Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fifty-One: networks, catalysts


A couple of days ago I parted with my first 60 bucks as part of my noobish efforts of getting us off this planet the cool way. The open source way that is. :)


I joined Mach30's catalyst club just for the hell of it. I was curious about the content, but I also wanted to send some support to people who seem to be working on the same thing I am interested in. If you are curious and can afford it, I encourage you to do the same in the name of good will and sharing just for the hell of it.  Of course I have ulterior motives as well. *evil grin*

My motivation is networks. I have been watching the lectures from two coursera courses
Networked Life and Social Network Analysis. They are extremely informative, at least they were for me. I am trying to settle in somewhere in the global network of space enthusiasts from where I can build more connections eventually.

So far I have set my foot in Space Fellowship. I have meddled in the forum of PERMANENT. I spammed space.com a while ago as some of you might know, and now I am hassling MACH30. Actually I also just contacted the local hackerspace CCHS and I am hoping to have a look there soon.

If a lot of us does this, and if we set up a robust and large network of sharing ideas, and resources we will be able to engineer and construct cool things.

Of course there is still an issue of competition for interests, attention, and resources. We all have very different interests and it is uncertain how they overlap and how they all could be coordinated under one large scale project.  We all have limited amount of "attention" we can devote to projects or activities, and our resources are also limited. We would need millions of people to match the capabilities of companies and governments in the space industry, but that would require to manage, and coordinate all these aspects on a large scale.

But I guess not much of this is relevant yet because freespaceships is just me blogging about the crazy impossible idea of a large scale hobby space program for the masses.

I watched the open hardware summit videos and the google+ hangout of MACH30 that was about the summit and found a couple of interesting projects I linked at the top. One is an open source light aircraft design and building project. The other one is a DIY website in the making that would be a platform for sharing DIY projects. Both are relevant for me because both I have been thinking about since I had my brain wrecked in march. I keep finding these things on the net that seem to confirm that either I am not crazy, or that there are a lot more crazy people like me out there than I previously thought.

In the meantime I am also lurking on robotics and UAV store sites looking for the first kit to buy and sink my brain into. My lack of focus is still not helping me, I should be focusing on programming but my attention got drawn away towards something more hands on that I can do programming on, but also can enjoy playing with at the same time.

Small steps is the way to go I guess. I wish I wasn't so impatient and unrealistic in my head.



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fifty: a possible beginning, drone races

Fifty! Finally I made it. It actually is proving to be harder than I thought. I ran out of ranting steam a while ago.

But here it is anyway:

Check this out:
UAVforge

This project clearly shows that even organisations like DARPA are trying to use crowd sourcing. Well technically the DARPA hackerspaces space program is another good example I found early on in my "ranting about space" career. 

So what I would like to do with freespaceships isn't complete lunacy. There is the issue of the insane complexities and difficulties of the level of engineering needed for accessing space, but with the right system design, and with the right kind and amount of people it all probably could be solved.

The problem is actually within the field of social and software engineering, and not rocket science. First a system needs to be designed and built or grown, that has the capability to tackle the complexities and finance of a full blown space program.

It is clear that large amounts of people can run space programs, it's been done by countries and corporations. The question is can large amounts of people as a hobby, out of sheer interest in the subject, and mere desire to go up there someday do it?

Copenhagen suborbitals are actually pioneering in the field it seems, and although they aren't doing it as a hobby, they did manage to engage a supportive crowd and seem to be going extremely well so far.

So where do drones come into the picture?

Automation of tasks is going to be a major part of human activities in space. It already is, however it is clear for everybody interested in the field that the grunt of the work will have to be performed by machines that are partially or fully automated. /3d printing in space/ If we would like to do all this in an open source fashion we are going to need to build a database of software and hardware solutions. Open source ecology is my favourite example to illustrate current attempts at building such databases.

Drones or robots aren't easy to make, but the lack of need for explosive components, the lack of need to operate in harsh and remote environments like in orbit or on another planet, make it easier for hobby groups to work with.

There is already a culture of hobby groups working with robots and drones out there. So there is already a fertile ground where this open source database could grow. There are already websites by the thousands where one can look up designs, and instructions for all sorts of cool projects. Also hackerspaces around the world seem to do a lot of activity in this field too.

Drone races!

It seems that for a long time now large scale contests have been used by governments or organisations to attract attention and get people working on a problem or set of problems.
There is the reward of a prize at the end of the contest that motivates groups, there is also this competitive atmosphere yet a sense of community around these events that can generate large scale involvement.

We have the sport industry that basically works on the same principle and generate large scale involvement, insane amount of revenue yet it's only about entertainment. If we could replicate that and somehow intimately tie it in with the aforementioned open source database, and the hobby groups working world wide on engineering problems, we might be able to create the seed for an organisation that will in fact be able to tackle space travel and colonisation.  

Space travel and drone races!

First of all, we are already in space, and we are already on a planet. This is why I thought that the exploration and colonisation of the solar system can actually start right here where we are. I would like to be involved in projects that send probes to other planets, but for now I would be content with sending probes around the globe.

However I still think we need to stick to tough challenges with lots of constrains to encourage innovation that is usually required in off world missions. So I thought sending long range missions to extreme environments could potentially be a starting point for this "large scale hobby hardware design organisation".

It has all the same issues of engineering problems, financial problems, export control problems, as an open source space flight organisation has, but the level of difficulty is dialed down a little bit. Also because we are staying on the planet, people will generally find it less daunting of a task, and possibly less of a crazy idea.

There are also other great advantages. We could ride the current increase in environmental awareness and the missions could be both a platform for, or a piggy back rider for all sorts of environmental campaigns. It could potentially engage a large crowd, and would hopefully allow for the design and organisation of the network we need to tackle the harder problem, which is space travel and off world colonisation.

The actual design solutions would also be ones we could use to tackle real world problems. Rescue operations, or environmental monitoring just to name a few of the fields drones would be and already are extremely useful in.

When I talk to people about "freespaceships", it seems practically nobody thinks it is possible, or why it would be useful. The general opinion seems to be that space travel is for people/organisations/countries with truckloads of money they can afford to throw out the window. It probably would prove impossible to prove to them that it can be done on a hobby scale without first convincing them to join. It is a catch 22 situation.

However attacking the problem from the side with a seemingly much less daunting project, it might be possible to get the masses on board before they even know where the train is actually heading.

Open source drone race to Antarctica!

This is the actual specific goal I had in mind for an international open source drone race. It would require long distance operation of the drone. It would require tackling serious and quite difficult engineering problems, it would also require the financial support of a large crowd for it to take off.
It is also something nobody has attempted before as far as I know. It is something that potentially could draw a lot of attention and support. 

It would be an open source race, meaning that all contestants are required to share their designs and data with everybody. The idea is that we could develop the database and network needed for the open source space program while working on this project. It would also allow for interesting patterns of cooperative competition that you cannot see when the contestants are distinct nodes shrouded in secrecy. This would lead to more intricate connections between teams, and hopefully would lead to faster and better design processes for all involved.

I chose Antarctica because it is a widely uninhabited and also quite extreme environment with hopefully not much of a political baggage to hinder the contest if it gets off the ground. I also would love to travel there, but I have no money or time for it. Sending a drone would be the next best thing to actually going.

Of course this all is just an idea with not much actual research behind it. Maybe one day I will do the research and come up with something tangible before I blog about my ideas. This wasn't one of those days.





 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fourty-Nine: shortest, least boring

Open source drone races.


I have a longer version in my head, but it's late I should be in bed by now. I just thought I should put this out there. Maybe somebody more driven will take it somewhere.

Ideas were meant to be shared so they can blossom. So make it blossom. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fourty-Eight: no time, mach30

Big issue, especially now that I have 4 courses to follow. Networked life started this monday and it seems to be quite good in terms of getting myself introduced to the ideas of networks. All the other ones I have been downloading, and tried to watch as much as I could.

