Space Colonization – 2

Cannot believe with all those stars in the heavens that there isn’t a one with a planet suitable for colonization close by and of course having no unfriendly aliens to clash with. ( Aside: I can’t help wondering if our creators deliberately planned the growth of humankind  to reach the point of insufficient available resources on earth and thus to force our race to colonize space).

More to come (I hope).

Compact solar destinations nuclear power system

Initial tests in Nevada on a compact nuclear power system designed to sustain a long-duration NASA human mission on the inhospitable surface of Mars have been successful and a full-power run is scheduled for March, officials said on Thursday.

At a news conference in Las Vegas, officials from the NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy detailed the development of the nuclear fission system under NASA’s Kilopower project.

Months-long testing of the system began in November at the energy department’s Nevada National Security Site, with an eye toward providing energy for future human and robotic missions in space and on the surface of Mars, the moon or other solar system destinations.

A key hurdle for any lengthy human mission on the surface of a planet or moon, as opposed to NASA’s six short lunar surface visits from 1969 to 1972, is possessing a power source strong enough to meet the various energy needs to sustain a base but small and light enough to allow for transportation

“Mars is a very difficult environment for power systems, with less sunlight than Earth or the moon, very cold nighttime temperatures, very interesting dust storms that can last weeks and months that engulf the entire planet,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

“So Kilopower’s compact size and robustness allows us to deliver multiple units on a single lander to the surface that provides tens of kilowatts of power,” Jurczyk added.

See: NASA compact nuclear power 

Space Colonization – 1

One of the major environmental concerns of our time is the increasing consumption of Earth’s resources to sustain our way of life. As more and more nations make the climb up from agricultural to industrial nations, their standard of life will improve, which will mean that more and more people will be competing for the same resources. While NASA spinoffs and other inventions can allow us to be more thrifty with Earth’s resources, we nevertheless must come to grips with the problem that humanity is currently limited to one planet.

Space colonies could be the answer to this problem, if we can solve the medical problems posed by microgravity (also called weightlessness) and the high levels of radiation to which the astronauts would be exposed after leaving the protection of the Earth’s atmosphere. The colonists would mine the Moon and the minor planet and build beamed power satellites that would supplement or even replace power plants on the Earth. The colonists could also take advantage of the plentiful raw materials, unlimited solar power, vaccuum, and microgravity in other ways to create products that we cannot while inside the cocoon of Earth’s atmosphere and gravity. In addition to potentially replacing our current Earth-polluting industries, these colonies may also help our environment in other ways. Since the colonists would inhabit completely isolated manmade environments, they would refine our knowledge of the Earth’s ecology.

From NASA. See: NASA on Space Colonization (More to come I hope)

Gasp – Why My “Insatiable Curtiosity”

Our sun is one of at least 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, a spiral galaxy about 100,000 light years across. The stars are arranged in a pinwheel pattern with four major arms, and we live about two-thirds of the way up one of them. Many if not most of the stars host their own families of planets. More than a thousand of these extrasolar (or exoplanets) have been discovered and thousands more are awaiting confirmation.

All of the stars in the Milky Way orbit a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center, which is estimated to be some 4 million times as massive as our sun. Fortunately, it is a safe distance of around 28,000 light years away Earth. The Milky Way zips along a galactic orbit at an average speed of about 514,000 miles per hour (828,000 km/hr). It takes about 230 million years for our solar system to make one revolution around the galactic center.

From a NASA article,  & the Milky Way is but one of MANY galaxies in our universe.

Our Microbes, Other Planets!

In the ongoing quest for extraterrestrial life, imagine the day scientists discover life on another planet. Then imagine finding out that those life forms actually originated on Earth.

With every spacecraft that leaves Earth, millions of microbes try to hitch a ride into outer space. NASA hopes to launch a Mars Sample Return Mission in the future, and preventing cross-contamination of Mars and the Earth in such a mission would be a top priority.? See: Earth microbes elsewhere

On the CBC technology section Bob McDonald writes…..

Cross-contamination between planets is a serious issue as humans begin leaving Earth. The human body is a microbe factory, with billions of organisms living on our skin, which we shed constantly, more microbes in our exhaled breath, coughs and sneezes, along with our water and food products.  A colony on Mars would harbour more than humans. It would also be a microbiome of life that hitched a ride on bodies and in our spaceships. See:Bob

Theoretical Physics at Perimeter

Said better than me so take a look at the Perimeter Institute statement……

Albert Einstein once said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” A vital part of the mission of the Perimeter Institute is to respond to and feed this natural human curiosity about the nature of our universe. Perimeter’s Outreach department is committed to sharing the power, joy, and mystery of science with everyone. We aim to make theoretical physics and science research accessible and understandable to a general audience. Our public lecture series continues to be extraordinarily popular. We also offer inspiring interactive scientific, musical, and cultural events as well as online resources.

It is at Waterloo Ontario a little West of here and was financed with funds from Lazarus & Ballsillie of Blackberry fame. The Outreach there is fine for laymen. No need to be adept with math.