Review of "HEAVENS REFLECTED" by David J. Williams, Ed Via Magna. - Quantum

Skies Reflected a different book. It is a novel of Science fiction fresh and entertaining tells stories that intertwine 3 and lead both the Earth-Moon system and through cyberspace.Mirrored heavens

Its author, David J. Williams, debuts with this novel and is perhaps why it has something special that is not found in other books: the approaches are different and both scientific and social developments are also different. So, it's so interesting both for the story that tells how the atmosphere.

The book tells us three stories mechs Y razors (In some cases the same sex, in others of the opposite sex), which have different missions and end up converging on an unexpected end.

The mechs They are more or less what would be an elite commando, someone with special training missions high physical violence.

The razors They are more or less the same, but trained to work in cyberspace and enter through any network to hack all kinds of systems and information legally or illegally.

The mechs and the razors They can work together or separately, and both the former and the others have no qualms about killing ordinary citizens.

Society in which pass the adventures of our five protagonists is a company located in the XXII century in which humanity has already built a space elevator (hopefully not be necessary to wait as long as in the book) but contrary to what we believe would be an advanced society, this is not an idyllic society in which nations are understood, but quite the opposite: in the first chapters of an unknown faction lift loads and shows how weak were the foundations of peace which it had led to the construction of this great engineering work.

The mission of some of the protagonists will be to discover the saboteurs of the space elevator, the other is fleeing for reasons unknown to us, and which is decoupled is killing someone who will make the balance of power runs decanting by one of the sides involved in the game that we discover along the narrative.

In this story we have colonies on the moon, spacecraft, transport of all types, combat drones on Earth ... and we have great metropolis in which there is a span without building and whole areas that are post apocalyptic. Some of the players have contributed to the destruction of any of these major cities. The world is divided into two parts, the Western and Asian (Europe is part of Asian side), and both a part and the other coexist affluence and misery.

Overall, this is a novel that keeps pace and engaging, although initially a bit disconcerting. The action scenes involved in our mechs Y razors They are well told. The chapters are very short and will explain the three stories that intersect on up, it forces the reader to be attentive and watch carefully what happens every time. It is a good book and easy to read despite its 590 pages.

100% recommendable.

There is a website where you can learn more about this work and recreating society:

First images of the models of the future space elevator

Tomar un ascensor hacia el espacio puede sonar a ciencia ficción, pero en Seattle se está construyendo el primer prototipo de ascensor espacial.

Lo cierto es que aunque la imagen que muchos tenemos en la cabeza, es parecida a un ascensor más o menos común, la realidad sobre la que trabajan los científicos es un poco diferente. Para empezar, no se trabaja con un cable sino con una cinta ancha, fabricada con nanotubos de carbono… más bien, algo parecido a un monorraíl o una cremallera.

…Y en esto es en lo que están trabajando en Seatlle.

LiftPort Group company has a $ 570,000 grant from NASA to build in addition to funds from private investors and a business plan that is based on generating revenue from the first year of research.

How is a space elevator

The concept is simple. The lift is basically a cable, one end tied to a platform, which may be floating at sea or on land.

At the other end there is a satellite orbiting 35,000 Km floating above the Earth.

Goods such as parts of a space station, or human leisure travelers, are catapulted by the cable and into orbit, in a fraction of the current cost as coordinating the ups and downs of material, the strength of the gravity is who does most of the work.

How is being built: a new business model

La empresa LiftPort está divida en varias pequeñas empresas, que cada una por su lado, atacan una faceta distinta del enorme trabajo de ingeniería que supone la construcción de un ascensor. Así, existe una empresa que se dedica a encontrar la mejor manera de construir la cinta de nanotubos y a investigar la esencia de la cinta, otra que trabaja en la propulsión de la caja del ascensor y en la caja misma… también cuentan con una empresa que se dedica a promocionar el ascensor y con otra que gestiona los fondos.

