Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...

Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...

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Lidija

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Lidija

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Re: Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...
« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2016, 09:06:10 AM »

Could an astronaut’s corpse bring new life to another world?


A poor soul adrift in the void could bring the genesis on a place like Mars



“If the question is, 'Are there a set of possible circumstances by which a corpse could deliver microbes to a planet that could survive the space environment?' well, then I would say the answer is yes,” says Gary King, a microbial biologist at Louisiana State University who studies microbes that survive in extreme environments.

King argues that our bodies are riddled with microbes we already know can survive vast periods of time in stasis; even in cold, dry environments similar to space.

“We've pulled microbes out of permafrost, and there we're talking about organisms surviving around one million years in suspended animation. Especially if the trip is somewhere close, like to Mars, bacterial spores in the human body will survive for sure,” says King. “It's also possible that other, non-sporing bacteria could survive as well. I'm thinking about microbes like Deinococcus radiodurans, which we know can survive low levels of water and high amounts of ionizing radiation.”

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Lidija

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Lidija

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Re: Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...
« Reply #33 on: December 01, 2016, 07:20:07 AM »

Let's Colonize Titan



Saturn's largest moon might be the only place beyond Earth where humans could live

The idea of a human colony on Titan, a moon of Saturn, might sound crazy. Its temperature hovers at nearly 300° below zero Fahrenheit, and its skies rain methane and ethane that flow into hydrocarbon seas. Nevertheless, Titan could be the only place in the solar system where it makes sense to build a permanent, self-sufficient human settlement.

We reached this conclusion after looking at the planets in a new way: ecologically. We considered the habitat that human beings need and searched for those conditions in our celestial neighborhood.

Our colonization scenario, based on science, technology, politics and culture, presents a thought experiment for anyone who wants to think about the species’ distant future.

We expect human nature to stay the same. Human beings of the future will have the same drives and needs we have now. Practically speaking, their home must have abundant energy, livable temperatures and protection from the rigors of space, including cosmic radiation, which new research suggests is unavoidably dangerous for biological beings like us.

Up to now, most researchers have looked at the Moon or Mars as the next step for human habitation. These destinations have the dual advantages of proximity and of not being clearly unrealistic as choices for where we should go. That second characteristic is lacking at the other bodies near us in the inner solar system, Mercury and Venus.

Mercury is too close to the sun, with temperature extremes and other physical conditions that seem hardly survivable. Venus’s atmosphere is poisonous, crushingly heavy and furnace-hot, due to a run-away greenhouse effect. It might be possible to live suspended by balloons high in Venus’s atmosphere, but we can’t see how such a habitation would ever be self-sustaining.

But although the Moon and Mars look like comparatively reasonable destinations, they also have a deal-breaking problem. Neither is protected by a magnetosphere or atmosphere. Galactic Cosmic Rays, the energetic particles from distant supernovae, bombard the surfaces of the Moon and Mars, and people can’t live long-term under the assault of GCRs.

The cancer-causing potential of this powerful radiation has long been known, although it remains poorly quantified. But research in the last two years has added a potentially more serious hazard: brain damage. GCRs include particles such as iron nuclei traveling at close to the speed of light that destroy brain tissue.

Exposing mice to this radiation at levels similar to those found in space caused brain damage and loss of cognitive abilities, according to a study published last year by Vipan K. Parihar and colleagues in Science Advances. That research suggests we aren’t ready to send astronauts to Mars for a visit, much less to live there.

On Earth, we are shielded from GCRs by water in the atmosphere. But it takes two meters of water to block half of the GCRs present in unprotected space. Practically, a Moon or Mars settlement would have to be built underground to be safe from this radiation.

Underground shelter is hard to build and not flexible or easy to expand. Settlers would need enormous excavations for room to supply all their needs for food, manufacturing and daily life. We ask why they would go to that trouble. We can live underground on Earth. What’s the advantage to doing so on Mars?

