Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Virgiliu Pop offers a clarfication to the post of his book below.

"Sadly, and it should be a great scandal that it is so, no one can own
lunar real estate. Jeff Foust reviews Unreal Estate, a book on the
subject of the (lack of) lunar property rights"

Thank you for featuring my book on your blog! I am happy to tell you,
though, that it is not about the prohibition of property rights on the
Moon, but about people claiming to sell land on the Moon. The property
rights in outer space will be the object of my next book. I have
migrated from a left-to-center approach to a rather right-to-center
approach in my consideration of space property rights. True property
rights, not fake ones, as the ones presented in my book.

All the best,
Private medicine is making a comeback in Canada and, as a result, that country's vaunted public health care system is imploding.
Tom James has his latest Luddite Pillory up.
Sam Dinkin has an analysis of space business opportunities as related in a piece in Business 2.0.
Bill Sammon's latest study of President George Walker Bush is now out and is already causing consternation and controversy. Sounds like fun to me.
This is the sort of dram that I'm sure Scotty used to help take down the Kelvans.
A Scottish distillery said Monday it was reviving a centuries-old recipe for whisky so strong that one 17th-century writer feared more than two spoonfuls could be lethal.

It is apparently well named.
Bruichladdich is using a recipe for a spirit known in the Gaelic language as usquebaugh-baul, "perilous water of life."

In 1695, travel writer Martin Martin described it as powerful enough to affect "all members of the body."

"Two spoonfuls of this last liquor is a sufficient dose; if any man should exceed this, it would presently stop his breath, and endanger his life," Martin wrote.

Reynier put Martin's test to the claim and consumed three spoonfuls.

"I can tell you, I had some and it indeed did take my breath away," Reynier said.
Bernard Foing advocates a "Noah's Ark" on the Moon in order to preserve terrestrial life in case of a catastrophe such as an asteroid strike. Some of us have advocated just this sort of thing for decades, calling it a Lunar Settlement.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Looks like the family of vehicles that will take Americans back to the Moon have been named.
A huge step up from NASA administrator's 'Apollo on steroids' tag, the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) has been christened 'Altair' - named after a variable double star in the constellation Aquila.

Homage is made to the Apollo vehicles, with Altair rooting from the Arabic phrase 'the flying Eagle.'

Greek mythology comes into play for the LSAM (Lunar Surface Ascent Module), which receives the name 'Artemis' - the virgin goddess of the hunt and the moon. Fittingly, Artemis is also the twin sister of Apollo.

Artemis is also a small lunar impact crater located in the Mare Imbrium region of the moon.

The Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) gains the name 'Ares I' - as NASA's name choices move into a historical parallel with the previous launch vehicles to take astronauts to the moon.

In Greek mythology, Ares is the Greek god of war; son of Zeus and Hera, but more relevantly, Ares is identified with Mars in Roman mythology. ARES is also the name of a Mars Scout mission, proposed by NASA Langley Flight Research Center.

The relation to the launch vehicles of old became more apparent when the naming of the CaLV (Cargo Launch Vehicle) was revealed to be 'Ares V' - with sources claiming this was a direct result of wishing to have an identification with the Saturn V.

I pronounce myself very satisfied. It's about time that we had space vehicles with proper names.
I wonder what Custer or Jeb Stuart would have thought of America's latest cavalry hero, "Saint" Piro and about what would they have been the most astonished, her mount or her own self.

And I agree, this would make a great movie. Alas and alack, John Ford is no longer with us.
Looks like NASA has tweaked the development timeline for a return to the Moon.
John McCain seems to have discovered that supporting tax cuts is a very useful thing to do for someone who wants to be President.
Eric Hedman continues his examination of the embryonic private launch sector.
Taylor Dinerman calls for the creation of the United States Space Force.
Sam Dinkin visits the headquarters of SpaceX.
Sadly, and it should be a great scandal that it is so, no one can own lunar real estate. Jeff Foust reviews Unreal Estate, a book on the subject of the (lack of) lunar property rights.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Looks like wind power is now politically incorrect, especially when built near rich people with summer homes on Nantucket.
Yes, but how close is this street to the Road to Hell?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Looks like the new Canadian government is quietly moving toward a more sensible ballistic missile defense policy.
It seems that the United Methodist Church will not hold its convention in Richmond, Virginia because the local minor league baseball team is call the Braves. This fact, however, seems to offend Church bureaucrats far more than it does actual American Indians.