El trabajo de cada una de estas empresas llevará a la invención y comercialización de muchos otros artefactos que serán útiles para otras industrias. Por ejemplo, parece que a raíz de las investigaciones han dado con una nueva forma de proceder a la vigilancia aérea, y también a un nuevo tipo de antenas que flotan en globos y que permitirían grandes redes wireless.

Así que está claro que el modelo de negocio de LiftPort se basa en ir obteniendo financiación a partir de la comercialización de todo lo que se invente por el camino. Porque recordemos que LiftPort no es una empresa de científicos (aunque los haya…) sino una empresa de ingeniería… y un ingeniero, un científico y un comercial… forman un trío que en manos de un financiero genera buenas expectativas, cuanto menos.

Las imágenes de la primera maqueta

Las imágenes que ilustran este artículo son de un robot llamado “Squeak”, que es capaz de subir por una cinta de plástico. Parece que este robot, a otra escala, es bastante parecido al futuro ascensor espacial, y según ha declarado Michel Lane, Presidente de Lift Port Group, el equipo que trabaja en la propulsión de la caja del ascensor, lo hace a partir del Squeak.

Una de las novedades de este robot es que funciona propulsado por un rayo láser enviado desde la base en la Tierra y que choca contra una plataforma dispuesta en un lateral del robot, haciéndolo avanzar.

Las claves del ascensor espacial

... But back to the elevator: the three pillars technicians to manufacture the elevator, and what works in LiftPort are:

  1. A robotic transport to withstand both the pressure at sea level, such as working more than 50,000 km from Earth. Questions: Are wheels? ¿Rails? cables?
  2. Finding super-tough material that will not collapse on its own weight when you have 100,000 km in length.
  3. Finding a source of energy for the robot. Solar energy? ¿Batteries?

Si se construye un ascensor que resuelva estos tres pilares técnicos, también podrá fabricarse una variante del ascensor que dejaría fuera de combate las lanzaderas de la NASA… ya que con alguna modificación, el robot y la cinta podrían lanzar el material y propulsarlo hasta la órbita de Marte o de cualquier otro planeta. Una vez en esa órbita, otro ascensor espacial podría bajarlos hasta la superficie. Y viceversa… desde Marte se podrían enviar materiales a la Tierra (…esto ya empieza a sonar a Kim Stanley Robinson en “Marte Rojo” Ed. Minotauro).

Las universidades, volcadas también en el proyecto

Michael Lane has been giving lectures and seminars in different universities in the Seattle area to get a large number of students seen his doctoral thesis in technologies related to the elevator.

And as expected ... it has appeared an American tycoon who created the "Elevator: 2010" which will reward innovation in the development of robots type Squeak and tapes material super resistant and propulsion systems that are viable for the lift.

The truth is that the elevator is a very attractive project that brings fame and money associated. Undoubtedly, the company that operate the first space elevator will have a strong advantage over its potential competitors. What is expected in the next 20 years, has up to 10 space elevators. The bad news is: it is not expected to be completed no elevator during the next 5 years, rather it is expected to be built between 8 and 10 years from now ...
… "Patience is the mother of science."

La primera cita del “Elevator: 2010” será en junio 2005 y el premio, 50.000 dólares… así que si eres ingeniero y te gustan los cacharritos que pueden ayudar a crear al primer ascensor espacial…ya sabes…

Enlaces interesantes para quien desee ampliar información:

  • Si quieres participar en el “Elevator: 2010”, ésta es tu web:
    Elevator: 2010
  • Si deseas conocer más a fondo cómo funciona el Ascensor aquí está la página web de la empresa que está construyendo el ascensor:
    LiftPort Group

Ansari X-Price: spacecraft Contest - Prize for who gets to place a spacecraft to 100 km

Tomorrow marks the Ansari X-Price in the Mojave Desert, California. This year the prize for getting to place a ship 100 Km. High, it is 10 million dollars. The big favorite is the team of Paul Allen (Microsoft) and Burt Rutan (aerospace pioneer) in SpaceShipOne.

