As we bid a fond fair well to 2017, we look ahead to the #Coming new year of 2018. Predictions of the future can be a tricky thing, even if one claims to have the powers of a Nostradamus. However, certain trends can be analyzed and conclusions drawn. On the other hand, wildcard events can occur that will upend even the most thoughtful consideration of things to come.
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Street protests have erupted across Iran with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets to call for the end of the #Islamic Republic, which has imposed its will on the #Iranian people since the 1979 revolution. The specific grievances of the protesters include a weak economy and Iranian military adventures in Iraq and Syria. Despite the ill-considered nuclear arms deal struck with the Obama administration that involved the transfer of nearly $200 billion in seized assets and the easing of economic sanctions, the Iranian people have seen little if any benefit.
Friday, December 29, 2017
When one wonders what the biggest story of 2017 is, only two present themselves as contenders. One is the #metoo phenomenon, also called “pervnado,” which started to out sexual predators, ranging from out and out rapists to crude unsocialized males.The other story is the #Donald Trump presidency.
A giant has arisen at the #Kennedy Space Center. For the first time, according to Spaceflight Insider, a Falcon Heavy rocket has been raised to the vertical position at #Pad 39A in advance of a series of ground tests and eventual launch sometime in January 2018. Pad 39A is a place heavy with history.
Thursday, December 28, 2017
As both Legal Insurrection reports, Hillary Clinton fans went ballistic on #social media at a #Vanity Fair video that suggested that the twice-failed presidential candidate, among other things, take up knitting. Two questions present themselves. #Hillary Clinton still has fans? And, what is so wrong about knitting?
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
As my readers know, I write a lot about space, both on Blasting News and in other venues, such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Hill. So, as 2017 is headed toward becoming history, it is only fitting that I take stock, steal from Time Magazine, and name my Man of the Year in Space. The winner, if you have been paying attention, should be obvious.
#Rachael Ray, the celebrity chef, and talk show host would seem to be the last person to get embroiled in Middle East politics. However, a tweet she made announcing “Holiday Feast Highlights - Israeli nite” has caused fury among Arab and Palestinian activists.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Fans of “South Park” may be surprised that Lorde, the famous #Pop Singer, is not, in fact, a middle-aged man from Colorado, but really is a 21-year-old girl from New Zealand. Recently Lorde announced a series of concert dates that included St. Petersburg and Moscow in Russia and Tel Aviv in Israel [VIDEO]. At that point, the infamous BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) movement went to work on the young lady and applied pressure to force her to cancel the Tel Aviv concert. Lorde eventually caved in and complied with the demand. Now she is facing a #social media firestorm that includes, oddly, #Roseanne Barr
2017 has been a remarkable political year in many ways, as it must be with #Donald Trump in the White House. One reason for this fact has been the emergence of #Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and current UN ambassador, as a rising Republican superstar. In fact a diverse number of people ranging from Professor Jonathon Adelman writing in the Huffington Post to Fox News analyst and author Ralph Peters touting her as the next president of the United States. The idea, admittedly, is very beguiling.
Sunday, December 24, 2017
An incident recently took place at Bush Intercontinental Airport that involved Jean-Marie Simon, a lawyer, private #School Teacher, and human rights activist and Congresswoman #Sheila Jackson Lee. Simon was on the last leg of a trip home, from Guatemala to Washington D.C., at the Houston airport when she was informed by the gate attendant for United Airlines that her ticket was not in the system. United claimed that Simon had canceled her ticket. Simon responded that she had done no such thing. Eventually, she was given a seat in the economy section and a $500 voucher. At that point, things began to get curious.
Saturday, December 23, 2017
The end of the current session of Congress means that the nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma [VIDEO] is still in limbo, having not gotten to the full Senate. Bridenstine is being held up by a blindly partisan campaign by Democrats led by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida to deny his confirmation. Bridenstine is a young reformer whose capabilities and ideas frighten Nelson and his cohorts who are resistant to change. Fortunately, the holiday break gives the opportunity for a final push to put the congressman over the top. I suggest a three-part strategy.
Friday, December 22, 2017
The story about how the Obama administration’s Middle East policy went off the rails, primarily due to political considerations, has slowly started to leak to the media. Politico is reporting how the former president obstructed a DEA investigation into a drug and #Gun Running operation conducted by Hezbollah, a terrorist group. The Washington Times reported that the Obama White House would leak classified information about terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda for political gain.
That 1968 was a year from hell is to put the matter mildly. Martin Luther King was assassinated. Bobby Kennedy was murdered. The Tet Offensive blew the Vietnam War up from a running sore to an apocalyptic disaster. Race riot, anti-war riots, and riots just for the hell of it became a daily feature on the news. It seemed to many that the very fabric of American society was being torn apart.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Having a Christmas tree over the holidays is one of the joys and at the same time one of the hassles of the season. The tree, covered with decorations and lights, is a wondrously beautiful thing, especially with the room lights turned down. On the other hand, selecting the perfect tree outside the supermarket or at the tree farm can be a bother. If you’re not careful, you can wind up with a bedraggled, sad little thing that Charlie Brown was stuck with during his Christmas [VIDEO] special. And, the cleanup after New Year’s Day, with the needles in the carpet, is another aggravation that you don’t see on any Hallmark special. No wonder many opt for one of those artificial models with the built-in LED lights.
NASA has announced the two finalists for the next #New Frontiers mission to take place in the mid-2020s. Those missions are CAESAR or Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return and Titan Dragonfly. Moreover, the space agency selected ELSAH or Enceladus Life Signatures and Habitability and VICI or Venus In Situ Composition Investigations missions for further technological development for a future selection process.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Chris Jones, writing in Wired, has proclaimed the International Space Station [VIDEO] the “the single best thing we did.” Many people might think that the Apollo moon landings were the greatest accomplishment in human history. I described why that might be so in “Why is it So Hard to Go Back to the Moon” by pointing out the various scientific, political, and economic benefits Apollo caused to come into being. Continuing the effort to access the opportunities the moon offers is one reason why now three American presidents have proposed going back and why Trump’s proposal might be the one that succeeds.
