Martian Greens

Futuristic Greenhouse Domes might be the only way to grow food on Mars

There’s a story on New Scientist about the feasibility of growing plants in space and on Mars. The conclusion is that while some organisms can survive space travel (even in the vacuum of space!) they will not survive the harsh UV rays of the Sun that fall on the red planet. Plus, the dirt on Mars probably doesn’t have the organic material that would be friendly to growing plants.

All of this means that if we’re going to send humans to Mars we’re going to have to bring some potting soil with us, and some classically-styled UV shielding greenhouse domes. I’m okay with that. But there’s still the ethical question of potentially destroying life that may already exist there.

I hate to be the one to say it but, if there are microorganisms alive on Mars… uh, does that matter? Yes, yes, it matters, I know, and there are a lot of people who would be really, really excited about studying the bacteria or whatever may be over there, but we might have already contaminated Mars with Earthling organisms, so…

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Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 6:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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Notes from The Future – Feb. 13, 2010

The "Gyre" Sea Tower with ports for cruiseships and a spire as deep as the Empire State Building is tall

NewScientist – Our world may be a giant hologram

The holograms you find on credit cards and banknotes are etched on two-dimensional plastic films. When light bounces off them, it recreates the appearance of a 3D image. In the 1990s physicists Leonard Susskind and Nobel prizewinner Gerard ‘t Hooft suggested that the same principle might apply to the universe as a whole. Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface.
So what does this mean for our everyday lives? For most of us it probably won’t mean anything, but the philosophers will have a good time with it. My hope is that science fiction writers will latch onto this idea and try to imagine what happens when something not on this 2d holographic surface interacts with the surface. What happens to us then? Is that what ghosts are? Probably not.

Space.com – NASA Awards $50 Million to Commercial Spaceship Builders

NASA chief Charles Bolden announced the winners of the space agency’s commercial crew development competition to encourage progress in privately built spacecraft during a morning briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Luna C/I has a breakdown of each company and their work. The privatization of space is very intriguing to me because it kind of goes back to the old frontierism of the railway companies in North America. It does seem strange to me that so many companies already exist with this mandate for space travel. One of the companies getting funding through this program is “Blue Origin”  which was started by Jeff Bezos, the Amazon.com ceo. Between Bezos in space and Bill Gates messing with our atmosphere it seems like the lords of Silicon Valley are starting to realize all their wildest childhood dreams. I figure that can only be good for exploration.

ScienceRay – Mexican Colonization of Mars

Not sure what to think about this article. What it’s actually saying is that the US is teaming up with Mexico to train people and test technologies for future manned exploration of Mars in the Mexican desert. So it’s not really as unusual sounding as the headline makes it out to be. The strange thing though is that the article in incredibly poorly written. I don’t know if that’s because it was babelfish translated into english or what, but it’s hard to follow the whole thing.

Trends Updates – Gyre Skyscraper on the Sea

Gyre is meant to be a research station and an off shore resort, replete with gardens, shops and restaurants. Its shape is what is touted to make it a sturdy structure that can withstand ocean winds. Four arms extend from the center spire (1.25 kilometers in diameter). They keep the structure afloat and create a harbor large enough to accommodate huge ships.

A little while ago somebody made a prediction about self-contained buildings that operate on the same kind of principle as a cruise ship. This is kind of a similar thought. Unfortunately, because it has solar panels and wind turbines and water turbines they’re touting it as a sustainable tower in the sea. But can anything like a giant building floating in the sea be sustainable? Not even close, but it sure looks cool, and it’d be fun to visit.

Published in: Uncategorized on February 13, 2010 at 10:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A private person will orbit the earth. They will be launched by a private company.

FALSE!

Prediction was to be opened in January, 2015 however it was not opened and verified until January 21, 2017.

Published in: on February 12, 2010 at 1:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The US Space Program is Dead! Long live the US Space Program!

"Go ahead Ralph, you haven't got the BUDGET!"

Obama has decided that NASA shouldn’t spend any more money on Constellation, the project that would have sent humans back to the moon. But apparently he’s also increasing NASA’s budget by $6 billion over 5 years to research new space technologies and expand our robotic exploration into space.

