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Message 1018144 - Posted: 21 Jul 2010, 15:14:09 UTC

Frank Drake,
wants to take the search for aliens further:
about 82 billion kilometres away, in fact.



At this point in space, electromagnetic signals from planets orbiting distant stars would be focused by the gravitational lensing effect of our sun, making them, in theory, more easily detected. Drake wants to send spacecraft there in a bid to overhear alien communications, which would be too faint for telescopes on Earth to detect.

It's neither a new or original idea, but it has never taken off because of the distances involved. With existing propulsion technologies, spacecraft would take hundreds of years to make the voyage, which is about 550 times the distance from Earth to the sun.

Gravitational lenses could also be used to transmit signals, amplifying them so they could travel further and potentially reach distant civilisations. It's also possible, Drake says, that intelligent civilisations have built an intergalactic internet using such techniques and are just "waiting for us to log on".

read more here ...

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527483.200-drake-wants-offworld-listening-post-for-alien-messages.html
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527483.200-drake-wants-offworld-listening-post-for-alien-messages.html

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Message 1018145 - Posted: 21 Jul 2010, 15:14:44 UTC

Maybe ET's Calling,
But We Have The Wrong Phone




To date, SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) has focused on ETs who 'phone home' using the radio part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and even a very small region within that.

But what if ET's phone doesn't use radio waves? Sure the xkcd comic, is funny, but maybe it points to a deep flaw in our attempts to contact, or hear from, an ETI?

When Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison suggested the possibility of interstellar communication via electromagnetic waves in a 1959 paper in Nature, only radio was feasible, as we then had the ability to detect only artificial radio signals, if produced by ETIs with 1959 human technology. Since then we've developed the ability to detect a laser signal, brighter than the Sun (if only for a nanosecond) if it came from a source several light-years away … but lasers weren't invented then.

What might ET's equivalent of ants' pheromones be?
(...)
Read the rest of Maybe ET's Calling, But We Have the Wrong Phone (814 words)

http://www.universetoday.com/2010/06/21/maybe-ets-calling-but-we-have-the-wrong-phone/
http://www.universetoday.com/2010/06/21/maybe-ets-calling-but-we-have-the-wrong-phone/

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Message 1018147 - Posted: 21 Jul 2010, 15:16:03 UTC

Finding frugal aliens:
‘Benford beacons’ concept could
refocus search for intelligent extraterrestrial life



Astrophysicist Gregory Benford — standing before the UCI Observatory
believes an alien civilization would transmit “cost-optimized” signals
rather than the kind sought for decades by the SETI Institute.

UC Irvine astrophysicist Gregory Benford and his twin, James — a fellow physicist specializing in high-powered microwave technology — suggest that signals from ET would not be continuously blasted out in all directions but rather would be more cost-effective “Benford beacons”: pulsed, narrowly directed and broadband in the 1-to-10-gigahertz range.

For 50 years, humans have scanned the skies with radio telescopes for distant electronic signals indicating the existence of intelligent alien life. The search — centered at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. — has tapped into our collective fascination with the concept that we may not be alone in the universe.

read more here ...

http://www.physorg.com/news198835228.html
http://www.physorg.com/news198835228.html

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Message 1018148 - Posted: 21 Jul 2010, 15:19:21 UTC - in response to Message 1018145.

interesting that we've become a radio quiet planet in 60 years. Perhaps we should look into other forms of communication to search for ET. If we've gone silent why wouldnt any other intelligent civilization

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Message 1018165 - Posted: 21 Jul 2010, 17:13:15 UTC

Don't know about America but Italy is full of Television broadcasting antennas. Also the Vatican has powerful radio antennas in Rome to cover the whole world.
Tullio
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Message 1019610 - Posted: 26 Jul 2010, 2:38:20 UTC
Last modified: 26 Jul 2010, 2:40:58 UTC

-

Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope
have discovered carbon molecules, known as "buckyballs,"
in space for the first time.
Buckyballs are soccer-ball-shaped molecules
that were first observed in a laboratory 25 years ago.



NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has at last found buckyballs in space, as illustrated by this artist's conception. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


They are named for their resemblance to architect Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes, which have interlocking circles on the surface of a partial sphere. Buckyballs were thought to float around in space, but had escaped detection until now.

"We found what are now the largest molecules known to exist in space," said astronomer Jan Cami of the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and

the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. "We are particularly excited because they have unique properties that make them important players for all sorts of physical and chemical processes going on in space."

Cami has authored a paper about the discovery that will appear online Thursday in the journal Science.

