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Sound Shaper (video)
June 07, 2001
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Elsewhere on the web
Georgia Tech acoustic shaping homepage
NASAs reduced gravity student flight opportunities program
KC-135 "Vomit Comet"
"Hitchin A Ride On A Buckin KC-135" - article from avweb.com
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
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.
"Were doing this as part of a much grander dream, which is that there will be an economy functioning in space which doesnt depend on Earth to a very large extent," he says, "and it will be flourishing in space like todays big cities on Earth."
To Komerath, the NASA program isnt 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. Thats the larger dream towards which we are building these kinds of technologies and thats 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 Titos forcible opening of the space tourism market, the European Space Agency announced yesterday that its wing of the station is now soliciting business. The ESAs plans include entertainment and advertising.
In another small step for space commercialization, the first TV commercial shot in space, a Fathers 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.