Posts Tagged ‘space’


Outsmarting Ourselves

by adminadam in videos

New levels of intelligence to stay the tide of human negligence and stupidity.

We live in a complex and complicated world. Such safeguards against chaos and entropy are key to maintaining our forward momentum, of course, but the Taoist in me asks: For what such momentum? For what such speed? For what such complexity?

Obviously it is good to prevent needless tragedy and destruction, but are we really building to the starsor have we stagnated as a species?

Post your thoughts in the comments.


Potentially Habitable Exoplanets

by adminadam in home

Here are some of the best candidates for worlds outside of our solar system which may make good homes for future humans in the mood for exploration:


FYI: As of August 8, 2012, the total number of confirmed exoplanets (planets both habitable and inhabitable that we’ve discovered) is: 777.

Consider that out of 777 there are also some 55+ other potentially habitable exoplanets and exomoons that are so far unconfirmed.

What if for every 1,000 worlds we found there were 20 habitable ones? That’s a lot of life support!


Extropy +16: Space (Research) Tourism

by adminadam in home

Space Tourism for Scientists

The New York Times ran an article yesterday on space tourism for scientists and scientific purposes:

“If all goes as planned, within a couple of years, tourists will be rocketing into space aboard a Virgin Galactic space plane — paying $200,000 for about four minutes of weightlessness — before coming back down for a landing on a New Mexico runway.

Sitting in the next seat could be a scientist working on a research experiment.

Science, perhaps even more than tourism, could turn out to be big business for Virgin and other companies that are aiming to provide short rides above the 62-mile altitude that marks the official entry into outer space, eventually on a daily basis.”

Why (and Can’t I Get a Better Price)?

Xcor Aerospace has offered the lowest ticket prices at $95,000 a person, which makes it reasonable (or at least a bit more reasonable) for scientific research budgets. I personally like pondering the outcomes of regular short-interval experiments being done in low-earth orbit, in addition to the falling prices after the practice has been established well enough.

So, what is the draw for the scientific community over such short trips? One slashdot user (Nyeerrmm) had the following to say and mentioned metallurgy and composite materials experiments, and equipment testing for later installation into the International Space Station:

“…There are some metallurgy applications. You can make some alloys out of otherwise immiscible metals. Melt them on the ground, stir quickly at the start of the free fall period and quench the mix.

There’s also some composite materials that consist of a metal and gaseous component. For example, you might have some sort of hollow beads with a metal binder. The radical density differences make this a hard material to build in normal Earth environment. Or you might be trying to make a solid metallic foam.

Another zero gee favorite is large protein crystals (for crystallography). The five minute period might be enough to create fairly large and relatively flawless crystals in some cases.

There’s one final reason even when zero gee processes take much longer than five minutes. It’s a cheap way to test the equipment before you put it in a really expensive environment.

For example, if you have a kit for making proteins in a week, it would suck to put that on the ISS and find out that you have a horde of technical problems that need to worked out by very expensive astronauts. Even five minutes is enough to get the gear running and find problems that manifest quickly.”

Any Takers?

The biggest researcher so far looks to be Southwest Research Institute, who specialize in chemistry, space science, mechanical engineering, and a number of other fields. Southwest plans to study how soil and rocks settle on the surface of asteroids, in addition to testing a refurbished ultraviolet telescope from 1997 and trying out a biomedical harness that monitors scientists’ vitals during space flight. Let’s wish them luck so that other potential early adopters may also be encouraged to join in on these new space research endeavors.

According to the Times, “even if only some of these companies succeed, the prospect is that in a few years, hundreds of suborbital flights could be taking off every year”. Wouldn’t that be cool…


NY Times article: Space Tourism May Mean One Giant Leap for Researchers
Slashdot discussion: Scientists, Not Just Tourists Are Getting Tickets to Ride Into Space


Alan Watts on Nothingness

by adminadam in education, quotes, videos

  • Sleep, passivity, rest — these are all things which are neglected due to a fear of Nothingness.
  • Nothing is more fertile than Emptiness.
  • It’s not ‘You can’t have Something for Nothing’, it’s ‘You can’t have Something without Nothing’.
  • That which is void is precisely Form. And that which is form is precisely Void.

Extropy +8: Room to Expand

by adminadam in quotes, videos

“Part and parcel of the what leads many to an Extropian mindset is the realization of scale, both in space and time. We’re allotted seventy to a hundred years of life compared to a fantastically large number of years that the Universe has been in existence. We live on a tiny little planet in a universe so large that the movie above doesn’t even begin to do it justice.

We’ve made up mythologies, religions, politics, cultures and national borders to limit our perspectives so that the enormity of scale doesn’t overwhelm us.

Once it has overwhelmed us – and the movie above is definitely a good starting point – it becomes difficult to understand why two artificially constructed groupings of humans want to fight each other. We really only need to take a step back and realize how similar we actually are.

We’re all one people, one human race that – for now – is locked to a small planet, one of the planets in an insignificant solar system in the corner of a young galaxy called the Milky Way.

Some day in the future, we will be more than this, so let’s try to overcome our territoriality and caveman brains before we get there, okay?”

— by Breki Tomasson, as seen on The Extropist Examiner