Beyond Mars, the next potential home is among the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. There are dozens of choices among them, but the winner is obvious. Titan is the most Earthlike body other than our original home.

Titan is the only other body in the solar system with liquid on the surface, with its lakes of methane and ethane that look startlingly like water bodies on Earth. It rains methane on Titan, occasionally filling swamps. Dunes of solid hydrocarbons look remarkably like Earth’s sand dunes.

For protection from radiation, Titan has a nitrogen atmosphere 50 percent thicker than Earth’s. Saturn’s magnetosphere also provides shelter. On the surface, vast quantities of hydrocarbons in solid and liquid form lie ready to be used for energy. Although the atmosphere lacks oxygen, water ice just below the surface could be used to provide oxygen for breathing and to combust hydrocarbons as fuel.

It’s cold on Titan, at -180°C (-291°F), but thanks to its thick atmosphere, residents wouldn’t need pressure suits—just warm clothing and respirators. Housing could be made of plastic produced from the unlimited resources harvested on the surface, and could consist of domes inflated by warm oxygen and nitrogen. The ease of construction would allow huge indoor spaces.

Titanians (as we call them) wouldn’t have to spend all their time inside. The recreational opportunities on Titan are unique. For example, you could fly. The weak gravity—similar to the Moon’s—combined with the thick atmosphere would allow individuals to aviate with wings on their backs. If the wings fall off, no worry, landing will be easy. Terminal velocity on Titan is a tenth that found on the Earth.

How will we get there? Currently, we can’t. Unfortunately, we probably can’t get to Mars safely, either, without faster propulsion to limit the time in space and associated GCR dosage before astronauts are unduly harmed. We will need faster propulsion to Mars or Titan. For Titan, much faster, as the trip currently takes seven years.

There is no quick way to move off the Earth. We will have to solve our problems here. But if our species continues to invest in the pure science of space exploration and the stretch technology needed to preserve human health in space, people will eventually live on Titan.


(Charles Wohlforth and Amanda Hendrix are the authors of Beyond Earth: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets)

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Aleksandar_B_Nedeljkovic

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dobro je da su se setili da treba u tunelima
« Reply #34 on: December 01, 2016, 04:04:11 PM »
Не, на Титану не треба имати насеобине, никако; то је врло лоша идеја;

али, добро је што око половине чланка признају да на Месецу и на Марсу треба становати у подземним тунелима. Никако не на површини.

Добро је што се полако појављује свест о тој истини.

Макар веома споро, али ипак, извирује понеки мали зрак свести о томе.

Наравно да би добро било да те тунеле ископају, и наставе да копају још хиљадама година, роботи. И наравно да је за почетак пожељно искористити неку природну пећину, можда “цев лаве” (lava tube) и слично.

Нико не треба да станује у лименом киоску у каменом беспућу, у бескрају вакуума, на удару радијације, микрометеорита, драстичних температурних промена (на површини Месеца), без вишеструко обезбеђених извора ваздуха, воде, хране, енергије, и свега осталог…


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Lidija

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Re: Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...
« Reply #35 on: December 02, 2016, 06:59:02 PM »
Znate, jedan od ključnih aspekata posthumanističke revalorizacije je diktiran spoznajom da smo uslovljeni na život jedino na ovoj planeti, nigde drugde. A čak i na njoj mi opstajemo samo u njenim klimatski umerenim delovima, tako da novi milenijum glatko ignoriše utopijska zavaravanja u tom smislu: gde god da odemo, sledi nam riskantno življenje u strogo kontrolisanim habitatima.

Ali s druge strane, to nam sleduje i ovde na Zemlji, jer ako su makar i najumerenije prognoze tačne, slede nam ekstremni klimatski uslovi, koje će se moći lagodno podneti jedino u habitatima. Što dalje znači da je potreba za tehnološkim napretkom na tom polju neminovna, kud god da se okrenemo.