The range of perspectives on this news is pretty interesting. Here’s a selection:

From io9

Again, notice that a lot of this money is going into innovation and funding for the basic sciences that will spawn crazy new technologies for everything from space habitats to terraforming. The idea is to pump money into research so that the next time humans explore space we’ll know a hell of a lot more about it and can establish viable communities in orbit, on the Moon, or on other planets.

From World War 4 Report

It is unclear if Obama is actually anticipating a private sector role for lunar colonization. We are heartened—especially in the wake of October’s lunar bombardment (MSNBC, Oct. 9)—that the Moon may be safe from imperialist aggression for a few more decades, at least.

Unfortunately, the anti-war left, which vigorously opposes the US bombing of foreign countries on Earth, has been blithely unconcerned with this unprovoked aggression against the Moon. (No, we aren’t being sarcastic.) Worse yet, the few voices that have been raised in opposition to this reckless adventurism are from certified wackjobs who are only discrediting the case against lunar bombardments and colonization.

From Conservative Blog Watch

It’s a wonderful idea [privatisation of the space program], and I couldn’t agree more: If we actually give a green light to private space exploration — and a modest guaranteed market by renting space for our astronauts to fly on private launches — then the Moon will come soon enough: Thar’s gold in them thar craters! (Along with every other element we could possibly need to sustain an industry, and even extract breathable oxygen and create potable water for “Lunatic” colonists.)

More than half a century between Moon landings is unconscionable. Clearly, the big-government approach to space exploration, industrialization, and colonization is a complete flop… as is the big-government approach to virtually everything, with the possible exception of national defense and interstate highways.

It’s a little odd that such a lover of big-government Obamunism and nationalization of private resources would suddenly go all capitalist over the space program; I worry that this will just turn out to be more empty rhetoric.

From Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration

There is a lot of ‘doom and gloom’ out there about how there won’t be humans on the Moon anytime soon, which is a false assertion—the Chinese program is full-steam-ahead, and if private space can be trusted with the ISS contracts at this early stage, then they’re on a course to be putting men on the Moon before long; perhaps even before NASA would have landed men anyways.

We’ve begun collecting long range predictions at our meetings. In addition to our usual 6 month predictions, in December we made predictions to be opened in 1 year, and all this year we will be making predictions to be opened in 2015.

I, for one, am very interested in the future of space exploration, and can’t wait to see what predictions we make based on these new developments.

Published in: Uncategorized on February 2, 2010 at 8:26 pm  Comments (1)  
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Why Can’t We Go to Mars Right Now?

Mars station simulation in Utah created by The Mars Society

Looking back on our visits to the moon it seems like we just decided to go there, and then we went there. Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” And then we did it. “We” as in humans, did it. I want us to go to Mars. We’ve sent plenty of Robots, so why don’t we send some people? Obviously I haven’t been asking the same questions NASA has been asking about how to get there.

Before any human can travel to Mars, scientists need to be able to analyze samples from the planet and answer many questions, NASA says. Martian dust, for example: What is its composition? How sticky is it? Will it stick to boots and clog zippers and Velcro fasteners? Is it toxic? If astronauts track surface materials into their habitat, will it cause problems?

NASA moves forward with Mars exploration plan

Those are all very, very good points, and not something I had ever considered. The other thing that came to mind as I read that article is that we sent people to the moon, and brought them back. It was tricky, but we managed to do it. It’ll be a lot more difficult to get people off of Mars than it will be to put them there, and I don’t think anyone is willing to send another human to Mars without a plan for getting them back home.

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Published in: Uncategorized on January 18, 2010 at 7:10 pm  Comments (5)  
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Workshop on the planet Mars, Les Houches, France

Some of you might know that I am an Urban Planning student. There’s plenty of work for planners on Earth, but I would love to get involved in planning a moon or mars colony. Part of my reason for wanting to get involved, despite my lack of science training, is that I fear the first permanent Moon settlements are going to be horrible places to live and work. Same for Mars.

