From Centauri Dreams:
Deep Space Industries is announcing today that it will be engaged in asteroid prospecting through a fleet of small ‘Firefly’ spacecraft based on cubesat technologies, cutting the costs still further by launching in combination with communications satellites. The idea is to explore the small asteroids that come close to Earth, which exist in large numbers indeed. JPL analysts have concluded that as many as 100,000 Near Earth Objects larger than the Tunguska impactor (some 30 meters wide) are to be found, with roughly 7000 identified so far. So there’s no shortage of targets (see Greg Matloff’s Deflecting Asteroids in IEEE Spectrum for more on this.
‘Smaller, cheaper, faster’ is a one-time NASA mantra that DSI is now resurrecting through its Firefly spacecraft, each of which masses about 25 kilograms and takes advantages of advances in computing and miniaturization. In its initial announcement, company chairman Rick Tumlinson talked about a production line of Fireflies ready for action whenever an NEO came near the Earth. The first launches are slated to begin in 2015. Sample-return missions that are estimated to take between two and four years to complete are to commence the following year, with 25 to 70 kilograms of asteroid material becoming available for study. Absent a fiery plunge through the atmosphere, such samples will have their primordial composition and structure intact.
The Deep Space Industries announcement is to be streamed live later today. It will reflect the company’s ambitious game plan, one that relies on public involvement and corporate sponsorship to move the ball forward. David Gump is CEO of the new venture:
“The public will participate in FireFly and DragonFly missions via live feeds from Mission Control, online courses in asteroid mining sponsored by corporate marketers, and other innovative ways to open the doors wide. The Google Lunar X Prize, Unilever, and Red Bull each are spending tens of millions of dollars on space sponsorships, so the opportunity to sponsor a FireFly expedition into deep space will be enticing.”
The vision of exploiting space resources to forge a permanent presence there will not be unfamiliar to Centauri Dreams readers. Tumlinson sums up the agenda:
“We will only be visitors in space until we learn how to live off the land there. This is the Deep Space mission – to find, harvest and process the resources of space to help save our civilization and support the expansion of humanity beyond the Earth – and doing so in a step by step manner that leverages off our space legacy to create an amazing and hopeful future for humanity. We are squarely focused on giving new generations the opportunity to change not only this world, but all the worlds of tomorrow. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?”
So we have asteroid sample return as part of the mix, but the larger strategy calls for the use of asteroid-derived products to power up space industries. The company talks about using asteroid-derived propellants to supply eventual manned missions to Mars and elsewhere, with Gump likening nearby asteroid resources to the Iron Range of Minnesota, which supplied Detroit’s car industry in the 20th Century. DSI foresees supplying propellant to communication satellites to extend their working lifetime, estimating that each extra month is worth $5 million to $8 million per satellite. The vision extends to harvesting building materials for subsequent technologies like space-based power stations. Like I said, the key word is ‘ambitious.’
“Mining asteroids for rare metals alone isn’t economical, but makes sense if you already are processing them for volatiles and bulk metals for in-space uses,” said Mark Sonter, a member of the DSI Board of Directors. “Turning asteroids into propellant and building materials damages no ecospheres since they are lifeless rocks left over from the formation of the solar system. Several hundred thousand that cross near Earth are available.”
In the near-term category, the company has a technology it’s calling MicroGravity Foundry that is designed to transform raw asteroid materials into metal parts for space missions. The 3D printer uses lasers to draw patterns in a nickel-charged gas medium, building up parts from the precision placement of nickel deposits. Because it does not require a gravitational field to work, the MicroGravity Foundry could be a tool used by deep space astronauts to create new parts aboard their spacecraft by printing replacements.
The team behind Deep Space Industries has experience in commercial space activities. Tumlinson, a well-known space advocate, was a founding trustee of the X Prize and founder of Orbital Outfitters, a commercial spacesuit company. Gump has done space-related TV work, producing a commercial shot on the International Space Station. He’s also a co-founder of Transformational Space Corporation. Geoffrey Notkin is the star of ‘Meteorite Men,’ a TV series about hunting meteorites. The question will be how successful DSI proves to be in leveraging that background to attract both customers and corporate sponsors.
