SPACE
 

Mar-08 From Science Fiction to Science Fact - A Tribute to Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Sometimes the line dividing Science & Science Fiction is to small to appreciate the difference, in fact many science fiction writers in the past had become visionaries of the future, been much ahead of its time. Some of them where also part of the real science community of their time.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke was a man devoted to science but also looking for ahead been author of more than a hundred science fiction works, much of these works had become science fact, and other will be too in the future.

His passion with space never ended, and between many other things he introduced conceptually the term "artificial satellite" in a science paper written while he was at the 2nd world war, with all the physics and maths needed to have a satellite in orbit. He also popularized the concept of the space elevator (now feasible using carbon nanotubes). Also made us dream of a future to come with 2001 A Space Odyssey.

He formulated in one of its 3 laws:

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible"

He died in March 19th, 2008 but he left us an incredible legate of inspiring thoughts to fulfill with real achievements.

© David Vivancos Cerezo,  vivancos@vivancos.com

 
 

Ago-06 The 8 Planets of the Solar system

Since the end of August 2006, we have “lost” the 9th planet, Pluto has been downgraded to non-planet, with or without strong scientific arguments it is a reality. Its hard to believe that with a lot of fascinating astronomical discoveries done in the last century, we still doesn’t have a clear definition of what a planet is.

There isn’t a big practical difference in having 8 or 11 planets in our solar system, each body (planets, moons, asteroids or whatever), is a treasure of discoveries to be made. We still have a lot to learn about Pluto, and hopefully when the NASA’s New Horizons mission will arrive in 2015 and later on with the Kuipier belt.

The fact is that now Neptune is the last planet, for me also an intriguing, beautiful and unknown planet worth to be visited from above in the future and also part of blue theme of this web.

We should focus our efforts in being able to land humans in all the rocky planets and moons, and getting close to watch all the other ones.

© David Vivancos Cerezo,  vivancos@vivancos.com

 
 

Apr-06 The Future of Propulsion

There is no doubt that the key factor in space exploration is the way we get to space, until now we have been relaying in a technology born some decades ago, which has enabled us to achieve crucial goals in the past, but at the same time it has become slower factor in the human exploration of space, mainly due to its costs.

The cost is what drives everything, well not exactly everything, the will to do the things is another enabler, but we are in deep need of getting affordable ways of reaching space.

In that sense the propulsion as we know it, is limited by its costs, its risks, the technology factors like the propellants, the structure materials and so on, and mainly through Nanotechnology we expect to find improvements in this field, but it will not solve the cost issue at least in a short term.

The cost issue can only be addressed with more demand & more competence, from the new private perspective, the work of Elon Musk from SpaceX and many other entrepreneurs will have its payout in the near future, and the competence created by new countries like China getting into space will help too.

But there is revolution to come in the way of getting to space, and will come once we understand the real nature of Gravity, once we understand the underlying mechanisms of it, and specially its force carrier.

 The future of propulsion relays on a complete understanding of Gravity. And that’s why its one of the pillars of my research.

© David Vivancos Cerezo,  vivancos@vivancos.com

 
     
 

Jul-05 The Icy moons of the Solar System

The Search for clues that will be direct evidence of life outside our planet, inexorably drive to the search for liquid water, there are two moons that intrigue me in that way, one is from Jupiter, its moon Europa, and the other one is from Saturn, its moon Enceladus, both of this moons have an icy surface with a very probable liquid interior heated by the core of the moon.

We have very little and relative low resolution data form Europa, and will be needed a probe to land there and get into the subsurface to reveal its mysteries.

From Enceladus we have very recent and with much better resolution data, from the Cassini-Huygens Mission, but we will have to wait until it’s interpreted, and in the future a land in this intriguing moon will we a must.

Looking to the most recent pictures, I am intrigued with some of the features you can distinguish, like 3D linear and tubular structures that seams to rise above the average surface, and a very low cratered surface for a moon like this.

You can look for your self in the image on the right with a pixel about 85 meters (280 feet) per pixel. a close up of one of this features. What are this 3D linear structures?
We will have to wait to know..

© David Vivancos Cerezo,  vivancos@vivancos.com

 
     
 

May-05 About Private Space Flight

We have almost lost in terms of human exploration the previous 40 years doing almost nothing to let the human race conquer space. For example what happened to the reach for the Moon Its like if after Colon arrive at America nobody went there again in 35 years, but even that,  500 years ago, and with nearly no “technology” it doesn’t happen. People keep going to the unknown because they want to explore.
How can be proud to say that only 12 people walked on the Moon and less than 450 reached orbit in more than 40 years?

But something is changing with the born of the Private Space Flight Industry which form my point of view officially started the previous year when the SpaceShipOne from Burt Rutan done its first flight to 100 km or 60 Miles.
It means that with a “little” amount of money, with a genius designer, with a huge effort and a lot of vision its possible. I personally have never doubt about it.
It’s a risky business, but with a lot of concern about security it will be even safer than conventional flight
What we would expect to see in the next years is the born of a new industry, the born of a new dream to the new generations.

The first flights in the next two years will make new private astronauts and will let them admire the earth from above, but it will not stop there it will continue to reach higher orbits, to reach the Moon and other Planets in the years to come, to keep the reality factor we can't forget that we are now reaching suborbital flights but achieving  orbital flights  will require more advanced technology to get enough thrust and for supporting the reentry.

We couldn’t waste the time and money like we have been doing the previous 40 years in human space flight , the dream is now alive again but it isn't an easy travel. We need to keep innovating every day.

© David Vivancos Cerezo,  vivancos@vivancos.com

 
     
 

Apr-05 Form Mars to Titan

We find our selves in one of the best moments in the space exploration history since the landing on the Moon or since Copernicus, Kepler, Tico Brahe, Galileo or Newton whom established the basic knowledge needed to understand the universe, in the year of the centenary of the fundamental discoveries of Einstein.

Recently the European Space Agency ESA, landed a small ship "the Hyugens probe" on Titan one of the intriguing moons of Saturn, sending incredible data, pictures and sounds before it's death, of a planet that may be like infant Earth, the scientific relevance of this data is up to come and for sure will reveal some of its secrets. In addition, the mothership Cassini of NASA is sending astounding data and pictures of Saturn, its rings and moons.
At the same time two robots run in the surface of the planet Mars, maybe the planet that has captivated the minds of many people including H.G. Wells and others.

But the thing is that paradoxically the human exploration of the space hardly advanced since the big efforts to reach the Moon in the 60's  ¿Why the human space flight hasn't developed as much as the conventional flight developed almost 100 years ago?

At the end, we are seeking to answer basic questions like, where we come from? And, are we alone?, my personal bet is that in this two decades we will answer the second question discovering evident clues of life in other places in our own solar systems, with profound implications to our society.

The role of space exploration in this decades will change dramatically with the development of new ways of reaching and traveling through space.

© David Vivancos Cerezo,  vivancos@vivancos.com