Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Slashdot - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 12:14pm
An anonymous reader writes: Elon Musk's ambitions for SpaceX keep getting bigger. First he wanted to make the trip to Mars affordable, then he wanted to establish a city-sized colony, and now he's got his eye on the future of humanity. Musk says we need a million people on Mars to form a "sustainable, genetically diverse civilization" that can survive as humanity's insurance policy. He continued, "Even at a million, you're really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil." How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved. "Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we're talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Slashdot - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 12:14pm
An anonymous reader writes: Elon Musk's ambitions for SpaceX keep getting bigger. First he wanted to make the trip to Mars affordable, then he wanted to establish a city-sized colony, and now he's got his eye on the future of humanity. Musk says we need a million people on Mars to form a "sustainable, genetically diverse civilization" that can survive as humanity's insurance policy. He continued, "Even at a million, you're really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil." How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved. "Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we're talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Slashdot - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 12:14pm
An anonymous reader writes: Elon Musk's ambitions for SpaceX keep getting bigger. First he wanted to make the trip to Mars affordable, then he wanted to establish a city-sized colony, and now he's got his eye on the future of humanity. Musk says we need a million people on Mars to form a "sustainable, genetically diverse civilization" that can survive as humanity's insurance policy. He continued, "Even at a million, you're really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil." How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved. "Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we're talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Slashdot - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 12:14pm
An anonymous reader writes: Elon Musk's ambitions for SpaceX keep getting bigger. First he wanted to make the trip to Mars affordable, then he wanted to establish a city-sized colony, and now he's got his eye on the future of humanity. Musk says we need a million people on Mars to form a "sustainable, genetically diverse civilization" that can survive as humanity's insurance policy. He continued, "Even at a million, you're really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil." How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved. "Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we're talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Slashdot - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 12:14pm
An anonymous reader writes: Elon Musk's ambitions for SpaceX keep getting bigger. First he wanted to make the trip to Mars affordable, then he wanted to establish a city-sized colony, and now he's got his eye on the future of humanity. Musk says we need a million people on Mars to form a "sustainable, genetically diverse civilization" that can survive as humanity's insurance policy. He continued, "Even at a million, you're really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil." How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved. "Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we're talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Slashdot - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 12:14pm
An anonymous reader writes: Elon Musk's ambitions for SpaceX keep getting bigger. First he wanted to make the trip to Mars affordable, then he wanted to establish a city-sized colony, and now he's got his eye on the future of humanity. Musk says we need a million people on Mars to form a "sustainable, genetically diverse civilization" that can survive as humanity's insurance policy. He continued, "Even at a million, you're really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil." How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved. "Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we're talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Slashdot - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 12:14pm
An anonymous reader writes: Elon Musk's ambitions for SpaceX keep getting bigger. First he wanted to make the trip to Mars affordable, then he wanted to establish a city-sized colony, and now he's got his eye on the future of humanity. Musk says we need a million people on Mars to form a "sustainable, genetically diverse civilization" that can survive as humanity's insurance policy. He continued, "Even at a million, you're really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil." How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved. "Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we're talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Slashdot - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 12:14pm
An anonymous reader writes: Elon Musk's ambitions for SpaceX keep getting bigger. First he wanted to make the trip to Mars affordable, then he wanted to establish a city-sized colony, and now he's got his eye on the future of humanity. Musk says we need a million people on Mars to form a "sustainable, genetically diverse civilization" that can survive as humanity's insurance policy. He continued, "Even at a million, you're really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil." How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved. "Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we're talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Elon Musk: We Must Put a Million People On Mars To Safeguard Humanity

Slashdot - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 12:14pm
An anonymous reader writes: Elon Musk's ambitions for SpaceX keep getting bigger. First he wanted to make the trip to Mars affordable, then he wanted to establish a city-sized colony, and now he's got his eye on the future of humanity. Musk says we need a million people on Mars to form a "sustainable, genetically diverse civilization" that can survive as humanity's insurance policy. He continued, "Even at a million, you're really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars. You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil." How fast could we do it? Within a century, once the spacecraft reusability problem is solved. "Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people. But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we're talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

MIT researchers design ‘perfect’ solar absorber

Kurzweil AI - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 11:56am

This rendering shows a metallic dielectric photonic crystal that stores solar energy as heat (credit: Jeffrey Chou)

MIT researchers say they have developed a material that comes very close to the “ideal” for converting solar energy to heat (for conversion to electricity).