With such bold objectives, I can only wish Deep Space Industries well. The idea of exploiting inexpensive CubeSat technology and combining it with continuing progress in miniaturizing digital tools is exciting, but the crucial validation will be in those early Firefly missions and the data they return. If DSI can proceed with the heavier sample return missions it now envisions, the competitive world of asteroid prospecting (think Planetary Resources) will have taken another step forward. Can a ‘land rush’ for asteroid resources spark the public’s interest, with all the ramifications that would hold for the future of commercial space? Could it be the beginning of the system-wide infrastructure we’ll have to build before we think of going interstellar?
All of this asteroid mining activity sounds exciting and I can hardly wait for DSI and Planetary Resources to begin their plans. Both are using untried and new technology to develop these new industries and can be extended to such environments as the Moon and Mars.
Mankind will eventually follow. And these new technologies will let us expand into this Universe.
Or the Multiverse.
Stanford researchers in collaboration with NASA JPL and MIT have designed a robotic platform that involves a mother spacecraft deploying one or several spiked, roughly spherical rovers to the Martian moon Phobos.
Measuring about half a meter wide, each rover would hop, tumble and bound across the cratered, lopsided moon, relaying information about its origins, as well as its soil and other surface materials.
Developed by Marco Pavone, an assistant professor in Stanford’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Phobos Surveyor, a coffee-table-sized vehicle flanked by two umbrella-shaped solar panels, would orbit around Phobos throughout the mission. The researchers have already constructed a prototype.
The Surveyor would release only one hedgehog at a time. Together, the mothership and hedgehogs would work together to determine the hedgehog’s position and orientation. Using this information, they would map a trajectory, which the mother craft would then command the hedgehog to travel.
In turn, the spiky explorers would relay scientific measurements back to the Phobos Surveyor, which would forward the data to researchers on Earth. Based on their analysis of the data, the scientists would direct the mothership to the next hedgehog deployment site.
An entire mission would last two to three years. Just flying to Phobos would take the Surveyor about two years. Then the initial reconnaissance phase, during which the Surveyor would map the terrain, would last a few months. The mothership would release each of the five or six hedgehogs several days apart, allowing scientists enough time to decide where to release the next hedgehog.
For many decisions, Pavone’s system renders human control unnecessary. “It’s the next level of autonomy in space,” he said.
The synergy between the Phobos Surveyor and the hedgehogs would also be reflected in their sharing of scientific roles. The Surveyor would take large-scale measurements, while the hedgehogs would gather more detailed data. For example, the Surveyor might use a gamma ray or neutron detector to measure the concentration of various chemical elements and compounds on the surface, while the hedgehogs might use microscopes to measure the fine crevices and fissures lining the terrain.
Although scientists could use the platform to explore any of the solar system’s smaller members, including comets and asteroids, Pavone has designed it with the Martian moon Phobos in mind.
An analysis of Phobos’ soil composition could uncover clues about the moon’s origin. Scientists have yet to agree on whether Phobos is an asteroid captured by the gravity of Mars or a piece of Mars that an asteroid impact flung into orbit. This could have deep implications for our current understanding of the origin and evolution of the solar system, Pavone said.
To confirm Phobos’ origins, Pavone’s group plans to deploy most of the hybrids near Stickney Crater. Besides providing a gravity “sweet spot” where the mother craft can stably hover between Mars and Phobos, the crater also exposes the moon’s inner layers.
A human mission to Mars presents hefty challenges, mainly associated with the planet’s high gravity, which heightens the risk of crashing during takeoffs and landings. The large amounts of fuel needed to overcome Mars’ strong pull during takeoffs could also make missions prohibitively expensive.
But Phobos’ gravity is a thousand times weaker than on Mars. If Phobos did indeed originate from the red planet, scientists could study Mars without the dangers and costs associated with its high gravity simply by sending astronauts to Phobos. They could study the moon itself or use it as a base station to operate a robot located on Mars. The moon could also serve as a site to test technologies for potential use in a human mission to the planet.
“It’s a piece of technology that’s needed before any more expensive type of exploration is considered,” Pavone said of the spacecraft-rover hybrid. “Before sampling we need to know where to land. We need to deploy rovers to acquire info about the surface.”
These probes could be precursors to a sample return mission. A promising area to dig determined beforehand would cut down on cost and wear and tear.
But these rovers could be used on their own for private industry, such as Google Maps in order to give ( and sell ) accurate virtual reality tours to Millenials who wish to sit in their livingrooms and explore Mars safely.
