News briefs... The Mars
Society creates a task force to focus on political issues:
Mars Society - USA Political Task Force...
... Space transportation
and space "enabled industries" (e.g. satellite TV and
radio) produced $95 billion in economic activity in the US for
2002 according to a FAA funded study: Study
estimates economic impact of US commercial launch industry - spacetoday.net
- Mar.30.04 ...
... More about Paul Allen
and the Allen
Telescope Array in California:A
billionaire looks to the stars, funds new telescope - Stanford
Daily - Mar.30.04 ...
which recently emerge from bankruptcy, seems to be recovering
Ramps Up Operations for 2004 and Expands Staff - Orbimage - Mar.30.04
Receives ClearView Contract Award from NGA - Orbimage - Mar.30.04...
... Portable ultrasound systems
for fast medical diagnostic becoming common both in space and
on earth: Space
Station Technique Expands Use of Ultrasound - Reuters.com - Mar.30.04...
... The PBS NewsHour program
offers a recent
report on the Hubble controversy and related resources at
and Webb Telescopes - Online NewsHour....
... While made on earth, it was space research that led to this
interesting new glass: High-Tech
Glass: Pure Material Made in Levitation Lab - Space.com - Mar.31.04
Tuesday, March 30, 2004, live 7-8:15PM PST - Space Show features
Zimmerman, a returning Space Show guest. Mr. Zimmerman is
an award winning science writer and space historian. Mr. Zimmerman
has been a producer and screenwriter of feature films, documentaries,
industrials, and commercials.
Sunday, April 4, 2004,12-1:30PM PST, Space Show features Shubber
Ali, Managing Director of AstroVision Australia. Mr. Ali has
over ten years of experience in the aerospace and international
trade sectors. Mr. Ali was Manager of KPMG Space Consulting
in Washington, DC..
Live in Seattle via KKNW 1150AM and on the web at Live365.
Space tug- Hubble tug? Looks
Recovery's space tug will become a reality by 2007: Orbital
Recovery Gives Go-ahead for its ConeXpress Space Tug; Production
to Start in September, First Launch Planned in 2007 - Orbital
Recovery Corp - Mar.29.04. So why isn't NASA announcing a
contract with OR to study the company's scheme
to save the Hubble?
Rocketry problems... More
about the ramifications of the court rulings on rocketry fuels:
we have a problem: Model-rocket propellant likely to face stricter
rules - JS Online - Mar.29.04. See this background
info (bottom of page) explaining that a "rocket propellant
is not designed or intended to explode."
Alan Boyle at MSNBC reports on the new space tourist: Space
millionaire to mix science with pleasure: Optics inventor to be
world's first self-financed scientist-astronaut - MSNBC - Mar.29.04..,
,,. James Oberg gives examples
of where living on the ISS produced lessons very relevant to Mars
station offers key lessons for Mars: Money will be well spent
-- but only if NASA heeds them - MSNBC - Mar.29.04...
...So what happens when the
possibility of an unhealthy sized asteroid heading for a collision
with earth ceases to be a possibility and becomes a reality: The
Politics of Armageddon by Dennis E. Powell - National Review -
... Students develop techniques
for spotting such space killers: Math
Trek: Pinpointing Killer Asteroids - Science News Online - Mar.27.04...
.. Fun and adventure with
your GPS navigator: 16,000
Things to Do with GPS - Wired - Mar.29.04 ...
... The Mars Express send
its greetings: Mars
Express - World's largest postcard? - ESA - Mar.29.04
Sci-tech brief... If you
like to wear bright colors, this fabric is for you: Woven
LEDs make flexible signs - optics.org - Mar.26.04
Status of space tourism.. Jeff
Foust looks at the current prospects for space tourism and discusses
remarks made by Eric Anderson, head of Space
Adventures, at a recent IASE
dreams: the promise and challenge of space tourism by Jeff Foust
- The Space Review - Mar.29.04
More space tourist news... Space
Adventures released this PR today: Space
Adventures® Announces American Entrepreneur As Next Private Space
Explorer - Space Adventures - Mar.29.04 . See also: Scientist-CEO
to be Third Space Tourist - Mar.29.04.
continues with the discussion in Chapter
21: Part 2 about ambitous projects such as asteroid
mining that become feasible if the cost to LEO drops to $200 per
pound. Also, Chapter
22 reports on the initial test flight of the first
stage of the DH-1 vehicle.
News briefs ... The details
about the next ISS space tourist are now appearing: Third
space tourist preparing for orbit - CNN - Mar.29.04 ...
... List of deep space probes
either in space now or going to be launched in the next few years:
Flotilla to Scour Planets - Wired - Mar.26.04...
... Note that in this discussion
of a high budget scientific project, they do not include operations
costs over 30 years as has become routine for any discussion of
space projects: Livermore
lab sets sights on world's largest laser - Times-Herald Online
- Mar.28.04. Whichever way the accounting is done, it should
be done the same for all R&D projects.
Mars metabolizers? Short
lived methane in the atmosphere of Mars would need replenishing-
find on Mars may be sign of life - Independent - Mar.27.04:
This could indicate a subterranean source of methane which
is pumping out the gas, either due to some residual geological
activity or because of the presence of living organisms producing
it as a waste gas.
Asked whether the continual production of methane is strong
evidence of a biological origin of the gas, Dr Mumma said: "I
think it is, myself personally."
He added: "It's difficult to imagine that primordial methane
[from geological activity] would continue outgassing for four
billion years [the age of Mars]. This looks very intriguing."
Space music... Siddhartha
Barnhoorn, a composer in the Netherlands, has completed his
1: Space Suite - The Undiscovered Journey. He produced the
classically styled music with synthesizer but it sounds like he
conducted a full orchestra. The music is sophisticated and absolutely
gorgeous. All 9 parts of the Suite are available on
line. He also offers samples
of his other space inspired music...
... Eli Goldberg of Prometheus
Music says that "NASA has licensed the performance of
Jordin Kare's Fire
in the Sky from To
Touch the Stars for use as closing music on one episode of
their Emmy award-winning 'SCI Files' educational program. It is
tentatively slated to air on April 14th. More information about
SCI Files at [The
NASA SCI Files.]"
Spacecast down under... The
ABC (Australian Broadcast Company) News program StarStuff
presents "the latest discoveries across the universe and
space science news from around the world. Hosted by Stuart Gary,
StarStuff is available [on
line], or on the air on Saturday and Sunday at 11p Eastern
Time, replayed Monday at 5.00a and 12.30p". (This item came
via a HobbySpace reader.)
Find links to other web cast space radio programs in the Spacecasts
A new space magazine for
young people will be published by the British
Interplanetary Society. Voyage Magazine: A Journey of Learning
Through Space "is aimed at students aged 10-14 and will
be produced initially once per term starting in 2004 as a resources
for science classes and as a good read for the students."