I gave up on assignment work, I decided to save them for later time when I can make proper attempts at programming. I need undisturbed time and rested head for it. The two rarely coincide. I probably need to fix this issue. :)

I found the Gamification course quite useful it made me think more about how a global network of space enthusiasts could be kept enthusiastic while doing useful work or contributing to the collective works.

The networked life course is extremely interesting too. In my head I am already trying to visualise the complexities behind a  "freespaceships"-like network.

Just today I watched the last Mach30 meeting to catch up on what's happening, and it proved extremely useful. Regarding ITAR I saw somebody else also suggesting one way sharing of technology where export or import laws make it hard to share both ways. Then it was nice to see that Mach30 is moving forward with setting up the Catalyst club to get some money coming in for their activities. I want to join but I cannot justify it at this moment, maybe in about a month I can follow up one of my earlier plan to fund several of the projects I have already found. I will need to make a list for this and work how much money I can afford to spend on these kinds of things.

I have to figure out how much money I will need for starting up my UAV projects I have been dreaming about for a while now, and how much money I can send to projects like CopenhagenSuborbitals or Mach30. I want to play with robots as well as help others do their work. :)

Overall I still have too much on my plate, especially when it comes to "dream projects" I wan't to do but can't because of all sorts of constrains like expertise, money, time etc...

I guess I should follow Ted Arroway's good advice from Contact and just do small moves at a time. :)


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fourty-Seven: short, aiming for 50

Getting close to 50 rants, and I still haven't done much.

I downloaded freeCAD and a project management software from sourceforge. I got a little bit stuck with studies but that's just me being lazy. I still watched all the lectures, but haven't got down to working on further assignments yet.  :)

I just wanted to look at software out there check out their designs and capabilities, it hopefully will help clear up my mind about the design of "freespaceships". 

First project I am planning to kill some time in is a robotic explorer of Earth. :) I would love to have a UAV of my design check out the Antarctic so I think I might go in that direction. I have always been interested in flight, I love uavs, I love planets, and the closest one I could explore more is this one right under me. :)

Though that realisation came to me during a Life /the crime drama series/ inspired zen moment. I love space related stuff and I want to go up there to explore other planets and solar systems and such. But really I am already in space, on one of the planets that are in space. :) So in a sense I don't need a spaceship or tons of technology to explore space. I am just limited to this planet and my close surroundings for now. With my limited budget I could do some activities in this field as a hobby while I am trying to develop and/or become part of the "open source space programs" movement.

At any rate I started thinking about and looking up UAVs and trying to figure out a way I could cheaply make and deploy one that can go to the Arctic or the Antarctic and snap some photos. Maybe later on return samples, or do continuous exploration and sampling for longer periods of time.

The key similarities between a project to send hardware to the arctic with sending hardware to the moon or other planets, that makes it a good stepping stone for noobs like me:
-Still pretty harsh environment. The problem isn't trivial.
-Large distance. Though not as quite as large as distance between planets, but large enough to make remote operation a hassle.
-Exoticness. It's a place very few man has gone before. :) And I don't know about hobby level robotic explorers but I think it's a field still quite pristine.

So this is what I have on my mind at the moment. I am thinking of balloons, blimps, winged aircraft, boats, rovers, and various hybrids of them all. I am thinking of various capabilities, like withstanding strong winds, frost, low temperatures, changing modes between floating and flying, or flying and rolling/roving. I am thinking of autonomy and teleoperation, communication, energy source, costs, design procedures, construction etc...

I am thinking of how to taylor the project so that noobs like myself could carry it out with some time, money, and smart ideas. :)

So yeah, that's what's going on at the moment.

There is also another interesting development in my industry. They are about to test remote controlled aircraft for aerial spraying of weeds. I have been ranting to my coworkers about robotics and how awesome it would be to have drones do some of our work, and they are already trying to make use of remote controlled vehicles. The next step is semy or fully autonomous drones and I am out of a job. :) This is one of the incentives for me to get my act together and get some engineering done. The world is changing and those who don't change with it are left behind.

I am so excited about the future prospects of UAVs I can't wait to build one. :)

 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fourty-Six: mistakes, learning

Mistakes:
Today I just watched a TED talk about talking about your ambitions or goals to other people. Apparently it reduces the likelihood of your success.

Keep your goals to yourself!

It actually explains partially why I become so much calmer since March. You can see in the blog activity how there is a large peak in the amount of posts right at the beginning and then it all declined.

It could be attributed to the fact that starting up a space program is not easy, and so when I faced difficulties like actually designing a system I had in my mind, the enthusiasm dropped and with that activity dropped.

It could be attributed to simply realising that blogging about something isn't going to make it happen. Which is why after trying some other things I went back to try and learn programming so I could try and design the system I would enjoy to play or be part of for the rest of my life that would also pump out tangible results in terms of getting a whole lot of people off the planet.

But it also could be that by simply talking about these ambitions my brain got tricked into believing that it achieved the actual goal, it got some level of reward of success, and now it's back to being a normal brain that doesn't rant at the Internet every day about going to the moon. :)

In reality it is probably a combination of all of these and other factors.

Anyway, so there is my mistake. I talked about freespaceships.

Learning:
There is so much to learn, not enough time for it. Or at least that is my excuse for not doing enough of it. :)

So my machine learning course started last week, the third week of Algorithms is starting tomorrow, and Gamification is starting on Monday. I am going to have serious issues with keeping up without good time management. Luckily though it's all free, so the only thing I am losing is actual knowledge I don't acquire by not keeping up with the course.

Still kicking though, so I haven't given up.

I did that thing when I write part of a blog then just save and post it later. I wrote the above bits Saturday night, now I am continuing. :)

So yesterday I watched the Octave videos for machine learning cause I already watched the linear regression ones weeks ago. Played around with Octave and matrices a bit, and I think I am getting quite excited about using stuff learned in the course for projects that I have in mind. I need to re-watch the first couple of lectures, but I think I understand the concepts to an okayish level. :)

Algorithms is going alright. I managed to watch the second weeks lectures this weekend. First programming assignment I managed to get to 84% or so. I could fix it up more but it's hard to find time for programming. I am a week behind with it all, this week I need to do the second one, hopefully on Tuesday and Wednesday I can tackle it to some satisfactory level.

Then Gamification started today and I jumped straight in and watched all the videos. Another subject I can't wait to make use of.

I don't know how it all will work out, but I am having a lot of fun learning new things, hopefully soon I can actually start doing something useful.

More mistakes:
So apart from "freespaceships", I am hoping to use my new knowledge for "environmental robotics".

I am thinking about how robotics/software/AI could be used to increase efficiencies in the environmental industry. Specifically in monitoring, management, and rehabilitation of our natural resources to healthier states. River systems, national parks, farming landscapes, coastlines, mountain ranges, forests, deserts, swamps etc...

We already use a ton of technology, especially in monitoring. Like satellite and aerial photos, machines, computer systems etc. but seeing how all the other industries have made great use of robotics for increasing productivity and improving efficiency, I am hoping/anticipating that the same thing will creep into the industry I work in.

I wouldn't mind being part of the process, but also I think if I want to work in this industry long term, it doesn't hurt to be prepared for what's to come.

I saw a TED talk about Open Source Ecology, a project of open source farm equipment design that can be built from scratch. I got really excited because I can clearly see in my mind how both "freespaceships" /or it's equivalent/ and also "environmental robotics" could be done exactly the same way. Simply building a database of designs that anybody can freely implement or modify.

Then in comes utilisation of AI, Gamification, Crowdsourcing etc...and we have ourselves a whole new world where tea parties on the moon are not only possible, but are also last century and not really cool anymore. :)

Anyway, I just wanted to post something again to make sure that any potential space programmer out there will see I am still here and still active. Still working towards the insane goal of setting my foot on the moon as part of an exodus that was made possible by large amounts of people cooperating for the sake of reaching a goal, and not some tangent completely irrelevant purpose. /like stuffing pockets with paper/

Open Source Space Programming FTW! :)




Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fourty-Five: networked thinking

My first week at coursera went kind of ok. It was hard to find time to watch the lectures and work on assignment, but I managed to do half of the assignment and I think it won't take long to finish it off. But overall I enjoyed it a lot so far. I loved the feeling of accomplishment when my lame code actually worked as it was supposed to. :)

Then I was also thinking about "freespaceships" the network that thinks up free spaceships. :)

I mean if we individual humans are technically computers. Probably all nerds would agree. And if our computers are computers. And if our network of computers the internet itself is thought of as a computer, then really "freespaceship" is a software incorporating software running on actual computers, software running on networks of computers, software running on human brains, and software running on all of these at the same time. If thoughts are "software", then really "freespaceships" is about thinking up free spaceships.