The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 was one of those singular events that would have been impossible had not the fighting on the #Western Front in World War I had become static, with opposing trenches filled with armies confronting one another between Switzerland to the English Channel. The truce did not happen again on the scale that it did just five months after the First World War broke out. The 19th Century sense of chivalry that had prevailed that Christmas was soon swallowed up by the merciless brutality of 20th Century warfare that featured poison gas, aerial bombardment, and the first use of tanks and high-speed artillery.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
As the Houston Chronicle notes, NASA has been quietly working on a lunar rover called the Resource Prospector since 2009. The mission, should it be given the go-ahead, would cost about $250 million, considered cheap by space agency standards. The current plan would be to land the Resource Prospector on the moon in the 2022-23 timeframe. Whether or not the #trump administration funds projects like NASA’s lunar rover, as well as enter into partnerships with companies such as #Moon Express and Astrobotic, will be an early sign of how serious [VIDEO]it is about going back to the moon.
Christmas just happens to coincide, roughly, with the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. A number of cultures have held celebrations on that day. In Scandinavia, the day was the occasion of the Feast of Yule, which lasted 12 days. In China, the time of the year was marked by the Donzhi Festival. Most famously, the ancient Romans celebrated Saturnalia. All of the holidays featured merriment and feasting, commemorating when the days started to grow longer, and summer began to draw nigh.
Monday, December 18, 2017
Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas is well-known as a Star Wars fan. Long before that anti-Trump left invoked the current slate of films by calling itself “The Resistance,” Cruz was invoking the spirit of the Rebel Alliance in his lonely fight to defund Obamacare.
Spaceflight Insider has an interesting editorial that charts the course of #NASA’s space exploration efforts over the past 14 years or so. The piece, entitled “How NASA Became a #Ping Pong Ball,” get a lot of things right, but one crucial thing wrong. The idea that the space agency is whipsawed because of the shifting vagaries of politics is nothing new. However, the changing course of NASA during the last three presidencies is a study in how political ADD can afflict an agency that needs a sensible, long-term direction.
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Recently SpaceX made history again by launching a reused Dragon spacecraft with a version of the Falcon 9 that had a reused first stage rocket, thus paving the way for space launches at a significantly reduced cost. At the same time, SpaceX is finally getting ready for the first test of the Falcon Heavy, which will also have a reusable first stage rocket and two reusable strap-on rockets. Whimsically, CEO Elon Musk intends to use the test launch to place his Tesla Roadster electric car in orbit around Mars.
Saturday, December 16, 2017
When Arthur C. Clarke was born, #100 Years ago to the day of writing this, World War I still raged, which featured men doing combat in the skies over France in kite box-like airplanes. When he finally died on March 19, 2008, men had walked on the moon [VIDEO], and people were living and working on a space station in low Earth orbit. The reality was not quite the vision of “2001: A Space Odyssey” that had featured a vast, wheeled shaped space station, a base on the moon, and a nuclear-powered spacecraft headed to the outer planets. That real life had not entirely aligned with Clarke’s vision was not in any way an indictment of what he had foreseen.
Friday, December 15, 2017
Deadline Hollywood is reporting that #Apple, which is developing its own live streaming video service to compete with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, has bought a new untitled space series from #Ronald Moore. The series is based on the premise that the #Space Race of the 1960s never ended. It appears to be similar to the scenario depicted in this writer’s “Children of Apollo” trilogy that is centered around an Apollo mission to the south pole of the moon in the mid-1970s.
American presidents, at some point, always find themselves being compared to previous chief executives, bad ones by people who hate them and great ones by those who love them. President Donald #trump is no exception in this regard. However, the question is, which previous president does he most resemble. A group of Hollywood types is pretty sure that Trump is Richard Nixon. Yet, a case can be made that he really is the second coming of John F. Kennedy.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
The news that #Quentin Tarantino has an idea for an R rated “Star Trek” movie has raised eyebrows. Considering the director’s body of work this has also intrigued a lot of people. As Screen Rant suggests, #Gene Roddenberry’s vision was of an optimistic future in which many societal problems that afflict the modern age have been solved, telling mortality tales onboard an exploration starship in the 23rd Century. The various spinoff shows and movies have kept to that formula, though “#Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” comes closest to a little subversion of the premise.
As Ars Technica notes, Blue Origin test flew a new version of its suborbital New Shepard rocket along with a new and improved crew capsule. The crew capsule had windows on it, 3.6 feet tall, for the future enjoyment of paying passengers who will fly just past the #Edge Of Space to experience microgravity and a view of the curvature of the Earth before descending, slowed by parachutes
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
As Space.com notes, praise for President #Donald Trump’s return to the moon directive [VIDEO] has been nearly universal, from the scientific community, the commercial space sector, and Congress. The only caveat has been the question as to whether the president is serious enough about the plan [VIDEO]to commit resources and political capital to see it through. However, a piece in Salon by Keith Spencer is a lonely voice of dissent. The push to explore and economically develop the universe is all part of a conspiracy.
Despite perfectly reasonable predictions to the contrary, it turned out that the Republican Roy Moore [VIDEO]rather than the Democrat Doug Jones [VIDEO] who blew a perfectly winnable Senate seat in Alabama. Any other Republican would have won running away by double digits. Why was #Roy Moore defeated?
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
With the scandal that some are calling "Pervnado" sweeping celebrity men off of their influential positions right and left, ranging from super producer Harvey Weinstein to celebrity chef Mario Batali, some have started to dream of the scandal destroying the biggest fish of all. Led by Sen Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, a good friend of the Clintons, a group of liberals and feminists are demanding that President #Donald Trump resign because of alleged past sexual abuses. A number of women who claimed that Trump abused and assaulted them during the campaign have resurfaced. At least one is suing the president. Trump, understandably, is having none of it.
When President Donald #trump and Vice President Mike Pence announced the signing of a space policy directive [VIDEO] that sets America on a course back to the moon, response to the event was muted by a degree of skepticism. Two American presidents named George Bush had announced similar programs only to see them come to naught. Neither Trump nor Pence filled in any details, such as budgets, timetables, and especially when we might expect astronaut boots to be on the lunar surface.