It will include "experiments to try at school or at home
and there will also be the chance for the students to contribute
to the content of the magazine, with pictures, letters, questions
(This item came via a HobbySpace
BTW: Older space fans should read the excellent SpaceFlight
magazine. It is one of the best general interest magazines about
spaceflight, especially human spaceflight, and the only monthly
one I know of. It's very hard to find in the US at newstands (surprisingly,
our local Tower Records sells it). If your local university has
an aerospace department they may have it in their library.
Otherwise, you will have to join the BIS
to obtain it but that's easy to do on
Space auction drew high bids
for space memorabilia including some Apollo items flown to the
Moon and back:
News briefs... The rovers
head for the hills: New
phase of exploration beginning for Mars rovers - Spaceflight Now
- Mar.26.04 ...
... More about the Russian
push for additional space tourist flight opportunities: Russia
requests space tours: NASA weighs option that would keep ISS crews
in orbit a year - Florida Today - Mar.27.04 ...
... Earth has an asteroid visitor: Earth's
'quasi-moon' is wayward asteroid - New Scientist - Mar.28.04
Rocketry loses in court...
In a suit by the National
Rocketry Society and the Tripoli
Rocketry Association, the judge ruled that he woul defer to
the "expertise" of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Enforcement (ATFE) agency on the ATFE's decision to classify ammonium
perchlorate composite propellant (APCP) - the primary fuel in
amateur rockets - as an explosive. US
Court Rules APCP Is An Explosive ATFE Acted Improperly Revoking
PAD Status For Rocket Motors - Amateur Rocketry Society - Mar.26.04.
This means that the ATFE regulations, which may very well dampen
or even kill the sport, at least the high power end, will remain
In a second ruling, the judge ruled in favor of NAR/TRA challenge
to "ATFE's decision to reclassify model rocket motors from
propellant-actuated devices (PADs) to non-PAD status." Congress
had specified that "[a]ny tool or special mechanized device or
gas generator system which is actuated by a propellant or which
releases and directs work through a propellant charge." was not
to be classified as an explosive. ATFE had therefore tried to
de-classify assembled model rockets as non-PAD so it could treat
them as explosives.
The judge's decision, however, was not on the substance of the
reclassification but the fact that ATFE did it without the proper
public input. Probably ATFE will now go through the motions and
then classify it as it wants.
One bit of good news. Earlier this month the ATFE informed
ARSA that "a Low Explosives Manufacturing Permit (LEMP)
is not required by amateurs making APCP rocket motors for their
Space tourist update... NASA
Watch adds some links to articles about the space tourist
story it broke yesterday, e.g. Candidate
for space tour visits Moscow's cosmonauts training centre - Pravda.RU
I also found this article interesting: NASA
mulls proposal for yearlong space stay: Russia suggests doubling
current length of space station mission - MSNBC - Mar.25.04.
To obtain more seats for paying tourists, the Russians want the
crews to stay for a whole year at a time. Obviously the Russians
take space tourism very seriously.
Another interesting aspect of this is that the Russians clearly
find the $15M (or $30M if two tourists are on board) to be a good
price for a Soyuz flight. I've seen lots of discussions on the
newsgroups in which many argue that the real costs for the missions
must be much higher than this. Doesn't seem to be the case. Looks
like they are making a substantial profit.
NASA flash... NASA could
certainly do a better job at presenting the case for space exploration
and development: NASA's
Image Needs a Makeover, Media Panel Tells Presidential Commission
- Space.com - Mar.26.04. However, I fear that its attempts
to do so will result in a lot PR firm type of flash and gloss
that no one will be impressed by. The essential problem is the
pervasive public image of NASA's human spaceflight program as
one with limited capabilities (a small handful of astronauts get
to orbit each year) at a wildly expensive price. Changing that
image will require changing that reality.
News briefs... The Aldrige
Committee hears more about the benefits of partnering with private
industry to conduct the long term exploration and development
of space: Private
Industry Could Aid NASA with Space Station, Moon & Mars Missions
- Space.com - Mar.26.04....
... The Explorers
Club expects to include a Mars explorer someday: From
Antarctica to Mars in 100 years - The Globe and Mail - Mar.20.04
SciTech: More fusion ...
In response to my posting about the progress with sonofusion,
Bob Steinke tells me that the Focus
Fusion project is another low budget fusion concept that is
Plasma focus fusion is ordinary magnetically confined hot fusion,
but the plasma is not confined by external magnets. Instead,
a current pulse from a capacitor bank induces a toroidal magnetic
field in the plasma itself. Essentially, the plasma is self
confined inside magnetic fields generated by electric currents
in the plasma. This containment is on the order of microns in
size, and lasts on the order of nanoseconds, but we've published
papers showing we can achieve the temperature-density-confinement
time necessary for fusion. And our simulations show we should
be able to achieve breakeven with a larger device we hope to
build later this year.
I'm not qualified to judge the potential of this approach. I
do have a friend who works in fusion
research at the University of Maryland who often bemoans
the lack of funding for alternate confinement schemes like this.
(Alternate to the conventional tokamak approach that gets most
of the money.) Most of them may not pan out but they need relatively
little money to test and they offer the potential of a big payoff
if one of them works.
ISS tourist ... Keith Cowing
will announce on March 29th that it has arranged a tourist flight
to the ISS this October for Gregory Olsen, president and CEO of
Space collecting gets the
spotlight in the Washington Post - For
Space Memorabilia, All Systems Go - Washington Post - Mar.24.04.
The print version shows a picture of Alan Ladwig's basement that
is packed tighter than a Toys-R-Us with space toys of all kinds.
I see that Keith Cowing at NASA
Watch doesn't take kindly to Buzz Aldrin making money on the
items that he was allowed to keep from his Moon mission. Firstly,
I don't see the point in pouring cold water on such a fun way
to involve the public in space exploration.
Secondly, no one will go to the Smithsonian to see a toothbrush
that flew to the Moon or a bit of fabric or name tag that has
lunar dust embedded in it. These items only become valuable when
they become available. Keeping them stuffed forever in a box in
some museum basement benefits no one.
SETI telescope funding...
As mentioned earlier,
Telescope Array has gotten another big grant (dependent on
finding matching funds) from its main sponsor Paul Allen: The
Search Continues with the Allen Telescope Array - Space.com -
Mar.25.04. By using an array of small dishes and combining
their signals (a lot harder than it sounds), the system will provide
the sensitivity of a huge single dish but at a much lower cost.
Sun music... Terry Riley's
composition, which was commissioned by NASA and had
last fall in Iowa, will be performed on March 26th at the University
of Arizona by he Akron's Quartet and the UA choir: Kronos
Quartet spaces out with UA choir - Arizona Daily Wildcat - Ma,25.04
Mars chuckles ... The search
for high priced water never ends: Coke-Sponsored
Rover Finds Evidence Of Dasani On Mars - The Onion - Mar.24.04...