Friday, February 24, 2006

From the point of view of the 22nd Century, an admonition not to judge a Nazi Germany that won the Second World War by the more enlightened perspective of two centuries later, but rather by the standards of the time.

For those who are somewhat humor impaired, it's a slap against those historians who warn against "presentism" in judging cultures of the past.
So, when will we get to see heroic American warriors depicted on the silver screen? I keep hearing rumors of projects here and there under development, but it seems to me that in the fifth year of the War on Terror there should have already been at least a hand full of films.
Victor Davis Hanson returns from Iraq with the news you're not getting from the mainstream media.
More progress in harnessing nanotechnology as a magic bullet to cure cancer.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

An update on water mills, or what they called "Lunar Power" as much of it comes from the tides.
SpaceWar.Com, an Australian web site devoted to military space news, believes that it has been banned by Google, according to a press release.
Google Inc. has banned SPACEWAR.COM, a news site covering military space. Reasons for the ban by Google are unclear. The company did not communicate with Space.TV Corp., the owner of SPACEWAR.COM, prior to its action, and Google representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Google Inc.'s preferred method of banning a site is to delist its primary domain URL - www.spacewar.com - from the Google search index. Google also can reduce a site's page rank, or eliminate it entirely, as it has done to SpaceWar.com.

SpaceWar.com is owned and operated by Space.TV Corp., a Delaware registered company that publishes a range of space, science and technology Web sites.

Coming after Google's behavior in China, if this is true it is very disturbing.

Addendum: The problem seems to have been resolved. See comment below.
Three private companies positioning themselves to profit from the Vision for Space Exploration.
The X Prize Foundation, in association with NASA, has announced the rules for the Lunar Lander Challenge. A perfect synergy between the public and private sectors, IMHO.
George Will has discovered a truth many of us have known all along. Conservatives tend to be happier than liberals. So, there.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mark Trulson has the second half of his interview with Paul Spudis up.
The latest newsletter of the Space Access Society has an analysis of the current situation of the burgeoning launch industry. All very exciting stuff, albeit somewhat "forward looking" as they say in the investment community. It will be even more exciting when actual space vehicals carrying actual passengers and cargo start flying.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Looks like Jim Hansen is not quite the poor persecuted man that he makes himself out to be.
Glenn Reynolds links to a book by a former Reagan administration bureaucrat that attempts to read George W. Bush out of conservatism. Why? Because government has expanded under President Bush.

Of course government expanded under President Reagan as well. Bush's critics will respond that, well, yes, but that was because he faced a Democratic Congress. Bush, who has had a Republican Congress, should have had a tighter grip on spending.

Perhaps, but I would point out that having a Republican majority is not the same as having a Conservative one. Congress is filled with Republicans like Lincoln Chaffee and Chris Shays who are no more conservative than George McGovern.

One would also argue that Bush has pushed a great many conservative policies, a vigorous war on terror and tax cuts successfully, as well as health reform and social security reform someone unsuccessfully. Bush does have a philosophy that, absent any consensus on cutting the size of government (and there isn't), then it should be used to achieve conservative ends.

To focus on just one issue, spending, as "proof" that President Bush is a closet lib is, in my opinion, to engage in the kind of idelogical purity that has ravaged the Democrats. Push for spending cuts where they are needed. Indeed, the current budget request seems to show that the White House is willing to listen to these concerns.
People in America seem more and more willing to elect a woman as President. However, increasingly, that woman seems to be Condi Rice instead of Hillary Clinton.
Taylor Dinerman examines the Centennial Challenges.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Clark Lindsey is reporting that NASA is continuing to hint at some great commercial opportunities in the return to the Moon program. These opportunities include in-space fuel delivery; lunar resource prospecting; and the development and maintenance of lunar surface systems and infrastructure, including lunar habitats, power and science facilities, surface mobility units such as rovers, logistics and resupply, communications and navigation, and in situ resource utilization equipment.
Bruce Gagnon, living proof that some people may have done too many recreational narcotics in the sixties, has "gone to the Moon" and has discovered lunacy.
I can report that NASA has nuclear materials scattered all over this place. I think the cheese is getting contaminated already. They have nuclear rocket landing zones, nuclear powered generating stations and more. I'm worried that my spacesuit might be contaminated already.

