Showing posts with label OpenGOV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OpenGOV. Show all posts

16 February 2013

The Death Star is Dead; Long Live DE-("Life") Star!

[HUMOR]

Citizens for the Death Star, Take Heart: Recycle your plans!

Just last month, the Obama administration rejected calls from 34,435 of its citizens calling for the administration to "Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016," stating that, by "focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense."

The administration rejected the proposal, partially on expense, but also based on a stated policy that the administration "does not support blowing up planets."

However, it is unclear if the administration pro-planetary rights position extends to asteroids and meteors that threaten Earth.

In light of the recent asteroid close pass, meteor strike over Russia, and Russian calls for a planetary defense system, perhaps these citizens should seek a compromise position.

Certainly, these  34,435 citizens could achieve most of their stated objectives of spurring job construction engineering and space exploration by pursuing Space-Based Solar Power (recommended by the Pentagon itself), building multi-kilometer across giant space stations which send power to Earth via Lasers or Microwaves.  Sure, the capability of lighting a planet through infinite green energy may not be as spectactular or perceived as "cool" as the capability to blow one up, but at least it is still perceived by Chinese space program pioneers such as Prof Wang Xiji as the key to global domination ("Whoever takes the lead in the development and utilization of clean and renewable energy and the space and aviation industry will be the world leader.")

Sure, you'd have to live with the fact that you are doing good instead of evil, but  at least you get the giant space station beaming gigawatts of energy.

Sure, you might not make as many enemies in the process, but at least you could join forces with most American citizens, who, when surveyed by and large favor constructing Space Solar Power Satellites to every other potential space mission (with asteroid defense being #2), and who have separately petitioned the administration to make SBSP part of our space program.

You'd have to scope your ambitions...instead of thousands of years to construct, you'd have to cope with the reality articulated by the International Academy of Astronautics IAA 2011 report that "As of 2010, the fundamental research to achieve technical feasibility for the SPS [solar-power satellites] was already accomplished. Whether it requires 5–10 years or 20–30 years to mature the technologies for economically viable SPS now depends more on the development of appropriate platform systems concepts and the availability of adequate budgets."

Sure, you'd have to bite a really big bullet, because an SBSP program is unfortunately NOT going to cost (errr..inject stimulus dollars) of $850,000 Trillion (Obama administration estimate)...since an individual multi-gigawatt Space Solar Power Satellite only cost in the tens of billions, but at least they would pay-back economically.  And of course it would only take about $10 billion and 10 years to get the first demonstration in operation, and the IAA estimated job creation in the multiple millions.

But if giant multi-gigawatt orbiting power monsters delivering infinite green energy to planet Earth is not a close enough compromise, consider this most recent proposal by the Scientists at UC Santa Barbara might just fit th

e bill! Philip M. Lubin, and Gary B. Hughes are proposing a spaced based laser system 10 kilometers in diameter (about 100 times the size of the ISS) that could deliver 1.4 megatons of energy per day to its target, taking care of a pesky little asteroid like

2012 DA14 in about an hour, or destroy asteroids 10 times larger in about a year, with evaporation starting at a distance as far away as the Sun. Sure, saving a planet isn't destroying one...but at least you get the giant space station and jobs!






From: http://www.ia.ucsb.edu/pa/display.aspx?pkey=2943

NEWS RELEASE


California Scientists Propose System to Vaporize Asteroids That Threaten Earth




February 14, 2013

Click for downloadable image Full description below. †



Click for downloadable image Full description below. ††



Click for downloadable image Full description below. †††

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– As an asteroid roughly half as large as a football field –– and with energy equal to a large hydrogen bomb –– readies for a fly-by of Earth on Friday, two California scientists are unveiling their proposal for a system that could eliminate a threat of this size in an hour. The same system could destroy asteroids 10 times larger than the one known as 2012 DA14 in about a year, with evaporation starting at a distance as far away as the Sun.


