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Archive for the ‘habitats’ category: Page 75

Jan 1, 2013

Cosmic Ray Gorilla

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biotech/medical, defense, ethics, events, existential risks, futurism, habitats, military, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, 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.

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Dec 31, 2012

13: The Year of The Comet

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, counterterrorism, defense, economics, ethics, events, existential risks, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, human trajectories, lifeboat, military, philosophy, policy, space, sustainability, transparency

A happy new year to the human race from it’s most important member; me. Since self-worship seems to be the theme of the new American ideal I had better get right with me.

With my government going over the fiscal cliff it would appear that the damned soul of Ayn Rand is exerting demonic influence on the political system through worship of the individual. The tea party has the Republicans terrified of losing their jobs. Being just like me, those individuals consider themselves the most important person on the planet- so I cannot fault them.

As Ayn Rand believed, “I will not die, it’s the world that will end”, so who cares about the collective future of the human race? Towards the end of 2013 the heavens may remind us the universe does not really care about creatures who believe themselves all important. The choice may soon be seen clearly in the light of the comet’s tail; the glorification of the individual and the certain extinction of our race, or the acceptance of a collective goal and our continued existence.

Ayn Rand made her choice but most of us have time to choose more wisely. I pray for billions, tens and hundreds of billions of dollars- for a Moonbase.

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Nov 23, 2012

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: A Galilean Base

Posted by in categories: engineering, habitats, space

In a previous post I explored the feasibility of an industrial base on planet Mercury — an option which on first glance had seemed implausible but on getting down to the detail could be considered quite reasonable. Here I go the other direction — outward to the first of the gas giants — and the Galilean moons of Jupiter.

From a scientific point of view it makes a lot of sense to set up a base in this region as it provides the nearest possible base to home that could start to explore the dynamics and weather systems of gaseous planets — which are quite common in our Universe — and how such planets impact on their moons — as potential locations for off-earth colonies and industrial bases. It bears consideration that only two other moons in our outer solar system are of requisite size to have a gravitational field similar or greater to that of our Moon — namely Saturn’s Titan and Neptune’s Triton — so the Galilean moons demand attention.

The first difficulty to consider is the intense radiation from Jupiter, which is far stronger than the Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts. Although proper shielding normally protects living organisms and electronic instrumentation, that from Jupiter is whipped up from magnetic fields 20,000 stronger than Earth’s, so shielding would become difficult. It has been considered that such radiation would be the greatest threat to any craft closing within 300,000 km of the planet. At 420,000 km from Jupiter, Io is the closest of the Galilean satellites. With over 400 active volcanoes, from which plumes of sulphur and sulphur dioxide regularly rise as high as 400 km above its surface, it is considered the most geologically active object in the solar system. The activity could be viewed as a source of heat/energy.

Unlike most satellites, it is composed of silicate rock with a molten iron or iron sulphide core, and despite extensive mountain ranges, the majority of its surface is characterized by extensive plains coated with sulphur and sulphur dioxide frost. One can perhaps disregard its extremely thin sulphur dioxide atmosphere as an inconvenience, though is in too close proximity to Jupiter and its extensive magnetosphere even for occasional mining expeditions from the other moons. In this regard one would have to rule out Io and any resources there completely from consideration for such as base. Onto the other options…

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Nov 2, 2012

Atlantica Undersea Colony — Undersea Colonization and Research

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

It may have gone unnoticed to most, but the first expedition for mankind’s first permanent undersea human colony will begin in July of next year. These aquanauts represent the first humans who will soon (~2015) move to such a habitat and stay with no intention of ever calling dry land their home again. Further details: http://underseacolony.com/core/index.php

Of all 100 billion humans who have ever lived, not a single human has ever gone undersea to live permanently. The Challenger Station habitat, the largest manned undersea habitat ever built, will establish the first permanent undersea colony, with aspirations that the ocean will form a new frontier of human colonization. Could it be a long-term success?

The knowledge gained from how to adapt and grow isolated ecosystems in unnatural environs, and the effects on the mentality and social well-being of the colony, may provide interesting insights into how to establish effective off-Earth colonies.

One can start to pose the questions — what makes the colony self-sustainable? What makes the colony adaptive and able to expand its horizons. What socio-political structure works best in a small inter-dependent colony? Perhaps it is not in the first six months of sustainability, but after decades of re-generation, that the true dynamics become apparent.

