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CAMP December Newsletter: Page 6

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 Clarkson’s Professor Marzocca Coauthors Book that Promotes Space Exploration


Professor Pier Marzocca.

Clarkson University Professor Pier Marzocca coauthored the electronic book titled How to Develop the Solar System and Beyond: A Roadmap to Interstellar Space.  The authors were inspired to write this book as a result of a joint initiative of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and NASA. Their plan was to work with private entities toward achieving interstellar space travel within the next century.    This book outlines likely scenarios for mankind's future beyond living on Earth.

"Our main interest is inspiring the younger generation because they're the ones who will have the opportunity to do this," says Marzocca, who teaches mechanical and aeronautical engineering at Clarkson. "We already know it is possible for man to travel to space. Now it's an important time to push ourselves to our limits, and find ways to develop new technologies, so that we can explore and eventually colonize space."

The Roadmap has been welcomed by readers, and on October 22, 2012 it was listed No. 1 in the Amazon list of new releases in astrophysics and space science best-sellers. The book came about when the authors discovered one another and realized they envisioned a similar future of exploring space. They put together a group they call Star Voyager, which is still growing. Star Voyager is a sponsored initiative of the Leeward Space Foundation, a non-profit organization registered in Georgia.

Marzocca is a professor in Clarkson’s Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. He is also a member of the board of directors of the International Space Development Hub (ISDHub), an organization with a goal of channeling innovations and investments into space exploration globally.

In addition to Marzocca, the book's authors are Dirk Schulze-Makuch,  Washington State University astrobiologist; Amalie Sinclair, humanist, space policy advocate and director of Leeward Space Foundation; Charles Radley, spacecraft systems engineer and associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Armen Papazian, financial economist; Joseph Miller, astrobiologist, neuropharmacologist, and associate professor at the University of Southern California; John Lee, executive director at Leeward Space Foundation and chairman of the Board of the International Space Development HUB (ISDHub); and Giorgio Gaviraghi, architect and CEO of Exponential Design Lab.

Direct-In-Liquid Plasmas for the Synthesis of Carbon-Based Materials

Professor Selma Mededovic Thagard’s research group, in Clarkson’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is using direct-in-liquid plasmas to synthesize carbon (nano) materials. The majority of the current methods for the production of carbon materials are multistage processes that are based on the evaporation and condensation of materials and are known to produce one or, at most, two classes of allotropic modifications of carbon. Therefore, the development of a new effective one-stage method for the carbon nanomaterials synthesis is of great interest.

Electrical discharges are based on injecting energy into a liquid via a thin metal wire which results in the formation of a plasma, an ionized state consisting of a quasi-neutral mixture of neutral species, positive ions, negative ions, and electrons. See Figure 6.  The results from Dr. Thagard’s laboratory have shown that pulsed electrical discharges in several organic solvents (e.g. pentane, methanol, acetone, etc.) are capable of transforming these liquids into solid carbon materials such as diamond-like carbon films and closed-end carbon nanotubes. Compared to other liquid-phase technologies which involve heating of the graphite conductor with high current pulses and require very high energies (%7e kJ/pulse) to create different carbon materials, the described process operates at energies of only 1-10 J/pulse.


 FIGURE 6:  An electrical discharge in liquid ethanol.

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