Buckyballs are made of 60 carbon atoms arranged in three-dimensional, spherical structures. Their alternating patterns of hexagons and pentagons match a typical black-and-white soccer ball. The research team also found the more elongated relative of buckyballs, known as C70, for the first time in space. These molecules consist of 70 carbon atoms and are shaped more like an oval rugby ball. Both types of molecules belong to a class known officially as buckminsterfullerenes, or fullerenes.


read more here ...

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-243
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2010-243
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Message 1025889 - Posted: 17 Aug 2010, 16:09:26 UTC

Why Don't We See White Holes in Space?



Science fiction fans love the possibility of other universes, even more so contemplating the possibility of being able to travel between them through exotic configurations of space time, notably wormholes, which are pretty much just black holes with an opening poking through the singularity.

Less well known is the equally exotic (and purely hypothetical) possibility of "white holes:" the opposite of black holes. Whereas matter and light can fall into a black hole and never escape, white holes would emit light and matter but wouldn't take anything in, for example.

But while we see evidence for black holes in space, thus far there hasn't been any observational evidence of white holes. Now a physicist at the University of Oregon in Eugene thinks he might be able to explain why.

Here's the standard analogy for the formation of a wormhole: Picture a bed sheet stretched taut. Place a large bowling ball in the center of the sheet, and the sheet will bend inward in response, creating a gravitational pull.

Now imagine that the bowling ball is being squeezed, so that the same amount of mass must fit into a smaller and smaller space. The ball will become denser and denser as it becomes smaller and smaller. This causes the sheet to dip lower and lower, until finally the ball has been squeezed down to the size of a pinhead.

At that point, its density becomes so great and the gravitational force so strong that it pokes a small hole in the center of the sheet. That’s what would happen if a wormhole formed at the center of a black hole.

But what lies on the other side?

read more here ...

http://news.discovery.com/space/why-dont-we-see-white-holes-in-space.html#mkcpgn=emnws1
http://news.discovery.com/space/why-dont-we-see-white-holes-in-space.html#mkcpgn=emnws1
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Message 1027885 - Posted: 24 Aug 2010, 0:14:28 UTC

Alien hunters "should look for artificial intelligence"

By Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News


The Allen telescope array will comprise 350 telescopes listening for ET signals

A senior astronomer, Seth Shostak has said that the hunt for alien life should take into account alien "sentient machines"

The odds favor detecting alien artificial intelligence rather than biological life because the time between aliens developing radio technology and artificial intelligence would be short, says SETI Institute senior astronomer Seth Shostak.

He also says that artificially intelligent alien life would be likely to migrate to places where both matter and energy — the only things he says would be of interest to the machines — would be in plentiful supply. That means the SETI hunt may need to focus its attentions near hot, young stars or even near the centers of galaxies.

... read more here ...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11041449
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11041449


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Message 1027927 - Posted: 24 Aug 2010, 3:42:08 UTC

Then, if we ever receive a signal, we should submit it to a Turing test to see if it comes from a living being or a computer.
Tullio
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Message 1029870 - Posted: 31 Aug 2010, 5:40:00 UTC

I missed the first broadcast while on vacation this summer, but a CBC Radio Quirks & Quarks episode was recently replayed that included this item:

The Eerie Silence
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of an international research program known as SETI – the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. And so far, they’ve discovered – nothing. Not a beep, not a sound, not a tweet. Absolutely nothing. So does that mean that there is no intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? Or have we just been looking in the wrong places, using the wrong tools, and making some bad assumptions about alien intelligence? Those are the questions that Dr. Paul Davies poses in his new book, The Eerie Silence: Renewing our Search for Alien Intelligence. Dr. Davies is a cosmologist and astrobiologist, and Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University.

Listen (.mp3 audio)
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Message 1030065 - Posted: 1 Sep 2010, 22:01:34 UTC

The Extraordinary Tale of Red Rain, Comets and Extraterrestrials
For years, claims have circulated that red rain which fell in
India in 2001, contained cells unlike any found on Earth.

Now new evidence that these cells can reproduce is about to set the debate alive.

Panspermia is the idea that life exists throughout the universe in comets, asteroids and interstellar dust clouds and that life of Earth was seeded from one or more of these sources. Panspermia holds that we are all extraterrestrials.

While this is certainly not a mainstream idea in science, a growing body of evidence suggests that it should be carefully studied rather than casually disregarded.

For example, various bugs have been shown to survive for months or even years in the harsh conditions of space. And one of the more interesting but lesser known facts about the Mars meteorite that some scientists believe holds evidence of life on Mars, is that its interior never rose above 50 degrees centigrade, despite being blasted from the Martian surface by an meteor impact and surviving a fiery a descent through Earth's thick atmosphere.