Monday, December 11, 2017
In a ceremony at the White House that was brief and to the point, President Donald Trump signed #Space Policy Directive 1 that ordered the United States government, including NASA, to send human beings back to the moon. The president and Vice President Mike Pence made a few remarks that contained the usual phrases about pioneering spirit that accompanies such initiatives. However, as Laura Seward Forczyk noted, another motivation will propel the third attempt to return Americans to the moon, after almost 30 years.
The midseason finale of “The Walking Dead” [VIDEO]was suitably apocalyptic, with the #Saviors apparently turning the tables on the coalition of Alexandria, the Hill Top, and the Kingdom. The second best scene was the fight between Rick and Negan in which Rick momentarily gets his hands on Lucille and asks, in an exasperated tone, “Don’t you ever shut up?” The response was, uncharacteristically piffy, “No!” The best scene was at the very end, and it was not only an unexpected diversion from the comics, but it was searing.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
On the eve of Steven Spielberg’s paean to journalism in its days of glory, “The Post,” comes a piece in the contemporary Washington Post with the odd title, “Hillary, please don’t reject romance novels — you are a romance novel heroine.” The article was written by an author of romance novels named Lisa Kleypas, apparently in response to Ms. Clinton’s panning the genre by suggesting that it is all about women being grabbed, thrown onto a horse, and ridden off into the distance.
Saturday, December 09, 2017
According to the Washington Free Beacon, journalist Nate Silver is suggesting that there exists a high probability that the 2020 Democratic Convention will become a “brokered convention” due to the likely large number of candidates expected to run for president that year. Also, reforms that are intended to decrease the power of superdelegates, party, and elected officials who vote for a nominee, will increase the probability of a drama happening that has not occurred in living memory, since 1952.
Friday, December 08, 2017
Snow in #Houston is considered as rare as an honest person in Congress or perhaps an intact marriage in Hollywood. However, an inch and a half dusting of the white stuff on lawns and sidewalks greeted commuters on the morning of December 8, 2017. The snow and icy streets have made going to work complicated for many people, but compared to the deluge of Harvey, the unusual snowfall is not a very bad thing and can be fun, while it lasts. As of this writing, the snow and ice are not expected to last beyond sunrise.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg offered an unusual throw down against SpaceX. He appeared on CNBC and declared that the first person to land on Mars would fly there thanks to the rocket that Boeing is the prime contractor of, the #space launch system. He also claimed that the first flight of the SLS would take place in 2019 and would consist of a slingshot flight around the moon. SpaceX’s #Elon Musk had a piffy response to his counterpart’s claim.
Thursday, December 07, 2017
Sen. #Al Franken, D-Minnesota, took to the floor of the Senate and announced his resignation as a United States Senator. He stated, apparently without a hint of irony, “I am proud that during my time the Senate I have used my power to be a champion of women and that I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day.” Franken was first outed by a female radio personality who posted a picture of him groping her breasts [VIDEO] while she slept and he mugged for the cameras. A report by CBS confirmed most of the details in this article.
According to Bloomberg, a bill that will soon be offered in the #California Assembly will ban automobiles that run on gasoline in that state by 2040. However, if predictions cited the Economist are accurate, the law, if passed, will be redundant. Electric cars will be the norm, likely by before 2040. While the switch from the internal combustion engine to batteries will have a number of benefits, not all of them environmental, it will also cause a number of problems.
Wednesday, December 06, 2017
American presidents have been promising to recognize Jerusalem as #Israel’s capital and to move the United States embassy to that city from Tel Aviv for decades, even before the passage of the #Jerusalem Embassy Act in the 1990s. Those same presidents have been signing waivers, putting off that move for decades, citing diplomatic niceties, and the feelings of the Arabs, especially Palestinians.
Recently film director Steven Spielberg [VIDEO] and film star Meryl Steep sat down with the Hollywood Reporter to talk about their new movie, “The Post,” [VIDEO]along with three women who were also associated with the movie. #Tom Hanks, the film’s other star, was apparently busy doing something else. Spielberg and Streep exercised the privilege of old people by complaining about the state of the world, as two Hollywood liberals might in the Age of Trump. During the conversation, Spielberg offered an endearing image of himself among friends and family members outside the Hollywood bubble.
Tuesday, December 05, 2017
In a time when a number of members of Congress, such as John Conyers and Al Franken, are under fire from accusations of past sexual harassment and are being urged to resign their seats, another name comes to mind of someone who needs to retire to private life – #Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi needs to resign from Congress, not because she has sexually harassed anyone, but because she appears to be losing it. While the #House Minority Leader has been known to say alarming things during her career, the recently passed tax bill, versions of which are being reconciled in a conference committee, has placed her over the edge.
If he is known for anything, President #Donald Trump is known for his often toxic feuds with other celebrities, fueled by his boundless ego and his tendency to never allow a slight, real or imagined, unanswered. His new argument with former 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney was almost inevitable since the two men are opposites in so many ways. Romney has lived a life of propriety, being as he is a devout Mormon. Trump has not. On the other hand, Romney lost a presidential election that many analysts felt was winnable. Trump won his election that many of the same experts believed was unwinnable.
Monday, December 04, 2017
Most everyone who has been to a pizzeria has seen the chef hand toss the #Pizza dough in the air. Throwing pizza dough shapes and stretches it to fit the pan without it losing as much moisture as rolling it out. In any event, the #Astronauts on the International Space Station applied new meaning to flying pizza when they recently prepared snacks for movie night under the direction of Italian astronaut Paulo Nespoli.
Just a few weeks ago Republicans, especially in Washington, had concluded that Roy Moore [VIDEO] was an unacceptable person to be in the United States, which is saying a lot considering who has been a United States senator in the past (yes, I am thinking of Teddy Kennedy and #Hillary Clinton.) After all, the man has been accused of chasing teenage girls while he was in his 30s, something perfectly acceptable if one were living in the Middle Ages but not in Alabama of the late 1970s.