A true pre-Singularity technology.
From the Washington Post:
The U.S. government’s secret space program has decided to give NASA two telescopes as big as, and even more powerful than, the Hubble Space Telescope.
Designed for surveillance, the telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Office were no longer needed for spy missions and can now be used to study the heavens.
They have 2.4-meter (7.9 feet) mirrors, just like the Hubble. They also have an additional feature that the civilian space telescopes lack: A maneuverable secondary mirror that makes it possible to obtain more focused images. These telescopes will have 100 times the field of view of the Hubble, according to David Spergel, a Princeton astrophysicist and co-chair of the National Academies advisory panel on astronomy and astrophysics.
The surprise announcement Monday is a reminder that NASA isn’t the only space enterprise in the government — and isn’t even the best funded. NASA official Michael Moore gave some hint of what a Hubble-class space telescope might do if used for national security:
“With a Hubble here you could see a dime sitting on top of the Washington Monument.”
NASA officials stressed that they do not have a program to launch even one telescope at the moment, and that at the very earliest, under reasonable budgets, it would be 2020 before one of the two gifted telescopes could be in order. Asked whether anyone at NASA was popping champagne, the agency’s head of science, John Grunsfeld, answered, “We never pop champagne here; our budgets are too tight.”
But this is definitely a game-changer for NASA’s space science program. The unexpected gift offers NASA an opportunity to resurrect a plan to launch a new telescope to study the mysterious “dark energy” that is causing the universe’s expansion to accelerate.
The scientific community had made the dark energy telescope its top priority in the latest “decadal survey” of goals in astronomy and astrophysics.
But the hoped-for telescope has been blocked by a lack of funding, in large part because of cost overruns on the James Webb Space Telescope, which is still being readied for a possible launch later this decade. A new space telescope could also serve as a kind of scout for the Webb, Spergel said.
“It would be a great discovery telescope for where Webb should look in addition to doing the work on dark energy,” Spergel said.
The two new telescopes — which so far don’t even have names, other than Telescope One and Telescope Two — would be ready to go into space but for two hitches. First, they don’t have instruments. There are no cameras, spectrographs or other instruments that a space telescope typically needs. Second, they don’t have a program, a mission or a staff behind them. They’re just hardware.
“The hardware is a significant cost item and it’s a significant schedule item. The thing that takes the longest to build is the telescope,” Spergel said. He added, however, “A big cost of any mission is always just people. One of the reason that James Webb has cost so much is that when it takes longer to complete any piece of it, you keep paying the engineers working on it, and you have these big marching-army costs.”
NASA’s windfall takes the pain out of the planned demise of the Hubble, which has been repaired in orbit five times. NASA does not plan any more repair missions, and the Hubble will gradually lose the ability to maintain its position and focus. At some point NASA will de-orbit the Hubble and it will crash into the Pacific.
“Instead of losing a terrific telescope, you now have two telescopes even better to replace it with,” Spergel said.
Hmmph…makes you wonder what the NRO has so they can just give away their left-overs to NASA?
Not that NASA can do anything with them anyway…
Hat tip to NASA Watch.
While NASA is in the throes of budgetary Purgatory, they did manage to come up with an unique, inexpensive way to put a couple of probes that have finished their primary mission into Lunar orbit to do some extra science:
A pair of Earth-orbiting satellites designed to study the auroras are making a detour to visit the moon.
The two spacecraft are part of a fleet of five launched into Earth orbit by NASA in 2007 on a mission called THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms). They have been studying the space storms that trigger the northern and southern lights, or auroras, on Earth.
But two of the satellites were set to go on death row earlier this year. If they had been left in their original orbits, the solar-powered craft would have made lengthy passages through Earth’s shadow in March 2010, fatally draining their batteries, according to a Discovery News story.
To avoid this and to squeeze some more science out of the two spacecraft, the THEMIS team decided to send them farther from Earth and park them in orbit around the moon.
But there was a problem. Getting into orbit around the moon takes a lot of energy, and the two spacecraft simply didn’t have enough fuel to get the job done. So the team devised a clever, roundabout way to get there on a shoestring.
“We realized that if we had enough fuel to change their orbits, the moon’s gravity would start pulling them up,” the mission’s chief scientist Vassilis Angelopoulos of the University of California, Berkeley, told Discovery News.
