Each week Nikolas Badminton, Futurist Speaker, summarizes the top-5 future looking developments and news items that I find to be inspiring, interesting, concerning, or downright strange. Each day he reads through dozens of blogs and news websites to find those things that we should be aware of.
In Future Trends – Screw Mars let’s go to TRAPPIST-1 we look at NASA’s new discovery, auto-pilot systems for helicopters, blue-collar workers looking to solar for jobs, farms powered via solar, and creating uranium from seawater.
NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star
Seven Earth-sized planets have been observed by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope around a tiny, nearby, ultra-cool dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1. Three of these planets are firmly in the habitable zone.
Over 21 days, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope measured the drop in light as each planet passed in front of the star. Spitzer was able to identify a total of seven rocky worlds, including three in the habitable zone, where liquid water might be found.
The video features interviews with Sean Carey, manager of the Spitzer Science Center, Caltech/IPAC; Nikole Lewis, James Webb Space Telescope project scientist, Space Telescope Science Institute; and Michaël Gillon, principal investigator, TRAPPIST, University of Liege, Belgium.
The system has been revealed through observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the ground-based TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) telescope, as well as other ground-based observatories. The system was named for the TRAPPIST telescope.
Autonomous Flight System Can Be Retrofitted on Existing Helicopters
Uranium From Seawater – A Source for Future Energy Production?
Whether you’re vehemently opposed to nuclear power, have your reservations about the technology, or see it as the only viable energy solution in a post-petroleum world, nuclear power will be an important part of humanity’s near term future.
One of the problems that will continue to plague nuclear power producers as the energy economy becomes greener is the fact that the world-wide uranium ore supply is dwindling. Like all mineral resources, there will come a day when the mines that dot the Earth won’t give up any more ore. From then on we’ll have to find another source of fissile material. Fortunately, there is a vast reservoir of uranium that isn’t packed under millennia of sediment: it exists in the world’s oceans.
The supply of uranium that exists in the ocean can probably be measured in the billions of tons. However, skimming the vast ocean for this material is near impossible because of how diluted it is. That’s why researchers are trying to lure it to them using electrified fibers.
“Concentrations [of uranium] are tiny, on the order of a single grain of salt dissolved in a liter of water,” said Yi Cui, a Stanford materials scientist. “But the oceans are so vast that if we can extract these trace amounts cost effectively, the supply would be endless.”
Read more at Engineering.com