I suspect that Bruce does not know how much natural radiation the lunar surface recieves. However, he has come up with a somewhat unoriginal slogan for this century.
Our new slogan is "No Blood for Helium-3". Keep me in your prayers.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Friday, February 17, 2006

If the figures quoted here are correct, and they seem plausible to these eyes, then the film Serenity has gone from being in the red, into the black, as it were, making a profit for the studio. That makes a sequel slightly more possible.
Not to be outdone by Richard Dreyfus, Alec "I am God" Baldwin makes a bigger fool of himself.
Tom Feeney (R) Florida returns from China and then proceeds to embaress himself.
In a similar vein, he did not see a race developing between the US and China. "I think it's a mistake to look at China as an extension of the Cold War. This is not the Soviet Union… They have not been an aggressive country since Genghis Khan was running things."

I guess the Korean War really is the forgotten war as far as Feeney is concerned.
According to this account the effort by the Democrat Party bosses to get Paul Hackett out of the Ohio Senate race included a whispering campaign accusing him of being--in effect--a war criminal. What is it about liberals that they always do that to veterans, even their own?
Meanwhile, the Senate has broken the filibuster of the Patriot Act, weeks after the Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid bragged of having killed it.
Richard Dreyfus is a great actor. But when he says things like this, one should not wonder why people in the real world consider Hollywood actors just a little bit demented. I wonder at the mentality of people who think that the main enemy in the War in Terror are not the Islamo-Fascists, but is the President who is leading the effort to fight them.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Using the tactics of Chairman Mao, Li Xinde, an internet muckraker, stays stays one step ahead of the corrupt Communist officials he skewers and runs rings around Red China's internet censorship. A true warrior in the Army of Davids.
24: Televisions Total War on Terror.
Looks like the United States and India are set to sign a space cooperation pact.
Mark Trulson has part one of an interview up with the incomperable Paul Spudis. Paul has apparently cowritten a novel with his wife.

Oddly enough it appears to be about living on the Moon.
Some first impressions of the first part of the House Science Committee NASA Budget hearings (they're recessed to do a floor vote as of this writing.)

No one is very happy about the 2007 NASA budget request, not surprising. Chairman Boehlert expressed that he was "at a lost" as to what to do about it, as he acknowledged that Administrator Griffin has done the best he can juggling priorities with the money he has got.

Ranking member Gordon, on the other hand, suggested the possibility of stretching out the Vision for Space Exploration. This is the typical Washington answer to situations like this. It usually increases over all costs, especially since personel costs are fixed so that the longer the project lasts, the more one has to pay them.

Griffin, very patiently I thought, explained as to a child some other objections.

First, VSE has already taken it's stretch out, even before the decerase in the growth of science and aeronautics.

Second, stretching it out any further means that the gap between the end of the shuttle program and the beginning of CEV operations increases. Therefore:

Third, a lot of human space flight expertise goes out NASA's door. After all, we don't save any money for paying a lot of engineers and tech folks to do nothing. That means that when we do start up space flight again, we have to retrain a lot of people, which means shortages of experience and a greater potential for mistakes. Griffin explained that the six year gap between Apollo and the shuttle and the aftermath showed us how this happens, hinting that the mistakes surrounding the Challenger accident are related to that gap. Therefore:

If we do it your way, Congressman, astronauts will die.

More anon.
John Derbyshire has some fun at the expense of the current madman running Iran.
Clint Curtis, Democrat candidate for Congress, intends to make space an issue in his race with Tom Feeney (R) Florida. He proposes to start a space race with China, something I find interesting. My impression is that Curtis is a somewhat long shot candidate, but his playing the China Card might prove entertaining.
In an excerpt from An Army of Davids, Glenn Reynolds describes the rise of guerilla media.
During the 2004 election, blogs and online media played a major role both in spotting stories that the Big Media had missed and in correcting stories that the Big Media got wrong. The most famous example involved the so-called “RatherGate” scandal, in which CBS relied on documents that turned out to have been rather clumsily forged, in a story alleging that President Bush had been given special treatment while serving in the Texas Air National Guard. Another example involved Democratic candidate John Kerry’s claim to have been in Cambodia on Christmas Day 1968, which turned out not to be the case either. Yet another involved a false Associated Press report that a pro-Bush crowd had booed former President Bill Clinton when Bush reported that Clinton was having heart surgery. Bloggers who had attended the rally responded with firsthand reports that included audio and video, making it clear that the AP story was false.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Andreas Katsulas, who played G'Kar on Babylon 5, has died of lung cancer. He played a number of other roles on TV and film, including the Romulan Commander Tomalak on Star Trek: The Next Generation and the One Armed Man in the film version of The Fugitive, which starred Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones.

