"Members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tore apart NASA's Journey to Mars initiative, claiming the program needs a much more defined plan and clear, achievable milestones to work. Those in attendance also doubted the feasibility of a long-term Mars mission; they cited the massive amount of money needed for the trip — much more than NASA currently receives year to year — as well as a significant leap in technological development. Because of these enormous challenges, a few witnesses at the hearing suggested that NASA either rethink its approach or divert its attention to a Moon mission instead."
Moving to Mars. "The volunteers perched in the lava fields of Mauna Loa on the HI-SEAS (Hawai'i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) mission are as close as Earthlings will get to Mars in the foreseeable future." [more inside]
Sultry witches. World-devouring cephalopods. Adorable teddy bears. Smithsonian Magazine takes a look at the fantastical mission patches of the National Reconnaissance Office (via)
A Property Rights Dispute at a Playground in San Francisco “It’s 6:55 and the homies are playing. They [the permit guys] are waiting for the field at 7. It’s about to go down.” An interesting standoff between neighborhood kids with an ad hoc system for everyone to use the playground, and a team of folks in Dropbox jerseys who have obtained a permit for exclusive use of the space.
Trip to Mars Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
Just days after the launch of India’s Mangalyaan satellite, NASA sent off its own Mars mission, five years in the making, named Maven. Its cost: $671 million. The budget of India’s Mars mission, by contrast, was just three-quarters of the $100 million that Hollywood spent on last year’s space-based hit, “Gravity.” “The mission is a triumph of low-cost Indian engineering,” said Roddam Narasimha, an aerospace scientist and a professor at Bangalore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research. “By excelling in getting so much out of so little, we are establishing ourselves as the most cost-effective center globewide for a variety of advanced technologies,” said Mr. Narasimha.(NYTSL)
Artist/designer Shepard Fairey was commissioned the Center For The Advancement Of Science In Space to design a brand new patch for the International Space Station's ARK 1 (Advancing Researching Knowledge) mission. CASIS's Pat O'Neill unveiling the patch and the ARK 1 proposal.
39 years ago today, Apollo 17 splashed down in the South Pacific, marking the end to manned exploration of the Moon. What we learned from those 10 years of discovery was amazing. [more inside]
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has returned its first images of the Apollo moon landing sites. The spacecraft’s onboard camera photographed Lunar Module descent stages at five of the six Apollo sites—11, 14, 15, 16, and 17. The Apollo 12 site will be photographed in coming weeks. [more inside]
We Chose the Moon: The JFK Library and Museum has just launched this interactive web experience using archival audio, video, photos, and recorded transmissions to re-create, in real time, the July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
These "track boards," or "fix push" boards, were initially developed to be raced in the velodrome, and differ from traditional skateboards in one major way: the rider can never coast. A brief documentary on the increasingly popular fix-push skateboard culture and its roots in San Francisco's Mission district. [more inside]
We're making another effort to find water on the moon. Beginning in 1964 with the Ranger spacecraft, we've been lobbing things at poor old Luna. Lately we've been trying to find water there so that future explorers don't have to haul the stuff up the gravity well from Earth. [more inside]
The mission stencil story is an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure story that takes place on the sidewalks of the Mission district in San Francisco. Via
Despite our predominantly post-modern society in Canada, there are still pockets of ignorance and intolerance. The City of Surrey a very suburban suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, is pretty much the capital of Canada when it comes to this. A high school (ages 13-18) was rehearsing to perform "The Laramie Project" - a play about the murder of an American student Matthew Shephard (who was gay) and tolerance when the Surrey School Board pulled the plug on it. The play had recently been performed in a high school in a smaller, but less rednecky suburb, Mission. This is the same school board that tried to ban two excellent books teaching children tolerance for their friends that may have two dads or two mums. The ban was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada. Perhaps a play of this nature is appropriate for high school students? Whaddya think?