The spacecraft were already in elongated orbits that passed close to Earth at one end and looped far into space at the other end. Starting in 2009, the spacecraft used their thrusters to extend the far end of their orbits, setting them up for close encounters with the moon.
The gravitational slingshot effect from these lunar encounters, as well as the probes’ close passes near Earth, changed their trajectories drastically – you can see the technical details here (pdf). Their own thrusters should be able to do the rest of the job, putting them in orbit around the moon in 2011. There, they will measure tenuous gas surrounding the moon, called the exosphere, and record the interaction of the solar wind with the moon.
Not bad for two spacecraft that would have been space junk by now without this creative rescue plan.
So NASA is capable of planning economic missions if pressed. We need more thinking like this.
Remember Atlantropa? The German idea from the early 20th Century to put a dam in the Straits of Gibraltar and divert the waters of the Mediterranean Sea into Africa in order to modify the Sahara Desert? (link)
Well, the Shimizu Corporation has a similar idea with its ‘Aqua-Net’:
Challenges of the future include energy use and continued population growth. And, while there are millions of square miles of land available in the world, not all of it is considered fit for human habitation. Shimizu Corporation, the company contemplating the Luna Ring, has another interesting project in the “just coming up with an idea” stage: The Desert Aqua-Net.
The Desert Aqua-Net is an idea that involves the building of interconnected lakes in the desert. These 18-mile-diameter lakes would be connected by canals fed from the ocean. The lakes would include built islands that could serve as homes for cities teeming with people. Supposedly, this would work because water from the lake would cool the cities, making them livable. There would also be arable land, theoretically, after this cooling above the desert lake islands. The cities would be powered by satellite power stations, and by the sun.
One of the biggest draw backs is that the lakes would be filled with seawater. While the salt water would provide the opportunities for water-based wildlife, and even for biomass development, it doesn’t provide much opportunity for drinking. However, Shimizu plans that the some of the water would be desalinated, and thus made fit for human consumption and for irrigation of crops.
Of course, cost is a huge barrier to a project like the Aqua-Net. It would be extremely expensive, not to mention use vast resources, to build this Desert Aqua-Net. Other problems could easily arise, related to impacts on oceans and rivers. And, of course, predicting weather patterns, and changes to the climate, could present problems, since these cities could be impacted quite a bit. Finally, and not least, issues of sovereignty would likely arise — especially since the Desert Aqua-Net would require a great deal of cooperation between countries.
I think I would try this project in Australia first. They have experienced an extended drought in their interior for over seven years plus they have an advanced sea-water desalinization technology.
If the powers that be are trying to push for a Kardashev “Type One” civilization here, control of all of the planet’s resources and climate is necessary.
Today’s hat tip is Graham Hancock’s NewsDesk.
From the recent Space Exposition in South Korea, some photo concepts from Virgin Galactic’s potential micro-satellite launcher and the future Chinese Spacelab and cargo module:
Branson got a huge influx of cash from the Saudis to alter the WK2 to carry the launcher:
I wonder what kind of satellites they want Branson to launch from his ship?
And the Chinese, they say they want to put together their space-station by 2020. Just in time for ISS de-orbit maybe?
NASA is trying to launch the ARES 1-X test rocket again today: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html
The window is open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. like yesterday.
Update: ARES 1-X launched at 11:30 a.m.
As far as I know, the mission profile was accomplished.
Remember H.G. Wells’ 1964 movie about insect-men in the Moon called “The First Men in the Moon?” (It was based on his 1901 novel).
The ‘Selenite’ (name for moon-people) civilization existed in vast underground (under-regolith?) caverns and tunnels. Their civilization was powered by an immense perpetual motion machine and the air was made by water (they mined the surface for it) being broke down into its basic parts; hydrogen and oxygen.
Well, according to New Scientist, a ‘skylight’ that might possibly lead to a vast tunnel system has been discovered on the Moon’s surface:
A deep hole on the moon that could open into a vast underground tunnel has been found for the first time. The discovery strengthens evidence for subsurface, lava-carved channels that could shield future human colonists from space radiation and other hazards.
The moon seems to possess long, winding tunnels called lava tubes that are similar to structures seen on Earth. They are created when the top of a stream of molten rock solidifies and the lava inside drains away, leaving a hollow tube of rock.
