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Submission + - Deep Space Industries to mine asteroids in 2016? (

jamstar7 writes: From The Guardian:

Asteroid mining: US company looks to space for precious metal

Deep Space Industries hopes to land spacecraft on asteroids and have them scrape up material for return to Earth for sale A US company has unveiled plans to launch a fleet of spacecraft to hunt for small asteroids that pass close to Earth which might one day be mined for their precious resources.

Deep Space Industries aims to fly a series of low cost prospecting satellites in 2015 on missions of two to six months, with larger spacecraft embarking on round-trips to collect material a year later.

Cute video implying that asteroid mining can lead to permenant colonisation of space. After all, we still can't beat the lightspeed lag, and when something goes wrong with a robot miner, it's a long way home for a $20 part.


Submission + - Gerry Anderson Dies (

jamstar7 writes:

Gerry Anderson, creator of the Thunderbirds and Joe 90 puppet superhero TV shows, has died at the age of 83, his son has announced.

In my opinion, his greatest creation was Space: 1999, and ITV production with practically no budget, but still great shows in the first season. Unfortunately, like so many other Gerry & Sylvia Anderson projects, it ran out of gas in the 2nd season. They did some great stuff until their divorce in 1975.

Submission + - NASA Eyes Moon for Future Space Base (

jamstar7 writes:

NASA is reportedly mulling the construction of a floating Moon base that would serve as a launching site for manned missions to Mars and other destinations more distant than any humans have traveled to so far.

The Orlando Sentinel reported over the weekend that the proposed outpost, called a "gateway spacecraft," would support "a small astronaut crew and function as a staging area for future missions to the moon and Mars."

This is actually a good idea, using the Moon as a staging base for exploring the cosmos. Once we build manufacturing capability there, why not build spacecraft there? We can build bigger, more spacious craft so as to not lock up future astronauts in a closet for months or years at a time.


Submission + - Hawking Calls for Lunar Based Supercomputer ( 3

jamstar7 writes:

Stephen Hawking, world-celebrated expert on the cosmological theories of gravity and black holes who holds Issac Newton's Lucasian Chair at Cambridge University, called for a massive investment in establishing colonies on the Moon and in a lecture in honor of NASA's 50th anniversary. The Moon is a good place to start because it is "close by and relatively easy to reach", Hawking said. "The Moon could be a base for travel to the rest of the solar system," he added. would be "the obvious next target", with its abundant supplies of frozen water, and the intriguing possibility that life may have been present there in the past.

Last week, in a presentation to the AIAA Space conference in Pasadena, California, Ouliang Chang of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, suggested that NASA build a supercomputer and accompanying radio dishes on the far side of the moon in a deep crater near a pole where it would be protected from the moon's extreme temperature swings, and might let it tap polar water ice for cooling. This lunar supercomputer would not only ease the load on terrestrial mission control infrastructure, it would also provide computational power for the "first phase of lunar industrial and settlement development."

Surprisingly, nobody posted on this. How much geekier and techier can you get? There's even something for the 'Make Space Safe For Robots' crowd, as the Farside Dish could be tasked to handle robot probe communications. Personally, I think the idea is pretty cool. And what better place for a deep space radio dish than the backside of the Moon? Plenty of shielding from all the electrical noise from Earth.


Submission + - Astronomers catch a star in the act of devouring a planet (

jamstar7 writes: Astronomers have witnessed the first evidence of a planet's destruction by its aging star as it expands into a red giant.

"A similar fate may await the inner planets in our solar system, when the Sun becomes a red giant and expands all the way out to Earth's orbit some five-billion years from now," said Alex Wolszczan, from Penn State, University, who led a team which found evidence of a missing planet having been devoured by its parent star. Wolszczan also is the discoverer of the first planet ever found outside our solar system.

The planet-eating culprit, a red-giant star named BD+48 740 is older than the Sun and now has a radius about eleven times bigger than our Sun.

The evidence the astronomers found was a massive planet in a surprising highly elliptical orbit around the star — indicating a missing planet — plus the star's wacky chemical composition.

5 billion years or so is a long way off, so it's likely none of us has to worry about it, but still, watching a star eating its own planets is not only cool in its own right, but gives you food for thought as to how to keep the human species going long after the Sun starts going off the main sequence into red gianthood. And of course, some more cash into astronomers' and physicists' hands now can give us a closer ballpark number of when this event is going to happen. It's all in the math...


Submission + - $100 Laptop Inventor Sees Future Thought Going Straight to Video (

jamstar7 writes:

When Dr. Mary Lou Jepsen gets to work on a technology problem, expect big things to happen.

Confronted with the fact that an inaccessible digital world would freeze poor countries out of development, Jepsen brought the modern computer back to the drawing board and built the $100 laptop. She designed it, invented or co-invented numerous parts and led a team to bring it into mass production.

The initial design and development project, which has gone on to transform educational opportunities in the developing world, took her three years. Since then, she has moved on to other projects and continues to make a name for herself as an innovator in holography, display technology and optics.

The article is a nifty interview piece with Txchnologist that asks Dr Jepson her thoughts on her current and future projects, as well as where she thinks we're heading for technologically. An interesting read...


Submission + - NASA, SpaceX Complete Design Review of Dragon (

jamstar7 writes:

NASA partner Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has completed an important design review of the crewed version of its Dragon spacecraft. The concept baseline review presented NASA with the primary and secondary design elements of its Dragon capsule designed to carry astronauts into low Earth orbit, including the International Space Station.

