AXE has a new add out, and it follows the typical “sex sells” frame work until the last few seconds.
Love it. Astronauts are sexy. They fly SPACE SHIPS for god sake. Is there anything more manly then exploring what has never been explored before? Looking good at the beach is all fun and games, but astronauts change the course of human history. They live a life we can only begin to imagine.
Take this picture for example.
Now, consider who is taking this picture. When this picture was taken, every human being alive was in the view finder except him. In front of him was everything that history as known. Behind him is the vast unknown. At this moment in time, he is absolutely alone. Our galaxy is huge, and we spend all our time worrying about what happens on our blue dot. The amount of space yet to been seen by human eyes is literally unimaginable. What we know is insignificant compared to what exists.
We owe our continuing existence to the men and women who push technology and physiology to the limits. Damn straight they should get the girl.
In a few weeks the Mars Science Laboratory will land on Sol-3 and begin its mission to search for life. Code named Curiosity; the rover was launched in November of 2011 and has been travelling through space for 8 months. Its mission is to search for life and investigate the Martian climate and geology for future manned missions to the planet. This is incredibly exciting for a space geek like me who’s been dreaming of living on Mars for quite some time. Curiosity is quite a bit bigger than other rovers and equipped with instruments much more sensitive than other missions. Hopefully NASA will use it to confirm past findings from other missions.
What findings? Well, some people believe life was already found on Mars. You see, data is a funny thing; if you can’t read it properly, you see nothing but noise. As an example, the first exoplanet was discovered using a special technique, and when the data was looked over, it turns out we had recorded evidence of several planets; we just didn’t know what we were looking for.
Back to Viking and its life signs. Turns out, 1 out of 4 tests were positive for life. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I got a positive result on a medical test, I would damn sure check again. For whatever reason, we’ve waited 36 years to double check. The data was also tested based on what we understood of life at the time, and since then it’s grown. (I’m so punny). So, we have new criteria and better instruments. Let’s just hope they don’t land in the desert.
Speaking of landing, Mars has a lot of ground to cover. It has roughly the same land mass as earth. There are many places on earth you could land and have a hard time finding life. However, if I was a betting man I would check where there were signs of life. Again, for some reason we have ignored the giant clouds of methane that are in the Marian atmosphere. Being that methane is a by-product of life, I would think that would be a place to check.
As you no doubt heard, SpaceX made history last month by launching the first commercial payload to the International Space Station. Just sit back and think about that for a second; we now have companies sending goods to people that are living in space. The sad part is of course that you may not have heard about it; it seems the event went by without much fanfare. People don’t understand the importance of this event. This is a company that is planning on sending people to Mars. Don’t you people want to go to Mars?
This event is much like the first New York to Paris flight or the completion of a rail road. This opens new doors and new possibilities. Anyone can ship or travel to space. Passenger liners will soon follow. (Most people don’t realize there are already two hotels in orbit.) NASA isn’t building rockets anymore. The Pirate Bay can put their file servers in orbit instead of using UAVs. Want to FedEx something to the moon? It will soon be a reality.
My genuine hope is that people don’t understand what happened, and not that they don’t care.
Tuesday the world received great news. Planetary Resources went public with their intentions to mine near-earth asteroids. I have been waiting for new like this for many a year. After reading Mining the Sky a few years ago, my perception of resources changed; the same way my perception of energy changed after reading Sustainable Energy: Without the hot air. I used both these book as sources when I did my presentation at the Ontario Engineering Competition in 2011. The main point to take away from all of this is that humans do not have a resource problem, the earth does. Now we have a group of people pushing science fiction into reality.
The solution is simple, look for resource sources off-world. We live on a small island in the vast ocean that is our solar system and the solutions to our problems are out in space. I’m optimistic for our future when I hear about powerful people using their intellect and financial capital to put plans in place to get humans to the stars. For those of you who haven’t heard of the X-Prize, shame on you. Their CEO, Peter H. Diamandis came up with the idea to use cash prizes to create an incentive to innovate. The model for this prize was the Orteig Prize that basically created the aviation industry as we know it by showing possibilities. That’s what this is about, possibilities. What can we do with near infinite resources? What will we accomplish if everyone has basic education? What heights can we achieve when all basic needs are met?
After watching the press release for the company, I went and bough this book by one of the founding members of Planetary Resources. It’s been on my radar for a while now, so I decided it was time to see what the fuss was about. I’m about 10 pages in and he’s already made his point very well. I’ll have to see if he talks about digital media, because the infinite nature of digital information it at great odds with our market system of scarcity… But that’s another topic all together.
In any event, interplanetary gas stations, orbital manufacturing plants and abundant resources are in the cards for the future.