ALMA telescope not even online at 25% capacity and already is delivering spectacular results

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ALMA telescope not even online at 25% capacity and already is delivering spectacular results

Using only 16 of ALMA's eventual full complement of 66 antennas, the researchers were able to precisely determine the distance to 18 of these galaxies, revealing that they were among the most distant starburst galaxies ever detected, seen when the Universe was only one to three billion years old. These results were surprising because very few similar galaxies had previously been discovered at similar distances, and it wasn't clear how galaxies that early in the history of the Universe could produce stars at such a prodigious rate.
~
In fact, two of these galaxies are the most distant starburst galaxies published to date -- so distant that their light began its journey when the Universe was only one billion years old. Intriguingly, emission from water molecules was detected in one of these record-breakers, making it the most distant detection of water in the Universe published to date.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130313142558.htm


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I've been following this for

I've been following this for over a decade and have often wondered why they wouldn't put 50-60 telescopes (all with different instruments) in upper orbit.

Can you imagine the results from multiple telescopes in orbit around the Earth? That would be amazing!

Here is a link with includes a podcast from the new director of the ALMA site.

http://www.nature.com/news/radio-astronomy-the-patchwork-array-1.12591

 


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I remember reading something

I remember reading something about building such an array on the moon. It wouldn't be overly expensive as the majority or entirety of the necessary resources are already there. Only manufacturing equipment would need to be brought up. Which could probably be done with one or two rockets.

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Vastet wrote:I remember

Vastet wrote:
I remember reading something about building such an array on the moon. It wouldn't be overly expensive as the majority or entirety of the necessary resources are already there. Only manufacturing equipment would need to be brought up. Which could probably be done with one or two rockets.

Or they could use that space canon which can put a 1.2 tons in to orbit without the need for expensive fuel.


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No 'space cannon' is

No 'space cannon' is operational and trusted to handle a million dollar telescope (let alone a billion dollar array). And you wouldn't resolve the thruster and on board computers that way either. It'd still be cheaper, more stable, and more efficient to have a moon array even if you could freely teleport things into space.

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Vastet wrote:No 'space

Vastet wrote:
No 'space cannon' is operational and trusted to handle a million dollar telescope (let alone a billion dollar array). And you wouldn't resolve the thruster and on board computers that way either. It'd still be cheaper, more stable, and more efficient to have a moon array even if you could freely teleport things into space.

Space elevator

 


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You can't possibly be that

You can't possibly be that stupid.

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digitalbeachbum wrote:I've

digitalbeachbum wrote:

I've been following this for over a decade and have often wondered why they wouldn't put 50-60 telescopes (all with different instruments) in upper orbit.

Can you imagine the results from multiple telescopes in orbit around the Earth? That would be amazing!

Here is a link with includes a podcast from the new director of the ALMA site.

http://www.nature.com/news/radio-astronomy-the-patchwork-array-1.12591

 

They will eventually. It's only a matter of time (and, indirectly, cost). Can you imagine if we managed to develop cheap development of telescopes (e.g. by assembling or manufacturing them in orbit) and sent telescopes all over the solar system? You know how insect's compound eyes work, right? Imagine 100 or 1000 or more tiny (relative to the solar system) little eyes spread around the solar system (even putting some at the various Lagrange points in Earth's orbit would do).

If we manage to survive that long, we're going to be seeing some amazing things. Right now we have trouble detecting gravity waves because of the large scale of them. But if you have your antennae spread around the solar system, that's more than enough scale to detect them easily.

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Vastet wrote:You can't

Vastet wrote:
You can't possibly be that stupid.

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There is nothing theoretically preventing space elevators from *eventually* becoming reality. They may even be more easily deployed on Mars or the Moon, if not Earth itself. The main goal is mass transfer. If you can develop manufacturing in orbit, you can get your materials from other sources. Even harvesting an asteroid would do (in fact, would probably be the first thing tried; I believe NASA has plans to capture an asteroid and put it in orbit around the Moon).

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I didn't say a space

I didn't say a space elevator was physically impossible and unfeasable forever. But the costs of building one today would make the entire ISS project look like peanuts. That's something to start working on in 50 years.
An array on the moon could be built today, with technology of today, with a few slight modifications, very cheaply. Probably about 10 billion. Maybe a bit more.
A space elevator would bankrupt everyone (EU, USA, Russia, and China combined), and THEN you can start putting stuff into space when it's finally finished.
It's completely impractical.