It sounds pretty incoherent, but this place is for expressing my incoherent ramblings so NI!

Anyway here is some attempt at more coherence:
So I was thinking of a layered network. It would have a network of social interactions, with nodes of individuals or groups like hackerspaces, or organisations.
Then there is a network of actual solutions. In my head I imagined all hardware dreamed up and designed placed in a network where parts are linked together, and so it can be visualized where each component is used, or could be used. Also with building a database of engineering solutions it might be possible to make it easier to come up with new designs.
Then there is a network of resource allocation which is responsible for moving stuff around. Actual hardware, raw materials, components, money, maybe even people.

Now I am wondering how to put all that into one open source client. Something simple, clear, easily modifiable and upgradable.

I think google+ has a lot of potential as serving as the social networking core. The different design of how one can organise their connections allows for interesting structures. Being able to separate connections into different groups and sharing things selectively could potentially help with clearing up the clutter of random stuff as long as people stick to the topics of the circles they share stuff "into".

It will be interesting to see how it all works out in a couple of years.

It also seems to give great opportunity for spamming. Like what I am doing with this post right now. :P I am sharing this with all the new people who added me cause of Algorithms prt 1. Maybe I can infect some more people with the idea of an "open source crowd done space program".

I need more enthusiastic programmers or programmer wannabees like myself. After all this problem is largely a software development problem as I described before. It is software running on our brains + on our computers + on the computer that is made of our brains linked to our computers linked to each other. This brain computer hive thingy we are all part of but aren't quite aware of much.

So viva le hive mind revolution! :P WE ARE THE BORG! RESISTANCE IS IMPOSSIBLE!

:)

freespaceships FTW!

I wonder if there is going to be a spike in the site visit stats after I post this. If there is, it shows google+  and some extra amount of new people in your circles helps promoting silly ideas.

If there is no spike, then I will know need more people in my circles.

Other stuff:
my Machine Learning course is starting this week too, I hope I will meet some more cool people through that course. Also I can't wait to make use of the AI algorithms and hopefully in a year or so I can start building freespaceships properly with real software engineering and coding done. :P WOOHOO.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

FOURTY-FOUR: impossible, open thinking, study

 //I have been sitting on this rant for a while now because I keep disagreeing with myself and what I have written. I decided to post it anyway, along with the current update of what's going on with "freespaceships".

It is the general opinion about a mass collaborative space program that it is impossible. Well judging from the responses and the general lack of responses I got from people including the "crowd" I spammed on space.com.

There are legal  issues with open designing hardware, there are economical issues of gathering funds and resources to carry out construction, maintenance, and operation of hardware, there are technological issues of actually doing things in orbit or on the surface of objects in space.

Truckload of problems.

So how can one person solve all those  problems? Which is what I am trying to do.

The short answer is: There is no way a single person could do all of that.

The long answer is: Follow the example of problem solving know hows in history or in our current times and just simply break it all up into tiny little pieces of problems and solve them one at a time.

The problem is, breaking it all up into tiny pieces is in itself a problem.

I cannot see the actual problem field because I am not an expert in any of the broad fields or sub fields that are encompassed by legal, economical, and technological fields.

 So two obvious solutions are to become an expert in all the fields, or to outsource the whole thing to experts out there, but neither can be accomplished without serious time and money investment which I cannot afford. //actually I can afford some of it, this is why I enrolled in some coursera courses, see how much of an "expert" I can become in the following years//

To become an expert I would need to devote time that I am spending on trying to support myself and my wife by doing actual work. To outsource the problem to experts I would need to devote time to find the experts, find  out the specific problems, and convince the experts to solve them somehow. This is usually accomplished by offering money, which would require me to become substantially more wealthy than I am now.

I could keep going with my open thinking effort, the point is I have been running in circles in my head because of simple issues that I hit right at the point when I try to break down the large problem into small pieces.

From out of the mess I have been crystallising some key ideas that might be of some use: /they are mostly repeats of stuff I have read or have already written/
I don't need to design the actual collaborative system that runs the space program, I need to figure out the algorithm that grows the system from a simple seed.
I need to figure out ways to simplify the problem to chunks I can handle myself.
I need to build a simple system that has within it the capacity to grow and redesign itself as it draws in more involvement from other people.
I need to keep it simple, and I need to keep the problem chunks simple all the way along.


Other stuff needs ranting:
form dictates function dictates form dictates function dictates form dictates function dictates form....

Never give up, never surrender!

Now back to freespaceships:
The system isn't really about designing, manufacturing, and maintaining space hardware, it is about organising human collaboration. We already have several systems out there, I am only aware of a very tiny fraction.

 But the system I have in my head /which is very vague and is more like a shadow of a system/ hasn't arisen yet. I have this conviction that it could potentially be part of how we colonize space. Because a society that grows to inhabit its solar system would need systems that reliably organise and coordinate the collaboration of millions if not billions of it's members WITHOUT the current issues of resource allocation, and destructive internal conflicts.

One of the key issues is the waste of human capital. We have billions of human brains potentially all capable of solving high level problems like ISRU but they are mostly busy with trying to stay alive in turbulent political/environmental/economical niches where survival is hard. They cannot even afford to ponder about the possibilities of life on another planet, they have the pressing issue life in their corner of the world being extremely tough.

Anyway I am getting sidetracked.

Simple system, self changing, self monitoring, potential for growth.

I got stuck with our wiki because it takes too much effort for one person to grow it into useful size and it seems to be pretty useless. I want something smarter than a wiki. :) So I got back on track with learning JAVA instead.

I need a database with a nearly automatic entry method and update method. So basically I need to be able to just simply dump links into the thing, and let it sort out the data I am looking for, make the entry for the database and revisit the site to update itself, and also make fancy stat charts about the sites and also itself. Well it would be better if it was a smart bot that did all the searching, organising and presenting data by itself.

This sounds like a duplication of already existing systems out there, and it probably is. But since I have no access to those systems, I will have to try and reinvent the wheel so I can have a go at rolling it around. //unless I find what I am looking for while working on the problem, my guess is I would only need to find the right software out there and just implement it to this problem.//

Other notes about "freespaceships" //note I am using "freespaceships" as a title for something that will most certainly won't be called as such//:
So I envisage a problem pool, a resource pool, and product pool.

We have the problems like buying a screw, or how to stabilise a satellite, how to get more people play our game, how to abide by laws of all sorts of different countries.

We have a resource pool that contains all of us, all of our shared thoughts, shared designs, shared knowledge, shared finance, shared tools etc...Anything we can share that can help us reach our goal is a resource we have.

We will have products. Like a space port, space station, off world research facility, holiday resorts, factories, things we sell to people to get their money to fund our operation.

Problem pool we all go to, dip our hands in, grab a chunk we can manage, we solve it. I guess we might need a solution pool to put it back into. If we fail at solving we attach notes and our work to the problem and we put it back into the pool. At any given time each problem should be visible to all and also who is working or has worked on the chunk.

Solution pool would have solutions to problems. Probably solving problem chunks would involve looking into the solution pool to find solutions before trying to come up with our own.

Resource pool we would go to to get tools, or money, or people to help us solve the problem.

Product pool is where we put the solutions that then we can use to acquire resources to put into the resource pool.

//That above was the rant waiting to be published, I did minor edits as I re-read it.

Now the current update:

So I watched some more TED, more inspirations, I found a great project I was unaware of, and now I am hooked.

It is coursera , a website that offers a whole heap of online courses for free.

