04 October 2007

Carnival of Space 22 and the Next 50 Years

Brian Wang at Advanced Nano Blog hosts the Carnival of Space #22.
Welcome to the Carnival of space week 22. We have two articles inspired by the 50th anniversary of Sputnick, then we have a mixed bag of articles on raising pigs on Mars, habitable planets, another look at the Apollo program, Nasa colorizing of space photos, the Carancas meteorite, Type 1a Supernovae, my own submission on hypersonic aircraft status, our wonderful planet Earth and there is a formula for the universe.

Check out all the posts at Brian's excellent blog.

Sputnick happened 50 years ago, but what can we expect in the next 50 years?
As privately funded teams try getting their cost-effective landers on the moon, NASA is gearing up for humanity's extended stay there around 2020

...The technologies developed for long-term moon missions will serve as templates for Mars expeditions some time after 2030, but Moore said further innovative advances will be necessary to get astronauts there — and back — in one piece.

"The faster we can get there the better," Moore told SPACE.com.

...Building a strong, privately involved space economy will be essential to successfully develop technologies able to send representatives of the human race to Mars, Alexander said.

"We can't sustain programs like Apollo in the future, just like we couldn't 40 years ago," Alexander said. "My dream is to have sustainable and accessible access to space, and I firmly believe that you have to get the private sector involved to achieve that."

Moore agreed, noting that NASA intends to use their lunar outposts to provide infrastructure for private industry.

Advances in robotics, machine intelligence, nanotechnology, and regenerative medicine (among other rapidly advancing fields) may make these and most other near future predictions appear far too conservative. On the other hand, similar predictions for the near future made in the 1930s, 1950s, 1970s, etc. were on the whole a bit too optimistic. The breakthroughs that did occur largely happened in unexpected areas.

Still, I suspect that this time, the "singularity movement" aided by the cohesive power of the internet may be too strong to discourage, and will probably find ways to incorporate any breakthroughs whatsoever--expected or not--into the forward sweep of change.

The "singularity" will likely be fractured and uneven--not universal nor continuously upward. But like the New York Stock Exchange over the past 100 years it will likely trend upward over the long term despite the dips and plunges along the way.

The wealth of humanity sits untouched in the expanse of extraterrestrial space. It is the means by which we can achieve a great destiny.


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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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