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Oct 11, 2012

The Unlikely Option? An Industrial Base on Planet Mercury

Posted by in categories: engineering, futurism, habitats, space

At first glance, one would consider the proposition of a base on Mercury, our Sun’s closest satellite, as ludicrous. With daytime temperatures reaching up to 700K — hot enough to melt lead — while the dark side of the planet experiences a temperature average of 110K — far colder than anywhere on Earth, combined with the lack of any substantial atmosphere, and being deep in the Sun’s gravitational potential well, conditions seem unfavorable.

First impressions can be misleading however, as it is well known that polar areas do not experience the extreme daily variation in temperature, with temperatures in a more habitable range (< 273 K (0 °C)) and it has been anticipated there may even be deposits of ice inside craters. http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/ice/ice_mercury.html

And is not just habitable temperature and ice-water in its polar regions that make Mercury an interesting candidate for an industrial base. There are a number of other factors making it more favourable than either a Looner or Martian base:

Mercury is the second densest planet in our solar system — being just slightly less dense than our Earth — and is rich in valuable resources, the highest concentrations of many valuable minerals of any surface in the Solar System, in highly concentrated ores. Also, being the closest planet to the Sun, Mercury has vast amounts of solar power available, and there are predictions that Mercury’s soil may contain large amounts of helium-3, which could become an important source of clean nuclear fusion energy on Earth and a driver for the future economy of the Solar System. Therefore it is a strong candidate for an industrial base.

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Sep 18, 2012

The Propagation of Life: Infecting other Worlds

Posted by in categories: biological, ethics, evolution, existential risks, habitats

It is with great bewilderment that I read the precautions that NASA rovers are sterilized to, to ensure that Life does not infect the Martian environment. I understand NASA want to explore Mars for signs of Martian life — but which is more important — to explore whether Life almost evolved on Mars, or to induce the whole process and allow it to occur?

We can get caught up in the concept that preservation of Human Life as the ultimate goal, in how do we colonize other worlds as soon as possible — but perhaps the most honorable pursuit is the propagation of Life itself — we should be introducing bacteria or simple xerophytic plants to Mars, algae to Europa and such worlds, in the anticipation that if a foothold can be taken, evolution could take hold — and we may not live to see it — but we have then passed on the gift of life to another world.

Whimsical Notions or Planning With Foresight? Unless we cause our own demise by inadvertently engineering our downfall, as often discussed here, or are struck by a statistically unfortunate large asteroid impact, Life is here on Earth for the long haul — it has been durable for billions of years, albeit with significant setbacks, and one can expect it will be here for billions more to come. We may well have time on our hands.

If we sow the seeds now, we may have other worlds to move to in a few million years — long before we may need it — such as in five billion years when the Sun has expired into a Red Giant. It is quite reasonable to expect that if we seed Mars with our bacteria now, and other basic forms of life at the bottom of the food chain — in some million years from now Mars may be flourishing with vegetation — evolved to suit the terrain — that a colony there could live off.

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Sep 6, 2012

Flexible Path Flim Flam revised

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biotech/medical, business, counterterrorism, defense, economics, education, engineering, ethics, events, existential risks, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, human trajectories, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, military, nuclear weapons, open source, physics, policy, space, transparency

I do not regret voting for this President and I would and will do it again. However.……I am not happy about our space program. Not at all. One would think there would be more resistance concerning the privatization of space and the inferior launch vehicles being tested or proposed. Indeed there would be objections except for a great deception being perpetrated on a nation ignorant of the basic facts about space flight. The private space gang has dominated public discourse with very little answering criticism of their promises and plans.
This writer is very critical of the flexible path.

It is a path to nowhere.

Compared to the accomplishments of NASA’s glory days, there is little to recommend the players in the commercial crew game. The most fabulous is Space X, fielding a cheap rocket promising cheap lift. There is so little transparency concerning the true cost of their launches that one space-faring nation has called the bluff and stated SpaceX launch prices are impossible. The Falcon 9, contrary to stellar advertising, is a poor design in so many ways it is difficult to know where to begin the list. The engines are too small and too many, the kerosene propellant is inferior to hydrogen in the upper stage, and promising to reuse spent hardware verges on the ridiculous. Whenever the truth about the flexible path is revealed, the sycophants begin to wail and gnash their teeth.

The latest craze is the Falcon “heavy.” The space shuttle hardware lifted far more, though most of the lift was wasted on the orbiter. With 27 engines the faux heavy is a throwback to half a century ago when clusters of small engines were required due to nothing larger being available. The true heavy rocket of the last century had five engines and the number of Falcon engines it would take to match the Saturn V proves just how far the mighty have fallen.

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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 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

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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 weapons, 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?

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