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipOne (which is one of the ships of the team Paul Allen and Burt Rutan), means that increasingly we are closer to private space flight.

But back to the X-Price:

The X-Price is to achieve two flights to 100 Km. Of soil, within a maximum of two weeks.

Allen and Rutan are sure to get it, but there are 24 more teams competing against them.

Among these, is the team of Eric Meier and Phil Storm, the company Space Transport Corp Inc, both renowned scientists and experienced in the manufacture of spacecraft since both worked for Aerojet Corp. (Redmond [neighboring town of Seattle] ).

[Mental Note 1: Paul Allen = Seattle, Aero Jet Corp = Seattle ... It seems that the Seattle area is fully aerospace boil. Will it be by generations of locals have worked at Boeing and the subsidiaries that have been created around?].

In the Seattle area, we also find another interesting company: LiftPort Inc (Bremerton). Nothing more and nothing less than dedicated to building a space elevator, which will drastically reduce the cost of materials placed in orbit. Specifically, according to statements by its President and founder Michael Laine, the cost would be reduced from $ 20,000 per pound to $ 400. The first prototype is already under construction.

(Article where we explained a few months ago, the operation of a space elevator: space elevator)

Although it seems clear that SpaceShipOne wins, most of the participants, what they really expect is to find investors for their projects. Projects are all aimed at locating people and goods in space, at low cost, which in itself, and seem like a good deal.

It is said by unofficial means Jeff Bezos, founder is also working on creating a company that will manufacture spacecraft. Specifically it founded in Seattle (yes, again Seattle) the Blue Origin, a company that thinks devoted to space tourism.

[Mental Note 2: With Paul Allen (Seattle), Jeff Bezos (Seattle) and Richard Branson (London) and we have 3 billionaires entrepreneurs, tucked into the world of space tourism. This is a clear indication that there are business opportunities and money to win].

From these pages we will monitor the X-Race in the coming days ...

very interesting years ahead. Definitely.

Further information for anyone wishing to broaden their knowledge:

Official of X-Price:

Information on the Argentine team that will compete in the X-Price:

The Seattle Post article where the virtues of companies in the Seattle area and its relation to space tourism industry and the X-Price are discussed:
Seattle Post - Space Tourism

Solar sails: Science Fiction dream come true this week

A Japanese ship was launched on Monday, with two solar sails inside, to be tested in space. Something that until now was only science fiction can be reality in a few days.

(Image: Illustration of the possible form of a solar sail)

We live in a wonderful era where every day are produced dramatic advances in technology. Although I confess that when I was 20. I was convinced that at 30, live in a Martian colony (no kidding). Now that I have 30_y_algunos, I see that everything is going much more slowly. But ceases to amaze me that things like solar sails, which until recently were only a product of science fiction, is now being used to propel spacecraft.

As with the space elevatorArthur C. Clarke in his book "El Viento del Sol" (Alianza Editorial - 1987) tells us among other stories, what a race with solar sailing and what techniques should be used to go in the opposite direction to the sun or travel distances where sunbeams are weak.

In this book Clarke is clear that while the value of the energy produced by photons on the sail of a solar sail is very low, as is a continuous (and free btw) acceleration, it is sufficient for a few days after have left Earth and thanks to the absence of friction, the ship can reach 3,000 km / h with zero fuel.

As this seems Science Fiction 100%, it turns out that it is not. In today's edition of The New Scientist He explained that last Monday on August 9, 2004, a Japanese ship proceeded on the basis Uchino Space Center in Kagoshima (southern Japan) with two candles to be tested in space.

If the sails work, fuel for interplanetary navigation would be virtually unnecessary.