Sunday, December 03, 2017
Space observers have started to notice that NASA has spent the longest time in its history without a confirmed administrator. While the acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot, is getting high praise for his stewardship of the space agency, NASA is in need of a steady hand at the helm to help guide it through the changes that have been planned for it and its mission. The space agency will be expected to cooperate as never before with commercial companies while charting a course back to the moon. It is hoped that a firm direction and a strategy to achieve it will pull NASA from the drift it has been caught in for the past decade or so.
Saturday, December 02, 2017
When the news was released that the first launch of the Falcon Heavy was to be delayed from late 2017 to early 2018, hardly anyone was surprised. The big, heavy lift rocket launcher being developed by SpaceX has faced numerous delays as #Elon Musk’s engineers struggle to overcome the technical challenges of building what will be the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V last flew in the early 1970s. However, when Musk announced on Twitter what he would be launching to #Mars on top of the #Falcon Heavy, the world was surprised.
Friday, December 01, 2017
“Young Sheldon,” the spin-off series of “The Big Bang Theory,” is a delightful depiction of the #Boy Genius who became the irascible Sheldon Cooper, living in 1989 East Texas in a small community south of Houston. The most recent episode, “A Patch, a Modem, and a Zantac” reveals for the first time Sheldon Cooper’s hitherto hidden role in a monumental development in space history. However, the episode needs some explaining in historical context. Some spoilers follow.
The fact that even a #San Francisco jury could acquit an illegal alien who discharged a firearm in public and killed a young woman of all charges except unlawful possession of a weapon seems shocking on its face, on a scale of the O.J. Simpson case. However, the folks at Red State suggest that the verdict that found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of murdering Kate Steinle [VIDEO] was reasonable according to California law. Nevertheless, a #Miscarriage Of Justice has occurred.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
The news that Jim Nabors had died, at the ripe old age of 87, took me by surprise, mainly because I was surprised that he was still alive this far into the 21st Century. Nabors was best known for his portrayal of the klutzy, naïve but lovable, Gomer Pyle. He played at first, the most incompetent gas station attendant in Mayberry on the “Andy Griffin Show,” and next, the funniest Marine private in the history of the Corps in, “Gomer Pyle, USMC.” Nabors was famous for a couple of other things as well, but more of that anon.
Space News is reporting that Rocket Lab will launch its second Electron launch vehicle sometime in December. The New Zealand based company is opening a ten-day launch window starting December 8. The first launch attempt in May resulted in the Electron making it into space but did not reach orbit because of a software error. If the second launch attempt is successful, the way will have been opened for Rocket Lab’s first commercial customer, Moon Express, to launch for the moon.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
It is a rare occurrence that two liberal media icons fall and for similar reasons, on the same day (Nov. 29). #Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s “Today Show,” has been told to leave the building for what appears to be an incident that occurred during the Sochi Olympics, but the woman in question filed a complaint just the day before. Garrison Keillor, until recently the host of “The #Prairie Home Companion,” has been given the royal order of the boot for “inappropriate behavior” from Minnesota Public Radio. Which story, not just the incident but how it was rolled out, was the creepier? A report by CNN confirms facts relayed below.
If #North Korea takes out an American city with a nuclear missile, or if the #United States has to lose 20,000 servicemen in a preemptive strike to prevent it from doing so, we can safely blame the Democrats. The cause of the North Korean Missile Crisis does not just reside in President Bill Clinton’s misbegotten deal that was supposed to deny Pyongyang the Bomb but actually allowed it to build one. The roots of the calamity we face, now that North Korea has a working ICBM, are in the Democrats’ decades-long jihad against SDI.
Vice President Mike Pence, at the first meeting in decades of the National Space Council, announced that American is going back to the moon. The announcement did not have quite the drama of President John F. Kennedy before a joint session of Congress or even the speeches given by the two presidents named George Bush. One can be forgiven for believing that we have seen the return to the #moon movie before. The last two times it ran the end did not take place with American moon boots on the #Lunar Surface.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
The main title above demonstrates both the potential for success and the real possibility of controversy for Steven Spielberg’s next movie, “The Post,” [VIDEO] starring #Meryl Streep as Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham and Tom Hanks as chief editor Ben Bradlee. The outrage over the moral equivalence with which “Munich” treated terrorists and the people who hunted them blindsided the famed director. He thought he was directing a meditation on the cycle of violence that the war on terror engenders. Many saw it as historical sophistry and as an apologia for terrorism. A similar fate may await “#The Post,” a paean to the power of a free press, set during the 1971 Pentagon Papers controversy.
Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Eddie Redmayne and #Felicity Jones are in negotiations to star in a new Amazon.com original movie “The Aeronauts.” The film will be based on a real-life story of a pair of Victorian adventurers who took a #Hot Air Balloon into the stratosphere in 1862, the highest anyone ever flew until well after the adventure of the airplane. However, Hollywood seems to have altered history for purposes of drama and even, one might suggest, political correctness, as it tends to do.
Monday, November 27, 2017
Morrisey, the aging British musician, has suggested that if he could assassinate President Donald Trump, he would do so “for the sake of humanity.” The singer has been known to make wild statements about political figures. By all accounts, he did not find much use for President Barack Obama either, though he failed short of advocating that he be killed. However, like many people in the entertainment business, Morrisey is not thinking his bloodlust through.
Japan, according to multiple media accounts, is very anxious to participate in the burgeoning return to the moon program. The technologically oriented country sees the moon as a means to increase its economic strength as well as build relationships with other countries. Japan is also concerned that China will steal a march by taking possession of the moon’s resources. Thus, Japan is reaching out to NASA to become a partner in that space agency’s return to the moon program and is exploring a joint #Sample Return Mission with India, another country that sees itself as a participant in an Asian race to the moon.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Voters in Alabama are in a quandary. They are faced with a special election in which they have a choice between a man who has been accused by multiple women of chasing teenage girls for sexual relationships when he was in his 30s and another man who is a liberal Democrat. Ordinarily, someone like Roy Moore [VIDEO] would have no chance of becoming a United States senator.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
The image of a second #Korean War suggests an apocalyptic scenario in which a fanatical #North Korean Army rolls south behind a curtain of massive artillery barrages to overwhelm the American and South Korean defenses by weight of numbers and extreme will. However, some analysts are taking a second look and are discovering that North Korea has inherent weaknesses that may inhibit its ability to fight. Also, South Korea may decline to play the game of a war of attrition and take a page from General Douglas MacArthur’s playbook to rapidly win a second Korean War.
