Tracking the Future
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Tracking the Future
Explore the most important technology and science trends! News, Analysis, Interviews, Presentations, Documentaries. All in one place at Tracking the future magazine
Curated by Szabolcs Kósa
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60,000 miles up: Space elevator could be built by 2035, new study says

60,000 miles up: Space elevator could be built by 2035, new study says | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Imagine a ribbon roughly one hundred million times as long as it is wide. If it were a meter long, it would be 10 nanometers wide, or just a few times thicker than a DNA double helix. Scaled up to the length of a football field, it would still be less than a micrometer across — smaller than a red blood cell. Would you trust your life to that thread? What about a tether 100,000 kilometers long, one stretching from the surface of the Earth to well past geostationary orbit (GEO, 22,236 miles up), but which was still somehow narrower than your own wingspan?

The idea of climbing such a ribbon with just your body weight sounds precarious enough, but the ribbon predicted by a new report from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) will be able to carry up to seven 20-ton payloads at once. It will serve as a tether stretching far beyond geostationary (aka geosynchronous) orbit and held taught by an anchor of roughly two million kilograms. Sending payloads up this backbone could fundamentally change the human relationship with space — every climber sent up the tether could match the space shuttle in capacity, allowing up to a “launch” every couple of days.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Laura E. Mirian, PhD's curator insight, March 9, 2014 12:49 AM

Think I will pass on this

Linda Liem's curator insight, March 9, 2014 8:06 AM

Science fiction may be coming true.

Guillaume Decugis's curator insight, March 10, 2014 10:41 PM

Hundreds of challenges remain to be solved but as even NASA struggles to maintain an edge, the pay-off of a Space Elevator has never been clearer. The original idea of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky which Arthur C. Clarke turned into a novel could be the revolution space exploration needs.

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The Winds of Deep Space

The Winds of Deep Space | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

If we can use solar photons to drive a sail, and perhaps use their momentum to stabilize a threatened observatory like Kepler, what about that other great push from the Sun, the solar wind? Unlike the stream of massless photons that exert a minute but cumulative push on a surface like a sail, the solar wind is a stream of charged particles moving at speeds of 500 kilometers per second and more, a flow that has captured the interest of those hoping to create a magnetic sail to ride it. A ‘magsail’ interacts with the solar wind’s plasma. The sailing metaphor remains, but solar sails and magsails get their push from fundamentally different processes.

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Colt Alan Lee Manseth's curator insight, December 15, 2013 10:21 PM

I can't believe that their are winds in space it just amazes me how much stuff I do not know in this world and beyond.

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​What will NASA be doing with its new quantum computer?

​What will NASA be doing with its new quantum computer? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Earlier this year, NASA, in partnership with Google, acquired the world's largest quantum computer. But just what does the space agency plan to do with a device with such revolutionary potential?

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Someday Somewhere Beyond

Imagine a city in space, a round structure miles across that millions of people would call home. Engineers working at NASA in the 1970s developed colorful proposals for permanent settlements in space, but their plans were shelved and forgotten. Decades later, a new generation of dreamers from high schools around the world aspire to mine asteroids, terraform other planets, and venture to the stars. The students have come together for a contest at NASA, and have big plans for the next millennium.

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Starship troupers

Starship troupers | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
If starships are ever built, it will be in the far future. But that does not deter the intrepid band of scientists who are thinking about how to do it
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Elon Musk: Tesla Motors CEO, Stanford GSB 2013 Entrepreneurial Company of the Year

At the 36th annual ENCORE Award event on October 2, 2013, Stanford Graduate School of Business honored Tesla Motor CEO and Product Architect, Elon Musk.

 

 


Via Stratocumulus
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great interview

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Nick Roberts's curator insight, October 17, 2013 11:48 PM

Stanford GSB has awarded the Tesla Motor CEO with Entrepreneurial Company of the Year. Elon Musk is a man of many achievements, he founded PayPal, he is the inspiration for Tony Stark and started zip 2.  Most likely his greaest achievemet should be Tesla Motor. His ultimate goal was to drasically effect the future of humanity, "...like creating a new nervous system." What he is referring to is the internet. He beleives that computers are a world wide nervous system communicating different thoughts throughout it. He looks at a computer in terms of a person. It has a brain, a memory, a body and a nervous system. He even briefely talks about genetic engineering. 

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The Next Great Leaps Into Space Are Happening This Week

The Next Great Leaps Into Space Are Happening This Week | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

It’s going to be a busy seven days for the private space industry, with a pair of launches from the companies operating the new delivery trucks to the International Space Station. Both SpaceX and Orbital Sciences will be flying rockets in the coming week, and the launches are happening on opposite coasts.

