Sunday, September 20, 2015

DIYastronomy Drones and Vertical DAS (Distributed Autonomous Space)

The Planetary Science Institute has announced plans for the Atsa Suborbital Observatory. Suborbital observatories are a new category of infrastructure that fits into the overall landscape of astronomical observational infrastructure between sounding rockets (expensive with only a momentary window for observation) and higher-altitude space-based observatories (Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, Webb). Atsa is airborne-based, in this sense similar to SOFIA, though Atsa is able to access 3-5 minutes of zero-g, and is more modular, flying infrared, ultraviolet, and visible range observational equipment. For perhaps as low as $125,000, you might be able to specify your own commercial observing flight, possibly crowdfunded through Fiat Physica (‘kickstarter for physics’); in a sort of community supercomputing for astronomy.

DIYdrones and Vertical DAS (Distributed Autonomous Space)
The idea of on-demand modular observatories suggests the notion of "distributed autonomous space in space" more generally. Distributed autonomous space (self-delivering pod spaces, like mobile Airbnb for lodging, co-working, etc.) could be terrestrial, and also aerial. There is the idea of airsteading, the vertical analog to seasteading, maybe with self-flying dockable airpods; a potential feature of the future along with the road-steading one might do with self-driving vehicles. Short of funding one’s own concierge observations on Atsa, personalized drones might be employed for DIYastronomy (including via QS mind-controlled rigs). Personalized drone observatories might significantly expand the reach of both professional and amateur astronomers. There is also the possibility of adding astronomical observational nodes to space elevator stations. 3-5 minutes of zero-g time, even if expanded to 9-15 minutes by coordinated Atsa flights from Florida, Texas, and California; essentially a very-large array telescope in space, is still just a few minutes. Instead, modular, ubiquitous space elevator infrastructure might provide continual observational functionality, and other self-financing uses like solar power generation.

Cryptocitizen Decentralization Sensibility: Providing Peer Infrastructure
The emerging mindset of decentralization could include participating in networks by providing infrastructure. Citizen-supported infrastructure could supplement and eventually supplant government institution-provided infrastructure. Resilient community infrastructure and the idea of supplying peer node hosting for network resources was a hope of WiFi mesh networks. The concept of community-provided infrastructure did deploy in peer-to-peer file-sharing with Napster and BitTorrent, and community supercomputing projects like SETI@home and Protein Folding@home, and is now being considered for more kinds of infrastructure. Peer-hosted networks might be more resilient both technically and sociopolitically. Decentralized networks are more technologically sustainable and extensible. There is also a sense of self-empowerment and economic self-determination in peer-provided infrastructure, particularly as an important counterweight to corporate power in the developing blockchain industry.

Some examples of community-supported infrastructure could include self-hosted Bitcoin blockchain full transaction-history nodes (Bitcoind), (decentralized reddit), and personalized drone observation cams. DIYastronomy drones could give the world a mesh network architecture for asteroid watch and the monitoring of other space debris, and also the capture of terrestrial-based events and phenomena. Thus, the sensibility of the digital cryptocitizen could include participating in peer-supported network infrastructure for any variety of affinities; whether DIYastronomy drones for asteroid watch, blockchain ledger hosting, content hosting, decentralized Uber-Airbnb space providing, sustainable foodagtech microgreens hydroponic units, or other activities.

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