He will be missed.
At a time when Iran is gearing up to build nuclear bombs and the Muslim world is rising in riot over a collection of silly cartoons, the Left is fixated on a minor hunting accident. (By the way, there's no relation between myself and Harry Whittington.) It does illustrate what ghouls our friends on the Left can be.
Looks like there's about to be a revolution in eyewear technology.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

First a film about gay cowboys, now a documentary about gay Muslims. Get ready.
Well, this is interesting:

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com
The Democrats thought that in Paul Hackett they had found a winner. He was an Iraq war vet who was also a fierce critic of the war. And last summer he ran a very credible race in a special House election, raising lots of money on the Internet and winning 48 percent of the vote in a conservative Ohio district. So naturally the Democrats thought he would be a natural to face Mike DeWine this year for the Senate.

However, the Ohio Democrat Party seems to have changed its mind and, in effect, knifed their war hero in the back. It's just as well, I suppose. War hero liberals have, after all, been so successful. Ask George McGovern. Indeed, ask John Kerry.
Didn't they used to call this cold fusion? Or am I missing something?

Addendum: Reader Paul Dietz writes:
'Cold fusion' refers to fusion in systems where the average kinetic energy of the reactants is low, typically on the order of kT for T around room
temperature. (Aside: 'pycnonuclear' fusion is an example of this, where extreme pressure takes the place of kinetic energy as the means to enhance the rate of penetration of the nuclear coulomb barrier.)

This tabletop system involves fusion of accelerated ions with energies in the tens of keV or more. This corresponds to the energy of particles at temperatures of 100 million kelvin or higher. Note that this does not mean that the beam ions are actually at this temperature, since they are not in thermal equilibrium.

A beam-target fusion scheme like this cannot reach breakeven, since
the beam ions lose energy too fast to ionization and scattering.
Looks like NASA envisions scaling up the SDLV heavy lifter eventually to be able to toss 300,000 pounds to low Earth orbit.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Billy Zane seems to think that he is acting in a remake of All Quiet on the Western Front or Johney Got His Gun rather than an anti American, anti semitic screed which actually perpetuates the Jewish blood libel.
Zane said he was not bothered by the movie's anti-American tone, adding that the horrors of war should be exposed.

"I acted in this movie because I'm a pacifist," he said in a televised interview. "I'm against all kinds of war."

Gary Busey also stars in the flick as a Jewish doctor who steals organs from captured Muslim prisoners and sells them in New York, London, and Tel Aviv.
Twenty odd years ago, Frank Miller reinvented Batman with his Dark Knight graphic novel, which was as much a far left polemic against the Reagan era as it was tough on crime. Now Miller returns to his roots, according to Michelle Malkin, and has Al Qaeda attack Gothem City in Holy Terror, Batman!
A couple of vintage Arthur C. Clarke novels have been republished under one cover, called Clarke's Universe.

In A Fall of Moondust, time is running out for the passengers and crew of the tourist-cruiser "Selene," incarcerated in a sea of choking lunar dust. On the surface, her rescuers find their resources stretched to the limit by the pitiless and unpredictable conditions of a totally alien environment.

The Lion of Comarre presents the far-flung future where one city of extraordinary means was built on Earth—Comarre—and it is rumored to still exist. None but a few know of its location and they hold it a secret, afraid that the knowledge would subvert society. A young man with great prospects and no worries in the world gives them all up to hunt for the fabled city, and what he finds is something mankind has only dreamed of.

