Beam Me Up, Obama: Conspiracy Theory Claims President Teleported to Mars

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Forget 2012 prophecies, Mayan calendars and lurking planets that go only by the name “X”… there’s an even kookier conspiracy theory in town, and it has to do with our nation’s fearless leader and his teenage teleportation adventures on Mars.

Yes, you read that right.

It seems that two government employees and self-professed time-travelers – er, “chrononauts” – Andrew D. Basiago and William Stillings have come forth and named President Obama as one of their own, along with the current head of DARPA, Regina Dugan.

(DARPA, if you don’t know, is the agency responsible for keeping U.S. defense up-t0-date with advancements in technology. Begun as a response to the Sputnik program in the late 50s, DARPA finds ways to integrate cutting-edge tech developments into stuff the military might want.)

Basiago, a Washington state lawyer, says that he was part of a time travel program developed by DARPA in the 1970s code-named Project Pegasus. He and Stillings claim that both Obama and Dugan were in their “Mars training class” at California’s College of the Siskiyous in 1980, part of a group of 10 young adults chosen to travel to Mars via a top-secret teleportation “jump room”.

They also claim that the then-19-year-old Barack Obama went by the name “Barry Soetero”.

But wait, there’s more.

"I'll beam ya down Mister President but I'll have to see your birth certificate first." (Photo via startrek.com)

The two former chrononauts also said that they encountered the future president at secret U.S. bases on Mars, which he is said to have visited twice between the years 1981 and 1983. On one instance Basiago said he even exchanged words with Ob – uh, Soetero – en route to the “jump room” while on Mars.

“We’re here,” Basiago claims the young president-to-be said to him.

And the supposed reason for the secret teen task force’s Red Planet expedition? To “acclimate Martian humanoids and animals to their presence,” according to Basiago.

You know, to make good with the locals so there’d be no trouble when setting up camp.

White House officials have denied all allegations of the President’s Martian travels, or the existence of a Mars training class. But, of course, they would. 

And you thought the whole birther thing was a bit extreme? Wake up sheeple, this is some real crazy here. Chrononaut style.

Read more on Wired.com’s “Danger Room”.

 

Top image assembled by J. Major from NASA and Hubble images and a campaign photo of President Obama. Star Trek image from www.startrek.com. © 2010 CBS Studios Inc., All Rights Reserved.

DARPA’s New Spy Satellite Could Provide Real-Time Video From Anywhere on Earth

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“It sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake” could be the theme song for a new spy satellite being developed by DARPA. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s latest proof-of-concept project is called the Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation (MOIRE), and would provide real-time images and video of any place on Earth at any time — a capability that, so far, only exists in the realm of movies and science fiction. The details of this huge eye-in-the-sky look like something right out of science fiction, as well, and it would be interesting to determine if it could have applications for astronomy as well.

MOIRE would be a geosynchronous orbital system that uses a huge but lightweight membrane optic. A 20-meter-wide membrane “eye” would be etched with a diffractive pattern, according to DARPA, which would focus light on a sensor. Reportedly it will cost $500 million USD for each space-based telescope, and it would be able to image an area greater than 100 x 100 km with a video update rate of at least one frame a second.

DARPA says the program aims to demonstrate the ability to manufacture large membranes and large structures to hold the optics flat, and also demonstrate the secondary optical elements needed to turn a diffraction-based optic into a wide bandwidth imaging device.
The MOIRE program began in March 2010 is now in the first phase of development, where DARPA is testing the concept’s viability. Phase 2 would entail system design, with Ball Aerospace doing the design and building to test a 16-foot (5 m) telescope, and an option for a Phase 3 which would include a demonstration of the system, launching a 32-foot (10 m) telescope for flight tests in orbit.

The 20 meter (66 ft) design is quite a bit larger than NASA’s next-generation James Webb Space Telescope that has an aperture of 21 feet (6.5 m).

Public Intelligence reports that such a telescope should be able to spot missile launcher vehicles moving at speeds of up to 60 mph on the ground, according to a DARPA contract. That would also require the image resolution to see objects less than 10 feet (3 m) long within a single image pixel.

