Why Elon Musk doesn't like Jeff Bezos's space colonies
Elon Musk took issue with recent ideas for space exploration from Jeff Bezos.
- Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have sparred over space exploration previously.
- Musk wants to focus on Mars while Bezos has the moon and space colonies as goals.
- In a recent tweet, Musk called out Bezos's plans for space colonies as unrealistic.
Great rivalries often make for great progress. Thomas Edison competed against Nikola Tesla, bringing electricity to the world. Steve Jobs's on-and-off feud with Bill Gates largely defined the computer age, resulting in rapid innovation. Will the battle of the tech barons Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos come to fuel the space age?
While they have already sparred publicly on previous occasions, the latest salvo between Musk and Bezos stems from different visions for space exploration and settlement. While Bezos is focused on the moon and recently-announced space colonies, Musk has made Mars the main destination for Space X.
Earlier in May 2019, Bezos presented a new lunar lander called Blue Moon. Designed by his rocket company Blue Origin, the lander will be able to delivery a variety of payloads to the moon, aiding in its colonization.
The announcement of the lander also included Bezos's overall vision for the future of humans in space. He sees a trillion people living at different parts of the universe. Where would they live? To a large extent in O'Neill Colonies, thinks Bezos.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, introduces a new lunar landing module called Blue Moon during an event at the Washington Convention Center, May 9, 2019 in Washington, (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
An O'Neill colony or O'Neill cylinder, is a concept espoused by the American physicist Gerard K. O'Neill in his 1976 book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space. Such a cylinder would actually have two five-mile-long counter-rotating cylinders, rotating in opposite directions and cancelling out any gyroscopic effects. This would also result in artificial gravity via the effect of the centrifugal force on the insides of the cylinders.
In the speech that mentioned the colonies, Bezos also indirectly challenged Musk's vision, saying that going to Mars is too distant and problematic to aid in human progress.
In a tweet from May 23rd, Elon Musk struck back, attacking Bezos's ideas as unrealistic. "Makes no sense," wrote Musk. "In order to grow the colony, you'd have to transport vast amounts of mass from planets/moons/asteroids. Would be like trying to build the USA in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean."
Which billionaire gets to try out their ideas for building a space colony first remains to be seen. Here's how Musk would settle Mars:
Watch Elon Musk Reveal SpaceX's Most Detailed Plans To Colonize Mars
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What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Great ideas in philosophy often come in dense packages. Then there is where the work of Marcus Aurelius.
- Meditations is a collection of the philosophical ideas of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
- Written as a series of notes to himself, the book is much more readable than the dry philosophy most people are used to.
- The advice he gave to himself 2,000 years ago is increasingly applicable in our hectic, stressed-out lives.
Can dirt help us fight off stress? Groundbreaking new research shows how.
- New research identifies a bacterium that helps block anxiety.
- Scientists say this can lead to drugs for first responders and soldiers, preventing PTSD and other mental issues.
- The finding builds on the hygiene hypothesis, first proposed in 1989.
Are modern societies trying too hard to be clean, at the detriment to public health? Scientists discovered that a microorganism living in dirt can actually be good for us, potentially helping the body to fight off stress. Harnessing its powers can lead to a "stress vaccine".
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that the fatty 10(Z)-hexadecenoic acid from the soil-residing bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae aids immune cells in blocking pathways that increase inflammation and the ability to combat stress.
The study's senior author and Integrative Physiology Professor Christopher Lowry described this fat as "one of the main ingredients" in the "special sauce" that causes the beneficial effects of the bacterium.
The finding goes hand in hand with the "hygiene hypothesis," initially proposed in 1989 by the British scientist David Strachan. He maintained that our generally sterile modern world prevents children from being exposed to certain microorganisms, resulting in compromised immune systems and greater incidences of asthma and allergies.
Contemporary research fine-tuned the hypothesis, finding that not interacting with so-called "old friends" or helpful microbes in the soil and the environment, rather than the ones that cause illnesses, is what's detrimental. In particular, our mental health could be at stake.
"The idea is that as humans have moved away from farms and an agricultural or hunter-gatherer existence into cities, we have lost contact with organisms that served to regulate our immune system and suppress inappropriate inflammation," explained Lowry. "That has put us at higher risk for inflammatory disease and stress-related psychiatric disorders."
University of Colorado Boulder
This is not the first study on the subject from Lowry, who published previous work showing the connection between being exposed to healthy bacteria and mental health. He found that being raised with animals and dust in a rural environment helps children develop more stress-proof immune systems. Such kids were also likely to be less at risk for mental illnesses than people living in the city without pets.
Lowry's other work also pointed out that the soil-based bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae acts like an antidepressant when injected into rodents. It alters their behavior and has lasting anti-inflammatory effects on the brain, according to the press release from the University of Colorado Boulder. Prolonged inflammation can lead to such stress-related disorders as PTSD.
The new study from Lowry and his team identified why that worked by pinpointing the specific fatty acid responsible. They showed that when the 10(Z)-hexadecenoic acid gets into cells, it works like a lock, attaching itself to the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR). This allows it to block a number of key pathways responsible for inflammation. Pre-treating the cells with the acid (or lipid) made them withstand inflammation better.
Lowry thinks this understanding can lead to creating a "stress vaccine" that can be given to people in high-stress jobs, like first responders or soldiers. The vaccine can prevent the psychological effects of stress.
What's more, this friendly bacterium is not the only potentially helpful organism we can find in soil.
"This is just one strain of one species of one type of bacterium that is found in the soil but there are millions of other strains in soils," said Lowry. "We are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg in terms of identifying the mechanisms through which they have evolved to keep us healthy. It should inspire awe in all of us."
Check out the study published in the journal Psychopharmacology.
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