Saturday, October 28, 2006
Repeat of Weimar Rocketry?
8:18 pm est
As usual, while I think his views would be better accepted if he used a different tone, I can't find many factual errors in
latest rant comparing the X-Prize Cup displays to the rocketry madness which swept through Germany
in the interwar years and led to all those black and white documentary shorts of guys trying to use rockets to skate on the
ice or other silly things. My favorite quote:
Those who forget space history are condemned to repeat it - with
better video quality
Another Chance for Military Support to NASA
7:57 pm est
There's an effort underway at NASA to develop new spacesuits for exploration. Some ideas include mechanical counterpressure suits
, while there are prize competitions
underway to develop a new suit glove. Meanwhile, the military, trying to help troops carry heavy loads for longer distances
while being armored, is working on exoskeleton suits
that are hydraulically augmented. If the military work goes well, and some of the options for spacesuits don't pan out,
the exoskeleton suit could probably be adapted into a spacesuit or surface suit. by the by, the image shown is the battlesuit
shown in the movie Starship Troopers
, which is different than the suits described in the book. The Army idea seems
to be much more like the ones described in the book.
8:21 am est
NASA posted a press release
about an impending announcement on a Hubble servicing mission. The announcement will take place on Tuesday. In a "tipping
your hand early" move, there's a series of other news events scheduled for later on Tuesday just in case the decision is in
- 2:30 p.m. News conference with the astronauts who would carry out the mission from Johnson.
to 5 p.m. Media interview opportunities on NASA TV.
- 5 to 7 p.m. Astronaut media interview opportunities on NASA TV.
like a decision's already been made to me...
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
An Example of a Poorly Written Article
8:45 pm est
is an example of a nearly useless article. I saw the headline, "Russian Scientists Warn Of Asteroid Impact Hazard In 2035"
and assumed that the threat discused was 99942 Apophis
(note: according to the Wikipedia article, Apophis now rates a zero on the Torino Scale), also known as 2004 MN4. That
asteroid will make a close approach in 2029 and may, based on the exact trajectory it takes, come back for a more up close
and personal visit in 2036. The odds are very small, but an impact is possible (although the new information of the Torino
scale of 0 refutes any possibility). The article, on the other hand, discusses an asteroid with a close approach in 2028
and a re-visit in 2035. Now, there are a few possibilities: 1. The article is actually talking about Apophis, but got the
initial close-approach date wrong or 2. The article is talking about a completely different asteroid, with approach dates
very similar to Apophis. Unfortunately, the article doesn't mention the name of the asteroid in question, which makes it
difficult to fact check the story. Anyone who wants to fact check the story could look at this list
of potentially hazardous asteroids, and if the asteroid in question makes its first close approach in 2028, it will easy
to spot. If the space rock in question makes multiple approaches between now and then the search gets a little more involved.
Maybe giving a vague warning was the idea.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Second Life Mars Mission
8:11 pm est
While I've not gotten involved in any of them, the virtual worlds (World of Warcraft
, Second Life
) seem to be
quite popular today and getting moreso. In the Second Life
scenario, people can build virtual things, make virtual money from them, and exchange the virtual cash for real cash. The
thought occurred to me that, if someone is already in Second Life
and is interested in Mars, they may be able to build
a space effort and perhaps even a mission to Mars.
I'm not the first to suggest it
A Chance to Create a Real Collector's Item
7:39 pm est
I just got word today that Buzz Aldrin
will be present at the book signing I'm in at NCASE
on Saturday from 10:00-1:30. To my knowledge, there's only one copy of Space: What Now?
with both his and my signatures
on it right now. Others could come into existence on Saturday. I've been asked if I'd like my table to be near his. I said
Friday, October 13, 2006
Moon Flight Manifest?
8:12 pm est
An interesting document and analysis over at NASAspaceflight
describing a proposed manifest of Orion
flights leading up to America's return to the moon in 2019. I don't know if it was sheer guts or a complete lack of media
savvy that led to the selection of the mission number for the return: Orion 13
Some of the interesting analysis points to the sheer lack of missions to the space station, and I noticed that there's a big
break (3 years) between the earlier-mentioned
flight of the partial-SRB Ares I and the next flight off that launch pad.
How to get Real Money for Space Travel
7:54 pm est
an article talking about golf resorts on the moon. That's when there'll be some real money flowing in spaceflight.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
4 out of 5 ain't bad?
6:30 pm est
I have to side with The Chairforce Engineer
when he says that this test of the Ares I
vehicle is of questionable value. Apparently, there will be a test flight in 2009 including a 5-segment solid rocket booster
(the fifth segment will be inert), inert upper stage and boilerplate CEV. To me, on a gut level, it would make a lot more
sense to wait until the 5-segment version is ready and fly with that. The dynamics would be much closer to the real thing,
and Chairforce goes into the details. My first thought is that this flight was originally scheduled earlier, attempting to
get some sort of fireworks going ASAP, then it got pushed back by realities of pad buildup or something else. Now, no one
will admit that it's smarter to switch to the 5-segment booster.
Saturday, October 7, 2006
Knew it was Coming...
6:50 am est
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Mars...Ready for its Closeup
8:36 pm est
Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter (MRO
) is now in its final mapping orbit around Mars. The images
are just starting to come in and they look spectacular. The Bad Astronomer
has a comparison between an image taken by MRO and an image of the same scene taken by Mars Global Surveyor (MGS
)Unfortunately, we're approaching the time when Mars moves behind the sun so commanding and getting images from the craft
will be difficult, but once that period's over we'll get even better pictures of...rocks.
Got Some Time and Want to Help?
8:25 pm est
Got an email today. Looks like they're taking the Bedrest Study
to the next level. Instead of simply lying in bed for 41 days, you lie in bed while they spin you in a centrifuge. Ugh.
If I were younger and had a few less responsibilities I'd consider it. Unfortunately, the age group (25-55) will exclude
most undergrad college graduates, unless they REALLY took their time...
Sunday, October 1, 2006
3:01 pm est
I've just been confirmed at an event which reminded me that I hadn't posted anything about my upcoming appearance at another.
The National Congress on Aviation and Space Education, known as NCASE
, will be taking place in Washington DC on October 19-21 at the Crystal Gateway Mariott. I'll be staffing a booth for The
Mars Society during most of the event and be part of a book signing on Saturday. Marilyn Glass, illustrator of I Want
to go to Mars
, will also be available for the book signing.
Allies in Space
is an event organized by the New York chapter of NSS. It will take place at the City University of New York's graduate center
on November 4th from noon to 5. I started out playing a minor role, but a recent cancellation led to my invitation to be
Hope to see you at one of the events.
My primary computer is exhibiting signs of monitor/driver failure. In short (pun possibly intended), for a while I could
rely on the monitor staying up for a short period of time but then going all strange and not coming back when I rebooted.
Now, the monitor won't come up at all, and even when I plug in the adapter I can't bring up an image on a separate monitor.
I'm madly trying to back up stuff from it before turning it in for maintenance.
2:35 pm est