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As for asteroids, there are

As for asteroids, there are at least two corporations with mining plans for them that I know of. I bet they beat NASA by a decade. Just not enough funding. Kinda sad, but also kinda good.
It'll be really interesting to see which corporations get lucky, and how it develops. Probably most asteroids are effectively valueless. But there will be some which are quite rich in materials. Anyone who finds such a rock will have a vested interest in securing it from anyone else.

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digitalbeachbum wrote:I've

digitalbeachbum wrote:

I've been following this for over a decade and have often wondered why they wouldn't put 50-60 telescopes (all with different instruments) in upper orbit. 

First it's cost. It costs a lot more to launch something into space than to build it on the ground. Second, space isn't needed in the radio or optical regimes, since the atmosphere is transparent at those wavelengths.


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  My impression has always

  My impression has always been that the main challenge of building a space elevator isn't so much the cost as it is having a realistic material to create the cable out of. I have read that the carbon nanotube could be a promising technology as it has the necessary strength and lightness to potentially allow for cable that would be very thin and light enough to make the project feasible. The problem is that the longest carbon nanotube ever grown was measured in centimeters. The question is a technical one of how to efficiently make a composite material that can take advantage of the properties of carbon nanotubes into a cable that is long enough.

Since carbon nanotubes are already being used to make high end sports equipment (bicycles, golf clubs, hunting arrows) and a number of companies are looking at it as a material to create everything from clothes, furniture, cars to replacing silicon in computer chips, there will be a lot of research being put into this material the next couple of decades. Large companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Canon are all experimenting with it, so it will be an area where massive amounts of money are going to be spent. I don't think it would be unrealistic that in the next couple of decades we will know whether the idea of making it into such a large cable is feasible, and if it is I don't think it will be long before someone attempts to build one.

There is already a lot of private money funneling into space exploration and no doubt that whoever builds the first working space elevator is going to be ridiculously rich- like making Bill Gates look like a pauper rich. Of course, we might discover that it won't work and have to discover some other material. It is hard to predict the pace of technology.   

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Vastet wrote:You can't

Vastet wrote:
You can't possibly be that stupid.

What about the Space Catapult?


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KSMB wrote:digitalbeachbum

KSMB wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:

I've been following this for over a decade and have often wondered why they wouldn't put 50-60 telescopes (all with different instruments) in upper orbit. 

First it's cost. It costs a lot more to launch something into space than to build it on the ground. Second, space isn't needed in the radio or optical regimes, since the atmosphere is transparent at those wavelengths.

I was going to say in my original post that it would be cool to have 50-60 mini-hubbles but I retracted it because I didn't want to be limited to that technology.

 


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Beyond Saving wrote:There is

Beyond Saving wrote:
There is already a lot of private money funneling into space exploration and no doubt that whoever builds the first working space elevator is going to be ridiculously rich- like making Bill Gates look like a pauper rich. Of course, we might discover that it won't work and have to discover some other material. It is hard to predict the pace of technology.   

That and long life batteries... mondo rich...

http://green.autoblog.com/2012/05/31/prieto-battery-working-on-1-000x-more-powerful-lithium-ion-batte/

 

 


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digitalbeachbum wrote:Vastet

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Vastet wrote:
You can't possibly be that stupid.

What about the Space Catapult?

Something even you could operate!

Maybe...

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Vastet wrote:digitalbeachbum

Vastet wrote:
digitalbeachbum wrote:

Vastet wrote:
You can't possibly be that stupid.

What about the Space Catapult?

Something even you could operate! Maybe...

Promises, promises...


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Constantly being reminded of

Constantly being reminded of your lack of expertise with English is amusing.

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Vastet wrote:Constantly

Vastet wrote:
Constantly being reminded of your lack of expertise with English is amusing.

I dun't much understood whut it bein sad master?


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Exactly.

Exactly.

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Vastet wrote:
As for asteroids, there are at least two corporations with mining plans for them that I know of. I bet they beat NASA by a decade. Just not enough funding. Kinda sad, but also kinda good. It'll be really interesting to see which corporations get lucky, and how it develops. Probably most asteroids are effectively valueless. But there will be some which are quite rich in materials. Anyone who finds such a rock will have a vested interest in securing it from anyone else.

