Things have not been going according to plan for Obama’s administration these days. In another setback, this time in the area of trade routes and partnerships, official talks which were aimed to allow the United States of America to set up a key free-trading zone between and with twelve Pacific Rim nations, the venture that has been dubbed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, have come to an unsuccessful end. This comes as a shock after claims by Michael Froman, the Representative for US Trade stated that there had been significant progress made in this week’s discussion at Hawaii, with the meeting adjourning to a later unannounced date in the future.
Official spokes people and other sources said that there still remained big differences among the participating countries. Most of these issues exist from the question of how long a copyright for a biological drug would last, how an automobile manufacturer’s country of origin is defined and the accessing power of New Zealand to international dairy markets.
So to the fact that there is so far no formal agreement, there is very little chance that the Congress will have to vote regarding the pact anytime this year. In fact, it may be one of the key issues to vote on in 2016, a time when current the Obama admin may be leaving the office and the election for the new President will be the topic of the hour.
Stephen Hawking, the acclaimed theoretical physicist along with Yuri Milner, the Russian billionaire announced a joint plan at a recent press conference to sendout interstellar probes to the star system named Alpha Centauri. The project claims to use an extremely large laser from Earth to slingshot postage-stamp-size spacecrafts to something close to light speed. They would travel across the void in a little less than 20 years which is virtually no time at all the interstellar scale of travel. While the plans all seen very exciting and ambitious, it remains to be seen if Breakthrough Starshot can overcome several more earth-bound problems.
One of the key issues in the plan is the 100 gigawatt laser that is powerful enough to fry more than a few satellites.The project’s leader Pete Worden says that scheduling the laser to fire at an opportune time when it is not likely to hit a satellite will be easy to arrange. He also says that Starshot will be controlled by teams in several countries and by several international agreements.
Despite big money being involved in the project, the $100 million that Miler has pledged will hardly be enough. In fact, the Pluto probe which was sent out last year set NASA’s budget back by $722 million. Considering the distance to cost ration, the Alpha Centauri cluster is 25 trillion miles from earth, compared to the 3 billion miles of Pluto.Milner acknowledges that this will not be enough, but is hoping that his money will be enough to things started rolling.
The last and most pressing problem Starshot has is communication whether for repair and maintenance or simple feedback on the probe’s journey. Communications can take up to a year to reach Earth and by then, there could have been a plethora of changes on both ends. t has taken up the priority in the Starshot project for now.