Showing posts with label Mars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mars. Show all posts

August 21, 2019

The Apollo 11 Mission: 50 Year Anniversary

Remembering the Apollo mission that landed a man on the moon on July 20, 1969 (50 years and 1 month ago yesterday...sorry, I'm late on this post). 

Thought this model (scale 1:48) of the command ship and lunar lander in the NASA store was perfect. 

It truly is miraculous that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldin made this journey.

In just 8 days, they made the round trip between the earth and the moon, traveling about 240,000 miles each way. 

And they walked on the moon for about 3 hours--I want to try that!

Even until today, the U.S. remains the only country to have actually put men on the moon (total of 12). 

"One small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind."

Now it's high time that we get ourselves to Mars already and colonize it!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 9, 2016

Reconstituting The Water Of Antarctica

So Antarctica is the 5th largest continent of 7 in the world. 

It is 5.4 million square miles, and it is larger than both Europe and Australia. 

But it has only a temporary population of 5,000 people, mainly researchers. 

About 70% of the world's fresh water is held in the Antarctic ice sheet, which is 90% of all the world's ice. 

And the ice there extends 7,000 feet thick.

If all the ice would melt, the global sea levels would rise 2,000 feet!

Despite 95% of models over the last 30 years predicting the ice sheet melting due to global warming, it actually continues to expand.

It's a paradox for the science community, but one of the explanations is that as ice shelves break off, they actually forms a protective barrier for the new ice being formed along the main ice landmass. 

Even with global warming, the average temperature in Antarctica is still -35 degrees Fahrenheit, and most parts never get above freezing. 

So here's an idea--rather than fear global warming, is there an opportunity to use it and advance it, if only we can channel the effects of it for the good of humanity. 

The Antarctic Treaty System prevents nuclear weapons explosion there, but wouldn't that be a cool way to melt some ice and get some fresh drinking water for this thirsty planet or even to somehow move to MARS for colonization there?

Also, we could place solar mirrors in space to redirect sunlight to melt the ice--that's either some probably some pretty big mirrors or the dispersion ray of a space laser(s). 

The key now is to get the water to where you want it to go and not to destroy by massive flood our worldwide seaboard cities--and that's where a mass molecular transporter comes along. 

There is still much to discover and invent, but when it's done, I think we will definitely be heading to Mars and beyond.

Really, we have to, there is no other long-term survival choice for humankind. 

And perhaps, G-d placed the survival pod for us right under our feet at literally, the southern most point of the world, Antarctica! ;-)

(Source Photo: here via Wikipedia)
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October 20, 2016

Election Disillusionment

So invariably you hear these days from those that dislike one or the other candidate running for President, that if he/she wins, they are moving out of this country. 

That is apparently how strong people feel in terms of dislike for the candidates--in fact, the most disliked candidates in American history!

Well, I ran into this couple in the Metro.

They were from New Jersey and visiting Washington, D.C. with their daughter. 

They were wearing matching t-shirts that said:
"Election 2016Time To Move To Mars"

Now moving from the USA is not far enough away for people to get from the horrible politics and/or politicians that they can't seem to stand...so next stop is Mars!

As a big time proponents for colonization of other planets, I think this may actually be one of the best things to come out of this election cycle. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 14, 2015

Looking For Astronauts - Apply Here

So cool!!!

OPM Job announcement today for Astronauts.

Work for NASA at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.

Train for missions to the International Space Station, on two new commercial spacecraft, and for the Orion  deep-space exploration vehicle.

To go where no man or woman has gone before...

Dreams do come true!;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Paul Hudson)
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April 14, 2015

3-D Printing Comes To Life

So my daughter is graduating high school, but is already taking a class in 3-D printing. 

(This little guy pictured here was made experimenting in the class and was a precious gift from her.)

Already prophetically envisioned in Star Trek as "the replicator," this technology has been around in primitive trial form since the 1980's.

In 3-D printing, alloyed material is successively layered under computer control to make complex shapes and products.

It makes traditional 2-D printing (on paper) look like rubbing two sticks together to build a fire (circa the paleolithic period of mankind thousands of years ago). 

The promise of 3-D printing for advanced manufacturing is absolutely incredible.

The Wall Street Journal describes how NASA researchers and engineers are working toward using 3-D printers in space to "make bricks suitable for airtight buildings and radiation proof shelters" simply using the sand already on Mars. 