Friday, November 24, 2017
Konrad Szocick, a cognitive scientist and a professor of philosophy at the University of Technology Rzeszow in Poland, suggests that future Mars colonists are going to need something besides air, water, food, and shelter if they are going to survive and thrive on the #Red Planet. They are going to need religious faith to help them find a reason to live in the harsh conditions that are present on #Mars. The interesting aspect of Szocick’s suggestion is that the Mars religion has to be somehow created. One wonders about all of the other religions that already exist, some of which have comforted groups of people who have found it necessary to immigrate to a new place.
The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman journeyed to #Saudi Arabia recently to interview the reformist Crown Prince #Mohammed Bin Salman. Friedman tends to have a somewhat distorted view of the world. For example, he is too much in love with the way China organizes its society and economy. However, if what he found happening in the Kingdom is anywhere close to accuracy, it is the most hopeful development to occur in the Middle East in a very long time. One would have wished that Friedman had not used the shopworn phrase “Arab Spring” however.
Thursday, November 23, 2017
By all accounts, “Artemis,” [VIDEO]#Andy Weir’s new novel of economic intrigue on a future moon colony, is selling briskly, with a film on the way. The reaction to the book has been mostly positive. However, two writers at “Wired,” Justice Namaste and Sarah Scoles, decided to have something called “A Conversation about Race and Gender in Andy Weir’s Artemis.” What was contained within had more to do with what #social justice warriors think about the subject than what was depicted in the book, set on the moon in the 2080s.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Most Americans love #Thanksgiving, gathering with the family to eat to excess, especially on Turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings. To be sure contemporary politics, with Trump-loving adults sparring with their millennial children, can make the holiday exciting, However, Thanksgiving and all that it stands for seems to have triggered Mayim Bialik, best known for playing Amy on “The Big Bang Theory.” To her, the holiday represents everything she loathes.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
“The Brave,” which has been airing on NBC Monday nights since it first premiered in September, is one of the great contemporary #military series that not a lot of people are watching, but should. It avoids the anti-Americanism of “Homeland” and the soap opera of “#Seal Team.” The episodes have been great set piece depictions of special operations in which a force of commandos supported by a team of analysts back stateside help America with her problems, primarily by eliminating them.
Of all the accusations of sexual harassment and abuse of #women by celebrities, the most unlikely seeming ones are against Charlie Rose, the venerable on-air personality for PBS and CBS. Yet, Rose has admitted to touching some of the female help in an inappropriate manner and parading around naked in front of them. Eight different women report of such behavior as well as lewd phone calls. The women worked directly for Rose and not for either of the networks where Rose lent his grace with his presence. Rose has been suspended from both CBS and PBS. At the age of 75, the suspension may well be the equivalent of firing.
Monday, November 20, 2017
Futurism Magazine had a recent story in which it polled a number of experts to list all the reasons we should not try to colonize #Mars for the foreseeable future. The reasons include that it is too far away, that the conditions are too severe, that a Mars colony does not have an economic benefit for Earth, and that colonizing Mars is just too expensive. To be sure, these are all valid reasons to not undertake the settlement of the Red Planet for the foreseeable future. However, three reasons exist for sending human colonists to make new homes on Mars.
The cliché that everyone’s death diminishes us does not apply to Charles Manson. The career criminal, a #Cult Leader, failed musician, and mass murderer finally died at the age of 83 at Kern County Hospital. Manson had been serving nine consecutive life sentences for multiple murders he instigated in late 1969. He initially received the death penalty, but that punishment was overturned briefly by the United States Supreme Court in 1972, commuting it to life in prison.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
While Rep. #Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, awaits a Senate floor vote on his nomination to be NASA administrator, Sen. #Marco Rubio, R-Florida, continues to express doubts about him. While the entire Democratic membership of the Senate Commerce Committee voted against Bridenstine’s nomination, he passed on a party-line vote. How the vote will stack up on the floor, likely to come after the Thanksgiving recess, is uncertain.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
World Nuclear News is reporting that #NASA is gearing up to test what it calls a kilopower reactor at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. The idea is to provide future #Space Probes and even human expeditions into #Deep Space a new power source that will serve as an alternative to solar power [VIDEO] or Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs). The work is being done with the help of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Friday, November 17, 2017
While the study mentioned in the tabloid, The Daily Mirror, surveyed people in the UK, its results will likely be replicated worldwide. People, responding to a poll conducted by an online live casino, choose the Apollo 11 moonwalk as the most momentous television event in history. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the funeral of Princess Diana followed as second and third most momentous. Americans might choose a different third most memorable event, say the JFK assassination or the Challenger accident, but Apollo 11 remains on top. The irony is that, as NASA Watch points out, half of Americans alive today never saw the moon landings live as they happened.
The news that #Christopher Tolkien has stepped down at the age of 93 from his post as director of the Tolkien estate, along with the amicable resolution of a long-running legal action between the estate and Warner brothers, means good news for fans of high fantasy. The recently announced “Lord of the Rings” TV series that will air on Amazon [VIDEO] is just the beginning. The Tolkien Estate will now be free to monetarize the entirety of the author’s body of work, including “The Silmarillion.”
Thursday, November 16, 2017
#Al Franken, United States Senator and the least funny person ever to be on Saturday Night Live, is the latest powerful man to be called out for sexually assaulting a woman. [VIDEO]Journalist Leeann Tweeden recounted a story of a series of incidents when both were on a #Uso Tour in 2006 to entertain the troops in Afghanistan. The juiciest part of the story is that photographic evidence exists of Franken groping Leeden’s breasts while she was asleep on the plane coming back to America with the failed comedian grinning at the camera.
