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Here's the latest on space, and my opinions on it...
This is the legacy site, with blog entries from November, 2004 through June, 2011.
Updates after June 9, 2011 can be found at

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

X-Ray Flares on Earth and Mars 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 an event.

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.
1:54 pm est

Friday, February 24, 2006

Simulated Moon Landing and Moon Dust
Two articles caught my eye yesterday.

This one 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)

Another article 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.
4:52 am est

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Don't Tell Arnold
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?
8:35 pm est

Monday, February 20, 2006

Artwork Confirmed
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
2:02 pm est

So Now it's a Serialization
Space Adventures 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...
8:19 am est

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Will it get a Gold Watch?
According to, 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.
5:54 pm est

Friday, February 17, 2006

More Grist for the Mill
Space Adventures 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.
9:09 pm est

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Interesting Turn of Events
Received this 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!
9:13 pm est

From where else but The Onion
9:05 pm est

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My Starship Crew...
...was The Matrix's ship Nebuchadnezzar. 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.
5:26 pm est

Monday, February 13, 2006

Talkin' about Depots!
Supply Depots 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:
  1. Selenian Boondocks kicks things off
  2. Cuddihy's Cut (a new one for me) chimes in with some calculations
  3. and a favorite, Transterretrial Musings wraps things up
8:50 pm est

Simmin' on the Moon
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)
8:39 pm est

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Meteor Jewelry
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, here, and here, though none are a match to the first sample...they may be too rare.
12:52 pm est

Casting Call!
Earlier, 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.
12:41 pm est

Saturday, February 11, 2006

More Mars/Meteor Life Rumblings
Here's 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.
10:03 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?
7:03 am est

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Busy, but Here's Something Interesting
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
  • Human Lunar All-Terrain Vehicle Challenge
  • Low-Cost Space Pressure Suit Challenge
  • Lunar Night Power Source Challenge
  • Micro Reentry Vehicle Challenge
  • Station-Keeping Solar Sail Challenge
Frequent readers will see one that I'm particularly interested in.
9:28 pm est

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Rocket Racing League Moving out of Space Sector
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.
8:26 pm est

Columbia: Three Years on
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.
5:51 am est

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