UC Santa Barbara physicist and professor Philip M. Lubin, and Gary B. Hughes, a researcher and professor from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, conceived DE-STAR, or Directed Energy Solar Targeting of Asteroids an exploRation, as a realistic means of mitigating potential threats posed to the Earth by asteroids and comets.


"We have to come to grips with discussing these issues in a logical and rational way," said Lubin, who began work on DE-STAR a year ago. "We need to be proactive rather than reactive in dealing with threats. Duck and cover is not an option. We can actually do something about it and it's credible to do something. So let's begin along this path. Let's start small and work our way up. There is no need to break the bank to start."


Described as a "directed energy orbital defense system," DE-STAR is designed to harness some of the power of the sun and convert it into a massive phased array of laser beams that can destroy, or evaporate, asteroids posing a potential threat to Earth. It is equally capable of changing an asteroid's orbit –– deflecting it away from Earth, or into the Sun –– and may also prove to be a valuable tool for assessing an asteroid's composition, enabling lucrative, rare-element mining. And it's entirely based on current essential technology.


"This system is not some far-out idea from Star Trek," Hughes said. "All the components of this system pretty much exist today. Maybe not quite at the scale that we'd need –– scaling up would be the challenge –– but the basic elements are all there and ready to go. We just need to put them into a larger system to be effective, and once the system is there, it can do so many things."


The same system has a number of other uses, including aiding in planetary exploration.


In developing the proposal, Lubin and Hughes calculated the requirements and possibilities for DE-STAR systems of several sizes, ranging from a desktop device to one measuring 10 kilometers, or six miles, in diameter. Larger systems were also considered. The larger the system, the greater its capabilities.


For instance, DE-STAR 2 –– at 100 meters in diameter, about the size of the International Space Station –– "could start nudging comets or asteroids out of their orbits," Hughes said. But DE-STAR 4 –– at 10 kilometers in diameter, about 100 times the size of the ISS –– could deliver 1.4 megatons of energy per day to its target, said Lubin, obliterating an asteroid 500 meters across in one year.


The speed of interplanetary travel –– far beyond what is possible with chemical propellant rockets used today –– could be increased with this sized system, according to Lubin. It could also power advanced ion drive systems for deep space travel, he said. Able to engage multiple targets and missions at once, DE-STAR 4 "could simultaneously evaporate an asteroid, determine the composition of another, and propel a spacecraft."


Larger still, DE-STAR 6 could enable interstellar travel by functioning as a massive, orbiting power source and propulsion system for spacecraft. It could propel a 10-ton spacecraft at near the speed of light, allowing interstellar exploration to become a reality without waiting for science fiction technology such as "warp drive" to come along, Lubin said.


"Our proposal assumes a combination of baseline technology –– where we are today –– and where we almost certainly will be in the future, without asking for any miracles," he explained. "We've really tried to temper this with a realistic view of what we can do, and we approached it from that point of view. It does require very careful attention to a number of details, and it does require a will to do so, but it does not require a miracle."


Recent and rapid developments in highly efficient conversion of electrical power to light allow such a scenario now, Lubin said, when just 20 years ago it would not have been realistic to consider.


"These are not just back-of-the-envelope numbers," Hughes concurred. "They are actually based on detailed analysis, through solid calculations, justifying what is possible. And it's all available under current theory and current technology.


"There are large asteroids and comets that cross the Earth's orbit, and some very dangerous ones going to hit the Earth eventually," he added. "Many have hit in the past and many will hit in the future. We should feel compelled to do something about the risk. Realistic solutions need to be considered, and this is definitely one of those."


Three UCSB undergraduate students are assisting Lubin and Hughes with the DE-STAR project: Johanna Bible and Jesse Bublitz, both from the College of Creative Studies, and chemistry major Joshua Arriola.


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† Top image: Concept drawing of the DE-STAR system engaging both an asteroid for evaporation or composition analysis, and simultaneously propelling an interplanetary spacecraft.