The argument that some in the public policy community make for investments in solar energy [VIDEO] is that it is a way to fight #Climate Change, the theory that the use of fossil fuels is causing the Earth to warm uncontrollably. However, according to the Clarion-Ledger, a newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi, solar is getting a full acceptance in the south, a region that traditionally is suspicious of the motives of environmentalists, for more traditional reasons. Solar is becoming cheaper and more competitive with fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, and it is allowing homeowners and business owners to achieve energy independence.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Having punted twice on Obamacare, #The Senate Republicans have decided to try to redeem themselves by including a repeal of the individual mandate, which states that everyone must have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. The mandate has forced millions of people who are not on an employer or government health insurance plan to buy policies on the exchanges that are expensive and do not fit their individual health needs. How can the Senate include such a provision in a #Tax Reform Bill? One can blame or credit the United States Supreme Court.
Using its planet-hunting High-Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument, the European Southern Observatory in Chile has discovered an Earth-sized planet orbiting a #Red Dwarf Star called Ross 128 residing just 11 #Light Years away from Earth. The planet, designated Ross 128 b, has a good chance of being the home of extraterrestrial life due to the distance it orbits its home star.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a special counsel to delve into the various illegalities and other shenanigans revolving around the Clinton Foundation, especially the Uranium One deal. Ordinarily, this news would elicit groans about a replay of the 1990s with Team Clinton going to war with the special counsel with the help of their media enablers. Kenneth Starr can relate to the hot hell that will follow. However, the Clintons may be stuck without their media allies this time. Some folks have started to wake up to what a beast Bill Clinton was toward women and their role in letting him get away with it.
Coming Soon notes that a “#Deadwood” movie is now in the works which is supposed to tie up some loose ends left from the HBO series that starred #Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane as rivals in the wildest of Wild West towns. This project is all well and good. However, many other defunct shows cry out for movie sequels. Some were canceled prematurely. Others were well beloved, and thus a revival would be welcomed.
Monday, November 13, 2017
One of the most astonishing discoveries of the now concluded Cassini space probe that spent years orbiting Saturn was that of plumes of water shooting out of cracks in the ice crust of #Enceladus’ South Pole. Scientists believe that the plumes are coming from a subsurface ocean similar to the one that resides inside the ice crust of Europa. #NASA is now contemplating a $1 billion New Frontiers mission to explore Enceladus further, flying through the plumes with a suite of sensors designed to detect organic material, to launch in the mid-2020s. #Yuri Milner, a Russian born entrepreneur and philanthropist is also thinking about such a mission, privately financed, cheaper, and taking off sooner than the one NASA is thinking about.
#Andy Weir’s second space novel, “Artemis,” is coming out and will in short order be a major motion picture, just like his first novel, “The Martian.” One of the fascinating aspects of the background of the novel is that it is set in a resort town on the moon, [VIDEO]called like the novel “Artemis.” #Business Insider notes that by the 2080s, enough people are willing to shell out $70,000 for a lunar vacation to justify building and maintaining such a city. Other moon based industries exist, which triggers part of the plot of the novel but we can just concentrate on what is involved in a lunar vacation for this piece.
Sunday, November 12, 2017
When President George W. Bush first proposed commercializing Earth to low Earth orbit transportation in the wake of the Columbia accident, the initiative was thought to be radical, albeit one that cheered commercial space advocates. When President Obama doubled down on the concept, eliminating #NASA’s direct role in low Earth orbit transportation, cries of outrage could be heard from Congress. To be fair, most of the anger from Obama’s initiative resulted from his cancellation of the Constellation program, which many thought to be high-handed and politically motivated.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
The news that Hollywood is going to develop a movie about Wendy Davis, the hapless Texas state senator who is famous for a futile 11-hour filibuster against an anti-abortion bill and a doomed run for the governorship has raised eyebrows in Texas political circles. The fact that Sandra Bullock has been attached to play Davis has faces hitting palms. Of course, former Senator Davis is more popular in Hollywood than she ever was in the Lone Star State, but this sort of hagiography is just absurd. The title of the movie, “Let Her Speak,” is astonishing. Davis is most famous because she would not shut up.
Friday, November 10, 2017
During recent hearings about the state of the development of NASA space exploration systems before the House Science Committee, chairperson Rep, Lamar Smith, R-Texas issued a warning that Congress is beginning to lose patience with delays of the first flight of the Space Launch System. He warned that commercial alternatives being developed by SpaceX and Blue Origin are starting to look more attractive. Ars Technica speculates that Smith, who is retiring after his current term, may feel freer to speak out about such matters.
Republican voters in Alabama are caught in a quandary. A story in the #Washington Post had accused Judge #Roy Moore of initiating sexual contact with a 14-year old girl in the late 1970s when he was 32. The accusation, nearly 40 years later, is almost impossible to prove or disprove. However, in the wake of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Bill O’Reilly, the last thing a politician needs is an allegation of a sordid sexual encounter with a child that is not only immoral but illegal under Alabama state law. The accusation at the very least follows the old principle that was once expressed by Lyndon Johnson. Moore is forced to deny it, keeping the story in the public eye.
Thursday, November 09, 2017
When a deranged gunman entered a church in the small town of Southerland Springs [VIDEO], Texas and started to shoot people, including pregnant women and crying babies, a lot of people on social media were quick to place blame on people and entities beyond the shooter. TV personality Chelsea Handler was pretty sure it was the Republicans. Former “Star Trek” child actor Wil Wheaton cursed the NRA, a narrative that fell apart when the news broke that a former NRA instructor stopped the shooting and put the monster to flight with his personal weapon.
Shakespeare once wrote that love makes fools of us all. That statement may be true, however, if the Bard had lived in the modern age, who might have written Twitter makes fools of us all. Some people would point to the president’s frequent missives as a case in point. However, perhaps the dumbest tweet of the year may have come from #George Takei, best known for playing Lt. Sulu in the original “#Star Trek” and who is now an Internet Social Justice Warrior.
