Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zoology

Animals. I love them! Who doesn't?

Zoology is the branch of science to the animal kingdom, including structure, embryology, evolution, classifications, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct. Zoologists are biologists who increase scientific knowledge not only for their branch of science, but for the general public too. 

What is zoology good for? I'm close to the San Diego Zoo (home to over 3,700 animals and 360 species and sub-species. It's also one of the few zoos that house giant pandas. The San Diego Zoo partners with the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, an 1,800 acre free range park housing 2,600 animals, 3,500 species and 350 plant species. 

We have season tickets to both parks. They are great at educating the public regarding the current state of these magnificant animals shrinking habitat. If it wasn't for parks like these, many species would go extinct during out life time. They breed endangered species in hopes to bring their numbers back up.

However, it is becoming evident many species and sub species will only survive in parks like these. Left alone in the wild, they would be poached out of existance.

So my last word to you from this A to Z Challenge is to take a moment to appreciate God's greatness and creativity when it comes to animals. Soon, many will only exists in zoos and their related parks. Make it a point to take the family to a zoo this summer. You'll be glad that you did. Zoos are on the cutting edge of some truly amazing programs to help our furry friends thrive on this dangerous planet.

Question: My favorite animal is the giraffe. What's yours?

References: San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Wikipedia

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yttrium

Yttrium is a chemical element with symbol Y and atomic number 39. It is a silvery-metallic transitional metal chemically similar to the lanthanides and it has often been classified as a "rare earth element". 

Yttrium is almost always found combined with the lanthanides in rare earth materials and is never found in nature as a free element. Its only stable isotope, 89Y, is also its only naturally occurring isotope.

The most important use of yttrium is in making phosphors, such as the red ones used in television set cathode ray tube (CRT) displays and in LEDs. Other uses include the production of electrodes, electrolytes, electronic filters, lasers and superconductors; various medical applications; and as traces in various materials to enhance their properties. Yttrium has no known biological role, and exposure to yttrium compounds can cause lung disease in humans. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Water in Outer Space

Water: Without it, we die. Real fast. So if we are to colonize the moon, Mars, asteroids, and beyond then we need to find ample sources of water. We as space travelers simply cannot lug it into space with us. 

We have to ask: How much water is in space? Where is it? Can we find and extract it at a cost that makes sense? And if there is water (in ice, vapor, or liquid form), will there also be life? 

Water forms when two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom get together. So theoretically, water can exist in abundant forms in outer space. 

"Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world's ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole, called a quasar, more than 12 billion light-years away."  

"The environment around this quasar is very unique in that it's producing this huge mass of water," said Matt Bradford, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "It's another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times. Reference 

But what about our solar system? Is there water close to home? Just take a look at this map of Our Watery Solar System. Planets, moons, asteroids, and dwarf planets are places that hold water to some degree. If the image is not clear, please click THIS LINK

So, just how the heck do we mine this water in our solar system? Sorry, but I'm out of room and out of time. But for now I wanted to present this concept of water in outer space and the possibilities we can exploit. How to mine it is a mini-series I will present shortly. Please stay tuned.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Virgin Galactic

Care to take a flight into space? As a civilian, of course. Why not? The opportunity is right on the horizon.

Virgin Galactic, part of Sir Richard Branson's incredible vision (and perhaps madness), plans to make available sub-orbital flights for the general public, for space science missions, and for orbital launches of small satellites. Well, at least for those who can afford it. here's the cost breakdown for tourists:

Pioneer Astronaut – The Earliest Available Seat
Deposit - US$200k full payment up front Our most popular reservation and nearly sold out Join the community of over 500 future astronauts Secure one of the last remaining seats among the first 500 to fly Expect to be among the first 1000 humans to have travelled to space Priority access to Galactic events, milestones and trips Pioneer welcome and confirmation package 
Guarantee the price of $200k for your spaceflight
Voyager Astronaut – Join the Waiting List for a Later Seat
Deposit - $20k Join the community of over 500 future astronauts Secure a spot on the waiting list after the first 500 to fly Take part in the Galactic milestones, events and trips Voyager welcome and confirmation package 
Guarantee the price of $200k for your spaceflight
Spaceship Charter
$1 millionAn exclusive spaceflight for you and up to 5 friendsPioneer status for all 6 seats
6 seats for the price of 5
Spaceport America
Yes, our world is changing before our very eyes. Gotta love Branson's vision, "Screw it, let's do it!"
So be the first on your block to reserve your spot as an astronaut. Just think of the bragging rights you can have at your annual Fourth of July block party. I double dog dare anyone to top this exploit! Especially that nosey Gladys Kravitz across the street (bonus points for who identifies this character). 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Tomorrow's Devices