... The Mars Valley Authority
brings jobs and prosperity to the Red Planet: Hydroelectric
Dams on Mars - Spaceref.com - Mar.24.04.
Space business brief... Broadband
surfing on your flight via satellite: Connexion
by Boeing Announces Pricing for High-Speed In-Flight Internet
Service First-of-Its-Kind Service to Offer Customers Real-Time,
Affordable Access for Less Than $30 per International Flight;
Leading Airlines Prepare for Rollout - Connexion - Mar.25.04
Sci-tech brief... Hope this
isn't another fusion letdown: More
Bang From The Bubble?: "Sonofusion" may one day outshine
other nuclear methods in generating energy - BW Online - Mar.29.04.
The Taleyarkhan et al. paper is now posted at Physics Review E
but they charge $22 for it! See for free the articles
Mars waters ... Lots of
links can be found in the Special
section: Mars - Spacetoday.net to articles on the announcement
yesterday of evidence that liquid water once washed upon the surface
of Mars for long periods of time.
Reflections on the significance and implications of this discovery
are given in Beachcombing
On the Shores of Barsoom by Keith Cowing - SpaceRef - Mar.24.04
of Water: Ancient Sea on Mars Begs Human Exploration - Space.com
What this means with regard to past life on Mars is discussed
Sea Covered Part of Mars: 'Excellent' Site to Search for Past
Life - Space.com - Mar.23.04 and The
New Hunt for Life on Mars - Space.com - Mar.23.04
Apollo launch tower destruction
looks inevitable unless a rich benefactor shows up at the last
dusts historic launch tower - Florida Today - Mar.24.04. The
group so far has not had any luck in raising the $40M needed to
restore the tower.
Commercial Spysats - slow growth...
The commercial spysat
business is having its ups -DigitalGlobe
announces new satellite plans - spacetoday.net - Mar.23.04
- and downs - Satellite
contract up for grabs: Troubled Space Imaging may bid on deal
it lost - DenverPost.com - Mar.23.04.
Looks like there is enough government work to support a couple
of imaging satellites. I'm disappointed, though, that the market
in commercial applications is growing so slowly. By now, high-resolution,
up-to-date satellite images should be cheap and easily available
for routine use by urban planners, land developers, real estate
agents, farmers, local newspapers, etc.
News briefs ... The April
issue of Popular
Science offers a long article on the alt.space movement. The
cover story looks at the Moon/Mars initiative....
... Ruth Lubka tells me that
her book Pupniks:
The Story of Two Space Dogs (Cavendish
Children's Books) about the Russia space dogs has been selected
for an award in the category of childrens history books.
The Spaceshow this Tuesday
evening will present a live interview with Constance
Adams, a space architect who worked on the TransHab
inflatable habitat project for the Space Station. David Livingston
will talk with her about TransHab and her various other space
related projects. On KKNW 1150AM in Seattle and on the web at
at 7-8:15PM Pacific Time.
See also her recent article in Popular Science: It
Doesn't Take a Rocket Scientist by Constance Adams - Popular Science
- Feb.04 issue. * Transhab
The Sunday Space Show. March 28, 2004 at 12-1:30PM Pacific Time
willfeatures Andrew Chaikin, author of A Man on The
”Andrew Chaikin has authored books and articles about space
exploration and astronomy for more than two decades. He is also
active as a lecturer at museums, schools and corporate events,
and in radio and television appearances. Chaikin is best known
for his work, “A Man on the Moon” which is the triumphant story
of the Apollo Space Program, first published in 1994. This acclaimed
work was the main basis for Tom Hanks' HBO miniseries, From
the Earth to the Moon, which won the Emmy for best miniseries
More about Adams and Chaikin on the Spaceshow
Space sponsorship progress... Over
News I reported a couple weeks ago on the announcement
that the X PRIZE
had obtained a major sponorship deal with the Champ
Car racing organization:
They don't mention a monetary figure but they do say:
"Champ Car World Series logo will be placed on all X PRIZE
spaceships and the series will be the primary corporate sponsor
of the X PRIZE flights. In addition, Champ Car World Series
co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven will participate as a spokesperson
during attempts to claim the $10 million prize"
I'm a little surprised this hasn't gotten more attention from
the space press and on the forums and newsgroups. Unlike the sort
of one-time Pepsi and Radio Shack commercials in space events,
this will be one of the first human spaceflight-related sponsorship
arrangements that will be continuous and highly visible,
i.e. the Champ company is willing to take the risk their logo
will be on a vehicle in an accident.
I believe this development is a good sign for the suborbital
RLV projects. They can do a lot with a bit of sponsorship money.
I sure hope it will spur other companies to come on board as well
and stick their bright logos to the sides of these new spaceships.
NASA & a failure to communicate...
Jeff Foust reports on the problems NASA has in communicating its
views with regard to the new space initiative and also the Hubble
mission cancellation decision: In
space, no one can hear you explain - The Space Review - Mar.22.04
Oberg on NASA & Hubble...
James Oberg thinks NASA may be right not to risk a shuttle to
save the Hubble telescope: Hubble
debate a lot of sound and fury: Politics and posturing aside,
NASA's actually right this time - MSNBC - Mar.22.04
He may be right about the Hubble mission, but I think Oberg is
very wrong to cite the dumping of the Compton
Gamma Ray Observatory as a supporting case. As I noted
before, this was actually a terrific waste that wasn't
required by safety concerns. Instead it was a case of NASA management
refusing to back down even after their analysis was shown to be
wrong. See this FAQ posted at NASAWatch.com - FAQ:
Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory - NASA Watch - 16 May 2000.
Interactive Mars... NASA
has posted an elaborate interactive Mars program (Flash) on its
home site: NASA'S
M2K4:Roaming the Red Planet * NASA
rolls out virtual Mars visits - Federal Computer Week - Mar.22.04
Getting the numbers right... Dwayne
Day follows the money in Whispers
in the echo chamber: Why the media says the space plan costs a
trillion dollars - The Space Review - Mar.22.04. Apparently,
the trillion dollar price tag will be stuck on the space initiative
no matter what the facts.
From editorialists and commentators we expect great exaggerations
and distortions and we know they ignore or discount any facts
that contradict the theme of their essays. However, despite our
common cynicism about everything, I think most of us are still
at least a bit surprised and disappointed when we see a news report
on a topic with which we are knowledgeable and discover that the
journalist got it really badly wrong. It obviously undercuts the
credibility of reports we hear on all the other topics that we
are not familiar with.
