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Upstream is for future thinkers

It provides news of emerging technologies, scientific discoveries and predictions of our future

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Biomedical

Biomedical

Transhumanism is a biomedical goal to fundamentally transform the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

This is achieved though Cybernetics, Genetic Engineering, Life Extension, Medicine and Stem Cell Treatments.

Computing

Computing

The effect computers have had on the world is unquestionably great, however with their capabilities increasing exponentially we are living in a time where, with the development of quantum computing, their effects on us has barely scratched the surface of what is to come.

Artificial intelligence, Augmented Reality, Holography, Quantum Computing and Virtual Reality are all around the corner.

Energy

Energy

As the planet’s resources are rapidly depleting, perhaps the area of most intense global interest at the moment is finding alternate methods of producing energy and efficiently feeding our populations.

Some of these methods include Artificial Photosynthesis, Biofuels, Fusion Power, Genetically Modified Food, Solar Power, Vertical Farming and Wireless Energy Transfer.

Leisure

Leisure

Consumer goods, with the help of emerging technologies, are changing our day to day lives at an increasingly rapid pace. From the internet to mobile phones and 3D printing, the past 30 years has changed the way we live.

The next 30 years includes Holographic Displays, Immersive Gaming, Smart Clothing, Virtual Reality and Wearable Computing.

Military

Military

Although military may not seem the most constructive of tech focuses, it often has the budget to pioneer new technologies which are refined and used commercially later; for example electronic computers, satellite technology or the internet.

Current military interest includes Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Hypersonic Aircraft, Particle Beam Weapons & Stealth Technology.

Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology

One of the most exciting progressions of the 21st century so far is our ability to create on a nano scale – allowing us to produce new materials that have never been seen before, and build machines so small that they can even carry out tasks within our blood stream.

Nanotechnology has created new fields of interest within Biotechnology, Computing, Energy and Medicine.

Physics

Physics

Although some people may find physics to be the dull cousin of technology, it is only through the understanding of physics that many of our technologies and understandings of the universe are possible – it is the language to describe and therefore can create our reality, and is incredibly exciting for people who take the time to understand it, as it is the key which can open new doors for our future.

Robotics

Robotics

A very tangible physical embodiment of technology for humans is robotics; we can relate and interact physically with robots and in the future develop relationships with them.

Also as artificial intelligence evolves alongside human intelligence, there will be a time where this technology will increasingly find the need to embody itself in the physical world through robotics.

Space

Space

The final frontier.

The exploration of space holds endless possible discoveries – however one which we may be on the brink of observing which will change the world and the way we think about ourselves as human beings, is the discovery of life on other planets (or moons, such as Jupiter’s Europa or Saturn’s Enceladus, as it may turn out.)

Transport

Transport

Driverless Cars, Jetpacks, Magnetic Levitation, Space Elevators, Fusion Rockets and Teleportation – all areas of intense interest and each offering huge potential for the development of civilisation.

Transport is a practical constraint which touches people daily, which is why future developments could change our lives and the world’s economies on the whole.

Predictions

Predictions

Technology futurists make extrapolations on scientific progress – for example it is predicted that quantum computing will become commercially viable around 2020, based on current advances in technology and projected milestones. This is turn will facilitate breakthroughs in medicine by enabling an accurate virtual model of chemical reactions – thus building an ever-growing web of forecasts.

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About Upstream

Profile

Upstream is an aggregation of news websites curated by Oliver Rozynski, a Sydney based freelance digital designer by trade, technologist by hobby and entrepreneur by aspiration.

It includes the absolute latest on emerging technologies, projections on future trends and scientific breakthroughs as they happen from over 60 universities worldwide.

The aim of Upstream is to create awareness of the explosion of scientific and technological developments which is currently unfolding behind the curtain of mainstream media. With a better understanding of the possibilities for our future, we can open our imaginations to create a new outlook.

We have a lot to look forward to!

See my personal website.

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This Technique Could Allow Us To Harvest Water From Asteroids

A submarine to explore the seas of Titan, hedgehog robotic explorers, asteroid wranglers, and even comet hitchhikers – all of these sound like they came out of the pages of a science fiction novel, right? Well these are actually just a few of the innovative concepts funded by NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) fellowship program. The program transforms technically credible innovations from science fiction to science fact.

Until recently, the concept of asteroid mining has been one of science fiction. Several companies like Planetary Resources are currently working to tap into the mineral resources on near-Earth asteroids. With hundreds of thousands of small asteroids in the Solar System, they could host a wealth of minerals and volatile material we could use on Earth. But that’s not all. Thanks to an innovative technique currently under development, asteroids could one day supply the resources we need to make fuel and even habitats in outer space.

The game-changing technique, called “optical mining,” could allow us to tap into potential water reservoirs on asteroids without complex robotics. Water that, in turn, could be turned into fuel for the spacecraft, thus significantly reducing the cost of spaceflight. The concept of optical mining – also known as the Asteroid Provided In-Situ Supplies plan, or Apis – has been funded thanks to a NIAC fellowship and a small business contract.

Asteroids are basically cosmic leftovers: primordial chunks of rock and dust laced with metals, ices, and even tar. There are different varieties of asteroids, each with their own composition. Dark, carbon-rich “C-type” asteroids have massive amounts of water locked up in hydrated clay minerals, and would make the perfect targets for Apis.

Water is crucial to survival, but takes a lot of energy and money to get to space. So, utilizing water already in space would help reduce mission costs. Water can also be broken down into its constituent parts: hydrogen and oxygen; a huge benefit since both can be used to make rocket fuel.

Apis principal investigator Joel Sercel and his team plan to harvest water and other volatile materials from the surface of C-type asteroids or primitive meteorites called carbonaceous chondrites. The excavated material would go directly into an inflatable bag for storage. The Apis team hopes to reap as much as 100 metric tons of water from a near-Earth asteroid before transporting it to designated “depots.”

Sercel and his team have performed lab experiments as well as computer simulations on meteorite samples and the results are promising. The team will use a large solar furnace at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico for proof-of-concept testing in the coming months. The furnace uses two primary sets of mirrors to simulate the heat produced from a nuclear explosion. Sunlight is first collected by a large flat set of mirrors and then concentrated on the target with the second set. The team will test their idea on melon-sized asteroid simulants and expects the highly-concentrated light will dig through surface material, extracting volatiles from the rock via a process called spalling – where material is extracted as tiny pockets of expanding gas pop.

“It actually digs holes and tunnels into the rock. The heat goes in, is absorbed in thin layers and drives out the volatiles in tiny, explosive-like pops that eject material in a controllable way,” Sercel told Space.com. “We believe that highly concentrated sunlight can drill holes, excavate, disrupt and shape an asteroid while the asteroid is enclosed in a containment bag.”

As part of the Apis plan, up to 120 tons of water can be collected over several months and safely stored in the containment bag before being transported to lunar orbit.

Thanks IFL Science

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