Take a look at what is expected for 2010 on the tech front — big leaps in space exploration and everyone will be watching Google once again.
New information from Kepler, a bigger better International Space Station and more Jupiter-Titan and friends news will make for a fascinating year in space exploration and habitation.
Find your “local accredited space agent” soon though, the first “around 250” astronauts have already paid $200,000 to spend a few minutes in space.
Virgin Galactic unveiled the SpaceShipTwo in late 2009, the 6-passenger shuttle that will carry the first commercial space tourists into space.
When those astronauts will make it to space is a murky subject, but one that the proposed 2010 test flight will address. The flights have been pushed back before numerous times, but a test flight in 2010 doesn’t seem unreasonable. If the craft performs well and the slew of FAA regulations are completed, the first paying customers could look down on Earth in 2011 or 2012.
Sir Richard Branson said he and his family would be aboard the first flight and a crew of rich Russians have dibs on the first commercial flight.
The International Space Station won’t be getting much bigger in 2010, but it will become more habitable with a new life support system that recycles waste water and generates oxygen for the crew to breathe. Dubbed “Tranquility” the new update — currently slated for February 4 — will also add four new “birthing locations.” No, there won’t be any space babies in 2010, but the new hatches will allow for more spacecraft and space for future lab and living modules. More than one shuttle will be able to dock — which is a crucial point for future space travel.
Having the option of a pair of space-faring vehicles helps bypass the critical weight requirements for shuttle launches. If that second shuttle can take off directly from the space station, the weight isn’t as important.
The ISS will also house more spare parts and supplies, allowing for longer stays for more people.
In 2010, NASA scientists will continue to ponder sending a ship to sail in the open seas of liquid methane. The Cassini Equinox mission recently caught the sun glinting off the moon’s massive, 150,000 square mile Kraken Mare. The open sea is the ideal place for a submersible ship to splashdown without having to penetrate thick ice.
The mission will also unveil more news of Titan’s small, unpopular sibling Enceladus; which could have greater implications than any celestial body in the solar system. Researchers have found evidence of “complex organic chemicals” on Enceladus which could provide the ideal place for the growth of primitive life.
The American Astronomical Society is expected to release news about new planets found by the 2009 Kepler Mission probe. The AAS meeting in January 2010 will feature NASA’s “confirmation of a number of planets.”
The new planets were spotted by Kepler as it looks for winking stars; and now that the probe and the science team is up and running, these discoveries will become more frequent.
Google has a lot brewing for 2010: the Nexus One, the Google Chrome operating system, updated search listings and the future of Google News.
Droid Does, but Google is hoping the Nexus One does it better as it jumps into the mobile phone market.
Google dropped a bomb on the mobile phone market, going up against its own partners using the Android system. The tail end of 2009 saw leaked shots and bloggers drooling over the new Nexus One.
Un-tethered and unlocked — what amounts to the first Google phone is set for release in January of 2010 and won’t require any service plan lock-in. The Nexus One will feature Android 2.1 and will likely make it easier than ever to use Google Voice as a dedicated VOIP service from anywhere with an internet connection.
Google Voice everywhere could mean some big changes for the mobile phone industry, especially prices. If Google starts giving minutes away for free, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and everyone else may have some major competition on their hands and could be forced to update their networks for the spike in internet usage.
More updates and more apps will find their way to Android users in 2010 and make for more healthy competition. With Android 2.0 still rolling out and 2.1 native on the Nexus One and slated for the Verizon Droid and other phones, Google is demonstrating that it is keeping users in mind. This could attract more developers for the Android Market’s varied but anemic app store.
The last update of 2009 for most phones brought greater voice activation support and free spoken GPS based on Google Maps, so more novel free features are anxiously awaited in 2010.
Though Google hasn’t given much hint at features beyond 2.1, but support for Google Wave and Google Fastflip are anxiously awaited.
Google still has Rupert Murdoch’s blood a boilin’ but that may change in 2010. The issue of paying for news and on-site paywalls is a ubiquitous problem in the news community since the people making the news aren’t getting paid for their work. Google’s Fast Flip could change all that. The service allows a snippet of the actual news site in a frame, allowing users to read part of the article but funneling them to the site if they want to read more.
Google basically beat Murdoch to the paywall punch, allowing an easy way for users to find news via Google but still bring their clicks and revenue to the original source.
There has been no official word, but Fast Flip may find its way to the main Google News page sometime in 2010.
Google Wave is fresh, it’s interesting and it’s fun, and despite the fact that the few people with access don’t know what to do with it, it could change how people view the internet.
The real time protocol allows for what amounts to a online conference room. Users can drag in pictures, quotes videos even games and useful tools into their wave to share with others.
It could be a total bust, but allowing online, real-time collaboration could be a great way for organizations to supplement or replace the awkward web meetings and conference calls.
It could also change how blogs are done, a mobile phone with Google Wave could update a site immediately. Citizen journalists, bloggers and online social butterflies should keep an eye on the project and fight for that invite in 2010.
Google’s search algorithm update aims to be faster and more intuitive.
The update will begin rolling out in early 2010 and will feature more real time results from Twitter and Google News. The update will also penalize slow-loading sites possibly cutting a lot of junk from key search results.
Google’s head is in the cloud with the impending rollout of the new operating system. Designed with mobile computers and online apps in mind, the new operating system will likely first be featured on netbooks, though no official plans have been set. The Chrome OS will tap directly into Google’s online apps and, ideally bringing the operating system in line with the wired world sometime in 2010.