Wednesday, November 08, 2017
As Deadline Hollywood reports, the first trailer of the upcoming Steven Spielberg directed period drama, “#The Post,” is available and can be seen below. The movie, which will be released in selected theaters in December to qualify it for the Oscars before being released wide in January, stars Tom Hanks as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, and Meryl Streep as the Post’s publisher Katherine Graham. The story is about the struggle in the early 1970s to publish the so-called Pentagon Papers, a series of documents that revealed the American government’s unvarnished assessment of the Vietnam War, one that was wide of its public stance.
Dick Gordon started his career as a naval aviator in 1953 and then as a naval test pilot in 1957. Gordon was selected in the third group of NASA astronauts 1963. He flew on Gemini 11 and as command module pilot on #Apollo 12. He was slated to command Apollo 18. However, that mission was canceled due to budget cuts. Gordon died on November 6, 2017, at the age of 88. Thus the ranks of the Apollo-era astronauts continue to dwindle as time and age call them to that final journey.
Tuesday, November 07, 2017
#Zombie Apocalypse TV series, which include “#The Walking Dead,” its spinoff “Fear the Walking Dead,” and their quirky cousin on the SyFy Channel, “Z Nation,” have started to notice something. These shows have begun to #Run stale and, indeed, run out of gas. Each of these shows has gone beyond its McGuffin, that most of the human race has died and have risen as undead, flesh-eating creatures, to wreck civilization and menace the few living humans left alive. The zombie apocalypse scenario, once the initial shock wears off, either becomes something that can be adapted to or else one has to conjure up other threats to keep the suspense going.
If you have not gone to Newt Gingrich’s alternate history Facebook page, “What If, History that Good Have Been,” you ought to. The page consists of short videos by the former speaker, writer, and history teacher in which he describes counterfactuals, what if a historical event went differently than it did in real life. The one that interested me the most, for reasons you’ll find obvious if you have been following my work, is “What if Nixon had Continued Kennedy’s Space Program?”
Monday, November 06, 2017
As the New York Times reports, a new Saudi Arabian “anti-corruption” sweep has nabbed 11 princes of the extended royal family, including billionaire investor Prince #Alwaleed Bin Talal, as well as four sitting ministers and a great many former ministers. The alleged criminals are as of this writing cooling their heels, rumors suggest, at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh which is being turned into a holding center for royals and other officials who have been targeted. An airfield that services private planes has been closed as a measure to keep anyone else from fleeing the country.
#Andy Weir, whose debut novel “#The Martian” was a runaway bestseller and the basis of a hit movie, is due to release his second book, “Artemis,” on November 14. “Artemis” is set on a #Lunar Colony and is a slightly different story than “The Martian.” Weir sat down with Business Insider recently and discussed, among other things, the economics of colonizing the high frontier of space.
Sunday, November 05, 2017
As Deadline Hollywood reports, “The Orville,” #Seth Macfarlane’s take on a Star Trek-style space adventure series has been renewed for a second season, a remarkable accomplishment considering how hard it is to keep such a series on the air. The gentle reader is invited to think about what happened to “Firefly” to illustrate the point. The news is even more surprising considering that an actual Trek series, “Star Trek: Discovery” is also airing, albeit on the new CBS Access channel for which one has to pay a subscription. What is even more surprising is that while the critics like “Star Trek: Discovery” far more than “The #Orville” the fans are flocking to the latter series.
Saturday, November 04, 2017
As Cinema Blend notes, the fall of Kevin Spacey [VIDEO] from grace due to allegations of his sexual harassment and abuse of underage boys is going to affect the future direction of “House of Cards.” For the first five seasons, Spacey played the nefarious, Frank Underwood, starting as Chief Democratic Whip in the House of Representatives and ending as a disgraced former president. Now Spacey has been fired from the show, both as its star and executive producer. His behavior had created what can be described as an “unsafe work environment.”
With the great success of “Game of Thrones,” speculation has abounded about what the next great high fantasy TV series will be. Remarkably, according to Deadline Hollywood, “The Lord of the Rings” is being shopped around as a series. At one point HBO, Netflix, and Amazon were in the running as venues for the TV show based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien. Eyebrows are being raised across the entertainment industry for a number of reasons.
Friday, November 03, 2017
Part of the emerging strategy that NASA is employing to get astronauts back to the moon is to partner with commercial companies to provide lunar landing services. Even before the election of Donald Trump and the subsequent pivot back to the moon, the space agency had signed an agreement with a number of companies under the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown, or CATALYST, initiative to develop lunar landing technologies. Such technologies will be used by commercial companies to provide lunar landing services for both NASA and commercial payloads. NASA has just renewed the CATALYST agreement with three companies, Moon Express, Astrobotic, and #Masten Space Systems.
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry recently returned from a trip to Africa and noted a relationship between the availability of energy and #Crime Prevention. According to the Houston Chronicle, Perry recounted a conversation with a young girl in South Africa who noted that her family needed electricity so that she could read without using an open fire. He stated, “--"those fumes literally killing people. But also from the standpoint of sexual assault." He also noted that street lighting helps to reduce crime such as sexual assault and that electricity can be easily generated by #fossil fuels.
Thursday, November 02, 2017
#Donna Brazile has served a number of roles in the Democratic Party. She was, for example, Al Gore’s campaign manager. Her most recent office was as the interim chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, starting on July 24, 2016, when Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned from that position in disgrace. She has set forth what she found in a new book, “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.” An excerpt from the book describes the shocking extent to which Hillary Clinton [VIDEO] and her team had “taken over” the DNC before she won the presidential nomination. Generally, a presidential candidate does not gain control of the party apparatus until after he or she clinches the nomination.
The Washington Post reports that Rep. #Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma had his confirmation hearings before the Senate Commerce Committee for the post of NASA administrator. Led by ranking member Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, committee Democrats tag teamed against him, accusing the Oklahoma lawmaker of being everything from a climate change “denier” to a partisan politician. Bridenstine was also savagely attacked for his opposition to same-sex marriage to his vote (on Constitutional grounds) against the Violence Against Women Act. The Democrats conducted what amounted to a coordinated attempt to take down Bridenstine’s nomination.