Courtesy Philip M. Lubin



†† Middle image: This plot shows time to evaporate an Apophis-like asteroid versus diameter of the asteroid, versus several laser power levels. The baseline DE-STAR 4 system has approximately 100 gigawatts of laser power.

Courtesy Philip M. Lubin



††† Bottom image: This plot shows DE-STAR laser power and spot diameter versus DE-STAR array size. The DE-STAR system is modular and can be built up in sections each of which is immediately operational.

Courtesy Philip M. Lubin



###

21 August 2010

PCAST Public Statement on Space Solar Power

Readers of this blog know that Open.gov's #1 public suggestion for NASA, DOE, and OSTP was to hold a conference on Space-Based Solar Power   OSTP administers the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
President Obama specifically tasked the PCAST with providing him with Energy related scientific advice, including: "But energy is our great project, this generation's great project. And that's why I've set a goal for our nation that we will reduce our carbon pollution by more than 80 percent by 2050... I will charge PCAST with advising me about national strategies to nurture and sustain a culture of scientific innovation."

PCAST recently had a meeting where Mr. John Mankins, President of Artemis Innovation Solutions gave a public statement.  

Mr. Mankins has a 25-year career at NASA and JPL, including 10 years as the manager of Advanced Concepts Studies at NASA, and was the manager of Exploration Systems Research and Technlogy overseeing nearly a billion dollar budget of over 100 individual projects and some 3000 personnel.  

Check out what he had to say about Space Solar Power:

COMMENTS TO THE PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL OF ADVISORS ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY WRITTEN STATEMENT

An Opportunity for Transformation: Space Solar Power
16 July 2010

John C. Mankins President, Artemis Innovation Management Solutions LLC1

To meet the challenges of Energy and the Environment in an increasingly interdependent and competitive world, novel policies and systems concepts must be pursued. Space activities are not generally considered as relevant to these global challenges outside of Earth observing, global positioning, and the like.

However, this may be an oversight of great significance.  

A space program goal that could--if achieved--radically change the dynamic for renewable energy is that of space solar power: the capability to deliver on demand energy gathered in space to global markets almost continuously.

Unfortunately, as things now stand the US can scarcely even consider this revolutionary goal. No Agency combines the right mix of responsibilities for security, space development, U.S. energy needs, and international relations. DOE is responsible for energy, not space. NASA is responsible for space and aeronautics, not energy. And so on. And with constrained budgets no Agency is looking to add additional goals to their current responsibilities.

Also, some believe the concept of space solar power is impossible. Such views are based largely on conviction, not engineering. Not for more than a decade has there been in the US a systematic, end--to--end study of the concept, nor any meaningful R&D.

And look how far non--space technology has progressed in the past 10 years. Why should space solar power be impossible, except that it is that we have assumed it is so. Basing policies and programs on such assumptions is no recipe for innovation.  

In fact, in 2000 an independent National Research Council review committee found that space solar power was already then technically feasible and that the only R&D issues to resolve involve the question of eventual economic viability. 

The revolutionary new systems concept that could enable space solar power is that of intelligent modular systems building truly enormous future space capabilities out of many hundreds and thousands of smaller component systems. This concept applies to space the principals and architectures of networked systems from hives of bees to cloud computing.

Of course, diverse new technologies still in the laboratory must be proven for space solar power in wireless power transmission, robotics, materials, electronics, and other areas. And numerous new supporting infrastructures will be needed, including low cost launch, affordable in-- space transportation, and others. But, recall how the steam engine changed the world and it was first fabricated from known materials by adult craftsmen working in existing shops. Similar systems--level revolutions resulted from internal combustion, electrification, and heavier than air flight. Although innumerable breakthroughs followed, the beginnings of each lay in new concepts, visionary investments and focused development. 

In the same way, no breakthroughs are required to build the first space solar power pilot plants.

