Showing posts with label Colonization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colonization. Show all posts

January 31, 2019

Respecting Native Americans

So I don't know what went down with the students from Catholic Covington High School and the Native Americans in the video that was widely circulated the other day.

People claiming all sorts of racism and hate, and others saying nothing happened--usually the truth is somewhere in between. 

In light of this, I wanted to share this awesome painting, and say we should absolutely respect the Native Americans and do everything we can to help them. 

These are the indigenous people that were here long before we ever were, and let's just say that they suffered and lost a lot when the first Europeans arrived on these shores. 

We are all G-d's children, and no one acting with integrity and peacefully should ever be mistreated or disrespected, no one! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 6, 2016

The Planetary Colonization Imperative

I read something so simple yet profound from theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking (The Guardian).

First, he enunciated many of the threats we face these days, including:

- Accelerating technological change [I would elaborate that these include more advanced weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them]

- Automation, [robotics,] and rise of artificial intelligence

- Economic inequality, mass migration, job destruction, [and divisiveness] augmented by immersive social media that accentuates "Instagram [and Facebook] Nirvana" versus the real poverty and struggling of the masses, 

- "Environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, and acidification of the oceans."

In one sentence then, Hawking says it all about the high level of risk we face:
"We now have the technology to destroy the planet, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it."

His call to action:
"Perhaps in a few hundred years,  we will have established human colonies amid the stars. but right now we have only one planet. and we need to work together to protect it [and develop the means to eventually be able to escape it for the survival of humanity.]"

In short, we must get to and colonize other planets as quickly as possible, because it the realm of history, it's only a matter of time and our collective lives are depending on it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal Via National Geographic)
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November 16, 2016

To MARS and Beyond

So excited about the new show called MARS (and yeah, it's on National Geographic). 

I watched the season premier and it was awesome!

They did this cool combination flipping between the non-fiction of the here and now on Earth in 2016 with all the plans and advances being made to go to settle Mars someday, and the fictionalized future 2033 actual voyage and colonization there. 

The spaceship, rovers, colony are all pretty amazing and it seems so real like we're practically there!

Elon Musk (SpaceX) does a nice job explaining the vision and the reusable rockets they are focused on to get us cost-effectively to the Red Planet and beyond. 

The imperative is clear for us becoming a true multi-planetary species, so that we drastically reduce (hopefully to zero) the risk of an extinction level event to humanity.

There was a good quote that I remember, something like:

"We go into the dark, so others can follow the light."

The leap forward of us actually making it to and colonizing Mars is so mid-boggling great that just about everything else literally pales in comparison. 

Mars is just the first real step...after that the possibilities are truly endless. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to NASA Jet Propulsion Lab)

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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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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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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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September 8, 2013

For Somebody Who Has Everything

What do you get somebody who has everything? 

Well check this out...


You can actually buy acreage on the moon through The Lunar Registry, "Earth's leading lunar real estate agency."


Based on The Outer Space Treaty, no country can own a celestial resource such as the moon, planet, or asteroid, but this doesn't preclude private entities and individuals from purchasing a "lunar land claim."


The Space Settlement Institute, which "promotes the human colonization and settlement of outer space" is lobbying for the U.S. to recognize these space land claims (PopSci).


According to their website, when you purchase real estate through the lunar registry, "your property ownership is permanently registered by the International Lunar Lands Registry in its annual publication, which is copyrighted and deposited in the United States Library of Congress and with international patent and trademark offices."


You can view available properties here, from the Sea of Vapors ("moon on a budget" for $18.95 per acre--near Crater Manilius) to Lake of Dreams ("most popular" for $34.25 per acre and a special "Sweathearts package with 2 acres side-by-side).


Properties can be viewed at The Full Moon Atlas through The Luna Society.


I found Lake of Dreams by its reference in sector B-4, although I couldn't really tell from the atlas whether this was a place that I'd like to settle down or not. 


In real estate, they alway say "location, location, location"--when you're buying on the moon, who the heck knows? ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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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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April 13, 2013

Colonize and Survive

It was interesting to read in Popular Science (12 April 2013) that the famous physicist and futurist, Stephen Hawking, stated that humans would face extinction on planet Earth within the next 1,000 years. 

