The word “planet” means wanderer. The ancients, with their lives lived largely outdoors and without artificial lighting, were much more intimately acquainted with the heavens than are we moderns, unless we specialize in astronomy. They noticed that although there was a fixed pattern of stars for the most part, some of them wandered around in [...]
Archive for the 'Space' Category
It’s really amazing that Armstrong and Aldrin actually landed on the Moon. Not that they survived the trip in the huge rocket, nor the rigors of space travel, the radiation, the vacuum, the meteors. It was the software. Don Eyles, one of the programmers of the code that ran in the Lunar Module computer, has [...]
So suppose we get into space — by space pier, new private launch capabilities, or whatever. Then what? LEO is halfway to anywhere, but only halfway. Unlike the Earth, which is matter rich but energy poor, the inner solar system is the opposite — energy rich but not much matter. This ought to be a [...]
Let’s look at what nanotech could do — could be doing now if Feynman’s path had been taken — to make space travel more achievable and affordable — and therefore useful. It’s widely understood how lighter, stronger structures can make rockets more efficient, but that’s of limited use. The rocket equation is still a huge [...]
It is, today, just 40 years since I sat glued to a grainy black-and-white TV set and watched the Apollo astronauts land on, and then step out on, the moon. If you had asked me then, I would have assured you that by the year 2000, much less 2009, I’d have my own spaceship, or [...]
In this post I began considering the prognostications in George Friedman’s The Next 100 Years, in light of some of the kinds of changes in technology that might come online during the century. This is obviously hard to do, but imagine trying to predict the geopolitical course of the 20th century without understanding the possibility [...]
This the sixth essay in a series exploring if, when, and how the Singularity will happen, why (or why not) we should care, and what, if anything, we should do about it. Part VI: The heavily-loaded takeoff The fastest software I ever used ran on some of the slowest computers I ever had. Circa 1980, [...]
November conference in Japan to draw up a proposal and timeline for a space elevator to be made possible through nanotechnology.
The company Nanoscience Instruments in its Scanline newsletter (PDF, Vol. 2, Issue. 2) lets us know that one of their nanotechnology products, the Nanosurf atomic force microscope, is on its way to Mars. Excerpts: Onboard the Phoenix lander is a suite of sophisticated scientific instrumentation including a weather station, an optical microscope, and a high-resolution [...]
iTWire reports that a recent test by NASA of a nanotech-based sensor has succeeded: “The nanosensor worked successfully in space,” said principal investigator Jing Li, a scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center. “We demonstrated that nanosensors can survive in space conditions and the extreme vibrations and gravity change that occur during launch,” she said. The [...]
For a visionary look at space applications of nanotech, see a new column over at Nanotechnology Now. An excerpt: Occasionally astronauts have to leave their spaceships, so researchers at Northeastern University and Rutgers University propose that we protect the astronauts by including layers of bio-nano robots in their spacesuits. The outer layer of bio-nano robots [...]
A new book by German physicist Jürgen Altmann of Dortmund University looks at Military Nanotechnology: Potential Applications and Preventive Arms Control (Routledge, 2006). Both near-term and long-term applications are examined. From the abstract: NT applications will likely pervade all areas of the military…By using NT to miniaturise sensors, actuators and propulsion, autonomous systems (robots) could [...]
The benefits to energy and space applications of advanced nanotechnology will be huge, but nearer-term we are already seeing some very promising results from simple aluminum nanoparticles. From University of Wisconsin on the work of engineering prof Pradeep Rohatgi, via Foresight Senior Associate Brian Wang: The newest class of MMCs [metal matrix composites] that his [...]
The Woodrow Wilson Center Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies has a cute short (8:25) movie posted in which Bethany Maynard interviews her dad Dr. Andrew Maynard and Dr. Barbara Karn on nanotech. Worth showing to kids, and even adults may enjoy it. The best part is when Bethany and her brother Alex apply mustard to her [...]
Upcoming on Tuesday, May 30, 2006, at 12:30 PM Eastern time (9:30 AM West Coast time in U.S.) is a meeting and webcast at the prestigious Wilson Center on the topic of using nanotech to build a space elevator. Michael Laine, founder and president of Liftport, Inc., who spoke on this topic at last fall’s [...]
From the San Jose Mercury News, a story on NASA/Google collaboration: “The Mountain View-based Internet giant is expanding its plans for potential collaborations with NASA scientists at Moffett Field to include research on everything from private commercial rocket launches to search engines in the classroom to nanotechnology in orbit… ” ‘Everyone got so excited with [...]
Physorg.com reports on an advance published in the Aug 19, 2005 Science: “Starting from chemically grown, self-assembled structures in which nanotubes are aligned like trees in a forest, the sheets are produced at up to seven meters per minute by the coordinated rotation of a trillion nanotubes per minute for every centimeter of sheet width…Strength [...]
As reported in Smalltimes, a study done for NASA's Institute for Advanced Concepts by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems concludes that a useful self-replicating machine could be less complex than a Pentium IV chip, and uncovered no road blocks to extending macroscale systems to microscale and then to nanoscale self-replicating systems. The study also evaluated adherence to the Foresight Guidelines on Molecular Nanotechnology. The final report for the study can be downloaded from NASA as a PDF file.
JohnFaith writes "High Lift Systems will be sponsoring a conference in Seattle on implementing a carbon tether space elevator: http://www.confcon.com/sp_elev_02/sp_elev_02.html. There's also a story in the Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/13 4489679_spaceelevator08m.html. This type of application has been mentioned in various nanotech books, so it will be interesting to see if the conference will mention molecular machines as a way to build these structures."
from the blast-from-the-past dept.
We are grateful to Dale Amon for bringing to our attention an archival website devoted to back issues of the L5 News, the newsletter of the L5 Society, which was formed to advocate the implementation of the visionary ideas of Gerard K. OíNeill to construct large orbital communities at the L5 libration point roughly equidistant from Earth and Luna, using lunar materials and resources. The L5 Society later merged with the National Space Institute in 1987 to form the National Space Society (NSS), which continues to advocate for the development of space resources. Many current members of the Foresight community were active members of the L5 Society, and remain active in the NSS.
In addition to online versions of the L5 News (currently issues from 1975 through 1978), the site presents some basic background information on the L5 colonization concept, a brief history of the L5 Society and its activities, and an image library with views of the torus, Bernal sphere, and OíNeill cylinder designs for large space settlements.