If there is life up there, this evidence suggests that it could survive the trip to Earth.

All that seems well established. Now for the really controversial stuff.

In 2001, numerous people observed red rain falling over Kerala in the southern tip of India during a two month period. One of them was Godfrey Louis, a physicist at nearby Cochin University of Science and Technology. Intrigued by this phenomena, Louis collected numerous samples of red rain, determined to find out what was causing the contamination, perhaps sand or dust from some distant desert.

Under a microscope, however, he found no evidence of sand or dust. Instead, the rain water was filled with red cells that look remarkably like conventional bugs on Earth. What was strange was that Louis found no evidence of DNA in these cells which would rule out most kinds of known biological cells (red blood cells are one possibility but ought to be destroyed quickly by rain water).

read more here ...

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/
http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/
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Message 1030292 - Posted: 2 Sep 2010, 23:18:50 UTC

NASA Science News for Sept. 2, 2010

NASA's daring plan to visit the sun
took a giant leap forward today with the selection of
five key science investigations for the Solar Probe+ spacecraft.


Last year, NASA invited top researchers around the world
to submit proposals detailing possible science investigations for
the pioneering spacecraft. Thirteen proposals were received and five have been selected


The two mysteries prompting this mission are the high temperature of the sun's corona and the puzzling acceleration of the solar wind:

Mystery #1—the corona: If you stuck a thermometer in the surface of the sun, it would read about 6000o C. Intuition says the temperature should drop as you back away; instead, it rises. The sun's outer atmosphere, the corona, registers more than a million degrees Celsius, hundreds of times hotter than the star below. This high temperature remains a mystery more than 60 years after it was first measured.

Mystery #2—the solar wind: The sun spews a hot, million mph wind of charged particles throughout the solar system. Planets, comets, asteroids—they all feel it. Curiously, there is no organized wind close to the sun's surface, yet out among the planets there blows a veritable gale. Somewhere in between, some unknown agent gives the solar wind its great velocity. The question is, what?

"To solve these mysteries, Solar Probe+ will actually enter the corona," says Guhathakurta. "That's where the action is."

Solar Probe Plus will be an extraordinary and historic mission, exploring what is arguably the last region of the solar system to be visited by a spacecraft, the Sun’s outer atmosphere or corona as it extends out into space. Solar Probe Plus will repeatedly sample the near-Sun environment, revolutionizing our knowledge and understanding of coronal heating and of the origin and evolution of the solar wind and answering critical questions in heliophysics that have been ranked as top priorities for decades. Moreover, by making direct, in-situ measurements of the region where some of the most hazardous solar energetic particles are energized, Solar Probe Plus will make a fundamental contribution to our ability to characterize and forecast the radiation environment in which future space explorers will work and live.

FULL STORY at:

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/02sep_spp/
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/02sep_spp/



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Message 1033091 - Posted: 15 Sep 2010, 19:24:39 UTC

SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)
is sponsoring a workshop this week on the
past and next 50 years of SETI - (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is sponsoring a workshop this week on the past and next 50 years of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) an (SETI), and they are webcasting many of the sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, September 13-15. The workshop featuring leading scientific researchers as well as authors, historians, religious leaders, and biologists. Viewers will be able to send questions to the presenters. The webcasts begin at 8:30 a.m., EDT, on September 13, 14, and 15.

Drake will webcast his views on “SETI in 2061 and Beyond”, at 8:30 a.m., EDT, on September 15.

“This workshop focuses on a topic that has a profound influence on the way we view ourselves and our place in the Universe,” said Dr. Glen Langston, NRAO astronomer and workshop organizer. “We are pleased to present this to the public through the webcast.”

Click here - to Watch SETI Web Webcast This Week

or You can see the workshop schedule at this link

and can be watched at this link

read more here ...

http://www.universetoday.com/73529/watch-seti-webcast-this-week/

http://www.gb.nrao.edu/OZMA@50/agenda.shtml[/quote]

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Message 1038810 - Posted: 6 Oct 2010, 17:26:42 UTC

SETI Senior Astronomer Seth Shostak argues that SETI might be more successful if it shifts the search away from biology and focuses squarely on artificial intelligence. Shostak sees a clear distinction between life and intelligence: he says we should be searching for extraterrestrial machines.

The window between a society’s technological birth and its shift to AI is amazingly small. “Once any society invents the technology that could put them in touch with the cosmos, they are at most only a few hundred years away from changing their own paradigm of sentience to artificial intelligence,” he says. Because artificial sentience would almost inevitably outlast and outperform its fleshy, needy predecessors, Shostak concludes that any aliens we detect will be machines.