I was hooked straight away because it solves the problem of me being a dunce. Hopefully.
I enrolled to a couple of courses that I thought would be extremely relevant for my attempts of trying to solve the "mass collaboration problem" for my hypothesised "freespaceships" project.

The courses I am taking:
-Algorithms prt1: this will help me learn more advanced JAVA than the basic tutorial I am doing. I already set up both Eclipse and DRJAVA to be able to do the exercises, and I am ready to have a crack at this. They also have a neat online book with heaps of resources for noobs to un-noobise themselves.
-Machine Learning: awesome course, I already watched 3 weeks worth of videos on it trying to get a head start and also trying to see where I would potentially get really stuck cause of my lack of "smarts". I can't wait to implement the algorithms there for something more relevant for "freespaceships", or my other pet project "Sugarglider Environmental Robotics". I want to make smart drones to do all my current work while I am floating around in space. :)
-Gamification: this is essential for a fun and entertaining system to engage people and keep them involved. I love games. I would love to play one that can get me and a couple of million other people to the moon in 30 years if played right.
-Social Network Analysis: again an obvious course because I am trying to grow a social network. A pretty large one too. Hopefully this course will help me understand networks better. More knowledge means less dumb ideas. Hopefully. :)
-Networked Life: Another course on network, but this one seems to be more general.
-Artificial Intelligence Planning: this is a course on using AI for planning. Covers a wide range of different topics and approaches. This is also absolutely essential for a space program of any sort. :)

So I am absolutely not discouraged yet by the difficulty of creating "freespaceships". I am actually enjoying the whole process so far.

On another note I also had some more chats with J. Simmons at Mach30. I got an account at ODE so "freespaceships" is officially connected to MACH30 now. Hopefully freespaceships will become something useful in the future and be an integrated part of the global network of maker spaces, individuals, organisations that will get us to the moon to have a cup of tea.

Wife is forcing me to play some munchkin with her and a friend so I have to go now. :D

Signing out!










Saturday, July 21, 2012

FOURTY-THREE: CSTART and others

Today I have been browsing the links I have gathered so far looking at the other space programs. I was mainly looking at this one that I found at the hackerspaces global space program.

CSTART

They started up flared and then it seems they have died. They achieved so much more than what I could ever hope for, there was proper forum, proper discussion about issues, but the activity seems to have faded and it all just stopped.

Though I guess it isn't really proper death because all the content they put online is still there, the discussions are still "live" and one can comment and continue, but it seems the community is gone.

Correct me if I am wrong.

I also had a look at Portland State Aerospace Society
They are cool. :)

Then I ended up looking at ASRI


It seems some organisations manage to fly while others never make it off the ground.

I find it funny that not only we have physics to deal with when trying to get off the planet, we also managed to put extra hurdles in front of ourselves that we all need to jump over before we can attempt to tackle the physical problems. 

Oh well.

So how do we run a global mass collaboration based space program?

I have no clue. :) But there has to be a way.

I have a cunning plan though.

My previous idea was to provide a platform to connect the parts and then wait for them to join and make use of the system.

My new cunning plan is to make a platform, and then join them, using the platform. The platform isn't designed to connect the organisations, it is designed to connect the people to the organisations. First person is going to be me of course. I will try and become a member of any organisation that allows for membership, or allows for signing up to their website. Then once I am in, armed with my platformX /which is kind of like unobtainium or the ???? part of the business plan of the underpants gnomes/ I can start trying to aid in our global efforts of getting off the planet.

I assume that I will always be the only active member of freespaceships so the more organisation I join the more my chances are to be involved in the one that succeeds at cool stuff I want humans to succeed at.

If  by some weird chance people decide they want to join freespaceships, then through being a member of all these organisations, all our members would also be part of these organisations. Well in a roundabout way.

There is probably legal issues involved in this approach, but I am blissfully unaware at the moment. It feels good.

Anyway.

To join organisations I already have an e-mail address to use to get on their mailing lists, for other types of memberships I will just use my name. I have the issue of some projects requiring membership fees, so I am going to have to come up with the money for that.

But this all will be much later, first I need to find the organisations and then figure out the ?????? part of my platform. Then we would be set for mass collaboration worldwide. Maybe. :) Well it would be more like single person collaboration with the mass of projects.

I am so tempted by all these groups and their donation button. I want to give money, I just haven't got the money to give yet.

Though today I set up my paypal account properly to get ready to start wasting my money on a stupid dream.

So hold on volunteer or donation based projects of all kinds across the globe, freespaceships is coming to volunteer and fund you with at least 1 dollar!








 




Thursday, July 19, 2012

FOURTY-TWO: contacts, progress

The past couple of days I spent working on the wiki. I ended up contacting Farhorizons, and MACH30 about entering them into our fledgling database. MACH30 replied first and they have been extremely friendly and helpful. So they became our first proper entry. By proper I mean completely noobish.

I also had another silly idea today that might help counting people interested in humans going into space. It would be yet another website, but this one has only one purpose. To present a google +1 button and a facebook like button.

The title is "I want to go into space.", and maybe it would have some more description about the purpose of the website but it would be one or two sentences at max. It's sole role is to count world wide support for the space industry and possible market for our space program. It would be also very easy to translate into many languages so we can poll a larger portion of the world population than just the English speaking part.

I just put that here so I wont forget.

Also just to clear something about freespaceships. Even though I talk about us doing a mass collaborative space program it really won't be "freespaceships". It will have some other name chosen by the people who will be involved. What I want to achieve is to have such a space program running so I can enjoy being part of it. I guess I should rephrase our goal and say that we are working towards working out a mass collaborative space program we would love to be a part of.

What I will do as part of the program I don't know yet. Part of it will be sending money to where it is needed to get engineering or science done. Part of it hopefully will be doing some of that science myself once I get smart enough. :)

I think to some extent for the mass collaboration to work all of us will have to let go of the vision that our project is the one that actually makes it to the top and does it all. That is not what mass collaboration is. There is no "top", there is only different positions and roles that are carried out in a coordinated fashion. Much like how our bodies work. The brain isn't any more important than our skin, or our toes. Though we can remove parts of our bodies without causing fatal damage, a healthy body still has all the parts attached operating in a coordinated fashion.

The issue is that if we want to be efficient and do large scale engineering projects with our volunteer efforts world wide, we need to pull together. There needs to be way more communication, and way more organisation, before we can do anything serious.

The way countries get funds for such activities is simply taxing large amounts of people a small amount. The way the private industry does it is through selling stuff to large amounts of people.

The way for us to build and run a proper space program is to get our hands on a large amount of people and convince them to spend a little bit of their money on something cooler than tax or a random product from the store. It would be their own space program. A kind of a mix between a bet and an investment. If the program succeeds they all can have a go at going into space, for a holiday or to live.

So hi there world, I want to get my hands on you! :P



 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

FOURTY-ONE: more wiki

I am exploring wikia, trying to figure out the structure for the entries, and also how to do it all.

The blog entries have fallen drastically compared to may. I can't help it I probably ranted out what I needed to rant out. I am trying to actually do something different instead.

Actually I just realised that I should just simplify the entries as much as possible, maybe getting a large list up there first would help me get a better idea about what information to collect.

I watched the video http://www.planetaryresources.com/team/ there at the top of the page, and it was quite inspirational. Especially what Chris Voorhees said about looking at a ridiculously difficult problem and breaking it down to smaller ones and solving them one by one.

Hopefully we can crack the mass collaboration problem, and we can get that party happen. Planetary Resources could supply us with some water for our tea. :)






Friday, July 13, 2012

FOURTY: wiki

I started a wiki for ourselves on wikia. I was thinking of setting up our own using media wiki and hosting it by ourselves, but I thought we can do that if we get large enough. At the moment this is a nearly one person enterprise so we don't need to splurge on webhosting.

You can see the link up at the top near our forum link. I haven't put anything up there yet, but my first goal is to start the database for online collaborative space projects, news sites, blogs, space organisations. I want all to have a page with relevant statistical information I already ranted about.

If we know where the millions of space enthusiasts are spending their time and money, we can try and figure out how to divert our attention and channel resources in a more organised manner.