(Image: Another illustration of the possible form of a solar sail)

Now only missing to dispense fuel to overcome Earth's gravity ... but we fixed it already with the space elevator :-)

The theory that speaks of power over the candles, is nothing new, the theoretical basis on solar pressure was established by Maxwell in 1860 and recognized by Einstein in his work on the nature of light. Although so far no one had dared to conduct experiments in space, directly with candles (yes they had done in the upper atmosphere ... and failed).

Anyway ... I hope the Japanese candles work well!

Some clarifications:

  • Solar sails use sunlight, not the solar wind.
  • The solar wind is produced by electrons and protons emitted by the Sun when burning hydrogen. These particles are thrown at high speed through space, but contain very little energy. Solar sails, using the kinetic energy of the photons of sunlight to propel.

interesting and supplementary information pages:

  • Description of different forms of spatial navigation:
    Science fiction
  • article New Scientist which speaks of the launch of the Japanese ship.
  • Interesting article (in Castilian) about how does a solar sail.

Nanotube 04: and maybe we can build our space elevator

Leo these days are being held in Guadalajara, Mexico, the International Congress Nanotube 04. The theme of the congress will revolve intone the many applications that nanotubes 100 times stronger than steel and six times lighter .

Hace unos 7 años pasé numerosas noches chateando con un grupo de gente acerca de la posibilidad de construir un ascensor espacial… Nuestro chat formaba parte del IRC Hispano y estaba dedicado a la Ciencia Ficción. Todo empezó con la publicación de 3001 La Odisea Final, de Arthur C. Clarke, 1997 Edicions 62. La última entrega de 2001 Odisea del Espacio.

En el mundo que nos presentaba Clarke, los humanos de la Tierra habían construido un anillo alrededor del planeta, en órbita geoestacionaria, atado a la Tierra por unas torres situadas en el ecuador. La idea puede parecer descabellada, pero no lo es. Tal como explica Clarke en el epílogo de su libro, las estaciones espaciales ligadas a la Tierra por un ascensor espacial fueron ideadas sobre una base científica por el ingeniero de San Petersburgo Yuri Artsutanov en 1982.

According to Artsutanov it is theoretically possible to install a cable between Earth and a satellite will always float above the same point of Ecuador (orbit that are most communications satellites). From that base, it could establish a space elevator and could raise and lower payloads using the force of gravity and a small electric motor.

For interplanetary navigation this would be ideal as well as avoid the danger of takeoffs and landings, noise and environmental risks are avoided. The costs of all space missions would be reduced drastically.

A nosotros, los del Chat de Ci-Fi, no nos pareció nada raro… ya estábamos acostumbrados a este tipo de artefactos. También sabíamos que el único inconveniente es encontrar un material que no colapse sobre su propio peso cuando tenga una largada de 36.000 Km (nota: es el mismo problema que tenían con el cable que debía sujetar el Prestige, hundido en las costas gallegas).


No hace ni un año… seguíamos discutiendo algunos de nosotros, si ya era posible construir nuestro ascensor espacial… Cuando hoy he leído el artículo de acerca del congreso de Nanotubos, una gran sonrisa ha aparecido en mi rostro, y he empezado a recopilar material para la próxima discusión. Porque aunque imagino que la aplicación de los nanotubos va a ir para largo y hacia otro lado, es sin duda una noticia fuera de lo común que se realice un congreso dedicado a este tema y en concreto, a la aplicación de los nanotubos a la vida civil.

In an interview with Mauricio Terrones, Mexican physicist who received a UNESCO award in 2001 for his research in this field, said about applications of nanotubes "The electronics company Samsung is already testing monitors that use nanotubes because they have very good definition of images, not heat, consume much less power and are cheaper, but there are also other applications for microscopes and to develop new plastics and cement stronger. "

I hope someone will even think about our lift ... because the synthesis of carbon nanotubes may be the solution to find a material that will withstand enormous pressures and yet be flexible and elastic, just what us all we need to realize the elevator (... well we lacked this ... :-) and inverter).