The Air Forces’ X37B robot mini-space shuttle type spacecraft was launched last night at 7:52 p.m. atop of an United Launch Alliance (Boeing/Lockheed-Martin) Atlas V 501 medium/heavy lift rocket.
The X37B was a NASA project at one time, but when NASA decided in 2004 to go with the Ares 1 and 5 concepts that used capsules, they gave the mini-shuttle project to the Air Force.
I think the Air Force got the better end of that deal.
Launch of the Air Forces’ X37B Robot Mini-Shuttle
The NASA IBEX probe has discovered something anomalous at the edge of our solar system and it has solar physicists scratching their heads:
In the murky boundary between our solar system and the rest of the galaxy, scientists have spotted a bright band of surprising high-energy emissions.
The results come from the first all-sky map created by NASA’s new Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft, which launched in October 2008. While orbiting Earth, IBEX monitors incoming neutral atoms that originate billions of miles away at the solar system’s edge to learn about the interaction between the sun and the cold expanse of space.
“The IBEX results are truly remarkable, with emissions not resembling any of the current theories or models of this never-before-seen region,” said David McComas, IBEX principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute in Texas. “We expected to see small, gradual spatial variations at the interstellar boundary, some 10 billion miles away. However, IBEX is showing us a very narrow ribbon that is two to three times brighter than anything else in the sky.”
This ribbon of energy lies at the very edge of the solar system, where the bubble of charged particles streaming from the sun finally peters out. This bubble is called the heliosphere, and it encompasses the region of space dominated by the sun’s influence.
The edge of the solar system
At the boundary of the heliosphere, the sun’s positively-charged particles interact with neutral atoms drifting in from interstellar space. When these particles meet, an electron may hop over from a neutral atom to a charged one, called an ion. The result: the charged particle becomes neutral. IBEX detects these fast-moving neutral particles and traces their paths back to the solar system’s edge to create a picture of this chaotic frontier.
“We’re just now getting a handle on the interaction of the surrounding interstellar medium with the heliosphere, and that’s providing us with the big picture,” said mission co-investigator Eberhard Möbius of the University of New Hampshire.
The mission scientists said they were surprised to discover the striking band in IBEX’s sky maps, because no models had predicted such a pattern beforehand.
McComas said when he first saw the IBEX results he thought, “‘Something’s wrong,’ It was quite a long time before we convinced ourselves that we were right,” he said.
The bright ribbon appears to be shaped by the direction of the interstellar magnetic field outside the heliosphere. Scientists think this suggests that the galactic environment just outside the solar system has far more influence on the structure of the heliosphere than previously believed.
Why is the galactic environment influencing the heliosphere of our Solar System?
Does this happen to all solar systems and is a product of nature? Possibly plasma like the electric universe theory espouses?
Or something artificial?
Burt Rutan, principle designer of SpaceShipOne and designer emeritus of SpaceShipTwo might have been influenced by an ’80s Soviet military design.
Now things have come full circle in that the US military want to base a new air/space craft on the Rutan design:
Twenty years after the U.S. Air Force first retired its SR-71 spy plane, and 11 years after a handful of the Mach-3 jets was briefly returned to military service, the military has finally identified a candidate to replace the famed Blackbird. The Pentagon’s secretive National Security Space Office is navigating a minefield of budgetary perils, bureaucratic expectations and industry inhibitions, to turn a experimental, civilian “space plane” into a high-speed, responsive reconnaissance craft.
The late May roll-out, by innovative California aerospace firm Scaled Composites, of the four-engine “Eve” aircraft — the mother-ship for the so-called “Space Ship Two” rocket ship — offers the first glimpse of this potential, future Blackbird replacement. Scaled’s work with cheap, re-usable, low-orbit “space planes” — and efficient mother-ships for launching them, from high altitude — forms the theoretical basis of the Space Office’s so-called Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion concept.
The concept is more complex than the SR-71, but potentially cheaper. Rather than the Blackbird’s single, fast vehicle, SUSTAIN would be two vehicles. The jet-powered mother-ship, based in the U.S. or at a secure, overseas facility, would loft a smaller, rocket-powered “lander” to high altitude — say, 50,000 feet — before launching it. The rocket would quickly boost the lander to an altitude of around 400,000 feet, just shy of the orbital threshold. On completing its mission, the lander would deploy air brakes and spiral down to a landing.
While the SUSTAIN lander would be as fast as the SR-71, reaching up to Mach 3, its major advantage is altitude. The SR-71 operated at up to 80,000 feet — higher than most of today’s surveillance drones and manned planes, such as the RQ-4 Global Hawk and U-2 Dragon Lady, but not high enough to render unnecessary the direct over-flight of enemy territory. At five times the Blackbird’s altitude, the SUSTAIN lander provides an unparalleled, responsive platform for sophisticated, long-range cameras. “If you’re up there for five to 10 minutes, you could take a high-resolution image of something that’s out on the horizon — and you don’t necessarily have to over-fly what you want to image,” says Lieutenant Colonel Paul Damphousse, the Marine Corps officer in charge of SUSTAIN’s concept development.
