October 27, 2016

Powerful rocket missions to Mars in 30 days one way and fast mission to other solar system destinations

ProjectRho has round trip space mission times based on three types of rocket missions and three levels of constant acceleration.

It is a table of mission parameters calculated by Jon C. Rogers for the book Spaceship Handbook.

Six trajectories are listed

Three impulse (rocket) types and three constant acceleration brachistochrone types.

"Impulse" means the spacecraft makes an initial burn then coasts for months, which is a standard rocket mission.

Impulse trajectory I-1 is pretty close to a Hohmann (minimum delta V / maximum time) orbit, but with a slightly higher delta V.

Impulse trajectory I-2 is in-between I-1 and I-3 (it is equivalent to an elliptical orbit from Mercury to Pluto, the biggest elliptical orbit that will fit inside the solar system).

Impulse trajectory I-3 is near the transition between delta V levels for high impulse trajectories and low brachistochrone trajectories (it is a hyperbolic solar escape orbit plus 30 km/s).

Brachistochrone (maximum delta V / minimum time) trajectories are labeled by their level of constant acceleration: 0.01 g, 0.10 g, and 1.0 g.

Elon Musk of Spacex talked about achieve 30 days on a one way trip to Mars with the Interplanetary Transport system. This would be the Impulse Trajectory I-2, with with about 52 km per second delta V.

I think to achieve the 30 day one way trip time, Spacex would be assembling an even larger rocket system in orbit using multiple trips from Earth to a staging area for Mars.

Constant acceleration could be achieved with an antimatter catalyzed fusion propulsion system like Positron Dynamics is developing

15 days one way to Mars with a constant 0.01 G acceleration and deceleration.

6 days one way to Mars with a constant 0.1G acceleration and deceleration.

2 days one way to Mars with a constant 1G acceleration and deceleration.

Positron Dynamics is looking at antimatter catalyzed fusion for propulsion.

* within 2 year they want to make 6U cubesat that they will use to test the propulsion in space. It will be generating 100s of watts
* the propulsion will have delta V of 1 to 10 km/second
* Later systems will have more delta V and enable cubesats and small satellites to stay in orbit for years instead of days

* the cubesats with propulsion will enable very low orbit internet satellites

* in the 2020s if things go well they will be able to scale to 10 km/second to 100 km/second with 10-100 kilogram payloads for small probe exploration of the solar system
* Later beyond 2030, they will have regenerative isotopes for a lot more power and achieve ten million ISP and several kilonewtons of propulsive force
* could enable 1G acceleration and deceleration propulsion which would 3.5 weeks to Pluto

Marine VTOL drone should be operating in 2018

A new sea-based, armed vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) drone the size of the Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper should be operating in 2018 The MQ-9 has almost two tons of payload capacity

Competing VTOL drones are

* Bell Helicopter has the V-247 Vigilant
* Northrop Grumman’s TERN
* a tiltrotor drone by Karem Aircraft

October 26, 2016

US Army top future robotic systems are combat drones with triple the range and various self driving ground vehicles

US Army's top five priorities for robotic systems

1. In fiscal 2018, the Army will begin fielding improved General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones, which carry sensors and four AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. Today, the Gray Eagle can stay over a target area eight hours at a range of 725 miles from its base, Allyn said. The Improved Gray Eagle will have greater payload capacity and near triple the range (about 2000 miles) of the existing system.

In July 2015, the Army's Gray Eagle procurement plan was amended to include the extended-range Improved Gray Eagle, purchasing an initial 36 units for the Army’s intelligence and special forces groups; the first 19 IGEs were ordered in June 2015 for the first delivery in September 2017 and completion by September 2018.

