Weekly Takeaways-December 6, 2021
Updated: Jan 11
You Better Watch Out Two weeks ago the Russians launched an extremely destructive and unnecessary anti-satellite missile. Two months ago Russia started covertly amassing troops at the Ukraine border. Coincidence? Last week Russia made the claim that their new 'Star Warrior' missiles could obliterate our GPS satellites ahead of a possible invasion of the Ukraine. And it wasn't subtle; the direct quote from Russia Channel One TV host Dmitry Kiselyov: “if NATO crosses our red line, it risks losing all 32 of its GPS satellites at once.” What is the red line, you ask? Maybe, just maybe, this is a thinly-veiled threat that if Russia invades the Ukraine, and NATO responds, they will cripple Western communications and power by disrupting GPS. And they don't need the 'Star Warrior' to wreak havoc - they can simply blind or jam the GPS satellites. After all, our satellites are attacked "every single day." So be good for goodness sake!
China has their own satellite navigation system called BeiDou as a counterpart to GPS. They just announced the addition of optical link capabilities to increase communication bandwidth and improve “satnav accuracy by a factor of 6 to 40 by synchronizing the satellites’ atomic clocks with laser beams.” Hmmm, who else do we know that is developing optical links for improved timing?
The recently released "State of the Space Industrial Base 2021" report prepared by the US Space Force, Defense Innovation Unit, and Air Force Research Laboratory argued that "Space is Critical Infrastructure - Our space assets are not only infrastructure, they are infrastructure critical to the functioning of our economy and society....They synchronize our power grid. They synchronize, coordinate and secure our financial transactions."
Is SpaceX going bankrupt? Not likely - seems like a threat to motivate the employees. But it is worth recalling that 13 years ago SpaceX and Tesla - now worth $100B and $1T respectively - were both a week away from failing.
Do you want to impress friends and family at holiday parties with your quantum knowledge? A good starting point: the entertaining and educational "Why Quantum Computing Deserves Your Attention, But Especially Now" webinar hosted by the "QC enthusiasts" at UC Berkeley. Skip ahead to a quantum computing overview at 41:50 and The Quantum Frontier at 2:09:40. Then download two free e-books: the first chapter of "Q is for Quantum" by Terry Rudolph and "Understanding Quantum Technologies" by Olivier Ezratty. Once you become an expert you can join the EntangledQuery Q&A platform and follow Quantumapalooza.