Moreover, the astronauts on their journey may be eating pizza from these printers as well (except for the sand, but still probably better than MREs--Haha).

Already objects have been printed "19 feet long...stone-like building blocks weighing one-and-a-half ton each"!

In the future, 3-D printers could be sent in advance to planets we look to colonize and "lay down landing pads, roads, and shelters" in preparation of our arrival.

These printers could even build working replicas of themsleves or "swarms of self-assembling construction robots" boosting our capacity for even more building.

Moreover, technology is in the works to recycle from 3-D printing by melting down the printed products back into material that could be reused for new printing projects.

On Earth, where we have long been drawing down our natural resources as well as polluting our environment, the prospect of going to other worlds where their are new resources and we actually have the ability to use them constructively is humanity's chance for a whole new chapter of life beyond. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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September 27, 2014

Mars On A Dime

So no one can seem to believe that India made it into orbit around Mars for just $74M.  

According to the Wall Street Journal that compares with $671M that it cost NASA (which arrived just 3 days earlier than India's) and the European Space Agency's mission that cost $386M in 2003,

But aside from the Indian's being able to achieve a Mars mission at a tenth the cost of what we did, BBC reported that they also did it $26M cheaper than even the cost of the science fiction movie Gravity with Sandra Bullock about the International Space Station. 

While we clearly go the extra mile and are able to do great things--why does it always cost us so much to get there?

Perhaps, you can say that we are somehow more diligent or careful in our work (i.e. putting a premium on safety) or that it's just the higher cost of labor in this country or that we are early innovators and incur the costs of research and development that others than leverage. 

However, even though we are considered a very wealthy nation, it is fair to ask whether we are managing our wealth with discretion and an eye to the future or do we just take it for granted and are wasteful with it?

With a $3.9 trillion federal government budget (note, this is a full 21% of the entire U.S. economy/GDP), we are talking about some serious money, and we should be getting the most for it.

Unfortunately, the gravy train extends from certain "Beltway Bandit" contractors--e.g. remember the $640 toilet seats, $7,600 coffee makers, and $436 hammers uncovered by the Project on Government Oversight--and apparently all the way to mission Mars. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 16, 2014

How Our Colony On Mars Will Get Built


Absolutely amazing development in robotics...

According to the Wall Street Journal, Harvard University researchers have developed autonomous robots inspired by termites or ants. 

They can build complex structures by working in a group or swarm.

Each robot is independent, yet by being programmed with the target structure, they work harmoniously together to build the structure without further guidance. 

They have sensors along with a set of rules that enable them to interact with each other and the environment to get the job done. 

They can even build stairs to enable themselves to get to higher levels of the structure and add the next set of building bricks. 

The robots are 8" by 4.5" with pinwheel tires for traction and are powered by off-the-shelf motors.

"Each robot 'walks around the structure until it sees something that needs to be done and then does it...they can recognize errors and correct them.'"

Perhaps, the robots can not only learn from the termites, but we can learn from the robots. ;-)
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May 4, 2013

3-Bedroom Homes on Mars


I am very excited about Bigelow Aerospace's BA-330 space inhabiting module.

The BA-330 is an inflatable, expandable habitat that can be launched into orbit or used to colonize another planet. 

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek (2 May 2013), the space vessels are inflatable--like a football or car tire.

The inner core is an airtight bladder for living. The outer shell is composed of protective layers of foam and bullet-resistant Vectran fabric. In the center is a metal framework of electronics and equipment.

The "space habitat is folded tightly into the trunk of a rocket for launch, and released in orbit, where is inflated with a breathable atmosphere." 

Internal pressure makes the hull rigid and the up to 40" of layered protective material make the habitat stronger and safer than conventional aluminum modules--and yet can be produced at half the cost!

The modules can be arranged vertically into the equivalent of a three-story home with kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, and gym. 

NASA has plans for one of these modules to join with the International Space Station and to test it for future uses. 

Bigelow wants to be the 1st space landlord renting out dwellings, work environments, and laboratories to tourists, scientists, and companies. "Bring your clothes and your money. We provide everything else."

For only $51M you can travel to the Bigelow Alpha Station--it's first commercial outpost--and enjoy 110 cubic meters for 60 days. 