SpaceX is one of several companies working to develop crew transportation capabilities under the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) agreement with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). Through CCDev2, NASA is helping the private sector develop and test new spacecraft and rockets with the goal of making commercial human spaceflight services available to commercial and government customers.

The review was started on June 12, 2012. It's part of the process to meet requirements to get the Dragon man-rated in order to get crew to the ISS and beyond. Without the man-rating, all they'll ever be able to do is cargo launches. Man-rating will also allow them to qualify for insurance for manned flights.


Submission + - China Plans Manned Space Mission in June 2012 (

jamstar7 writes: From Yahoo News:

China will launch three astronauts this month to dock with an orbiting experimental module, and the crew might include its first female space traveler, a government news agency said Saturday.
A rocket carrying the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft was moved to a launch pad in China's desert northwest on Saturday for the mid-June flight, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing an space program spokesman. The three-member crew will dock with and live in the Tiangong 1 orbital module launched last year, Xinhua said. The government has not said how long the mission will last.

China, the only non-partner of the ISS, plans to see if its Shenzhou 9/Long March 2F system can get the job done like the Falcon9/Dragon system can. They plan on two missions this year to dock with their Tiangong 1 module launched in September 2011. Their eventual plans include building a full tilt space station by 2020, though one of only about 60 tons, compared to the ISS's 450ish tons.


Submission + - Intelsat Signs Launch Contract with SpaceX (

jamstar7 writes: Following the success of the Falcon9/Dragon resupply test to the ISS comes the following announcement:

Washington, DC / Hawthorne, CA May 29, 2012 — Today, Intelsat, the world's leading provider of satellite services, and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), the world's fastest growing space launch company, announced the first commercial contract for the Falcon Heavy rocket.

"SpaceX is very proud to have the confidence of Intelsat, a leader in the satellite communication services industry," said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer. "The Falcon Heavy has more than twice the power of the next largest rocket in the world. With this new vehicle, SpaceX launch systems now cover the entire spectrum of the launch needs for commercial, civil and national security customers."

As of yet, the Falcon Heavy hasn't flown, but all the parts have been tested. Essentially an upgunned Falcon 9 with strapon boosters, the Heavy has lift capability second only to the Saturn 5. Already scheduled for 4 Falcon Heavy launches for the US Air Force this year, the Intelsat contract represents the true dawn of the commercial space age.

Submission + - Sex Robots:The Future of Prostitution? (

jamstar7 writes: From an article in the May 2012 issue of Futures comes the opinion of two Wellington University researchers theorizing about the future of 'sex workers' in 2050:

“[They] are clean of sexual transmitted infections (STIs), not smuggled in from Eastern Europe and forced into slavery, the city council will have direct control over android sex workers controlling prices, hours of operations and sexual services,” they say.

This future scenario is detailed by Ian Yeoman and sexologist Michelle Mars. They say that “sex tourists” could pay up to 10,000 euros for a one-night package with a sex robot. This would include it all – everything that their mind could dream up. Robot-populated brothels could be diverse, featuring models “‘of sexual gods and goddesses of different ethnicities, body shapes, ages, languages and sexual features.” A cornucopia of styles, for all types of fetishes.

Price tag? 10,000 euros a night. Expensive now, but who knows about inflation in 2050?

Included in the article is a Youtube link to a currently marketted sex robot, Roxxy, on sale now for basements everywhere...

The Internet

Submission + - Santorum renews promise to root out obscene pornography ( 1

jamstar7 writes: Republican darkhorse candidate Rick Santorum says the most dangerous thing in America is pornography:

America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography. A wealth of research is now available demonstrating that pornography causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences. Addiction to pornography is now common for adults and even for some children. The average age of first exposure to hard-core, Internet pornography is now 11. Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking.

This, despite the 1968 study commissioned by President Johnson and the Meese Commission Report determining that 'exposure to pornography' has no connection whatsoever to any 'criminal or deviant sexual behaviour'. The list of supporters for this statement is almost a Who's Who of 'the usual suspects':

That coalition is composed of 120 national, state, and local groups, including Morality in Media, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, American Family Association, Cornerstone Family Council of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania Family Institute, Concerned Women for America, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and a host of other groups.

These groups are NeoCon and evangelical-tied and funded.

If Santorum gets his way, we'll have a full-on 'War Against Porn', where the US will be further divided into registered sex offenders and those who have yet to be convicted of 'sex offenses'.


Submission + - Apollo 1 45th Anniversary (

jamstar7 writes: offers some thoughts on our progress since the death of the first 3 American astronauts in the plugs out test of Apollo 1. We remember today Gus Grissom, Roger Chafee and Ed White for their sacrifice to open up those strange new worlds.

Submission + - Asteroid Vesta's mountain 3x larger than Mt Everes ( 1

jamstar7 writes: A new image from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft shows a mountain three times as high as Mt. Everest, in the south polar region of the giant asteroid Vesta.

The peak of Vesta’s south pole mountain, seen in the center of the image, rises about 13 miles above the average height of the surrounding terrain.

On the right side of the image is a huge cliff-like slope — the Dawn team’s scientists believe features around its base are probably the result of landslides.


Submission + - Japanese to build solar powersat? (

jamstar7 writes: "The Japanese are looking at building solar power satellites. With a $21 billion dollar investment, the launch of the first components may be as early as 2015. The satellites being planned for should be able to light 300,000 Tokyo homes and have a capture surface of 4 square kilometers (2.5 square miles), and is hoped to come online in the 2030s.

NASA has been studying similar proposals for over a decade, having budgetted a few million here and there for various studies."

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