Archive for the ‘astronomy’ category

Feb 3, 2019

The Search for New Physics & CERN’s FCC Future Circular Collider

Posted by in categories: astronomy, engineering, environmental, ethics, existential risks, particle physics, physics, quantum physics, science

It is a few years since I posted here on Lifeboat Foundation blogs, but with the news breaking recently of CERN’s plans to build the FCC [1], a new high energy collider to dwarf the groundbreaking engineering triumph that is the LHC, I feel obliged to write a few words.

The goal of the FCC is to greatly push the energy and intensity frontiers of particle colliders, with the aim of reaching collision energies of 100 TeV, in the search for new physics [2]. Below linked is a technical note I wrote & distributed last year on 100 TeV collisions (at the time referencing the proposed China supercollider [3][4]), highlighting the weakness of the White Dwarf safety argument at these energy levels, and a call for a more detailed study of the Neutron star safety argument, if to be relied on as a solitary astrophysical assurance. The argument applies equally to the FCC of course:

The Next Great Supercollider — Beyond the LHC :

The LSAG, and others including myself, have already written on the topic of astrophysical assurances at length before. The impact of CR on Neutron stars is the most compelling of those assurances with respect to new higher energy colliders (other analogies such as White Dwarf capture based assurances don’t hold up quite as well at higher energy levels). CERN will undoubtedly publish a new paper on such astrophysical assurances as part of the FCC development process, though would one anticipate it sooner rather than later, to lay to rest concerns of outsider-debate incubating to a larger audience?

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Jan 19, 2019

Why it is dangerous to build ever larger big bang machines

Posted by in categories: alien life, astronomy, cosmology, energy, engineering, ethics, existential risks, general relativity, governance, gravity, innovation, law, nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, particle physics, philosophy, physics, policy, quantum physics, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space travel, supercomputing, theory, time travel

CERN has revealed plans for a gigantic successor of the giant atom smasher LHC, the biggest machine ever built. Particle physicists will never stop to ask for ever larger big bang machines. But where are the limits for the ordinary society concerning costs and existential risks?

CERN boffins are already conducting a mega experiment at the LHC, a 27km circular particle collider, at the cost of several billion Euros to study conditions of matter as it existed fractions of a second after the big bang and to find the smallest particle possible – but the question is how could they ever know? Now, they pretend to be a little bit upset because they could not find any particles beyond the standard model, which means something they would not expect. To achieve that, particle physicists would like to build an even larger “Future Circular Collider” (FCC) near Geneva, where CERN enjoys extraterritorial status, with a ring of 100km – for about 24 billion Euros.

Experts point out that this research could be as limitless as the universe itself. The UK’s former Chief Scientific Advisor, Prof Sir David King told BBC: “We have to draw a line somewhere otherwise we end up with a collider that is so large that it goes around the equator. And if it doesn’t end there perhaps there will be a request for one that goes to the Moon and back.”

“There is always going to be more deep physics to be conducted with larger and larger colliders. My question is to what extent will the knowledge that we already have be extended to benefit humanity?”

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Dec 11, 2018

First Pinoy app nominated as global finalist to the NASA Space Apps Challenge

Posted by in categories: astronomy, computing, space

MANILA, Philippines — Among the 2,729 teams in 200 locations all over the world who participated in the NASA Space Apps Challenge, an app made by Filipino innovators was nominated first time by NASA scientists and experts to become a finalist at the global level. Altogether, they will join the top 25 in competing for the six winners of the biggest hackathon in the universe.

The winning app seeking to communicate scientific data to fishermen even without Internet connection was made by IT professionals Revbrain G. Martin, Marie Jeddah Legaspi, and Julius Czar Torreda from team iNON, which stands for “It’s now or never.” Named ISDApp, from the Tagalog word “isda” meaning fish, it sends useful information to fishermen such as real-time weather, sunrise and sunset, wind speed, and cloud coverage to plan their fishing activities in catching more fish using the NASA GLOBE Observer app, a data collection from citizen scientists around the world used in concert with NASA satellite data to identify or communicate information, and educating the public about planet Earth. Fishermen will receive SMS notifications from the Amazon Web Services gateway while local government officials would manage their details using a smartphone app connected to the cloud. NASA scientists and experts consider this fisherfolk app made by Pinoys as one of the solutions “with the most potential to improve life on Earth or in the universe,” therefore nominated as global finalist for Galactic Impact.

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Dec 6, 2018

NASA Contest: Design the Gateway Program Graphic

Posted by in category: astronomy

Under Space Policy Directive-1, NASA has been charged with leading a “sustainable exploration of the Moon together with commercial and international partners.”

In response to this bold directive, NASA is working with U.S. and international partners to lead the development of the first permanent human spaceship in orbit around the Moon, known as the Gateway. The Gateway will be a part-time home and office for astronauts farther in space than humans have ever been before.

The Gateway will be important to building a permanent human presence on the Moon. Astronauts will visit at least once per year, living and working aboard the spaceship in deep space for up to three months at a time. NASA is looking at options for astronauts to shuttle between the Gateway and the lunar surface, to explore new locations across the Moon. Even before our first trip to Mars, astronauts will use the Gateway to train for life far away from Earth, and we will use it to practice moving a spaceship in different orbits in deep space.

