Home Health This is why without space exploration our life on Earth would be completely different

This is why without space exploration our life on Earth would be completely different

by admin

The historians medals by Marcell Jacobs and Gianmarco Tamberi in high definition, but also all Olympic Games, Formula 1 and even the magical nights of the Europeans: without the satellites we would not have seen them. Not so, at least, that is, in HD and at the very moment of their occurrence.

And what about the navigator to find your way around the city with a lot of traffic updated in real time, or the app needed to reach that restaurant on everyone’s lips? Ditto: without extraterrestrial infrastructure they would not work.

Ah, right, the Internet of the future, that of Things, the storage of big data, as well as mobility connected to smart city ecosystems; also the same vehicles, able to move free from human control. The same goes for everyone: without Space, nisba.

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If we did not have space technologies, not only part of the future as we are building it would not stand up, even the present would struggle to keep itself in balance. On the contrary, would collapse before evening, literally: as reported by the BBC, in 2018 an international conference on space hazards simulated the impacts of a solar storm capable of devastating our orbiting infrastructure. Result? World blocked in 14 hours. Other than a pandemic.

An apocalypse that in 3 years from then would be even more destructive, given that today, whether we know it or not, life on Earth is more and more Space based.

And this, it is good to reiterate it, without necessarily bringing up the future for which we are building the foundations, even leaving out the 30 billion dollars that will invoice satellite backhaul connections by 2030 (data source: Nsr), it would be enough to think of the ubiquitous internet coveted by Amazon (Project Kuiper), SpaceX and Google (Starlink). What cultural impact will a Network accessible anywhere and in any case by everyone have?

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In fact, no future stories based on infrastructure monitoring, autonomous traffic management, prevention of natural disasters or safeguarding public, environmental and even individual health (see the T-Dromes test with the delivery via drone of biomedical material between two sites of the Bambin Gesù, near Rome, carried out with satellite guidance last October by Telespazio and e-Geos). There is no need for future hypotheses, even if they are more true than truth (as the next Expo in Dubai will demonstrate, where Italy will be the protagonist, not surprisingly, of the Space Week from October 17th): to demonstrate how reality would change without Space, our small everyday life would be enough.

It is good to underline this at a time when the serious health emergency has legitimately prompted many to ask themselves because, even in such a moment, space activities have not stopped and have indeed absorbed precious resources: in short, it is good to remind those who ask “why waste money to go to Mars?”.

Easy: to keep the Earth alive. Or at least us. Then the answer also evokes a range of collective benefits deployed by the critically accused likes suborbital dei vari Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos it is equally true, but let’s stop here.

For now, this is enough: without even bothering satellite telecommunications, Earth observation or the exploration of other worlds, to testify the sprawling impact of Space in our lives, a list of commonly used objects from our attempts to push ourselves beyond the sky would suffice. Of course, a list that is far from exhaustive, given that only the Apollo program of NASA, which in 1969 took us to the moon, has gave rise to more than 150 thousand patents, so-called spinoffs.

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We remain with our feet on the ground. With some highlight (and more than a legend) arrived from Space and who have, if not changed the days, at least allowed us to live them as we are used to.

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Cardiac pumps and tubes for neurosurgeons
The medical implications of space missions are not only an obvious component of the human willingness to move into a hostile environment, but complicit in unique conditions of microgravity constitute one of the most popular areas of research beyond the atmosphere. It is no coincidence that the medical applications of extraterrestrial technologies abound: already during the Apollo program, NASA developed with Michael DeBakey, George Noon and MicroMed Technology the MicroMed DeBakey Vad, a ventricular assist device Able to Bridge Heart Transplant: By pumping blood around the body, it keeps critically ill patients alive as long as a donor is available.

NASA has also helped to debut the products of Thermacore, a leading company in the production of exploited heat pipes. To check heat and disperse it safely. Tubes with valuable medical applications: for example in brain operations, where neurosurgeons use bipolar forceps, which use electricity to cut and cauterize tissue with absolute precision.

Solar panels and fuel cells
The present and the future of terrestrial resources cannot ignore them. There are even those who, like China, aim to exploit them in a (hypothetical for now) artificial orbiting power plant, capable of transmitting clean, and potentially infinite, energy to our planet, but solar panels (and fuel cells) would not be as we know them if they had not been adopted in the Apollo program of NASA, for the lunar module.

Although photovoltaic panels already existed, in the face of the need to have one renewable energy source in the journey between the Earth and the Moon, the American space agency developed special surfaces capable of accumulating electricity in a semiconductor by absorbing light. A gimmick that, after more than half a century, has not yet revealed its full potential.

Hd cameras (including those of smartphones)
If cellular telephony today can battle it out by showing off miniaturized cameras with ever higher definitions, the merit must be credited to Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA.

To create what are known today as active pixel sensors, Jpl engineers designed lightweight imaging devices for scientific purposes, exploiting the technology of the so-called CMOS (the acronym stands for Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor). Dbecame more compact, reliable and less expensive in a few years, i sensori Cmos they proved to be perfect for integration in portable devices, as well as in professional and much more complex machines.

Freeze-dried foods, air filters, fire retardant fabrics and integrated circuits
From orbit on our table. Or at least at home. Memorabilia from the Apollo program, freeze-dried foods accompanied the arrival, in the 90s, of air filters on the shelves of NASA. The scrubber, i.e. a device capable of eliminating an unwanted gas resulting from cultivation in a sealed environment, ethylene, was used for the first time in 1995 aboard the Sts-73 mission of the Columbia shuttle, where it made it possible to preserve a potato crop. Updated versions of the device were then sent to the International Space Station and today they allow, even in the home, to eliminate all types of unwanted organic particles from the air.

Synthesized in the late 1950s by Carl Marvel, funded by NASA and the Air Force Materials Laboratory since 1963 and improved after the tragedy of Apollo 1, which cost the lives of astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee, i polymeric fabrics resistant to extreme temperatures today they protect firefighters, soldiers and technicians from all over the world. An important impact, but zero if you think of another legacy of the 1960s space race: at the time the Apollo spacecraft required light, compact and powerful computers. For this reason, NASA and the Mit Instrumentation Lab adopted a promising technology for the Apollo Guidance Computer, but almost never tested: the so-called integrated circuit, composed of several transistors on a single silicon chip.

Although it was not invented as part of the space program, but in 1958 by Nobel laureate Jack St. Clair Kilby, the microchip However, it owes its enormous commercial success to its application in the race for the Moon: in 1963, the Apollo project absorbed up to 60% of the entire US chip supply.

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Tang, Teflon and Velcro? No, these are not
At least among enthusiasts, the daily impact of space programs is so evident that it has also created Metropolitan legends.

No: Tang, Teflon and Velcro are not spinoffs of extraterrestrial research or activities. Tang, the famous powdered soft drink, was developed by General Foods in 1957 and placed on the market two years later. When astronaut John Glenn performed food experiments in orbit in 1962, Tang was part of his menu, which made the drink (and the brand) famous all over the place.

Same fate as the teflon, the material invented for DuPont in 1938: the US space agency had only the merit of making it famous by using it to make heat shields, space suits and hold liners. From there to our pots the step was short and this, yes, credible to the space adventure.

And the velcro, whose origins are often associated with the Apollo program? In the lunar missions it was limited to using it to anchor the equipment, in order to make it more comfortable to use in situations of weightlessness. The invention of the widespread hook and loop closure system, however, is by the Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral, to whom the idea came in 1948, ten years before its arrival on the market.

However, Space does (also) this: it puts on launch pad the best ideas of others.

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