Monday, December 31, 2018
Sunday, December 30, 2018
Saturday, December 29, 2018
Friday, December 28, 2018
Something is happening at the SpaceX space port in Boca Chica in far South Texas that could change the world. Space News reports that a test article of the Big Falcon Rocket’s upper stage, dubbed “Starship,” is under construction at the SpaceX launch facility. The test rocket will be as wide as the operational Starship rocket but not as tall.
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Bill Nye, the former “science guy” and president of the Planetary Society, recently declared in an interview that settling Mars and terraforming it into a reasonable analogue of Earth is “science fiction.” Robert Zubrin, the president of the Mars Society who dreams of a Mars frontier as a second branch of humanity and SpaceX’s Elon Musk, who wants to build a city on the Red Planet, are apparently living and working in vain.The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper
Monday, December 24, 2018
Sunday, December 23, 2018
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Friday, December 21, 2018
In August 1968, the same month that the Democratic National Convention in Chicago was rocked with riots, a young NASA manager named George Low conceived the idea of sending the second manned Apollo mission around the moon.
Thursday, December 20, 2018
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
When Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry denied that the moon landing ever took place, NASA could have been forgiven if it had ignored him. Much of what comes out of the mouths of celebrities, be they athletes, actors, or musicians, tends to be drivel. However, someone in the new media-savvy NASA correctly determined that the space agency had been handed an opportunity. NASA duly invited Curry to visit the Johnson Spaceflight Center to see some moon rocks and talk to astronauts and scientists about the moon landing and see that it had indeed taken place.
Monday, December 17, 2018
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Friday, December 14, 2018
China’s moon program is part of that country’s drive for super-power status. Just as the United States reaped hefty soft-power dividends by beating the Soviets to the moon, China hopes to profit by showing that it too is capable of conducting deep space operations. The fact that Beijing will gain access to the abundant resources of the moon would not be a bad thing either, from China’s point of view.
However, recent developments in China’s economic posture may have long-term effects that would derail that country’s plans to use the exploration and later economic exploitation of the moon for its benefit.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Bill Nelson, the soon-to-be former senator from Florida, gave his farewell speech to the Senate on his favorite subject: how he saved the U.S. space program from ruin. The speech was partly maudlin platitudes, partly name dropping, and partly a good pat on Nelson’s own back. He failed to mention a couple of things, including the fact that NASA is headed back to the moon and that the Obama-era journey to Mars is defunct.
While the senator did touch on his experience as a space junketer, he omitted some crucial details.
Monday, December 10, 2018
Sunday, December 09, 2018
Saturday, December 08, 2018
Friday, December 07, 2018
About a week after Mars InSight touched down on Mars, another NASA space probe, OSIRIS-REx, arrived in orbit around an asteroid headed toward Earth called Bennu. The probe will spend the next two years mapping and examining Bennu.
Thursday, December 06, 2018
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
The recent flap over the omission of the raising of the American flag on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 mission in the new film First Man illustrates not only the importance of symbols in our understanding of history but how different people regard the same symbols differently. Some Americans were incensed at the omission of the flag raising at Tranquility Base. The makers of the film insist that their decision not to include that event was an artistic decision and one not meant to denigrate the unique role that the United States played in landing a man on the Moon.
With a number of nations aiming toward the exploration of the Moon, one is reminded that love of symbols such as national flags is not unique to Americans.
Monday, December 03, 2018
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Saturday, December 01, 2018
Friday, November 30, 2018
NASA Mars InSight probe is the latest visitor from Earth to arrive on Mars.
Newly-elected Texas Democrat Lizzie Fletcher is basking in the afterglow of her victory over the soon-to- retire Rep. John Culberson, a Republican who has represented the state’s 7th congressional district since 2001. Fletcher has, by all accounts, promised to legislate in moderation and to find common ground while in Washington.
However, Fletcher also has some fences to mend because of a campaign strategy she pursued that attacked Culberson`s support of science, in particular, a telescope at the southern tip of South America and a mission to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa. Her campaign claimed that Culberson was neglecting the needs of the district in favor of science and space exploration.
However, by winning on this basis, Fletcher has caused a great deal of alarm in the scientific and space communities.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the first nine commercial companies that will become partners for America’s return to the moon. The companies will compete for a share of $2.6 billion to provide transportation services for the space agency to the moon’s surface. The commercial missions will involve small landers that can get to the lunar surface relatively cheaply.
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Wallace and company screaming for “freedom!” in their Pict-paint while dressed up in 17th-century kilts on a bridge-less meadow is the equivalent of me making a movie about the Battle of Bunker Hill in which I dress the American colonials in Star Trek uniforms, paint their faces with made-up “Native American” designs … and then shot the film in a Florida parking lot.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
NASA Mars InSight probe is the latest visitor from Earth to arrive on Mars.
After a voyage lasting nearly seven months, the probe entered the Martian atmosphere. For seven nail-biting minutes, the probe decelerated from 12,000 miles an hour to just five miles an hour. Then InSight touched down on the Elysium Planitia.
Monday, November 26, 2018
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Friday, November 23, 2018
When it was reported that NASA is suddenly going to conduct what it called a “safety review” of SpaceX and Boeing, the two companies that will soon be flying astronauts to and from the International Space Station, eyebrows raised and jaws dropped across the media. The space agency has been working closely with SpaceX for the past 10 years, and with Boeing since the Apollo program. Nevertheless, the reviews will be extensive and intrusive, involving inspections of facilities and interviews with hundreds of employees.
One of the casualties of the 2018 midterm elections may be NASA’s plans to explore Europa, a moon of Jupiter thought to have a warm-water ocean beneath an icy surface and, perhaps, alien life. Rep. John Culberson, a Republican from Texas, an appropriations subcommittee chairman who championed efforts to explore Europa, was defeated at the polls by Democrat Lizzie Fletcher, a corporate lawyer. It was even the subject of a Culberson attack-ad.