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Lidija

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Re: Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2016, 08:12:59 AM »

Alien life could thrive in the clouds of failed stars



There’s an abundant new swath of cosmic real estate that life could call home—and the views would be spectacular. Floating out by themselves in the Milky Way galaxy are perhaps a billion cold brown dwarfs, objects many times as massive as Jupiter but not big enough to ignite as a star. According to a new study, layers of their upper atmospheres sit at temperatures and pressures resembling those on Earth, and could host microbes that surf on thermal updrafts.

The idea expands the concept of a habitable zone to include a vast population of worlds that had previously gone unconsidered. “You don’t necessarily need to have a terrestrial planet with a surface,” says Jack Yates, a planetary scientist at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, who led the study.

Atmospheric life isn’t just for the birds. For decades, biologists have known about microbes that drift in the winds high above Earth’s surface. And in 1976, Carl Sagan envisioned the kind of ecosystem that could evolve in the upper layers of Jupiter, fueled by sunlight. You could have sky plankton: small organisms he called “sinkers.” Other organisms could be balloonlike “floaters,” which would rise and fall in the atmosphere by manipulating their body pressure. In the years since, astronomers have also considered the prospects of microbes in the carbon dioxide atmosphere above Venus’s inhospitable surface.

Yates and his colleagues applied the same thinking to a kind of world Sagan didn’t know about. Discovered in 2011, some cold brown dwarfs have surfaces roughly at room temperature or below; lower layers would be downright comfortable. In March 2013, astronomers discovered WISE 0855-0714, a brown dwarf only 7 light-years away that seems to have water clouds in its atmosphere. Yates and his colleagues set out to update Sagan’s calculations and to identify the sizes, densities, and life strategies of microbes that could manage to stay aloft in the habitable region of an enormous atmosphere of predominantly hydrogen gas. Sink too low and you are cooked or crushed. Rise too high and you might freeze.

On such a world, small sinkers like the microbes in Earth’s atmosphere or even smaller would have a better chance than Sagan’s floaters, the researchers will report in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal. But a lot depends on the weather: If upwelling winds are powerful on free-floating brown dwarfs, as seems to be true in the bands of gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn, heavier creatures can carve out a niche. In the absence of sunlight, they could feed on chemical nutrients. Observations of cold brown dwarf atmospheres reveal most of the ingredients Earth life depends on: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen, though perhaps not phosphorous.

The idea is speculative but worth considering, says Duncan Forgan, an astrobiologist at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom, who did not participate in the study but says he is close to the team. “It really opens up the field in terms of the number of objects that we might then think, well, these are habitable regions.”

So far, only a few dozen cold brown dwarfs have been discovered, though statistics suggest there should be about 10 within 30 light-years of Earth. These should be ripe targets for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is sensitive in the infrared where brown dwarfs shine brightest. After it launches in 2018, the JWST should reveal the weather and the composition of their atmospheres, says Jackie Faherty, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. “We’re going to start getting gorgeous spectra of these objects,” she says. “This is making me think about it.”

Testing for life would require anticipating a strong spectral signature of microbe byproducts like methane or oxygen, and then differentiating it from other processes, Faherty says. Another issue would be explaining how life could arise in an environment that lacks the water-rock interfaces, like hydrothermal vents, where life is thought to have begun on Earth. Perhaps life could develop through chemical reactions on the surfaces of dust grains in the brown dwarf’s atmosphere, or perhaps it gained a foothold after arriving as a hitchhiker on an asteroid. “Having little microbes that float in and out of a brown dwarf atmosphere is great,” Forgan says. “But you’ve got to get them there first.”

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Lidija

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Lidija

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Re: Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...
« Reply #38 on: February 16, 2017, 07:56:04 AM »

We finally have a computer that can survive the surface of Venus


Sulphuric rain? Easy. Not burning up at 500°C or crushed by 90 atmospheres? Hard.

