Two inspiring short films about space explorers

December 8, 2014 at 8:28 PM

Being able to imagine and visualize the future helps us build it. Here are two beautiful videos about a possible time when mankind ventures into the solar system.

Erik Wernquist created his piece based on real places in our solar system, with Carl Sagan’s voice narrating an excerpt from his book Pale Blue Dot which lends the movie an epic and inspirational tone. You can find here an awesome roundup of the locations shown in the movie, including Titan where the gravity and atmospheric composition are such that you could strap on wings and fly around safely like a bird.

Wanderers a short film by Erik Wernquist

 

The second video shows an astronaut flying over Mars in a spaceship. Other Lives is the band behind this music video for the song ‘For 12’. The navigation equipment and HUD look very cool and it gave me a sense that the astronaut was bringing the barren landscape to life through all the data being projected. A nice complement to this video is a time-lapse animation by NASA which shows Mars’ geological evolution from water on the surface to the desert we know today.

Other Lives - For 12 (Official Video)

Future strategic importance of Earth-Moon Lagrange points

April 12, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Empires in centuries past grew rich and powerful from controlling vital trade and sea lanes, choke points and other geographically important places. In our immediate space-faring future there will be nations and companies which will gain serious advantage from the control of the 5 key Earth-Moon Lagrangian points.

5 Earth-Moon Lagrange points

5 Earth-Moon Lagrange points

Simply put, Lagrange points are gravitationally stable or “fixed” points in space that arise from the interaction of two orbiting bodies. Specifically and most importantly the Lagrange points between the Earth and Moon will be the most valuable. These points in space are ideal to “park” or place space ships since neither the Earth’s nor the Moon’s gravity pulls objects down into them (thus gravity is neutral). This means that there would be no need to invest energy to keep an object from falling into either body while maintaining a stable orbit between the two.

L1 is particularly important and the first priority for those who wish to control movement and communications between the Earth and Moon. Since L1 is right between the two (the point is much closer to the moon though) it is ideal for enabling and controlling Earth-Moon traffic plus it has the added feature that a craft can “leap” from L1 to the surface of the moon without expending much energy at all.

Antoine-Henri Jomini

Antoine-Henri Jomini

Jomini, the famous French Napoleonic strategist commented on the importance of strategic points making a distinction between “eventual strategic points of maneuver” which as the name implies are fluid and depend on operational circumstances and “permanent geographical strategic points” like the Lagrange points described which are, because of their very nature, “decisive strategic points” – or where force and priority should be concentrated to decide conflicts:

Strategic lines and points are of different kinds. Some receive this title simply from their position, which gives them all their importance: these are permanent geographical strategic points. Others have a value from the relations they bear to the positions of the masses of the hostile troops and to the enterprises likely to be directed against them: such are strategic points of maneuver, and are eventual. Finally, there are points which have only a secondary importance, and others whose importance is constant and immense: the latter are called decisive strategic points.
– Jomini, Le Baron de. Précis de l’Art de la Guerre: Des Principales Combinaisons de la Stratégie, de la Grande Tactique et de la Politique Militaire. Brussels: Meline, Cans et Copagnie, 1838

 

lagrange points animation

The Only Advertising Medium That Could Reach 100% of the World’s Population

November 24, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Today’s world is the most connected in history; global brands spread their message far and wide thanks to the reach that television, mobile handsets and other technology afford. But no medium exists that can target a message to all of Earth’s population at the same time.

There is however one advertising medium that while theoretical could have immediate and guaranteed reach for everyone on Earth: An orbiting billboard in space.

Theoretical Orbital Mirror Array for Possible Advertisement Use

Theoretical Orbital Mirror Array for Possible Advertisement Use

While the idea is certainly dystopian (who wants to see an advertisement for diapers floating next to the Moon every night?) it nonetheless illustrates a solution to the idea of reaching literally everyone at the same time. There is also the possibility that such an orbiting artifact be used for propaganda, something many people and governments would protest against.  This towering billboard in space would need to be an absolutely massive array of mirrors or other reflective material, probably in the order of several km².

The medium that get’s the closest to having truly global reach is mobile, but even when Smartphone penetration reaches 100% of the globe there will be so many different platforms, apps and user-contexts that the challenge of showing an ad on everyone’s screen during a specific timeframe is titanic. A space-based billboard would require no device, only that people look up.

Space advertising in general doesn’t really exist in any form today, but it will. As commercial uses of Space such as tourism continue to develop rapidly, sooner or later we will see a whole new industry emerge around this novel concept.

Heat Martian Soil, Get Water

October 2, 2013 at 9:51 PM

This staggering discovery coming from NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars has serious implications for future exploration.

Nasa Curiosity rover on Mars

Nasa Curiosity rover on Mars

From BBC:

“If you think about a cubic foot of this dirt and you just heat it a little bit – a few hundred degrees – you’ll actually get off about two pints of water – like two water bottles you’d take to the gym,” Dr Leshin explained.

“And this dirt on Mars is interesting because it seems to be about the same everywhere you go. If you are a human explorer, this is really good news because you can quite easily extract water from almost anywhere.”

Simplifying the matter, pretty much to get water anywhere on Mars you just have to carry around a small oven, dump dirt in it and out comes water! Separate the H2O molecule and you get oxygen to breathe and hydrogen for fuel. Martian dirt is about 2% water by weight.

There is no longer any scientific question about it; about 4 billion years ago Mars was a wet world exceedingly similar to ours. It’s high time humanity travel to Mars and resurrect it back to it’s past glory!

Check out this NASA video which illustrates what the planet looked like back then.

NASA | Mars Evolution

 

The more we explore our solar system, the more we discover it is full possibilities. Exciting times to be sure.

2% of Martian soil is water

2% of Martian soil is water