A look upward on a quite night sky would bring up all the possibility that exist for people to explore and find new vistas. Google XPRIZE aims at just that. This is to ignite the adventurer in each person; and to open out new possibilities for the following generations to come.
The Advantages of a Completion like Google XPRIZE
People and cultures have progressed when they have been at completion with each other. This has been aptly demonstrated by the hunt for new colonies in the 18th century by the European powers that then came to dominate the world. It is this very push that is needed to bring results in the exploration of space as well.
The GLXP is a competitive venture by Google to have a man on the moon with as little effort as possible. With the sheer number of competitors that have taken up this challenge shows the seriousness of the venture and the end result the announcers of the program intended. Rarely have technology buffs been this galvanized to achieving results that could be the corner stone of future space travel and exploration.
There is more to a completion than just the simple competitive spirit alone. With the possibility that the very first person in the venture could well etch their names in history with this effort, has meant that there is a fair takers for the challenge than what the organizers envisaged. This is a good thing. It is just possible that the higher number of competitors would mean a more affordable solution as most participants do not have any sort of corporate or third party sponsors. It is more of an individual effort.
So typical of the early pilgrims that came to America and the colonizers of the yesterdays, the space explores are a more organized lot. XPRIZE aims to do more than land a person on the moon, it is meant to bring out the best performing and practical solution to a very costly affair these days.
The Cost Factor in The Competitions
There is no denying that a cheap solution to an expensive practice of sending people and equipment to space must be realized to move the field of space exploration forward. The aim of any competition is to bring out the best possible solution and here with this Google venture, the aims are just the same. There would also be the added advantage of having a cost effective solution as well.
Since for any venture to succeed, the cost incurred to doing it must be mentioned. The very low capital base that most of the participants to this program; would mean that it would be a very cost effective solution that would come out of the ramble that it is now.
Most ventures of this nature are bound to attract the not so serious participants as well. As time passes and workable models emerge out of the noise, a better and clearer picture is bound to emerge.
As problems and applications of computers grow and more complex scenarios are made out to be, the importance of a need to think out of the box to produce an approach that tends to differ in approach is what brought about Quantum Computing. This is nothing but the application of technology to bring about faster and more complex computing methods.
The Changing Technological Applications with Quantum Computing
Computing took on a new look with quantum applications to computing as more complex calculations need to be performed in the least time. The extent and degree of computations were very different to the traditional application of computing to computers. Whereas the older type of computing relied more on speeds and flip-flops, the new way of thinking brought about the essence of depth to computers.
The application of qubits quantum computing that related to the polarized state of molecules and at the very lowest level of molecular structure introduced an aspect that were not present in earlier attempts of computing. The ability to apply polarization in computing was a new and different approach to dealing with numbers and a step that cut to the very heart of matter.
Thus people came to consider the old fashioned computing as a two dimensional approach and the polarization effects as a three dimensional tackling of computing. Thus the old applications could be done faster and in a different approach to earlier times as well. Times of computing as well as more varied application of computing technologies were brought about.
The Advantage of Size
With the different approach to computing came a great innovation that is the smaller size of quantum computers as compared to the traditional computers. This was quite an unexpected advantage that found its applications in many forms. For example, the use of computers in space where the space was at a premium could use a computer that would be typically be a tenth the size and weight of traditional computers.
There were speeds of operation that were possible with quantum computing than were possible in earlier generations of computers. It played with the states of being of matter than the actual movement of electrons to make computing faster beyond our imagination. This new age in computing in fact removed a lot of limitations that the traditional methods of computing had. Thus, this new form of computing is bound to open up a lot more fields and areas than previously possible.
The Cost Factor
Using current manufacturing techniques and materials, it would be a huge leap in generation while quantum machines are considered. There are severe limitations on the need to have the substrate kept cooled to nearly two hundred Celsius below zero. With advancement in technology and manufacturing techniques it is possible to have more manageable situations of use of this new and different approach to crunching numbers. As with any new born technology, there is bound to be a learning phase that needs to be handled delicately to achieve full potential.
