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May 14, 2012

Carnival of Space 249

The Carnival of Space 249 is up at Riding with Robots

Examiner - Is Newt Gingrich's Moon Colony Idea Dead? Not Yet

Despite the derision the moon colony idea received in some quarters, Gingrich’s vision did have resonance.

Writing in Bloomberg, for example, Jeffrey Goldberg uttered the plea, “Let Space Shuttle Demise Awaken Gingrich Dream,” suggesting that America needs a space vision to replace the shuttle and that Gingrich’s moon base fits the bill.

Centauri Dreams - Richard Gott believes we may be as close to the end of the space program as to its beginning. Centauri Dreams looks at Gott's views and ponders his emphasis on a Mars colony as a way of ensuring species survival and continued expansion into the cosmos.




Planetary Society Blog - Looking for a good guide to the night sky for this summer? Astronomy Blogger Ray Sanders delivers with his quarterly guest post at the Planetary Society.

"Nextbigfuture- Why is Diamandis thinking about mineral mining in space, when resources here on Earth -- in his view -- are so abundant? Oil in place in the continental US is from about 3 trillion to 5 trillion barrels of oil not including the 4.5 trillion barrels of oil shale. There is enough and the technology will be here to get it and use it affordably. However, the technology to clean has historically lagged and that would be a big problem. Everyone in the developing world wants to at least catch up the US and Europe. So in 2050 that means about 10 billion people with $100,000 per person. So a $1000 trillion global economy. We have demonstrations here where the 99% want to get to the 1% level of income. For the US, getting to where the bottom level of the current 1% is about $506,500 per year. Everyone getting to that level is a $5000 trillion economy. The world is currently at an $82 trillion economy. It is not just cornucopians who want more, clearly everyone wants more.

The developing world wants more and the 99% want more. However, most people have not thought it through or done the calculations. There are a bunch of knee jerk doomers who just assume it cannot be done and that they consider the current level too much. Many of the doomers have some kind of implicit or explicit mass death and poverty solution. Technology and long term planning and execution of those plans can achieve true abundance for everyone."


Nextbigfuture - Smart Cloud – A New Method for the Deflection and Mitigation of Asteroid. from University of Strathclyde. This paper won the SGAC's Near Earth Object Working Group's fourth annual Move an Asteroid technical paper competition for one of the authors Alison Gibbings of the United Kingdom.

Nextbigfuture - Proposed for the deflection and mitigation of asteroids, laser ablation is caused by illuminating the surface of the asteroid with a laser light source. The laser beam heats the surface material, enabling it to ablate, transforming directly from a solid to a gas. The ablated material then forms into a small and extended ejecta plume. This action is considered to be similar to the formation of a rocket exhaust. The exhaust material will induce a small and continuous force onto the asteroid. This force can then be used as a low thrust deflection technique to nudge an asteroid away from an Earth impacting event. Previous proposals considered using a single spacecraft, mounted with a nuclear reactor and mega-watt laser. However, this paper investigated using a swarm of small spacecraft, each equipped with an kilo-watt solar pumped laser. This provides a much lighter and more adaptable concept. Each spacecraft simultaneously hits the asteroid, ablating a small portion of its surface. By superimposing their laser beams, the required surface power density can be achieved. Multiple ablation spots can also be created. This is considered to increase the flexibility and the overall redundancy of the deflection mission.

Astrophysicists use Cepheids in 25 galaxies to measure gravity 100 times more precisely than before

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