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Archive for the ‘nanotechnology’ category: Page 126

Jan 23, 2007

Nick Szabo’s Chemical Microreactors

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, space

From the Unemumerated blog, this piece was originally written in 1993:

Using materials native to space, instead of hauling everything from Earth, is crucial to future efforts at large-scale space industrialization and colonization. At that time we will be using technologies far in advance of today’s, but even now we can see the technology developing for use here on earth.

There are a myriad of materials we would like to process, including dirty organic-laden ice on comets and some asteroids, subsurface ice and the atmosphere of Mars, platinum-rich unoxidized nickel-iron metal regoliths on asteroids, etc. There are an even wider array of materials we would like to make. The first and most important is propellant, but eventually we want a wide array of manufacturing and construction inputs, including complex polymers like Kevlar and graphite epoxies for strong tethers.

The advantages of native propellant can be seen in two recent mission proposals. In several Mars mission proposals[1], H2 from Earth or Martian water is chemically processed with CO2 from the Martian atmosphere, making CH4 and O2 propellants for operations on Mars and the return trip to Earth. Even bringing H2 from Earth, this scheme can reduce the propellant mass to be launched from Earth by over 75%. Similarly, I have described a system that converts cometary or asteroidal ice into a cylindrical, zero-tank-mass thermal rocket. This can be used to transport large interplanetary payloads, including the valuable organic and volatile ices themselves into high Earth and Martian orbits.

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Jan 21, 2007

Significant Nanotechnology related developments

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

There were several significant developments and announcements that were nanotechnology related.

The UK Ideas Factory Sandpit announced three ambitious, but in my opinion achievable projects in the 2–5 year timeframe.

1. A system with software based control for the assembly of DNA oligomers, nanopartices and other small molecules. This would be a significant advance over current DNA synthesis if they are successful.

2. Computer-directed actuators with sub-angstrom precisions that is based upon novel surface-bound, reconfigurable nanoscale building blocks and a prototype computer-controlled matter manipulator (akin to a nanoscale conveyor belt)

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Jan 15, 2007

U.S. developing nanotech military armor

Posted by in categories: military, nanotechnology

From United Press International:

DAYTON, Calif., Dec. 20 (UPI) — The U.S. Army awarded a $15 million contract for the development of a new type of lightweight composite armor based on nanotechnology.

The pact awarded to the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) this week will lead to new materials that can be used in vehicles and body armor.

“This is not a ground-level academic study project,” UDRI engineer Brian Rice said. “We are actually working with two Ohio companies to create a product that, if it tests out well, could show up in Iraq next year.”

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Jan 9, 2007

Interview with Dr. Alan Goldstein

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

Over at Accelerating Future, a new interview between Michael Anissimov (a.k.a. me), and Dr. Alan Goldstein, a member of our Scientific Advisory Board who is concerned about the dangers of bionanotechnology. Here is an excerpt from the first part of the interview:

Michael Anissimov: How do you define synthetic biology (A-life)?

Dr. Alan Goldstein: It is crucial to this discussion that people recognize that Synthetic Biology is not the same as Artificial Life. I have spent a great deal of time trying to explain the difference in terms that are understandable to non-technical folks.

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Jan 5, 2007

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

On Edge.org, 160 brilliant scientists and thinkers were asked, “what are you optimistic about?” Gregory Cochran, a professor of anthropology at the University of Utah, chose to speak about self-replicating manufacturing:

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread”—it has always been that way.

Most men have been slaves of necessity, while the few who were not lived by exploiting others who were. Although mechanization has eased that burden in the advanced countries, it is still the case for the majority of the human race. Limited resources (mainly fossil fuels), as well as negative consequences of industrialization such as global warming, have made some people question whether American living standards can ever be extended to most of the human race. They’re pessimists, and they’re wrong.

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