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The Space Gazette

Space for Everyone      -      January 15, 2002     -         Vol. 2 No.2

The Spacefaring Web 1.19:
The Martian Alternative

John Carter McKnight

Will planetary settlements avoid the structural limitations on freedom which would seem to plague L5 colonies, and is there any way to enable social experimentation and diversity in a space habitat? Definitive answers must wait on good data on the costs of particular settlement technologies, work which as far as I am aware is yet to be done. However, some preliminary conclusions are possible. In the first few generations, L5 colonies will be constrained by economic and concomitant political limitations, while cheap shelter may enable an explosion of diversity on Mars.


Activism - Space Science

Mars Society Projects
Show Progress

Several Mars Society projects are showing significant progress. The German chapter, for example, recently won a grant from the DLR (German Space Agency) to continue research on a balloon probe to explore the surface of Mars. Along with French and Austrian Mars Society chapters and university collaborators, the team will develop a proposal to compete for inclusion on a future German mission to the Red Planet.

The lastest report indicates that development of the Mars Desert Research Station, a sister station to the Haughton-Mars Project in the Canadian arctic, is going well. The movable station will spend winters in the desert west of Hanksville, Utah. The first "shakedown crew" carried out a simulation for several days during Christmas. After further modifications, full simulations should begin in February.

The Australian chapter has recently carried out its Jarntimarra 1 Expedition that scouted for locations in central Australia for a station there. The goal is to provide a wide range of Mars analogue sites since no one base will fulfill all the goals for simulating the diverse range of geologic and climate conditions on Mars.

Recent Space Broadcasts of Interest

The public radio program Studio 360 recently broadcast a show with several segments related to space. The episode Cosmos, Spheres, Voyager - Jan.12.02 episode includes an entertaining commentary from The Simpsons writer George Meyer who describes his avid space memoribilia collecting hobby.

The episode also included a segment about "how the ancient Greeks' model of the structure of the universe still shapes our music." These segments can be heard over the web via streamed audio files.

The Space Frontier Foundation held last November a celebration in honor of Arthur C. Clarke and the 2001: A Space Odyssey book and movie. Although Mr. Clarke could not attend the gala at the Playboy Mansion in person, he was "projected" there using Teleportec's Lectern, which presented a life-sized, nearly 3-D video image of him as he gave a short speech and answered questions from the audience.

See a streamed video of his presentation at EarthShipTV - Nov.16.01- hightlights. Also, the clips include comments from director James Cameron and actor Patrick Stewart.

2002: The HobbySpace Odyssey Continues

In the coming year, HobbySpace will continue its efforts to raise awareness of the many ways that the general public can participate in humanity's great space adventure.

During 2001 virtually all the sections expanded with more links and new sub-sections. The total number of external links now surpasses 13,000. Several major new features were added that include:

  • Space viewers - framed pages with menus of various real or near real time images and data from space.
  • Store - Created this section to highlight items available from the affiliate advertisers.
  • Weather Satellite Ground Station - an extensive section describing how to build a PC based ground station to receive weather satellite images.
  • Space Gazette - the HobbySpace news section took on a better organised, magazine page format and appears bi-weekly.

Traffic currently averages over 1500 pageviews per day, an increase of more than 80% from a year ago, This traffic level has allowed the site to attract paid advertisers, albeit at very modest ad rates, in addition to the affiliate programs in which a small commission is earned on any purchases made immediately after a clickthrough on a banner.

While the money is nice, the ads are also crucual to showing that there really are vendors in these space hobbies. (Only space related ads are allowed.) No hobby can be vibrant and growing without a healthy group of vendors to supply it.

These fixed rate banner ads provide a small but steady income for the site. The hope for 2002 is that the traffic will continue to grow and attract more advertisers and higher ad rates and let HobbySpace cross the threshold from a hobby to a real business.

The goal is not to make a living from the site but to obtain income to put back into the cause. For example, HobbySpace could sponsor yearly prizes in space art, music and solar sci-fi. It would also be great to see the HobbySpace logo on the side of a student satellite or a high altitude amateur rocket!

In 2002 more new features will appear and, of course, a continual supply of new links and topics.

- Clark S. Lindsey          

P.S. In hopes of further publicizing the great scope of space amateur developments, I've begun submitting articles to various publications.

My article Space for Amateurs: The role of enthusiasts in space exploration and development was published in the BIS Spaceflight Magazine in the January 2002 issue. It discusses some of the more advanced space accomplishments by amateurs.

Another article that gives a more general survey of space hobbies and activities for the public was accepted by the National Space Society's Ad Astra magazine but publication has been delayed several times. A second article about reusable sub-orbital rocket vehicles was accepted and will also appear eventually, I hope...

Find previous space news in
Articles Index 1999-2002


See also  
Space Headlines
RLV News
News Links

The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey
NewSpace Watch at NSG

Space Radio - ISS Ham Station

Ham Radio Antenna
Installed During Space Walk

On January 14th Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineer Carl Walz took the first space walk of Expedition 4 on the International Space Station.

In addition to a number of other tasks during the walk, they installed an amateur radio antenna on the Zvezda service module. Three more antennas will be installed during the next walk on January 25.

The antennas will let the crew install a second amateur radio station in Zvezda in addition to the station currently in the Zarya module.

Space Radio * History

Sven Grahn:
Eavesdropping on
Soviet Space

Sven Grahn is a top program manager at the Swedish Space Corporation but he is also known worldwide as a leading proponent and historian of amateur space radio.

Sven began listening to Soviet satellite transmission in the mid-1960's. His expertise grew further under the tutelage of Geoff Perry, founder of the Kettering Group, famous for tracking secret satellites.

Grahn's Space Tracking Notes page provides lots of information on the history of tracking and monitoring Soviet satellites.

His Space History Notes also holds lots of resources Soviet and Russian space history information. See, for example, his recent posting about the The Soyuz-11 disaster.

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