"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Category Archives: Space Exploration

The Dawn of an Age of Solar Flight?

From the 1950s to the 1990s, engineers explored the limits of what was possible in aviation.

In so doing, however, they hit inevitable barriers of cost effectiveness.

We’d made our point with elaborate manned space missions but had no financial incentives to keep blowing fortunes on them.

The concorde, a supersonic jet liner made by the Europeans proved so expensive that not even rich people could keep it commercially afloat.

Super expensive space shuttles with nearly 1/60 odds of blowing up on take off haven’t proved worth replacing.

The age of exorbitant spending just to prove a point is over.

First, new technologies and engineering projects must be cost effective.

And this brings up an obvious frontier in flight if we want to be as energy effective as possible.

Solar aircraft.

It would seem we’re approaching a point where batteries can store enough solar power to get through the night or in bad weather.

Just imagine the larger implications of this…

How long until people actually start living in the air to get away from the power of governments and rent seekers?


Swiss solar plane

We probably won’t be invaded by aliens that are vastly superior to ourselves

Any race that has mastered the ability to travel between solar systems probably isn’t going to pay humanity a second thought. The world would look like an insignificant backwater, lacking anything useful. There’s always a chance that something like a Von Neumann probe could land, replicate and destroy us all for the hell of it, but that’s closer to an act of god than an invasion.

If something looking like a traditional invasion were to come, it would likely be from a nearby planet like Mars from a civilization that had just learned how to travel through space but hadn’t progressed very far passed that. Possibly something like a natural disaster would force them to immigrate to a different biosphere. Or a once advanced civilization in extreme long term decline that requires humans or something from our biosphere.

Virgin Galactic’s suborbital spacecraft gets FAA blessing

Simulating Mars Surface Exploration

Eh, a science based theme park in disguise?

The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is the second of four planned simulated Mars surface exploration habitats (or Mars Analogue Research Stations) owned and operated by the Mars Society. Built in the western United States in the early 2000s, it is typically manned by small crews who visit the site for short periods of time to conduct scientific research. Besides a large building that serves as the center of activities, the complex includes a greenhouse, an observatory, and assorted open areas. Link

Another Link

Dyson Sphere

Dyson sphere is a hypothetical megastructure originally described by Freeman Dyson. Such a “sphere” would be a system of orbiting solar power satellites meant to completely encompass a star and capture most or all of its energy output. Dyson speculated that such structures would be the logical consequence of the long-term survival and escalating energy needs of a technological civilization, and proposed that searching for evidence of the existence of such structures might lead to the detection of advanced intelligent extraterrestrial life.

Since then, other variant designs involving building an artificial structure or series of structures to encompass a star have been proposed in exploratory engineering or described in science fiction under the name “Dyson sphere”. These later proposals have not been limited to solar-power stations. Many involve habitation or industrial elements. Most fictional depictions describe a solid shell of matter enclosing a star, which is considered the least plausible variant of the idea (see below). Link

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri : Quotes From The Game

There are two kinds of scientific progress: the methodical experimentation and categorization which gradually extend the boundaries of knowledge, and the revolutionary leap of genius which redefines and transcends those boundaries. Acknowledging our debt to the former, we yearn, nonetheless, for the latter.

  • Academician Prokhor Zakharov, “Address to the Faculty”
Some would ask, how could a perfect God create a universe filled with so much that is evil. They have missed a greater conundrum: why would a perfect God create a universe at all?

  • Sister Miriam Godwinson, “But for the Grace of God”
Technological advance is an inherently iterative process. One does not simply take sand from the beach and produce a Dataprobe. We use crude tools to fashion better tools, and then our better tools to fashion more precise tools, and so on. Each minor refinement is a step in the process, and all of the steps must be taken.
  • Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, “Looking God in the Eye”
Resources exist to be consumed. And consumed they will be, if not by this generation then by some future. By what right does this forgotten future seek to deny us our birthright? None I say! Let us take what is ours, chew and eat our fill.
  • CEO Nwabudike Morgan “The Ethics of Greed”

Our Solar System, Our Galaxy, then the Universe

Mining Asteroids – A Good Long Term Idea

China is taking positions in Africa to secure rare metal resources for it’s growing consumer base. However, rather than struggling over a limited set of earth-bound supplies, we can move to other horizons. A lot of space R&D is long-term oriented and high cost, but the payoffs tend to be exponentially more than we put into them.


Cosmic Quandaries with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

He answers questions, explains why studying other planets is important, exploration of the galaxy relative to size of the earth and more:

Interesting clip from the segment:

NASA Spin Off Tech

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