Venus is one of the most inhospitable places in the solar system. Descending through the clouds of boiling sulphuric rain is actually the easy bit—the hard bit is not being cremated by the surface temperature of 470°C (878°F) or crushed by the atmospheric pressure, which is about 90 times that of Earth, the same as swimming 900 metres under water.

The longest survival time for a human-made object on Venus was 127 minutes, back in 1981 when the Soviet spacecraft Venera 13 landed there. Not dying for two hours, and netting our first ever colour photos of the planet's surface, was considered a huge success; the probe had only been designed to live for 32 minutes before it was cooked, crushed, and dissolved by its environs. Three more spacecraft followed, all Soviet—Venera 14, Vega 1, Vega 2—but we haven't tried to land anything on Venus since 1985.


One of the core problems of exploring Venus is that normal digital computers don't really work there. Standard silicon chips can hang in to around 250°C, but eventually there's just so much energy in the system that the silicon stops being a semiconductor—electrons can freely jump the bandgap—and everything stops working. The Venera landers kept their electronics cool with cumbersome hermetically sealed chambers, and sometimes the innards were also pre-cooled to around -10°C before being dropped into the atmosphere by the parent orbiter.

Over the last few years electronics based on the semiconductor silicon carbide (SiC) have started to mature. SiC has drawn a lot of interest from the military and heavy industries because it can support very high voltages and temperatures—and those properties make it a very suitable candidate for computing on Venus, too.

Now, researchers out of NASA's Glenn Research Centre appear to have cracked the other big problem with high-temperature integrated circuits: they've crafted interconnects—the tiny wires that connect transistors and other integrated components together—that can also survive the extreme conditions on Venus.

The NASA Glenn researchers combined the new interconnects with some SiC transistors to create a ceramic-packaged chip. The chip was then placed into the GEER—the Glenn Extreme Environments Rig, a machine that can maintain Venus-like temperature and pressure for hundreds of hours at a time. The chip, a simple 3-stage oscillator, kept functioning at a steady 1.26MHz for 521 hours (21.7) days before the GEER had to be shut down.

NASA Glenn says this is the first reported demonstration of a computer chip operating in Venus-like conditions for multiple days/weeks without the aid of a pressure vessel, cooling system, or other means of protection. "With further technology maturation, such SiC IC electronics could drastically improve Venus lander designs and mission concepts, fundamentally enabling long-duration enhanced missions to the surface of Venus," the researchers conclude.

Sending a lander to Venus requires more than just high-temperature electronics, though. While researching this story I stumbled across a fascinating website that dives into the Soviet exploration of Venus from 1961 to 1985. It turns out that creating tools that continue to work at 470°C and 9MPa is rather difficult. Check out this description of the drilling apparatus on the Venera 13 and 14 landers:

Capable of drilling 3 cm into solid igneous rock, if needs be, the drill required the invention of new alloys and an electric motor. Machine parts were designed to fit and function properly only after thermal expansion to 500°C. The telescoping drill head lowers to the surface and bores for two minutes. Pyrotechnic charges break a series of seals that allow the high pressure atmosphere of Venus to rush into an assembly of tubes. Soil is carried in stages, into a soil transfer tube and onto a sample container. The sample container is driven through an airlock by pyrotechnic charges and into the x-ray fluorescence chamber. A large vacuum reservoir then lowers the chamber pressure to about 0.06 atmospheres.

The mechanical side of engineering a Venus lander would still be difficult today, but thanks to advances in materials science, oil drilling, and other high-temperature industrial pursuits, it should be within our capabilities. A rover, with more moving parts, would be a lot harder—though apparently NASA Glenn is working on a land-sailing rover that could be ready for 2023.




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Lidija

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Re: Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...
« Reply #39 on: February 20, 2017, 08:06:48 AM »


Welcome to New Dubai: Will the UAE be the first to set up a CITY on Mars? Stunning images reveal plans for a colony on the red planet by 2117



Having scaled the heights of Earth with the world's tallest building, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has now announced its plans to set up Mars' first mini city.

