Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Peak Into Our Future?

Here's something that's a lot more fun than arguing about politics. About a year ago, The Register, a British online technology magazine, decided to try to go into space:

It's official: We here at the Vulture Central Science Bureau have had enough of writing about space shuttles, orbiting Japanese laboratories and Chinese taikonauts, when the best the UK's space programme can offer is to lose touch with a 300g wedge of Somerset farmhouse cheddar somewhere over the south of England.

Accordingly, we've decided to restore national pride by resurrecting our space payload mission - inspired by Cambridge Uni's 2006 Nova 1 flight.

Your Input Invited For Audacious Upper-Atmosphere Mission

Perhaps it just shows how little I've paid attention to technology lately that I'm just catching up with this now. I don't feel too bad about it, though. Unless you're willing to shoot people you don't know, or practice law in aid of huge corporations making outrageous profits, there's really not much work in America these days. There's not much point in keeping up in a profession no one in your country values.

The means The Reg has chosen to get into space is the Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) project, which is a paper airplane that will be released from a weather balloon. This is no ordinary paper airplane, though, as can be seen from this photograph:
Image credit: The Register

That's a portion of the fuselage, which is constructed from soda straws. Like all good techies, they've published an extensive article on its construction. At this point, they are going with printing paper as the skin material.

You can follow the PARIS project as it progresses. I know I will. It's looking sadly like the future of our own space program these days.

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