Science Corner

Let's slip the surly bonds of earth for a bit and go elsewhere. After all, economic crises and civilisations and so on come and go, but if we preserve the learning of memory of what has passed, we can advance. With that in mind, I was struck by the advances that now seem to be coming in leaps and bounds in space technology today.

For instance, the Vasimr plasma engine seems to have really become a viable way of cutting journeys as far as Mars down to weeks. I wonder if the things we learn at cern about magnetic containment--wholly outwith the purpose of the experiments there--won't end up being useful in the development of their 'space tug'. The plasma engine was part developed by an Irishman, which frankly adds to its appeal to me. It's amazing what happens when those fantastic Irish minds are liberated.

On the HOTOL front, skylon, late of this blog, is still knocking around, as is the non-space based aeroscraft. I love the aeroscraft, and I can plus it on my little-read mad blog if I wish, however inconsistent the reference makes me seem, so there.

Polywell, which has apparently developed a new sort of reactor is not a disaster, or at least news has not yet reached Putney Towers that this is so. That's good too.

Though failed big-government enterprises like NASA are now disappearing into their globally warmed fundament, private space projects are all the rage, and nuclear technology is advancing on many fronts. In just a few short decades, there could be good reason to go to the parts of the moon craters identified by the recent Indian and American probes as being laden with water, and establish on them (as on asteroids) mining operations, in particular for helium-3, late of this blog.

As an aside, I find myself wondering if the water ice on or within the moon may be responsible for some of the anomalous seismic readings from the Apollo programmes that I read about years ago--can any reader advise? My impression is that the moon is dry but that the craters contain comet ice, which seems to correspond with all the papers and sites, but I pretend to no special scientific knowledge and am just curious.

Ion engines are already past the testing phase, and I notice that the space station is advancing even now that NASA has cancelled both the space shuttle and the wider Orion project. It even has a new, cool observation window.

All of this is not even a sliver of what real scientists--not those caught up in the global warming delusion, which is all about tenure, grants and a new derivatives market--are doing. Thrilling, isn't it? Whilst our political, media, and economic classes fiddle about and the world swerves from one avoidable crisis to another, scientists and engineers are pushing back the boundaries and advancing curiosity on their own. Good luck to them. It's enough to make one proud to be human--were pride to cease being a sin, of course.



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