Showing posts with label NASA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NASA. Show all posts

Saturday, January 09, 2016

In The Tech News (2)

Forget Rocket Fuel: This Spaceplane Will Use Microwave Beams to Reach Orbit
We probably shouldn’t be shocked when a giant column of highly combustible material accelerates to thousands of miles an hour and explodes. ..... Escape Dynamics .. an “external propulsion” spaceplane that separates energy from propellant. Instead of volatile liquid or solid rocket fuel, the craft runs on pressurized hydrogen. A ground antenna array aims a beam of microwaves at a heat exchanger in the plane’s belly, superheats the hydrogen to 2,000 degrees kelvin, and forces it out of an exhaust nozzle to provide enough thrust to reach orbit. ......

Ultimately, they hope to build a reusable single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane that would slash launch costs for small satellite payloads and remove combustion from the equation entirely.

.... In tests, their lab-scale prototype thruster achieved efficiency higher than anything possible using chemical rockets. ..... The idea of external propulsion is by no means new. It was proposed by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky nearly a century ago, and NASA and Caltech have since toyed with the concept. ..... there is growing demand for small payloads. With powerful, miniature sensors and chips, we’re now able to pack quite a bit more tech into much lighter satellites ...... Startups like Planet Labs (the company assembling a constellation of Earth observing satellites) or Google (building out global internet infrastructure) stand to benefit from the cost savings Escape Dynamics would offer if successful...... because a spaceplane glides back to Earth, instead of the hard-to-control freefall of a rocket stage, reusability may prove an easier nut to crack. .... a lot more affordable. .... launch costs are in the ballpark of $25,000 to $50,000 per kilogram. He’s a fan of the alternative approach: “Escape Dynamics is pursuing a radical technology—one I fundamentally think is a good idea—which could massively reduce the costs for small satellite payloads.” ....... Once they start regularly flying payloads, Tseliakhovich estimates costs could eventually fall by two orders of magnitude—perhaps reaching as low as around

$150 per kilogram

. ..... Tseliakhovich hopes his company will begin flight tests of a small-scale thruster in 2017 and launch their first payload to orbit at the turn of the decade. ..... Tseliakhovich believes it will likely work alongside heavy-lifting chemical rockets and is a huge fan of current efforts to improve them by the likes of Elon Musk and SpaceX. ("One of the most remarkable efforts pursued by our civilization today.")

Scientists Connect Brain to a Basic Tablet—Paralyzed Patient Googles With Ease
eye- or head-tracking devices have allowed eye movement to act as an output system to control mouse cursors on computer screens. In some cases, the user could also perform the click function by staring intently at a single spot, known in the field as “dwell time.” .....

In contrast to eye-trackers, neural prostheses directly interface the brain with computers, in essence cutting out the middleman — the sensory organs that we normally use to interact with our environment.

..... had a 100-channel electrode array implanted into the left side of her brain in regions responsible for movement. ...... “This is a first step towards developing a fully-capable brain-controlled communication and computer interface for restoring function for people with paralysis.”
Our Solar System’s 9 Extraterrestrial Oceans in One Surprising Infographic
Not too long ago, we only suspected one ocean of liquid water beyond Earth (on Europa). Now, thanks to robotic explorers, like NASA's Dawn and Cassini missions, we're finding evidence of oceans throughout the solar system. ...... water (especially liquid water) and life go hand in hand ..... life, at least the simplest forms, may survive in more environments than once believed. Indeed, even on Earth, life is ubiquitous, from scalding volcanic vents to frozen wastes. And we may not, as it turns out, need to travel light years to find extraterrestrial oceans or observe our first alien life forms ...... news of even a few nearby alien microbes would expand the number of nooks and crannies life might inhabit throughout the galaxy.

Friday, January 08, 2016

In The Tech News (1)

Thyroid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
10 Most Exciting SciTech Advances of 2015
"Teixobactin shows how we can adopt an alternative strategy and develop compounds to which bacteria are not resistant." .... Advances in exponential technologies like synthetic biology and genomics are reinforcing the notion that previously unresolvable diseases (cancer, heart disease, Alzeimer's) are in fact resolvable. We are developing solutions to these problems at an accelerating rate, and as we usher in an era of personalized medicine, we will see a dramatic increase in the healthy human lifespan. At my company Human Longevity Inc, our mission is to

