The Scanadu Scout reads out your heart rate, temperature, blood oxygen level, respiratory rate, blood pressure, stress and electrocardiography in 10 seconds.
“Star Trek” fans may soon get a chance to have their own Dr. McCoy moment with the world’s first real-life medical tricorder, which will be available to the public soon thanks to a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $1 million for the Space Age technology.
On “Star Trek,” Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy used a medical tricorder to scan patients and immediately diagnose their ailments. While the new real-life version, called the Scanadu Scout, is missing some of the features of its science fiction counterpart — namely the ability to make internal scans and complex diagnoses — it still can be a handy device for medical checkups on the go.
Within about 10 seconds of pressing the Scanadu Scout to your forehead with thumb and forefinger, the tool reads out your heart rate, temperature, oximetry (blood oxygen level), respiratory rate, blood pressure, stress and electrocardiography (ECG).
“It’s the 21st-century version of the medical tricorder from ‘Star Trek,’” said Scanadu founder and CEO Walter de Brouwer. “Basically it has a complete emergency room in there — when you go to the emergency room and they hook you up, the same readings you get out of [the Scout]. It’s one more device out of 'Star Trek’ that will see reality.”
Shortly before the campaign’s one-month deadline, Scanadu decided to extend it for another month. The public now has until July 20 to order a first-generation Scanadu Scout for $199, before they are out in stores.
De Brouwer founded Scanadu out of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. The Scout device even uses some real-life space technology, as its operating system, the 32-bit RTOS Micrium platform, was also used in the SAM instrument on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity.
De Brouwer said his invention was inspired by “Star Trek,” and hopes over time the Scout will become more like the futuristic tool of the television series.
“If you look at the tricorder in Star Trek, it has four ideals: It is non-contact, it is non-cooperative — you may even be unconscious — it is non-sampling (doesn’t take a sample of blood) and it is non-invasive,” de Brouwer told SPACE.com. “The technology, probably in 10 years from now, will be built into our environment, so preventive medicine will almost disappear into the walls, into the fabric of our reality.”
Early adopters of the Scanadu Scout will get to try the device out as an exploratory tool. In order to market the product as a medical device to the consumer market, the company will have to seek approval from the FDA. Scanadu plans to use experiences and data collected by its first customers to improve and understand the product in preparation for that stage.
“It’s great that you can have a customer who pays but is also a developer and thinks with you, and at the same time you make a planetary effort to make this device come out of a movie,” de Brouwer said.
This quote is from 1979. That is a few years after Apollo and just before the Space Shuttle. I wonder though, does it still hold true? As NASA’s budgets dwindle and wars carry on, I worry we actually are turning our back on the Universe.
We desperately need to reignite our sense of exploration because we have greater goals for mankind. Imagine if once again space exploration was a priority, pushing innovation across the globe.
NASA’s current budget is 0.48% of the US Federal Budget. Imagine what the U.S. alone could do with a full 1%
That’s just the beginning. Seife goes on to compare the administration (and its history) to an endangered species…
“NASA is the panda of the U.S. government: a great big cuddly maladapted agency that’s beloved by almost everyone—and that is flirting with extinction…And without a central mission, without a grand goal, NASA was an agency without any real purpose, an animal without an ecological niche.”
Mr. Seife, if I were comparing NASA to a panda, I would starkly point out these important similarities, which you failed to mention during your disrespectful rant:
First, which panda are you referring to, the giant panda or red panda? Since the inflection of your references infer you probably view all pandas as black and white, let me break this down for you, with my own comparison to NASA…in black and white [sources: 1, 2, 3]:
+ Over the last 20 years, there’s been a 40% increase in the giant panda population. Before 1990, our view of the universe came primarily from ground-based light telescopes. After its 1990 launch (and repair in 1993) the Hubble Space Telescope changed our view of the universe and continues to expand humanity’s understanding of the cosmos and our place within it, thanks to NASA astronauts who repaired, upgraded and replaced systems on the telescope between 1993 - 2009. Over the last 20 years, NASA has increased the % of our knowledge on a scale unprecedented in human history. And it should be noted that the Hubble Space Telescope has only one limit to its range: the universe itself. See Hubble Deep Field images from 1995, 1998, 2003-2004, and 2009.
+ Due to extensive logging and deforestation of their natural habitat, female pandas only have 24-72 hours to become pregnant, and their cubs are 1/900th their size, making them one of the smallest newborn mammals relative to their mother’s size. Provided this information, Seife may attempt to convince you that this is somehow the panda’s fault. The collective panda species isn’t at fault for humankind’s destruction of its environment, and NASA is (as stated by Dreier) “not responsible for its own policy.”