Wednesday, November 01, 2017
The results of NASA’s 45-day study to map out a path to a return to the moon is still a few weeks away. However, it looks like that both the space agency and industry is looking at the so-called #Deep Space Gateway, as it is now being called, as a crucial part of the architecture to get robots and humans back on the lunar surface. John Thornton, the chief executive of a company called Astrobotic, recently penned an op-ed in Space News supporting the DPG concept.
Recently, as the gentle reader may recall, a group called Latino Victory started to run an ad in Virginia that depicted a white, Ed Gillespie supporter attempting to run down minority children with his pickup truck. The Ralph Northam campaign at the time refused to condemn the ad, and its supporters claimed that it accurately reflected the racist nature of Republican Trump supporters.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
The Virginia governor’s race is winding down ugly with a new ad by a group called Latino Victory that depicts a white man attempting to run down an African American, Hispanic, and Muslim child with his pickup truck. The truck bears an Ed Gillespie campaign bumper sticker and flies the Confederate battle flag. The sequence, fortunately, turns out to be a nightmare experienced by one of the children. “Is this what Donald Trump and Ed Gillespie mean by the American dream?” the Narrator inquires.
“Let There Be Light” is a new film starring and directed by Kevin Sorbo, best known for the 1990s TV series “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.” The story concerns a professional atheist who undergoes a #Spiritual Awakening after undergoing a near-death experience. The movie also stars Sam Sorbo, the real-life wife of the star, as the character’s estranged Christian spouse. The film is produced by Fox News’ #Sean Hannity, which means that he provided the bulk of the financing.
Monday, October 30, 2017
The trailer for the next ten-episode season of “The X-Files” has been released and can be seen below. Once again Mulder and Scully are the only two people standing in the way of the secret government conspiracy, as personified by the #Cigarette Smoking Man, and its nefarious plot to destroy the world, killing all seven billion of us. That is a pretty substantial burden for a couple of aging federal agents. One wonders if they are up to it?
Sunday, October 29, 2017
#Donald Bellisario has been retired for the past ten years. He decided to retire after he lost creative control of the last TV series he created, “NCIS,” during a dispute with the #show’s star, Mark Harmon. Now the creator of shows including “Magnum PI,” “Jag,” and “Air Wolf,” is attempting to make a comeback. He has written a feature motion picture screenplay based on one of his most celebrated TV shows, “Quantum Leap.”
Those who have followed the career of #Nathan Fillion, the star of such TV series as “Firefly” and “Castle,” have wondered what his next project will be. According to Deadline Hollywood, Fillion, after passing the time with a number of guest roles, has landed his next TV show, as both lead actor and executive producer. The series will be called “Rookie” and will feature Fillion as John Nolan, the oldest rookie cop in the history of the Los Angeles #Police Department. The series is said to be based on a true story.
Some months ago, in what CNN termed “a meltdown for the ages,’ President Trump commented on the war against the statues. "This week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it #George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?" At the time, the president was accused of rendering aid and comfort to alt right Neo-Nazis. Taking down monuments to George Washington? Whoever heard of such a thing?
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Ed Gillespie, the Republican running for governor of Virginia, seems to be surging in the polls as of late, with some showing him comfortably ahead of his Democratic opponent, Ralph Northam. Gillespie, according to Hot Air, has seized on three issues in order to pull off an upset win - sanctuary cities, restoring voting rights to felons (he is against it) and the war on statues. He has even cut an ad accusing his opponent of wanting to pull down “civil war monuments.” The left is reacting as if Gillespie had just done a goose step in public, which is likely all part of the plan.
Those people who have been following the Trump push to return to the moon may be wondering, when will people actually arrive at Earth’s nearest neighbor? After all, when President Kennedy stated the man on the #moon goal in 1961, he said, “Before this decade is out.” By hard work, lots of money, and no little luck, the thing was accomplished on July 20, 1969. However, no one is discussing deadlines for the current lunar effort. This oversight may be wise, considering the tendency of NASA and commercial space to miss deadlines.
The Hollywood Reporter is noting that the latest George Clooney Matt Damon collaboration, “Suburbicon" is crashing and burning at the box-office. The movie, which fetched a devastating review in Breitbart, is set in a 1959 suburb and is directed by Clooney and stars Damon and Julianne Moore. From John Nolte’s review, we can gather, it is a comedy of some sort that once against exposes the sordid, violent underbelly that is flyover country where people live in beautiful houses, with well-manicured lawns and have lives of quiet desperation. An element of race is interjected into the movie when a black family moves in just in time to get blamed for a crime that is committed.
Friday, October 27, 2017
I first became aware that there was a #Catalonia #Independence movement when I was writing for the Capitalist Review a couple of years ago. Catalonia is a region of #Spain that is centered on Barcelona. Even though it has been a part of Spain since the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalonia has its own distinct language and culture. Pro-independence parties won regional elections in 2015. Now Catalonia has gone the next step and has declared independence. Authorities in Spain are not amused and are moving to crush the independence movement and take the region under direct control.
Phys.org is reporting that a German engineer named Thorsten Denk, working at the Plataforma #Solar de Almeria in Spain, has developed the first step for a solar-powered reactor that can make water and then oxygen from #Lunar Soil. The use of such a machine would enable lunar explorers to live off the land and not have to ship oxygen from Earth.
In Part 1 of this essay, I examined the pitiful present and the glorious past of TV space journalism. However, what about the future of reporting on and (perhaps in the fullness of time) from space? We can’t go back to the past of Jules Bergman and Walter Cronkite The nature of both #space exploration and the media have changed dramatically since the days of the Apollo program.
Recently #Tim Peake, a British astronaut who did a six-month tour on the #international space station, sat down for an interview with Amanda Holden on ITV’s “This Morning” that airs in the UK. Holden asked Peake a peculiar question. “When you went to the Moon did you take a piece of the Moon and bring it back with you?” Palms struck faces and jaws dropped across the United Kingdom. Apparently Ms. Holden, who also hosts “Britain’s Got Talent,” was unaware that the last man to walk on the moon was the late Gene Cernan in December 1972, long before Ms. Holden or Peake had been born. Peake blandly explained that he went to the International Space Station and not the moon.