The Improved Gray Eagle has a maximum gross takeoff weight 4,200 lb (1,900 kg) with its 205 hp engine, compared to the Gray Eagle's 3,600 lb (1,600 kg) MGTOW and 160 hp engine. The Gray Eagle can carry 575 lb (261 kg) of fuel, while the IGE can carry 850 lb (390 kg) of fuel internally with its deep belly design and 500 lb (230 kg) centerline hardpoint. External fuel tanks can add 450 lb (200 kg) of extra fuel, allowing for a 50-hour endurance. The IGE also increases internal payload capacity from 400 lb (180 kg) to 540 lb (240 kg). Empty weight is 1,318 kg (2,906 lb), endurance without the external tank is 45 hours, and engine can sustain an output of 180 hp continuously. General Atomics has added new winglets that can increase endurance a further one percent and allow the addition of a new vertical antennae. A special operations configuration can carry two Hellfire missiles and a SIGINT payload for 35 hours, as opposed to 14–15 hours for the Block 1 Grey Eagle

2. Lighten soldiers’ physical and cognitive load with the squad multipurpose mission transport.

DARPA Robot submarine hunting ship boosts radar range by 6 times using parasail to put gear at 1500 feet altitude

DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program has developed and built a technology demonstration vessel that is currently undergoing open-water testing off the coast of California and recently set sail with its first payload: a prototype of a low-cost, elevated sensor mast developed through the Agency’s Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort.

ACTUV seeks to lay the technical foundation for an entirely new class of ocean-going vessel—one able to traverse thousands of kilometers over the open seas for months at a time, without a single crew member aboard. Potential missions include submarine tracking and countermine activities. Towed behind boats or ships, TALONS could persistently carry intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), and communications payloads of up to 150 pounds between 500 and 1,500 feet in altitude—many times higher than current ships’ masts—and greatly extend the equipment’s range and effectiveness.

The demonstration took place over two days with 90 minutes of flight each day. The TALONS prototype started out from its “nest” installed on the back of the ACTUV vehicle. It then expanded its parachute and rose to an altitude of 1,000 feet, where it tested its onboard sensors and communications equipment. Once the test was complete, the prototype reeled itself in back to the nest. The entire process took place as the ACTUV vehicle maneuvered at operationally realistic speeds.

DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program has developed and built a technology demonstration vessel that is currently undergoing open-water testing off the coast of California and recently set sail with its first payload: a prototype of a low-cost, elevated sensor mast developed through the Agency’s Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort.

Tabby Star, which has unusual dimming that is possible evidence of superadvanced aliens, will get extensive observation from 100 meter SETI radiotelescope

Tabby’s star has provoked so much excitement over the past year, with speculation that it hosts a highly advanced civilization capable of building orbiting megastructures to capture the star’s energy, that UC Berkeley’s Breakthrough Listen project is devoting hours of time on the Green Bank radio telescope to see if it can detect any signals from intelligent extraterrestrials

“The Breakthrough Listen program has the most powerful SETI equipment on the planet, and access to the largest telescopes on the planet,” said Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center and co-director of Breakthrough Listen. “We can look at it with greater sensitivity and for a wider range of signal types than any other experiment in the world. ”

Breakthrough Listen, which was created last year with $100 million in funding over 10 years from the Breakthrough Prize Foundation and its founder, internet investor Yuri Milner, won’t be the first to search for intelligent life around this star.

“Everyone, every SETI program telescope, I mean every astronomer that has any kind of telescope in any wavelength that can see Tabby’s star has looked at it,” he said. “It’s been looked at with Hubble, it’s been looked at with Keck, it’s been looked at in the infrared and radio and high energy, and every possible thing you can imagine, including a whole range of SETI experiments. Nothing has been found.”

While Siemion and his colleagues are skeptical that the star’s unique behavior is a sign of an advanced civilization, they can’t not take a look. They’ve teamed up with UC Berkeley visiting astronomer Jason Wright and Tabetha Boyajian, the assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University for whom the star is named, to observe the star with state-of-the-art instruments the Breakthrough Listen team recently mounted on the 100-meter telescope. Wright is at the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds at Pennsylvania State University.