Their existence on the moon is hinted at based on observations of sinuous rilles – long, winding depressions carved into the lunar surface by the flow of lava. Some sections of the rilles have collapsed, suggesting that hollow lava tubes hide beneath at least some of the rilles.
But until now, no one has found an opening into what appears to be an intact tube. “There’s sort of a chicken-and-egg problem,” says Carolyn van der Bogert of the University of Münster in Germany. “If it’s intact, you can’t see it.”
Finding a hole in a rille could suggest that an intact tube lies beneath. So a group led by Junichi Haruyama of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency searched for these “skylights” in images taken by Japan’s Kaguya spacecraft, which orbited the moon for almost two years before ending its mission in June.
The team found the first candidate skylight in a volcanic area on the moon’s near side called Marius Hills. “This is the first time that anybody’s actually identified a skylight in a possible lava tube” on the moon, van der Bogert, who helped analyse the feature, told New Scientist.
The hole measures 65 metres across, and based on images taken at a variety of sun angles, the the hole is thought to extend down at least 80 metres. It sits in the middle of a rille, suggesting the hole leads into a lava tube as wide as 370 metres across.
It is not clear exactly how the hole formed. A meteorite impact, moonquakes, or pressure created by gravitational tugs from the Earth could be to blame. Alternatively, part of the lava tube’s ceiling could have been pulled off as lava in the tube drained away billions of years ago.
Finding such an opening could be a boon for possible human exploration of the moon (see What NASA’s return to the moon may look like).
Since the tubes may be hundreds of metres wide, they could provide plenty of space for an underground lunar outpost. The tubes’ ceilings could protect astronauts from space radiation, meteoroid impacts and wild temperature fluctuations (see Can high-tech cavemen live on the moon?).
“I think it’s really exciting,” says Penny Boston of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. “Basalt is an extremely good material for radiation protection. It’s free real estate ready to be exploited and modified for human use.”
This is most providential. First, the discovery of hydroxyl and water molecules covering most of the Moon’s surface, although only at a depth of a few centimeters (LCROSS crash “cloud” not withstanding), and now possible living spaces under the regolith.
It makes you wonder about all those ‘mysteries’ about the Moon, eh?
Author commenting about a deceased author:
There’s this guy I almost knew, Mac Tonnies. A fan of my books, a writer of his own (I never read After the Martian Apocalypse, his book about the “Face on Mars”, but I read some of his short fiction), and a paradoxical amalgam of UFO buff and skeptic: someone who embraced the phenomenon while rejecting the usual extraterrestrial interpretations. He was more of a those-among-us type; I understand there’s a completed book in the wings that leans heavily towards the Cryptoterrestrial model (much of his interest in my own stuff hailed from his interest in alternate types of consciousness). Mac seemed to regard his place on the fringe with wry humor, and the habitat itself with tonnes of salt. He didn’t let any of that cramp his propensity for wild speculation. I never really knew whether he was a flake or not; I’m no expert on UFOs. But I checked the rss feed for Post-Human Blues pretty much daily, with a mixture of eagerness and trepidation: eagerness because the dude always had a shitload of cool links to cutting-edge nuggets ranging from robotics to psychoactives, and trepidation because the fucker posted so many links that I could have easily spent a couple of hours every day just following the rabbit-holes planted on Mac Tonnies’s blog. I never met the man face to face: we came within a couple of provinces of each other when he was up in Halifax a while back, but there was never really any rush because we were bound to end up at the same con at the same time at some point. I run into all of you paranormal types eventually.
Except I won’t be running in Mac Tonnies, because he’s dead. Last Thursday, in his apartment, “natural causes”.
Watts elucidates as only Watts can.
The guy’s great!
So was Mac.
Virgin Galactic Satellite Company?
The company is working with UK space exploration company Surrey Small Satellites on plans to develop a launcher that could propel a 200kg satellite into space at roughly 10pc the cost of current technology.
Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic said: “We have the technology and the investment to put this together. We hope to develop a preliminary satellite launch vehicle ourselves, but will go to the wider market to produce something capable of carrying 200kg, which we believe is the sweet spot in the market.”
Mr Whitehorn said that the company hoped to have proposals to put to the market for the development of the satellite launch vehicle in the next four months.
