Wednesday, September 19, 2012
3 Space Items Prove The World Is Getting Better - Fast
"India plans to launch a probe to orbit Mars next year at an estimated cost of four to five billion rupees ($70-90 million), and hopes to send its first manned mission to space in 2016.
"Questions are sometimes asked about whether a poor country like India can afford a space programme and whether the funds spent on space exploration, albeit modest, could be better utilised elsewhere," Singh said in a speech.
"This misses the point that a nation's state of development is finally a product of its technological prowess."
Manmohan Singh Indian PM
Whenever the subject of foreign aid comes up somebody says we shopuldn't be giving India any because they have a space programme. Objectively this is nonsense - £50 million is nothing compared to their GDP - a far higher % of our "aid" to less cometently run countries is simply stolen. What it shows is the jealousy of so many Brits that uppity India has the temerity to have a space programme while our useless politicos ensure we don't. The answer to that is obvious. ------------------------------------ The Register has an article on NASA funding studues of faster than light space travel. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/18/nasa_eagleworks_warp_drive/ It is all entirely theoretical, so don't expect anything soon. Nor do I think we will actually need extra solar worlds anytime this millenium since we can build as many millions of O'Neill orbital space settlements to nearly give one new world per family currently on Earth with technology we know how to do. What I did find interesting, however, is the progress that is being made with the theory. Originally they thought that if it could be built it would take as much energy as the mas of Jupiter in antimatter. As big a show stopper as there is. A few years and some wrinkles later they said it would take the mass of the Voyager probe. Theoretically possible thaough it would take billions of years at present production rates - so still no chance. Now they have come up with another wrinkle that reduces energy needs to the not all that far from practicle. My point is not that we are going to get FTL drives in the foreesable future but the more important one thatt scientific and technological progress, even in fields recently considered absolutely impossibel, is so swift today that NOTHING is completely impossible. ------------------------------------ The Register, again, has a whole range of articles about work their experts are doing in house to develop Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (Lohan). Basically using a balloon as part of an orbital craft. http://www.theregister.co.uk/Wrap/lohan/ I wrote of something similar previously http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/big-engineering-46-hypersonic-airship.html . At the time I was cautious since it seemed rather to good to be true but am becoming impressed. The Register seems to be a more intelligent variant on the way Lord Northcliffe used to put up (what weren't then known as X-)prizes funded out of his ownership of the Daily Mail. Yet another instance of how all the interesting and important stuff in journalism is now being done online not in the dead tree media. http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/daily-mail-x-prizes.html