The UAE said it will build the city by 2117, as part of its 100-year national programme to better understand the red planet. 
The announcement was made at the World Government Summit in the presence of representatives of 138 governments. 

The energy-rich country on the eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula announced plans to help get people to the red planet over the few next decades.

The Mars 2117 Project was announced by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum who is the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The project will explore how people can get to Mars and how to create food and energy on the red planet, according to Gulf News.

A virtual presentation was made at the same time as the announcement.

'The landing of people on other planets has been a longtime dream for humans.

'Our aim is that the UAE will spearhead international efforts to make this dream a reality,' said Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid.
He said the UAE is ranked among the most important nine countries in the world that invest in space science.

'The UAE has become part of dynamic human scientific efforts to explore space and making scientific contributions to human knowledge,' Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed said.

'With the launch of this project, we begin a new journey that will last for decades to come, and it will speed up human endeavours to explore other planets,' he added.




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Lidija

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Re: Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...
« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2017, 07:44:00 AM »

Ancient microbes found trapped in crystals in Mexican cave system


The extraordinary micro-organisms were found trapped in crystal in a volcanically heated Mexican cave system where temperatures reach 60C (140F).

Some of them are believed to have been there for 60,000 years and were shut off from light or oxygen and obtained energy from minerals.

Scientists have been unable to classify 90% of the bugs, which could not be matched with any other micro-organisms catalogued in available databases.

The microbes are highly diverse and include around 100 different strains made up of both bacteria and other microbes known as archaea.

Five chambers were explored, which ranged in size from an average room to a cathedral-like cavern, at the Naica mine in Chihuahua.

The microbes were contained in small water-filled pockets within the sparkling white crystals, some of which were five metres long and a metre wide.

Dr Penelope Boston, director of NASA's Astrobiology Institute, who led the first expedition in 2008, said: "The deepest part we accessed was a place called Hell, very evocatively. That chamber is at the 800 metre level.

Experiments to see if the weird bugs could be cultured were partly successful.

"Much to my surprise we got the things to grow," said Dr Boston, who was speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

"It was laborious. We lost some of them - that's just the game. They've got needs we can't fulfil. That part of it was really like zoo keeping."

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Lidija

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Re: Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...
« Reply #41 on: February 23, 2017, 08:05:39 AM »

NASA probe finds life's building blocks on dwarf planet Ceres


Scientists searching for evidence of life beyond Earth have discovered organic material on Ceres, the dwarf planet located between Mars and Jupiter.

The carbon-based materials, similar to what may have been the building blocks for life on Earth, were discovered by NASA's Dawn space probe.

The exact molecular compounds in the organics cannot be identified, but they match tar-like minerals such as kerite or asphaltite.

"The discovery indicates that the starting material in the solar system contained the essential elements, or the building blocks, for life," said Dawn's lead scientist, Christopher Russell.

"Ceres may have been able to take this process only so far. Perhaps to move further along the path took a larger body with more complex structure and dynamics (like Earth)."

Ceres, a Texas-sized rock-and-ice world about 590 miles (950 km) in diameter, is the largest object in the asteroid belt and is located about three times farther from the sun than Earth.

Its composition is thought to reflect the material present in parts of the solar system when it was forming some 4.5 billion years ago.

The organic material was found near a 31-mile-wide (50km) crater in Ceres' northern hemisphere and experts say the location and type of organics mean they cannot have been deposited by a crashing asteroid or comet.

The dwarf planet now joins Mars and several ocean-bearing moons of Jupiter and Saturn, among others, as places of interest to scientists looking for life beyond Earth.

"This opens the possibility that primitive life could have developed on Ceres itself," said planetary scientist Michael Kuppers of the European Space Astronomy Centre.