There’s certainly something to be said for the practicality and efficiency of scientific bases, but it’s perhaps even more important that a proper plan is laid down wherever we decide to settle so that future growth occurs in a socially productive way. And I want in on the planning.

This workshop could be an opportunity to meet some of the people who will be involved in future Mars missions. Unfortunately it’s for scientists, and it’s in France.

Workshop on the planet Mars, Les Houches, France

[Date: 2010-01-11]

A workshop on the planet Mars will be held in Les Houches, France between 28 March to 2 April 2010.

The goals of the workshop are to integrate the main results of recent Earth-based observations and the missions to Mars (MarsExpress, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Phoenix and Mars Exploration Rovers) into a new global picture of Mars evolution.

The event aims to further discussions among scientists of different disciplines and help refine the scientific goals of future missions to Mars. This workshop will also be an opportunity for young scientists to be updated on the most recent results and to be trained in some specific data processing techniques.

For further information, please click:
here

Category: Events
Data Source Provider: European Space Agency
Document Reference: Based on an event announcement
Subject Index: Policies; Space & satellite research

Published in: Uncategorized on January 16, 2010 at 5:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Cosmonauts will visit Mars to check on the monkey and will find an entire monkey colony

FALSE!

Prediction was to be opened in December, 2014, however it was not opened and verified until January 21, 2017.

Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 1:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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water on the moon WATER ON THE MOON!!

trip_to_the_moon-300x230Apparently that little fender bender in space on Octover 9th did more than just piss off Sam Rockwell’s clones, it churned up some water!

Read about it here, here and here.

What does this mean for The Future? For one, it might mean we don’t have to bring our own water to the moon when we start building colonies there (and what that really means is that we won’t have to drink as much of our own urine to survive). And it may also open the place up for serious mining and drilling.

This is what I mean:

The moon is full of minerals and stuff we could probably use.

Mining the moon would be pretty universally frowned upon since it’s the only one we’ve got, everyone can see it from here and we don’t know what messing with the moon’s mass will do to the Earth. This would normally have made development on the moon too contentious to proceed with, however…

Now that we know there is water there we have a more easily justified reason to start digging into it. If we have to mine the moon for water, we might as well make the most of the rocks and dust that we dig up in the process. And who knows where the water is? It could be anywhere, so we’re going to have to look everywhere to find it. This could result in lots of digging around, and making good use of the byproducts (like methane and whatever).

Now, as long as the water provides a bigger return on investment than the minerals we’ll probably be okay, but once we have enough water for basic needs and a recycling system efficient enough to serve the people living and working there, then the minerals will become more valuable than the water. Also no big deal, but the systems will already be in place for mining the minerals, using and selling them and they’ll be their own industry. This will shift the primary purpose of the mining operations from looking for water, to looking for minerals, and we all know how people will do anything to dig up precious materials.

Will this eventually lead to strip mines on the moon? In 500 years will we need to build an artificial moon to replace the one we carved up for materials to explore the solar system? Is that why Sam Rockwell’s clones have jobs up there?

And on a somewhat related note:

Posted: November 13, 2009, 2:58 PM by Ron Nurwisah
Canwest News Service

LONGUEUIL, Que. — A Canadian botanical experiment aimed at seeing how trees grow in outer space will launch on the space shuttle Atlantis on Monday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The study, called APEX-Cambium, is headed for the International Space Station where it will help determine how gravity plays a role in the formation of different kinds of wood and gain a better understanding of fundamental biological processes in trees, according to a news release from the Canadian Space Agency.

The shuttle will deliver 24 willow saplings to the orbiting station where Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk will conduct the experiment.

Thirsk will create loops in the stems of some of the trees and let the others grow naturally.

After 30 days, the trees will be harvested and preserved for their journey back to Earth where they will be analyzed by University of New Brunswick professor Rodney Savidge, who is leading the experiment.

Read more: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posted/archive/2009/11/13/canadian-willow-trees-heading-to-space-station.aspx#ixzz0Wm0RcmDY
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Published in: Uncategorized on November 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Klaatu will arrive, but it won’t be like the movie :(

FALSE!

Verified: July 9, 2009

Published in: on December 17, 2008 at 11:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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