Space Communications Networks: Past, Present & Fictional

An antenna built for interplanetary connection. The Soviet Union was planning to build bases on other planets, and prepared facilities for connection which were never used and now lie dormant.

From – Wreckage in the snow: Russia’s forgotten future

Meanwhile, in Cloud Atlas:

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And in reality – a snapshot of our current Earth-Space Comms Network:

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An excerpt from: Uplifting Civilisation 2: The Atemporal People’s Republic

Excerpt from: Uplifting Civilisation 2: The Atemporal People’s Republic:

Some final thoughts then, to both close things out and close the loop for the argument I’ve presented here. We’ve managed to derive some lessons from our previous cultural depictions of a society featuring humans, uplifted animals and machine intelligences. We’ve taken a brief overview of the current legal situation, as it pertains to this matter, and a more in-depth technical survey of some of the science involved. Now let’s sum things up with a few more observations.

At the beginning of this post I talked about how our ancestors teamed up with the wolf, and how that partnership led to both our species prospering. That in time led to a point in history known as the Neolithic Transition. When a combination of three things led to the dawn of the Agricultural Age: domestication of cattle and horses, wheeled vehicles and a genetic mutation for lactose tolerance (known as the ‘LP allele’). The prevailing theory now seems to be that it was a people known as the Yamnaya, steppe herders from what’s now Russia and the Ukraine, that had the winning combination of all three, and five thousand years ago swept across Europe, outcompeting the existing hunter-gather populations there.

Once the LP allele appeared, it offered a major selective advantage. In a 2004 study, researchers estimated that people with the mutation would have produced up to 19% more fertile offspring than those who lacked it. The researchers called that degree of selection “among the strongest yet seen for any gene in the genome”.

Compounded over several hundred generations, that advantage could help a population to take over a continent. But only if “the population has a supply of fresh milk and is dairying”, says Thomas. “It’s gene–culture co-evolution. They feed off of each other.”

The factors that enabled the dawn of the Bronze Age could apply equally to the coming of a true Space Age; partnership / co-evolution with animals, a new means of transport, new habitats and transforming ourselves in the process.

The billionaire space enthusiasts are set to work building us a real interplanetary transport infrastructure, in concert with those nations still possessing a functional space program.

We’re figuring out how to use the increasingly powerful gene editing technology CRISPR, something that could be used to create astronauts capable of surviving long term on Mars or in zero gee, or wherever the off-world colonies end up being.

As for what that genetic enhancement might be, we turn to a fictional universe for some advice one last time. In the manga/anime series Knights of Sidonia the remnant human population, facing starvation as they flee a destroyed Earth with limited supplies, decides to engineer all future generations to have the ability to draw energy via photosynthesis. Eliminating the need for food, as we knew it. Giving them a selective advantage as remarkable as the ability to digest the milk of another animal. Just one of many imagined advances given to this space faring posthuman evolution of the human species.

Also, for no clear reason that I’ve been able to determine – other than it’s implicit when envisaging the future, tying us back to Ark II – there’s at least one Uplifted Bear amongst their population (who SPOILER ALERT was part of the ruling committee, so was no junior partner, unlike poor old Adam):

image

Which is the final part of the Bronze Age to Space Age analogy. As I’ve hopefully amply demonstrated, we could perform a whole new level of “domestication” as co-evolution as Uplift.

(If you’re wondering, by the way… China is the nation with the winning combination of all three attributes. A growing space program that will probably leap-frog the US and Russia by the decades’ end, and pioneering work at Beijing Genomics Institute that covers the other two. Firefly/Serenity was probably half-right, in the space faring future every person just speaks Mandarin.)

The other thing the Bronze Age had was the emergence of writing; “proto-writing”. A communication protocol that enabled the functioning of a true human civilisation. We might also map our idea of a multi-species, borg-like, group mind here. The communication protocol enabling the functioning of a true posthuman civilisation. This is where we meet the very edge of popular culture – the idea of posthuman group minds are explored in the new tv show, Sense8, from the Wachowskis and the Nexus series from Ramez Naam.

To repeat, the overall message is this: as we continue this process of co-evolution and mutual aid with upgraded companion species both machine and animal we will all prosper. We as in: those who choose to come aboard for this Grand Extropian Adventure. Continuing to thrive and extend the boundaries of the Atemporal People’s Republic to the stars, as the first post in this series also talked about.

We are both the Monolith and the Star Child.

Read it in full at the Daily Grail: Uplifting Civilisation 2: The Atemporal People’s Republic:

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red-lipstick:

Jeremy Enecio (b. 1986,  Ormoc City, Philippines, USA based) – Technology   Paintings: Acrylics, Oil on Paper

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How comets paint swirls on the Moon

Swirls2

At first glance, the swirls do not appear to be related to large impact craters or any other topography. ‘They simply look as if someone had finger-painted the surface,’ Schultz said. ‘There has been an intense debate about what causes these features.’

In the 1970s, scientists discovered that many of the swirls were associated with anomalies of the moon’s crustal magnetic field. That revelation led to one hypothesis for how the swirls may have formed. Rocks below the surface in those spots might contain remanent magnetism from early in the moon’s history, when its magnetic field was much stronger than it is now. It had been proposed that those strong, locally trapped magnetic fields deflect the onslaught of the solar wind, which was thought to slowly darken the moon’s surface. The swirls would remain brighter than the surrounding soil because of those magnetic shields.

But Schultz had a different idea for how the swirls may form – one that has its roots in watching the lunar modules land on the moon during the Apollo program.

‘You could see that the whole area around the lunar modules was smooth and bright because of the gas from the engines scoured the surface,’ Schultz said. ‘That was part of what got me started thinking comet impacts could cause the swirls.’

Comets carry their own gaseous atmosphere called a coma. Schultz thought that when small comets slam into the moon’s surface – as they occasionally do – the coma may scour away loose soil from the surface, not unlike the gas from the lunar modules. That scouring may produce the bright swirls.

Schultz first published a paper outlining the idea in the journal Nature in 1980. That paper focused on how the scouring of the delicate upper layer of lunar soils could produce brightness consistent with the swirls. The structure of the grains in the upper layer (termed the ‘fairy castle structure’ because of the way grains stick together) scatters the sun’s rays, causing a dimmer and darker appearance. When this structure is stripped away, the remaining smoothed surface would be brighter than unaffected areas, especially when the sun’s rays strike it at certain angles. For Reiner Gamma on the lunar nearside, those areas appear brightest during the crescent moon just before sunrise.

As computer simulations of impact dynamics have gotten better, Schultz and Bruck-Syal decided it might be time to take a second look at whether comet impacts could produce that kind of scouring. Their new simulations showed that the impact of a comet coma plus its icy core would indeed have the effect of blowing away the smallest grains that sit atop the lunar soil. The simulations showed that the scoured area would stretch for perhaps thousands of kilometers from the impact point, consistent with the swirling streaks that extend across the moon’s surface. Eddies and vortices created by the gaseous impact would explain the swirls’ twisty, sinuous appearance.

The comet impact hypothesis could also explain the presence of magnetic anomalies near the swirls. The simulations showed that a comet impact would melt some of the tiny particles near the surface. When small, iron-rich particles are melted and then cooled, they record the presence of any magnetic field that may be present at the time. ‘Comets carry with them a magnetic field created by streaming charged particles that interact with the solar wind,’ Schultz said. ‘As the gas collides with the lunar surface, the cometary magnetic field becomes amplified and recorded in the small particles when they cool.’

Taken together, the results offer a more complete picture of how the swirls form, the researchers say.

From Crashing comets may explain mysterious lunar swirls

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