March 4, 2044
The Day that Changed the World
NANOTECH

On page 9 of Dangerous Voyage to Alpha Centauri the constructor of the town deep under the Moon's surface is asked how it was possible to built this town:

Mi, who seemed to smile constantly, said that the chemical composition of the lunar crust is similar to Earth’s. “But there is a peculiar difference to Earth,” he emphasized.

Are there chances that we once will be able to colonize the moon?

To answer this question let’s enter the nanometer realm.

(1.) What is Nanotechnology?

It’s an amazing fact, that substances at the molecular stage don’t have qualities as in the way we usually meet them. I’m talking about qualities as color, conductivity, hardness, melting temperature and so on. These qualities can only be investigated when the substances have at least the size of dust. The sphere between dust and the molecular stage is the realm of nanotechnology. Nanoscale substances have astonishing qualities.

(2.) About its History

In 1959 the famous American physicist Robert Feynman encouraged his students to learn more about nanoscale objects saying, “There is plenty of room at the bottom.” But it took decades until the German Gerd Binder and the Swiss Heinrich Rohrer of IBM Research Laboratory at Rueschlikon, Switzerland, developed instruments to explore nanoscale objects.

(3.) About Self-organization

“This information doesn’t tell me, how a rabbit borrow you described in your book could be built.”

You are right, my friend. But the research of biological processes has helped us already, and it still will support us, in imitating structures of self-organization. The information of the construction of any being is encoded in its cell-chromosomes. Like on an assembly line necessary substances are transported and chemically changed until they reach the place where they are used. Waste products as well are transported on other assembly lines to dump them.

Future technology will mainly consist of molecular self-organization. Many molecules arranged in a well defined manner will work together as they already do since billion of years in organisms, based on the information stored in their chromosomes.

The approach, from Feynman’s bottom-up to macroscopic size will change our world and will enable us to build towns under the Moon’s surface.

(4.) About Solar Satellites

“And you really believe that assemblers will build these solar panels mentioned in your book to use the sunlight for energy production?”

Sure, I do. But we will not use assemblers here on earth to produce solar panels. The gravitational forces are too strong to leave them unharmed when we start a satellite. We rather make assemblers build the panels where they are needed, I mean in earth or lunar orbits.

(5.) About Results

“Excuse me; you say nanotechnology will do this and that. Are there any results of nanotechnology at hand, here and now?”

Yes, even many of them. In modern suntan lotion nanoparticles are added to bar ultra-violet light. On your glasses nano-particles might be dispersed on their surfaces to prevent them from scratching. In mobiles you find power units with nanoparticles which extend their activity considerably. To prevent minute-long booting in your computer nanoparticles do the job for speedy booting. In cancer therapy the stage is already reached to destroy ulcers by means of nanoparticles.

I'm sure and so are many scientists: The future technology will not work with ever larger machines but with minimized units. They will enrich our lives beyond today’s imagination.

More about this you can read in my thrilling novel which you can order here: ORDER

For Acknowledgement check the authors below:

Joseph Kennedy: Nanotechnology: The Future is Coming Sooner Than You Think, Joint Economic Committee, United States Congress, March 2007
Sample chapters,
extended table of contents,
and glossary

Manufactured products are made from atoms, and their properties depend on how those atoms are arranged. This volume summarizes a decade of research in molecular manufacturing: the use of nanoscale mechanical systems to guide the placement of reactive molecules, building complex structures with atom-by-atom control. This degree of control is a natural goal for technology: Microtechnology strives to build smaller devices; materials science strives to make more useful solids; chemistry strives to synthesize more complex molecules; manufacturing strives to make better products. Each of these fields requires precise, molecular control of complex structures to reach its natural limit, a goal that has been termed molecular nanotechnology.

It has become clear that this degree of control can be achieved. The present volume assembles the conceptual and analytical tools needed to understand molecular machinery and manufacturing, presents an analysis of their core capabilities and explores how present laboratory techniques can be extended, stage by stage, to implement molecular manufacturing systems.

Comments on Nanosystems

“Nanosystems covers it all: power and strength, friction and wear, thermal noise and quantum uncertainty. This is the book for starting the next century of engineering.”
Marvin Minsky, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“With this book, Drexler has established the field of molecular nanotechnology. The detailed analyses show quantum chemists and synthetic chemists how to build upon their knowledge of bonds and molecules to develop the manufacturing systems of nanotechnology, and show physicists and engineers how to scale down their concepts of macroscopic systems to the level of molecules.”
William A. Goddard III, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics and Director of the Materials and Process Simulation Center, California Institute of Technology.

“What the computer revolution did for manipulating data, the nanotechnology revolution will do for manipulating matter, juggling atoms like bits....This multidisciplinary synthesis opens the door to the new field of molecular manufacturing.”
Ralph C. Merkle, Member of the Research Staff, Computational Nanotechnology Project, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

“When I think of nanoscience and nanotechnology, I am reminded of three personalities. The first person is Richard Feynman, who described the concept of ‘building machines’ atom by atom in his talk at Caltech titled ‘There’s plenty of room at the bottom’. The second person is Eric Drexler, who wrote the book titled Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation. The third person is Prof C.N.R. Rao, who pioneered and fostered nano science research in India.”
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India (“the father of India’s missile programme”, former Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India) from Hindustan Times, 31 July 2004.

Engines of Creation The Coming Era of Nanotechnology