Space Tourism to Help the Earth by Quantifying Climate Change

October 09 2008 / by Mielle Sullivan / In association with Future
Category: Environment   Year: 2008   Rating: 8 Hot

I wrote about the unveiling of White Knight Two back in July, and no, it is not yet ferrying billionaires to sub-orbital six minute vacations. But it has just become useful (rather than enviable) to the rest of us.

On September 30th, The International Astronautical Congress announced that Virgin Galactic was partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to measure greenhouse gasses in the upper atmosphere using White Night Two and Space Ship Two. Both crafts will be fitted with atmospheric sensors and will begin gathering data in test flights.

The planes are uniquely suited to help the NOAA for two reasons. The most obvious is that they will go much higher than conventional aircraft. Thus, they can monitor the hard to reach mesosphere and thermosphere. Information about these layers of the atmosphere is vital for scientist to create accurate climate change models. Also, the planes were designed with tubes that channel outside air to internal speed sensors. This feature was added in the design phase in anticipation of scientific work.

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Innovation will make living out of this world a reality

July 17 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future
Category: Space   Year: General   Rating: 5 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

The immense popularity of Star Trek suggests that “to boldly go where no man has gone before” could become humanity’s mandate for the future.

Satellite Industry Association President Richard Dalbello sees the space industry as the jewel of our economy. It drives innovation, creates jobs, and positions us to begin mankind’s greatest dream – to explore other worlds.

But many believe our progress is too slow. Past explorations produced huge benefits much faster. 25 years after the Lewis & Clark exploration, wagons rolled west to Oregon and clipper ships landed pioneers in California. 25 years after the Wright Brothers, citizens could fly around the country. By contrast, landing on the moon – our “giant step for mankind” – has only produced 40 to 50+ years of earth orbits and a few unmanned flights.

Space enthusiasts say this slow progress shows we are misdirected. They would like to see faster development of moon and Mars settlements and strong incentives created for private businesses to design and build space colonies and other facilities in space.

Space flights are expensive today, but once travel to and from orbit become cheap; profit-driven entrepreneurs will head for the high frontier to build hotels, permanent housing, and entertainment and sports facilities.

Exploring space will also push genetic research. Better Humans author Simon Smith claims environments such as Mars extreme cold temperatures and toxic atmosphere will require biological changes. Sending humans into space without genetic modification would be impractical. (cont.)

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Space Exploration and Colonization 2008 - 2040

August 07 2008 / by Mielle Sullivan / In association with Future
Category: Space   Year: Beyond   Rating: 4

The exploration and colonization of space have long been crucial and exciting aspects of how people envision future civilization. But how will our place in space take shape over the next few decades? Some clear patterns have emerged in near-term space predictions including rapidly expanding space tourism in the next two years, asteroid mining by 2020 and multiple nations with settlements on the moon by 2025. Take a look for yourself:

To view the multiple events in one year, click on the little plus icons at the bottom of the timeline. Many of the events include cool videos. Enjoy!

What do you think is the most exciting thing about the next 30 years of space exploration and colonization?

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