There is interesting news afoot in particle physics. It seems that some researchers from the University of Rochester have created quasi-particles known as polaritons at room temperature, and these little beauties exhibit behavior of objects of negative mass.
The original Alcubierre Warp Drive theory involved the use of negative energy to achieve a transit method outside of normal spacetime. Of course, Professor Alcubierre’s original estimate of magnitude was unreasonably huge, but the theory has stood up well. What’s been encouraging over the years is work by a number of other physicists to bring that magnitude down to imaginable levels. What’s been even more difficult to grapple has been the negative energy aspect, but with this new work, we now have what looks like negative mass. Given Einstein’s famous equation:
E = mc²
Where E is energy, m is mass, and c is the speed of light, a mass of a negative magnitude should convert to negative energy. That’s a major puzzle piece.
For more, see:
Physicists Say They’ve Created a Device That Generates ‘Negative Mass’
Here is something that I stumbled across, working late one night at the day job
Alien: Remastered – YouTube
For those of you who do not know me in meatworld, I am a massive Alien universe fan. Huge geek about it, really. There is something about the matter-of-fact, workaday way they present the overall environment in which the characters struggle with the villains of the story. A lot of the tech is worn but usable, not necessarily some smooth, gleaming spectacle of modernism. The texture of the universe in the movies is one of a realism, where living and working in space is what they do, and the Alien scourge is a realty thrust upon them as a true and horrific surprise. The storylines aren’t about the technology, it’s just there to show the future tense of humanity. The frontier still has lions, tigers, and bears out there.
Of course, this is all backed up by soundtracks of various and creepy types, as the original posted above. Well, I say original. Actually, the videos linked above are, as described, remasters by a very talented sound engineer and artist, Álvaro G. Plata. I’ve listened to this composition a number of times on YouTube directly, and eventually contacted him directly to purchase an electronic copy of the music files he produced. He was happy to oblige!
For more information on the history of this project of his, see the link below.
In my opinion, the Alien universe is one of the most gritty and realistic expectations of what the future may hold, and how pedestrian it will eventually be to live and work in space.
In two weeks, the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers ConferenceNext-Generation Suborbital Researcher Conference (NSRC) for this year will kick off in Bloomfield, Colorado. It is a central meeting and discussion forum for educators and researchers working to explore the suborbital realm, and with a focus on reusable vehicles to pursue that exploration. There are a number of companies beginning to break into the reusable market, both suborbital and beyond, and they’ll have exhibit space to explain themselves at the conference.
A lot of these newcomers are promoting variants of air-breathing/rocket-propelled first stage systems carrying second and sometimes third stages to orbital destinations, such as Exodus Aerospace. They have a rather novel combined lifting body outer mold line (OML)* that comprises a two-stage delivery vehicle. It should be instructive to see how the CEO of Exodus, David Luther, fares with the questions and comments he’ll receive during the week.
*Aerospace Education Moment: For those who do not know what an “OML” is, this term refers to the overall outer shape of an aircraft or spacecraft. It is useful in the design and analysis of such machines to tightly control that OML, to serve such things as aerodynamic studies and to constrain subsystems within and around the vehicle by a boundary that remains fixed.
Kindred Spirits – Space Nation
I ran across a new organization out there, Space Nation, who has the noble goal of creating the largest space discovery community on the planet. Their belief statement reads thus:
“We believe that Astronaut skills are life skills. Using a range of space experiences to connect everyday life to space, and space to everyday life, we’re motivating and enabling discovery of space skills for 21st Century Space Travelers.
We believe that expansion to space is a key moment in human evolution that brings new perspectives, unity and tangible benefits to humanity, the Earth and worlds we have yet to discover.”
To those of us on the Outbound journey, this sounds incredibly familiar.
