Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Space Colonization: The Quiet Revolution

A very optimistic view of the possibility of near-future space colonization from Space Technology & Applications International Forum (STAIF) held Feb 13-17.
"Rice said that the growing business of public space tourism "is really the spirit of colonization." The giggle factor of citizen space travelers is totally gone, he said."

The prognosis for space colonization is good, said Edward McCullough, principal scientist for The Boeing Company in Huntington Beach, California.
"During the last half of the 20th century, a host of technologies and disciplines which had witnessed millennia of slow or no growth…suddenly went exponential," McCullough reported at the STAIF meeting.
A few favorites on the Boeing scientist’s list are:

* Large scale, micro scale and high-speed fabrication with metal, ceramics, plastics and electro active polymers;

* Autonomous robotics capable of interacting with complex objects and capable of piecing together modules and performing complicated repair duties unattended;

* Smart programmable shape materials and intelligent materials, along with microscopic fluidic computers;

* Space suits amplified with artificial muscles and polymer electronics;

* Artificial organs for life support, chemical processing and water treatment;

* Genetic engineering of Mars adapted plants and intelligence-boosted domestic animals, including e-coli delivered pharmaceuticals and other very advanced health care remedies.

I am not sure that I agree with the theory that new technologies are suddenly developing exponentially fast. I think that at any time the new technologies of the day appear that way.
However, I do agree that the interest and engineering effort going into space colonization is growing. Of course, it is people like these that are quoted in this article that are making it happen.

Space Colonization: The Quiet Revolution


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