I often wish that Brian Lamb of C-SPAN
would develop a newsfeed patterned after the impartial way that
network is designed. Rather than trying to make a "story"
out of every issue or event, it would simply present a dispassionate
set of reports and information items. It would label what were
the established facts and what were suppositions and rumors, and
would include reference links for further investigation. The reader
could then decide on the interpretation of it all.
I doubt, however, that such a service would be successful. The
fact is, we all love to hear a story. We don't want dumps of raw
information. We want a point of view that develops a plot leading
to a clear-cut conclusion. We may hate to see a phony trillion
dollar figure used as a club against our favored program but when
it's some other program that we happen to be against, we won't
quibble about a decimal place or two in a story that slams it.
We might expect a higher standard of objectivity and informed
comment from scientists. Hardly! In this essay - The
Wrong Stuff by Steven Weinberg - NY Review of Books - April 8,
2004 issue (via spacetoday.net)
- a Noble Prize winner in theoretical physics quickly accepts
the trillion dollar figure and then blithely compares this number
(for many programs over 30 years) to the cost of the current Mars
rover program. Not exactly fair or sensible.
You would never know from his essay that at least 30 to 40% of
NASA funding over the next 30 years will go for purely scientific
research. So whatever number is dreamed up for the initiative,
the bigger it is, the better it is for science.
I find it ironic that Dr. Weinberg was a leader in the effort
to build the multi-billion dollar SuperCollider
project in Texas in the early 1990s. Overruns quickly brought
it into the glare of national discussion (this was all happening
during an earlier federal deficit scare) and led to many editorials
slamming it as a huge waste of money. No one in the field seemed
more surprised than Dr. Weinberg at the ferocity of the attacks
upon the project from not only press commentators but by many
in other areas of science who saw it as a threat to their funding.
It was certainly not easy to defend it on the ground of practical
payoffs. The particle physics community could barely find even
a single patent to show for the many billions that had been spent
on the field in the preceding decades. Developers of MRI scanners
disputed the contention that a particular type of superconducting
wire developed for accelerator magnets had made any significant
contribution to their instruments. (Does a dispute over the validity
of a "spin-off" sound familiar?)
Of course, I think the SuperCollider should have been built.
I say this not only as a former worker-drone in experimental particle
physics but as someone who wants to see progress in all areas
of science and engineering. I believe that even projects with
few or even no immediate direct practical benefits will in the
long run benefit us all in many indirect ways.
The hypocritical and shortsighted "my interests are more
important than yours" attitude that dominates the scientific
community has done far more to undercut its funding than the human
spaceflight program. In fact, the endless criticisms of human
spaceflight only provide ammunition to use against expensive basic
science projects of any sort. Many of the essays and articles
attacking the new space initiative make no distinction between
unmanned and human missions. They both involve many billions of
dollars. If social needs preclude spending billions on one, why
spend billions on the other?
Even with Dr. Weinberg's awesome mathematical skills, he can't
prove that there will ever be even one single practical benefit
from unmanned exploration of Mars or from a multi-
billion dollar particle accelerator. He can only appeal to
past experience and a general "faith" that it will be
He will have to come up with a lot more that phony budget numbers
to shake my faith that expansion into the solar system will result
in implications for humanity that will be far more profound and
beneficial than anything that will ever be found in a collision
of high energy particles.
Dennis Wingo takes on similar myopia in Jeff
Bell and the Legions of Doom - SpaceRef - Mar.21.04.
News briefs ... This professor
thankfully got to see the full measure of his contribution to
the betterment of his students: He
Taught Us to Fly - HeroicStories - Mar.8.04 (via a HS reader)...
... The public doesn't want
the Hubble to die: Doomed
Hubble's Fans Flood NASA With Ideas - Washington Post - Mar.21.04
News briefs ... The water
ice on Mars gets mapped out by the Mars Express orbiter: Mars
Express - Water at Martian south pole - ESA - Mar.17.04 ...
... Alan Boyle reports on
the experiences of a member of one of the teams living and working
in the Mars Society Desert Research Station: Living
space for outer space - Alan Boyle: Cosmic Log - Mar.19.04
... Check out the Java Mars
clock at Mars24
- Time on Mars - NASA GISS ...
... Program to watch for
near earth asteroids gets tested: Spaceguard
Redux, Put to Test - Astrobiology Magazine - Mar.19.04
... Five planets will soon
gang together in our sky: A
Gathering of Planets - Science@NASA - Mar.19.04 (Play Holzt
while observing them!)...
... Paul Allen helping with
space exploration both far -
Paul G. Allen Charitable Foundation Funds Next Phase In Construction
of the World's Newest Radio Telescope Array - SETI Institute -
Mar.18.04 - and near...
... Plans for building a
solar system in the UK: The
planets descend on the UK - BBC - Mar.20.04 * SpacedOut
New NSS Chief... The National
Space Society announced the selection of a new Executive Director
T. Whitesides Named Executive Director of the National Space Society
- NSS - Mar.18.04.
The previous director, Brian
Chase, left to become vice president for Washington
operations of the Space
Foundation according to an item
at SpacePolitics.com. I assume he will help to manage the
Alliance organization, which is a collaboration of NSS, the
Space Foundation, and other advocacy and aerospace organizations.
Whitesides has impressive credentials (Princeton grad and a Fulbright
Scholar) and along with Loretta Hidalgo he co-founded the Yuri's
Night yearly celebration of the anniversary of the launch
of the first human into space. Here is an interview
on the Space Show from April 2003 with Whitesides and Hidalgo.
I hope the Yuri's Night background indicates that he will lead
the NSS towards a greater focus on activities that directly involve
its members and the public. The Mars
Society, for example, has done this very successfully with
its many hands-on projects. Traditionally, the NSS has concentrated
on lobbying in DC for space related legislation and higher NASA
budgets. Perhaps now more of that can be left up to the Space
Alliance and the NSS can instead work on getting more people involved
and active in space development.
Sci-Tech briefs... Just when
you think a technology such as audio compression is nearing, if
not at, the ultimate limit, along comes someone to show otherwise:
sound of science - CNET News.com - Mar.18.04 ...
... Speaking of audio, the
company has developed a communicator right out of TNG: Your
Trekkie Communicator Is Ready - Forbes.com - Mar.16.04
News briefs... Another warning
Safe from Ultra-close Asteroid Flyby Today - Space.com - Mar.18.04.
When will people take seriously the need for a space infrastructure
to detect and divert the "big one" with our name on
... With electronic gadgets,
if they survive the first week or so they most likely will last
for years and years. The same appears for spacecraft: The
Continuing Adventures of Ulysses: The NASA/ESA Ulysses spacecraft
is perilously cold as it begins a newly extended mission to study
the sun. - Science@NASA - Mar.17.04 ...