The observations are scheduled for eight hours per night for three nights over the next two months, starting Wednesday evening, Oct. 26. Siemion, Wright and Boyajian are traveling to the Green Bank Observatory in rural West Virginia to start the observations, and expect to gather around 1 petabyte of data over hundreds of millions of individual radio channels.

“The Green Bank Telescope is the largest fully steerable radio telescope on the planet, and it’s the largest, most sensitive telescope that’s capable of looking at Tabby’s star given its position in the sky,” Siemion said. “We’ve deployed a fantastic new SETI instrument that connects to that telescope, that can look at many gigahertz of bandwidth simultaneously and many, many billions of different radio channels all at the same time so we can explore the radio spectrum very, very quickly.”

Stryker light armored vehicle will have 5 kw combat laser in 11 months and an 18 kilowatt combat laser by 2018 for countering drones and missiles

A combat laser, which could be operational as soon as 11-months from now, will be integrated into the Fire Support Vehicle Stryker variant designed for target tracking and identification.

General Dynamics Land Systems is now working on upgrading the power of the laser from two kilowatts of power to five kilowatts. The laser weapon system uses its own tracking radar to acquire targets in the event that other sensors on the vehicle are disabled in combat and has an electronic warfare jamming system intended to jam the signal of enemy drones. Boeing is the maker of the fire-control technology integrated into the laser weapon. The laser is also integrated with air-defense and field artillery networks.

They plan to have an 18-kilowatt laser firing the Stryker by 2018. Stryker weigh about 10-20 tons.

One of the challenges with mobile laser weapons is the need to maintain enough exportable power to sustain the weapon while on-the-move

The Army is planning to deploy laser weapons able to protect Forward Operating Bases (FOB) by rapidly incinerating and destroying approaching enemy drones, artillery rounds, mortars and cruise missiles.

Forward-deployed soldiers in places like Afghanistan are familiar with facing incoming enemy mortar rounds, rockets and gunfire attacks; potential future adversaries could launch drones, cruise missiles, artillery or other types of weapons at FOBs.

Cold War 2.0 update with 40 million Russian people involved in 4 days of civil defense drills

Russian authorities have stepped up nuclear-war survival measures amid a showdown with Washington, dusting off Soviet-era civil-defense plans and upgrading bomb shelters in their biggest cities

Russia recently held its biggest civil defense drills since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., with what officials said were 40 million people rehearsing a response to chemical and nuclear threats.

Videos of emergency workers deployed in hazmat suits or checking the ventilation in bomb shelters were prominently aired on television when the four days of drills were held across the country. Students tried on gas masks and placed dummies on stretchers in school auditoriums.

The capital’s civil-defense plans are also being upgraded, said Andrey Mishchenko, deputy head of the ministry.

Mishchenko reportedly told state-run news outlet RIA Novosti that an inventory of Moscow’s underground spaces was conducted “in order to allow us to plan for sheltering 100 percent of the city’s population.”

Igor Zuyev, who owns a Russian company that builds bomb shelters for companies and private parties, told the Journal that requests for shelters protecting against nuclear bombs and military invasion began increasing following Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, when “the situation started to heat up.” Zuyev said that such requests have tripled over the last year.

US secretary of defence Ash Carter aid the Pentagon was reviewing its “nuclear playbook” – investing in improving the country’s atomic arsenal to ensure against “terrible attacks” by Moscow.

IMF and other GDP and GDP per capita projections

IMF has projected GDP and GDP per capita out to about 2021.

China has 60% of the US economy on a nominal basis in 2016. China would need 65% more overall nominal economic growth or a stronger currency to catchup to the overall US economy on a nominal basis.

China is ahead on a purchasing power parity basis.

By 2021, on a purchasing power parity basis China's economy will be 50% larger than the US economy.

In terms of per capita GDP, Europe and Japan are falling to about 60% of the nominal US per capita level which is down from about 70-75%. Japan is heading down to about half the US gdp per capita level.

If the IMF projections for China per capita income held up then sometime around 2022-2024 China's per capita income would pass into the high income country level.

