Home » Innovation
Category Archives: Innovation
KLM has lanced this week’s contest “Claim your place in Space” . Participants in this competition can win the ultimate prize: a trip through space. And also you can join!
Joining this contest is simple. On Monday, April 22, KLM will launch a balloon with onboard cameras and a GPS in the Nevada desert. Once the balloon reach, it will expand and eventually pop apart. The load in the balloon along with it, then sail to a parachute back to earth.
To win you just have to predict when to balloon pops and were it will pop.
Go to klm space to make a chance!
For the last ten years, theoretical physicists have shown that the intense connections generated between particles as established in the quantum law of ‘entanglement’ may hold the key to eventual teleportation of information.
Now, for the first time, researchers have worked out how entanglement could be ‘recycled’ to increase the efficiency of these connections. Published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the result could conceivably take us a step closer to sci-fi style teleportation in the future, although this research is purely theoretical in nature.
The team have also devised a generalised form of teleportation, which allows for a wide variety of potential applications in quantum physics.
Once considered impossible, in 1993 a team of scientists calculated that teleportation could work in principle using quantum laws. Quantum teleportation harnesses the ‘entanglement’ law to transmit particle-sized bites of information across potentially vast distances in an instant.
Entanglement involves a pair of quantum particles such as electrons or protons that are intrinsically bound together, retaining synchronisation between the two that holds whether the particles are next to each other or on opposing sides of a galaxy. Through this connection, quantum bits of information – qubits – can be relayed using only traditional forms of classical communication.
Previous teleportation protocols have fallen into one of two camps, those that could only send scrambled information requiring correction by the receiver or, more recently, “port-based” teleportation that doesn’t require a correction, but needs an impractical amount of entanglement – as each object sent would destroy the entangled state.
Now, physicists from Cambridge, University College London, and the University of Gdansk have developed a protocol to provide an optimal solution in which the entangled state is ‘recycled’, so that the gateway between particles holds for the teleportation of multiple objects.
They have even devised a protocol in which multiple qubits can be teleported simultaneously, although the entangled state degrades proportionally to the amount of qubits sent in both cases.
“The first protocol consists of sequentially teleporting states, and the second teleports them in a bulk,” said Sergii Strelchuk from Cambridge’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, who led the research with colleagues Jonathan Oppenheim of Cambridge and UCL and Michal Horodecki of the University of Gdansk.
“We have also found a generalised teleportation technique which we hope will find applications in areas such as quantum computation.”
Einstein famously loathed the theory of quantum entanglement, dismissing it as “spooky action at a distance”. But entanglement has since been proven to be a very real feature of our universe, and one that has extraordinary potential to advance all manner of scientific endeavor.
“There is a close connection between teleportation and quantum computers, which are devices which exploit quantum mechanics to perform computations which would not be feasible on a classical computer,” said Strelchuk.
“Building a quantum computer is one of the great challenges of modern physics, and it is hoped that the new teleportation protocol will lead to advances in this area.”
While the Cambridge physicists’ protocol is completely theoretical, last year a team of Chinese scientists reported teleporting photons over 143km, breaking previous records, and quantum entanglement is increasingly seen as an important area of scientific investment. Teleportation of information carried by single atoms is feasible with current technologies, but the teleportation of large objects – such as Captain Kirk – remains in the realm of science fiction.
Adds Strelchuk: “Entanglement can be thought of as the fuel, which powers teleportation. Our protocol is more fuel efficient, able to use entanglement thriftily while eliminating the need for error correction.”
Newly formed Deep Space Industries unveiled an ambitious plan on Tuesday to extract raw materials from nearby asteroids and turn it into fuel and spare parts for satellites.
It may sound like science fiction, but the company’s chief technology officer, John Mankins, who previously worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said there’s really nothing magical about it.
“The technology may not have been used in space for the exact purposes that we propose, but the fundamental technologies are really at hand,” Mankins said at a press conference at the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, Calif., to announce the new venture.
Interestingly, another startup, Planetary Resources, rolled out a similar business plan in April. Though the two companies may end up vying for the same customers, they are taking different paths.
Planetary Resources plans to start off building, launching and operating small telescopes in Earth orbit to scout for potential mining targets. Deep Space Industries’ idea is to use inexpensive, off-the-shelf CubeSat-based spacecraft to visit select asteroids.
The six-month “Firefly” missions, each of which would cost about $20 million, would begin in 2015, said Deep Space chief executive David Gump told Discovery News.
