27 February 2008

ESA starts SSPS Wiki, to have workshop 29 Feb 2008

The rising interest in renewable energy solutions, the public debate on global warming and what is called "peak oil", the increasingly accepted need for sustainable energy systems, a recent white paper on SPS from URSI, the successful Furoshiki experiment as well as the attention for solar power from space created by the recent report initiated by an office within the US DoD makes this the right time to initiate the second phase of the SPS programme plan.
Therefore, we are seeking input, comments and criticism on the scope and content of the second phase from you. We have set up this collaborative website/discussion forum (wiki) for this purpose, and will organise a dedicated meeting/workshop of the SPS network at ESTEC on February 29, 2008.

Also, check out this excellent presentation on Space Solar from the Lift conference by Guy Pignolet:

Here also is the link for Marty Hoffert presenting at Google:

And an outstanding video from NASA featuring John Mankins:

JAXA Testing Power Beaming

On February 20, JAXA will take a step closer to the goal when they begin testing a microwave power transmission system designed to beam the power from the satellites to Earth. In a series of experiments to be conducted at the Taiki Multi-Purpose Aerospace Park in Hokkaido, the researchers will use a 2.4-meter-diameter transmission antenna to send a microwave beam over 50 meters to a rectenna (rectifying antenna) that converts the microwave energy into electricity and powers a household heater. The researchers expect these initial tests to provide valuable engineering data that will pave the way for JAXA to build larger, more powerful systems.


Planetary Society awards $25,000 prize

From: http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn13381-asteroidtracking-proposal-wins-25000-prize.html
the non-profit Planetary Society, based in Pasadena, California, US, has announced the winner of a competition to design a mission to track Apophis and determine whether it poses a threat to Earth. The Planetary Society received 37 mission proposals from 20 countries. The winner was a proposal by SpaceWorks Engineering Inc., of Atlanta, Georgia, US. Dubbed "Foresight", the mission would put a small spacecraft in orbit around Apophis, where it would send pictures and data about the asteroid back to Earth. Its designers say if they got funding, they could launch the mission as early as 2012 and arrive at the asteroid in 2013.

HR 4917 Proposed NEO Defense Bill

A proposed bill would further attempt to embroil NASA in a mission it does not want, while ignoring the DOD: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.R.4917:
directed from: http://gaiashield.com/NEOPrep/

Submitted by Rep Rohrabacher, and rumored to have been written or prompted by Rusty Schweikert. Sections of particular interest:

(1) Asteroid and comet collisions rank as one of the most costly natural disasters that can occur.
(2) According to the October 2007 report to Congress by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (in this Act referred to as `NASA'), 140-meter-in-diameter asteroid collision will generate the equivalent power of a 100 megaton TNT explosion.
(3) There are approximately 100,000 near-Earth objects 140 meters wide or larger.
(4) The time needed to eliminate or mitigate the threat of a collision of a potentially hazardous near-Earth object with Earth is measured in decades.
(5) Unlike earthquakes and hurricanes, asteroids and comets can provide adequate collision information, enabling the United States to include both asteroid- and comet-collision disaster recovery and disaster avoidance in its public-safety structure.
(6) Basic information is needed for technical and policy decisionmaking for the United States to create a comprehensive program in order to be ready to eliminate and mitigate the serious and credible threats to humankind posed by potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids and comets.
(9) The public safety of the United States and the planet requires the competence and expertise found in NASA to prepare and to validate the potentially hazardous near-Earth object deflection situation and decisionmaking analysis, as well as to select systems and procedures, to prepare the United States for readiness to avoid or to mitigate collisions with potentially hazardous near-Earth objects.
(a) Establishment- The Administrator shall establish the Office of Potentially Hazardous Near-Earth Object Preparedness (in this Act referred to as `Office'). The purpose of the Office shall be to prepare the United States for readiness to avoid and to mitigate collisions with potentially hazardous near-Earth objects in collaboration with other Agencies through the identification of situation- and decision-analysis factors and selection of procedures and systems.

Only 7.6 Billion Years to get our act together and one more use for an asteroid

Scientists Predict When World Will End http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,332429,00.html
Scientists have nailed down how and when the Earth will cease to exist.The sun will slowly expand into a red giant, pushing the Earth farther out into space, but not far enough.Our home planet will be snagged by the sun's outer atmosphere, gradually plunging to its doom inside the fiery stellar furnace."The drag caused by this low-density gas is enough to cause the Earth to drift inwards, and finally to be captured and vaporized by the sun," explains astronomer Robert Smith of the University of Sussex in southern England.Previous projections had all figured that the Earth would avoid falling into the sun, even during our star's red-giant phase.The good news: This won't happen for another 7.6 billion years.The bad news: Life on Earth will end long before then.In fact, we've only got a billion years left before the slowly expanding sun boils off the oceans and reduces our planet to an uninhabitable cinder, says Smith.That may sound like a long time, but in fact life on Earth's been around a lot longer than that - a total of 3.7 billion years, according to the latest estimates.For those first three billion years, true, we were nothing but pond scum. Still, the new figures indicate the long story of life on our fair blue-green planet may be entering its last act.Is there any way our future descendants can save themselves? Why, yes, explains Smith.He cites a recent study emanating from the University of California, Santa Cruz. It proposes taming an asteroid to swing by the Earth every few thousand years, slowly nudging the Earth into higher solar orbit, enough to outpace the sun's own outward growth."This sounds like science fiction," says Smith. "But it seems that the energy requirements are just about possible and the technology could be developed over the next few centuries."


UN Space
The newly established space-system-based disaster management program(UN-SPIDER) was in the focus of the 45 session of COPUOS in Vienna,11-20 Feb. Possible dangers from near-Earth objects, space debrismitigation, and a safety framework for nuclear power sources in outerspace were also key agenda items.thSpace-System-Based Disaster Management Support. The Subcommittee heardreport on the implementation of the UN-SPIDER program for the period2008-2009 as well as other initiatives and long-term perspectives ofvarious Member States and space agencies in the area of disastermanagement. The new UN-SPIDER program which is implemented by the UNOffice for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), opened its first office inBonn, Germany, Oct 07, and will be opening an office in Beijing as wellas a liaison office in Geneva in 2008.Near-Earth objects. The Subcommittee endorsed the new multi-year workplan 2009-2011, under which the Working Group on NEO will reviewpolicies and procedures on the NEO threat at the international level inorder to draft an agreement on international procedures by 2012. Withinthe framework of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, the WorkingGroup will also try to raise awareness of the NEO threat. TheSubcommittee continues to consider NEOs due to their scientific value asremnant debris from the inner solar system formation processes, theirrichness in various natural resources as well as their potential dangerof collision with the Earth.

The NEO threats are smaller and more numerous!

Previously, Tunguska was thought to have been at least 50 meters...