The Atlas method is a method used by the World Bank to estimate the size of economies in terms of gross national income (GNI) in U.S. dollars. ... The resulting GNI in U.S. dollars is divided by the country's midyear population to obtain the GNI per capita. They use the average of three year of currency exchange rates.

World Bank List Of Economies By Income Group (FY2015)

In this classification, countries are divided in the following income groups:

Group 1 | Low income: $1,045 or less
Group 2 | Lower middle income: $1,046 to $4,125
Group 3 | Upper middle income: $4,126 to $12,745
Group 4 | High income: $12,746 or more

China is currently classed as upper middle income with about $7820 per capita GNI in 2015. In 2021, on a per capita nominal basis China would pass into the high income class but this will be delayed because of inflation adjustment.

India is currently low middle income with $1590 per capita GNI in 2015.

The Center for International Development at Harvard University (CID) use their newly updated measure of economic complexity, which captures the diversity and sophistication of productive capabilities embedded in a country’s exports, to generate the growth projections. The projections reflect the latest 2014 trade data available. The global landscape for economic growth that results shows greatest potential for rapid growth in South Asia and East Africa. Conversely, oil economies and other commodity-driven economies face the slowest growth outlook. India tops the global list for predicted annual growth rate for the coming decade, at 7.0 percent. This far outpaces projections for its northern neighbor and economic rival, China, which the researchers expect to face a continued slowdown to 4.3 percent growth annually to 2024. However 7% growth for India would fall far short of the 10% India gdp growth target which India needs to catchup to other economies and to lift many Indians out of poverty.

China should still pick up about 20-25% on the US economy out to 2024 per the Harvard projections.

World Economy is close to a recession at 3.1% projected growth when 2.5% GDP growth or less is defined as world recession

Stephen S. Roach, a faculty member at Yale University and a former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, is the author of Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China.

According to the International Monetary Fund – the official arbiter of global economic metrics – the Chinese economy accounts for 17.3 per cent of world GDP (measured on a purchasing-power-parity basis). A 6.7 per cent increase in Chinese real GDP thus translates into about 1.2 percentage points of world growth. Absent China, that contribution would need to be subtracted from the IMF's downwardly revised 3.1 per cent estimate for world GDP growth in 2016, dragging it down to 1.9 per cent – well below the 2.5 per cent threshold commonly associated with global recessions.

The IMF research suggests that China's global spillovers would add about another 25 per cent to the direct effects of China's growth shortfall. That means that if Chinese economic growth vanished into thin air, in accordance with our thought experiment, the sum of the direct effects (1.2 percentage points of global growth) and indirect spillovers (roughly another 0.3 percentage points) would essentially halve the current baseline estimate of 2016 global growth, from 3.1 per cent to 1.6 per cent. While that would be far short of the record 0.1 per cent global contraction in 2009, it wouldn't be much different than two earlier deep world recessions, in 1975 (1 per cent growth) and 1982 (0.7 per cent).

Drones with AI can identify armed and unarmed people at a mock middle east compound

The Pentagon has put artificial intelligence at the center of its strategy to maintain the United States’ position as the world’s dominant military power. It is spending billions of dollars to develop what it calls autonomous and semiautonomous weapons

The Pentagon’s latest budget outlined $18 billion to be spent over three years on technologies that included those needed for autonomous weapons.

Of the $18 billion the Pentagon is spending on new technologies, $3 billion has been set aside specifically for “human-machine combat teaming” over the next five years. It is a relatively small sum by Pentagon standards — its annual budget is more than $500 billion — but still a significant bet on technologies and a strategic concept that have yet to be proved in battle.

At the same time, Pentagon officials say that the United States is unlikely to gain an absolute technological advantage over its competitors.

“A lot of the A.I. and autonomy is happening in the commercial world, so all sorts of competitors are going to be able to use it in ways that surprise us,” Mr. Work said.

A retail-level drone was used by U.S. Military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency equipped with state-of-the-art A.I. that allows it to track and identify if people on the ground are armed or not.