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Lidija

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Re: Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...
« Reply #42 on: March 13, 2017, 08:18:04 AM »
Trka se ubrzava :)



China developing manned space mission to the moon: State media

China is building a manned spacecraft capable of sending astronauts to the moon as well as near-Earth orbit flight, according to Chinese state media.

The official newspaper of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China cited system chief architect Zhang Bainan who claimed the craft is being designed to carry as many as six astronauts.

The newspaper, Science and Technology Daily, quoted Zhang Bainan Tuesday as saying China wished to catch up with international standards of space exploration.

The fresh announcement follows a separate Chinese ambition to bring back samples from the moon before the end of this year.

The unmanned Chang'e-5 lunar probe is undergoing a final round of tests and is expected to be on standby for launch from August, according to the official People's Daily.

China first landed an unmanned craft on the moon in December 2013. It marked the first spacecraft to land on the moon since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976.

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Lidija

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Re: Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...
« Reply #43 on: March 13, 2017, 08:19:58 AM »
... i to na svim poljima...  8)


AI Scientists Gather to Plot Doomsday Scenarios (and Solutions)


Artificial intelligence boosters predict a brave new world of flying cars and cancer cures. Detractors worry about a future where humans are enslaved to an evil race of robot overlords. Veteran AI scientist Eric Horvitz and Doomsday Clock guru Lawrence Krauss, seeking a middle ground, gathered a group of experts in the Arizona desert to discuss the worst that could possibly happen -- and how to stop it.

Their workshop took place last weekend at Arizona State University with funding from Tesla Inc. co-founder Elon Musk and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn. Officially dubbed "Envisioning and Addressing Adverse AI Outcomes," it was a kind of AI doomsday games that organized some 40 scientists, cyber-security experts and policy wonks into groups of attackers -- the red team -- and defenders -- blue team -- playing out AI-gone-very-wrong scenarios, ranging from stock-market manipulation to global warfare.

Horvitz is optimistic -- a good thing because machine intelligence is his life's work -- but some other, more dystopian-minded backers of the project seemed to find his outlook too positive when plans for this event started about two years ago, said Krauss, a theoretical physicist who directs ASU's Origins Project, the program running the workshop. Yet Horvitz said that for these technologies to move forward successfully and to earn broad public confidence, all concerns must be fully aired and addressed.

"There is huge potential for AI to transform so many aspects of our society in so many ways. At the same time, there are rough edges and potential downsides, like any technology," said Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft's Research Lab in Redmond, Washington. ``To maximally gain from the upside we also have to think through possible outcomes in more detail than we have before and think about how we’d deal with them."

Participants were given "homework" to submit entries for worst-case scenarios. They had to be realistic -- based on current technologies or those that appear possible -- and five to 25 years in the future. The entrants with the "winning" nightmares were chosen to lead the panels, which featured about four experts on each of the two teams to discuss the attack and how to prevent it.

Turns out many of these researchers can match science-fiction writers Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K. Dick for dystopian visions. In many cases, little imagination was required -- scenarios like technology being used to sway elections or new cyber attacks using AI are being seen in the real world, or are at least technically possible. Horvitz cited research that shows how to alter the way a self-driving car sees traffic signs so that the vehicle misreads a "stop" sign as "yield.''

The possibility of intelligent, automated cyber attacks is the one that most worries John Launchbury, who directs one of the offices at the U.S.'s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and Kathleen Fisher, chairwoman of the computer science department at Tufts University, who led that session. What happens if someone constructs a cyber weapon designed to hide itself and evade all attempts to dismantle it? Now imagine it spreads beyond its intended target to the broader internet. Think Stuxnet, the computer virus created to attack the Iranian nuclear program that got out in the wild, but stealthier and more autonomous.

"We're talking about malware on steroids that is AI-enabled," said Fisher, who is an expert in programming languages. Fisher presented her scenario under a slide bearing the words "What could possibly go wrong?" which could have also served as a tagline for the whole event.