... The debate over whose
favorite heavenly body is more important, the Moon or Mars, will
go on and on, I'm sure. Wendell
Mendell offers his compromise: Moon
Mission Should Simulate Extended Mars Visit, Manager Says - Aviation
Week - Mar.17.04 ...
... The rovers reveal more
of Mars secrets: Mystery
Spheres on Mars Finally Identified - Space.com- Mar.17.04
... Amateurs and activists
came to the rescue of SETI: Era
Ends: Looking Back on Project Phoenix - Space.com - Mar.18.04....
... Looking for earth-sized
planets around other nearby star systems will become feasible
in the next decade: Good
Vibrations: For NASA's Space Interferometry Mission, It's the
Little Things That Matter Most - Space.com - Mar.17.04...
... This article - Desert
research facility simulates Mars conditions - Mercury News - Mar.17.04
- gives an extensive look at what's happening with the Mars Society's
Classic space TV... Baby
boomers may remember The
Space Explorers animated features shown during the Sputnik
era. They were usually presented in six minute segments within
other kids shows. A young boy hitches a ride on a spaceship to
look for his father who disappeared on a Mars mission. While experiencing
grand adventures he also learns about aspects of rockets, astronomy,
The segments came from two separate one hour educational films
developed with the help of the Hyaden Planetarium. (Some of the
special effects clips actually derived from a pre-war German film.)
Chuck Scholtz has posted the history of the films and their creators
along with some graphics on his
Space Explorers website. See also this review: The
Space Explorers: Chuck Scholtz Takes a Look at the Animated Series
- About Classic TV - Feb.24.04
Chuck tells me that he is in contact with the owner of the master
reels for the films and hopes to convince him to release them
for DVD production.
Mars creatures... Astronomer
Philip Plait campaigns to insure that people don't take seriously
the purported evidence for ruins of ancient civilizations on Mars,
and for conspiracies to cover up that evidence: War
of the Words: Scientist Attacks Alien Claims - Space.com - Mar.15.04.
However, there are real questions about how to search for less
dramatic evidence of past life and whether robots are up to the
Features: Fossil Hunting on Mars - Space.com - Mar.16.04
Space business briefs...
This article details the regulatory barriers that have slowed
the development of satellite radio: Local
Motives - Why the FCC should scrap its absurd rules for satellite
radio - Slate - Mar.16.04 ...
... There are substantial
markets available for satellite broadband even with the emergence
of DSL and broadband according to
Frost and Sullivan: Ka-Band a Winner - SkyREPORT.com - Mar.17.04
and the Role of Satellite Services - Frost & Sullivan - Mar.04
News briefs... Several spacecraft
models, rated according to difficulty of construction, can be
found at: Paper
Models - NASA Solar System Exploration
... A smallsat company develops
an interesting new propulsion system: Surrey
successfully demonstrate steam micro-propulsion in-orbit - SSTL
- Mar.17.04 ...
... Not having a manned program
doesn't mean the Brits are especially generous to their unmanned
Mars Mission Criticized by Spending Group - Space.com - Mar.16.04
at 7-8:15pm PST will present an interview with Dr. Lee Valentine.
He is a medical doctor, long time space advocate, and a member
of the Board of Directors of the Space
Studies Institute in Princeton from 1980 to the present.
I was quite lucky to work with Lee twice during Suborbital
Day Campaigns when we went to Capitol Hill to brief Congressional
staffers on the new suborbital RLV industry. Lee is very articulate,
passionate, and well-informed about space development. (Read his
here.) I'm sure it will be a good show.
On Sunday at 12-1:30pm PST, David will interview Dr.
Alan Binder, Director of the Lunar
Research Institute in Tucson, AZ. Dr. Binder is a Lunar and
Planetary Scientist with over 40 years of experience working in
the NASA and European Space Programs. He was a Principal Investigator
on the 1976 Viking Mars Lander Missions which made the first successful
unmanned landings on Mars.
He was also the Principal Investigator of the NASA sponsored
Mission, which was launched to the Moon on January 6, 1998
and conducted a 19 month orbital mapping mission of the Moon and
found strong evidence
of water ice at the lunar poles. He actually help to start
the program in 1989 as a private project with the help of other
space activist organizations. See the history of the project in
Nice to see that Dr. Binder has written a book about the project
Prospector: Against All Odds - that will appear this summer.
Outside of Seattle (KKNW, 1150 AM) you can hear the shows via
streaming from Live365.com.
on the way... Be sure to throw or attend a Yuri's
Night party on April 12th. Yuri's
Night - SpaceDaily - Mar.10.04. If you have a broadband link,
check out the Russian dance music video: Gagarin
Music Video (33MB mpg). Other on line music can be found at
Mars vistas today and tomorrow... I
love this panorama - Spirit
rover reveals Bonneville Crater in color - Spaceflight Now - Mar.15.04.
If this shallow hole in the ground is so beautiful, just think
what the views must be like up in the the mountains of Mars, from
cliffs looking down into deep canyons, and of the many bizarre
currently visible only from distant orbiters. I hope sooner than
later we will send not only more rovers but also flying
observers and eventually people to tour the marvels
High power astronomy from home and school...
Databases of imagery from powerful telescopes are becoming increasingly
available to the public. This week, for example, the Sloan
Digital Sky Survey announced the posting of 6TB of data: Sloan
Digital Sky Survey Releases Six Terabytes of Data to Public -
Sloan Digital Sky Survey - Mar.15.04. This data isn't much
use without software and other resources to take advantage of
it. See the SkyServer
- Sloan Digital Sky Survey site that provides software tools
and other resources to use the SDSS data.
Check out also the other virtual
observatories now on line. You can even reserve time
on top of the line telescopes via the many Robotic
Telescopes and specify the particular targets in the
sky that you want to observer.
Sedna appears ... More about
the discovery of a new large planet-like body in out solar system
Distant Object in Solar System Discovered - Spitzer Space Telescope
- Mar.15.04 * Mysterious
Sedna: Astronomers have discovered a mysterious planet-like body
in the distant reaches of the solar system. - Science@NASA - Mar.15.04
News briefs... Check out
the nice review of astronomy software: Software
helps amateur astronomers navigate their celestial journeys -
Oakland Tribune Online - Mar.14.04 (via spacetoday.net)...
... The Earth
and Space Foundation seeks to become the National Geographic
for spac exploration: Fostering
links between space and the environment - The Space Review - Mar.15.04
... In the early 1990's a
group at NASA proposed a relatively low cost return to the Moon
mission : The
last lunar outpost by Dwayne day - The Space Review - Mar.15.04
... Taylor Dinerman looks
at the western frontier analogy for space: Beaver
pelts, communication satellites, and space exploration - The Space
Review - Mar.15.04 ...