As a side note, Damphousse no longer works for the Pentagon, he works for Senator Bill Nelson (D) of Florida as a Space Fellow.
Are UFO aliens just plain scoping us out through the windows of their craft?
According to Ron S. Stewart they are:
Around a month ago we received this interesting UFO video from a reader. No information regarding the footage was passed on to us. When we posted the story some readers thought the video showed a mere reflection in a window while others found the footage more compelling than that. I must say I myself was not so sure it was just a reflection of a light in a window. Since then we have received more information regarding this UFO event. We now know that the man heard in the clip is speaking Indonesian and that he seems genuinely confused as he calls regional control to tell them that ‘Noah’s Ark’ (he seems unfamiliar with UFOs and aliens) has been hovering over the port all morning. Lon Strickler then created an enhanced still from the footage which further intrigued me. We contacted our friend, Ronald Nussbeck of www.ufoimaging.com and asked him to see what he could come up with using Ron Stewart’s remarkable APEP photo enhancement technology. To our surprise and despite the poor quality of the film, a rather clear if not outright amazing image of a humanoid alien was captured peering through the windows of this UFO/extraterrestrial spaceship! The image, Lon Strickler’s enhanced image and the orginal footage can be viewed below.
www.ufoimaging.com is operated by Ron S. Stewart, Archeologist, Inventor and regarded as one of the world’s leading Imaging Scientists and the developer of APEP: Which has received attention from some of the World’s largest Corporations and the international UFO community.
APEP works because Ron S. Stewart found a Flaw in the Architecture Foundation of Image creation that affects all photos and videos for the last 50 years. The Flaw restricts DPI (dots per inch), the average photo contains about 150 DPI, APEP converts photos and videos to about 10,000 DPI, that means an increase of up to 10,000% in image resolution. The process also solves Pixelazation and Distortion when enlarging images and is inherent in all photo process today. The flaw restricts the laws of physics from attaining maximum resolution.
I don’t know about you, but the “faces” look pretty goddamn human to me!
I still think it’s post-Singularity humans coming back to gawk at us hair-less primates like museum pieces!
The blogger IIB has long posted about DARPA and its involvement with Google and its founders to bring about a self-sustained distributed artificial intelligence in order to trigger a Technological Singularity.
I used to be a supporter of a Singularity, until I realised that it could make the human species extinct, of which I’m no fan. And creating machines that are conscious like humans is a tall order, maybe impossible to build.
But that doesn’t mean the possibility of the event occurring is diminished, one has to take into account the power of intent.
And no one entity is more intent than the US Government’s DARPA:
The idea behind Darpa’s latest venture, called “Physical Intelligence” (PI) is to prove, mathematically, that the human mind is nothing more than parts and energy. In other words, all brain activities — reasoning, emoting, processing sights and smells — derive from physical mechanisms at work, acting according to the principles of “thermodynamics in open systems.” Thermodynamics is founded on the conversion of energy into work and heat within a system (which could be anything from a test-tube solution to a planet). The processes can be summed up in formalized equations and laws, which are then used to describe how systems react to changes in their surroundings.
Now, the military wants a new equation: one that explains the human mind as a thermodynamic system. Once that’s done, they’re asking for “abiotic, self-organizing electronic and chemical systems” that display the PI principles. More than just computers that think, Darpa wants to re-envision how thought works — and then design computers whose thought processes are governed by the same laws as our own.
Over the centuries up until the present times, mankind’s intelligence has been attributed to something “outside” of our physicality, the ‘soul’, cosmic awareness, doppelganger, astral body and ‘consciousness.’
Empirical science with it’s “if it can’t be measured, it doesn’t exist” approach has worked fine in a lot of discoveries over the past 300 some-odd years since the “Enlightenment” era and I can’t bitch too hard about it.
Without it, I wouldn’t be here today to discuss this topic.
But I have also found during the past two years that reality has more subtlety than what is quantified by empiricism, or what limitations our instruments currently have in measuring ‘reality.’
And what accounts for mankind’s awareness has been a huge bug-a-boo for science to get a handle on, since so many people in this day and age take it on faith alone that we exist after physical death.
DARPA must have an abundance of transhumanists and singularitarians working for them because that is a basic tenet of their philosophy; human beings are ‘meat’ or wetware holding intelligence or ‘consciousness’ that can be measured and ‘downloaded’ into immortal hardware, or another computational medium.
Here we have an example of the attempt to build consciousness from scratch, either through some enhanced biological medium, or non-biological forms. Perhaps a bit of both.
I’m not sure it’s possible to do this, if it is just a matter of recreating the human brain, I think we would’ve done it already, if we’re just ‘meat.’
I’m reminded of my first psychology professor years ago who taught that “human beings are greater than the sum of their parts, a gestalt, if you will.”
Basic, but I still remember it to this day. Probably because there is a simple wisdom to it.
Perhaps some good will come from this research; the development of artificial brains would be beneficial to brain accident victims, Parkinson’s disease and even Alzheimer’s patients.