Feel free to contribute with anything there, add a page for yourself, your group, a page you like and visit, for your plan about how to get a million people to the moon in 30 years.

Speak up random visitor!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

THIRTY-NINE: MySQL, JAVA

In case anybody comes here and wonders why the lack of activity /probably nobody will do such a thing/:

I am continuing with my beginner JAVA tutorial http://math.hws.edu/javanotes/.
I am roughly in the middle of the tutorial. Last time when I was doing this tutorial in January I was working on the excersises for chapter six. I also started my own project which is just a simple game with a ball and two blocks to hit it around. This time I ended up jumping straight into that project after I reread the previous 6 chapters to recap on what I have learned. So at the moment I am working with timers, key and mouse events, and a little bit of basic graphics. My objective is to get a bit better at handling objects before I continue and go further.

I was also thinking about freespaceships in the meantime, and today I googled around to see what databases I could use for our system. My choice at the moment is MySQL, but if any of you guys have a better idea don't be shy and tell me I am a complete noob. The reason I thought it would be a good choice:
-wide spread usage
-free to use
-seems to be good enough for all the big guys like google/facebook to use so it should be good enough for us. :)

So the next step for me is to download and figure out how to use it so I could build the database for freespaceships.

So I have a lot of programming and new software to learn, probably should keep me busy for the next decade. I do hope to do it all while developing freespaceships so in 10 years we can also have a decent sized program running. Maybe with a couple of million dollar yearly budget. That sounds modest enough.

Regarding freespaceships, on friday I had a quick chat with someone at work about trying to "copy" what sport clubs do and make freespaceships similar to one. Yearly memberships that apart from allowing hands on involvement would also give rewards like tickets to events/places, and merchandise like baseball caps, scarfs, badges, mugs...etc.

In this regard Australia could do with a decent sized space program so the suggestion from plainstudman to start closer to home sounds even more appealing. It would be great if freespaceships could get a country that seems to be quite far behind in terms of space related activities and get it up the ladder to the front. If we could achieve that, it would certainly prove the potential of crowd funding and maybe other countries could follow in our footsteps. But this is all very far in the future of a paralel reality of fairytale land where things go always well.

Anyway that's my update for this week. I don't have any new links for now, I did check out: http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/
But this site isn't exactly space related, it has all sorts of cool tech related news. I found a couple of interesting articles that are very relevant for space exploration and colonisation, but I won't bore you guys with lame summaries of mine. I am no journalist. :)

So anyway, talk to you later Mr. Net. I am signing off.



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

THIRTY-EIGHT: spaceforall, farhorizons

I have been browsing the websites we already have here, and I thought I should share these two:

http://farhorizonsproject.com/blog/
Found this on Mach30's website and had a quick look. They are also working on accessing space, and they are also using the balloon launch approach.



http://spaceforall.org/
I found these guys on farhorizons's website. They are actually selling high altitude balloon laucnhes for adds or science projects. They seem to have a great team together.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

THIRTY-SEVEN: 1000

We have hit one thousand, and have 2 votes other than mine on the poll! Keep voting, and have a look around on the net and bring some good sites you think are worth looking at. :)

Next stop 2000! :)

THIRTY-SIX: doing

http://www.planetaryresources.com/2012/06/back-us-on-kickstarter/

Here is freespaceships. Utilisation of networking site /facebook/ and crowd funding site /kickstarter/ in order aid a space program which is focused on mining asteroids.

It is an excellent example of what I would like to do. :) I thought I should share, also I am putting planetary resources to the top, they are cool. :)

THIRTY-FIVE: slowage

I got slowed down by life the universe and everything. I lost my steam that made me spam space.com or make this blog.

I feel like my usual normal lazy self. Woohoo!

So now with my enthusiasm out of the way I can look at things more level headed.

Freespaceships is never going to work.

I realised that if I can't sell myself the idea and make myself to put 1 dollar/day away for this cause, I will never be able to convince anybody else. At the moment I have a financial shortage, which I assume happens to everybody who spends more than what they can actually afford. This is the main reason why I cant make myself start putting money away for this. I keep thinking once this period is over I will start doing it. But what if it will never be over? What if I will always find something else to spend money on?

And if that is the case with me who really would love to go, and who can clearly see the long term importance and advantages of going, then there is no way large chunks of the population can be convinced to voluntarily give up their money for such a cause.

Then there are other issues like competition.

We would have to compete with other charities of all sorts, then also with the normal market of all sorts of shit people want to buy. How could we compete with temptation that is right in front of people? And I definitely don't want to compete for money that they would spend on usual charities but that is what will happen because people probably have some sort of limit of how much they feel is a right amount to give away per year.

I myself suck at giving away money. I do it too easy if asked on the street even when I know I am being scammed. They probably know this because I keep being asked for coins all the time. :)

But when it's up to this cause I still haven't managed to put more financial commitment to it than buying a domain name for a year.

Then there are legal issues like ITAR . If we wanted to do open source hardware development that might be a major issue when governments like the US consider such projects a safety risk.

I have been looking at legal organisation types to see how our organisation would fit into the big picture of the corporate world. It seems a not for profit organisation would be the best choice. It basically leverages external law systems to govern the internal operation. The most important bit is the profits disappearing in pockets of individuals. By law a not for profit has to spend its profit on itself and its own operations, so the profits will always stay within the organisation to further our cause.

So that is why it sounds good to me. But I have no further insight into such things because I am not well versed in law or just business in general. I can cut trees, and even that not very well. :)

The obvious advantage of starting it up as early as possible is probably the trust factor. If you are a legally registered organisation people will take you more seriously than if you were just a group of people who want to do something. On the other hand it does take a lot of work to set one up, and it also needs a lot of stuff written down and figured out.

On that website there were more resources to go through and guidelines to follow. Here is the simple list I already posted as a comment in the business plan section, I will add some notes to each point to share where I am at at the moment.

A set of goals and strategies:

I keep thinking about goals. I wanted to start out with the lunar x prize, but then I thought the N-prize would be cheaper to have a go at. But at the same time I am thinking there are plenty of people doing all that, so why not do something else. So I thought maybe we should start working  on ISRU, and let others sort out how to get up there. Maybe we should do all of them. My mind is too easily distracted by cool things I see. I have also been thinking of focusing on trying to organise the collective voluntary involvement of people across the globe into something clearer. So anybody who wants to get into the field can easily find their spot. This all means we don't really have a set goal yet. I kind of find it hard to find a goal for an organisation that was supposed to have millions to figure out goals. I guess our first goal is to build the organisation to find goals.

A management committee:
Well we have me, and people who talked to me so far. :) That is my friends, family, colleagues, and random people here on the internet who were kind enough to interact instead of ignoring. I would love to set up a system that has a management committee that is as numerous as the members of the system. I don't want to limit the "thinking" to a handful of brains when we could have millions. I know there is a controversy between having a small expert board or a crowd making a decision.


A constitution:
I have read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress a while ago, and since then I think I am a fan of anarchy. So in the spirit of that we shouldn't need a consitution, however it seems it makes sense to write down something like a "pirate code" that is used as a guideline to follow rather than a set law. The problem with set laws is that they are expensive to keep track of, expensive to abide by, and can still be changed anyway to fit the needs of the people on the top, or to please the people on the bottom.
We still will have to abide by the law of the lands we operate on however, so this means we probably still will have to write down a constitution. Our hands are tied down here. Our freedom lies above. :)

But just think for a second about all the resources we spend on making sure we interact in an orderly fashion. If we just did it all without the need for laws, we could save a whole load of man hours, and other resources for more useful activities like figuring out how to build an antimatter factory in a close solar orbit for our antimatter rockets to go to other stars. 

A computer:

Well I have one. Anybody who is reading this has one, or can access one. This is least of our concern. :)

An accounting system:
This is one of the hard ones. Is it possible to do open source accounting? How?
For starters I was thinking of a program that would go check the online account balance and transactions and then just posted it online for anybody to see. This is on short term that we could implement to help anybody see into the money side of things. Security is a major issue, so I don't know how to actually implement it apart from somebody checking and then updating a webpage.