... Jeff Foust reports on
the Aldrige Commission and a talk by Neil Tyson : A
look inside the Aldridge Commission - The Space Review - Mar.15.04
Wow, what a space year so
rovers making history, an exciting new
space initiative, and now a new planet:
Well, OK, a planetoid, but it's still something big and unusual.
New satellite TV
in the US direct-to-home market. VOOM, owned by Cablevision,
comes late to the game but hopes to find a successful
niche in offering more HDTV choices than the other
guys. Total satellite TV subscribers in the US now
numbers over 22M households. (VOOM is not yet available
on this subscriber
Great Wall divide... Gene
Cernan must have sharper eyes than Yang Liwei: Last
American on Moon Contradicts First Chinese in Space, Great Wall
Debate Continues - Space.com - Mar.14.04 ** Great
Wall myth excised from textbooks -CNN.com - Mar.12.04
Multi-colored Mars... Kim
Stanley Robinson looks at the marvelous diversity in the views
of Mars throughout history: Essay:
A Red Planet Forever in the Orbit of Science and Dreams by Kim
Stanley Robinson - NY Times - Mar.13.04
Hubble news... More and more
people are demanding that NASA better justify the premature death
of Hubble: Astronomical
Exaggerations - NY Times - Mar.13.04 * Gloves
Come Off in Fight to Save Hubble - Sky and Telescope - Mar.12.04
Hubble roundup - Space Politics - Mar.12.04
New briefs... The new space
initiative may get off to a fully funded start: Senate
restores funding to NASA budget - spacetoday.net - Mar.13.04...
... You can see manmade objects
from low earth orbit by eye but not the Great Wall: Great
Wall myth excised from textbooks -CNN.com - Mar.12.04 ...
... DARPA funds space projects
at the frontier: Pentagon
Harbors Wild Space Plans - Wired - Mar.13.04 ...
... DARPA's robotics making
progress but still a ways to go: Rough
ride for robots, but humans smiling: $1 million race ends without
winners, but not without success - MSNBC - Mar.13.04 * $1
Million Pentagon-Sponsored Robot Race Ends As All Entries Break
Down - Space.com - Mar.13.04
Amateur Mars exploration...
The amazing Mars rovers have inspired many educators, students,
and armchair explorers to spend many hours scrutinizing the thousands
of images sent of the Red Planet's surface: Private
Detectives Investigate Mars - Space.com - Mar.11.04.
amateurs still make many significant contributions because the
relatively small number of professional astronomers/astrophysicists
can't possibly monitor all of the vast range of phenomena out
there. With such a large about of data coming from the rovers,
there exists a non-zero chance that an amateur might spot some
geologic feature or other item of interest that the rover science
teams missed. (I'm not referring here to the more fanciful
discoveries some have claimed to have made already.)
Open source rocketry... Andrew
Case has updated the rocket igniter section - ArocketIgniter
- at the ArocketTWiki
site (hosted by Michael Mealling's Rocketforge)
where info about advanced rocketry technology is shared by enthusiasts.
See the list here of other open
source rocketry resources.
Rocketry rocks... Here's
a rocking rocketry video: Calm
In Sight (1.6MB mov) via Rudys
and VooDoo Digital Productions.
Space resources resources...
School of Mines Space Resources Roundtable has posted abstracts
and papers from the annual conferences it has held since 1999.
(Item via K. Kert)
New briefs... More astronomy
by the rovers: Mars
Rovers See Earth, Moons and Stars - Space.com - Mar.12.04...
... Congressman Dana Rohrabacher
makes the case for lunar exploration and development via a commercial/government
just moonwalking - The Washington Times - Mar.11.04 ...
... High speed Internet access
via satellite tries to make a comeback: Satellite
seeks broadband re-entry - CNET News - Mar.11.04 ...
... Maybe the outside pressure
will finally affect NASA's Hubble decision: NASA
Agrees to New Study on Mission to Telescope - NY Times - Mar.11.04
... Disease hunting from
Alerts from Space: With the help of Earth-watching satellites,
scientists can identify high-risk "hot spots" for deadly diseases
before outbreaks strike. - Science@NASA - Mar.12.04
Sci-Tech: New briefs... Maybe
this technique could be used with lunar and Mars concrete: Concrete
casts new light in dull rooms: Light transmitting concrete is
set to go on sale later this year. - optics.org - March.11.04
... And maybe a Flexbot
will somersault around our space habitats: Disembodied
robotic arm clambers round home - New Scientist - Mar.11.04
... DARPA's robot race gets
some qualifiers: Robotics'
Magnificent Seven - Alan Boyle: Cosmic Log - Mar.12.04 *
Robotic race gets off to rocky start: $1 million prize for team
that can build ultimate road warrior - MSNBC - Mar.11.04
... Electrically adjustable
fluid lenses available soon: Philips
demonstrates fluid lens: Consumer electronics giant Philips says
it will be mass-producing liquid lenses within two years. - optics.org
- News - Mar.10.04
House hearing... NASA
Watch has posted the testimonies of witnesses at yesterday's
Science Committee Hearing: "Perspectives on the President's
Vision for Space Exploration" - SpaceRef - Mar.10.04
These included Michael
D. Griffin and Donna
Shirley. I particularly liked Griffen's testimony, especially
this remark with regards to NASA's estimate of around $55 billion
to return to the Moon by 2020:
"In my opinion, the issue is not whether enough money
has been allocated to the President's proposed initiative, but
is rather this: Why we are expecting so little for the money
which has been allocated?"
Robot workers ... Robots
are still a long way from the mechanical humans common in sci-fi,
but they are starting to make progress: Invasion
of the robots : From medicine to military, machines finally arrive
- CNET News.com - Mar.10.04. I've never seen space development
as a robots vs. humans battle. In fact, I think robots of all
kinds will provide the crucial productivity accelerators that
will make feasible the grand space schemes, such as mining asteroid
resources and building large structures, that we need for creating
communities in space.
Mars oases... I like the
approach of the Mexican
Mars Society with their analog Mars habitat project: MEX-AREOHAB:A
Hispanic-Mexican Habitat for Settlement on Mars - The Mars Society
Espana. In their oasis concept, they start the terraforming
of Mars incrementally with small transparent domed settlements
that grow crops and regularly release "oxygen and carbonates,
among others, so the release would begin to flow gradually to
the planet's atmosphere": Mars:
Goldilocks' Oasis? - Astrobiology Magazine - Mar.9.04
News briefs... In-flight
Internet via satellite starts to look serious: In-Flight
Net Set to Take Off - Wired - Mar.10.04 ...
... Schemes to deflect asteroids
with earth's name on it: Avoiding
A "Crash Course"In Planetary Defense - Space.com - Mar.10.04
... Help for aerospace graduates:
job opportunities await college students at Space Foundation's
free Space Career Fair [Mar.30.04] - Space Foundation - Mar.10.04
Space hearing webcast... The
House Science Committee will be web cast the testimony of Donna
Shirley and several others starting at 10am this morning about
on the President's Vision for Space Exploration: (Link via
DARPA's grand robot challenge... I
heard from reader J. Rusi who went to the qualifying meet yesterday
in Riverside California for DARPA's
Grand Challenge robot competition.