Intel has a project called Tomorrow's Project where their Chief Futurist Brian David Johnson recruits science fiction writers to produce "science fiction prototypes" such as future tech that help the engineering and product groups spark discussion.

They discuss their vision of the coming world and what they would like to build in a whole new way.

Users "don't care about the technology anymore," said Jim McGregor, chief technology strategist at researcher In-Stat. "They care about how they can use it. It's cultural change that needs to happen" at Intel, McGregor said.

The chipmaker is trying to speed along the change by reaching engineers in a language they understand: science fiction. Last year Intel hired four sci-fi writers to study the company's latest research projects and produce an anthology, "The Tomorrow Project," envisioning how cutting-edge processors might be used in the near future.

Once again, sci-fi writers are on the cutting edge of what the world could look like tomorrow. And business and technology are looking to them to help lead the way.

So take heart all you writers! You may be contributing far more to the advancement of civilization than you think.


Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for SpaceX

Now That's A Rocket!!!
Yes folks, private industry is nipping on the heals of government space programs like NASA. 

Case in point: Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX - is run by billionaire Elon Musk, who made his fortune as a co-creator of PayPal. He also owns the electric car maker Tesla Motors.

In May of last year, SpaceX made history as the world's first privately held company to send a cargo payload, carried on the Dragon spacecraft, to the International Space Station. 

Last March, the capsule brought back more than 1 ton of science experiments and old station equipment. It's the only supply ship capable of two-way delivery. NASA is paying SpaceX more than $1 billion for a dozen resupply missions. Space X can reuse their 
Docking With International Space Station

SpaceX has signed contracts with private sector companies, non-American government agencies and the American military for its launch services. It has already launched, for a paying customer, a low earth orbiting satellite with its Falcon 1 booster in 2009. The company plans to launch its first commercial geostationary satellite in 2013 from a Falcon 9.

Musk has stated that his intention for the company is to help in the creation of a permanent human presence on Mars.

How's that for vision! 

I have more on this company in upcoming posts. Folks, we are on the verge of truly remarkable breakthroughs and discoveries led by the private and the public sector.

Here's a fun short video clip (with a really cool song). This is pretty darn amazing! 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Quantum Computers

We’ve all been hearing about quantum computers. Are we on the cusp of a new Age, an Age of Quantum Information that will leave the Stone Age, Copper and Bronze Age, Iron Age, Renaissance Technology, Age of Exploration, Industrial Age, and the previous Information in light years in its dust?
Let’s take a closer look ..... 
When it comes to data crunching, quantum computers will leave today's fastest processors in the dust.
For starters, a quantum computer would be able to store more bits of information in its memory than there are particles in the universe. And where a conventional silicon-based computer handles one computation at a time in sequence, a quantum computer would work on millions at once.
That kind of staggering power would give a single quantum computer the ability to simulate a whole world in a holographic environment, replicate biological systems to understand diseases and find cures, solve the loads of equations necessary to create extremely accurate weather forecasting and simulate how subatomic particles interact, showing fundamentally how everything in the universe works.
Several quantum computers linked together would make a quantum Internet so powerful that search engines would respond to queries almost like a human being, answering questions immediately and in any language.
In recent months, different groups of scientists and engineers have made important strides toward this amazing new world. They have built machines that can store quantum particles, control them, observe them and send them over fiber-optic cables.
Stay tuned folks. You haven’t seen anything yet!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis

My A to Z Theme focuses on the amazing breakthroughs mankind is on the cusp of discovering.