“Machines have … no obvious limits to the length of their existence, and consequently could easily dominate the intelligence of the cosmos. In particular, since they can evolve on timescales far, far shorter than biological evolution, it could very well be that the first machines on the scene thoroughly dominate the intelligence in the galaxy.”

The machines would require two primary resources: energy to operate with and materials to maintain or advance their structure. Because of these requirements, Shostak thinks SETI ought to consider expanding its search to the energy- and matter-rich neighborhoods of hot stars, black holes and neutron stars, and to Bok globules (dense regions of dust and gas that produce multiple-star systems at around negative 441 degrees Fahrenheit, and are more efficient, since cooling is not required).

http://www.astrobio.net/exclusive/3632/astronomer-seeks-et-machines
http://www.astrobio.net/exclusive/3632/astronomer-seeks-et-machines
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Message 1039398 - Posted: 8 Oct 2010, 3:37:58 UTC

Space Weather News for Oct. 8, 2010

DRACONID METEORS: Every year around Oct. 8th, Earth passes through a minefield of dusty debris from Comet Giacobini-Zinner, source of the annual Draconid meteor shower. This year, forecasters expect Earth to narrowly miss several of the debris streams, resulting in no appreciable display for 2010. Next year, however, could be different. On Oct. 8, 2011, Earth will have a nearly head-on collision with a tendril of dust, setting off a strong outburst of as many as 750 meteors per hour. One year from now, sky watchers could see the strongest meteor shower since the Leonid storms a decade ago. Mark your calendar and, meanwhile, follow the links at http://spaceweather.com for more information.

COMET HARTLEY 2 UPDATE: Comet 103P/Hartley 2 continues to approach Earth for an 11-million-mile close encounter on Oct. 20th. It is not yet visible to the unaided eye, but amateur astronomers are finding it easily using backyard telescopes. The comet's vivid green atmosphere now subtends an angle equal to some of the biggest craters and seas on the Moon.

Visit:

http://spaceweather.com

for sky maps and latest images.

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Message 1040750 - Posted: 10 Oct 2010, 20:36:09 UTC - in response to Message 1038810.

Hi,

Is SETI turning its ear to Gliese d, turns out to be in the habitable zone around Gliese, however that planet having a permanent day and nite side, that might make it too hot for life to develop in the day side and the oposite holds true for the night side too. Nevertheless, if Gliese d turns out to have a dense atmosphere like Earth or Venus, then the greenhouse affect along with aerosols, along with water, might make life possible. Astronomers might want to look for chemical signatures such as mathane, and high levels of oxygen, nitrogen in the atmosphere of Gliese d. Gliese is a dwarf star, its fusion process of burning hydrongen into nitrogen is much slower than a Sun type star, a G star; and Gliese like the Sun seems to be stable star also, which is good news for life, since any high leves of radiation is not good for any life. Any thoughs on my comment, thank you.

ps: Unrelated, could the WOW signal been given off by a Galileo type craft exploring in the constelation Sagitarius? any thougts on this


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Message 1041388 - Posted: 12 Oct 2010, 1:20:54 UTC

even if the planet has a permanent day/night side, there could be a habitable zone in the "twilight" areas. Or life could adapt accordingly.

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Message 1041634 - Posted: 13 Oct 2010, 6:26:43 UTC

Ever since the announcement of the discovery of exoplanet Gliese 581g, there has been a buzz in the news, on websites, Twitter – pretty much everywhere, about the first potentially habitable extrasolar planet. But the past couple of days there has been a different sort of buzz about this distant world. Two stories have surface and they both can’t be true. The first one is fairly off the deep end: an astrophysicist from Australia claims that while doing a SETI search two years ago, he picked up a “suspicious signal” from the vicinity of the Gliese 581 system, and a couple of websites have connected some dots between that signal and a potentially habitable Gliese 581g.

The second one is more sobering. At an International Astronomical Union meeting this week, other astronomers have raised doubts whether Gliese 581g actually exists.

Unless you’ve been under a rock the past two weeks, you likely know that this newest and most promising of potential habitable extra solar planets was described by the scientists who discovered it as a rocky world about 3 times the mass of Earth, and it orbits within the red dwarf star’s habitable zone, the place that is just right for water to remain as a liquid on a planetary surface. And it is fairly close to us, too, at about 20 light years away, located in the constellation Libra.

Also announced was the discovery of planet ‘f’, a 7-Earth mass planet with a 433-day orbit around Gliese 581.

