Month: January 2013

East Coast Light Show Tonight

NASA Rocket jets

You’re in for a treat. This evening between 5:30 and 6:50 p.m. you may get the chance to see colored smoke jets rising high into the atmosphere, part of a NASA rocket’s discharge trail. We’re expecting clouds in NYC, so I will not get to see it. The same lame excuse for why I didn’t get to see the last meteor shower. But, Space.com will have a video we can watch after.  NASA Rocket Sparks Light Show Over US East Coast Tonight | Space.com.

Space Tragedy Anniversaries and Why We Must Go On

Challenger Disaster Craters

This is a sad week historically, but an interesting week for me to start my blog about space exploration. Failure is a part of every challenge we face as a species. The first humans to build a fire surely burnt themselves a few times. Eventually, as our civilizations grew in their own separate ways, we found more gruesome ways to kill ourselves, but always for a reason… we are curious. We want to go further, reach higher, travel deeper, further than anybody else. We learned from this tragedy and the tragedies before and after it, and have found safer and better ways to get people into space. I worry, however, that in America we seem to be giving up, growing cynical and decadent. Meanwhile, Indians, Chinese (and, hell, even the Russians) are continuing to take reality seriously – unlike most Americans. And you know what? Good for them. It’s obvious that the next role for the ESA and NASA to play is that of coalition builder, partnership organizer, but nobody (on the whole planet, but especially in the “Big Powers”) seems to want that. Everybody is very “mine mine mine” nobody, except the impotent UN, talks about “ours ours ours” and do you know what that selfishness – even when its the selfishness of entire nations – leads to? Death. I hate to be so blunt, but where else can it lead? Are we to sit back, resting on our laurels as an entertainment empire, wondering what Britney and Katy and the other girl are doing this week, all the while joking about how our children are doing worse in science, mathematics, and reading. Believe me, these things are not unrelated. A society that sees itself in an uncertain light, or that can’t take itself at least a little bit seriously, cannot be destined for greatness. We’ve got a lot of serious problems in this country, and one of those problems is a lot of worrying about the here and now, and not thinking about the far and wide. I’ve seen the generation younger than me legitimately concerned about climate change, and I think that’s hopeful. But, doesn’t that sweet sentiment go away with time? Was I so hopeful about the environment as a teenager? Maybe I was. I remember adopting a highway (Landfill waste and recycling programs was the Issues of the day back in my high school days), but did I do it because I was saving the earth or because I wanted to go to a good college for free? I have a strange feeling, based on my own piss-poor undergraduate education, that there’s a lot of kids who have high hopes, call them idealists if you must, who get smashed apart not by the reality of the “real world” but by conservative posers floating around most college campuses (in the form of evangelical/religious clubs, frats and sororities, and other politically conservative groups) to extinguish legitimate skepticism. The whole ruse, of course, is that it’s designed to help conservative ideologies maintain power by discouraging free thinking and encourage skepticism of science and other evidence-based disciplines, such as journalism. This is part of a longer theme, and I’ve already diverted too much. I suffice to say that I think that if we don’t lead the way in a legitimate move toward a coaltion we – as in Americans – are going to be saying “Bye bye” to our fellow man as they spread their vision of humanity on the galaxy without us.

Challenger, Columbia, Apollo 1: The anniversaries of space tragedies and why we must continue to explore..

Iran Nears Dream of Bringing Bronze-Age Mythologies to Infidels of Alien Worlds

Space Monkey

With this important step toward an obvious plan to create nuclear missles to kill everyone on planet Earth who isn’t a Muslim a manned mission into space through a rocket propulsion system, Iran has made it clear that enough of its first-world-educated scientists and engineers have what it takes to help the Islamic Republic reach its goals. In America, conservatives tend to either grossly overreact to a bad situation or apathetically underreact to an actual existential threat, but I think this is really something we ought to talk about as a nonpartisan issue. I certainly don’t want to go to war with Iran anymore than I want them to blow me to smithereens  But I can also admit I just don’t have an easy solution to this problem. And some of you will be surprised, other delighted, that I am not going to immediately jump to religion as the root cause of the problem here. The fact is: power hungry leaders in Israel, Iran, others scattered throughout the middle east, and many American conservatives who are responsible for our heavy involvement in middle east affairs are the reason for these problems. It just happens that all those different folks also happen to be from different faiths. I’m sure it’s the root of all evil just a coincident.

Iran Launches Monkey Into Space – ABC News.

Space Fiction Nightmares Become Reality for Our Grandchildren

Deep Space Asteroid Mining

Asteroid Mining is a thing that isn’t given much credit because we live in a skeptical, cynical, instant gratification world. Yet, it’s totally possible that we could send a satellite to an asteroid with special equipment, gather minerals off of that asteroid, and then have the satellite return. I mean, the technology is already available, so what’s the hold up? Shy investors (another reason why government and citizen involvement in space exploration plans is a must). But, as the article below indicates, the amount of money that could be made from these asteroids is in the trillions. And that could potentially fund interstellar space travel. But, with private investors running the mining companies, guess who’d be calling the shots on who gets to leave the Solar System first. If that’s not a scary thought to you, you need to take off those rosy-tinted glasses when looking at a situation in which a handful of elites make decisions that impact all of us.

Asteroid Resources Could Make Science Fiction Dreams — and Nightmares — a Reality – Yahoo! News.

Shit in Space

Solution to orbital debris

So most of the space above the Earth looks like your white trash neighbor’s yard. That’s because we treat that area like we do our own planet, except we don’t bother to put that junk in one special place like here, so it’s literally everywhere. The law of entropy means that, unlike everything on the Enterprise, all those satellites just fall apart and become defunct. We don’t recycle a damn thing. This really great idea, however, could help us solve this potentially serious threat. Now, what I really wonder is whether or not all those telecommunications company’s put any money up for this, since most of the junk up there is owned by private corporations?

Space Junk: Dealing with the Orbital Debris Threat | Space.com.