In my head the large system would simply connect sources of funds and other kinds of resources with people who can use those funds/resources to do actual work. So accounting in our case would mean more than just seeing where money comes from and where it goes. We should probably monitor other resources like man hours, electricity, processing time etc. But overall I am really interested to see actual figures on the world wide voluntary efforts/resources spent on space related activities.

So the actual large scale system would monitor the movement of money from every individual involved to every organisation/company involved, and then would hopefull allow for anybody to see where it got spent within those organisations. That depends on how open these organisations are about their internal operation.

I imagined a profile system would allow for displaying such information, and a database would allow for closer analysis and response to changes. For instance if we think that  "in orbit food production systems"  research is underfunded, we can start campaigns to get people send some of their money that way. 

A budget:
Very hard to do when you don't have a set goal and also a plan to reach that goal. But it is easy once other kinks are worked out.

A risk management plan:
This is an interesting one, I have no idea what it entails. Risk of what? Failing? Somebody getting hurt?

A fundraising plan:
This is also something hard to work out without a proper goal and plan to reach said goal. I guess I am already doing activities regarding this with my blog here. I have the new poll up that is to guage how much people would be willing to spend on a space program of their own. And I guess we are already trying to get the word out there and pull people in. I suck at it but it is still happening. :)

It actually surprised me that the first person to fill out the poll after me actually chose the "more than that" option, which means they would be able to contribute more than 1 dollar a day. I never expected that. :) Anyway I hope more people will fill it out by the timer runs out, I am really interested in what you gals and guys think about all this.

So this was my rant for the week, it had a little bit of everything in it. To sum it up, I have lost steam, yet I still want to keep pushing for this. I am slowly looking through things, and I am still trying to work things out in my head. I am still quite unsuccessful at forming an actual product out of all this crap in my head, but hopefully I will get there in a year or so.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

THIRTY-FOUR: ISRU

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1290
I found this article and news website on PERMANENT reading through their forum yesterday.
The website itself seems to be well built, easy to navigate, not clogged up by fancy looking content or adds.

They are going on the top list of links.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

THIRTY-THREE: poll, plainstudman

How much do you want to get involved?

Fuck off, this is the stupidest idea ever.
 
 
 3 (8%)
 
I am curious about how it will turn out, but i don't want part of it.
 4 (11%)
 
I am willing to help occasionally but i don't want to put money towards this.
 12 (35%)
 
I want to help with anything i have, including money. Sign me up!
 15 (44%)
 

Votes so far: 34

So that was the result of our first poll. Out of 950 views we got 34 votes, and out of those votes only 3 thought that crowd funding and crowd sourcing a space program is a stupid idea.

Now interesting links I have found thanks to today's chat with plainstudman. I was at an AFL game and by a fluke went on irc on my phone. It ended up being productive because he helped me with some encouraging words, but also made me look at couple of the links I already had and found this one:

http://www.colonyfund.com/
They seem to be trying to create a mutual investment fund for investors who do not have millions to throw at space technology development. I like the idea, and I like some of the stuff they say in their Q&A. For instance: "We don't believe that the future should be a spectator sport." 


Also plainstudman shared these:
www.portaltotheuniverse.org
I had a quick look at the links list and saw a whole heap of new sites I have never seen. It made me wonder how many there are out there. Otherwise it looks like a cool little news site with some interesting widgets on the side. My blog pales in comparison to all these links I keep posting here. :) Oh well, I am still in the "trying to figure out whats wrong with the internet" phase. We should have a large crowd based space program by now. We seem to have enough people for it at least. 

www.nasaspaceflight.com
News site with forum. Didn't have time to look through it but they seem to have more active members than space fellowship. 



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

THIRTY-TWO: 900!

We have hit 900 views and it seems some more people filled out the poll which is very encouraging.

I haven't had time to put anything up the past 2 days. I am posting this time because of just hitting 900 and also to let you guys know of the progress I have made since last time I posted.

-I joined the PERMANENT forum so I can talk to more of ourselves and get more insight into how our worldwide efforts are organised at the moment.
-I posted a topic up in space fellowship about links to organisations or websites that are space related.

SANEAlex shared these two links:
http://www.bis-space.com/

This one is basically the British version of the planetary society. They have professional members as well as just enthusiasts and they have a lot of activity.

http://www.britain-in-space.co.uk/index.html
This website is a historical recap of Britain's space activities. From the list I am extremely interested in Skylon. I guess I should probably put Reaction Engines ltd. here next.

http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/
I have been following them for quite a while now. A couple of years ago I read about the SABRE engine on wikipedia and then I got hooked. A hybrid air breathing rocket engine! Check it out cause it might be the technology that you will ride to our space station in 30 years. :)

Though their proposed seat price to LEO is still a steep 100k $ or so.  But If we get filthy rich on with freespaceships, we can buy ourselves as many seats as we want. :)

And just one more in case I won't post for another couple of days:
 http://mach30.org/
I have no idea where I found this or who told me about them. I remember checking out the website and I think I might have added them on google+ into my circles back then, and then they added me back just today. :) I haven't put their link up here yet even though I really like their project. They seem to also have a lot of elements of what I wanted to do with freespaceships, and they definitely have the same vision.

As my list grows I am going to need to figure a system to organise them better. Some of them I am putting into the "pages" section at the top. Thinking of the top, I need to actually work on our vision and business plan too.

I just got distracted by stuff down here on Earth. I am planning to get into UAV design and manufacture on a hobby level as part of my self education project, but I also want to use it in my day job and if it proves to be useful possibly expand it into a business. So I have been looking into hobby aircraft more specifically helicopters and quad rotor designs.

I realised that this project would be a good drive to learn more about electronics, physics, and programming in one go. All of which is essential for anybody who wants to go to space. Also it would be a good platform to use to learn business skills and just general planning of a serious project. I need more skills on that front obviously.

But don't be mistaken, this is all still because of freespaceships, and actually for freespaceships. If the crowd funding doesn't work for running a space program, I  will go the usual way and just try and get rich. I have set aside 10 years for that, but even if it takes 20 it should be still within time for our tea party on the moon. Once freespaceship is going at full steam the party on the moon bit will be a piece of cake to sort out. :) 

Signing out for now, talk to you later Mr Internet.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

THIRTY-ONE: planetary society

Probably the most successful of all the programs/organisations I have found so far. I thought after putting permanent on the top I should probably put this one up even though I found it a while ago. They have a neat website, have donation options and all sorts of other ways to contribute. Check it out it is worth a look.

The more of these projects I find the more hopeful I get. It means there must be a lot of us out there. So keep up the good work people!

www.planetary.org

Friday, June 8, 2012

THIRTY: permanent

I wanted to post a topic on space fellowship about resource utilisation, more specifically smelting ore to extract elements. I decided to do a quick search to see what material I can easily access on this topic, and so I found this website.

http://www.permanent.com/

Here is their forum:
http://www.forumlog.com/nanobiotechnologyspace/

Lot's of interesting and relevant up to date sources on a wide range of topics. It is right up on my cool list. :)

I keep saying that, I need to make the list.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

TWENTY-NINE: blogging blogs

 I just found this on Space Fellowship, it's a blog sharing an article...
Yeah it's a very much 7th hand article.

The point is that they are starting to work on a fusion engine to get around in space. That is right up on the cool list. :)


Next Big Future: NASA working on lightweight Z-pinch and Dense plas...: A physics team from The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering soon will take delivery of...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

TWENTY-EIGHT: light reading

"In the United States, home of the biggest space industry in terms of employment and revenues, the most recent FAA study on the wider national economic impacts of the US commercial space activities has shown a rather stable multiplier ratio since 2002 (FAA, 2010). In 2009, for every dollar spent commercial space transportation industry, USD 4.9 resulted in indirect and induced economic impact. Using the same modeling techniques as the ones used for the aeronautic industry, the results show that many economic sectors may be impacted by commercial space activities, as they provide goods and services, directly or indirectly, to the space industry. In 2009, the Information Services industry was the most affected group in terms of additional economic activity, earnings and jobs, generating over USD 65.4 billion of revenue, over USD 15.3 billion in earnings, and creating 213 230 jobs (Table 14.1)."