Those would be followed a year later by slightly larger “Dragonfly” spacecraft capable of putting themselves into orbit around a target and extracting up to about 100 pounds of material to bring back to Earth.
Gump figures money for the venture will come from space agencies, including NASA and other research institutions, as well as from companies interested in advertising, sponsorships and marketing programs.
Ultimately, Deep Space wants to extract water and other volatile materials from huge chunks of asteroids brought back to Earth orbit. The materials would be used to make fuel for communications satellites, adding another $20 million to $25 million in value to each. Gump figures a commercial refueling service should be available by 2020.
Also of value are the asteroid’s metals, which could be used in 3D space printers to manufacture solar cells and other satellite components.
The company’s founders include engineer Stephen Covey, who has a patent application pending for what he calls a “Microgravity Foundry,” — a 3D printer that uses lasers to etch patterns in a nickel-charged gas. The process deposits the metal in precise patterns, similar to how Earth-based 3D printers use nickel powder to produce components.
There should be more than enough asteroids to go around. Recent surveys, initially launched to find asteroids with the potential to hit Earth, are adding about 1,000 targets a year to the list of nearby asteroids, the vast majority of which pose no threat.
Currently there’s about 9,500 known near-Earth asteroids, about 850 of which are bigger than 1 kilometer (.62 mile).
“They are the planet-busters. If they hit the Earth there is worldwide climate disruption. They’re the sorts of things that killed off the dinosaurs,” said mining consultant Mark Sonter, a Deep Space Industries science adviser.
About 2,900 of the known asteroids are bigger than about 300 meters (984 feet) and millions in the 10-meter to 20-meter (33- to 66-foot) diameter range.
“The number of near-Earth asteroids is going up all the time. It’s going up very fast. This represents the number of our potential targets for mining or for resource recovery,” Sonter said.
Who would have thought that within a year, we’d have multiple, competing asteroid mining startups? Deep Space Industries, which will hold its official launch on Tuesday at Santa Monica’s Museum of Flying, is the latest of several ambitious private companies to announce plans for the final frontier: in its case, to prospect near-Earth asteroids with an eye towards using materials in them to build a permanent presence in space. In 2015, it says it will begin sending unmanned “FireFly” spacecraft to explore asteroids that fly near Earth, followed by heavier “DragonFly” craft that will bring back samples from likely candidates between 2016 and 2020.
If these initial steps pan out, DSI has far more ambitious plans. Among them is a “Microgravity Foundry,” a 3D printing technology that uses nickel-charged gas to print metal components in zero gravity. The company says a patent is pending, but we’re not sure how far along the tech is — though 3D printing has been tried successfully in zero gravity. DSI also promises the same things we’ve heard from other asteroid mining proponents: if the resources in an asteroid can be successfully recovered, they’ll provide things like fuel or metals to current-generation spacecraft. “In a decade,” a statement says, “Deep Space will be harvesting asteroids for metals and other building materials, to construct large communications platforms to replace communications satellites, and later solar power stations to beam carbon-free energy to consumers on Earth.”
In terms of the feasibility of its claims, DSI is roughly on par with Planetary Resources, which announced its own asteroid mining plans in April 2012. Neither company has a proven record like breakout success SpaceX, but nor are their goals as fanciful as the Golden Spike proposal to profitably reach the Moon by 2020. What Deep Space Industries may lack, however, is funding. Planetary Resources was backed by millionaire director James Cameron and Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt among others; DSI hasn’t indicated that it has access to pockets nearly so deep, and it’s looking for sponsorship for the initial missions. CEO David Gump (previously of Astrobotic, another space exploration company) says that “the public will participate in FireFly and DragonFly missions via live feeds from Mission Control, online courses in asteroid mining sponsored by corporate marketers, and other innovative ways to open the doors wide,” helping to fund the flights. No deals have been disclosed, though DSI says there’s “interest” from NASA and others.
Besides Gump, we haven’t yet got a full list of the people behind Deep Space Industry, but it’s chaired by space luminary Rick Tumlinson, an early space tourist and founding trustee of the X Prize. Geoffrey Notkin of the Science Channel show Meteorite Men and space analyst Mark Sonter are also part of the project, and 3D printing entrepreneur James Wolff is listed as a co-founder elsewhere online. We’re still awaiting more details from the conference itself, which will be streamed live at Spacevidcast starting at 12PM ET.