Can we order one for looking for extrasolar planets?

Read more about the MOIRE on DARPA’s website.

Bringing Satellites Out Of Retirement – The DARPA Phoenix Program

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It’s the dead zone. Approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth, $300 million worth of retired satellites are simply taking up space in geosynchronous orbit. Like anything a bit elderly, they might have problems, but they’re far from useless. There are a hundred willing volunteers waiting to be retrofitted, and all they need is the wave of a magic wand to come back to life. The DARPA Phoenix program might just be the answer.

Communication satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) enable vital interchanges between warfighters. When one fails, it means an expensive replacement. But what remains isn’t a burned-out shell – it’s still a viable piece of equipment which often contains still usable antennae, solar arrays and other components. The only problem is that we haven’t figured out a way to recycle them. Now DARPA’s Phoenix program is offering an answer by developing the technology necessary to “harvest” these non-working satellites and their working parts. “If this program is successful, space debris becomes space resource,” said DARPA Director, Regina E. Dugan.

However, as easy as the idea might sound, it’s going to take a lot of cooperation from a variety of applied sciences. For example, incorporating the robotics which allows a doctor to perform telesurgery from a remote location to the advanced remote imaging systems used for offshore drilling which views the ocean floor thousands of feet underwater. If this technology could be re-engineered to work at zero gravity, high-vacuum and under an intense radiation environment, it’s entirely possible to re-purpose retired GEO satellites.

“Satellites in GEO are not designed to be disassembled or repaired, so it’s not a matter of simply removing some nuts and bolts,” said David Barnhart, DARPA program manager. “This requires new remote imaging and robotics technology and special tools to grip, cut, and modify complex systems, since existing joints are usually molded or welded. Another challenge is developing new remote operating procedures to hold two parts together so a third robotic ‘hand’ can join them with a third part, such as a fastener, all in zero gravity. For a person operating such robotics, the complexity is similar to trying to assemble via remote control multiple Legos at the same time while looking through a telescope.”

Now enter DARPA’s System F6 – the master satellite. It will host affordable, smaller scale electronics and structural models that provide on-board control. These smaller units will be able to communicate with each other and the master satellite – working together to harness the potential of the retired satellite’s assets. Right now, the Phoenix program is looking for the automation technology for creating a new breed of “satlets,” or nanosatellites. These can be sent into space much more economically through existing commercial satellite launches and then robotically attached to the elderly satellites to create new systems.

Artist Concept of System F6 - Credit: DARPA

System F6 (Future, Fast, Flexible, Fractionated, Free-Flying Spacecraft United by Information Exchange) will be fascinating in itself… a hive of wirelessly-interconnected modules capable of communicating with each other – sharing resources among themselves and utilizing resources found elsewhere within the cluster. “The program is predicated on the development of open interface standards—from the physical wireless link layer through the network protocol stack, including the real-time resource sharing middleware and cluster flight logic—to enable the emergence of a space “global commons” which would enhance the mutual security posture of all participants through interdependence.” says the DARPA team. “A key program goal is the industry-wide promulgation of these open interface standards for the sustainment and development of future fractionated systems.”

Right now the Phoenix program is looking for high tech expertise needed to develop a payload orbital delivery system. The PODS units will be needed to safely house the satlets during launch. The next step is an independent servicing station which will be placed in GEO and connected to PODS. The service module will be home to equipment such as mechanical arms and remote vision systems… the virtual “operating” center to make the DARPA Phoenix program a success.

Original News Source: DARPA News Release.
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Test Flight of DARPA’s Hypersonic Plane Ends in Crash

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The potential to fly anywhere in the world in less than an hour took a nosedive today. The test flight of an unmanned, rocket-launched, Mach 20-capable, maneuverable aircraft called the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) ended when an anomaly caused loss of signal, and the plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Overseen by DARPA, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, this second test flight of the HTV-2 seemingly started out well, as the Minotaur IV launch vehicle successfully inserted the aircraft into the correct trajectory, and the aircraft transitioned to Mach 20 aerodynamic flight. It flew for 9 minutes until it encountered problems and crashed.

