Space Arts: Astrophotographer Scott Nammacher + UK Space Agency awarding creative arts grants

Scott Nammacher is a prolific astrophotographer who is profiled in this article:  White Plains artist keeps eye on universe –

Check out the wonderful gallery of astronomical images on his website: Starmere


The UK Space Agency is sponsoring a Announcement of Opportunity: Arts and Creative Technology – Publications – GOV.UK.

From the announcement document (pdf):

The upcoming flight of Tim Peake to the International Space Station has boosted interest in human spaceflight in the UK. The current scheme, however, looks beyond this one mission: the Agency is seeking original ideas which give new perspectives on science, technology and exploration in a sociocultural context.

Awards are available from £10k up to a maximum of £50k. The Agency expects to make between 1 and 5 awards.

What we are looking for

Creative work which responds to space science and technology in new and interesting ways. Funding may be matched from other sources or be used to fund one part of a larger project.

Proposals are welcome in these areas:

• Visual arts
• Video games
• Creative technology + immersive media

Some examples of effective work in this field could include: Elizabeth Price’s SUNLIGHT; Superflux’s Mangala For All ; Helen White’s Solar Wind Chime. (NB these are illustrative only of the breadth and diversity of possible approaches.)

Space music: “Settler” by Vattnet Viskar

The “black metal” band Vattnet Viskar (Facebook) has created the album Settler inspired by the Christa McAuliffe story:


Free clips can be heard at iTunes – Settler by Vattnet Viskar. There is also a Settler CD and vinyl album.


Video: Catalin Alexandru Duru sets “hoverboard” distance record

This video has been out for a month or so but I just saw it. Don’t know if the flying platform will develop into a practical recreational system but it’s quite an impressive technical accomplishment regardless: Video: Watch incredible footage of farthest flight by a hoverboard record set by Canada’s Catalin Alexandru Duru – Guinness World Records


Sci-Tech: 24M develops lower cost Li-Ion battery making + Videos: Elon Musk talks about Tesla and Gigafactory

The MIT spinoff company 24M has unveiled a new approach to lithium battery manufacturing that it says can reduce the cost by a factor of two. The standard li-ion construction process involves coating the active materials onto long strips of an inert tape material that adds bulk and weight to the battery but does not contributed directly to energy storage. The 24M process gets rid of the tape using a new approach developed by Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang, who has been involved in previous battery ventures including A123. The energy and power density of the battery is thus increased. The new manufacturing system also eliminates a great many processing steps, so it reduces the manufacturing cost as well.

The company has been working in stealth mode for several years and this week made its public debut: 24M Introduces The Semisolid Lithium-Ion Battery: Company Emerges From Stealth With $50M In Private Capital And A Revolutionary New Technology That Will Slash Today’S Lithium-Ion Battery Costs By 50% – 24M.

Articles about 24M:

Tesla MotorsGigafactory under construction in northern Nevada is also intended to lower costs but through sheer economies of scale more than by new manufacturing or battery technology advances. The Tesla batteries are intended both for the company’s cars and for energy storage systems for the home (Powerwall) and utilities and industry.

Li-ion batteries have progressed in a steady but rather slow incremental pace despite periodic claims of big breakthroughs. Nevertheless, I expect Elon and others at Tesla must still have some concern that a new development like that of 24M or Sakti or whomever might make their giant battery factory obsolete before it can pay off the investment in it.

Here are a couple of recent videos in which Elon Musk talks about Tesla and the Gigafactory: