Saturday, February 25, 2006
X-Ray Flares on Earth and Mars
1:54 pm est
has an article
about a solar flare in April 2001 that impacted both Earth and Mars (April, 2001 was near the 2001 Mars opposition
, so the planets were nearly in line with the sun). Turns out that both Mars' and Earth's atmospheres are affected by such
Kind of a "duh" discovery, but it's nice to have proof. They give a little talks about the impacts of such events, but limit
the discussion to what would happen if there was a GPS
-like system on Mars. It could also affect communications on the surface.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Simulated Moon Landing and Moon Dust
4:52 am est
Two articles caught my eye yesterday.
talks about a new X-Prize for simulating a lunar landing. There are lots of different prize levels, and they'll be played
out at the X-Prize Cup this year(1)
deals with lunar dust and it's potential impacts and ways to deal with it. It mentions a quartz-caused disease that people
have died from after exposure to drilling operations that I hadn't heard about before.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Don't Tell Arnold
8:35 pm est
While the headline of this article
is "Lockheed to Assemble CEV in Florida if Chosen by NASA", within the article the statement is that they'll do "final assembly
and checkout" in the state. There's a lot of wiggle room there. Attatching one bolt and doing a systems test on the launch
pad would probably count. Note the nice incentive package LM gets for holding the press conference.
I wonder what a $45.5M prize would inspire people to try?
Monday, February 20, 2006
2:02 pm est
Growing up, a piece of artwork that made an impression on me was a group of explorers on Mars seeing the planet's moon, Phobos
's, shadow. Europe's Mars Express
has verified that such images are possible
So Now it's a Serialization
8:19 am est
continues their list of press releases. This one
announces a consolidated spaceport in Singapore
. I guess a series of press releases has a greater chance of getting noticed than one big one. Let's see how long it continues...
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Will it get a Gold Watch?
5:54 pm est
According to Space.com
, Space Shuttle Atlantis
will retire in 2008. Between then and 2010 (or the eventual retirement of the fleet, whichever comes last), it will
be used as a spare parts bird.
Apparently, the briefer felt it was important to announce that there'd be no job cuts.
Friday, February 17, 2006
More Grist for the Mill
9:09 pm est
is having a big couple days of press releases. Today's
indicates a deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a launch facility for yesterday's-announced
suborbital craft. Given the other extravagant projects
they've pulled of in the region, a spaceport doesn't seem all that crazy, does it?
Of course, this plays well into my theory that this group of entrepreneurs is concerned about export issues with the Virgin
Galactic venture. I doubt Russia will have much to say about transferring "advanced space technology" to the UAE. With ITAR,
the US is likely to have a problem transferring any space technology to the UAE.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Interesting Turn of Events
9:13 pm est
announcement via email. A group of adventure travel agents are pulling together with some foreign investors and a Russian
company to produce suborbital craft for worldwide use. They may be hedging their bets that the Virgin Galactic
team may run into ITAR
problems exporting their craft. Hey, the more there are competing the more likely it is that a good design will come out!
9:05 pm est
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
My Starship Crew...
5:26 pm est
...was The Matrix's
. The descriptions are astrological, in that they're quite vague and could apply to really anyone, but I had fun anyway.
I didn't think of this crew as one of the options as I filled out the answers, and I felt that I was kinda wishy-washy on
some answers. Here
are my results, and they include a link to where you can take the test yourself.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Talkin' about Depots!
8:50 pm est
have been a hot topic on some space blogs recently. The focus has been whether the use of a depot makes the re-use of a
lunar transport vehicle economical. I haven't verified any math, but here they are:
- Selenian Boondocks kicks things off
- Cuddihy's Cut (a new one for me) chimes in with some calculations
- and a favorite, Transterretrial Musings wraps things up
Simmin' on the Moon
8:39 pm est
Looks like The Moon Society
is pulling together a simulation
at the Mars Desert Research Station
. Cool opportunity for two space activist groups to work together. I haven't looked too deeply, but it'll be tough to simulate
the lunar day/night cycle (14 days of one, 14 days of the other)
Sunday, February 12, 2006
12:52 pm est
I saw some new meteor samples recently, and they were breathtakingly beautiful. This
is the closest picture I've found to what one looks like. It would make some beautiful jewelry, which of course means that
someone else has thought of it. Samples are here
, and here
, though none are a match to the first sample...they may be too rare.
12:41 pm est
, I posted about a sport called Paraball. It's morphed into a reality TV show called Space Champions
. The casting call
is out. Unfortunately, I don't fit any of the criteria (around college-age, athletic ability, and probably the unspoken
one of good looks), or I'd apply.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
More Mars/Meteor Life Rumblings
10:03 am est
an article about another Mars meteorite with potential signs of past life in it. The meteor in question is the Nakhla
meteorite as opposed to ALH84001
, which got all the press in the mid '90s.
7:03 am est
Space is always pretty low on the agenda at election time (I remember in 2000, it was listed as #25 in the "what people think
is important" category), so politically-charged space stories are pretty rare. This story
has taken on some interesting twists, however. Basically, a 24-year-old public affairs worker at NASA appears to have been
trying to "change NASA's message." As usual, when people started digging around in such a situation, they found issues like
a fraudulent resume
. So, this person resigned his post, and is doing a few interviews
. I wonder if a book deal is in the works?
Wednesday, February 8, 2006
Busy, but Here's Something Interesting
9:28 pm est
Crazy times at home and work, so I haven't been posting. Centennial Challenges
just posted some new interesting stuff
, though. They're looking for comments on some new competitions:
- Fuel Depot Demonstration Challenge
Lunar All-Terrain Vehicle Challenge
- Low-Cost Space Pressure Suit Challenge
- Lunar Night Power Source Challenge
Reentry Vehicle Challenge
- Station-Keeping Solar Sail Challenge
Frequent readers will see one that I'm particularly
Thursday, February 2, 2006
Rocket Racing League Moving out of Space Sector
8:26 pm est
Though it's still probably in the realm of the nerds, Wired Magazine
has an article
on the RRL
. The big hook is that the first team
has signed up.
Columbia: Three Years on
5:51 am est
Due to something in my internal wiring, I believed that the anniversary for the Columbia
disaster was February 3rd.
Rand Simberg's site
reminded me otherwise.
I don't have too much to say on this, even though I probably should. I feel that we've learned some of the lessons Columbia
should have taught us, such as set a goal for the space program, yet as the funding realities start to affect
that goal, we'll have to see if it holds. Others argue
for a complete re-thinking of how space efforts are carried out, and I believe that they are right in their convictions that
space will be a much more common place when there are many options open in how to get there, most of which involve minimal
government activity. The path to go from today's efforts to the proposed methods is unclear to me, given realities of politics,
entrenched monopolies, and public perception, and February 1st, 2003 certainly provided a sign for the need to change, but
fundamentally, things have not.