“There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.” –George Carlin
Ah, the moon; so close, and yet so far away. Has it really been almost fifty years since Neil Armstrong took his one small step for man? Now, finally, the race is on to go back to our nearby celestial neighbor. But in 1969, the only motivation was to win a race that was instigated by the cold war. Now there is different driver in play. It’s money; many of the new players, in what is now a multi-way competition, are commercial ventures.
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Space/Lunar exploration—Moon Express has unveiled its lunar rover that’s due for a 2019 launch. Described as an R2D2 lookalike, it would be the first commercial launch beyond earth orbit. The $20 million lunar X-Prize is hanging in the balance.
—China has announced plans to catch up to the US in space rocketry by the early 2020’s, and a longer term goal of developing nuclear powered space vehicles by 2045.
—Next big future reports on the possible development of what’s being called an interlunar photonic railway. It’s based on the the laser powered space sails being planned by Breakthrough Starshot.
Electric Vehicles–Tesla unveiled two new ambitious vehicles, slated to begin production in 2019. Its big-rig truck has a projected single-charge range of 500 miles and acceleration capabilities far better than diesel powered semis. The roadster will boast a 620-mile range and a 260 mph top speed. The price for these indulgences? I’m not asking; i know I can’t afford either one.
–Elon Musk may be the pioneer in all-electric vehicles, but he’s certainly not alone. Volkswagon plans to invest an immodest $40 Billion on electric car technology through 2022, and Toyota is targeting 2020 for its launch of an EV in China.
Senescence/Anti-aging research–Harvard professor and serial biotech entrepreneur Dr. George Church is moving headlong towards enabling human aging reversal. His Rejuvenate Bio firm plans to test an age reversal therapy in dogs in 2019, and if successful, followed by human trials in 2022.
—Scientists at Northwestern University say they have found what may be the first anti-aging genetic mutation. The genetic anomaly was found in a small Amish community in Indiana. Individuals who possess the mutation experience longer than average lifespans.
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