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Dec 3, 2018

IdeaXme — Ambassadors — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, astronomy, biotech/medical, business, disruptive technology, DNA, economics, finance, futurism, health

Space, Oceans, Literature, Entertainment, Sports, Medicine, Fashion, Longevity — Honored to be among this group of thinkers, coming up with the innovative ideas that shape the future —

Oct 23, 2018

Fishing and emergency kit apps developed by Filipino innovators during the NASA Space Apps Challenge in the Philippines

Posted by in categories: astronomy, computing, cosmology, environmental

MANILA, Philippines — A mobile and SMS application developed by IT professionals Revbrain G. Martin, Marie Jeddah Legaspi, and Julius Czar Torreda to help fishermen receive real-time weather, sunrise and sunset, wind speed, and cloud coverage to plan their fishing activity, and an emergency checklist kit app was developed by students Jeorge Loui P. Delfin, Bluen Ginez, Samuel Jose, Rainier Garcia Narboneta, and Eugenio Emmanuel A. Araullo for disaster preparedness won the NASA Space Apps Challenge on October 19–21 at De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, in partnership with the Embassy of the United States of America and PLDT.

Other projects and solutions developed are games using images from the Hubble Space Telescope, augmented reality mobile app to tell a story of the changes in the Arctic and Antarctic ice, artificial intelligence app helping scientists confirm the habitability of exoplanets, and story-based game using NASA Earth imagery.

They joined together with teams of coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists, thinkers, designers, entrepreneurs, and everyone around the globe working together in a 48-hour sprint to develop solutions to some of the most pressing challenges on Earth and in space, using NASA resources and data.

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Sep 15, 2018

ISS hole: We will look back on Sept 2018

Posted by in categories: astronomy, ethics, habitats, space, space travel

Someday, people across the world will look back on September 2018, much like we look back on the terror attacks of 9/11 or the safe return of Apollo 13 in 1970. They are touchstone moments in world history. For Americans, they are as indelible as Pearl Harbor, the assassination of John F. Kennedy or the first moon landing.

So, what happened just now? The month isn’t even half over, and the only events we hear about on the news are related to Hurricane Florence and Paul Manafort. (In case you live under a rock or are reading this many years hence, the hurricane made landfall on the coast of the Carolinas, and the lobbyist / political consultant / lawyer / Trump campaign chairman pled guilty to charges and has agreed to cooperate in the continuing Mueller investigation).

No—I am not referring to either event on the USA east coast. I am referring to a saga unfolding 254 miles above the Earth—specifically a Whodunit mystery aboard the International Space Station (ISS). NASA hasn’t seen this level of tawdry intrigue since astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak attacked a rival for another astronaut’s affection—driving across the country in a diaper to confront her love interest.

So What is the Big Deal This Week?!

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Jul 14, 2018

NASA director reverses on climate change, after 1 month

Posted by in categories: astronomy, climatology, education, environmental, ethics, existential risks, governance, government, lifeboat, science, space, sustainability

For millennia, our planet has sustained a robust ecosystem; healing each deforestation, algae bloom, pollution or imbalance caused by natural events. Before the arrival of an industrialized, destructive and dominant global species, it could pretty much deal with anything short of a major meteor impact. In the big picture, even these cataclysmic events haven’t destroyed the environment—they just changed the course of evolution and rearranged the alpha animal.

But with industrialization, the race for personal wealth, nations fighting nations, and modern comforts, we have recognized that our planet is not invincible. This is why Lifeboat Foundation exists. We are all about recognizing the limits to growth and protecting our fragile environment.

Check out this April news article on the US president’s forthcoming appointment of Jim Bridenstine, a vocal climate denier, as head of NASA. NASA is one of the biggest agencies on earth. Despite a lack of training or experience—without literacy in science, technology or astrophysics—he was handed an enormous responsibility, a staff of 17,000 and a budget of $19 billion.

In 2013, Bridenstine criticized former president Obama for wasting taxpayer money on climate research, and claimed that global temperatures stopped rising 15 years ago.

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May 9, 2018

Where are the aliens? Solutions to Fermi Paradox

Posted by in categories: astronomy, cosmology, existential risks, first contact, lifeboat

The Fermi Paradox poses an age-old question: With light and radio waves skipping across the galaxy, why has there never been any convincing evidence of other life in the universe—or at least another sufficiently advanced civilization that uses radio? After all, evidence of intelligent life requires only that some species modulates a beacon (intentionally or unintentionally) in a fashion that is unlikely to be caused by natural phenomena.

The Fermi Paradox has always fascinated me, perhaps because SETI spokesperson, Carl Sagan was my astronomy professor at Cornell and—coincidentally—Sagan and Stephen Spielberg dedicated a SETI radio telescope at Oak Ridge Observatory around the time that I moved from Ithaca to New England. It’s a 5 minute drive from my new home. In effect, two public personalities followed me to Massachusetts.

What is SETI?

In November of 1984, SETI was chartered as a non-profit corporation with a single goal. In seeking to answer to the question “Are we alone?” it fuels the Drake equation by persuading radio telescopes to devote time to the search for extraterrestrial life and establishing an organized and systematic approach to partitioning, prioritizing, gathering and mining signal data.

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Apr 3, 2018

What if Apollo 11 had failed? Nixon’s undelivered speech

Posted by in categories: astronomy, government, science, space travel

In 1969, William Safire was President Nixon’s speech writer. He wrote the short speech shown below, and delivered it to Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman. The speech was to be read by Nixon in the event that the Apollo 11 lunar lander failed to launch or that some other problem caused the lander or mothership to crash back onto the surface of the moon.

In 1969, the space race was at full throttle. Russians were first to launch a satellite, send a dog and a man into space,* and perform an extravehicular space walk. America was under great pressure to fulfill John F. Kennedy’s promise and beat the Russians in landing a man on the moon. Today, former engineers at NASA acknowledge that they believed the chances of such a catastrophe were more than 50%.

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