Despite the crash, DARPA said the successful transition “represents a critical knowledge and control point in maneuvering atmospheric hypersonic flight.”

“Here’s what we know,” said Air Force Maj. Chris Schulz, DARPA HTV-2 program manager in a statement put out by DARPA. “We know how to boost the aircraft to near space. We know how to insert the aircraft into atmospheric hypersonic flight. We do not yet know how to achieve the desired control during the aerodynamic phase of flight. It’s vexing; I’m confident there is a solution. We have to find it.”
From launch until crash, the flight lasted for about a half an hour.

DARPA’s Falcon is designed to fly anywhere in the world in less than 60 minutes. This capability requires an aircraft that can fly at 13,000 mph, while experiencing temperatures in excess of 3500F.

During the first test flight of HTV-2 on April 23, 2010, telemetry was lost 9 minutes into the flight. A subsequent investigation found that the vehicle encountered unexpected yaw, followed by an uncontrollable roll. The onboard computer then set the vehicle to crash into the ocean.

“In the April 2010 test, we obtained four times the amount of data previously available at these speeds,” said DARPA Director Regina Dugan. “Today more than 20 air, land, sea and space data collection systems were operational. We’ll learn. We’ll try again. That’s what it takes. Filling the gaps in our understanding of hypersonic flight in this demanding regime requires that we be willing to fly.”

The military had hopes of using this type of super-fast plane to reach problem spots around the world quickly.

DARPA said that in the coming weeks, an independent Engineering Review Board will review and analyze the data collected. This data will inform policy, acquisition and operational decisions for future -hypersonic aircraft of this kind. It’s not clear yet whether any development of Falcon HTV-2 will continue.

This is the second major hypersonic setback of 2011. In June, the Boeing X-51 waverider failed when its scramjet encountered a problem on engine startup.

Source: DARPA

Could You Head Up DARPA’s 100-Year Starship Program?

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Since January of this year, DARPA and NASA have been publicly talking about a 100-year starship program. They’ve held a symposium, put out an official Request for Information (RFI) looking for ideas about how a long-term human mission to boldly go out to the stars could possibly happen, they have an official website and have just put out a request for papers for a public symposium that will be held this fall in Orlando, Florida.

Yes, they are serious about this.

However, contrary to what the title of the project might infer, it’s not so much about actually building a starship that could go on a long duration, long distance journey, but more about solving the all the various technical, medical, sociological and economic problems so that one day – perhaps in a 100 years or so – we actually could build one and head for the stars.

And they are looking for someone to head up the program.

“This is really a hard problem and I wouldn’t suggest for a second that it would be easy”, said David Neyland, director of the Tactical Technology Office for DARPA who spoke with reporters in a teleconference on June 16, 2011. “But the ancillary developments along the way such as of all the technology development, innovations in energy, medicine, agriculture, and socio and environmental issues, has direct payback to the Department of Defense and NASA, as well as the private and commercial sector.”

DARPA is known for its brand of “blue sky science” where the scientific research they do might not have apparent and initial real-world applications.

But with this project, DARPA and NASA are hoping to spur a surge reminiscent of the research, technology, and education — as well as the unintended consequences – that came about because of developments of the early space program.

“It’s the unpredictable and ancillary things that are of benefit for all of us,” Neyland said.

Neyland has been working with NASA Ames Director Pete Worden on the concept and Neyland said they chose the name not because they actually want to send a starship on a 100-year mission to space – although that would be the ultimate goal — but they want to capture the imagination of folks who normally wouldn’t think of doing research and development and tag them with something they would be excited about.

This is akin to how science fiction has spurred generations of scientists and engineers to follow the career paths they did.

Just like all the technology development that DARPA has done in the past which required only small initial investments but ultimately lead to things, such as the internet and GPS technology — as well as NASA’s investment in space travel which has spawned items we use every day here on Earth — they believe a small investment now could lead to a big payoff for everyone in the future.

So they are starting small. DARPA has put up $1 million and NASA has contributed $100,000 for one year of symposiums and study. $500,000 of that has been set aside and will be used as money for a grant given to the “winner” of their Request for Papers.