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Theoretical physics: The origins of space and time

Theoretical physics: The origins of space and time | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Many researchers believe that physics will not be complete until it can explain not just the behaviour of space and time, but where these entities come from.

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What’s the most likely way we’ll find life on other planets?

What’s the most likely way we’ll find life on other planets? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Despite science fiction's fondness for alien invasions, the first signs of life on another planet most likely won't come from radio beacons, let alone ships decimating the White House with giant energy beam. They may not come from Earth robots hunting for life, either. Instead, the first evidence for life may be in the form of passive signals, telltale signs of life and its processes, that astronomers will find in a planet's atmosphere. And those could very well come from the most passive life forms we know: plants.

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UK pledges fresh support for revolutionary space engine

UK pledges fresh support for revolutionary space engine | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

(Sen) - A revolutionary engine that can turn an aircraft into an orbiting spaceplane has won fresh backing from the British Government.

 

The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, singled out the SABRE project that will power Skylon into space in his 2013 spending review delivered to Parliament.

 

The hybrid engine - its name stands for Synergistic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine - is currently being developed by Reaction Engines, based at Abingdon, near Oxford.

 

 


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Lyle Upson's comment, June 27, 2013 11:43 PM
awesome toy for the 21st century
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Planetary Resources Opening the Space Frontier to All

Planetary Resources Opening the Space Frontier to All | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Planetary Resources’ team of engineers who have designed, built and operated spacecraft throughout the Solar System, including all of the recent U.S. Mars landers and rovers, are now developing the most advanced space technology ever and will make it publicly accessible.

A diverse group of supporters, including Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, actor Seth Green, Star Trek’s Brent Spiner (Data) and Rob Picardo (The Doctor), Bill Nye the Science Guy, futurist Jason Silva, and MIT astrophysicist Dr. Sara Seager, have joined forces with Planetary Resources to make access to space widely available for exploration and research.

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Buy, sell, lift-off: the global economy is going interplanetary

Buy, sell, lift-off: the global economy is going interplanetary | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Harvesting space resources will raise living standards worldwide, without further damaging Earth. So how can those resources be tapped in a way that will produce a return on investment?

That question may have been hypothetical in the past; now, it’s of pressing concern.

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The Asteroid Nearing Earth Could Be Worth $195 Billion — Here's The Plan To Mine The Next One

The Asteroid Nearing Earth Could Be Worth $195 Billion — Here's The Plan To Mine The Next One | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

More than 900 new near-Earth asteroids are discovered each year.
At least two companies, Planetary Resources and more recently, Deep Space Industries, have announced plans to take advantage of these massive rock clumps, which are in seemingly endless supply and believed to be the source of great mineral wealth.
The asteroid making a record-close approach to Earth this week could be worth up to $195 billion in fuel and metal, according to Deep Space Industries.
Unfortunately, asteroid 2012 DA14 is not a good target because its orbit is tilted relative to Earth, requiring too much energy to chase down.
That doesn't bother Deep Space. There are thousands of other asteroids floating out in space just waiting to be harvested.
Here's Deep Space's master plan to find, capture, and process asteroid materials for use in space and on Earth.

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Kugelblitz! Powering a Starship With a Black Hole

Kugelblitz! Powering a Starship With a Black Hole | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

An interstellar spacecraft could conceivably be powered by the radiation emitted by a tiny, manmade black hole. Here's a look at what it would take to turn this ambitious idea into reality.

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Could this be future of renewable energy?

Could this be future of renewable energy? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

A Japanese construction firm is proposing to turn the moon into a colossal solar power plant by laying a belt of solar panels 250 miles wide around its equator and beaming the energy back to Earth by way of lasers or microwave transmission.

The “Luna Ring” that is being proposed would be capable of sending 13,000 terawatts of power to Earth - more than three times more than the United States generated throughout the whole of 2011.

Shimizu is reluctant to put a price tag on the construction costs involved but, given adequate funding, the company believes construction work could get under way as early as 2035.

Robots and automated equipment would be developed to mine the moon’s natural resources and produce concrete and the solar cells required for the scheme.

Shimizu believes that “virtually inexhaustible, non-polluting solar energy is the ultimate source of green energy”.

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Samer Hamadeh's comment, December 3, 2013 7:05 AM
In effect you are pumping more solar energy from outside earth's atmosphere to earth's surface. If this works and becomes the future, would this increase or reduce global warming?
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Incredible Technology: How Future Space Missions May Hunt for Alien Planets

Incredible Technology: How Future Space Missions May Hunt for Alien Planets | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

NASA's Kepler space telescope revolutionized the study of alien worlds after launching in 2009, and a number of other missions now stand poised to carry the burgeoning field into the future.