Astronomer Steven Vogt announced the discoveries by his team, which used the HIRES instrument on the Keck I telescope in Hawaii. They also used 119 measurements from the HARPS instrument on the La Silla telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

On Monday, Steinn Siggurdson broke the news on his Dynamics of Cats blog that an astronomer who works on HARPS data at the Geneva Observatory, said at the IAU meeting this week that his team could not confirm the existence of Gliese 581 g.

In an article on the Astrobiology Magazine website today (Tuesday) the astronomer, Francesco Pepe, said that not only can they not confirm the existence of planet ‘g’, but also the ‘f’ planet.

In 2009, the Geneva team announced the discovery of planet ‘e’ in the Gliese 581 solar system. At approximately 1.9 Earth masses, this ‘e’ planet is the lowest mass extrasolar planet found at that time, and has a 3.15-day orbital period around the star.

Pepe said they have studied this planet-rich system frequently, gathering a total of 180 data points in 6.5 years (with about 60 of those data points since 2009) and they can only see evidence of the 4 previously announced planets b, c, d, and e.

There is a signal which could possibly be f, but the signal amplitude of this potential fifth planet is very low and basically at the level of the measurement noise, said Pepe.

The planets in the Gliese 581 system were discovered using spectroscopic radial velocity measurements. Planets ‘tug’ on the star they orbit, causing it to shift in position (stars and planets actually orbit a common center of mass). By measuring the star’s movement in the sky, astronomers can figure out what sort of planets are orbiting it. Multi-planet systems create a complicated signal, and astronomers must tease out the spectral lines to figure out what represents a planet, and what is just “noise” – shifts in the star light not caused by an orbiting planet. Astronomers have developed various ways to reduce such noise in their telescopic observations, but it still creates a level of uncertainty in detecting extrasolar planets.

The Geneva team plugged the HARPS data on Gliese 581 into computer models, and the models show “the probability that such a signal is just produced ‘by chance’ out of the noise is not negligible, of the order of several percents,” Pepe said. “Under these conditions we cannot confirm the presence of the announced planet Gliese 581 g.”

While this doesn’t definitively mean Gliese 581g doesn’t exist, it certainly casts doubt on it. More teams will be looking at the Gliese 581 star to try and determine what is really out there. This story is not over yet.

As for the alien signal, this news has met some pretty harsh criticism — even from Dr. Frank Drake, a leader in SETI community. Astronomer Ragbir Bhathal, a scientist at the University of Western Sydney, said he detected an unusual pulse of light nearly two years ago from the same region at Gliese 581, and with the news of the potential habitable world there, his claims came up again. In an article in Space.com Drake said is suspicious because Bhathal would not share his data with anyone.

You can read an article published in 2009 in the Australian about Bhathal’s claimed discovery.

read more here ...

http://www.universetoday.com/75581/buzz-about-gliese-581g-doubts-of-its-existence-aliens-signals-detected/
http://www.universetoday.com/75581/buzz-about-gliese-581g-doubts-of-its-existence-aliens-signals-detected/

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Message 1043854 - Posted: 23 Oct 2010, 4:00:46 UTC



The Director of NASA’s Ames Center, Pete Worden has announced an initiative to move space flight to the next level. This plan, dubbed the “Hundred Year Starship,” has received $100,000 from NASA and $ 1 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He made his announcement on Oct. 16. Worden is also hoping to include wealthy investors in the project. NASA has yet to provide any official details on the project.

Worden also has expressed his belief that the space agency was now directed toward settling other planets. However, given the fact that the agency has been redirected toward supporting commercial space firms, how this will be achieved has yet to be detailed. Details that have been given have been vague and in some cases contradictory.

The Ames Director went on to expound how these efforts will seek to emulate the fictional starships seen on the television show Star Trek. He stated that the public could expect to see the first prototype of a new propulsion system within the next few years. Given that NASA’s FY 2011 Budget has had to be revised and has yet to go through Appropriations, this time estimate may be overly-optimistic.

One of the ideas being proposed is a microwave thermal propulsion system. This form of propulsion would eliminate the massive amount of fuel required to send crafts into orbit. The power would be “beamed” to the space craft. Either a laser or microwave emitter would heat the propellant, thus sending the vehicle aloft. This technology has been around for some time, but has yet to be actually applied in a real-world vehicle.

The project is run by Dr. Kevin L.G. Parkin who described it in his PhD thesis and invented the equipment used. Along with him are David Murakami and Creon Levit. One of the previous workers on the program went on to found his own company in the hopes of commercializing the technology used ...

read more here ...

http://www.universetoday.com/76195/nasas-ames-director-announces-100-year-starship/
http://www.universetoday.com/76195/nasas-ames-director-announces-100-year-starship/

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