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Archive for the ‘environmental’ category

Sep 24, 2019

Why A Venus 2.0 Could Still Be Habitable Today

Posted by in categories: engineering, environmental, space

If we terraformed Venus, would it remain habitable in its present orbit?

Sep 21, 2019

Greta Thunberg: Most Important Message Ever

Posted by in categories: climatology, education, energy, environmental, existential risks, geopolitics, government, homo sapiens, lifeboat, policy, treaties

If you are a Lifeboat subscriber or have been reading these pages for awhile, you may know why it’s called “Lifeboat”. A fundamental goal of our founder, board, writers and supporters is to sustain the environment, life in all its diversity, and—if necessary—(i.e. if we destroy our environment beyond repair, or face a massive incoming asteroid), to prepare for relocating. That is, to build a lifeboat, figuratively and literally.

But most of us never believed that we would face an existential crisis, except perhaps a potential for a 3rd World War. Yet, here we are: Burning the forests, killing off unspeakable numbers of species (200 each day), cooking the planet, melting the ice caps, shooting a hole in the ozone, and losing more land to the sea each year.

Regading the urgent message of Greta Thunberg, below, I am at a loss for words. Seriously, there is not much I can add to the 1st video below.

Information about climate change is all around us. Everyone knows about it; Most people understand that it is real and it that poses an existential threat, quite possibly in our lifetimes. In our children’s lives, it will certainly lead to war, famine, cancer, and massive loss of land, structures and money. It is already raising sea level and killing off entire species at thousands of times the natural rate.

Continue reading “Greta Thunberg: Most Important Message Ever” »

Aug 22, 2019

Giving Mars a Magnetosphere

Posted by in categories: biological, engineering, environmental, mathematics, space, sustainability

Any future colonization efforts directed at the Mars all share one problem in common; their reliance on a non-existent magnetic field. Mars’ magnetosphere went dark about 4 billion years ago when it’s core solidified due to its inability to retain heat because of its small mass. We now know that Mars was quite Earth-like in its history. Deep oceans once filled the now arid Martian valleys and a thick atmosphere once retained gasses which may have allowed for the development of simple life. This was all shielded by Mars’ prehistoric magnetic field.

When Mars’ magnetic line of defense fell, much of its atmosphere was ripped away into space, its oceans froze deep into the red regolith, and any chance for life to thrive there was suffocated. The reduction of greenhouse gasses caused Mars’ temperature to plummet, freezing any remaining atmosphere to the poles. Today, Mars is all but dead. Without a magnetic field, a lethal array of charged particles from the Sun bombards Mars’ surface every day threatening the potential of hosting electronic systems as well as biological life. The lack of a magnetic field also makes it impossible for Mars to retain an atmosphere or an ozone layer, which are detrimental in filtering out UV and high energy light. This would seem to make the basic principles behind terraforming the planet completely obsolete.

I’ve read a lot of articles about the potential of supplying Mars with an artificial magnetic field. By placing a satellite equipped with technology to produce a powerful magnetic field at Mars L1 (a far orbit around Mars where gravity from the Sun balances gravity from Mars, so that the satellite always remains between Mars and the Sun), we could encompass Mars in the resulting magnetic sheath. However, even though the idea is well understood and written about, I couldn’t find a solid mathematical proof of the concept to study for actual feasibility. So I made one!

Aug 21, 2019

Elon Musk back to promoting bombing Mars with nuclear weapons

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, engineering, environmental, military, space

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk not only wants to explore Mars, he wants to ‘nuke’ it.

In a tweet this week, Musk reiterated calls to ‘Nuke Mars!’ adding that t-shirts are ‘coming soon.’

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Aug 18, 2019

Terraforming Mars in 50 Years with Large Orbital Mirrors, Bacteria and Factories

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, energy, engineering, environmental, space

The McKay-Zubrin plan for terraforming Mars in 50 years was cited by Elon Musk.

Orbital mirrors with 100 km radius are required to vaporize the CO2 in the south polar cap. If manufactured of solar sail-like material, such mirrors would have a mass on the order of 200,000 tonnes. If manufactured in space out of asteroidal or Martian moon material, about 120 MWe-years of energy would be needed to produce the required aluminum.