“Factor in the danger, and human spaceflight becomes almost impossible to justify. NASA kills roughly 4 percent of the people it launches into space. It’s a very risky thing to pack enough energy into a vessel so that it can spin around the Earth at 5 miles a second. It’s just as difficult to bleed that energy off and come to rest on the ground without burning up in the process or winding up as a sizable crater. Some of the time, the process will go awry. Even if NASA’s managers, engineers, and technicians were perfectly on their game all the time, astronauts would still die—maybe just 1 percent of them rather than 4 percent, but die they will, at an alarming rate. In vain.”
You don’t get to speak for these astronauts, these human beings, these brothers and sisters of yours. However, I can boldly assure you they did not die in vein. Above: NASA’s Space Mirror Memorial.
“Columbia and its crew perished not for science—and not to fuel national ambitions or even human interest. How many post-Apollo astronauts can you name? Maybe one or two—the ones that might have piqued your interest in some way, such as Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. But generally, NASA missions were dry, uninspiring affairs with nothing to look forward to and nobody in particular to care about.”
Mr. Seife, along with being incredibly disrespectful with blatant disregard to the service men and women who knowingly put forth their efforts and their lives toward an industry unmatched in the history of history, would you say the same thing about those who rush into a burning building to save lives for a living? Human space exploration is no different.
1. NASA is not some centralized, shadowy cabal 2. NASA’s Goals Are Defined By the White House and Congress, with limited input from NASA 3. NASA has clearly-defined goals for its science program 4. NASA is not just human spaceflight 5. Seife uses rhetorical tricks and cheap jabs to manipulate the reader 6. He arbitrarily dismisses robotic exploration because it doesn’t fit with his thesis
“NASA must adapt or die. In days gone by, it made sense to have a government agency spend untold billions to shoot people into space for God and glory. But those days have long since passed, and NASA’s continued willingness to let the costs of human spaceflight devour the money that it should be using to do what it does really well—remote science—guarantees that it is headed for extinction. Admittedly, scrapping (or at least drastically curtailing) human spaceflight would be risky. The move likely wouldn’t be popular with the public, and Congress is surprisingly stingy when it comes to funding scientific projects that don’t produce something weaponizable. But refusing to adapt to a changed environment means that NASA, like the panda, will eke out a harder and harder living as conditions continue to worsen, spending an increasing amount of its time merely trying to survive. It will just be biding its time until extinction.”
Although I’d like to think that most of us know better, the general pubic does not. Which is why we do have campaigns and organizations in support of boosting NASA funding, such as Penny4NASA and The Planetary Society.
“With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” - Abraham Lincoln
Above (main) are select images from NASA’s Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and ISS missions which all have one thing in common: astronauts (human beings in space) looking back at our true spaceship - Earth. Neil deGrasse Tyson emphasizes, “there was Earth…seen not as the mapmaker would have you identify it. We went to the moon; and we discovered Earth. I claim we discovered Earth for the first time.” And indeed, Mr. Seife…beyond the litany of accomplishments and advantages NASA has either directly or indirectly provided, the most monumental aspect of space exploration we’ve gained from NASA continues to be the re-discovery of our home, our place in space, and the journey we must embark on as a spacefaring species.
These animated images depict the seasonal transformation of Earth over the course of one year. They were created using a collection of images from NASA’s Visible Earth team.
“I of course had some expectation of what I would see as a result of animating these frames. But I didn’t expect to be so mesmerized by them. I can’t look away” said John Nelson of UX Blog. “When I stitch together what can be an impersonal snapshot of an entire planet, all of the sudden I see a thing with a heartbeat.”
The Sequester’s recent cuts on NASA’s spending in public outreach and its STEM programs must not be allowed. These cuts would end the many programs NASA has for educating the children of our society, as well as many other forms of public outreach held by NASA.
In an internal memo issued on the evening of Friday, March 22, the Administration notes that “effective immediately, all education and public outreach activities should be suspended, pending further review. In terms of scope, this includes all public engagement and outreach events, programs, activities, and products developed and implemented by Headquarters, Mission Directorates, and Centers across the Agency, including all education and public outreach efforts conducted by programs and projects.”
S/O to our friends over at Plumbline Pictures for this ode to risk taking, human exploration, and the principle manifestation of nasa.
Although the ‘space race’ was initiated with the intent of displaying prestige, dominance and recognition of technological sophistication, we truly went beyond the speed of sound, our biosphere, atmosphere, and onto the nearest world because these represented barriers to furthering human knowledge.
