November 14, 2008
Posted by scott at November 14, 2008 09:07 AM
Scientists have, for the first time, directly imaged an entire solar system's worth of planets. Imaged from the ground, no less. If this doesn't put paid to the myth that there's something spectacularly magical about a twenty five year-old lump just because it orbits the Earth, I'm not sure what will. And yet we're still going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars "rescuing" the thing. Gah.
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We're making hellacious progress in noise-reduction and signal-amplification technologies, there's no doubt about that. I remember when infrared cameras had to be chilled with liquid nitrogen, because if they weren't, the black body radiation inside the camera would completely wipe out the image. Now we can buy working infrared goggles at the toy store for under a hundred bucks.
Of course, the question is, how much of that signal reduction technology do we owe to researchers comparing pictures taken from a satellite built during the age of nitrogen-cooled infrared cameras to pictures taken from the ground, refining their algorithms based on the differences between the two?
NOISE reduction technology, I meant. Egad.
I'm thinking road trip here. What we should do is work to build an absolutely massive spaceship (think hollowed out asteroids and all). Should have food generation facilities, waste management, etc. We can then load up everyone who wants to live off the gov't teat, promise them a job for life, and launch them at the nearest star with an earth-like planet. That way they're gainfully employed and fed (a key liberal talking point), we get to take advantage of the new technologies (a key conservative talking point), and our budget gets better over time (a general wish of those that actually pay taxes).
What's not to like?
I'm going to hope that's sarcasm. I've known too many otherwise quite clever people who think closed systems "like Earth" should be easy to build and sustain forever using current technology.
"Hey, they'd be just like the vaults in Fallout, only in space! If it works in our video game model, it would work the same way in real life!"
wow...that's really cool!
Once we launch them, does it matter if it lasts or not?