Someday, these early ventures into space will seen as the pioneers crossing the oceans to discover and settle new far away lands, but the difference will be millions of miles and infinite choices. ;-)
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December 19, 2012

Federal Leadership Is A Journey


There were three news articles in Federal Times this week (17 December 2012) that highlighted some disappointments for the time being, but that offer hope for the future:

-   Conflicts of Interest at DARPA: The previous director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investigated by the Defense Department Inspector General for conflicts of interest related to the award of “hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts to a company she co-founded and partially owned.” The hope for the future—the new DARPA director has “sent a full list of her financial assets to all of the agency’s employees.”

-   Missed opportunity for use of mobile devices, BYOD in the Federal workforce: The CIO Council’s report on “Government Use of Mobile Technology: Barriers, Opportunities, and Gap Analysis” was required by the Federal Digital Strategy (May 2012); however, while there is clarity of the need for greater mobility in the workforce, instead of a clear architecture forward, the report calls for more guidance from the administration on “how to handle the tricky legal, privacy, and financial implications.” The hope—the report looks toward  a government-wide or agency policy and guidance to support more flexible use of mobile devices and a cross-functional team to evaluate Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for the future.

-   NASA doubts commitment of getting to an asteroid: NASA, which has been criticized by some for not having a clear direction, has been charged with “sending astronauts to an asteroid by 2025,” yet there is not consensus that this is “the next step on the way to Mars.” The hope—NASA can restructure, engage in cost-sharing partnerships, or otherwise increase budget or decrease scope to right-align and achieve clear focus on the next great goals for outer space.

Lesson learned: leadership does not have all the answers nor do they always do everything right, but leadership is a journey. So while today, we may not always be making the best acquisitions for advanced research, achieving clarity of a mobile strategy, or landing people on Mars—we are on the way—through one small step for leadership, one giant leap for the rest of us.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to NASA) 

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March 8, 2009

We Need A Grand Vision—Let It Be Smart!

We can build systems that are stand-alone and require lots of hands-on monitoring, care, and feeding or we can create systems that are smart—they are self-monitoring providing on-going feedback, and often self-healing and they help ensure higher levels of productivity and up-time.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 17 February 2009, smart technology is about making systems that are “intelligent and improve productivity in the long run…they [makes use of] the latest advances in sensors, wireless communications and computing power, all tied together by the Internet.”

As we pour hundreds of billions of dollars of recovery funds into fixing our aging national infrastructure for roads, bridges, and the energy grid—let’s NOT just fix the potholes and reinforce the concrete girders and have more of the same. RATHER, let’s use the opportunity to leap forward and build a “smarter,” more cost–effective, and modernized infrastructure that takes us, as nation, to the next playing-level in the global competitive marketplace.”

- Smart transportation—the “best way to fight congestion is intelligent transportation systems, such as roadside sensors to measure traffic and synchronize traffic lights to control the flow of vehicles…real time information about road conditions, traffic jams and other events.” Next up is predictive technology to tell where jams happen before they actually occur and “roadways that control vehicles and make ‘driving’ unnecessary.”

- Smart grid—this would provide for “advanced electronic meters that send a steady stream of information back to the utility” to determine power outages or damage and reroute power around trouble areas. It also provides for consumer portals that show energy consumption of major appliances, calculate energy bills under different usage scenarios and allow consumers to moderate usage patterns. Additionally, a smart grid would be able to load balance energy from different sources to compensate for peaks and valleys in usage of alternative energy sources like solar and wind.

- Smart bridges—this will provide “continuous electronic monitoring of bridges structures using a network of sensors at critical points.” And there are 600,000 bridges in the U.S. As with other smart technologies, it can help predict problems before they occur or are “apparent to a human inspector…this can make the difference between a major disaster, a costly retrofit or a minor retrofit.”

Smart technology can be applied to just about everything we do. IBM for example, talks about Smart Planet and applying sensors to our networks to monitor computer and electronic systems across the spectrum of human activity.

Building this next level of intelligence into our systems is good for human safety, a green environment, productivity, and cost-efficiency.

In the absence of recovery spending on a grand vision such as a cure for cancer or colonization of Mars, at the VERY least, when it comes to our national infrastructure, let’s spend with a vision of creating something better—“Smarter”--for tomorrow than what we have today.
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