Just reading through the 2011 Space industry report I linked earlier.  
It's here if you want to read the rest. 

Otherwise I managed to get a short free tutorial on software optimisation from Rick. :) And I think tomorrow I will recap what I already know and continue with the tutorial that I was doing. I was getting into working with arrays.

 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TWENTY-SEVEN: atomic rockets

http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/
To keep up with listing cool links worth checking out, here is one I just got reminded of. I used to visit this site quite often 2 years ago when I wanted to write a sci-fi. I was looking through it for more details about rockets and propulsion methods in general. It is a really good site with loads of real physics, calculations, and just cool stuff in general. If you haven't been there yet, have a look and enjoy. 

Other stuff: I downloaded a business plan template from the bank I use. 22 pages long. I definitely will need to fill it out if I want people to take me seriously. Especially if I wanted to approach people with money.

I also need to write up a list of all the different systems I had in mind for handling funds and making crowd decisions.  I would like other people putting in their 2 cents and either share their own ideas or improve the ones I had in mind.

I need more legal and financial advice. Legally I am not sure what would be the best to register ourselves as. I also know that we will need a legal document to govern our internal and external activities. For instance how do we make sure that nobody can exploit us from either within or externally. I don't want to spend money and time on a project to have some other organisation or individual screw it all up.

If we ever make it big, we will be handling millions or billions of dollars annually. That means serious business, with other serious partners. I am afraid that the corporate world will just chew us up and spit us out. Especially people and organisations whose priorities don't lie along the same line as ours.

So we need a business plan.

Monday, June 4, 2012

TWENTY-SIX: budgets

Space budgets of selected OECD and non-OECD ccountries, 2009 Current USD million
























So just by looking at this we can easily compare the amount of activity we could be funding with different sized crowds that contribute 1 dollar a day.
For example:
-1000 people contributing 1 dollar a day would have 365 thousand dollars a year to work with. This should be enough to have a fair go at the N-prize.
-10000 people could play with 3.65 million dollars. That is approaching what australia spent in 2009. This should be plenty to work on some cool robotic technologies we would need on our colonies in orbit.
-100 thousand people would have 36.5 million dollars. This would probably be enough to win the Google Lunar Xprize in one year. If not it still would get us a fair way.
-1 million people could be playing with 365 million dollars. That's SpaceX sized investment in one year.

I could keep going but you should get the picture. The point is that with large amounts of people collaborating and sharing small amounts of resources per head, can do large amounts of work. We know this, that's how countries work.

The key problem is finding and convincing the people to join and work for a common goal.

Just thought I should share this because this is the key reason why I haven't shut up. As a crowd humans have tremendously more potential than as individuals, yet we still struggle against this and we are still living our lives as if we were still alone and we had to compete with others to stay alive.

Other stuff: this morning I realised I need to draft up a business plan. I would like to do it with you guys so I will just start another page. I should start a wiki but untill we have a couple more people working with me there is no need for it yet.

I have the idealistic view that we should be a not for profit organisation, but at the same time I can see the benefits of making profit. It would mean we can spend more than what we initially invest on reaching our goal. Also if we want to subsidize or completely fund access to space for our members, then we need a healthy and extremely wealthy venture happening.

And last but not least I would like to make it clear that this isn't a pyramid scheme. :) For once we will have a legal document we will all sign and will have to abide by. I don't want to become a millionaire, or get other people pay for my trip to the moon party we have planned. I would be happy if I was the last to get there and there were already a million of us there before me. My profit from this all is to be able to do work to get life off this planet. My reward is seeing it all happen before nature takes away the privilage of life and sentience from me.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

TWENTY-FIVE: lists, fun, more work

Apart from the links I have at the top that I usually visit and use, here are the ones people posted here, or I found while looking through the web, or talking to people on forums.

www.spacehub.org
An interesting website I need to find time to look through. It has been on the scene for a while. It seems it is stuck at the moment, but there seems to be a good collection of links there.

http://startramfans.com/
Good old trams. I like the idea, but I think unless we get large scale global support behind it, it will never be built even if it is possible to make. It is the same problem for any mega scale engineering projects. We would pretty much need all the nerds and more to support this if we wanted to do it crowd funded style. :)
 

http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/the-space-economy-at-a-glance-2011_9789264111790-en
Space economy report for 2011. Very informative and detailed. Probably should have it at the top of my list.  I am reading through it. It seems to be an excellent source for people like me who have no clue about the industry yet.
 
http://www.jpaerospace.com/
Very unique approach to orbit. Going the slow way. I love it. :)
 

http://www.adastrarocket.com/aarc/VASIMR
We are going to need these kinds of engines if we want to move around a lot in the solar system. I personally am the fan of solar sailing, either using the radiation pressure of light with reflective materials, or the solar wind with long charged tethers. But I do think we will need a whole wide range of options for different applications, and we also can combine them in many creative ways.

(rant )
For instance use a solar sail to change the orbit of our ship to a highly elliptic one with a close approach to the sun, then use VASIMR to impart as much deltaV as close to the sun as possible, then separate the solar sail section from the VASIMR section and let the radiative pressure do some more acceleration on our lighter payload.

If we could add the solar electric sails to the picture to make use of the charge particle stream of the solar wind at the same time, we probably could reach quite high solar escape velocities. It would be cool to do the math for it.

I should probably add the links about fast solar sailing, and solar electric sails to this list at later. 
(/rant)

http://flibe-energy.com/attributes/  
In the outer colder reaches of the solar system, we might be relying more on nuclear fission than fusion for our power source. There is plenty of fissionable materials out there ready to be used in all sorts of imaginative ways. That is assuming we wont be able to figure out fusion and get independent of our sun in that way. That itself would be a massive step towards long term survival of our species. 

http://www.copenhagensuborbitals.com/
The coolest extreme sport in the making. Jump on a rocket and shoot yourself into space, then fall back and enjoy space diving. :) I am hoping for awesome sports like this being developed in the future all over the solar system. We could have so much fun with the physics of this universe.

On another note:
I managed to figure out the problem I had with the google app engine updating and deployment. It was funny because by the time I got to talk to Rick about it, I figured it out. I still managed to get more friendly coaching out of him to help me move along. I need to annoy him more often. :)

I can start to work on some simple applications to improve my knowledge about programming and html, and also to add some useful content to our project. First stop would be a better polling app than what this blog has.

I will also probably try and move this blog over there, and try put a better website up. Though this will be on the longer timescales of couple of months. At any rate I am moving forward, learning about new things every day.

Like this last link for tonight's rant:
quicklaunchinc.com/
Using a hydrogen gas gun to shoot cargo into space. Sounds really cool. Especially because if we want an industry in LEO we need to move large amounts of materials. I am not only thinking about fuel to go elsewhere, but also manufacturing unique composite materials using the zerog environment and its different physics compared to down here in our gravity well. We could be supplying large scale structures with required raw materials at low costs. It is a definite must if we want the vision of freespaceships to become a reality.

Friday, June 1, 2012

TWENTY-FOUR: views, java

It seems without spamming the views are going back to practicallynone/day. It shows the power of advertising. I might use it later, but as Rick said right at the beginning, unless you have something to show up, people will not be interested.

It is a little bit annoying because we need people who can do programming and web design and want to work on this project. I guess I will just have to put in more effort into coming up with something tangible.

I am getting back into JAVA and I will try and get my skills to a level where I can start putting stuff together. As it is said in the forum we are going to use google app engine for now. It is really hard to find time for studying though.  Maybe if I didn't waste my time on reading about the events in the industry or watching TED.

If you dropped by accidentally and you have some cool links to share, please do so. I need to see as many websites as possible.

I wonder if there is anybody out there working on the same project I am. And if there is, how much they accomplished so far.  

And just to do something new for this blog, if you are completely bored by my crap on this site, watch this instead:



We are so screwed. This is what is depressing me at the moment. Well amongst other things.

