November 6, 2016

Final Frontier Design Delivers MCP Gloves To NASA (Source: FFD)
Final Frontier Design (FFD) has delivered a pair of functional Mechanical Counter Pressure (MCP) gloves to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.  This marks a major milestone in FFD’s fixed-price contract with NASA for MCP gloves and represents a promising alternative in space suit pressure garment design. Click here. (10/28)

Rocket Engine Will Need Funds to Reach Lift Off (Source: Financial Times)
Alan Bond is living proof that persistence pays off. The former Rolls-Royce rocket engineer has spent more than 30 years chasing his dream of space travel, fighting not just bureaucracy but also indifference to a vision many believed was impossible.

Yet the engine concept that the 72-year-old and his two partners have developed, which could eventually take an aircraft from earth to orbit and back again, is on the brink of becoming reality. Reaction Engines, the UK company formed by the three, expects next year to start building the first components for a demonstrator of their engine, named Sabre, with a view to begin testing by 2020. Click here. (11/6)

Hawaiian Project to Help Develop Mars Protocols (Source: Hawaii Tribune-Herald)
Scientists will mix biology and geology this month inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as they help NASA get ready for an eventual manned mission to Mars. During the next couple of weeks, the researchers will hike around Mauna Ulu to practice collecting rock samples as they would on the Red Planet.

The purpose is to develop protocols that would be used on a real Martian mission to identify and protect samples that could host life. One of the concerns is contamination of rocks that might be home to living bacteria, said John Hamilton, an astronomy faculty member at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The NASA grant is administered through UH-Hilo. The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems also is a partner. (11/4)

If a ‘Big Whack’ Made the Moon, Did it Also Knock the Earth on Its Side? (Source: New York Times)
A cataclysmic collision not only created Earth's moon, but may have also knocked Earth over on its side, scientists proposed. Their numerical simulations indicate that the collision of a Mars-size object with the early Earth left our planet tilted at an angle of 60 to 80 degrees and spinning rapidly, once every 2.5 hours, or almost 10 times as fast as today. (11/4)

Asteroid Mining Can Get $100 Billion For Everyone On Earth: NASA (Source: iTechPost)
Asteroid mining is probably the future of commerce on Earth. The most important part of the business is that it can bring in so much money that it can change the life of each person on the planet. According to a recent estimate, each person on Earth can own $100 billion if the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter can be reached.

More than one million asteroids are there in the belt between the two planets. Among those, there are around 200 asteroids that are more than 60 miles in diameter. According to NASA, this asteroid belt is worth $700 quintillion. That much of an amount can get $100 billion for everyone on the Earth.

Asteroid mining companies are stretching limits to achieve beyond the usual heights. There are technical difficulties in getting hold of the said belt. NASA plans to get one sample from asteroid Bennu. The sample will weigh around 2kg, and the cost of the mission will be one billion. (11/3)

NASA, FEMA Hold Asteroid Emergency Planning Exercise (Source: NASA JPL)
What would we do if we discovered a large asteroid on course to impact Earth? While highly unlikely, that was the high-consequence scenario discussed by attendees at an Oct. 25 NASA-FEMA tabletop exercise in El Segundo, California.

The third in a series of exercises hosted jointly by NASA and FEMA -- the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- the simulation was designed to strengthen the collaboration between the two agencies, which have Administration direction to lead the U.S. response

"It's not a matter of if -- but when -- we will deal with such a situation," said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "But unlike any other time in our history, we now have the ability to respond to an impact threat through continued observations, predictions, response planning and mitigation." (11/4)

Space Balloons Inflating Passenger Flight Hopes (Source:
After a string of high-profile setbacks for rocket programs aimed at one day flying paying customers into space, a Spanish tech firm plans to send stargazers skyward using gas-filled balloons. Barcelona-based Zero2Infinity aims to harness the same technology used in helium weather balloons to float its first clients to the edge of space within two years, according to CEO Jose Mariano Lopez-Urdiales.

"We are solving the problem with space access in a totally different way. We're getting outside of the atmosphere using cheap, clean, high-altitude balloons—a technology that is well-understood and mature," he said. "From there, the possibilities are endless." At a cost of 110,000 euros (around $122,000), the trip to the stratosphere will not be cheap, but Mariano believes there will be a big market for people interested in experiencing a few hours as an astronaut. (11/4)

Musk: Robots Will Take Your Jobs (Source: CNBC)
Computers, intelligent machines, and robots seem like the workforce of the future. And as more and more jobs are replaced by technology, people will have less work to do, predicts Elon Musk. "There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation," says Musk. "Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do."

In a country with universal basic income, each individual gets a regular check from the government. Switzerland considered instituting a universal basic income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2578) a month this summer. Voters ultimately rejected the plan, but it sparked a broad, global conversation.

Editor's Note: Automation coupled with population growth is limiting opportunity and causing unrest in developed and developing economies worldwide. This is a structural economic problem that will get worse. It is a big contributor to the unrest being leveraged in this year's election cycle, but other issues are being blamed, like immigration, crime, terrorism and racial unrest. These other issues are symptoms, not causes. We shouldn't expect a new president to be able to fix this with sweeping promises, nationalist rhetoric or isolationist policies. (11/5)

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