I believe that in a decade or less, the first space solar power pilot plant could be in orbit, delivering to people in multiple countries both clean energy, and a new vision of the interconnectedness of space and Earth. And that within a generation, space solar power could be established as a competitive green energy source in markets worldwide.

Certainly, a revolution in technology, such as space solar power is urgently needed one that would allow the US, working with others to deliver by mid century 100s of thousands of megawatts of carbon--free power to global markets.

The concept of space solar power is under consideration in several countries around the world, ranging from India where key groups and a former President have proposed an international study of the idea, to Japan where space solar power is already an official goal of the Japanese space program. This is a unique moment when the US could demonstrate critical, catalytic leadership working with friends around the world to explore an already technically feasible but fundamentally new and sustainable source of energy.

I urge the PCAST to give consideration to space solar power as a prospective national--level goal that could enhance and engage the best of U.S. government competencies, business capabilities and international relations.

Thank you for this opportunity to present these views to the Council. A copy of my oral statement to the PCAST is appended, as are extensive references on the topic of space solar power.

Appendix 2 Discussion Points for OSTP / PCAST Public Statement
Meeting the dual challenges of Energy and the Environment in an interdependent and competitive world demands novel policies and systems concepts. Space activities are not generally considered as relevant to these global challenges outside of Earth observing, global positioning, and the like.

However, this may be an oversight of great significance.

A space program goal that could if achieved radically change the dynamic for renewable energy internationally is that of space solar power: the capability to deliver on demand energy gathered in space to global markets almost continuously.

Unfortunately, as things now stand the US can scarcely even consider this revolutionary goal. No Agency combines the right mix of responsibilities for security, space development, U.S. energy, and international relations. The DOE is responsible for energy, not space. NASA is responsible for space and aeronautics, not energy. And so on.

And, some believe space solar power is impossible. However, such views are based largely on conviction, not engineering. For over a decade the US has conducted no systematic, end--to--end study of this concept, nor any meaningful R&D.

Of course, diverse technologies must be proven for space solar power in wireless power transmission, robotics, and other areas. But, recall how the steam engine changed the world and it was first fabricated from known materials by craftsmen working in existing shops.

In a decade or less, the first space solar power pilot plant could be in orbit, delivering to people in multiple countries clean energy, and a new vision of the interconnectedness of space and Earth.  

Clearly, a revolution is needed one that can enable the US, working with others to deliver by mid century 100s of thousands of megawatts of carbon--free power to global markets. 

I urge the PCAST to give consideration to space solar power as a prospective national--level goal that could enhance and engage the best of U.S. government competencies, business capabilities and international relations.

1 For additional Information, please contact: John C. Mankins; President, Artemis Innovation Management Solutions LLC; P.O. Box
6660, Santa Maria, California
93456 USA; email: john.c.mankins@artemisinnovation.com; website: http://www.artemisinnovation.com.

Appendix 1 Selected Bibliography of Relevant References Key References

Feingold, Harvey, et al, Space Solar Power A Fresh Look at the Feasibility of Generating Solar Power in Space for Use on Earth (SAIC; Schaumberg, Illinois, USA). 02 April 1997.

Glaser, Peter, Ph.D.; Method and Apparatus for Converting Solar Radiation to Electrical Power.(US Patent No. 3,781,647; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; Washington, D.C.)
25 December 1973.

Howell, Joseph T. and Mankins, John C., Highly Reusable Space Transportation A Summary Report; Retrospective 2009 (Presented at the International Symposium on Solar Energy from Space / IAA SPS 2009 Workshop; Toronto, Canada). 8--11 September 2009.

Mankins, John C. and Kaya, Nobuyuki, A Report On The Status of the IAA Study Group on Solar Energy from Space, IAC--C3.1.1 (Presented at the 60th International Astronautical Congress; Daejeon, Republic of Korea). October 2009.