make 100 the new 60

. ...... we will soon have the tools to eliminate diseases, create hardier plants, wipe out pathogens and much, much more. ...... Making the first stage of Falcon-9 reusable is a step towards major demonetization of the space industry.
Technologies We’re Excited to See Bloom in 2016 and Beyond
Even high-speed rail systems already seem costly and cumbersome compared to the ability to summon an electric self-driving car on my phone and just be on my way. ...... It’s the idea that any contractual agreement—such as jobs, loans, insurance, and even marriage—could potentially be securely stored and automatically verified by the same technology (blockchain) that makes bitcoin work. This could eliminate the slew of people, businesses, and institutions positioned as financial and legal middlemen, along with their associated red tape. ........ The camera captures light field data simultaneously from all directions and when used for VR, viewers can move around in captured ‘real world’ space, as opposed to recreated computer-generated environments.
Printable Organs Are Closer Than Ever Thanks to Three Bioprinting Breakthroughs
You know what’s even sexier than organ donation? Bioprinting organs. ...... a world in which organ shortages will be a thing of the past....... In March of 2015, 3D Bioprinting Solutions became the first group to successfully bioprint a thyroid gland for a mouse with the intention of transplanting into living mice. Months later, the group announced they had successfully transplanted the bioprinted thyroid and reported that after 11 weeks of monitoring the subjects’ 3D printed thyroid glands, they were in working order with completely restored function. ........ Last week, Vladimir Mironov, head of 3D Bioprinting Solutions, announced his laboratory is ready to start printing a human thyroid gland after their successful experiments on mice. They also have plans to bioprint a human kidney. ...... The team used the company’s own patented bio-printing process to construct the thyroid. They began by extracting stem cells from the living organism via its fat cells. These cells are then mixed with a hydrogel and extruded layer by layer. Once the cells take shape, the hydrogel dissolves. ...... a day when new organs will be readily available for everyone.
Singularity Hub’s Most Viral Hits in Tech and Futurism From 2015

Why 3D Printing Will Be a Key Technology in the Next Space Race

Although in many industries mass production techniques still make economic sense—for the ultra-precise, almost bespoke parts in rockets? 3D printing is a great fit. ...... NASA’s latest trial shows 3D printing is set to become an even bigger part of rocket engine manufacturing ..... 3D printed components typically have fewer parts in need of joining and assembling ..... 3D printing also speeds up research and development. Engineers can design a part, print it, test it, find flaws, fix them, and repeat. It takes less time to get from initial design to final part than using traditional casting and the quality is often better. ..... Ceramics are tough materials with a high melting point. They’ve been used as heat shielding on the outside of spacecraft ..... 3D printed ceramics may be used in jet engines or to skin entire jets to withstand the high temperatures of hypersonic flight. ........

3D printing's real value to space exploration may only become clear once we leave Earth.

...... Lacking the luxury of sprawling factory assembly lines in space, 3D printers designed specially for space travel may be one of the pillars of off-Earth manufacturing. Some dream of mining raw materials on asteroids, moons, or planets and converting them into useful things like habitats, machines, and tools. For future explorers to be self-sufficient on the final frontier, they'll need to live off the land.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Not Mars

I don't feel any imminent danger that unless Homo Sapiens also colonize Mars, it is too great a risk. As of now, I don't believe in Singularity either. But I do see a lot of great things happening along the way. Like, truly, amazing, world changing great things. Man on the moon mission also gave people appliances.

But I see great promise in Elon Musk sending 4,000 satellites into low orbit to beam Internet to every corner on earth. And I see great promise in the Asteroid Belt. That is where he has to go to become a trillionaire.

Indians could use a little more gold.

Mars? I am way more excited about the earth's surface.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Space Based Solar Power

I myself am still pretty big on Sahara though. Space might be 10 times more efficient, but it might be 20 times more expensive, at least now. But I will go to space for clean, why not? Space based solar power also has potential for colonizations of the moon and Mars and beyond. It would make large scale 3D printing possible. Ocean covered moons of planets like Jupiter could give water if energy is plentiful. Water and solar and you are that close to growing food.

Space-based solar power
a higher collection rate and a longer collection period due to the lack of a diffusing atmosphere and night time in space
Space-based solar power: the energy of the future?
In space there's no atmosphere, it's never cloudy, and in geosynchronous orbits it's never night: a perfect place for a solar power station to harvest uninterrupted power 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. ..... the concept is scientifically sound. ..... there was nothing wrong with the physics but the real question is the economics ...... With costs as high as $40,000 per kilogram for some space launches, the final price-tag for the first space-based solar power station could be as high as $20 billion. ........ the wars in the Middle East gave new impetus to the space-based solar power as scientific researchers with the military wrestled with the problems of delivering energy to troops in hostile areas. ........ Multiple, and potentially hidden, receivers could tap space-based solar power and relieve the military of the expensive and often dangerous task of supplying troops with generator diesel by either road or air ...... Two proven ways of getting the power to Earth exist in the form of either laser beams or microwaves. ...... laser transmitting satellites would have difficulty beaming power through clouds and rain. ...... The microwave option would have the advantage of uninterrupted transmission through rain, hail or any other atmospheric conditions and could provide gigawatts of power........ as early as 1964, scientists were able to power a helicopter using microwaves. Dr Jaffe said with a large receiving area the energy from the microwaves was so dissipated that it would present no danger to life. ......... as many as 100 launches into space would be required to construct the space stations with costs running into tens of billions. ...... space-based solar energy is like most novel ideas. "It's hard to tell if it's nuts until you've actually tried."
Space-Based Solar Power
Microwave transmitting satellites orbit Earth in geostationary orbit (GEO), about 35,000 km above Earth’s surface. Designs for microwave transmitting satellites are massive, with solar reflectors spanning up to 3 km and weighing over 80,000 metric tons. They would be capable of generating multiple gigawatts of power, enough to power a major U.S. city. ...... The long wavelength of the microwave requires a long antenna, and allows power to be beamed through the Earth’s atmosphere, rain or shine, at safe, low intensity levels hardly stronger than the midday sun. Birds and planes wouldn’t notice much of anything flying across their paths. ........ The estimated cost of launching, assembling and operating a microwave-equipped GEO satellite is in the tens of billions of dollars. It would likely require as many as 40 launches for all necessary materials to reach space. On Earth, the rectenna used for collecting the microwave beam would be anywhere between 3 and 10 km in diameter, a huge area of land, and a challenge to purchase and develop.
What If Giant Space-Based Solar Panels Could Beam Unlimited Power To The Earth?
This idea may sound like science fiction, and at one time it was. ...... Asimov's 1941 story envisions a world where the Earth is powered by a beam of light that draws its energy directly from the sun..... Take New York City, for example, which requires 20 gigawatts of power. ...... The sandwich modules would be about 10 feet long on a side and about 80,000 would be needed. The array of sandwich modules would be about the length of nine football fields, or more than 1/2 a mile long. This is about nine times bigger than the International Space Station...... Back on Earth, the energy-containing radio frequencies from the space-based solar panels would be received by a special antenna known as a "rectenna," which could be as big as six miles in diameter............ the same beam would be able to provide power to Seattle and redirected to provide power to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil...... they could build receivers at remote operating bases and locations where it is logistically difficult and incredible costly to deliver diesel fuel....... the incredible heat of the sun in space
China considering space-based solar power station
Some believe a space-based solar collector could be launched as early as 2020 ..... a satellite that weighs more than 10,000 lbs., dwarfing anything previously placed into orbit, including the International Space Station ...... others place the launch date further out, as far away 2050. ...... "China will build a space station in around 2020, which will open an opportunity to develop space solar power technology" ...... China should begin with an experimental space-based solar power station by 2030, and build a commercially viable space power station by 2050. ....... "An economically viable space power station would be really huge, with the total area of the solar panels reaching five to six square kilometers" ....... Six square kilometers is nearly twice the size of New York's Central Park. ....... The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has proposed its own solar collector to be launched within the next 25 years. ...... "When space solar energy becomes our main energy, people will no longer worry about smog or the greenhouse effect" 
Space solar is a very real option, but it will not happen in time to tackle Climate Change. For that we need to rely on Earth Solar. Let's just use satellites for internet communication.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Watch NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Buzz Dwarf Planet Ceres in the Asteroid Belt
Ceres accounts for 25% of the mass of the asteroid belt, and unlike most of its irregularly shaped neighbors, it is massive enough to be nearly spherical like a moon or planet. ..... Models of the dwarf planet’s interior suggest its mantle may consist of a slurry of water and dirt that contains more fresh water than Earth. .... early images from the Dawn mission showed mysterious bright spots on the surface .... highly reflective patches of surface ice are one possibility. ...... Discovering water on Ceres would have implications for space exploration. Water is a potential source of hydration, breathable air, and rocket fuel, and will therefore prove a precious resource for space wanderers. .... Ceres would make a good extraterrestrial outpost. Its low gravity makes landing and taking off less energy intensive, and resources on the surface could resupply missions—perhaps even trips to the outer solar system.