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Old 05-17-2008, 09:09 PM   #1
bbusybookworm
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E-Ink in space

Was just browsing around, and came across an article that talked about computers in space.

It talked about how they are still using old IBM laptops, think PII or PIII on the ISS and on shuttle mission, because they have been hardened and use a lot less power and give off less heat.

Well that got me thinking, about weather any E-ink devices have been sent into space? Seems to me that the technology would be ideal for the environment. Low Power, Long lasting battery life, and compact.

Also, I remember from an old documentory, that one of the few sources of entertainment for people on the ISS is reading, and that they have a small library on board. Now,if they had a few Readers, they could have a huge library available, and if they wanted a new book, it could be transmitted to them, so no shipping up heavy stuff.

So what do you think? E-Ink or similar the future of space, or just a pipe dream.
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:13 PM   #2
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I agree, an eBook Reader is an excellent choice in any space limited environment. Same with digital music and movies.

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Old 05-17-2008, 11:11 PM   #3
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I wonder if they would work properly in space, e-ink and its microcapsules have been made to work within the electrical properties of earth's atmosphere. Would it be different situation up yonder?
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:39 AM   #4
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I wonder if they would work properly in space, e-ink and its microcapsules have been made to work within the electrical properties of earth's atmosphere. Would it be different situation up yonder?
Don't Really know.

But I Figure that unless it is dependent upon atmospheric pressure or an air cushion (like hard drives) it should work.

So can anyone with a more detailed knowledge of E-ink technology, and how it work's comment on this
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:45 AM   #5
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If you're saying 'sent to space' do you mean outside of the human environment?

Wherever a human would survive, eink would work, except in water. If we're talking in zero athmosphere and absolute cold, I don't think so.
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:00 AM   #6
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If you're saying 'sent to space' do you mean outside of the human environment?

Wherever a human would survive, eink would work, except in water. If we're talking in zero atmosphere and absolute cold, I don't think so.
By space, I do mean in human environments such as the ISS, the Space Shuttle and any other future manned space endeavours.

As I mentioned in the original post, I was more interested in them as a replacement for paper books and/or Lcd's on missions for its compact size and power consumption, a point of concern on missions.

As for things not working in space, I remember an article that some computer components like regular hard drive cant work in space as they are dependent upon a air cushion to work, and woun't work in Zero G. Link to Article
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Old 05-19-2008, 08:09 PM   #7
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iPods have made it to the Shuttle

http://www.news.com/2300-11397_3-623...tag=ne.gall.pg

But it sounds like a reworking of the power supply for most ebook devices would be necessary.

Quote:
the devices can only take flight after their lithium batteries are replaced with alkaline AA batteries that are certified to fly on the shuttle. And iPods aren't yet certified for use on the space station, the story said.
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Old 05-20-2008, 03:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donnageddon View Post
iPods have made it to the Shuttle

http://www.news.com/2300-11397_3-623...tag=ne.gall.pg

But it sounds like a reworking of the power supply for most ebook devices would be necessary.
From what I saw of the article, is that they haven't certified the standard lithium ion battery's for space travel. Probably because the fire hazard they can be.

But, the new lithium ion battery's they have just started using for the Tesla Roadster might prove to be a future solution.

but back to the original topic, how hard can it be for NASA to rework a set of ebook readers to run on AA's. This the agency that spend a few million dollar's designing a pen that could write in Zero G
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Old 05-21-2008, 11:47 AM   #9
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Actually, the Fisher space pen was developed by a private company which then sold them to NASA (at very reasonable prices). It was a serious safety issue since a broken off bit of graphite from a pencil could've wreaked havoc w/ the electrical systems.

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Old 05-21-2008, 12:21 PM   #10
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Actually, the Fisher space pen was developed by a private company which then sold them to NASA (at very reasonable prices). It was a serious safety issue since a broken off bit of graphite from a pencil could've wreaked havoc w/ the electrical systems.

William
The Soviet Union (which had vastly more experience of manned spaceflight than the USA) used pencils. Worked just fine for them.
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Old 05-21-2008, 02:10 PM   #11
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The Soviet Union (which had vastly more experience of manned spaceflight than the USA) used pencils. Worked just fine for them.
We really don't know how well things worked for them since they secretly launched everything and didn't tell the world about any failures. They also used vacuum tubes in their electronic systems. Maybe they were less susceptible to broken pencil lead floating around.

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Old 05-21-2008, 02:16 PM   #12
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There's something ironically appropriate somehow about using vacuum tubes in space ....
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Old 05-21-2008, 03:05 PM   #13
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Nope, grease pencils, until the Soviets bought Fisher Space Pens:

http://history.nasa.gov/spacepen.html

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Old 05-21-2008, 03:13 PM   #14
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In the somewhat cheesy science fiction book Fallen Angels by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn, one of the gifts to the astronauts still living in space stations at the end is an ebook reader and text of a substantial library of science fiction (which is mostly banned on Earth by then, for some rather implausible reasons described in the book). The space station dwellers are quite enthusiastic about getting something new to read.

These days, you'd think if we had people stuck in space we could ftp them some new books, or arrange for them to access the web, but again, for reasons explained (however implausibly) in the book, that wasn't an option.
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Old 05-21-2008, 03:26 PM   #15
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Why just for space?
Ebooks are great for everyone ... spaceman, bussinessman or houseman!
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