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Sound Shaper (video)
June 07, 2001

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Elsewhere on the web

Georgia Tech acoustic shaping homepage

NASA’s reduced gravity student flight opportunities program

KC-135 "Vomit Comet"

"Hitchin’ A Ride On A Buckin’ KC-135" - article from

NASA Ames Space Settlement Homepage

The Artemis Project - a private venture to establish a permanent, self-supporting community on the Moon.

Space Studies Institute at Princeton

Planetary Society

Space Frontier Foundation


Give a teenager a set of speakers and sound becomes a destructive force that will get the house shaking. Give some future aerospace engineers a set of speakers, and sound becomes a constructive force.

As this ScienCentral News video report shows, students at Georgia Tech are learning how to build structures in zero-gravity environments just using the muscle of sound waves.

Space, the economic frontier

When Professor Narayanan Komerath talks about the short-term future of space manufacturing, he describes how heat-shield tiles for the shuttle could be made on the International Space Station (ISS). But the advisor to the Georgia Tech student team developing acoustic shaping technology in the NASA KC-135 Student Flight Opportunities Program prefers to think long-term.

"We’re doing this as part of a much grander dream, which is that there will be an economy functioning in space which doesn’t depend on Earth to a very large extent," he says, "and it will be flourishing in space like today’s big cities on Earth."

To Komerath, the NASA program isn’t just providing hands-on experience to its next crop of engineers. It is "developing the technology to build the infrastructure of the future space-based economy."

"We think the opportunities are tremendous and they are not just aerospace, NASA-type opportunities," says Komerath. "There are opportunities for all kinds of professions where people live up there because they are dealing with people in space. That’s the larger dream towards which we are building these kinds of technologies and that’s where the big benefits will come about."

While the space-based economy may seem just a grand dream at the moment, investment in it is booming. On the heels of Dennis Tito’s forcible opening of the space tourism market, the European Space Agency announced yesterday that its wing of the station is now soliciting business. The ESA’s plans include entertainment and advertising.

In another small step for space commercialization, the first TV commercial shot in space, a Father’s Day moment on the ISS, is set to air next week.

The links on the right (and their links pages) will lead you to a slew of organizations eager to colonize space markets. Those of us not involved could be literally left behind.

by Joyce Gramza

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