The use of orbiting mirrors is another way for hydrosphere activation. For example, if the 125 km radius reflector discussed earlier for use in vaporizing the pole were to concentrate its power on a smaller region, 27 TW would be available to melt lakes or volatilize nitrate beds. This is triple the power available from the impact of a 10 billion tonne asteroid per year, and in all probability would be far more controllable. A single such mirror could drive vast amounts of water out of the permafrost and into the nascent Martian ecosystem very quickly. Thus while the engineering of such mirrors may be somewhat grandiose, the benefits to terraforming of being able to wield tens of TW of power in a controllable way would be huge.

Jul 17, 2019

Regenerative Ecology — Scott Quitel, Founder, LandHealth Institute- ideaXme — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, bees, biological, biotech/medical, complex systems, environmental, geoengineering, health, science, transhumanism

Jul 16, 2019

A Thin Layer of Aerogel Could Make Martian Farming Possible

Posted by in categories: alien life, engineering, environmental

Scientists think they’ve found a way to terraform Mars — and all it takes is a thin blanket of insulation over future space gardens.

A layer of aerogel just two to three centimeters thick may be enough to protect plants from the harshest aspects of life on Mars and create viable greenhouses in the process, according to research published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy. While there are a host of other problems to solve before anyone can settle Mars, this terraforming plan is far more feasible than other ideas that scientists have proposed.

Two of the biggest challenges facing Martian settlers are the Red Planet’s deadly temperatures and unfiltered solar radiation, which is able to pass through Mars’ weak atmosphere and reach the surface, New Scientist reports. At night, it can reach −100 degrees Celsius, which is far too cold for any Earthly crops to survive.

Jun 4, 2019

Promise in the Gloom? How Bleak Future Scenarios for Employment Might Save the Environment

Posted by in categories: environmental, robotics/AI

How might future changes in the structure of business and the nature of work impact the environment?

While governments around the world are wrestling with the potential for massive on-rushing technological disruption of work and the jobs market, few are extending the telescope to explore what the knock-on impacts might be for the planet. Here we explore some dimensions of the issue.

Although replacing humans with robots has a dystopian flavor, what, if any positives are there from successive waves of artificial intelligence (AI) and other exponentially developing technologies displacing jobs ranging from banker to construction worker? Clearly, the number of people working and the implications for commuting, conduct of their role and their resulting income-related domestic lifestyle all have a direct bearing on their consumption of resources and emissions footprint. However, while everyone wants to know the impact of smart automation, the reality is that we are all clueless as to the outcome over the next twenty years, as this fourth industrial revolution has only just started.

There is a dramatic variation in views on the extent to which automation technologies such as AI, robotics and 3D / 4D printing will replace humans or enable wholly new roles. For example, A 2016 McKinsey automation study reported that, with current technologies, about a third of most job activities are technologically automatable, affecting 49% of the world economy, an estimated 1.1 billion employees and $12.7 trillion in wages. China, India, Japan, and USA account for more than half of these totals. The report concluded it would be more than two decades before automation reaches 50% of current activities.

Continue reading “Promise in the Gloom? How Bleak Future Scenarios for Employment Might Save the Environment” »

Apr 11, 2019

This moss-covered wall is as air-purifying as 275 urban trees

Posted by in categories: environmental, health, space, sustainability, transportation

From smog-sucking bikes to electric taxis and paint made of car exhaust, designers and architects are stepping up to address air pollution—the world’s single largest health risk. But a new air filter making the rounds in Oslo, Paris, Brussels, and Hong Kong shows that nature may be our best ally in this battle.

Essentially a moss-covered wall, each CityTree removes CO2, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter from the air while also producing oxygen. A single tree is able to absorb 250 grams of particulate matter a day and remove 240 metric tons of CO2 each year—a level roughly on par with the air purification impact of 275 urban trees. Thirteen feet tall, with a metal frame, the CityTrees are easily installed in a public space, and they even have built-in seating at their base.

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Apr 10, 2019

Surviving Mars: Green Planet expansion allows you to terraform Mars

Posted by in categories: engineering, environmental, space

Terraforming is coming to Surviving Mars in a spectacular way. Not only can you make the atmosphere breathable for humans, but it also allows you to engage in new mechanics previously absent from the experience.

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