September 01, 2014

3D printed concrete castle and plans to create and sell a concrete printer kit for about $30,000 to $50,000 that can print two story houses

[In Minnesota, contractor Andrey Rudenko is currently working on a project of gargantuan proportions that seems to be stretching and exploring the limits of 3D printing technology. Using a printer that was substantially modified and expanded, he has printed a concrete castle in his own backyard. And at 3 by 5 meters, this concrete structure is the world's first 3D printed concrete castle, and one of the largest objects that has, up till now, ever printed with 3D printing technology.

The project and plans were written up at

Contour crafting has been under development for several years but has not gotten to commercialized production of houses. There were ten houses built in China using 3D printing earlier this year. This project could soon bring 3Dhouse printing to the popular Maker movement and building contractors.

Carnival of Space 369

The Carnival of Space 369 is up at Urban Astronomer.

[Universe Today] - Most scientists can see, hear, smell, touch or even taste their research. But astronomers can only study light — photons traveling billions of light-years across the cosmos before getting scooped up by an array of radio dishes or a single parabolic mirror orbiting the Earth.

August 31, 2014

Nanoscale metallic nanoparticle arrays can create super high resolution holograms for information storage and 3D displays

Holograms made of tiny particles of silver could double the amount of information that can be stored in digital optical devices, such as sensors, displays and medical imaging devices.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed a new method for making multi-coloured holograms from a thin film of silver nanoparticles, which could greatly increase the storage capabilities of typical optical storage devices.

The interference produced by the interaction of light with the nanoparticles allows the holograms to go beyond the normal limits of diffraction, or the way in which waves spread or bend when they encounter an opening or obstacle.

PNAS - Plasmonic nanoparticle scattering for color holograms

New Novartis Heart Failure Drug LCZ696 is 20% better than the current best drug and could save the world $20 billion and save hundreds of thousand of lives each year

Novartis revealed that its investigational heart failure medicine, LCZ696, was superior to ACE-inhibitor enalapril [current gold standard heart failure treatment] on key endpoints in the largest heart failure study ever done. In PARADIGM-HF patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HF-REF) who were given LCZ696 were more likely to be alive and less likely to have been hospitalized for sudden deterioration of their heart failure than those given ACE-inhibitor enalapril. Patients received LCZ696 or enalapril on top of current best treatment.

The LCZ696 study, involving involved more than 8,400 patients, compared the drug against enalapril, a cheap generic that is one of the most widely-prescribed treatments currently on the market.

The magnitude of benefit with LCZ696 against enalapril in HF-REF patients was highly statistically significant and clinically important. In the study, the benefit of LCZ696 was seen early, was sustained and was consistent across subgroups. LCZ696:

* reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular causes by 20% (p=0.00004)
* reduced heart failure hospitalizations by 21% (p=0.00004)
* reduced the risk of all-cause mortality by 16% (p=0.0005)

Overall there was a 20% risk reduction on the primary endpoint, a composite measure of CV death or heart failure hospitalization.

"By demonstrating a very significant reduction in cardiovascular deaths while improving Quality of Life, Novartis' new heart failure medicine, LCZ696, represents one of the most important cardiology advances of the last decade," said David Epstein, Division Head, Novartis Pharmaceuticals. "We want to thank leading cardiologists from around the world for their collaboration with us and their determination in advancing this important new life saving therapy for heart failure patients."

Heart failure costs the world economy $108 billion each year, and hospitalizations comprise 60-70% of treatment costs.

Aquarius a nuclear thermal rocket that uses water heated to over 3000 degrees celsius to solve many human interplanetary transportation issues

The Space Enterprise Institute has a proposed design for a reusable interplanetary transport.

Attributes of a reusable interplanetary human spaceflight transport are proposed and applied to example transits between the Earth/Moon system and Deimos, the outer moon of Mars. Because the transport is 54% water by mass at an interplanetary departure, it is christened Aquarius. In addition to supporting crew hydration/hygiene, water aboard Aquarius serves as propellant and as enhanced crew habitat radiation shielding during interplanetary transit. Key infrastructure and technology supporting Aquarius operations include pre-emplaced consumables and subsurface habitat at Deimos with crew radiation shielding equivalent to sea level on Earth, resupply in a selenocentric distant retrograde orbit, and nuclear thermal propulsion.

Advancing in-space nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) technology to the point where fission reactor core temperatures exceeding 3000° C can be achieved during major translational maneuvers (burns). Under these conditions, water molecules pumped into the core will disassociate into hydrogen and oxygen atoms, and specific impulse ISP near 1000 s could be achieved. This level of efficiency, twice that attainable with chemical propulsion, dramatically reduces total mass for an interplanetary transport of specified payload mass.

When high propulsive efficiency is achieved with water as propellant, the practicality of interplanetary human spaceflight is enhanced in multiple respects.

1.liquid water is easily stored for months or years without exotic thermal conditioning burdens imposed by cryogens or toxicity hazards associated with hypergols.

2. liquid water stored about the crew habitat to support arrival propulsion requirements at an interplanetary destination also serves as an effective radiation shield during interplanetary transit.

3. water is arguably the most common volatile to be found on small bodies such as asteroids and minor moons throughout our solar system, leading to the promise of in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). With ISRU producing
water for propulsion, radiation shielding, and hydration/hygiene near an interplanetary destination, mass to be transported there from Earth in support of crew return is virtually eliminated.

Is technical risk of the presumably higher 3000° C nuclear reactor core temperature necessary to "burn" water
propellant and achieve this ISP (875-1000 ISP) a good trade against the potentially greater difficulties
of refining, storing, and transporting liquid hydrogen, particularly in an ISRU context

There was an 18 page presentation at NASA FISO

Spacex Commercial Spaceflight Overview presented at NASA FISO

Spacex has over $3 Billion in backlog orders and $5 billion in orders to date.

• Diverse customer case
– over 50 Falcon 9/Heavy missions sold
– ~35% US Government
– ~65% Commercial

India's economy getting back on track with 5.7% GDP growth in first quarter

[Hindustan Times] The Indian economy expanded at its fastest pace in two-and-a-half years in the quarter ending June on the back of a turnaround in manufacturing as sentiment was boosted by the Narendra Modi government’s measures to help recover from the longest slump in a quarter of a century.

Data released on Friday showed gross domestic product (GDP) grew by a better-than-expected 5.7% in April-June, sharply higher than 4.6% in the previous quarter, signalling a revival in the economy.

In comparison, China has more GDP growth at 7.0-7.5% and at its same stage of development China was producing 10-12% GDP growth. India with a more youthful and growing demographics needs to be generating solid 10+% GDP growth if they were aspiring to match China's rise.