Virgin Galactic has secured $100m of funding from Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments for the commercial satellite business on top of the $280m co-investment in its space tourism business announced last week. The extra investment would take Aabar’s stake in Virgin Galactic from 32pc to 38pc.
The satellite business will target the growing market for low-orbit earth observation and communication satellites.
According to Mr Whitehorn, it could also be used to start construction of server farms in space and to create mobile and broadband networks that could serve areas such as Africa that do not have good cable networks.
Although the development is in its early stages, it could provide a significant boost to the UK space industry, which according to Mr Whitehorn employs around 70,000 people and represents £2.5bn per year in net exports.
Mr Whitehorn said: “This is a hidden industry in the UK but a very important one. In terms of net exports it is bigger than the car industry.
“We hope to be able to use the development of our commercial satellite business to leverage off the tourism work we are already doing and to add real value to the UK economy.”
Was the 1908 Tunguska, Siberia explosion actually ‘Tesla Tech?‘
1908: Tesla repeated the idea of destruction by electrical waves to the newspaper on April 21st. His letter to the editor stated, “When I spoke of future warfare I meant that it should be conducted by direct application of electrical waves without the use of aerial engines or other implements of destruction.” He added: “This is not a dream. Even now wireless power plants could be constructed by which any region of the globe might be rendered uninhabitable without subjecting the population of other parts to serious danger or inconvenience.”(27)
In the period from 1900 to 1910 Tesla’s creative thrust was to establish his plan for wireless transmission of energy. Undercut by Marconi’s accomplishment, beset by financial problems, and spurned by the scientific establishment, Tesla was in a desperate situation by mid-decade. The strain became too great by 1906-1907 and, according to Tesla biographers, he suffered an emotional collapse.(28),(29)In order to make a final effort to have his grand scheme recognized, he may have tried one high power test of his transmitter to show off its destructive potential. This would have been in 1908.
The Tunguska event took place on the morning of June 30th, 1908. An explosion estimated to be equivalent to 10-15 megatons of TNT flattened 500,000 acres of pine forest near the Stony Tunguska River in central Siberia. Whole herds of reindeer were destroyed. Several nomadic villages were reported to have vanished. The explosion was heard over a radius of 620 miles. When an expedition was made to the area in 1927 to find evidence of the meteorite presumed to have caused the blast, no impact crater was found. When the ground was drilled for pieces of nickel, iron, or stone, the main constituents of meteorites, none were found down to a depth of 118 feet.
Several explanations have been given for the Tunguska event. The officially accepted version is that a 100,000 ton fragment of Encke’s Comet, composed mainly of dust and ice, entered the atmosphere at 62,000 mph, heated up, and exploded over the earth’s surface creating a fireball and shock wave but no crater. Alternative explanations of the disaster include a renegade mini-black hole or an alien space ship crashing into the earth with the resulting release of energy.
Associating Tesla with the Tunguska event comes close to putting the inventor’s power transmission idea in the same speculative category as ancient astronauts. However, historical facts point to the possibility that this event was caused by a test firing of Tesla’s energy weapon.
In 1907 and 1908, Tesla wrote about the destructive effects of his energy transmitter. His Wardenclyffe facility was much larger than the Colorado Springs device that destroyed the power station’s generator. Then, in 1915, he stated bluntly:
It is perfectly practical to transmit electrical energy without wires and produce destructive effects at a distance. I have already constructed a wireless transmitter which makes this possible. … But when unavoidable [it] may be used to destroy property and life. The art is already so far developed that the great destructive effects can be produced at any point on the globe, defined beforehand with great accuracy (emphasis added).(30) Nikola Tesla, 1915
He seems to confess to such a test having taken place before 1915, and, though the evidence is circumstantial, Tesla had the motive and the means to cause the Tunguska event. His transmitter could generate energy levels and frequencies capable of releasing the destructive force of 10 megatons, or more, of TNT. And the overlooked genius was desperate.
The nature of the Tunguska event, also, is consistent with what would happen during the sudden release of wireless power. No fiery object was reported in the skies at that time by professional or amateur astronomers as would be expected when a 200,000,000 pound object enters the atmosphere at tens of thousands miles an hour. Also, the first reporters, from the town of Tomsk, to reach the area judged the stories about a body falling from the sky was the result of the imagination of an impressionable people. He noted there was considerable noise coming from the explosion, but no stones fell. The absence of an impact crater can be explained by there having been no material body to impact. An explosion caused by broadcast power would not leave a crater.