It should absorb virtually all wavelengths of light that reach Earth’s surface from the sun — but not much of the rest the longer-wavelength infrared portion of the solar spectrum, since that would increase the energy that is re-radiated by the material, and thus lost to the conversion process.

The material is a two-dimensional metallic dielectric photonic crystal, and has the additional benefits of absorbing sunlight from a wide range of angles and withstanding extremely high temperatures. It can also be made cheaply at large scales.

The creation of this material is described in a paper appearing this week in the journal Advanced Materials, co-authored by MIT postdoc Jeffrey Chou, professors Marin Soljacic, Nicholas Fang, Evelyn Wang, and Sang-Gook Kim, and five others.

Optimal absorption wavelengths

Measured absorption spectrum for the MIT photonic crystal with and without an anti-reflection coating (ARC) for 85% of photon energies from .7 electron-volts (1771 nm, or near-IR) to 5 electron-volts (248 nm, or ultraviolet) wavelengths. Yellow represents the solar spectrum received through the Earth’s atmosphere. (Credit: J. Chou et al./Advanced Materials)

The material works as part of a solar-thermophotovoltaic (STPV) device: the sunlight’s energy is first converted to heat, which then causes the material to glow, emitting light that can, in turn, be converted to an electric current.

Most of the sun’s energy reaches us within a specific band of wavelengths, Chou explains, ranging from the ultraviolet through visible light and into the near-infrared.

“It’s a very specific window that you want to absorb in,” he says. “We built this structure, and found that it had a very good absorption spectrum, just what we wanted.”

In addition, the absorption characteristics can be controlled with great precision: the material is made from a collection of nanocavities, and “you can tune the absorption just by changing the size of the nanocavities,” Chou says.

The material is also well matched to existing manufacturing technology. “This is the first-ever device of this kind that can be fabricated with a method based on current … techniques, which means it’s able to be manufactured on silicon wafer scales,” Chou says —- up to 12 inches on a side. Earlier lab demonstrations of similar systems could only produce devices a few centimeters on a side with expensive metal substrates, so were not suitable for scaling up to commercial production, he says.

To take maximum advantage of systems that concentrate sunlight using mirrors, the material must be capable of surviving unscathed under very high temperatures, Chou says. The new material has already demonstrated that it can endure a temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit) for a period of 24 hours without severe degradation.

And since the new material can absorb sunlight efficiently from a wide range of angles, Chou says, “we don’t really need solar trackers” — which would add greatly to the complexity and expense of a solar power system.

“This is the first device that is able to do all these things at the same time,” Chou says. “It has all these ideal properties.”

While the team has demonstrated working devices using a formulation that includes a relatively expensive metal, ruthenium, “we’re very flexible about materials,” Chou says. “In theory, you could use any metal that can survive these high temperatures.”

The group is now working to optimize the system with alternative metals. Chou expects the system could be developed into a commercially viable product within five years.

UPDATE Oct. 1: absorption spectrum figure added.

Categories: Science

Massive electrode array system will do first large-scale network recording of brain activity

Kurzweil AI - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 11:12am

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is developing a neural measurement and manipulation system — an advanced electronics system to monitor and modulate neurons — that will be packed with more than 1,000 tiny electrodes embedded in different areas of the brain to record and stimulate neural circuitry (credit: LLNL)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) a grant Tuesday to develop an electrode array system that will “enable researchers to better understand how the brain works through unprecedented resolution and scale.”

The electrode array is part of an advanced electronics system to monitor and modulate neurons, using more than 1,000 tiny electrodes embedded in different areas of the brain to record and stimulate neural circuitry.