Ultimately, the speed of sound would be broken. We extended our presence beyond our planet, and toured the surface of the closest celestial body hovering above its surface, on foot, and even in a dune-buggy style vehicle, 238,900 miles away.
We did these things and so much more, because they were there. They were hills to be wandered over, revealing new terrain, enticing vistas, and new questions begging for investigation, knocking on the doors of our ignorance.
In the present day, humankind is gearing up for a new quest. The #JourneyToMars is very real, and very much happening. However, something is clearly wrong, out of synch with the rest of the world and the advancements in science, technology and industry we’ve accrued since the days of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.
NASA’s fraction of a sliver of the federal budget doesn’t go as far as it used to. Sure, the American space program still receives the same amount of funding it had when we were exploring the lunar surface, but this is a misstep in our priority as a nation, a culture, and a global society.
When the greatest economic driver of the 21st century has been left to whither and struggle, gasping for breath with a budget that has curiously been withheld from keeping in lockstep with inflation, risk-taking and grand endeavors such as those undertaken throughout the 60s and 70s are viewed as a “cherished past” rather than cause for the bar to be raised.
NASA Eyes Ambitious Mission to Jupiter’s Icy Moon Europa by 2025
NASA hopes to launch a mission to the Jupiter moon Europa, perhaps the solar system’s best bet to host alien life, a decade or so from now, officials announced Tuesday (March 4).
The White House's 2015 federal budget request, which was released Tuesday, allocates $15 million to help develop a mission to Europa, which harbors a potentially life-supporting ocean of liquid water beneath its icy shell.
“Europa is a very challenging mission operating in a really high radiation environment, and there’s lots to do to prepare for it,” NASA chief financial officer Beth Robinson told reporters Tuesday. “We’re looking for a launch some time in the mid-2020s.”
The Starshade is NASA’s latest design in a cutting-edge effort to take pictures of planets orbiting stars far from the sun.
The flower-shaped spacecraft’s goal is to make detecting and imaging exoplanets much, much easier. Despite the fact that astronomers have been indirectly detecting exoplanets for more than 15 years, actually taking a picture of one has been an incredibly difficult task thanks to the often-blinding lights of their parent stars.
In conjunction with a space-based telescope, NASA’s starshade will position itself precisely between the telescope and the star that’s being observed, blocking the starlight before it even reaches the telescope’s mirrors. Light coming from exoplanets orbiting the star would be visible and astronomers would finally be able to take actual pictures of them.
These images could provide clues as to whether or not such distant worlds could support life as we know it.
Dr. Stuart Shaklan, JPL’s lead engineer on the starshade project, says “The flower-shaped petals are part of what makes the starshade so effective. The shape of the petals, when seen from far away, creates a softer edge that causes less bending of light waves. Less light bending means that the starshade shadow is very dark, so the telescope can take images of the planets without being overwhelmed by starlight.”
Princeton researcher and principal investigator of the starshade project Professor Jeremy Kasdin has assembled a team that will create a smaller scale starshade at Princeton to verify that the design blocks the light as predicted by the computer simulations. Also, to measure its accuracy, a team at JPL will test the deployment of a near-full scale starshade system in the lab.
Tell Congress that you support doubling NASA’s funding so that they can bring these projects to light faster and without budget worries.
Zubrin - president of Pioneer Astronautics and The Mars Society; founder of Pioneer Energy; senior engineer at Martin Marietta/Lockheed Martin; author of over 200 non/technical patents and 5 books - effectively changed the way we viewed the “progress” NASA has made regarding human spaceflight since the return of the last-on-the-moon Apollo 17 astronauts.
Robert, at age 5, experienced the launch of Sputnik and the K-9 Laika to orbit, which essentially lofted him into a trajectory of enthusiasm and inspiration for space exploration, dreaming of what it would or could mean for humanity. Enamored with science fiction literature, Zubrin saw these historic endeavors as stepping stones toward science fiction becoming fact within his lifetime. At 9 years old, John F. Kennedy’s “Moon Speech” solidified his passion. The Moon by 1970, Mars by 1980, Saturn by 1990, and Alpha Centauri by the year 2000. These were realistic achievements seemingly within our grasp with a committed effort to developing a spacefaring culture, and he was witnessing it unfold in front of his youthful eyes.
