020 is the largest EU Research and Innovation programme ever and is aimed at implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative designed to secure Europe’s global competitiveness.
Oct 24, 2013
Posted by Tom Kerwick in categories: climatology, engineering, futurism, habitats, space
In our on-going ambitions to colonise space — and our search for exo-planets in goldilocks zones, it is often overlooked that the most Earth-like area known to us is in our own Solar System, and very nearby — the upper reaches of the Venusian troposphere.
Whilst the surface of Venus invokes classical images of Hell — a dark sea of fire and brimstone, where temperatures raise to an incredible 450°C — hot enough to melt lead, tin and zinc, and pressurised to such an extent (92 bar) that in these conditions the atmosphere ghosts in and out of an ocean of supercritical carbon dioxide — sulphur dioxide tints the air, and sulphuric acid rains down on volcanic plains. One just needs to look to the skies…
At about 50 km to 60 km above the surface, the upper reaches of the Venusian troposphere, the environment is quite different. At these high altitudes the temperature is in our comfort zone of 0°C to 50°C, and the air pressure similar as habitable regions of Earth.
An atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide (96.5%) and abundant solar radiation, the conditions are ideal for photosynthesis. One could imagine solar energy powered crafts could easily sustain ecosystems where the ideal conditions for photosynthesis ensure an abundant source of food and oxygen for inhabitants. The solar energy here is abundant and in all directions — the high reflectivity of clouds below causes the amount of light reflected upward to be nearly the same as that coming in from above, with an upward solar intensity of 90% — so aircraft would not need to concern about electricity or energy consumption. Indeed, that energy would not even be needed to keep the craft airborne — as the oxygen store would also double up as a natural lifting agent for such aircrafts, as in the Venusian atmosphere of carbon dioxide, oxygen is a lifting gas — in the same way helium is a lifting gas on Earth. With temperature, pressure, gravity, and a constant source of food and oxygen via plant growth all accounted for, not to mention close proximity to Earth, waste & water recycling would be the main challenge for the permanence of such Venusian aircraft — where the initial establishment of a balanced ecosystem is key. The engineering challenge would be far less than that of establishing a colony or base on Mars. Just don’t look down!
May 29, 2013
Posted by Dennis Chamberland in categories: education, engineering, futurism, habitats, philosophy, sustainability
There is a real power in the act of physically moving. In so doing, each and every morning I can escape the cacophonous curse of the ubiquitous ESPN in the gym locker room. I toss my bag in my locker and immediately escape to the pure, perfect, custom designed peace of my iPod’s audio world. I also well remember the glorious day I moved away from the hopelessness of my roommate’s awful sub-human, sub-slum stench and into my own private apartment. The universe changed miraculously overnight. I think you can get my drift. The simple act of moving itself can be powerfully transformational. Sometimes, there is not enough bleach and not enough distance between the walls to have the desired effect. Physically moving is quite often the only answer.
As we consider transhumanist societies, such transitional power is certainly the result by many magnitudes. My team has been engaged in developing the first permanent human undersea settlement over the past few decades. In this process we have had the distinct advantage of planning profoundly transhumanist advances specifically because of the advantageous context of relative community isolation. Further we have the benefit of deriving change as a community necessity — as a psychological and cultural imperative for this degree of advanced cultural evolution. It is a real kind of powerfully driven societal punctuated equilibrium that can be realized in few other ways.
In moving into the oceans, the submarine environment itself immediately establishes the boundary between the new, evolving culture and the old. While the effect and actual meaning of this boundary is almost always overrated, it is nonetheless a real boundary layer that allows the new culture to flourish sans the interferences or contamination from the old. Trying to accomplish transhumanist goals while culturally embedded is far more difficult and far less persuasive to those who must undergo dramatic change and for the transformation to actually take hold and survive generationally. But in a new, rather isolated environment, the pressure to evolve and integrate permanent change is not only easier, it is rather expected as a part of the reasonable process of establishment.
Jan 3, 2013
Posted by Gary Michael Church in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biological, defense, engineering, ethics, existential risks, finance, geopolitics, habitats, military, nuclear, nuclear energy, space, transparency
I recently posted this on the only two other sites that will allow me to express my opinions;
I see the problem as one of self similarity; trying to go cheap being the downfall of all these schemes to work around human physiology.
When I first became interested in space travel several years ago I would comment on a couple blogs and find myself constantly arguing with private space proponents- and saying over and over again, “there is no cheap.” I was finally excommunicated from that bunch and banned from posting. They would start calling me an idiot and other insults and when I tried to return the favor the moderator would block my replies. The person who runs those two sites works for a firm promoting space tourism- go figure.
The problem is that while the aerospace industry made some money off the space program as an outgrowth of the military industrial complex, it soon became clear that spaceships are hard money- they have to work. The example of this is the outrage over the Apollo 1 fire and subsequent oversight of contractors- a practice which disappeared after Apollo and resulted in the Space Shuttle being such a poor design. A portion of the shuttle development money reportedly went under the table into the B-1 bomber program; how much we will never know. Swing wings are not easy to build which is why you do not see it anymore; cuts into profits.
Jan 1, 2013
Posted by Gary Michael Church in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biotech/medical, defense, ethics, events, existential risks, futurism, habitats, military, nuclear, nuclear energy, policy, space, sustainability, transparency
Excerpt: “Galactic cosmic radiation poses a significant threat to future astronauts,” said M. Kerry O’Banion, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy and the senior author of the study. “The possibility that radiation exposure in space may give rise to health problems such as cancer has long been recognized. However, this study shows for the first time that exposure to radiation levels equivalent to a mission to Mars could produce cognitive problems and speed up changes in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”
It appears when Eugene Parker wrote “Shielding Space Travelers” in 2006 he was right- and all the private space sycophants claiming radiation mitigation is trivial are wrong.
Only a massive water shield a minimum of 14 feet thick and massing 400 tons for a small capsule can shield human beings in deep space on long duration missions. And since a small capsule will not have sufficient space to keep a crew psychologically healthy on a multi-year journey it is likely such a shield will massive over a thousand tons.