Cisco Partners with NASA on Planetary Skin Project, Previews Massive Web Collaboration Platform

March 05 2009 / by Garry Golden / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Metaverse   Year: General   Rating: 10 Hot

MemeboxDigitalPlanet Earth is about to get its own version of the Web!

Cisco Systems is partnering with NASA to create a massive online collaborative global monitoring platform called the "Planetary Skin" to capture, collect, analyze and report data on environmental conditions around the world, while also providing researchers social web services for collaboration. 

This type of platform is essential for Climate and Ecosystem researchers, but it also might be a sneak peak at the future of the Internet.

'Smart Planet': Age of Sensors & Structured Data
If life in the past few decades has been forever altered by complex microprocessor chips, the next century could see the same social disruption via simple, low cost networked sensors and 'embedded objects' that mirror a digital signal of our analog world. But making this disconnected data relevant is a challenge.

The 'Planetary Skin' platform [video] will stitch together 'petabytes' of unstructured data collected by sensors (land, sea, air, space) reporting on changing environmental conditions.  The platform will also allow for 'streamlining of decision making' and 'collaborative swarming' on analysis of relevant data.  The project's first layer, “Rainforest Skin,” will be prototyped during 2009.

Good for NASA, Great for Cisco, and Wonderful for 'Mirror World' Metaverse Enthusiasts

The benefits to NASA and Planetary system researchers is clear.  Forget about Facebook, these scientists are looking for a functional digital research simulation 'Mirror World' (as envisioned by David Gelertner).

Meanwhile, Cisco is working diligently to make itself the most relevant web company in the next era of Internet architecture where collaboration, video, 3D simulations and structured data change the nature of our interactions.  'Planetary Skin' might be Cisco Systems under the radar, but out in the open effort of essentially building its own Internet of Tomorrow.

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Astronauts to land on speeding asteroid by late 2020s

May 28 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Space   Year: General   Rating: 7 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

A lump of rock more than 40 meters in diameter speeding through space at 28,000 mph, once considered the most dangerous object in the universe, is about to become the site for humanity’s next “giant leap for mankind.”

NASA engineers have selected asteroid 2000SG344 – which in 2000 was given a significant chance of slamming into Earth with the explosive power of 750 Hiroshimas – as the perfect space object to study. The operation would take place before the 2030 Mars journey, a speculative trip bandied about ever since the first President Bush mentioned in 1989 that America should send men to the red planet.

The asteroid mission represents a crucial step for America’s space program. A report to be published next month in the journal Acta Astronautica describes plans to use the soon-to-be-developed Orion space ship for a three-to-six month round-trip to the asteroid, with two explorers spending up to two weeks on the rock’s surface.

As well as providing experience for longer Mars trips, samples taken from the rock could help scientists convert sub-surface ice into drinking water and breathable oxygen, understand more about the birth of the solar system, and how best to defend Earth against dangerous asteroid collisions. (cont.)

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The Future of Space Travel is Yucky

July 14 2008 / by jcchan / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Space   Year: Beyond   Rating: 7 Hot

Ah, space tourism. You ditched Paris or Tokyo to the dismay of your spouse and now sit some 600 miles above Earth with an ice-cold Mojito in hand. “See, honey? This isn’t so bad.” As you take a sip the pilot speaks over the intercom about some turbulence. That’s fine you think, it can’t be bad as the bumpy airplane trips to Los Angeles back when you were a kid.

Just then, you see gold specks scream pass the window at 17,500 miles an hour, followed by the loud thud of a space helmet that leaves a considerable dent in your window outside. The entire space-plane trembles violently as red lights flood on. The pilot reassures that it was just space turbulence and to strap on seat belts. “This wasn’t mentioned in the catalogue” you thought, your spouse giving you a look that you know all too well.

This may not be the common vision of space tourism but the reality is that since the Soviet Union launched Sputnik back in 1958 there is an estimated one million pieces of junk floating in orbit. Of those, 9,000 objects are bigger than a tennis ball, large enough to cause catastrophic damage to moving space shuttles, satellites, and space stations. Most are pieces from old satellites and garbage left behind by previous missions. Adding to this mess are nuts, bolts, and screwdrivers that have errantly drifted into space from missions, and an expensive Hasselblad camera with exposed pictures still inside.

According to the European Space Agency, of the 5,500 tons of material in orbit, 93% is junk that includes parts of old spacecraft, depleted rocket boosters, garbage bags ,and even nuclear coolant. Each piece can and are dividing into more pieces. Only 7% of the material in orbit is operational spacecraft in use.

Besides posing an ethical problem of using our orbit as a landfill, the junk pose a big problem to current and future missions because of their ultra-high velocities in orbit. At 17,500 miles per hour, a millimeter speck of paint has the same amount of energy as a .22 caliber long rifle bullet, a pea sized piece has the lethal potential of a 400-lb safe traveling at 60 mph, and a tennis ball sized piece of metal is essentially 25 sticks of floating dynamite.

So what can we do about this junk? Is there a way to get it out of orbit? Perhaps zap it? Or give it a nudge? (cont.)

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Singularity University - It's Official

February 03 2009 / by Jeff Hilford / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2009   Rating: 5 Hot

The Singularity University, which our own Alvis Brigis got an early scoop on, was made official today.  The venture has the support of Google, NASA and an All-Star team of the singularity cognoscenti.  The announcement received widespread coverage in the media from the likes of Businessweek, AP and Forbes, which demonstrates just how far this meme has come over the years.

ray_kurzweil_nologo.jpg

I'll never forget a great night owl session at the first Accelerating Change Conference held by John Smart's Accelerating Studies Foundation in 2003 with Ray Kurzweil holding court and about 20 of his most ardent fans (many of whose works I had read) in attendance.  Eliezer Yudkowsky, Ben Goertzel, John Smart et al were listening in earnest to what Ray had to say and it was pretty cool.  I heard sometime later that it was also a treat for Ray to have been in such an intimate setting with such a knowledgeable and passionate crew.

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Space Program Reinvigorated with Expansive Space-based Solar Energy Policy

December 24 2008 / by Adam Cutsinger
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 4 Hot

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Many people will say that pursuing a space-based solar power energy campaign is too ambitious, that there are more immediate solutions to get us through our economic/energy crisis until a time when spaced-aged, science fiction-inspired future tech can be safely explored further.  They might say that we already have a head start with nuclear, oil and coal, as well as other greener alternatives like wind, water and Earthbound solar.  They would be dead wrong.  The truth is...

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Our Planet: Views From Space

August 07 2008 / by justinelee / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Space   Year: General   Rating: 3

I just came across and wanted to share this fascinating video montage of our planet as seen from space that features footage from the BBC’s hugely popular television series Planet Earth.

Generated by Burrell Durrant Hifle (BDH), a multi-disciplinary design company, these scenes stitch together many high-resolution photographs from NASA. It took BDH and the production team over four years to piece everything together – talk about patience.

While this isn’t anything particularly advanced, watching it I’m reminded of just how crazy limited (one little sphere in the universe), but also how crazy dynamic our earth is. In the future I expect that we’ll continue to get better and finer images of the planet, but this six-minute video is well worth the watch and opens the mind to the more radical perspectives that we’ll be generating in the coming years.