However, upon reaching the Moon (before 1970), the Nixon Administration closed the book on these space faring ambitions, which, to teenage Zubrin, was analogous to Columbus returning from the New World and having Queen Isabella and Ferdinand direct Columbus and his crew to “burn the ships.” Robert was crushed. Temporarily accepting defeat, he continued his passion for science through teaching and academia, Zubrin eventually recommitted to his goal of space exploration by pursuing graduate school, earning advanced engineering degrees, became an aeronautical engineer, and the rest is not only history, it’s a large part of Robert’s influence regarding his involvement with achieving humans to Mars as the national imperative for the human advancement into space.
In the video below (courtesy of the Nation Space Society), Zubrin expands upon this by addressing the importance of space exploration from the point of view that our options are limited to either a closed or open future for humanity, asserting,
“The space program makes this statement loud and clear: we’re not living in the end of history, we are living in the beginning of history; and freedom, rather than something that must be ended, it should be something that must be liberated everywhere and for all time. This is what we stand for, this is the fight that we fight.”
Robert Zubrin embodies the advocation of our explorative and curious nature, and it’s in that single statement (and the above interview) why he is a true ambassador in the #FightforSpace. A more insightful interview series with Zubrin was conducted by MoonandbackGuy (parts 1, 2, 3) which compliment the above clip.
Making his mark on the literary world, Zubrin, after several years of campaigning for his proposed ‘Mars Direct’ program outline for humans to Mars, published a book which encapsulated our future in space from a purely scientific and engineering point of view on the basis of the scientific method, unbiased of politics or pandering; that book is ‘The Case For Mars: The Plan To Settle The Red Planet And Why We Must’. The forward by Arthur C. Clarke says it all.
Zubrin’s ‘Mars Direct’ approach (condensed and full report here via The Mars Society) was proposed to NASA and Congress as a means of efficiently achieving human presence on Mars with the goal of settlement within a decade. It was bold, it was farseeing, and it was - and is - feasible with technology and hardware that’s been available to us ever since our initial “giant leap” to the Moon. Unfortunately, the redefined Space Exploration Initiative “90 Day Report” was stuck with a $500 billion price tag - envisioning the development of oversized Star Trek-like hardware and redundant technological systems to appease their constituency - and it was DOA by the legislators responsible for approving it.
‘Mars Direct’ employs a Lewis & Clark in situ approach to Mars colonization by using the native Martian resources available (living off the land, so to speak), bringing propellant for fuel, launch vehicles to the surface and in orbit, inflatable habitation, rovers, and recycling water, among much else in the plan.
“Humanity needs Mars. An open frontier on Mars will allow for the preservation of cultural diversity which must vanish within the single global society that is rapidly being created on Earth. The necessity of life on Mars will create a strong driver for technological progress that will produce a flood of innovations that will upset any tendency towards technological stagnation on the mother planet. The labor shortage that will exist on Mars will function in much the same way as the labor shortage did in 19th-century America; driving not only technological but social innovation, increasing pay and public education, and in every way setting a new standard for a higher form of humanist civilization. Martian settlers, building new cities, defining new laws and customs, and ultimately transforming their planet will know sensuously, and prove to all outside observers, that human beings are the makers of their world, and not merely its inhabitants. By doing so they will reaffirm in the most powerful way possible the humanist notion of the dignity and value of mankind. Mars beckons.”
Following the success of ‘The Case for Mars’, a documentary film was published which extrapolates on this from an armchair perspective. ‘The Mars Underground’ (trailer below) is, to date, still extremely relevant, as NASA’s current outline for Mars exploration is hardly reminiscent of our Apollo-era commitments of the 1960′s –
Speaking as a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and former Chairman of the Executive Committee of the National Space Society, Zubrin presented on the current development of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and the steadily developing launch capabilities of Space X, delivering another impassioned speech on the current efforts of humans to Mars (or lack thereof) at NASA Ames Research Center’s Directors Colloquium on July 14, 2014, which you can view in full here.
From the childhood dreams fueled by science fiction and political risk taking beyond typical short term “return on investment” strategies, Zubrin witnessed one of the greatest eras of human achievement spark and whither in front of his eyes. This rise and fall of hope and inspiration with space as the backdrop continues to burn brightly, ensuring his ‘Mars Direct’ approach will be achieved within his lifetime, as our future depends on the flourishing of humankind amongst the cosmos sooner rather than later.
Whether it’s Mars Direct or a similar alternative, one thing is quite clear: NASA’s current path to Mars is riddled with variable shifts in the legislative wind as yet to be determined along NASA’s 2030 “vision.” The currently developing Space Launch System has yet to secure funding for what’s being proposed and promised to the public. The vehicle is being built for customers and clients to be named later, with payloads to be determined upon the completion of SLS in its entirety.
It’s time to demand more than words. The world doesn’t need another “Moon Shot”…it deserves an ambitious and achievable “target” in space.