Michelle Malkin give Al Gore a shot across the face with a rolled up newspaper for his pandering and slandering in Saudi Arabia, with lots of links to others doing the same. Once again I offer a prayer of thanksgiving that this boob was not President on 9/11.
Aint It Cool has some buzz on shows that may or may not be on our TV screens next fall. My favorite, of course, is A House Divided, in which a far left President gets elected (hows that for an improbable scifi scenario) and whose policies spark a revolt in Northern Kansas.
Michael Huang has a little fun at the expense of the robots uber alles crowd. I certainly would like to see Robert Park, for example, replaced by a machine. It would be a vast improvement on a number of levels.
Will alcohol based fuel cells stimulate platinum mining on the Moon? Bill White thinks so.
Taylor Dinerman sees both reasons to hope and to be cautious in NASA's latest commercialization efforts.
Jeff Foust examines some of the issues brought to light by the 2007 NASA budget proposal.
A physicist named Dr. Franklin Felber may revolutionize space flight by demonstrating how to accelerate an object to near light speed.

Addendum: Justin Feng has a comment.
Ronnie Earle, the Travis County Prosecutor who is currently after Tom Delay, apparently once won a conviction of an 11 year old girl on the basis of an illegally obtained confession.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Friday night, we saw Gooid Night and Good Luck. For those of you unfamilier with obscure Oscar nominated films, it's George Clooney's account of how Edward R. Murrow helped to take down Joe McCarthy during the early fifties. It is a well directed, well acted film. I do, however, have a couple of critiques.

First, there is no historical context given. Someone seeing this film without any knowledge of history might wonder who these commies were, why were people so afraid of them, and why people were even more afraid of being accused of being one. It's as if Stalin never existed, nor the Korean War, nor the Soviet occupation of half of Europe.

The other annoyence is that the film is just a little too triumphalist in its depiction of the main stream media and its untility as a facilitator of truth and so on. People with more recent experience of the MSM know that they often get it wrong and are politically biased.

Now how about a movie about how Dan Rather tried to take down the President with forged documents? It has everything going for it. Hubris, arrogance, and finally (as with every Greek tragedy) the arrival of nemisis in the form of Glenn Reynolds' Army of Davids (i.e. the bloggers.)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Looks like the Canadian sponsership scandal has reached into outer space.
The unhappiness over the proposed 2007 austerity budget for NASA continues. Clark Lindsey, upon commenting on this illustrates how much conrfusion there is about the proper roles of government and the private sector in space.
This would make perfect sense if the CEV program promised to significantly lower the cost of space access and of its utilization. Lower transport costs would make all of those science projects much cheaper to build and operate and would allow for many more science missions than can be flown now.

However, as has been argued often here and in many other sites, flying capsules on Shuttle derived expendables and building a hugely expensive and seldom launched heavy lifter just isn't going to lower the cost of space very much over what it is now. While halting the Shuttle program now would help to fund a handful of space science missions, it would not help overcome the long term limitations to space exploration and development caused by the extremely high costs of getting to space.

Now, I have looked and searched and I have not found any promise by any government official to build hardware that would lower transportation costs into space.

And it seems to me that government ought not to be in that business. For one thing, it can't do that. Big government is good for many things, but rarely has it done them cheaply. It seems to me that building low cost, reliable transportation systems is the role of the private sector. Continuing complaints that the CLV and the SDLV are not cheap is similer to whining that an elephant is not a cheetah. No matter how much you try, an elephant is not going to run as fast as a cheetah. And one should not try to make it do so.

My sense is that how our efforts to return to the Moon will facilitate low cost, reliable space transportation will be the same way the International Space Station will hopefully do it. At some future date, in the 2020s, people will be living and working on the Moon. A future COTS program (call it Commercial Lunar Transportation System (CLTS)) can commercialize crew transfers and resupply of a lunar base. Instead of NASA doing all the work of building hardware in a big, government program, the private sector will compete for contracts.

And, within the lifetimes of many people now on this Earth, cheap, reliable transportation to the Moon can be a reality.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Curious George is politically incorrect? The Man in the Yellow Hat a white, racist, imperialist exploiter? Gee, and here I grew up thinking George was just a silly monkey.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Meanwhile Norm Mineta is knocking down the regulatory barriers to space tourism.
Looks like we'll have to wait a while longer for the first flight of the Falcon. This process should serve as a lesson to people who seem to think that all we need to do is get big, bad government out of the way, and launch systems will magically appear. Building a good, robust, and cheap launch system is a tedious, difficult process that will take more time and money that some have thought.

