Required: A “World Plan” For The Earth And Habitation Of Space

 

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Image: The Clouds Over Titan : Courtesy of Nasa.gov

 

We must become a multi-planetary species. Our fate in the cosmos will be determined by how soon we are able to follow in the path of our robotic explorers, Voyager, Galileo and Cassini. It is imperative that we push on at a more rapid pace toward the related discoveries of space travel and space health before governmental spending is too overwhelmed by the costs of remedying the ailments of a sadly mismanaged Earth.

Directed and sufficient funds must now be allocated by government and not only left up to rich entrepreneurs, to facilitate more rapid discoveries which are related to our autonomous and sustained habitation of space. It is not enough to provide more funds but to also promote an overall “world plan” and to instill cooperation by all businesses and countries. In this manner our resources as a whole will be best used and prevent needless wastage of time, effort and money. This endeavour must be paralleled at the same time with a unified and significant effort of sustaining our beautiful Earth. It is imperative that these two tasks have no borders, no longer to be considered an unspoken race of supremacy. We no longer have the luxury of time to be involved with the comparatively petty rivalries of competition. Our long term continued existence and all that we have thus far accomplished is now at risk.

It has been criticized that had we not taken the route of developing the Space Station so extensively, we would have probably sent humans to Mars by now. There is argument for both cases, hind-site playing a big part. In any case the goal should now be at establishing outposts beyond Earth, served only to be “stepping stones” to a next world that is habitable for man. Terraforming Mars is a long term and expensive project that some say could take a 1000 years to accomplish. This may not be immediately, or ever required depending on the developments in space travel in the near future. What is important is that we go to Mars with the idea of establishing a liveable environment for a limited number of  specialists, not a large population. These pioneers will have the task of building the next space vehicle which will propel man to our next home.

As was commented of the Space Station, let it not be said that too many resources were spent on long term endeavours such as terraforming Mars. Let us be more focused and unified in the future on the goals of developing new forms of space travel, finding solutions for the related physical and health consequences of low gravity and radiation in space and choosing a world more easily and less expensively developed to sustain our existence, other than Mars. Many scientists say that Titan, a moon of Saturn is the nearest and best candidate.

 

 

 

 

Bahtinov Mask Created By 3D Printing

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Bahtinov Mask created by 3D printing. (Thanks Benny Fab Laboratory at Benny Library)

 

       Bahtinov Mask 3D printing video (Thanks to the Benny Fab Lab at Benny Library)
The Bahtinov Mask is one of the best tools for focusing your camera-telescope setup for imaging. Although not very expensive to buy, it can be made by hand using cardboard or a ridged thin plastic using a template or pattern…Home Made Bahtinov Focusing Mask & Templates, a good article on Deep-Sky Watch.com . Another method would be to create the mask by 3D printing, not as daunting of a process as you might think…
3D printers can be used free of charge in various educational institutions and libraries, accompanied by expert guidance. The size of the object printable is limited by the particular 3D printer used and the material used to print the object. Programs such as Openscad, Tinkercad and Blender are free software, downloadable online. A template for the model will be required in order to 3D print your object. The learning curve is a little steep but the internet and especially U-Tube provides many tutorials. For those of you who rather not start from scratch creating the model, there are free models online for many diverse types of objects including the Bahtinov Mask. Free models can be found using the STL Finder.
To 3D print the Bahtinov Mask as shown in the images above, I used Opencad a free software and a ready-made tweakable template or model called Bahtinov mask generator (modded) which I found on Thingiverse.com .This model generator allowed for the size of the mask to be adjusted according to the measurements of my own telescope. The resultant SCAD file can be exported as a STL file (in the Openscad software) which is then in a file format usable by most 3D printers, in this case the Ultimaker 3. The material used to print the mask was PLA (Poly Lactic Acid), an organic biodegradable thermoplastic made from cornstarch and sugarcane.
The hobby of amateur astronomy leads us down many related paths of further learning…the process of 3D printing is just another. Good luck with the creations for your telescope…to excuse a pun…the sky is the limit!