Thank you for your commitment, advocacy, and inspiration, Dr. Zubrin.
We’ll see you all at #h2m2015, where Explore Mars Inc. is presenting us with a launch event at George Washington University to premiere (among a few clips) an exclusive 15 minute feature of ‘Fight for Space’ along with a live Q&A with Director Paul Hildebrandt and PR/Social Media Coordinator Rich Evans on May 4th, 2015 from 6:30pm - 8pm EST. This event is free to attend courtesy of Endeavorist.org, with which we owe great thanks.
Russia has largely finalized its concept for future space exploration. Its key tasks are: to expand presence in low near-earth orbits, explore and colonize the Moon, and start developing Mars and other planets of the Solar System. The strategy was outlined by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in an article in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper.
According to him, the current priorities of the Russian space industry should be the establishment of a space services market and advancement in the exploration and development of the resources of deep space.
A national project for deep space exploration could play an important part in this process, Rogozin said. The Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos), together with several ministries and in cooperation with the Russian Academy of Sciences and the state nuclear corporation Rosatom, have been instructed to draw up proposals on the viability of its implementation, he added.
The Moon as a laboratory for studying the universe
Rogozin continued: “Key areas of research and development under this national project will be the development of nuclear power units and plasma technologies for energy conversion, the development of biotechnologies, robotics and new materials.”
“In addition, work is getting under way to identify technical options for a manned spacecraft based on a super-heavy carrier rocket for missions to the Moon and later to Mars,” he added. Research is also being done into “creating powerful interorbital (interplanetary) tugs, which are essential for developing the Moon and exploring the planets of the Solar System.”
Rogozin is convinced that the Moon is a key target for fundamental scientific research and the nearest source of extraterrestrial matter to Earth. Furthermore, it could become a platform for technological research and for testing new space systems.
As a longer-term objective of lunar development, Rogozin suggested the establishment of a man-tended Moon and first interplanetary laboratory, which could house “the tools and systems for studying the universe, <...> lunar minerals, meteorites, as well as a test production of useful materials, gases, and water from regolith.”</...> The first cosmonaut landings on the Moon are planned by 2030, after which a man-tended lunar base will be deployed. The next stage of the plan envisages manned missions to asteroids and to Mars.
Russia to establish itself in near-earth orbits
Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev says Russian plans of deep space exploration are not at all science fiction. He believes they would require a system of “base camps” near the Moon and on the Moon itself, with in-built rescue capabilities both there and en route to the Earth.
“I think, ultimately, we shall have a base flying around the Earth, as a starting point for other missions,” says Krikalev. “At the same time, we should not give up research in low orbits, where Russia should have a strategic base of its own. It will not only serve as a research station, but will also act as a launch and test base for preparing deep space missions, a workshop for assembling new spacecraft, servicing, adjusting satellites. Everything could be tested in a near-earth orbit and only then allowed to venture deeper into space.”
Despite the government’s ambitious plans, there are quite a few weak spots in the Russian space industry. One of them is the domestic production of top-quality electronics and components, Rogozin pointed out.
“In recent years, onboard relay systems of communications satellites have either been fully manufactured by foreign firms or have been assembled at Russian plants from foreign components. That is why the Federal Space Agency has authorized the Military-Industrial Commission to commission radiation-hardened electronics and components from domestic manufacturers,” he added.
Commenting on NASA’s decision to suspend cooperation with Russia, Rogozin said that these sanctions would help Russia to draw up a development strategy for manned space exploration independent from unreliable international partners.
Does the “7 Minutes Of Terror” sound like a cheesy horror flick or a theme park ride to you? It’s not. That’s the phrase NASA used to describe the entry, descent and landing (also known as EDL) sequence of the Mars rover, Curiosity. Seven minutes is the time it took for Curiosity to go from the top of the Martian atmosphere to the surface of Mars. It was by far the most complicated and ambitious Mars landing ever attempted.
It required a carefully orchestrated set of maneuvers that had to be controlled entirely by computer. Even the slightest error could mean disaster. The spacecraft began to decelerate as it entered the Martian atmosphere and was guided using small rockets, then at approximately 1,000 mph a supersonic parachute was deployed to further slow the descent allowing the heat shield to separate at around 370 mph. Curiosity then separated from its parachute and began its powered descent at 70 mph using retrorockets that slowed the rover and brought it close enough to the surface that it could be lowered to the ground via a sky crane. It was a daring feat of engineering that captivated the world had everyone holding their breath until they heard the words of the mission controller, “Touchdown confirmed. We’re safe on Mars!”