He wasn't too impressed ("robots are not as intelligent
as grasshoppers"). No one made it around the track while
he was there but after he left he heard that two teams had managed
Mellon and SciAutonics
of Thousand Oaks California.
See also Alan Boyle's report: Robot
challenge gets grander - MSNBC - Mar.9.04 and Robots
on a roll - Mar.5.04
News briefs ... Rand Simberg
reports on Greg Klerkx's book: The
Fall Of NASA? - Transterrestrial Musings - Mar.8.04 ...
... This should be a cool
to Open 3-D Reality Theater in Mars Center - NASA Ames Research
Center - Mar.9.04 ...
... The MER
Screen Saver from JPL presents both cool pictures and the
latest news from Mars...
... This site - MARS
Dead or Alive - NOVA Documentary - PBS - includes a lot of
Mars resources plus you can watch the full one hour program streamed
to your PC ...
... More about the making
of the super-realistic animations of the re-entry and landing
of the Mars rovers and of the rovers themselves: Unreal
Film-maker of Martian Reality - Astrobiology Magazine - Mar.8.04
... Space nuclear rising
on how to use nuclear power in space heating up at Marshall: Project
Prometheus looks for new ways to power voyages - Huntsville Times
Sci-Tech: New briefs... The
term light panel has a nice sci-fi, Star Treky ring to
Global Research Breaks Two World Records For OLEDs As A Lighting
Device; Demo Lighting Panel is Biggest and Most Efficient Ever
Created - General Electric - Mar.4.04 ...
... I bet there will be of
all sorts of neat tricks outside of robotics for these artificial
muscle materials: Plastic
on Steroids Artificial muscles pump up everything from military
gear to drug delivery. - Wired - Mar.2004 ...
... Even after all this time,
people still manage to come up with new ways to fly, or at least
clever new implementations of old ways: fuellessflight.com
gravity to get off the ground: Can a plane climb like a balloon
and fly like a glider? One inventor plans on finding out. - MachineDesign.com
Spirit rover spots Elvis fishing in
canal... Mix the mystery of Mars with lots of imagination,
conspiracy theories, and thousands of rover and orbiter images
and you get a place jumping with life:
Mars briefs... If they exist,
they are tough bugs: Mars
Underground: The Harsh Reality of Life Below - Space.com - Mar.8.04
... A Mars explorer might
go blowing in the wind: Tumbleweed
rover goes on a roll at South Pole - Spaceflight Now - Mar.7.04
News briefs... Jeff Foust reviews
in Space by Gregg Klerkx - The Space Review - Mar.8.04 .
(Check out the recent Space
Show interview with Klerkx.) ...
... An overview of the Hubble
mission cancellation decision: Space
shuttle safety and the Hubble servicing mission by Dwayne Day -
The Space Review - Mar.8.04
Lunar monastaries ... The latest
chapter of the The
Rocket Company discusses some interesting possibilities
for lunar projects if the cost to low earth orbit falls to $200
Sci-Am alt.space article... Joan
Horvath of Takeoff
Technologies and Oklahoma
Spaceplanes has an article about private space ventures in the
April issue of Scientific American: Scientific
American Magazine - Upcoming Issue : Blastoffs on a Budget
- "Private ventures seeking to make access to space easy and
affordable see a big potential in small vehicles."
Mars news... More evidence
of liquid water on the surface once upon a time: Take
That Opportunity: Spirit Rover Finds Own Water To Play In - Space.com
... This article lays out
the evidence discovered at the Opportunity site: More
signs of water on ancient Mars: Opportunity rover finds further
evidence of wet martian past. - Nature - Mar.4.05 ...
... Some believe the discovery
will be tremendously significant in many ways: Icarus
Rising: Why the Discovery of Water on Mars Is Great Turning Point
in Human History By Michael S. Malone - ABCNEWS.com- Mar.5.04
... The multi-talented Rovers
also can do astronomy: Martian
Moon Captured Crossing the Sun by Opportunity Rover - Space.com
News briefs ... I'm waiting
to hear about today's launch attempts by the rocketry groups at
San Diego State
University and Cal
State at Long Beach. Here's a nice article about the SDU program:
students at SDSU hope to soar sky-high today - SignOnSanDiego.com
- Mar.6.04 ...
... More about the IMAX Moon
Hanks & IMAX Team for Magnificent Desolation - Coming Soon!
- Mar.3.04 ...
... Students build Space Station
build space station mockups:NASA has HUNCH program will inspire
interest in science - Huntsville Times - Mar.5.04...
... Arizona State University
students learn what it takes to build, launch, and operate satellites:
build satellites: Program at ASU is taking off - AzCentral.com -
... The Space
Foundation releases the monthly publication: SpaceWatch
- Space Foundation Newsletter
News briefs ... Lunar mission
artifacts included in space memorabilia auction: "Moon,
astronaut artifacts to be sold" - collectSPACE - Mar.4.04
... An unusual interview with
a co-founder of the L5
On Meme Street: Keith Henson in Conversation with R.U. Sirius -
The NeoFiles - 2004 ...
... Amateur astronomers convert
webcams into low cost telescope cameras: Webcam
Imagers Gather for Q-2004 - Sky and Telescope - Mar.1.04 (more
... Space experiences available
now for the public are listed in The
'final frontier' is closer than you think - USATODAY.com - Feb.4.04.
NASA's short term memory problems... Back
I discussed this article -
It Doesn't Take a Rocket Scientist - Popular Science - Feb.04 issue
- by Constance
Adams. I noticed today that both NASA
Watch and spacetoday.net
have links to it so I will mention it here again since she offers
some very interesting criticisms and recommendations for NASA.
She particularly focuses on NASA's inability to build on, or even
to archive, previous work and the knowledge gained. Projects are
started, progress is made, the projects either reach completion
or, too often, are canceled for reasons other than technical failure,
and then the teams are dispersed, along with a great deal of what
Shipping costs... Rand Simberg
posts a story from Dan DeLong (XCOR)
about the differences in costs between government and commercial
work for the case of a submersible vehicle: Apples
To Apples - Transterrestrial Musings - Mar.4.04. The same price
inflation undoubtedly holds for space hardware as well.
Space prizes catch on... Congress
seems to be awakening to the power of monetary incentives: House
approves asteroid awards act - Space Politics - Mar.3.04. This
NASA exploration office charts new procurement territory - Government
Executive Magazine - Mar.3.04 - discusses the Centennial
Challenge prize program included in the new space initiative.