This sounds amazingly like HAARP tech also.
Are the two related?
Nuclear Energy Redux
We can make a case for improving living standards through space exploration, but only if we take the necessary next steps. Today, our launch technologies are essentially half a century old, with only minor improvements along the way. In our attempt to bootstrap a spacefaring civilization, we need to be thinking long-term and improving our ways of getting out of Earth’s gravity well. On this score, Genta is a proponent of nuclear energy, believing it alone will allow our emergence as a true spacefaring species. Here he speaks from his perspective as a deeply practical mechanical engineer:
The use of nuclear energy for space propulsion in Earth orbit and beyond is just a matter of political will and only marginally of technology: sure, technological advances are required, but after more than 50 years of theoretical studies the ideas are clear and what are still needed are just details. Nuclear-thermal propulsion was demonstrated on the ground in the 1970s and could be used by now for deep-space propulsion. It is true that the performance of such systems can be improved well beyond those demonstrated up to now, but what we have could allow anyway a large improvement if compared with chemical propulsion.
But transitioning to next generation technologies — or catching up in terms of a developing but unused capability — is a demanding process. More on this:
What we really need is to have nuclear powered spacecraft for interplanetary missions, even if their performance were only marginally better than those of chemical propulsion: we need to gain experience in building and operating nuclear systems in space and to make people used to this technology. Performance of nuclear thermal propulsion will improve in due course, but if we wait to start until improved systems are available, everything will be delayed indefinitely.
Anyone advocating nuclear propulsion in today’s climate of opinion is sure to have a fight on his hands, but Genta believes the time for this fight is propitious. We’re already seeing signs that in the power industry, nuclear options are making a comeback in terms of public acceptance — the phrase ‘nuclear renaissance’ is in the air in some quarters, indicating that we may be ready to move past the era of kneejerk rejection of the nuclear idea. Funding remains a problem, but we come back again to having to sell our future in space one mission at a time, a laborious task but an essential one.
The space option is a long-term perspective, which will naturally be implemented in due time. Perhaps it is hard to accept that progress toward space must be done step by step, but trying shortcuts may be dangerous. In a situation of scarce funds a hard competition between missions and technologies should be avoided. The efforts should be concentrated in areas that may prove to be enabling technologies, even if this may result in postponing some important scientific results.
There is no more important enabling technology than one that would get us to low-Earth orbit cheaply. Genta noted the space elevator concept in his talk but expressed concerns about the size of the investment needed to build it. In any case, a space elevator raises its own safety concerns. He sees nuclear technology as an achievable solution to the low-Earth orbit problem that should not be put off in hopes of a vastly more expensive future solution. Political will is a tricky thing to summon, but making a sustained, long-term case for space as a key player in our economic future may help overcome the obstacle.
Paul makes an excellent case for the use of nuclear power and uses Genta’s paper to great effect, and I totally agree with the meme 100%.
Without utilizing nuclear energy of some sort, mankind will never make it off its’ planet in numbers large enough to colonize the Solar System, let alone interstellar space.
Somehow, I’m not too optimistic about our prospects lately.
Although we still haven’t found any biological activity elsewhere, it’s hardly inconceivable that before your car gets its next oil change, robot spacecraft could discover a horde of microbes hidden beneath the Martian sands. Or maybe a few years down the road, some astrobiology experiment will stumble across alien pond scum floating in Titan’s rime-frosted lakes, or pick up a radio signal beamed earthward from the star system Gliese 581.
The impact of such news would be significant and, at this point, largely unknown. So to get a better grip on how astrobiological discoveries would play out, the SETI Institute and the NASA Astrobiology Institute recently held a three-day workshop to bring together scientists, ethicists, historians, lawyers, anthropologists, and the media to consider the societal consequences of this type of research.
It seems that everyone is jumping on the “find the alien” bandwagon this week, even Uncle Seth in his ultra-conservative, micro-organism, beamed radio signal kind of way.
Does that mean for sure the unwashed masses are being prepared for the “we are not alone” speech?
Speaking of Martian water and possible microbial life:
NASA’s Phoenix lander may have captured the first images of liquid water on Mars – droplets that apparently splashed onto the spacecraft’s leg during landing, according to some members of the Phoenix team.
