Blog

Archive for the ‘space’ tag

Oct 24, 2013

Havens over Hell — Ecosystems of the Venusian Tropopause

Posted by 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.
Havens over Hell - Ecosystems of the Venetian Tropopause

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

The Power of the Move Outbound

Posted by in categories: education, engineering, futurism, habitats, philosophy, sustainability

boy_bubble2

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.

Continue reading “The Power of the Move Outbound” »


Jan 3, 2013

Explaining Space Travel

Posted by 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.

Continue reading “Explaining Space Travel” »


Jan 1, 2013

Cosmic Ray Gorilla

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biotech/medical, defense, ethics, events, existential risks, futurism, habitats, military, nuclear, nuclear energy, policy, space, sustainability, transparency

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121231180632.htm

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.

Continue reading “Cosmic Ray Gorilla” »


Dec 28, 2012

Forty Tons of Plutonium for Bomb Propulsion?

Posted by in categories: defense, engineering, existential risks, military, nuclear, nuclear energy, space

http://news.yahoo.com/nowhere-japans-growing-plutonium-stockpile-064038796.html

A half century after being developed, nuclear pulse propulsion remains the only practical system of interplanetary travel. What is required to launch a bomb propelled mission to the outer solar system? Well, first you need.…..bombs.

There is no shortage of bomb material on planet Earth. The problem is lack of a vehicle that can get this material to the nearest place a nuclear mission can be launched; the Moon. For over a quarter of a century a launch vehicle capable of sending significant payloads (and people) to the Moon has been lacking. The Space Transportation System, aka the space shuttle, was a dead end as far as exploration due to the lack of funding for a Sidemount cargo version.

Now we wait on the SLS.

Continue reading “Forty Tons of Plutonium for Bomb Propulsion?” »


Sep 26, 2012

On Leaving the Earth. Like, Forever. Bye-Bye.

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, cosmology, defense, engineering, existential risks, futurism, human trajectories, lifeboat, military, singularity, space


Technology is as Human Does

When one of the U.S. Air Force’s top future strategy guys starts dorking out on how we’ve gotta at least begin considering what to do when a progressively decaying yet apocalyptically belligerent sun begins BBQing the earth, attention is payed. See, none of the proposed solutions involve marinade or species-level acquiescence, they involve practical discussion on the necessity for super awesome technology on par with a Kardeshev Type II civilization (one that’s harnessed the energy of an entire solar system).

Because Not if, but WHEN the Earth Dies, What’s Next for Us?
Head over to Kurzweil AI and have a read of Lt. Col. Peter Garretson’s guest piece. There’s perpetuation of the species stuff, singularity stuff, transhumanism stuff, space stuff, Mind Children stuff, and plenty else to occupy those of us with borderline pathological tech obsessions.

[BILLION YEAR PLAN — KURZWEIL AI]
[U.S. AIR FORCE BLUE HORIZONS FUTURE STUFF PROJECT]

Sep 6, 2012

GENCODE Apocalypse

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, complex systems, counterterrorism, defense, ethics, events, evolution, existential risks, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, military, open source, policy, space, supercomputing, sustainability, transparency

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905134912.htm

It is a race against time– will this knowledge save us or destroy us? Genetic modification may eventually reverse aging and bring about a new age but it is more likely the end of the world is coming.

The Fermi Paradox informs us that intelligent life may not be intelligent enough to keep from destroying itself. Nothing will destroy us faster or more certainly than an engineered pathogen (except possibly an asteroid or comet impact). The only answer to this threat is an off world survival colony. Ceres would be perfect.

Sep 2, 2012

Verne, Wells, and the Obvious Future Part 3

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, counterterrorism, defense, education, engineering, ethics, events, futurism, geopolitics, life extension, media & arts, military, policy, robotics/AI, space, sustainability, transparency

A secret agent travels to a secret underground desert base being used to develop space weapons to investigate a series of mysterious murders. The agent finds a secret transmitter was built into a supercomputer that controls the base and a stealth plane flying overhead is controlling the computer and causing the deaths. The agent does battle with two powerful robots in the climax of the story.

Gog is a great story worthy of a sci fi action epic today– and was originally made in 1954. Why can’t they just remake these movies word for word and scene for scene with as few changes as possible? The terrible job done on so many remade sci fi classics is really a mystery. How can such great special effects and actors be used to murder a perfect story that had already been told well once? Amazing.

In contrast to Gog we have the fairly recent movie Stealth released in 2005 that has talent, special effects, and probably the worst story ever conceived. An artificially intelligent fighter plane going off the reservation? The rip-off of HAL from 2001 is so ridiculous.

Fantastic Voyage (1966) was a not so good story that succeeded in spite of stretching suspension of disbelief beyond the limit. It was a great movie and might succeed today if instead of miniaturized and injected into a human body it was instead a submarine exploring a giant organism under the ice of a moon in the outer solar system. Just an idea.

Continue reading “Verne, Wells, and the Obvious Future Part 3” »


Sep 1, 2012

Lunar Space Station vs. Asteroid Mission

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, engineering, geopolitics, habitats, military, policy, space, transparency

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48869943#.UELWXqD0SXY

The glacial pace of NASA’s human spaceflight program –even with the glaciers melting– may possibly see human beings leave Earth’s gravitational field in 2025. Possibly.

The missing piece of the puzzle is a radiation sanctuary massive enough to protect a crew from a major solar event on such a journey.

http://www.nasatech.com/NEWS/Nov05/who_1105.html

Continue reading “Lunar Space Station vs. Asteroid Mission” »


Sep 1, 2012

Christian Astronomers

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biological, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, climatology, complex systems, counterterrorism, defense, economics, education, engineering, ethics, events, evolution, existential risks, finance, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, military, nuclear, open source, physics, policy, space, sustainability, transparency

“The more anxiety one produces, the more the discussion there would be about how real and how possible actual existential threats are.”

John Hunt recently queried me on what steps I might take to form an organization to advocate for survival colonies and planetary defense. His comment on anxiety is quite succinct. In truth the landing on the moon was the product of fear– of the former Soviet Union’s lead in rocket technology. As we as a nation quelled that anxiety the budget for human space flight dwindled. But the fear of a nuclear winter continued to grow along with the size of our arsenals.

Interestingly, at the height of the cold war, evidence of yet another threat to human existence was uncovered in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico in 1981; Chicxulub. But even before the dinosaur killer was discovered, perhaps the greatest threat of all to humanity was born in 1973 when Herb Boyer and Stanley Cohen created the first genetically modified organism. The money to answer both of these threats by going into space continues to be expended by the military industrial complex.

Mile wide rocks in space and microscopic organisms on earth are both threats to our existence, but the third and undoubtedly greatest threat is our own apathy. Why do we expend the tremendous resources of our race on everything BUT keeping it from going extinct?

Continue reading “Christian Astronomers” »


Page 1 of 3123