Nextbigfuture – The theory underlying Mach effects – fluctuations of the restmasses of accelerating objects in which internal energy changes take place – and their use for propulsion is briefly recapitulated. Experimental apparatus based on a very sensitive thrust balance is briefly described. The experimental protocol employed to search for expected Mach effects is laid out, and the results of this experimental investigation are presented. A series of tests conducted to explore the origin of the thrust signals seen are described, and two of those tests – the most likely spurious sources of thrust signals – are considered in some detail. The thrust signals seen, if genuine Mach effects, suggest that “advanced and exotic” propulsion can be achieved with realistic resources. Advanced and exotic means propellentless high acceleration up to near light speed and even possible stargate wormholes. Recent experiments produced 2-3 micronewtons and a refined theoretical model now more closely expects 3.2 micronewtons based upon the materials and other methods used in this case.
Nextbigfuture – A NASA study looked at a pathway using robotics and additive manufacturing to bootstrap space development. A fully functioning, remote system of robotic excavators and simple machinery still is years away from reality, and much research on asteroids needs to be undertaken. The building blocks of a successful system, however, appear to be in place, the study concluded. “”Robots and machines would just make the metal and propellants for starters,”” Metzger said. “”The first generation of robots makes the second generation of hardware, except the comparatively lightweight electronics and motors that have to be sent up from Earth. It doesn’t matter how much the large structures weigh because you didn’t have to launch it.”” The study was undertaken in part because companies on Earth are quickly building business cases for pathfinding missions to evaluate available resources in the solar system with an eye on collecting them.
* Robots and machines would just make the metal and propellants for starters
* first generation of robots makes the second generation of hardware, except the comparatively lightweight electronics and motors that have to be sent up from Earth. It doesn’t matter how much the large structures weigh because you didn’t have to launch it.”
* in six generations of robotics, these machines will be able to construct themselves and operate without any need of materials from Earth.
Nextbigfuture – Columbia University worked out how to remove graphene from a copper substrate without damaging it. They have large sheets of graphene with a strength of 95 gigapascals. This is fifteen times stronger than kevlar. This is 90% of the strength of perfect molecular graphene and is stronger than molecular carbon nanotubes.
There are graphene factories being setup this year and next year that will produce hundreds of tons of graphene. Some of those factories could be adapted to produce the stronger undamaged graphene. We need solar sails at least 100 meter on a side and 400 meters on a side to get really interesting missions.