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 http://spacewhatnow.com/SWN
Friday, July 30, 2010
They didn't Change the Scale, but the Graphic Looks Familiar
8:50 pm est
More Unnecessary Asteroid Hoopla
8:40 pm est
Some news sources
just uncovered some old information about an asteroid with the preliminary designator 1999 RQ36
, which has the number 101955 assigned to it, meaning that astronomers have a pretty good solution on its orbit. It's also
a relatively rare asteroid that we have a radar-generated image of. Anyway, when new tracking info came in a couple years
ago, astronomers discovered that the rock had a 1-in-1000 chance of hitting the Earth in 2182. They recorded it and moved
on to the next asteroid discovery. An article got published in news sources
refining some of the data (last year), and suddenly, it makes news in July. Go figure. The asteroid makes a relatively
close approach to Earth in August of next year, when we'll get some more tracking data. Let's see if anyone is paying attention
Interestingly, the asteroid topped the list of potential impactors
at the time of this writing, but it has no Torino Scale
ranking as of now.
More Deafening Silence from Spirit
Spirit has not phoned home
8:27 pm est
. The article discusses the deeper meanings of this longer-than expected quiet time. They're hopeful to hear from the rover
again, but it's possible that they won't.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
If the Internet Seemed a Little Slow Yesterday...
4:46 am est
It was probably because the long-awaited sequel to arguably the most popular strategy game ever, Starcraft
, came out. Millions of geeks (including me) have waited 12 years for the day. As a surprise, the company provided two 'guest
passes' with each game, allowing friends to download a copy for free and play it for 7 hours. The download was estimated
to take 5 hours on my brother's cable modem, so 'twasn't small. Discussion of the game (including its South Korean professional
leagues and TV channels devoted to watching competitions) here
So far, I'm enjoying the game.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
The 1st is Space Related, the Rest are Just Funny
18 Weird Bathrooms
5:28 pm est
I think my favorite is the one which, from the outside, is all mirrors, but when you're inside it you feel like you're in
a glass room.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Analysis of the Senate Proposal
2:20 pm est
is some discussion of the senate proposal. I pretty much agree with his conclusions that the senate version is likely the
best we can hope for.
Commercial Entity Reveals some Details of its Efforts
1:20 am est
Boeing, working with its partner Bigelow Aerospace released new images of its CST-100 Capsule
12:26 am est
Well, The Senate took one whack at NASA's budget for 2011, now it's The House's turn
. To me, it looks like they're starving the commercial effort in order to make it look like they're giving sufficient funds
for a government-developed booster. Given that logic, neither program will succeed and Congress will get the space program
Friday, July 16, 2010
7:09 pm est
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Oh Great, a Compromise
7:57 pm est
The space policy announced by The Obama Administration is the policy I know the most about, and it's the one I agree with
the most. I acknowledge that it is atypical of just about every other policy so far (where else has this Administration and
Congress said "Less government is better?") but will take it as it is. The old program (Constellation) had a decent shot
at putting some civil servants somewhere 'cool' by 2030-ish. The Obama plan (as originally proposed) had the possibility
of placing thousands of people in orbit by the same timeframe.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, some Congresspeople, who didn't see the long-term effects of their actions over the last 6 years,
have suddenly panicked thinking that they need to appear to be a champion for space to save their (the Congresspeople's) jobs.
In response, they are floating what they consider to be a compromise
which cuts into commercial crew services to incompletely fund NASA developing a new booster. I see this as greatly increasing
the odds neither will work.
If not Nemesis, then what?
7:47 pm est
I've seen snippets on and off for quite a while about reasons for regular mass extinctions
throughout Earth's history. One classic potential cause was Nemesis
, a dark companion orbiting the sun with a period of approximately 27 million years. Each time this companion passed through
the Oort cloud
, comets would rain through the inner solar system, wiping out species with abandon. Well, a survey
of those extinctions over the last 500 million years shows them to be 'too regular.' Over 500 million years, the period
of Nemesis would be expected to change as the sun drifted close to other stars. Since the extinctions happen every 27 million
years like clockwork, what could be causing them?
Sunday, July 11, 2010
New Challenges and Opportunities
3:42 pm est
Another Day, Another Flyby
3:12 pm est
completed its flyby
of asteroid 21 Lutetia
yesterday. The photos
Update: Just glanced through the Wikipedia article. I didn't know that Lutetia was an anomalous M-type asteroid. More data
will be interesting.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Right! This Calls for Immediate Discussion!
8:44 pm est
Congress has a bill proposed to form a commission on planetary defense
. I guess having a commission is better than not having a commission.
Really Big Rocket's Red (and Green and Blue) Glare
7:50 pm est
from NPR reminded me of the Starfish Prime
in-space detonation of a 1.4 megaton nuclear device. I'd heard about it before, mainly due to the electromagnetic pulse effects
it had on Hawaii. In other searches, I found this video
summary of the event, as well as an old Civil Defense movie
. Having grown up in the 70s and 80s, my only exposure to Civil Defense was the old signs in my high school basement, but
it must have been quite an effort.
From the People who Brought you
5:22 am est
Saturday, July 3, 2010
1:43 pm est
According to a NASA update
, the Spirit
rover has been silent since March 22nd. I hadn't heard about it until now. Best estimate is that power
levels got low and the rover went into a deep sleep until power levels rise again. Hope to hear from the six-wheeled wonder
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Unplanned Shuttle Extension Continues
4:23 pm est
News from NASA says the last two launches are delayed
into November of 2010 and February of 2011 respectively. I'm curious how it plays with workforce retention.
Space: Search Now! with Google
|Tom and Discovery
|Taken During a Tour of KSC on 6 Oct 2010
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