There have been a lot of benefits to society from technologies and products that were a byproduct of the space programs of various countries. Of particular interest is the role that the American space program have been of benefit through the NASA spinoff technology, and the formal existence of a procedure to bring cutting edge practices to the society in general. There are a number of benefits to society from space material and techniques as laid out below.
The Durability of NASA Spinoff Technology
Outer space has a particular characteristic that it is a very unforgiving place or area of operation. Not only is the media harsh but mistakes are often accompanied by harsh results. All this combine to give solutions to problems the needed durability of application. The substances and products for use in any space program have to be durable enough to last an entire space flight that could at times last a few months.
The outer space is devoid of a cushion of air that is so taken for granted on Earth and this can cause the sunlight to be very harsh. The air not only is a medium of exchange of matter but protects all that live in it with a protective cocoon that keeps matter and particularly the sunlight from getting too harsh. It is thus a moderating medium.
The lack of an atmosphere in outer space is a contributing factor to the extra harshness of the sunlight. Thus it goes without saying that material developed for use in space must have the hardness to withstand the penetrating sunlight that is so prevalent in space.
Another aspect of space is the severe cold that can grip in the absence of a heat like the sun. It would be apt to describe the frigidness as penetrating and lonely. This is particularly the tone of the many pictures of outer space that astronauts and satellites pass on to us. So any materials that need to be used in space must be extra fortified to withstand the most severe of chills.
The Physical Toughness so needed for Products
The sheer harshness of outer space is a good enough reason to design and make products that are tough as well as hardy. It must be able to stand up to the biting conditions till the end of the mission at most times and with reusable products like the space shuttle, the need to reuse material comes out as important as well.
Thus the need to have useful products that are physically strong at the same time serve the purpose for which they are designed for makes a good combination for material. In a lot of instances, the alternate use of the products would make the space program more suited to society than otherwise. Thus products that are lasting as well as hardy that can withstand the severest of conditions are developed. This would be a spinoff that a lot of pioneers in space never thought of.
The Falcon 9 project is an attempt by a lot of independent thinkers to bring forth technologies that can be reused. The operators of the project Space X, has in their efforts to introduce the concept of a reusable spacecraft been successful to a large extent in bringing about the very idea of a reusable craft into space flight a reality. But these are very early days in this space and a lot of work has still to be done to make the final dream of the promoters a reality.
The Limitations of Expendable Space Craft
From the very start of space programs in most countries, the role of a reusable space craft was never given much importance. This was due to the fact that the early space flights did not involve humans that needed to be brought back to earth safely and it was more or less as set of instruments that were sent out. This did serve the early purpose of studying space and its outer limits.
As the journeys to outer space involved people and the fact that they needed to be brought back safely to earth changed the very dynamics of the space program. But the concept of an expendable space craft that could be reused simply did not click with the early designers of the space programs.
In many ways it was more the young space techniques that put severe limitations on the material and products that were in use for space flight that brought about such thinking. NASA took to itself develop a reusable space craft after realizing that the future of space flight would need more manned travel than otherwise. Thus the space shuttle program was born.
The Advantages of a Reusable Space Craft like Falcon 9
There were a number of advantages to having a reusable space craft that people seriously started to think of ways of achieving this goal. Participants like Space X without the backing of any sovereign state made up the short fall of finance by innovative thinking. Some very talented people that would normally have been stymied in a more formal development set up found their calling in many ventures like these and this brought about a new thinking in space and its encounters.
Principally a reusable craft brought the advantages of cost of operation of a space program. In the very early stages of space flight the cost of matter jettisoned was lower than the money needed to bring back parts of a space craft back to base. This changed with lowering of technological costs and the affordability of space travel to a lot more people and countries than before.
The second factor that brought about a more acceptance of reusable technology was the need for faster turnaround times between flights. A reusable space craft would make a big difference in this aspect of space travel and this is what drove the push to reusable space crafts and made it a reality.