Designer Babies: Okay, I needed to squeeze this issue somewhere on the A to Z Challenge. There is a ethical and moral debate regarding Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis to screen embryos for genetic defects. Follow this through, and designer babies are not far off on the horizon. 

This is a topic that is a mini-series just waiting to happen. And it will. So I will leave this very entertaining video clip for you to view. With great power comes great responsibility. Will we as a race properly steward our ever-increasing understanding of DNA?

And yes, this is my new blog. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. Please take a moment to follow. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Orion (Not the Belt)

Ever wonder what will fill the incredible void left behind from shuttling the Space Shuttle Program that flew 135 missions, helped construct the International Space Station and inspired generations?

Look no further. The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is NASA’s first planned beyond-low-earth-orbit manned spacecraft since the Apollo era.  Crewed missions will be sent to the Moon, asteroids and Mars. Each Orion spacecraft is projected to carry a crew of four or more astronauts. It is also planned as a backup for ISS cargo and/or crew delivery. The first planned test flight is set for September 2014.

Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.
This is one bad ass delivery rocket!

  • Spacecraft to serve as the primary crew vehicle for missions beyond LEO
  • Capable of conducting regular in-space operations (rendezvous, docking, extravehicular activity) in conjunction with payloads delivered by the Space Launch System (SLS) for missions beyond LEO
  • Capability to be a backup system for International Space Station cargo and crew delivery

Of course, the Orion MPVC will find fierce competition from private industry and other countries like China, India, Russia, and the European community. 

So hang in tight folks. Because we will see far more than one giant leap for mankind. Man and machinery will be going far deeper into space and at an accelerated pace in the immediate future. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for NASA

My A to Z Theme focuses on the amazing breakthroughs mankind is on the cusp of discovering.

So what’s the latest and greatest with NASA? They should be up to something good. Right? Let’s hope our tax dollars are being put to good use. You know, discovering breakthroughs that can further Western civilization. And producing good paying jobs for the general public. 

Let’s take a closer look at the projects NASA has in the works. According to NASA's Michael Gazarik, “We are developing, testing, and flying technologies in over 800 projects. The technologies we need for tomorrow, we’re building them today.” (This is good!!!)

Low-cost Satellites using Android Smartphones (Cheap is Good): In early 2013, the NASA Ames Research Center PhoneSat project is slated to take to space, a trio of tiny, Earth orbiting cubesats that demonstrate the ability to build very-low-cost satellites using Android smartphones as processors. How cool is this?!?!?!

Solar Sails: Work on the world’s largest solar sail is picking up speed in 2013 and is sailing toward an end of next year flight, Gazarik said. Solar sails use the pressure of photons from the Sun as a form of spacecraft propulsion. “This is propellant-free propulsion,” Gazarik noted. (Propellent free is the key!)

Robotics: Gazarik said another exciting NASA STP work-in-progress rivals Marvel Comic’s fictional superhero, Ironman, providing increased mobility and strength. 

“Look for our robotics work to move forward, specifically with the X1 exoskeleton, Ironman-like stuff,” Gazarik said. “You put on this gear…and the NASA approach is to help astronauts move more freely and do more work in space.”

But NASA has competition form the private industry, as we have seen in my many previous posts (shut down by Evil Google). And certainly much more to come. So Obama and our current administeration better get their butts in gear. Or private industry will beat them to the punch and reap the unimaginable benefits of space exploration and utilization. 
Yes, This is Private Industry Hard At Work. WOW!

Question: Who do you think will lead us into the 21st century? NASA and other government sponsered programs? Or private industry? 

And yes, this is my new blog. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. Please take a moment to follow. Thanks!

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Man-Made Islands (But Wait, That's Not All ...)

Problem: Many large cities, such as crowded Tokyo, are running out of space for an ever expanding population. And the problem is only getting worse as the global population increases. Especially for cities built on a shoreline such as an ocean or a major river where expansion is limited by mountain ranges or other geological obstacles. 

Solution: Artificial islands. Man-made islands are an answer to finding suitable space to expand living, work, and leisure space. Man-made islands are constructed by people rather than formed by natural means. They are created by expanding existing islets, construction on existing reefs, or amalgamating several natural islets into a bigger island. 

