Russian company developing lasers capable of destroying objects in orbit.

A Russian company affiliated with Roscosmos the Russian space agency is said to be working on a ground based laser project which will have the capability of vaporizing space junk into tiny particles.

The company is named the Research-and-Production Corporation Precision Systems. A name that likely makes a lot more sense in Russian. They claim to be developing a 3 meter laser ‘canon’ that will use laser ablation to remove mass and effectively destroy space debris, which is becoming a real issue in low earth orbit with remnants of every human space launch speeding around the globe at orbital velocity. One can imagine the carnage that an astronauts lost wrench could cause when it flies through a launching satellite booster at 17,000mph.

It makes me feel good that someone is tackling the space junk problem but it shouldn’t take much thought on this topic to realize that if space debris cal be vaporized then so can communications satellites, space stations, spy satellites and military satellites. I see this possibly becoming a repeat of the 1980’s U2 incident when the Russians find a USA spy satellite that we agreed not to have to have in the first place and blow it to dust. They would be right in doing so but like all the stupid things governments do it’s their people that suffer.

This was first written of by an RT article that can be found here.

98′ International Space Station, priced to sell! Minor astronaut residue & micrometeorite damage, sold as ISS!

The new NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine is talking with international companies this week about the prospect of selling all or part of the International Space Station off to private companies, Jim claims to have heard a lot of interest in managing the station from these companies. While it is wholly possible that this statement is intended more to create demand than state its existence. I for one hope it does exist.

NASA’s financial involvement in the International Space Station is due to end in 2025, it is by then that commercial management must be in place or the expensive station will simply burn to dust in our atmosphere.

Simply put space needs to be profitable.

We have come to the realization that it is possible from a science and engineering standpoint to have things like moon bases, space stations, missions to mars, etc. But in reality, if we expect NASA to do it all on their own, then it will only ever be one mission at a time. NASA needs to act as a nursery for commercial enterprises to spawn such as with SpaceX & Blue Origin. But the demand needs to be there, the money.

SpaceX has done very well financially in their efforts to standardize launches of satellites and ISS support missions into low earth orbit. If the plans for BFR come to fruition and we ever wind up with a true earth to earth suborbital passenger spaceflight industry, then the costs of space missions mean simply paying for the diverting a commercial flight. Parts would be standardized, Maintenance procedures standardized, The availability of trained personnel would increase. This is the facepalm slappingly obvious way of operating in space.

But where would this leave NASA? Would NASA fade away into obscurity? Would they do missions at all? I hope so. In my mind at least there is plenty of room for NASA to exist and even operate their own missions in this world. NASA’s mission has always been of breaking frontiers and pushing science boundaries. Today those boundaries are further off, which means NASA must follow. That would mean more planetary science and less interest in the Earth/Moon system. It would seem that today at least the NASA leadership gets it. What do you think? How what should NASA be focused on and much commercial involvement is a good thing, Tell me in the comments below.

Russian scientist predicts humanity to be pre-destined for intergalactic tyranny.

The Fermi paradox is the ultimate mystery on this planet. By seemingly every measure we can think of, life on this planet seems to be an unstoppable force of nature. In every crack and crevice of this planet, there is life. Even the most toxic places have seen life adapt to fill them. So knowing this about our own planet we have to ask where the hell all the aliens are. Well Russian physicist Alexander Berezin just published one of the more creative answers to this paradox that I have ever heard

“The only explanation is the invocation of the anthropic principal, we are the first to reach the interstellar phase, and likely, we will be the last to leave”

The essence of what Alexander means is that considering our second generation star is among the first stars with enough heavy elements to support life. If we are the first species to develop interstellar travel. Then the safe assumption is that Humanity will reign supreme over the galaxy, crushing all opposition until the last star burns out, and we inevitably die with it…

Is it a grim view? Optimistic? It certainly seems a-moral. To conquer or subjugate every species that is technologically inferior to you in any way just because you came first. I’m sure my tone is a little more aggressive than Alexanders original paper but that doesn’t change the reality of what we would be doing. Essentially the paper states that Hollywood style alien invasions are just a natural inevitability of life. And true, any examination of human history does nothing to exonerate us of these charges. The animal kingdom is even worse. We are truly red in tooth and claw. I can see why someone would think that on a long enough timeline the stronger power would simply crush its opposition. I honestly don’t know how I feel in this regard. But thankfully I can show the question to be a moot point.

Let’s go back and take a second look at that quote, the one about us reaching the interstellar phase? We haven’t…

Sure we have sent some very successful probes out into deep space, remember our most successful mission into deep space was into our own backyard. The ISS would only fly 3/8ths of an inch off a standard classroom globe were it made to scale. We have not gone to our closest planet let alone the giants in the outer solar system. And while I like to think optimistically there are still some very big questions about the viability of such missions. What I said before about the pervasiveness of life on Earth remember that every other place we know of besides here is a lifeless barren wasteland. Can we overcome those challenges? maybe. But it is far from the only barrier to Alexander’s statements becoming fact.

Lightspeed is usually thought of as being very fast. In the terms of interstellar travel, it isn’t even a crawl. From everything, we know about physics the only way to get from one system to another is the long slow way, longer than human lifetimes that is for sure. Tell me how is an empire supported when any communication between systems requires years for each one-way message. And if the distance between systems seems like a lot the distance between galaxies swamps even that. Supposing you could even travel at light speed remember that the cosmic expansion of the universe is even faster. Some galaxies expand away from each other faster than even light can travel. Right there the possibility of conquering the universe is out the window. Cant conquer systems you can never even reach.

The whole theory requires a heaping pile of hand-wavey technology that our ancestors need to develop to ever come close to happening. But it is fun to think about. I suspect that spawning discussion was really the whole point of his article and in that regard, I can say it was a resounding success.

You can read the original article here.

Populating a Mars base will be dangerously unsexy.

This article holds a sentement that I have agreed with for a long time. While I would love to see humanity go to Mars, biologically It’s probably not meant to be. Not without some changes. And, in the short term at least, it is very unlikely that Mars itself will be the one doing the changing.

Sure we can get people to survive on Mars. I’m sure we could have missions there of a month or longer. Maybe even a long-term base with crew rotating out at periodic intervals. The issue arises when you take a human, put him on Mars, and then expect them to not only stay there the rest of their lives but raise a healthy family also. There are the basic problems. No oxygen, no air pressure, no water. So assuming you can handle all of those you still have to figure out a way to deal with the fact that Mars doesn’t have a magnetosphere, which on Earth, is the only thing that protects you from being constantly irradiated from interstellar radiation. Combine that with the .3G of Earth gravity that exists on Mars, (leading to bone density issues) and any children you have up there have a huge risk of becoming emaciated and irradiated. Terraforming could help us possibly breathe outside on mars but nothing will fix the gravity and radiation problems

Because of these reasons, I think in the short term that bioforming the human genome to live on Mars is the only real solution. Humans on Mars would become Martians. They would literally need genomes adapted to live on the planet Mars just like millions of years of evolution have adapted Homosapien to live on Earth.

Populating a Mars Base Will Be Dangerously Unsexy

In 1972, citizen scientist Sir Elton John hypothesized that Mars “ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids.” While John’s remarks were never published in a peer-reviewed journal (though they did peak at No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart), he’s not wrong about the Red Planet’s inhospitality.