The controversial observation could be explained by the mission’s previous discovery of perchlorate salts in the soil, since the salts can keep water liquid at sub-zero temperatures. Researchers say this antifreeze effect makes it possible for liquid water to be widespread just below the surface of Mars, but point out that even if it is there, it may be too salty to support life as we know it.
A few days after Phoenix landed on 25 May 2008, it sent back an image showing mysterious splotches of material attached to one of its legs. Strangely, the splotches grew in size over the next few weeks, and Phoenix scientists have been debating the origin of the objects ever since.
If NASA insists on just sending robot probes to explore planets, please, please let the next Martian mission have a real biological testing lab?
Water seems to be the choice which decided future outer solar system missions also, according to the European Space Agency and NASA:
The proposal could be the agencies’ next “flagship” endeavour, to follow on from the successful Cassini-Huygens mission to the Saturn system.
Officials had been considering the Jupiter mission along with a venture to Saturn’s moons Titan and Enceladus.
But they will target an earlier flight opportunity for the Europa mission.
A Saturnian return will have to wait until later in the century, agency chiefs say.
Must be that ol’ H2O-centric idea of biology, since it’s worked so well here.
At this rate, I sure as hell hope there’s going to be a Technological Singularity, if not, I’ll be long dead before humans even step foot back on the Moon!
NASA stands to receive $1 billion of a $789 billion economic stimulus package negotiated by House and Senate conferees and headed for a vote in both chambers as soon as today, congressional sources said.
The conferees reached a deal Wednesday that reconciles the differences between the House and Senate versions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The compromise roughly split the difference between the Senate’s proposed $1.3 billion for NASA and the $600 million included in the House version of the bill.
The compromise spending plan includes $400 million to narrow the gap between the planned 2010 retirement of the space shuttle and the first flight of its successor. The Senate measure had called for $450 million; the House version included no money for narrowing the gap.
NASA also would receive the House request of $400 million for Earth science and climate monitoring projects and $150 million for aeronautics under the compromise. The Senate had proposed spending $50 million more in each area.
I’m glad NASA got some money to extend the shuttle some, I wasn’t too enamored of paying Russia to get us into space. Embarrassing.
Khrushchev would’ve got a chuckle though!
The collision between U.S. and Russian satellites, the first “car crash” in outer space, highlights an urgent need to better manage increasingly dense space traffic, analysts say.
A commercial satellite owned by Iridium Satellite LLC, collided with a defunct Russian military satellite at nearly 790 km over Siberia on Tuesday. The collision spewed out a pair of massive debris clouds that pose possible risks to other spacecraft.
MORE DEBRIS TO EMERGE
It has been documented that the collision already caused 600 pieces of debris, said Dr. William Marshall, an expert on small spacecraft at U.S. space agency NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.
”We don’t know whether that’s the final number yet. It always takes a few days for the U.S.-based surveillance network to track all of the pieces of debris. But certainly there is a possibility that more debris will emerge.” Marshall told Xinhua in a telephone interview Thursday.
”In a few days we’ll find out for sure,” said Marshall, who is also an advisor to the SpaceSecurity.org project.
Marshall said there have been three previous cases in which satellites hit debris. One was a definitive case in which a French satellite, Cerise, hit a piece of debris, leaving the spacecraft severely damaged. There were other two cases in which Russian satellites seemed to have been hit by pieces of debris.
Actually, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened before now. It probably has, but apparently word got leaked before the usual propaganda meme-control could get out.
Here’s a link showing the number of satellites orbiting Earth; http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/sat_track1.jpg
Secret and Suppressed II explores the current parade of cryptocracies, cults, secret societies and international Nazified elites. It examines what the periodicals and electronic media still refuse to take seriously: debates about the nature of evolution that offer more than a dumb show of crypto-Christians and pseudo-skeptics; details about occult themes running in the background of today’s space program; symbolic resonances in popular cultures from Nashville to Santa Cruz; weather warfare technology, fusion reactors; and the technology of political disenfranchisement; unsettled arguments about historical conspiracies and just tidbits of oddball and underreported information that Keith called “demons from the far side of the Truth.”
Excerpt from Secret and Suppressed II, published by Feral House.
Feral House link; http://feralhouse.com/titles/new_releases/secret_and_suppressed_ii.php
This looks like a good read to me, right up my alley!
Hat tip to UFO Mystic