Mankins, John C. and Howell, Joseph T.; Overview of the Space Solar Power Exploratory Research and Technology Program ---- AIAA 2000--3060 (35th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference; Las Vegas, Nevada USA). 24--28 July 2000.

National Research Council, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, Committee for the Assessment of NASA's Space Solar Power Investment Strategy, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, Laying the Foundation for Space Solar Power: An Assessment of NASA's Space Solar Power Investment Strategy. (National Academies Press; Washington, D.C. USA). 2001.

Additional References

Brandhorst, Henry; Megawatt SEPS and Mars Exploration(International Symposium on Solar Energy from Space / SPS 2009 at the Ontario Science Center; Toronto, Canada). 810 September 2009.

Criswell, David R., Power Collection and Transmission System and Method
(US Patent No. 3,781,647; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; Washington, D.C.)
28 May 1991.

Commercial Space Transportation Study Team, Commercial Space Transport Study Final Report,(Distributed by W. Piland, NASA Langley Research Center; Hampton, Virginia; USA). April 1994.

Ignatiev, Alex, Ph.D., Opportunities to Employ Lunar Surface Materials in a Future Space Solar Power Economy, (Presented at the International Symposium on Solar Energy from Space / IAA SPS 2009 Workshop; Toronto, Canada). 8--11 September 2009.

Kaya, Nobuyuki; Mankins, John C.; Iwashita, Masashi; Little, Frank; and Marzwell, Neville; Hawaii Demonstation of Microwave Beam Control, supported by the Discovery Channel; (International Symposium on Solar Energy from Space / SPS 2009 at the Ontario Science Center; Toronto, Canada). 8--10 September 2009.

Kaya, Nobuyuki, et al.; Crawling Robots On Large Web In Rocket Experiment On Furoshiki Deployment (55th International Astronautical Congress; Vancouver, Canada). 2004.

Mankins, John C., Space Solar Power: A Fresh Look, AIAA
95--3653 (Presented at the 1995 AIAA Space Programs and Technologies Conference, Huntsville, Alabama). September 1995.

Penn, Jay, and Law, Glenn, Future SSP Systems Concepts: the Laser Option.
Commercial and Military Applications, (Presented at the International Symposium on Solar Energy from Space / IAA SPS 2009 Workshop; Toronto, Canada).
8--11 September 2009.

Mankins, John C., A Technical Overview Of The SunTower Solar Power Satellite Concept (IAF--97--R.2.08; 38th International Astronautical Federation, Turin, Italy)
6--10 October 1997.

Mankins, John C.; An Affordable Lunar Launch Concept: MagLifter on the Moon
(revisiting the Lunatron); (International Symposium on Solar Energy from Space / SPS
2009 at the Ontario Science Center; Toronto, Canada).
8--10 September 2009.

Mankins, John C.; Technology Readiness Levels Definitions (White Paper NASA Headquarters; Washington, D.C.; USA). 1995.

Mankins, John C.; Research & Development Degree of Difficulty A White Paper
(White Paper, Advanced Projects Office, NASA Headquarters; Washington, D.C.; USA).
10 March1998. McSpadden, James; Advances in RF Wireless Power Transmission;
(International Symposium on Solar Energy from Space / SPS 2009 at the Ontario Science Center; Toronto, Canada). 8--10 September 2009.

Mihara, Shoichiro; Fuse, Yoshiharu; Saito, Takashi, and Ijichi, Koichi; WPT Technology Demonstration Options at USEF; (International Symposium on Solar Energy from Space / SPS 2009 at the Ontario Science Center; Toronto, Canada). 8--10 September 2009.

Office of Technology Assessment, US Congress; Solar Power Satellites. (Washington DC.) 1981.

Powell, James, R., Maise, George and Rather, John, Maglev Launch An Ultra Low Cost Way to Deploy Space Solar Power Systems (Presented at the International Symposium on Solar Energy from Space / IAA SPS 2009Workshop; Toronto, Canada).
8--11 September 2009.