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3 respostes a “Informe del World Economic Forum sobre l’índex global de competitivitat”

  1. a 05 oct. 2008 a les 9:18 Coiseasiott

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  2. a 10 abr. 2009 a les 7:35 Madisonmay

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  3. a 09 nov. 2009 a les 11:35 frateMopror

    DEEP-SPACE TRAVEL If the launching of LightSail-1 goes off according to plan next year, humans may soon be solar-sailing, as shown in this illustration.

    About a year from now, if all goes well, a box about the size of a loaf of bread will pop out of a rocket some 500 miles above the Earth. There in the vacuum it will unfurl four triangular sails as shiny as moonlight and only barely more substantial. Then it will slowly rise on a sunbeam and move across the stars.

    LightSail-1, as it is dubbed, will not make it to Neverland. At best the device will sail a few hours and gain a few miles in altitude. But those hours will mark a milestone for a dream that is almost as old as the rocket age itself, and as romantic: to navigate the cosmos on winds of starlight the way sailors for thousands of years have navigated the ocean on the winds of the Earth.

    “Sailing on light is the only technology that can someday take us to the stars,” said Louis Friedman, director of the Planetary Society, the worldwide organization of space enthusiasts.

    Even as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration continues to flounder in a search for its future, Dr. Friedman announced Monday that the Planetary Society, with help from an anonymous donor, would be taking baby steps toward a future worthy of science fiction. Over the next three years, the society will build and fly a series of solar-sail spacecraft dubbed LightSails, first in orbit around the Earth and eventually into deeper space.

    The voyages are an outgrowth of a long collaboration between the society and Cosmos Studios of Ithaca, N.Y., headed by Ann Druyan, a film producer and widow of the late astronomer and author Carl Sagan.

    Sagan was a founder of the Planetary Society, in 1980, with Dr. Friedman and Bruce Murray, then director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The announcement was made at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington at a celebration of what would have been Sagan’s 75th birthday. He died in 1996.

    Ms. Druyan, who has been chief fund-raiser for the society’s sailing projects, called the space sail “a Taj Mahal” for Sagan, who loved the notion and had embraced it as a symbol for the wise use of technology.

    There is a long line of visionaries, stretching back to the Russian rocket pioneers Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Fridrich Tsander and the author Arthur C. Clarke, who have supported this idea. “Sails are just a marvelous way of getting around the universe,” said Freeman Dyson, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and a longtime student of the future, “but it takes a long time to imagine them becoming practical.”

    The solar sail receives its driving force from the simple fact that light carries not just energy but also momentum — a story told by every comet tail, which consists of dust blown by sunlight from a comet’s core. The force on a solar sail is gentle, if not feeble, but unlike a rocket, which fires for a few minutes at most, it is constant. Over days and years a big enough sail, say a mile on a side, could reach speeds of hundreds of thousands of miles an hour, fast enough to traverse the solar system in 5 years. Riding the beam from a powerful laser, a sail could even make the journey to another star system in 100 years, that is to say, a human lifespan.

    Whether humans could ever take these trips depends on just how starry-eyed one’s view of the future is.

    Dr. Friedman said it would take too long and involve too much exposure to radiation to sail humans to a place like Mars. He said the only passengers on an interstellar voyage — even after 200 years of additional technological development — were likely to be robots or perhaps our genomes encoded on a chip, a consequence of the need to keep the craft light, like a giant cosmic kite.

    In principle, a solar sail can do anything a regular sail can do, like tacking. Unlike other spacecraft, it can act as an antigravity machine, using solar pressure to balance the Sun’s gravity and thus hover anyplace in space.

    And, of course, it does not have to carry tons of rocket fuel. As the writer and folk singer Jonathan Eberhart wrote in his song “A Solar Privateer”:

    No cold LOX tanks or reactor banks, just Mylar by the mile.
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    No stormy blast to rattle the mast, a sober wind and true.

    Just haul and tack and ball the jack like the waterlubbers do.

    Those are visions for the long haul. “Think centuries or millennia, not decades,” said Dr. Dyson, who also said he approved of the Planetary Society project.

    “We ought to be doing things that are romantic,” he said, adding that nobody knew yet how to build sails big and thin enough for serious travel. “You have to get equipment for unrolling them and stretching them — a big piece of engineering that’s not been done. But the joy of technology is that it’s unpredictable.”

    At one time or another, many of NASA’s laboratories have studied solar sails. Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory even once investigated sending a solar sail to rendezvous and ride along with Halley’s Comet during its pass in 1986.