You can see the RFP at this link, and the deadline for paper abstracts and/or panel descriptions must be submitted online at www.100yss.org by 2:00 pm ET on Thursday, July 8, 2011.

The recipient of the grant could be an individual or corporation who has the best proposal for how to execute and nurture the R&D necessary for the 100-Year Starship program. “It will be a single grant of that amount which is startup money — seed money — to get the lights on, to get their footing to go out and start the cycle of investments and research, which hopefully becomes successful and then brings money back in so that more research can be done.”

After the grant is awarded, DARPA and NASA will step away, letting the winner set out and boldly go.
Neyland said he knows these are austere times, but feels this is a strong way to leverage investments for a good, ultimate payoff, even though that payoff may not be for several decades.

What type of person or corporation could possibly win this grant?

“Who would do this?” Neyland replied to the question that was posed by Universe Today. “Some folks want to send money to DARPA right now for this, and some want to sign up to be on the crew for the 100-year starship. But I don’t want to say who would be a respondent to the RFP, as we want to it be very ‘open kimono.’ But we want people to propose to us what would be the right path to take.”

Neyland mentioned successful long-term foundations such as the Rockfeller and Gugenhiem foundations might be an example of what the entity could ultimately turn into, but he doesn’t want to prejudice that there is a specific entity or construct they are looking for. “We want people to propose to us what the right direction should be,” he said. “They’ll have the ability to go in whatever direction they see fit.”

Neyland added this is not intended to be open to US citizens or corporations only – although there is a dilemma that he is not sure DARPA can give a grant to a foreign entity. “But this has to has a much broader view that what can happen in the US academic and industrial base,” he said. “ This has to be across all international boundaries, across all academia and all industries.”

Neyland admitted there is the possibility that no one will step forward far enough to earn the grant.

“We want to get the most bang for the buck for the Department of Defense,” he said.

So, everyone out there who has the dream of traveling to the stars, what are your ideas?

See the 100 Year Starship website for more information. The public symposium will be in Orlando, Florida on Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2011.

Here are the list of tracks the conference will include. Individuals may submit speaking abstracts directly related to these topics, or they can propose entirely different ideas.

Time-Distance Solutions [propulsion, time/space manipulation and/or dilation, near speed of light navigation, faster than light navigation, observations and sensing at near speed of light or faster than light]
Education, Social, Economic and Legal Considerations [education as a mission, who goes, who stays, to profit or not, economies in space, communications back to earth, political ramifications, round-trip legacy investments and assets left behind]
Philosophical, and Religious Considerations [why go to the stars, moral and ethical issues, implications of finding habitable worlds, implications of finding life elsewhere, implications of being left behind]
Biology and Space Medicine [physiology in space, psychology in space, human life suspension (e.g., cryogenic), medical facilities and capabilities in space, on-scene (end of journey) spawning from genetic material]
Habitats and Environmental Science [to have gravity or not, space and radiation effects, environmental toxins, energy collection and use, agriculture, self-supporting environments, optimal habitat sizing]
Destinations [criteria for destination selection, what do you take, how many destinations and missions, probes versus journeys of faith]
Communication of the Vision [storytelling as a means of inspiration, linkage between incentives, payback and investment, use of movies, television and books to popularize long term research and long term journeys]

You can follow Universe Today senior editor Nancy Atkinson on Twitter: @Nancy_A. Follow Universe Today for the latest space and astronomy news on Twitter @universetoday and on Facebook.

DARPA Wants Your Ideas for a 100-Year Starship

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The idea for a 100-year starship has been tossed around recently, and now DARPA the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has put out a Request for Information (RFI) looking for ideas about how a long-term human mission to boldly go out to the stars could possibly happen. It’s been estimated that such a mission would cost over $10 billion, and the idea has gotten $100,000 from NASA and $ 1 million from DARPA – which means that as of now it is just that, an idea.

Pete Worden, the Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center announced the idea last fall, and it received plenty of coverage, but not much publicized research on how the idea could possibly come to fruition. Worden optimistically said he expected to see the first prototype of a new propulsion system within the next few years, but that seem unlikely given NASA’s frozen budget and a Congress that doesn’t seem very forward-looking in their vision for what NASA should be doing. But perhaps DARPA’s input could have some leverage.