A number of countries have been reclaiming land for centuries such as the Netherlands. But man-made islands are an engineering feat that have only recently left the drawing board. And the vision will continue to grow exponentially into truly amazing cities and other marvels during our lifetime that will marvel the imagination 
San Diego's Plan for Floating Airport. Why Not?

But Wait, That’s Not All: Airports are also being built on man-made islands. Japan and China are helping to lead the way. Yep, a mini-series is on tap for this very topic that will truly amaze you. Really. It will. San Diego has plans on the table for a solution to their land-locked airport that is in need of expansion. Check out this Reference

Then there are the truly fascinating man-made floating islands for the very rich. But that’s another mini-blog series reserved for a little bit later down the road. Stay tuned. 

But Wait, That’s Not All Part Deux: The Best and Worst Remakes Blogfest – May 17

That’s right – another fun and easy movie blogfest! Something simple after the insanity of the Challenge

This Blog Hops is the brainstorm of Captain Alex Cavanaugh, and co-hosted by Stephen Tremp, Livia Peterson, and Al Diaz.

When Hollywood runs out of ideas, they remake older films. Sometimes this works. However, often the idea fails miserably. Where to begin?

On May 17, list the best remake you’ve ever seen and the worst.

Added bonus – list the worst and/or best song remake you’ve ever heard!

Sign up below!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Leo, The First Private Space Telescope

My A to Z Theme focuses on the amazing breakthroughs mankind is on the cusp of discovering.

The Leo (Low Earth Orbit) Space Telescope was launched by Planetary Resources. It is an earth-observer that provides "on-demand" Earth imaging to a wider consumer base due to an "unprecedented low price. Leo is also an asteroid-locator.

“Leo provides spectacular views of the Earth’s surface and deep space, including the rich, virtually unexplored areas between our planet and the Sun. The Leo spacecraft camera will provide detailed celestial and Earth observations where you want them, and when you want them. Leo is capable of surveying for near-Earth asteroids during one orbit, then be retasked for rain forest observation on the next. The possibilities for utility and engagement are only limited by the imagination of the user.”

Planetary Resources’ Vision: bringing the natural resources of space within humanity’s economic sphere of influence and propelling our future into the 21st century and beyond. Water from asteroids will fuel the in-space economy, and rare metals will increase Earth’s GDP.

Planetary Resources’ stated goal is to "expand Earth’s natural resource base" by developing and deploying the technologies for robotic asteroid mining industry and the capability to transport the resulting products wherever desired. Another goal is to develop the technology to affect and control the orbits of small asteroids, including potentially hazardous objects in near-Earth space which present a serious risk of impact with the planet.

Check out the Reference Link. This is a fun Web site to navigate through. Gotta love what the private sector is doing these days!

And yes, this is my new blog. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. Please take a moment to follow. Thanks!

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kepler Telescope

My A to Z Theme focuses on the amazing breakthroughs mankind is on the cusp of discovering.

There is now clear evidence for substantial numbers of three types of exoplanets; gas giants, hot-super-Earths in short period orbits, and ice giants. The challenge now is to find terrestrial planets (i.e., those one half to twice the size of the Earth), especially those in the habitable zone of their stars where liquid water and possibly life might exist.

Enter the Kepler Telescope: a space observatory launched by NASA March 6, 2009. Its mission: survey a portion of our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover dozens of Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone and determine how many of the billions of stars in our galaxy have such planets.

Of the total 2,326 candidate planets that Kepler has found by 2012, 207 are approximately Earth-size. More of them, 680, are a bit larger than our planet, falling into the "super-Earth" category. The total number of candidate planets in the habitable zones of their stars is now 48.

To date, just over two dozen of these potential exoplanets have been confirmed, but Kepler scientists have estimated that at least 80 percent of the instrument's discoveries should end up being the real deal.

More discoveries to come. The question is, are any of these exoplanets capable for life to thrive there. Reference

And yes, this is my new blog. Please take a moment to follow. Thanks!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Testing. This is Only a test

I think this one is a go. I should be ready for a to Z Challenge tomorrow with the letter K!!!