The goal is to develop a system that will allow scientists to simultaneously study how thousands of neuronal cells in various brain regions work together during complex tasks such as decision making and learning.

The biologically compatible neural system will be the first of its kind to have large-scale network recording capabilities that are designed to continuously record neural activities for months to years.

The NIH project is a collaboration between LLNL’s Neural Technology Group; the laboratory of Loren Frank at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF); Intan Technology; and SpikeGadgets.

10,000 channels planned

The Neural Technology Group will work with UCSF researchers to design and build electrode arrays that can record hundreds to thousands of brain cells simultaneously. Their goal is to develop 1,000-plus channel arrays that can eventually be expanded to 10,000 channels.

These arrays will use new microchips designed at Intan that will send data to a system developed at SpikeGadgets. UCSF will coordinate these efforts and test the technologies. The arrays will penetrate multiple regions of the brain without interfering with normal functions during the experiments, allowing for detailed studies of brain circuits that underlie behavior.

The system also will be designed for compatibility with optogenetic stimulation, a technique that uses light sensitive proteins and light to manipulate neural activity. This technique allows researchers to target specific neurons or cells for recording.

Center for Bioengineering researchers have achieved multiple patents and publications during the last decade. The team’s ultimate goal is to launch a complete, modular and open-source system that would be available to any neuroscientists interested in large-scale neural recording and modulation.

LLNL’s grant-funded project is part of NIH’s efforts to support President Obama’s BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, a new research effort to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind and uncover ways to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders.

Categories: Science

October Skywatching: Lunar & Solar Eclipses, a Meteor Shower and More

Space.com - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 11:04am
October brings a number of stargazing treats, including eclipses of the sun and moon, a dependably dazzling meteor shower, and good opportunities to view planets such as Mars, Saturn and Jupiter.
Categories: Science

Stunning Photo Captures 'Wild Duck' Star Cluster in Flight

Space.com - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 10:58am
The ESO’s 2.2-meter telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile captured a spectacular image of the Wild Duck Cluster.
Categories: Science

Celestial 'Wild Ducks' Soar Through Space and Time | Video

Space.com - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 10:57am
Stunning new imagery of the galactic cluster Messier 11 has been captured by the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. It was nicknamed the "Wild Duck Cluster" due to its brighter stars loosely forming a triangle.
Categories: Science

How to Launch a Space Startup in 2 Days (First Person)

Space.com - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 10:56am
An inside look at a recent space-startup competition in Silicon Valley.
Categories: Science

US, India to Team Up on Mars Exploration

Space.com - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 10:54am
NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation will investigate ways to collaborate on future Mars missions, officials said Tuesday. The two agencies also laid out their roles on the NISAR Earth-observation mission, which is due to launch in 2020.
Categories: Science

11 Beautiful, Psychedelic GIFs Created by a Math Whiz

Wired News - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 10:30am

David Whyte uses cosines and exponentials the way Toulouse-Lautrec used oil paints.

The post 11 Beautiful, Psychedelic GIFs Created by a Math Whiz appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

The Criminal Indictment That Could Finally Hit Spyware Makers Hard

Wired News - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 10:30am

The indictment this week of the man behind an app designed for surreptitiously monitoring cellphone activity is only the second federal case filed against someone involved in the commercial sale of so-called stalkingware. But the case could have negative implications for others who make and sell spyware and similar snooping tools, experts hope.

The post The Criminal Indictment That Could Finally Hit Spyware Makers Hard appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

The Gadgets and Gear We Couldn’t Get Enough of in September

Wired News - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 10:30am

This is the stuff from our lives that we either own and never want to let go, or that we’ve been testing and are totally enamored with. This is September's most loved gear.

The post The Gadgets and Gear We Couldn’t Get Enough of in September appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: Archer

Wired News - Wed, 01/10/2014 - 10:30am

What happens when you cross Don Draper, James Bond, and Buster Bluth? Meet Sterling Malory Archer—code name: Duchess—the world's most dangerous spy. Here's how to binge your way through all of Archer's booze-swilling, over-sexed antics.

The post WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: Archer appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science