There would be several technological obstacles to overcome, such as how to create an artificial gravity so that those aboard the ship wouldn’t experience the muscle and bone loss that astronauts on the ISS have after just six months in space. Then there’s how to manufacture food, and create other things the crew might need while they are out in the middle of nowhere. Those are just a few examples of what would need to be dealt with.

But anyway, a journey starts with a single step, and so if you’ve got any ideas, here’s DARPA’s RFI (hurry, you’ve only got until June 3, 2011!):

DARPA is seeking ideas for an organization, business model and approach appropriate for a self-sustaining investment vehicle in support of the 100 Year StarshipTM Study. The 100 Year StarshipTM Study is a project seeded by DARPA to develop a viable and sustainable model for persistent, long-term, private-sector investment into the myriad of disciplines needed to make long-distance space travel practicable and feasible. The genesis of this study is to foster a rebirth of a sense of wonder among students, academia, industry, researchers and the general population to consider “why not” and to encourage them to tackle whole new classes of research and development related to all the issues surrounding long duration, long distance spaceflight. DARPA contends that the useful, unanticipated consequences of such research will have benefit to the Department of Defense and to NASA, and well as the private and commercial sector. The information obtained will be used for planning and acquisition strategy development. DARPA will use the information obtained as a result of this RFI on a non-attribution basis. Providing data and information that is limited or restricted for use by the Government for that purpose would be of very little value and the inclusion of such restricted/limited data/information is discouraged. Responses as a single file in Adobe PDF electronic format can be submitted to [email protected] by 12:00 pm (noon) Eastern Time, Friday, June 3, 2011. For complete details of this notice, please refer to the attachment, “RFI – 100 Year Starship Study“.

NASA’s Ames Director Announces “100 Year Starship”

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The Director of NASA’s Ames Center, Pete Worden has announced an initiative to move space flight to the next level. This plan, dubbed the “Hundred Year Starship,” has received $100,000 from NASA and $ 1 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He made his announcement on Oct. 16. Worden is also hoping to include wealthy investors in the project. NASA has yet to provide any official details on the project.

Worden also has expressed his belief that the space agency was now directed toward settling other planets. However, given the fact that the agency has been redirected toward supporting commercial space firms, how this will be achieved has yet to be detailed. Details that have been given have been vague and in some cases contradictory.

The Ames Director went on to expound how these efforts will seek to emulate the fictional starships seen on the television show Star Trek. He stated that the public could expect to see the first prototype of a new propulsion system within the next few years. Given that NASA’s FY 2011 Budget has had to be revised and has yet to go through Appropriations, this time estimate may be overly-optimistic.

One of the ideas being proposed is a microwave thermal propulsion system. This form of propulsion would eliminate the massive amount of fuel required to send crafts into orbit. The power would be “beamed” to the space craft. Either a laser or microwave emitter would heat the propellant, thus sending the vehicle aloft. This technology has been around for some time, but has yet to be actually applied in a real-world vehicle.

The project is run by Dr. Kevin L.G. Parkin who described it in his PhD thesis and invented the equipment used. Along with him are David Murakami and Creon Levit. One of the previous workers on the program went on to found his own company in the hopes of commercializing the technology used.

For Worden, the first locations that man should visit utilizing this revolutionary technology would not be the moon or even Mars. Rather he suggests that we should visit the red planet’s moons, Phobos and Deimos. Worden believes that astronauts can be sent to Mars by 2030 for around $10 billion – but only one way. The strategy appears to resemble the ‘Faster-Better-Cheaper’ craze promoted by then-NASA Administrator Dan Goldin during the 1990s.

DARPA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Defense whose purview is the development of new technology to be used by the U.S. military. Some previous efforts that the agency has undertaken include the first hypertext system, as well as other computer-related developments that are used everyday. DARPA has worked on space-related projects before, working on light-weight satellites (LIGHTSAT), the X-37 space plane, the FALCON Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle (HCV) and a number of other programs.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA has been involved with a number of advanced technology projects. Image Credit: DARPA

Source: Kurzweil