It isn't easy but occasionally a radical idea pushed by space activists
for a long time eventually gets taken seriously. (Other ideas for
which the giggles are gone include space tourism and a commercial
suborbital RLV industry.)
IMAX space films... Tom Hanks
has appeared in one IMAX film - the Apollo
13 IMAX version - and next year he will narrate another one:
Supports New Imax® 3-D Film Project With Tom Hanks And Lockheed
Martin - NASA - Mar.3.04:
The film will take the audience to the surface of the moon, to
the Ocean of Storms, the Fra Mauro Highlands and the Taurus Littrow
Valley, as well as the Sea of Tranquility, as only IMAX® 3-D cameras
can. "Magnificent Desolation" continues IMAX's space film legacy
and its unique production partnership with Lockheed Martin and
Note that a Mars
IMAX movie is also expected for late 2004. See Return
to the moon in 3-D - Alan Boyle: Cosmic Log - Mar.3.04
Space tourism points... Space
Adventures announces a deal with American Express that lets card
holders apply bonus points towards SA's programs including suborbital
spaceflights (20M points): The
Membership Rewards Program From American Express Lets Cardmembers
Rocket Into Orbit Through Space Adventures Ltd. - Space Adventures-
News briefs... More space views
for your desktop: JPL
... Pressure on NASA to save
the Hubble isn't going away: Hubble
resolution introduced in House - Space Politics - Mar.4.04
Sundials on the web... The
EarthDial Project, sponsored by the Planetary
Society, now provides a world
webcam map that shows sundials at various points on earth, including
Antarctica. There are also two Dials
on Mars. (Via Alan
Boyle: Cosmic Log )
Lunar news... NASA begins to
develop concrete plans for lunar exploration and development: NASA
Goes Lunar: Robot Craft, Human Outpost Plans - Space.com - Mar.3.04
... While researchers develop
lunar concrete: UAH
tests moon dust in concrete: Lunar dust should mix well with Earth
cement, scientist says - Huntsville Times - Mar.2.04 (via spacetoday.net)
Mars role playing ... Check
out the web based role playing games at Outpost
8 - Mars colony in 2040 and The
Mars Game. (Via Martian
Saving space history... The
restoration has begun for the Saturn V that has sat near the entrance
to the Johnson Space Center since 1977: "Funds
sought to restore Saturn V" - collectSPACE - Mar.1.04...
... Unfortunately, the Saturn
launch tower may not get similar treatment.
News briefs... A first hand
report on a recent space panel discussion is given at Georgetown
Space Policy Panel Report by Chuck Divine - Transterrestrial Musings
... The 2004 speaker series
hosted by the International
Association of Space Entrepreneurs (IASE) begins with Eric
Anderson, Co-Founder and CEO, Space Adventures in a live onstage
interview by Miles O-Brien of CNN - Space Adventures - Mar.2.04...
...While most eyes are on the
Mars rovers, other space missions begin: Rosetta
begins its 10-year journey to the origins of the Solar System -
ESA Portal - Mar.2.04
Space wallpaper... I noticed
that the Rosetta mission web
site provides wallpaper
for your PC desktop. ESA, in fact, offers wallpapers
for many of its missions.
See here also the Space
Wallpapers list from many other sources.
SciTech: Bubble fusion is
back in the news: Experts
Say New Desktop Fusion Claims Seem More Credible - NY Times - Mar.3.04
Fusion - AIP - Mar.2.04.
More detail in this article: Evidence
Bubbles Over to Support Tabletop Nuclear Fusion Device - Ascribe
- Mar.2.04. For a brief intro to the topic, see Sonoluminescence:
an Introduction - LLNL
There were a lot criticisms of the initial study (Taleyarkhan
et al., Evidence for Nuclear Emissions During Acoustic Cavitation
- Science - March.5.02 ) released two years ago: Skepticism
Greets Claim of Bubble Fusion - Physics Today - Apr.02. However,
this new work seems to overcome many of the shortcomings of that
Note that even if there are fusions occurring in the bubbles, that
by no means that such a device will ever exceed breakeven (i.e.
producing more energy out than goes in). Even if it doesn't, it
still might provide a useful source of neutrons for applications
in medicine and other areas.
Note that Farnsworth Fusor
devices have produced fusion neutrons for decades but no one has
found a way to make one that gets even close to breakeven. They
do make for an interesting student
Sometime in the past, a wet & wild
Mars ... Rover
reveals region of Mars once drenched in water - spacetoday.net -
More Mars news... The atmosphere
looks interesting too: Hydrogen
Peroxide Detected in Mars' Atmosphere - SpaceRef - Mar.1.04
... Mars comsats facilitate
contact with rovers: How
the Mars Rovers Phone Home - Wired - Mar.2.04
Paper space models bonanza...
Check out the big selection of rockets and other space related paper
models including the Mars rovers at the MER
and other paper model kits page of Volkssterrenwacht
Philippus Lansbergen (via Martian
AMSAT spotlight... Wired provides
a nice article about the OSCAR-11
amateur/student satellite: Last-Minute
Satellite Turns 20 - Wired - Mar.2.04
News briefs... Frank Sietzen
begins a series on NASA's plans for implementing the new initiative:
Planning Steps To Moon, Mars by Frank Sietzen - UPI/SpaceDaily -
... Some grants are going out
to small companies to support the development of new manned spacecraft:
designing for manned spacecraft: Two federal grants give the go-ahead
to the local company developed by two of the first Biospherians.
- Tuscon Citizen - Feb.19.04 (See more at Paragon
Space Development) ...
... Occasionally you here a
commentator recite the canard that "to make a small fortune
in the space industry, start with a large fortune." Well, these
guys showed that one can make very big fortunes in the space industry:
Guys Among the Wealthiest - SkyREPORT.com - Mar.2.04 ...
... I recently mentioned
the space music of the band Deep
Purple. Looks like another classic rock band has space
Reaches New Heights Talking With Astronaut - NASA - Jan.29.04
News briefs... What has Opportunity
Headquarters Mars-Rover Opportunity Press Briefing on March 2 -
NASA - Mar.1.04. The press release says the briefing will report
on "Significant findings from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover
Opportunity, now exploring Meridiani Planum on Mars." My wild
guess is that it involves water. ...
.... One of my favorite space
tunes is now available on line: Witnesses'
Waltz by Leslie Fish, lLead vocals by Kristoph Klover, (Real
Audio stream from Prometheus Music). The song is on the To
Touch the Stars album ...
... The Beagle
2 didn't land successfully on Mars but it did inspire some space
2 creates new space fans - The Independent - Mar.1.04...
... Jeff Foust recommends that
NASA incorporate commercial enterprises into the new space initiative
from the beginnning: Commercializing
the new space initiative - The Space Review - Mar.1.04
to February 2004 articles in archive