Unfortunately, DARPA is a military research organisation first and foremost. As the article indicates, the first recipients in these experiments are to be autonomons used as cannon fodder, or severely brain damaged soldiers augmented and sent back into the field. Again as cannon fodder.
What will happen if these beings do turn out to be “conscious?”
Will human-rights organisations speak up for these first true transhumans?
Better yet, will self proclaimed transhumanist organisations speak up for them?
Certainly looks like a black project machine to me. Of course the military denies it.
Dale Vince, managing director of wind farm operator Ecotricity, said: “They [scientists] looked at all the broken parts of the turbine, the parts that were left standing at the top and examined the land around the bottom of the turbine looking for debris.
“But it was actually by examining the ring of bolts that hold the blade on that the examiners were able to say definitely it wasn’t a collision that caused this problem.”
Mr Vince said he expected a full explanation into the cause of the damage in two weeks.”There is a ring of about 30 bolts and they exhibit what examiners term as classic fatigue signs.
“They’ve ruled out bolt failure and are looking for the cause either side of the bolts in one of the components.”
He said manufacturers had checked 1,000 turbines of the same design all over the world and it was thought the problem was a “one-off“.
Rats. So much for for an aerial Chuthullu. Lovecraft would be disappointed.
The US military will be half machine and half human by 2015, a military expert told an audience on Wednesday.
Speaking before a group at the Technology Entertainment and Design (TED) conference, military expert Peter Singer said the implementation of robot soldiers was near.
“We are at a point of revolution in war, like the invention of the atomic bomb,” Singer said.
“What does it mean to go to war with US soldiers whose hardware is made in China and whose software is made in India?”
The US military has already made great strides in unmanning the battlefield. The US uses attack drones and bomb-handling robots, and custom war video games have been used as recruiting tools.
We’re bound and determined to build Terminator type shit, aren’t we?
We might as well all lay down in front of a subway train!
The Pentagon’s way-out researchers don’t just want to build an Internet simulator, to test out cyberwar tactics. They want the range’s operators to “realistically replicate human behavior and frailties,” too.
Congress has ordered the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, to put together a National Cyber Range, as part of a massive (andmassively secret) $30 billion, government-wide effort better prep for battle online. The project is now considered a top priority for the Agency. And to make sure the facility is as true-to-life as possible, Darpa wants the contractors running the Range to be able to “replicate realistic human behavior on nodes,” a request for proposals, released today, reveals.
Specifically, the Agency wants to have its contractors:
• Provide robust technologies to emulate human behavior on all nodes of the range for testing all aspects of range behavior.
• Replicants will produce realistic chain of events between many users without explicit scripting behavior.
• Replicants must be capable of implementing multiple user roles similar to roles found on operational networks.
• Replicant behavior will change as the network environment changes, as the replicated “outside environment” (i.e. DoD DefCon, InfoCon, execution of war plans, etc) changes, and as network activity changes (detected attacks, degradation of services, etc).
• Replicants will simulate physical interaction with device peripherals, such as keyboard and mice.
• Replicants will drive all common applications on a desktop environments.
• Replicants will interact with authenticate systems, including but not limited to DoD authentication systems (common access cards – CAC), identity tokens.
What I don’t understand is, does the Pentagon want the contractors to use human operators to be the simulated ‘replicants’, or are the replicants to be sophisticated AI (artificial intelligence) software?
Either way, this doesn’t sound good. ‘Terminator’ or ‘Matrix’, pick your poison.
When the United States recently shot apart a crippled spy satellite over the Pacific Ocean, it also tested an offensive anti-satellite weapon and the potential for ballistic missile defense. “The shot,” as the Pentagon called the $100 million operation conducted on February 20, came immediately after Russia and China put forward a detailed, but flawed, proposal for a treaty to ban space weapons at the United Nations. In response, the United States immediately reaffirmed its unwillingness to participate in any arms control accord covering space.
These developments are just the latest wrinkles in a rapidly unfolding saga that underscores the fact that we’re entering a new strategic era characterized by the weaponization of space. It may sound exciting, but the potential consequences of space weaponization are cataclysmic.
I agree with the article, the U.S. government firmly believes they have the upper-hand here, and they might.
For a while.
China demonstrated earlier last year they can do the same thing, almost.
But don’t count on them being behind for very long. Government and corporate espionage is a very lucrative business.
HOW would you like to have your very own shape-shifter? Perhaps a liquid metal T-1000 Terminator to help around the house. Or a universal tool kit that could reshape itself into any implement at the press of a button. For an astronaut in orbit, an army mechanic in remote terrain or even a homeowner trying to fix a furnace on a cold winter night, it could be just the thing.
Well, one day maybe. The traditional approach to building shape-shifting devices has been to use materials based on shape memory alloys, polymer sheets or nanoparticles. But these have proved difficult to control and have other limitations, so researchers have begun taking a different and less exotic tack.
More Terminator stuff coming, DARPA has been very busy lately.
And don’t count on these guys coming to fix your furnace anytime soon, the Pentagon has big plans for these things first.
Big time hat tip to Red Ice Creations.