I want to see us blossom and get out there, but what I see is an epic fail heading our way and I don't know how to avoid it...

Some music to describe my mood:

 





Thursday, May 31, 2012

TWENTY-THREE: data

I failed miserably at my first attempt to figure out how many would be interested in a crowd based space program. Since then I realised we will need way more information than that to be able to run our program.

That is why I decided that number one priority before we can start thinking about crowd doing anything, is to create a system that monitors the crowd and then feeds the information right back in. The goal is to help better decision making by all involved parties.

What kind of information would we need?

In an ideal scenario we would have different entities involved.
Ones that I can think of at the moment are:
-governments
-private companies
-not for profit organisations
-communities
-educational institutions
-individuals

Depending on the entity we would need different data collected. I am only listing ones I can think of.
-governments:
yearly budget spent on space related activities
specific areas of focus
if possible even more specific research projects
number of people employed
indicators of progress


-private companies:
yearly budget spent on related activities
areas of focus
specific research projects.
number of people employed
indicators of progress

-not for profit organisations, communities:
 yearly amount of contributions
amount of active contributors
where contributions are spent
indicators of progress

-educational institutions:
yearly budget spent on relevant research fields.
amount of students involved
their progress and success rates at getting employed in the industry after graduation

-individuals:
yearly amount of contributions
areas of focus
level of involvement


The list sucks but it's just a start. I would need to think about it more, but I also would love to get more input regarding this. 

But overall if we collected relevant data and made it accessible for everyone, everybody could make better decisions about their activities. The companies would know which way the "market" is going by looking at up to date information about activities of governments other companies or people in general.

The individuals would know better where their 1 dollar contribution or other volunteer activities are most needed, but also know better what's out there so they can find cool programs to get involved in more easily.

And overall the industry would get an upfront portal where we can actively direct non active people to try and draw them in to increase our supporting base. Overall we all need to be able to attract and keep the attention of a wide range of people.

Now if we can manage to do this, and somehow collect the attention of all space enthusiasts on one spot. We might also be able to lobby them and enable the collection of extra crowd funding to do large scale engineering that requires the collaboration of multiple nations, organisations, companies, and the crowd itself.

I believe we could create a positive feedback loop. The more people contribute with their pocket money and free time, the more investors will decide to contribute with investing in companies in the industry. The more money is drawn towards the field, the more research and engineering will be done. The more we do research and engineering, the sooner we have the technologies for cheap space access and setting up of colonies off the planet.


That is assuming we won't go bust meanwhile because of other factors. :)


Saturday, May 26, 2012

TWENTY-TWO: progress, links

Hi there!

About the links at the top:
- Today I added a vision page where I tried to briefly describe the current direction we should be heading, if you have any input just write a comment, we can talk about and change any aspect of it all. That's the point of crowd doing things.

-Our forum: is where we can  have more in depth and detailed conversations and think about things. I think it works well because you can interact with it through simple emails and you don't have to sign up or sign in or do any of that crap once you are a member. I am not sure if this is only available for gmail users or any other user.

-Space Fellowship: excellent news site if you want some insight into what is going on right now. They also have a good forum. The problem is the activity level is pretty low at the moment. Hopefully we can change that by channeling more people that way.

-Hackerspaces: I linked in the global space program they are running. I really like the idea of small groups of nerds getting together and building hardware or software and developing technologies in their free time. We need more of this activity. :) I am hoping to join the local group with my project and get guidance from more experienced and knowledgeable nerds about system design and programming. I am a complete and utter noob.

-TED: it is where the spark came from that made me want to do what i am doing now. They have lots of free ideas to share, and i just love learning about all sorts of new things. Great website, great organisation. We need more TED talks, and we need more TED viewers.

-Khan Academy: heard about it first on TED, then months later I got suggested by someone in an IRC room to go there if I wanted to study but don't have money or time to commit to going back to university. Excellent project. We definitely need more of this type of stuff. If we want to live in space, we need to be orders of magnitudes smarter than we are now, but we also need to do it more efficiently and cost effectively. Such educational pioneering is where our future lies.

-spacehack: Excellent place if you want to start contributing straight away but you don't have money to donate to projects like copenhagen suborbitals. Just have things run in the background as you do non intensive computer use like spending time on facebook and contribute that way.

So the way I am trying to get more involved in the industry:
-Get connected. I am trying to connect up and interact with people who are interested in the same things and have similar goals. Space Fellowship is a good spot for that, and so are hackerspaces all over the globe. There are probably tons of other places like these.

-Get smarter. I try and learn about everything relevant or anything that I might need to better understand the subjects we need to live in space. I am going to try and spend more time on Khan Academy to refresh what i have learned in high school and at university. I want to watch more TED too to keep the flow of inspiration and new ideas going. I can never be smart enough for anything.

-Give away surplus resources: I am trying to sort out my finances and figure out how much I can afford to spend on all of this. I want to donate to Khan Academy. I want to set up a computer to work on projects on space hack. I want to donate my brain power and try to figure out real world problems like how to get 100 million people globally give a dollar a day for a global space program. Not talking about TAX, I am talking about voluntarily contributing with 1 dollar a day. It isn't going to be easy, but i think it is doable given the fact that we spend heaps more on stuff on consumer products we don't really need and are actually detrimental for our long term survival.

You can try and follow my example if you haven't already done some or all of these. You can also try and find your own ways to get more active and contribute more. There is never going to be enough contribution, space is large, extremely unforgiving, and the problem pile we need to chew through before we can make ourselves comfortable up there is immense.

So let's get going. :)

TWENTY-ONE: parallel rantiverses

Well since last post I encountered a whole heap of new stuff thanks to people here or in irc chat rooms.

It seems as a whole we lack information gathering, processing and distribution on large scales.

I asked about the demographics and distribution of space enthusiasts, because
if we wanted to do a global crowd program, we would need to collect information about the crowd, and then feed it back into the crowd.

So I realised that the project i am working on is actually even more "basic" than lowering the price of accessing space. It is about trying to collect and distribute vital information so that the millions of people who are contributing to this industry can coordinate their efforts and also distribute resources more efficiently.

It could be it is just my curiosity, but I would love to see global statistics about how many people are interested in the space industry, what is their background, how do they contribute, etc...

I also would love to have the ability to use that information and easily decide where my contribution would fit in.

I would like to have a good chance at making a good decision in regards to that.

Now certainly there are a whole heap of websites and organisations out there, but it seems none of them have become so prominent that if anybody on the planet is drawn towards this industry, it would be the first place to go for orientation, and  where they could get involved straight away.

Some people go to one, others to another one, and our attempts of trying to move things forward are all over the place. It feels like we are pushing a car but from all directions. Our contributions aren't directed and coordinated as it is in the case of a government run space program, or private enterprises of any sort.

This very well could be a completely uneducated guess. However if I only look at the numbers of how much money 1 million enthusiastic people could be moving, and then compare that to what is happening right now, I see a massive void.

I know that governments and large corporations are already doing good and hard work, and i know both type of organisations are "crowd" based. Pretty much everything humans do is "crowd" based. I just think we could be doing a whole lot more if while we are waiting for our tax dollars to be spent the right way, or the profits large companies make are spent the right way, we also could chip in with more of our personal income or other resources and spend it the right way.

It doesn't have to be actual money, it can be anything.

I think we need a whole lot more coordination if we want our global community to achieve more than what we do now.

And for that we need to be able to connect and inform the whole community.
And somehow stir up more activity because it seems at the moment most of us are only passive participants. We love to chat about these things, we love to read or watch stories about space and going there, but our involvement stops there. It seems only a marginal portion of the whole actually end up more deeply involved.

I am a perfectly good example. And I believe i am the average "space enthusiast". Loves science, new technologies, new discoveries, but does nothing or very marginal out of his way to contribute to any of it. Partially because it is not obvious how to get involved, but also because it is not obvious that it is possible to get involved. And by getting involved I mean serious contribution not just random flares of putting seti@home on our computer.

I mean actively looking for places where one could help, and then doing it. And doing as much as possible within personal limits.