Frankly, it’s exciting to peruse their website, and see the sorts of things they’re delving into. In particular, they are working on what they call the Space Nation Astronaut Program (SNAP). This program kicks off in February of 2018, including a new smartphone app that guides the program participants as they work their way forward, culminating in a possible free flight into space for the top performer! This is a bit if genius where they offer free training towards an astronaut skillset and way of thinking, under the concept that astronaut qualities are excellent qualities for life in general. As per the Outbound motto, “We Live and Work In Space”, Space Nation’s philosophy aligns so very well with our own.
I’ve signed up for their “Space Station Orbit” newsletter and also for the SNAP, and I have to say, I am excited to see what begins to develop two months from now.
I’ve been mulling over the question for many years, and over the past few I’ve nibbled at the edges of finding answers for myself. For the moment, I’m not going to go into those answers.
What I’d like to know from my readers and my fellow posters on the fora on which I post, is why would you good people like to go to space? Really, the question comes in several parts:
- Why Should Humanity Go Into Space?
- How Should We Go?
- What Do We Do There?
- How Far Should We Go?
- What Is Needed to Go?
In other words, what makes the Go To Space, well… Go?
For those of you that have a specific aversion to going at all, I’m not willing to engage that sentiment. Stay to monitor the conversation, and learn what you can, but don’t expect accommodation for views that counter the questions posed above. Consider it an assumption that the human race must go into the void and fill it with exploration and exploitation. Outbound is happening.
Keith Cowing at NASAWatch seems offended by this image:
#JourneyToMars Facebook hype from @LockheedMartin As if Orion with only a service module will be in Mars orbit
Here’s a bit of SpaceX concept art that is essentially the same as the CowingSnark is concerned about:
It’s rather GOOD concept art, and I can see why Elon Musk published it on Instagram. Can we NOT poke at concept art? That seems incredibly picky, perhaps even petty.
I took a look at the data presented in Table 1 of NineSigma’s proposal information, and compared the Moon and Martian materials to Earth values. There are a few first thoughts:
1. As it might be expected, just a straight comparison like this shows that the lunar material composition holds the greatest parity with Earth. While not a part of this study, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that there is a sizeable number of lunar geologists that theorize that the Moon is a chunk of material that was once part of Earth.
2. Silicon Dioxide is by far the primary compound at all three locations.
3. Despite similarities with terrestrial soils, lunar samplings show a distinct lack of Sulfate and Chlorine.
The points above generate some paths to follow:
1. What terrestrial structural materials can be most easily replicated, and which correlate better with the Moon vs. Mars?
2. Is there a particular structural material and/or process that significantly involves Silicon Dioxide or related compounds?
3. What limitations does the poverty of lunar Sulfate and Chlorine enforce?
So, I’ll now look at those questions.
There is a recent article by Steven Starr over at the Federation of American Scientists, bemoaning yet again the futility of surviving Nuclear War. Suffice it to say, even after a long heritage of debunking nuclear winter, there is always a subject matter expert willing to re-approach the concept.
What does this have to do with Outbound’s mission, you ask? Simply put, with recent geopolitical events as they are and continue to develop, we face a renewed and increased chance that a nuclear exchange is in our future. Perhaps our near future. Despite the horror that promises, the likelihood of human extinction from that event is not high, but it will set back human civilization. How far back is primarily driven by how prepared we are to recover from the event. Pre-emptively surrendering humanity’s future isn’t the best strategy.
Imagine all the people that will be asking themselves: “Aren’t I supposed to be dead? What do I do now?”
Hopefully, WWIII will be averted. If it isn’t though, we’ll be better served both on Earth and beyond by being prepared to weather the (fire)storm. As a reference, here is some excellent information on doing just that:
The Good News About Nuclear Destruction
And in addition to plans to survive a nuclear war on Earth, a faster implementation of space settlement (a la Outbound) removes at least some humans from the stupidity, and allows them to continue advancing our race while the Earth recovers.
In reference to my post about embarking on a personal Kaizen, I’d say that I’m doing okay. The general advice is to improve something every day, even if it’s only a small percentage better. So far, so good. I have made progress in a number of things I had been stalled on, so I’ll just keep going.
A new NASA website is now providing a daily global view of Earth, as imaged by the DSCOVR spacecraft. Check it out.