On the other hand, SpaceX seems to be approaching the problem sensibly, testing and retesting as much as possible before lighting the candle. That's why they have a good chance of ultimate success, in my opinion.
Yes, Minister.
A series of cartoons that insult a great world religion. No one is rioting over them because the particular religion is Judeism and not Islam.
The Last Days of Henry VIII by Robert Hutchinson.
Return to the Moon by Rick Tumlinson, et al.
Near Earth asteroids may be a threat, but they also contain riches beyond the dreams of avarice.
Will the first lunar telescopes be made of rotating liquid mercury?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The latest Centennial Challenges are:
Fuel Depot Challenge: Expected to award a $5 million prize to the first team to build, launch and demonstrate a sub-scale facility that could store or produce liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen – used to fuel spacecraft – in Earth orbit. In November 2005, NASA chief Michael Griffin said future space missions would rely on privately built fuel stations for resupply.

Human All-Terrain Vehicle Challenge: With NASA aiming to return astronauts to the Moon by 2017, knowing how to move humans from place to place will be imperative. This $1 million contest would challenge inventors to build human-driven rovers that are agile, easy to stow and reliable.

Low-Cost Space Pressure Suit Challenge: Aimed at increasing the industrial base for human spaceflight and jump-starting development for commercially available spacesuits, this $500,000 competition would reward the first team to build a spacesuit that meets design and test requirements – which includes a depressurization test on an instrumented mannequin. Teams must also sell a certain number of spacesuits to demonstrate cost effectiveness.

Lunar Night Power Source Challenge: NASA is promoting the development of power systems capable of operating for extended periods in a harsh environment. To win a $500,000 prize, innovators are expected to be the first to demonstrate a rechargeable power source that provides power over 14 days – about one lunar night- while meeting volume and heat requirements.

Micro Reentry Vehicle Challenge: Most students have encountered the egg-drop in one way or another, but this Centennial Challenge would take it to the extreme. The planned contest would task entrants to build a vehicle that could deliver at least six of 12 common hen eggs to Earth safely – and undamaged – from low-Earth orbit. The first to do so would nab a $2 million prize. Such reentry systems could lead to a routine sample-return method from orbital space stations, NASA officials said.

Station-Keeping Solar Sail Challenge: Aimed at promoting the development of working solar sails and exploiting novel spacecraft orbits, this challenge would offer a $2.5 million purse for each of two distinct achievements, according to its description. The first would challenge a team to be the first to successfully deploy a solar sail, demonstrate an acceleration change and fly through a designated target. The second contest would challenge competitors maintain a sail’s position above or below a target area for 90 days.
Looks like the political rehab of Tom Delay is under way. First, a seat on the subcommittee that handles NASA funding. Then, chairmanship of that subcommittee. Then, no doubt in the fullness of time, chairmanship of the full Appropriations Committee.

The trick is getting reelected, of course, and right now there's a poll out that has Delay trailing his probable Democrat opponent. I'm a little dubious about that poll. Delays district is Republican majority and there's a wide spread view that his legal troubles have been trumped up for political reasons. Even so, Delay is going to have to work for his seat this time. Of course, influence over NASA funding will be a powerful incentive to vote for Delay, which may also be the point of giving him the seat.
Looks like NSS is calling for an increase in NASA's budget to one percent of the federal budget. That's about the upper limit most people would tolerate, according to most polling. Both the good news and bad news is that's an over a ten billion dollar increase; good news because a lot could be done with that extra sum; bad news because that's a lot for Congress to swallow.

Of course, if the goal were to accomplish this over a period of say--ten years--it might just be doable.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What is it about funerals that make liberals go nuts?
More discussion on what kind of propulsion technology to use for the CEV. An interesting alternative has arisen:
However, Dr. Stanley says that a third alternative, a LOX/ethanol-fueled system, is still in the running for the CEV/LSAM engines.

'LOX/ethanol is very much on the table and preferred by many in NASA,' he said. Because ethanol has a higher Isp than hypergolic propellants - and is about ten times denser than liquid hydrogen - “switching to another LOX/hydrocarbon would not add nearly as much [mass],' to the CEV system as would a switch to traditional storables, he explained.

However, ethanol is still not as efficient as methane, and a switch to LOX/ethanol for the CEV would still increase combined CEV and LSAM mass by 'a couple of thousand pounds', Dr. Stanley noted.

