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July 23, 2021 Archives

Friday, July 23, 2021

CONTEXT: Comrades! Don't Touch the Anthill!

Posted at 15:23 Permalink

CONTINUITY: NASA 1965 “Advanced Post-Saturn Earth Launch Vehicle Study”

This thirty-four page “Executive Summary Report”, NASA TM X-53200 [PDF, scanned full text], dated February 3, 1965, is wild. From the abstract:

The results indicate that gas core reactor and nuclear pulse engines are both attractive for the advanced Post-Saturn vehicle, and both should be investigated further. If emphasis is on Earth orbit and lunar delivery missions, the gas core reactor shows a slight advantage. The nuclear pulse concept is clearly preferable if emphasis is on lunar and planetary deliveries.

“Nuclear pulse”, of course, refers to Project Orion-type propulsion where a ship is propelled by setting off thermonuclear bombs behind a pusher plate to accelerate it.

Posted at 14:54 Permalink

TRACKING WITH CLOSEUPS: ALMA Observatory Spots Moon-Forming Disc around Exoplanet

Here is the research paper, “A Circumplanetary Disk Around PDS70” [PDF].

Posted at 12:29 Permalink

CONTEXT: United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno on Atlas, Vulcan, and the Emerging Space Economy

He has an interesting view of terraforming Mars: “Not going to happen. … There are many orders of magnitude less [CO₂] than we had originally had hoped would be there. … There just isn't enough—you're not going to be able to terraform Mars.”

But why would you want to escape from Earth's gravity well just to go down into another (dry and cold) hole? O'Neill colonies built from lunar and asteroid resources provide a far larger and more habitable environment for human and post-human settlement in the solar system.

Posted at 11:59 Permalink

THE HAPPENING WORLD: DeepMind/AlphaFold Publishes 3D Structure of Most Human Proteins

And the database presently includes twenty other organisms.

Plans are for the database to eventually cover more than 100,000 millions proteins catalogued in UniRef90.

For example, here is the paired box protein Pax-6 (“EYELESS”) from Drosophila melanogaster.

Posted at 11:22 Permalink