Space – Are you interested in space and have a little extra cash? If you have $80,000, you can reserve your spot. Then you only need an additional $9.5 million for your full trip. Where are you going? To Aurora Station.
Aurora Station is a space station planned by Orion Span. Unlike the other current space stations Aurora Station is planned as a luxurious space hotel. The hotel will initially be able to accomodate four guests and two staff in the 43 foot long by 14 foot diameter module.
While it is certainly not open for business yet, the plan is to have it open by 2022. You will get on-line training, followed by three months of training at the Orion Span facility in Houston, Texas, then a 12-day excursion to Aurora Station. Once on Aurora Station guests will experience zero-g and help with research. The company eventually plans to expand the station and add possibly offer ‘space condos’ in the future.
Orion Span announced this venture back in 2007. They report that they have had nearly 40 people lay down the money to reserve a spot. If you are of a mind, you can reserve your spot now.
Whether or not this commercial venture actually opens their space hotel, I think that someone will in the near future. The price tag is hefty, but as commercial launch services mature, the costs will drop.
Robots – I came across the article “How Should Your Company Prepare For Robot Coworkers?” this morning. if you are concerned as to how AI and automation will be affecting your job or you company, you should give it a read. It is short only taking about 5 minutes.
The gist of the article is that we need to start thinking how to incorporate AI and robotics into the work place alongside existing employees. the key thing is to modify work flow to incorporate what AI and robotics do well and have humans focus on the less mundane, higher intellect part of the job.
Apparently even Walmart is looking at automation in its stores. Two different initiatives seem to be under evaluation by Walmart.
EMMA (Enabling Mobile Machine Automation), an autonomous machine for scrubbing store floors, is under evaluation at five stores. After a training run controlled by a human operator to identify the desired operational path, the machine will autonomously clean the floor. It has built in sensors and cameras similar to autonomous vehicles currently on the roads that allow it to navigate around obstacles at a sedate 2.5 miles per hour. EMMA is a product of Brain Corp.
In a separate trial, Walmart has deployed shelf-scanning robots in 50 stores. These machines will scan store shelves to verify inventory, prices and misplaced items. These units are from Bossa Nova Robotics.
Will these attempts at automation cost jobs? Well, probably over the long term, but it is unlikely that the impact will be significant. It is clear though that robots and automation will be in our future.
Space – I came across the article “Private companies are launching a new space race – here’s what to expect” this morning. it gives a very good overview of the companies and governments that are currently pursuing space programs.
If you are interested in space exploration, as I am, you will find this article of interest. The next decade will see many significant events if todays forecasts can be believed.
Space – I came across the article “Here Is the Future of Interstellar Spacecraft” yesterday and thought it was a good overview of the propulsion technologies that are likely to take future spacecraft beyond the Solar System.
In short the alternatives that are covered are:
- Thermonuclear propulsion
- Bussard ramjet
- Antimatter rockets
- NASA’s Eagleworks Lab “Warp bubble” drive
None of these are really going to be ready in the near future, with possibly the exception of the Lightsail. I am glad to see though that the ideas are being kept in front of people, particularly those budding STEM students who will lead the way over the next few decades.
I thought that this video of what some of today’s kids think the future will bring was vey interesting. It was produced by IEEEUSA to promote STEM and Engineering. I only hope that there are many more kids that feel the same.
The White House has just (Octoberr 2016) issued the report entitle “Preparing For the Future of Artificial Intelligence“.
In short the report:
- highlights the benefits of AI
- talks of the need for standards
- brings up how AI should be regulated
- raises the issue of job loss due to automation
If you are interested in Robots, AI and Automation, your time would be well spent reading this 48 page report.
I came across this article today “HOW WILL WE GET TO MARS? NEW BOOK AND TV SERIES PROVIDE THE DETAILS” and now I am looking forward to the National Geographic series. This will be a six-part documentary series to be aired on the National Geographic Channel beginning November 14. The series is based on the book by space journalist Leonard David also titled, “Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet.”
The story being told is set in 2033 and tells of the fictional story of the first six humans and their mission to Mars. There is the drama of the three men and three women who take the journey to Mars interspersed with ‘flashbacks’ to the present with documentary footage on how technology evolved to enable the eventual mission to Mars.
This series will be of interest to any thinking about Mars and its eventual colonization. If you go to National Geographic Channel website you can watch the first hour and twenty minute episode of the series now.