The main problem as I have reviewed it is refining. Only about 10% of nickel-iron as opposed to stoney. We are not short of either down here. There is only 10% new iron per year. The rest is recycled.

The fraction of other metals in nickel-iron is quite small. Looking at metal value as rarity (ignore demand) they are just as rare on asteroids as on earth. The only value of the asteroid is unclaimed discoveries.

So lets invoke magic. Gently set down a billion ton metallic asteroid in a convenient location. How do costs change? Mainly the metals are not in ore but in mostly refined form. But they still have to be "mined" in some different manner, hauled to a refinery to finish the process and then produce the alloys needed. So the only gain has been a lower cost of shipping and refining. That would be at some level on the significance scale but it would not collapse prices.

Process in orbit does not change it much due to the energetics of changing orbit, moving them down the gravity well and to the surface of the earth without the magic. The biggest chunk of the gravity well is Earth orbit to the surface not asteroid belt to earth orbit.

Maybe solar mirrors can do the smelting and solar sails bring them to earth orbit but the big cost is still orbit to surface and all of the shipping, a bit of the final refining and all of the alloying still needs be done.

The big if is whether or not the total cost is lower. If it just brings in a new competitor then it cannot lower the consumer price significantly without it being hugely cheaper to get them from asteroids else the new source simply depresses prices.

So what is it good for? Building things in space. How about adding to the ISS with sheet iron rooms? The only expensive thing is sending precision docking sections up from the surface.

How about building a spinning 2001 Hilton hotel out of that same sheet iron? No problem. And it is denser providing radiation shielding we can't begin to afford now which means higher orbits are doable.

We are not going to go jetting around the solar system in cast iron space ships because of the mass making fuel from earth impossibly expensive. Similarly the hugely greater mass increases the needed size of solar sails. It is not a final solution to space travel but it should allow Motel 6 to compete with the Hilton.

Beyond that move modest sized asteroids to geosync orbit, hollow them out a bit and use a rocket only to send up some self-assembling electronics and for a few billion channels each. Interesting thing here is the fuel to keep orientation stable is the same regardless of the mass of the satellite. The cost is only higher to make it stable in the first place.

I recall a study but not the details plotting the uses of earth orbit "things" compared to the cost per pound to orbit. The point was there were only very high end uses until the cost dropped by a factor of a hundred. It was like for manufacturing only the most expensive imaginable items are worth it today but with that decrease trinkets are profitable.

The gimmick there is almost all the cost is surface to orbit. De-orbiting is a trivial cost. Asteroid to orbit gets rid of most of that cost requiring only de-orbiting the finished product.

Manufacture in orbit is what we are missing but there are lots of people working on it including on self replicating robots and my favorite, the queen bee model that builds workers that build products.

In any event anyone who spends some time thinking about it can see at least one pathway to an interesting future based upon asteroid mining. All you need to point your attention to our future in space.

 

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Beyond Saving wrote:

  My impression has always been that the main challenge of building a space elevator isn't so much the cost as it is having a realistic material to create the cable out of.

...

 

But after the first elevator there will be a second and a third and then they will be connected and so much more.

 

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The cost will inevitably

The cost will inevitably become cheaper as we run through stockpiles of metals and have nowhere left to look but space.

Though I suspect the true gold mines to be the gas giants.

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this thread needs more

this thread needs more picsplzkthx.

 


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Vastet wrote:
The cost will inevitably become cheaper as we run through stockpiles of metals and have nowhere left to look but space. Though I suspect the true gold mines to be the gas giants.

Instead of running out of metals we will go to lower grade deposits. We used up the world's supply of the highest grade iron ore during the first world war. Costs went up but cheaper mining and refining methods were developed. So improving earth mining will be a competition to space mining.

As for gas giants the energetics of the gravity well are very much greater than for earth as is the delta V for the greater distance from the sun. And their gasses are no no particular value so it would be their moons. At best the moons are masses that started as asteroids so the asteroids remain the cheaper resource.

 

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There will come a day, not

There will come a day, not all that long from now, where it will be cheaper to mine some minerals from asteroids than from Earth.

As to the gas giants, I'm quite sure we'll get past the problems of pressure and gravity at some point. It'll be a long way off of course.

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