You've read about
NASA's plan to use new post-shuttle launch vehicles to return to the moon
But what, exactly, is the US planning to do
on the moon? What would a semi-permanent moonbase look like? And why return at all? NASA's announced answers to these questions remain vague. But last year eleven sets of responses to these questions were offered to NASA in the development proposals submitted to NASA by eleven Aerospace concerns
, each of which suggested different designs, missions, and philosophies for NASA's return to the moon. Some common themes:
"Provide nationally assured access to orbital locations for the placement of observation systems" and "assured access to space for development of force projection systems and movements of logistics." (pdf link, p. 5)
"Commercialize space products and services" (pdf link, p.6)
Keeping the public inspired with "regularly placed program milestones." (pdf link, p.7)
It's interesting to compare the details of these proposals. But taken together, they raise a broader question: does NASA's fear that the public will lose interest in this commercializing, militarizing, moon venture reflect an awareness that that the vision
has finally been lost?
posted by washburn
on Sep 22, 2005 -
Discovery is coming home...
Around now (6.06am EDT) STS114 is due to commence firing its orbital maneuvering engines for 2 minutes and 42 seconds and commence its entry of the atmosphere to return home to Edwards Air Force base. Florida was declared a "no go" both yesterday and today due to weather conditions.
Weather at Edwards is good
Landing tracks from NASA available here
BBC story with live video footage is here
Pilot Jim Kelly is handling the de-orbit burn, according to commentary and mission commander Eileen Collins will make the final approach and touch down at Edwards.
Best of luck, Discovery, I'm sure I speak for all when I say that all of our thoughts are with you.
posted by tomcosgrave
on Aug 9, 2005 -
The Sky At Night
Every episode of the BBC science series made since the end of 2001 viewable online. Anything I know about the universe I learnt from Patrick Moore.
posted by feelinglistless
on Jul 30, 2005 -
a free space simulation program/game written mostly in assembly by Alessandro Ghignola, an Italian programmer. It is downloadable
for Windows and MS-DOS, but be warned there is quite a learning curve. It features a planet lander, onboard ship computer, a Fido Net style method of communicating newly named and discovered stars and systems with other users, and a haunting sense of being alone in an immense universe. Fan fiction
reveal the outdated resolution of the program.
posted by nervousfritz
on Jul 10, 2005 -
Three days and Counting
Breathe deep, mine eyes, the frosty saga of eternal suns.
From unseen depths and dreams undreamt,
I sing the gleaming cantos of unvanquished space.
By thought I embrace the universal,
With wings of mind I sail the infinitude.
Glory! 'tis the stars which beckon man's spirit and set our souls adrift!
posted by blue_beetle
on Jul 10, 2005 -
"The stars are veiled. Something stirs in the East. A sleepless malice. The eye of the enemy is moving. He is HERE
posted by keswick
on Jun 30, 2005 -
In just over two hours, Cosmos 1
, the world's first experimental "solar sail" spacecraft will launch, and reportedly will be visible
"from nearly everywhere on its surface at one time or another".
posted by theonetruebix
on Jun 21, 2005 -
The Pioneer Anomaly.
Something's up in deep space: the Pioneer spacecraft
, now out of contact, have shown an unexplained Doppler drift, indicating sunward acceleration, effectively decelerating the probes cumulatively. The effect may be be nongravitational, and could be explained by any number of factors: an undiscovered twist in Newtonian physics, localized cosmological contraction issues, or just venting gas. Other deep space probes may have experienced the anomaly as well, and a new mission could explore the puzzle
; but for now, all we have is past Pioneer data, and that's stored on old 9 track tape
which can only be read by antique readers. What's to be done? (Also see Pioneer Odyssey
for a nostalgic romp through those early days of deep space exploration. And NASA, bring back the original Pioneer home page
posted by brownpau
on Jun 13, 2005 -
Unidentified Titan Object
Saturn's moon Titan shows an unusual bright spot that has scientists mystified. The spot, approximately the size and shape of West Virginia, is just southeast of the bright region called Xanadu and is visible to multiple instruments on the Cassini spacecraft.
posted by Diamornte
on May 25, 2005 -
"The drama takes place on Darwin IV, a fictional planet 6.5 light-years from Earth, with two suns and 60 percent gravity. Having identified Darwin as a world that could support life, Earth sends a pilot mission consisting of the mothership and three probes." Discovery channel feature, Flash heavy site, via Pharyngula
posted by dhruva
on May 9, 2005 -
NASA takes ultrasound to space
No astronaut is pregnant, but NASA is using ultrasound as a portable diagnostic tool in space. If the NHL ever settles its labor dispute, the Red Wings' trainer may use it too.
posted by Cranberry
on Feb 16, 2005 -
is an interesting JAVA web-app offered by NASA which gives a 3D interactive display of over 500 satellites currently orbiting the Earth.
posted by numlok
on Feb 16, 2005 -
Chicago's current archetectual and artistic showcase, Millenium Park
seems to be causing some problems. The pedestrian bridge
was closed because the hardwood used to build it can not take the salt used to remove ice from pedestrian walkways. But it also seems that the massive sculpture Cloud Gate
aka "The Bean" is a copyright elephant in public space. Park security are shaking down
photographers for permits. As is typical, the copyright shakedown appears to be less about protecting the rights of the original artists, and more about the rights of the distributor
(in this case, the city's desired monopoly on postcards and prints). See boing boing
for editorializing and Slashdot
for the typical herd reaction.
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Feb 12, 2005 -
is a skill pretty much taken for granted now, but it wasn't
. Accurate maps were once prized state secrets, laborious efforts that cost a fortune and took years (or even decades) to complete.
How things have changed. (Yours now, $110
) It took almost 500 years to map North America, but it's only taken one tenth of that to map just everything else. In the last 50 years, we've been able to create acurate atlases of two planets
and one moon
(with a second
in the works). Actually, we've done a lot more than that
. We're actually running out of things to map.
posted by absalom
on Jan 27, 2005 -
Instead of liquid water, Titan
has liquid methane. Instead of silicate rocks, Titan has frozen water ice. Instead of dirt, Titan has hydrocarbon particles settling out of the atmosphere, and instead of lava, Titanian volcanoes spew very cold ice.
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Jan 21, 2005 -
NASA has released some pictures from another moon
The article has some pictures - almost actual and computer-enhanced of Titan. There are also links to the radar signals Huygens received in its descent to Titan and Cassini sent back to NASA. (They sound a bit like a Vespa buzzing past a window.)
posted by Cranberry
on Jan 17, 2005 -
Thanks to Yahoo's video search
, I've spent the morning thrilling to movies from Nasa's earlier space programs.
Ed White does the first american spacewalk
, the crew of apollo 8 sends out a christmas message
(wonder how that would play these days), Neil Armstrong goes for a walk
, Buzz Aldrin gives a science lesson
, John Young goes muddin'
, Apollo 17 lifts off from the moon
. Galileo gets his due
via Apollo 15, as does Kubrick
, via Skylab
all this makes the Challenger explosion
just incredibly sad.
Though I still don't know why searching for apollo 8 turned up gay porn
and I don't wanna know.
What is really interesting though, is watching this Apollo 17 astronaut work on the moon
. His body is moving in all sorts of subtle ways that highlight how odd it must be to work in lower gravity
posted by Brandon Blatcher
on Jan 9, 2005 -