Drones, which was tested in Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, can identify armed and unarmed people. It occasionally has trouble (they report that it once mistook the minaret of a fake mosque on the testing grounds for an armed man), most of the time it’s right on the money. The A.I. uses a variation of human and facial recognition software that American intelligence agencies employ, and can spot and track moving vehicles, and spy men hiding in the shadows.

Perhaps most impressively, it can tell if a person on the ground is armed or not. It’s so advanced that it could tell the difference between a man holding a gun and another about to take a shot… with a camera. The photographer was deemed a civilian.

First full level 4 autonomy self driving truck delivery was 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer

A commercial truck,with $30,000 worth of hardware and software from San Francisco startup Otto made the world’s first autonomous truck deliver. The delivery was 50,000 cans of Budweiser. The truck self drove 120 miles south to Colorado Springs.

The technology works only on the highway, where it doesn’t have to deal with tricky variables like jaywalking pedestrians, four-way stops, or kids on bicycles. It maintains a safe following distance, and changes lanes only when absolutely necessary.

And unlike Tesla’s Autopilot, Otto’s system offers true ‘Level 4’ autonomy. Once the rig hits the interstate, it is entirely capable of the job at hand, letting the human deal with paperwork, thumb her phone, or even catch a few Z’s.

They see a day when trucks do their thing on the interstate, then stop at designated depots where humans drive the last few miles into town. Drivers, in effect, become harbor pilots, bringing the ship to port.

Otto’s hardware works on any truck with an automatic transmission, and the retrofit doesn’t look like much. Three LIDAR laser detection units dot the cab and trailer, a radar bolts to the bumper, and a high-precision camera sits above the windshield.

The trucking industry hauls 70 percent of the nation’s freight—about 10.5 billion tons annually—and simply doesn’t have enough drivers. The American Trucking Association pegs the shortfall at 48,000 drivers, and says it could hit 175,000 by 2024.

There are 400,0000 trucks crash each year in the USA, according to federal statistics, killing about 4,000 people. In almost every case, human error is to blame

October 25, 2016

Future US Marines will hit beaches with Swarms of many types of drones first then Marines will Follow

The US Marine Corps wants to deploy swarms of drones ahead of troops during amphibious operations in coming years.

The concept, incorporating Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology, or LOCUST, developed by the Office of Naval Research, would bring a flotilla of weapons, including underwater drones, unmanned surface vessels and underwater mine countermeasures.

“Instead of Marines being the first wave in, it’ll be unmanned robotics … sensing, locating and maybe killing out front of those Marines,” he said. “We see that ‘swarm-type’ technology as exactly the type of thing — it will lower cost, dominate the battlespace, leverage capabilities … and be able to complicate the problems for the enemy.”

In WW2, The Navy shelled Iwo Jima for days prior to Navy Assault

Iwo Jima was a tough fight despite Navy shelling for days. Japanese soldiers had dug in and were in caves.

China building small lead cooled fast nuclear reactor that can fit inside a shipping container and generate 10 MW of heat or about 4 MW of electricity

China is making a small lead-cooled reactor that would fit ­inside a shipping container. It will ­measure about 6.1 meter long and 2.6 meter high and would be able to generate 10 megawatts of heat, which, if converted into ­electricity, would be enough to power some 50,000 households

It is also capable of running for years or even decades without ­refuelling, and scientists say that because it produces neither dust nor smoke, even on a small island a resident would hardly notice its existence.

The research is partially funded by the People’s Liberation Army.

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Nuclear Energy Safety Technology, a national research institute in Hefei, Anhui province, say they hope to be able to ship the first unit within five years.

The Chinese researchers admit their technology is similar to a compact lead-cooled thermal reactor that was used by the navy of the former Soviet Union in its nuclear submarines in the 1970s.

However, China would probably be the first nation to use such military technology on land.

While these “baby” reactors would able to generate large quantities of electricity and desalinate huge supplies of seawater for use as fresh water, they have also attracted serious environmental concerns.

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