How did the defending blue team fare on that one? Not well, said Launchbury. They argued that advanced AI needed for an attack would require a lot of computing power and communication, so it would be easier to detect. But the red team felt that it would be easy to hide behind innocuous activities, Fisher said. For example, attackers could get innocent users to play an addictive video game to cover up their work.

To prevent a stock-market manipulation scenario dreamed up by University of Michigan computer science professor Michael Wellman, blue team members suggested treating attackers like malware by trying to recognize them via a database on known types of hacks. Wellman, who has been in AI for more than 30 years and calls himself an old-timer on the subject, said that approach could be useful in finance.

Beyond actual solutions, organizers hope the doomsday workshop started conversations on what needs to happen, raised awareness and combined ideas from different disciplines. The Origins Project plans to make public materials from the closed-door sessions and may design further workshops around a specific scenario or two, Krauss said.

DARPA's Launchbury hopes the presence of policy figures among the participants will foster concrete steps, like agreements on rules of engagement for cyber war, automated weapons and robot troops.

Krauss, chairman of the board of sponsors of the group behind the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic measure of how close we are to global catastrophe, said some of what he saw at the workshop "informed" his thinking on whether the clock ought to shift even closer to midnight. But don't go stocking up on canned food and moving into a bunker in the wilderness just yet.

"Some things we think of as cataclysmic may turn out to be just fine," he said.

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Lidija

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Re: Gde bi sve trebalo lansirati SF ekspedicije...
« Reply #44 on: March 15, 2017, 06:21:12 AM »


Indicators show potatoes can grow on Mars



The International Potato Center (CIP) launched a series of experiments to discover if potatoes can grow under Mars atmospheric conditions and thereby prove they are also able to grow in extreme climates on Earth. This Phase Two effort of CIP's proof of concept experiment to grow potatoes in simulated Martian conditions began on February 14, 2016 when a tuber was planted in a specially constructed CubeSat contained environment built by engineers from University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Lima based upon designs and advice provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Ames Research Center (NASA ARC), California. Preliminary results are positive.

The Potatoes on Mars project was conceived by CIP to both understand how potatoes might grow in Mars conditions and also see how they survive in the extreme conditions similar to what parts of the world already suffering from climate change and weather shocks are already experiencing.
"Growing crops under Mars-like conditions is an important phase of this experiment," says Julio Valdivia-Silva, a research associate with the SETI Institute who has worked at NASA's Ames Research Center (NASA ARC) and now works at UTEC in Lima. "If the crops can tolerate the extreme conditions that we are exposing them to in our CubeSat, they have a good chance to grow on Mars. We will do several rounds of experiments to find out which potato varieties do best. "We want to know what the minimum conditions are that a potato needs to survive," he said.

The CubeSat houses a container holding soil and the tuber. Inside this hermetically sealed environment the CubeSat delivers nutrient rich water, controls the temperature for Mars day and night conditions and mimics Mars air pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. Sensors constantly monitor these conditions and live streaming cameras record the soil in anticipation of the potato sprouting.

According to CIP potato breeder Walter Amoros, one advantage potato great genetic capacity for adaptation to extreme environments. CIP has tapped into that capacity by breeding potato clones that tolerate conditions such as soil salinity and drought, in order to help smallholder farmers grow food in marginal areas that could grow harsher under climate change.

In 2016, CIP brought Mars analog soil from the Pampas de La Joya desert in Southern Peru to its experimental station in La Molina, Lima. There CIP was able to show proof that potatoes could grow in this dry, salty soil with some help from fertilized Earth soil for both nutrition and structure.

"We have been looking at the very dry soils found in the southern Peruvian desert. These are the most Mars-like soils found on Earth." Chris McKay of NASA ARC. "This [research] could have a direct technological benefit on Earth and a direct biological benefit on Earth," says Chris McKay of NASA ARC.