Over the next decade, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) aim to launch a handful of spacecraft that should discover thousands of additional exoplanets and characterize some of the most promising — the most apparently Earthlike — new finds in detail.

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When will the universe end?

When will the universe end? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Robert Frost famously noted that,"Some say the world will end in fire / Some say in ice." Lucky us! We're pretty sure we know the answer: it's ice. But how long do we have until the end of time, and what will it look like?

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James Miller - Economics & Intelligence Amplification

James D. Miller, Associate Professor of Economics at Smith College and author of Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World, discusses the economics of the singularity, or the point of time in which we'll either have computers that are smarter than people or we will have significantly increased human intelligence.
According to Miller, brains are essentially organic computers, and, thus, applying Moore's law suggests that we are moving towards singularity. Since economic output is a product of the human brain, increased brainpower or the existence of computers smarter than humans could produce outputs we cannot even imagine.
- another excellent interview by Adam Ford

Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

 the first part of this interview is available here> http://youtu.be/vLlySUEcWhQ

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Future Space Robots Will Mimic Scientific Curiosity With Clever Cameras

Future Space Robots Will Mimic Scientific Curiosity With Clever Cameras | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Modern exploration robots like NASA’s Curiosity rover are incredible. They’re strong machines, capable of driving, drilling, scooping, and even shooting lasers on other worlds. But the next generation of interplanetary probes will be smarter, with advanced computer and camera systems that let them recognize novel or interesting locations likely to yield important scientific discoveries.

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SpaceFab: 3D printing and robotic assembly in space

SpaceFab: 3D printing and robotic assembly in space | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

SpiderFab, a series of technologies under development by Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI), combines 3D printing and robotic assembly to build and create spaceship components and structures in orbit. The groundbreaking systems are being designed to enable on-orbit construction of antennas, booms, solar arrays, trusses and other multifunctional components, ten to hundreds of times larger than currently possible with existing technology.

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Be Your Own Spaceship: How We Can Adapt Human Bodies for Alien Worlds

Be Your Own Spaceship: How We Can Adapt Human Bodies for Alien Worlds | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

A future space race is brewing, and it's aimed at escaping the meat bags we reside in. But because we're talking about hacking our bodies, and not a spaceship, the race may not be won by the fastest innovators. Instead, the winner may be whoever is most comfortable with producing a spacefaring cyborg in the first place.

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NASA, Industry Test "3D Printed" Rocket Engine Injector

NASA, Industry Test "3D Printed" Rocket Engine Injector | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne recently finished testing a rocket engine injector made through additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing.
The series of tests demonstrated the ability to design, manufacture and test a critical rocket engine component using selective laser melting manufacturing technology -- a method that employs high-powered laser beams to melt and fuse fine metallic powders into three dimensional structures.
This type of injector manufactured with traditional processes would take more than a year to make, but with these new processes it can be produced in less than four months, with a 70 percent reduction in cost.

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Intriguing Networks's curator insight, July 11, 2013 7:05 PM

If 3d printing is good enough for NASA shouldn't we all be thinking about it...

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The Future of the Spacesuit

The Future of the Spacesuit | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Draper Laboratory, an 80-year-old R&D lab, has been working with MIT and NASA's Johnson Space Center to develop a suit that will function, essentially, like a body-molded version of a traditional spaceship. Instead of floating in free space, at the mercy of forces acting on it, the suit would be able to move on its own

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BBC Horizon Special - Tomorrow's World (2013)

Liz Bonnin delves in to the world of invention, revealing the people and technologies set to transform all our lives. She examines the conditions that are promising to make the 21st century a golden age of innovation and meets some of the world's foremost visionaries, mavericks and dreamers.
From the entrepreneurs that are driving a new space race, to the Nobel Prize wining scientist leading a nanotech revolution, this is a tour of the people and ideas delivering the world of tomorrow, today.

 

Original Broadcast Date: April 11th, 2013 Tomorrow's World: A Horizon Special - BBC

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Millionaire Dennis Tito plans to send woman and man to Mars and back

Millionaire Dennis Tito plans to send woman and man to Mars and back | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Millionaire space tourist Dennis Tito's plan to send two astronauts on a 501-day flight that zooms past Mars and swings back to Earth would set plenty of precedents on the final frontier — but the most intriguing precedent might have to do with the astronauts that are to be sent: one man and one woman, preferably a married couple beyond childbearing years.

 

 


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