Text Size

Stardrive

Feb 26

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and IBM Research-Zürich have fabricated an ultra sharp, diamond-like carbon tip possessing such high strength that it is 3,000 times more wear-resistant at the nanoscale than silicon.

The end result is a diamond-like carbon material mass-produced at the nanoscale that doesn't wear. The new nano-sized tip, researchers say, wears away at the rate of one atom per micrometer of sliding on a substrate of silicon dioxide, much lower than that for a silicon oxide tip which represents the current state-of-the-art. Consisting of carbon, hydrogen, silicon and oxygen molded into the shape of a nano-sized tip and integrated on the end of a silicon microcantilever for use in atomic force microscopy, the material has technological implications for atomic imaging, probe-based data storage and as emerging applications such as nanolithography, nanometrology and nanomanufacturing.

Nanotechnology is really becoming mainstream, and life will never be the same.  It brings to mind the alien Pierson's Puppeteer made, General Products diamond starship hulls, from Larry Niven's Ringworld.  Little baby steps, punctuated by giant leaps. 

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Feb 25

Forget clocks and watches – overlapping present images with historic photographs is perhaps the most stunning and illuminating way to see what a difference a day (or week or month or year or decade) really makes. In some cases very little changes, but in other images you can see just how much can shift over a short period of time – from demolished structures and reconstructed buildings to entirely-altered streets and waterways.

These are wonderful photo superpositions.  To check them out, click here.

Marc Millis, former head of NASA’s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project, has designed ion thrusters, electronics for rocket monitoring, cryogenic propellant equipment, and even a cockpit display to guide free-fall aircraft flights. His recent retirement after nearly 30 years with NASA has freed him to devote full time to his Tau Zero Foundation, “using the dream of reaching other worlds as both a long-range goal and a catalyst for near-term progress.”

Be sure to check out this interview with Marc Millis, former head of NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project.  To read the complete article, click here.

Feb 24

First 'heavy-fermion' material made in 2D

Posted by: lensman |
Tagged in: Untagged 

Physicists in Japan have created the first 2D "heavy-fermion" material – providing the best evidence yet that heavy fermions undergo a quantum phase transition. The material was made using molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), which also allowed the researchers to carry out the first systematic study of how the electronic properties of a heavy-fermion material change when it is made into layers just one molecule thick. The results could help physicists to understand why some other layered materials superconduct at relatively high temperatures.

It's a safe bet that the materials comprising the skin of a UFO are going to be highly advanced, layered metamaterials. This kind of fundamental materials research is heading us in that general direction.   To read the rest of the article, click here.

There was clearly intelligent life at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego, held February 18-22. In particular, I had the good fortune to sit down with Jill Tarter, Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI Research and Director, Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute. The mission of SETI, which stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe, according to its website. SETI scientists, of which there are approximately 150, essentially listen and look for signals from space that would demonstrate there is intelligent life out there.

Remember the movie Contact? Jodie Foster's character, the driven astronomer who first noticed the strange sounds coming from the VLA, is based on Jill Tarter. This intrepid scientist, whose undergraduate degree is in engineering physics, has what some may argue is the best and most difficult job in the world: trying to find evidence of an alien civilization. To date, says Tarter, we haven't gotten a call or a text from ET, but that doesn't stop her and her team from doing what they can to locate that needle in the proverbial haystack. The next star system is 25,000 light years away from us, so her operation may take awhile.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

 

Feb 23

The Case For More Exotic Propulsion Research

Posted by: lensman |
Tagged in: Untagged 

The March, 2010 issue of Scientific American published a sobering article by Michael Moyer, entitled "Fusion's False Dawn."  In this excellent article, Moyer points out in great detail, the daunting technological problems with ever bringing large scale commercial fusion power generation online.  With the age of fossil fuel power generation rapidly drawing to a close, the need for environmentally safe, efficient, and economical power generation is more vital than ever.

There are promising existing, off the shelf alternative power generation technologies such as solar and wind, as well as relatively safe and clean nuclear fission power generation technology, but all these technologies are essentially outdated 19th and 20th century technologies.  There was some initial excitement over the possibility of cold fusion, but that technology has yet to be generally confirmed and practically realized.  What is truly needed, is new technology for the 21st century and beyond.  

As Dr. Jack Sarfatti pointed out in his recent radio interview with George Knapp on Coast to Coast, we have voluminous evidence that Earth has been, and continues to be visited by technologically advanced beings not from this planet.  So, obviously, someone has figured out how to generate the kinds of extraordinary energy needed to traverse the vast distances of interstellar space.  Such advanced technology would obviously have huge ramifications for power generation here on Earth.   That's why it is so vital that mainstream science and national policy makers really start thinking outside the box, and devote much more material and human resources towards exotic propulsion research.

Kim Burrafato, a.k.a. Lensman

Feb 23

Darpa Plans Test for Hypersonic Weapon

Posted by: lensman |
Tagged in: Untagged 

The Pentagon’s far-out science arm is planning an April test flight for a prototype of a hypersonic weapon that — in theory — could cross the Pacific Ocean in under two hours.

In a solicitation issued late last week, Darpa said it was looking to charter a U.S.-flag vessel to help collect telemetry for the upcoming test of a Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 (HTV-2). According to the solicitation, an unpowered HTV-2 will be launched on a booster rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and glide to a target site in the Marshall Islands, sometime between April 20 and April 27.

It’s the first public announcement of a flight test originally scheduled for 2009.

The flight test is part of the Falcon program, a Darpa-Air Force project to develop the tech that could lead to a reusable hypersonic vehicle that could take off and land like a plane. It would carry 12,000 pounds of payload over 9,000 nautical miles in less than two hours.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Feb 21

Good Primer on the Physics of Time Travel

Posted by: lensman |
Tagged in: Untagged 

To read the articles of Andrew Zimmerman Jones, click here.

Feb 21

This is worthwhile reading. For the the link to the website, click here.

Feb 21

Warp Drives: Making the 'Impossible' Possible

Posted by: lensman |
Tagged in: Untagged 

Yesterday, I wrote an article about William Edelstein's concern that a warpship could vaporize when traveling close to the speed of light. Let's face it, it doesn't sound good when a scientist points out that the ambient gas between the stars could turn into "death rays" with as much energy as a beam of protons in the Large Hadron Collider operating at full pelt.

To counter this argument, advanced propulsion expert Richard Obousy is concerned that citing problems with a theoretical futuristic warp drive is a little shortsighted at best. At worst, it could distract from these advanced theories ever being tested.
"Of course, a warp drive is a purely theoretical device at this stage, and no evidence exists that indicates that a warp drive could actually be built," Dr. Obousy told Discovery News. "There are, however, some research papers which lay down a mathematical and physical framework for how such a device might function, given the convenient caveat of a 'sufficiently advanced technology.'"

To read the rest of the article, click here.