Friday, October 30, 2009

Copy Cats, Dogs & Bugs For Knowledge

Scientists are already serious about a discipline called biomimicry.

It is alluded to in several posts on this blog under the key word biomimicry.

The tenets of Ecocosmology also cover the subject as well.

Tenet Four of Ecocosmology reads:

4) The seeds of intelligence (genetic and memetic clues) required to successfully perform The Test are distributed into all species, races, religions, sciences, creeds, and genders. Thus, all individuals should be respected as carriers of some quanta of the seed of intelligence required to pass The Test, lest a fundamental quantum of necessary intelligence be lost.

(Tenets of Ecocosmology). Incredible engineering efficiency is gleaned from the most unusual of natural places.

For example robots walk on water as a result of the study of mosquito legs, and the study of beetles leads to new coatings.

This tenet is encapsulated in a specific scientific field:

WHAT IS BIOMIMICRY: Biomimicry is a field in which scientists, engineers, and even architects study models and concepts found in nature, and try to use them to design new technologies. It as a design principle that seeks sustainable solutions to human problems by emulating nature's time-tested patterns and strategies. Nature fits form to function, rewards cooperation, and banks on diversity. For instance, the Eastgate Building in Harare, Zimbabwe, is the country's largest commercial and shopping complex, and yet it uses less than 10 percent of the energy consumed by a conventional building of its size, because there is no central air conditioning and only a minimal heating system. The design follows the cooling and heating principles used in the region's termite mounds.

(ibid, and see Biomimicry). We may find microbes and other life forms on planets near us, as we have here on earth, that will have qualities to help us develop space travel of the type required for long term survival of our species.

I mean, there is the SAT and then there is in Ecocosmology what is called The Test.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mystery of Special Relativity Narrowed

Some of the theories of quantum gravity have been discredited.

But not all of them have been, so the study goes on.

Scientists came up with a notion to look at photons that were about 7 billion years old, having left a galaxy that many years ago at about the same time.

They wanted to see if they travelled at the same speed:
This strategy led Guiriec and his collaborators to examine photons generated by a gamma-ray burst that erupted in a galaxy 7.3 billion light-years from Earth. Recorded by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope on May 10, 2009, the burst produced an assortment of gamma-ray photons, including one with an energy of 31 billion electron-volts — about 13 billion times the energy of visible light — and another photon about one-tenth as energetic.

Although the two photons had significantly different energies and journeyed for more than 7 billion light-years, they arrived at the Fermi telescope less than nine-tenths of a second apart. That tiny time difference means that these photons traveled at almost exactly the same speed, just one part in 100 million billion apart, notes study coauthor Peter Michelson of Stanford University. That difference is small enough to suggest that the speed of light is constant regardless of the energy of the photon. The finding therefore rules out any theory of quantum gravity that predicts a large energy-dependent change in velocity, he adds.
(Science News). We had posted an article discussing one of the quantum gravity hypotheses which talked about the Lorentz invariance which allows that gravity can exceed the speed of light:
Although faster-than-light force propagation speeds do violate Einstein special relativity (SR), they are in accord with Lorentzian relativity, which has never been experimentally distinguished from SR — at least, not in favor of SR. Indeed, far from upsetting much of current physics, the main changes induced by this new perspective are beneficial to areas where physics has been struggling, such as explaining experimental evidence for non-locality in quantum physics, the dark matter issue in cosmology, and the possible unification of forces.
(Gravitate Towards Light Speed). While the gamma ray photon experiment mentioned in the Science News article, linked to above, does clearly support the notion of photons travelling at the uniform speed of light, it still does not answer the question of whether or not the speed of gravity can exceed the speed of light.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Survival In A Trailer Park In Space?

One of the many surprises coming from the Cassini mission to Saturn is that the outer ring of Saturn is constructed in whole or in part from liquid squirted into space from the moon Enceladus.

An additional interesting tidbit is that there is some salt along with some organics in the water being sprayed from that moon:

For the first time, scientists working on NASA's Cassini mission have detected sodium salts in ice grains of Saturn's outermost ring. Detecting salty ice indicates that Saturn's moon Enceladus, which primarily replenishes the ring with material from discharging jets, could harbor a reservoir of liquid water -- perhaps an ocean -- beneath its surface.

(NASA Enceladus). Some of you, like me when I took my kids and grand kids to IMAX, have probably seen the IMAX Theater's movie about an imaginary trip to that moon, and the water world underneath its surface.

Will a trailer park be built there in the future as an adjunct to space travel?

Space vehicles and even the International Space Station (I worked on that project for Boeing/Rocketdyne for awhile) are like mobile homes or "trailers" as they are sometimes called, since they are made of metal, are temporary, and have no foundation attached to dirt real estate.

In my lifetime I have owned dozens of conventional homes built on concrete or block foundations, and also a couple of mobile homes.

I have found that very good people live in both types of dwellings, as do very bad people.

As has been pointed out on this blog, planets in solar systems are temporary dwellings, and sentient species on those planets must become nomads at some time in the cycle of the life of that species, if they want to survive as a species beyond that star's life cycle.

Perhaps a temporary trailer park on Enceladus will be part of our salvation in the future?

We shall see.