Hawking says we need to colonize other planets--and I believe that is sound advice. 

While Mother Earth has an incredible ability to rejuvenate and self-heal, let's face it, the planet cannot sustain us forever in our current state.

According to the United Nations, the world population is expected to hit 9.22 billion by 2075, and life expectancy is expected to rise varying across countries from 66 to 97 by 2100.  

Moreover, according to research institution, Transatlantic Academy (May 2012), over the next 10-20 we are likely to see "accelerating demand for most natural resource commodities...increasingly volatile markets, [and] scarcities are likely to be more common." 

In the absence of major technological breakthroughs, increased social equity, and peaceful coexistence on this planet, we will need to find resources outside of Earth and colonize other planets--this is our future.  

Already, as reported by National Geographic (10 April 2013), the administration has funded NASA to capture an asteroid and set it in orbit around the moon  to not only study and develop capabilities to help protect our planet from a collision, but also to eventually be able to mine asteroids for precious minerals. 

As much as we love Earth--although sometimes we don't show it by being gluttonous with its resources, polluting, destroying the ozone, and generally not following sustainable practices--we need to have a "Plan B" whereby we explore for water, food, land, minerals, and energy elsewhere and be ready to make a move to survive another 6000 years and more. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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June 9, 2012

Living The Limits


Almost two decades ago, when working towards my MBA degree, I read the book, Beyond the Limits (1992) about how between growing world overpopulation and our disposition to living without regards to our limited resources, we were in danger of depletion and ultimately face an existential disaster. 

Now this theme continues with the movie, Surviving Progress (2012) warning that our unabated consumerism and overproduction is leaving in its wake diminished environmental resources and leading eventually to a collapse of our global ecosystem. 

In between the book and the movie, I have followed the warnings of well known and respected leaders, such as former Vice President, Al Gore on global warning, former Comptroller General, David Walker on our spiraling national debt, oil magnate, T. Boone Pickens on peak oil, and that is just to name a few. 

Yet, the warnings of our unsustainable living keep running up against our impressive technological progress--for example, oil and natural gas is being discovered and still plentiful, agricultural productivity keeps rising, and computers and automation allows us to continuously do more with less. 

So what are we to believe--are we on a unsustainable collision course with mother nature that threatens our very existence or is our innovative prowess and technological progress going to keep us ahead of the curve and out of any danger?

As a technologist, and someone who promotes innovation, entrepreneurship, hard work and sound supporting ethics underlying everything we do, I am a firm believer that we can make a difference. Yes, with G-d's blessings, it is possible to shape our destiny, so that we can continue to not only sustain ourselves, but also actually improve our standard of living.

On the other hand, I cannot help but notice a generally gluttonous lifestyle in our society--where people almost always seem to buying bigger and better homes, cars, and even now yachts and private planes, and where buying and throwing things out is a vicious and endless cycle, where we live for the moment, rather than plan ahead. 

Despite initiatives to reduce, reuse, and recycle, we are still very much a single use society (use and discard), where compulsive shopping and a "mine is bigger and nicer than yours" mind-set and motive prevails. 

Now as humankind plans for Earth's ultimate resource depletion, companies such as Planetary Resources  are researching and developing robotic spacecraft to mine asteroids to get water, extract raw materials, and find new sources of precious minerals, and government agencies like NASA are exploring orbiting space settlements as well as the permanent colonization of the moon and Mars. 

At the end of the day, the Earth--no matter how large and bountiful--is a finite resource and we should use innovation and technology to extend its use and at the same time reach out to find our next hospitable home. 

Watching two seasons of a Discovery television series called The Colony about how people in a simulation of a global catastrophe, survive--I saw that no matter how well they did for a number of weeks living off of existing resources where they were, eventually, they had to plan and creatively build their escape to a new sustainable living place. 

Unfortunately, this is not just TV fiction, but this is our reality--to thrive in our world today, but also to plan and build for the long-term--a new home for mankind.

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