This of course raises the fascinating possibility of raising corn or some other biomass in situ in lunar or Martian greenhouses to make ethanol for rocket fuel.
Jeff Foust has copious links to some reactions to the 2007 NASA budget proposal, here, here, and here.
Researchers have discovered that Civil War vets suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The only surprise here is that there is any susprise at this. You try participating in Pickett's Charge or attack the Confederate positions at Fredricksberg and, if you survive, not be traumatized for life.
There seems to be some dispute, even among Muslims, over whether Islam forbids visual depictions of the Prophet. It seems to me that burning down the local Danish Embassy is a little bit--well--extreme reaction to a bunch of silly drawings.

Monday, February 06, 2006

It would seem that Red Planet Capital is more proof that NASA is not only getting more commercial friendly but is willing to think outside the box.
Keith Cowing has an analysis of the rather austere NASA 2007 budget request.
Justin Feng has some more information of the Chinese tokamak fusion reactor, with some links to some images.
Jeff Foust reviews Return to the Moon, by Rick Tumlinson, et al.
Pat Bahn writes about the Heinlein Prize.
Taylor Dinerman takes a look at the possible new sport of the 21st Century, rocket racing.
Jim Oberg examines Russian plans to return to the Moon and finds somewhat less than meets the eye.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Elon Musk will try again to lauinch his Falcon 1 rocket this week.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Here are some of the cartoons that poke fun of Islam that are being published in Europe and all across the blogosphere.

One would like to think that would be the Prophet's advice to all of the Believers who are rioting and making all sorts of threats. The State Department may be right that these are all "offensive", but it seems to me that Muslims have far greater worries than a bunch of drawings by insolent infidels.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Billy Zane and Gary Busey are staring in a Turkish blockbuster that depicts American soldiers shooting up an Iraqi wedding and a Jewish doctor excising body organs for sale to rich people in America, England, and Israel. This is something out of Protocols of the Elders of Zion. If I had it in my power, these two Hollywood whores would never work in a film again.

And I await with hushed breath for all the Hollywood libs who falsely condemned Mel Gibson for anti-semitism to be outraged.

Addendum: Debbie Schlussel has more.
Clark Lindsey examines the state of commercial space and offers a timeline for the next eight years. Not being a prophet, I can only comment that not all of what Lindsey predicts will come the pass and some things will happen that are not envisioned. For instance, Lindsey neglects any mention of future Chinese missions.

Having seen a lot of these timelines over the past few decades, I can guarantee that Lindsey's will not come the pass exactly as he suggests. Still, there are a lot of fun things in it to hope for.
Missions to the Moon and Beyond.
Meanwhile, Prince Caspian, the sequel to Narnia (the real best picture of 2005, not matter what the Motion Picture Academy has to say) is proceeding apace for a Christmas 2007 release.
Well, a SF thriller set at JPL. Fascinating. Lets hope that Fox doesn't bollox it up like it did with Firefly and a number of other shows I liked.
One of the President's State of the Union initiatives would involve the promotion of alcohol fuels created by various biomass materials. Robert Zubrin (of all people) would seem to agree.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Well, of course.

You Are Mexican Food

Spicy yet dependable.
You pull punches, but people still love you.
Today is the anniversary of the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia. At the time, I had these thoughts in the Houston Chronicle, reprinted with some comments thanks to the good folks at Free Republic.
The Sony Reader.
One way NASA is looking to scrape together more money for the VSE is getting international partners on board. John Logsdon, long time fixture in space policy circles and former Kerry space advisors, has been tasked woth rounding up partners. So far he's going to Europe, Russia, and Japan. I wonder why not India, a new, up and coming space power? I would also be interested in how these partnership agreements will be structured so that the cost of coordinating several countries' space programs to not exceed the benefit.
It looks like that the Bush Administration is going to fly the shuttle as planned, but not cover the exploding costs of the orbiter fleet in order to pay for it. That means about five billion has to be found in other programs to cover the shortfall.

To my mind, this is exactly the wrong decision. I understand the wish to "complete" the International Space Station in order to fullfil diplomatic and political obligations. But it seems to me that one should either pay for that wish or else find a cheaper way to do it. Launching some of the pieces of ISS on expendables and using space tugs to assemble them would seem to be one possibility. Otherwise, just about every other thing that NASA proposes to do--including possibly the Vision for Space Exploration--is going to get squeezed.