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Page 2046

Feb 6, 2007

US Missile Defense System Aces Test

Posted by in category: defense

From CNN:

KEKAHA, Hawaii (CNN) — The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency shot down a dummy target missile over the southern Pacific Ocean during a test of the U.S. missile defense shield early Saturday, according to an agency spokeswoman.

First, a dummy ballistic missile was fired from a U.S. mobile launch platform in the Pacific Ocean in a simulated attack.

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Feb 4, 2007

Researchers of the World: Unite to Support European Commission Open Access Policy

Posted by in category: open access

ec flagThe European Commission, the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) and the European Research Councils have each recently recommended adopting the policy of providing Open Access to research results.

(Very similar recommendations are also being made by governmental research organisations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Asia.)

There are powerful non-research interests lobbying vigorously against these policy recommendations, so a display of support by the research community is critically important at this time.

A petition in support of the European Commission policy recommendation is now being sponsored by a consortium of European organisations:

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Jan 30, 2007

Enriched Uranium Sale in Georgia Disrupted

Posted by in category: nuclear weapons

From CNN:

TBILISI, Georgia (Reuters) — Georgian special services have foiled an attempt by a Russian citizen to sell weapons-grade uranium for $1 million in the Georgian capital, a senior Interior Ministry official said on Thursday.

The official said Oleg Khintsagov, a resident of Russia’s North Ossetia region, was arrested in early 2006 and a closed court soon after convicted him to 8 1/2 years in prison.

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Jan 25, 2007

Iran and North Korea’s Nuclear Cooperation

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, nuclear weapons

From The Daily Telegraph:

North Korea is helping Iran to prepare an underground nuclear test similar to the one Pyongyang carried out last year.

Under the terms of a new understanding between the two countries, the North Koreans have agreed to share all the data and information they received from their successful test last October with Tehran’s nuclear scientists.

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Jan 25, 2007

Space Arms Race, Here we Come!

Posted by in categories: military, space

From WIRED.com:

The revelation last week that China had slammed a medium-range ballistic missile into one of its aging satellites on January 11 and littered space with junk fragments has created its own form of political debris in Washington, D.C.

The test, which the United States military had long anticipated, has touched off debate over how the U.S. government should interpret and respond to China’s actions.

“It’s a very provocative act,” said Gregory Kulacki, a senior analyst and China expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists. However, “policy makers should respond on the basis of accurate information, not military rhetoric and propaganda.”

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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 23, 2007

Apocalypse Scale

Posted by in category: existential risks

Now with graphical goodness.

(Click small one for big one.)

Jan 23, 2007

AsteroidShield related news

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, lifeboat, space

The New Scientist also has an article about how exploding robots could be sent to determine the composition of Near Earth Asteroids. This would be relevant in developing a proper Asteroid shield. A current project is the Lifeboat AsteroidShield

An illustration from Ball Aerospace and New Scientist.

The Ball Aerospace proposal of many small probes seems cost efficient and worthy of being advocated by the Lifeboat Foundation.

Jan 23, 2007

Prospects for Lifeboat space habitat colonies

Posted by in categories: lifeboat, nuclear energy, space

The New Scientist discusses a recent study that advocates using of an ion beam generator on the moon to allow the use of far smaller rockets to move from the moon to other locations in space. The ion beam generator would need several hundred megawatts of electrical power from either a large solar cell array or nuclear power.

I have discussed the need on my website to make gigawatts of power on the moon and in orbit in order to begin serious development and colonization efforts.

An alternative to ion beams would be magbeam, a plasma based approach for accelerating spaceships

The Lifeboat Foundation supports space habitats and Asteroid shields

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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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