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The Space Log
Space for Everyone - March 2004

Mar.31.2004 Space News

News briefs... The Mars Society creates a task force to focus on political issues: The 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 ...

.... Orbimage, which recently emerge from bankruptcy, seems to be recovering well:
ORBIMAGE Ramps Up Operations for 2004 and Expands Staff - Orbimage - Mar.30.04 * ORBIMAGE 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 Hubble 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

Mar.30.2004 Space News

The SpaceShow this week:

Tuesday, March 30, 2004, live 7-8:15PM PST - Space Show features Robert 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 like Orbital 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: Hobbyists, 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."

News briefs... 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 missions: Space 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 - Mar.29.04...

... 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

Mar.29.2004 Space News

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 meeting: Selling 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.

The Rocket Company serialization 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: Probe 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.

Mar.28.2004 Space News

Mars metabolizers? Short lived methane in the atmosphere of Mars would need replenishing- Methane 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."

Intriguing indeed...

Space music... Siddhartha Barnhoorn, a composer in the Netherlands, has completed his ambitious Opus 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 section.

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 and articles."

(This item came via a HobbySpace reader.)

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 line now.

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

Mar.26.2004 Space News

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 place.

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 own use."

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 - Mar.26.04.

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 (via NASAWatch)

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 making progress:

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.

Mar.25.2004 Space News

ISS tourist ... Keith Cowing reports that Space Adventures will announce on March 29th that it has arranged a tourist flight to the ISS this October for Gregory Olsen, president and CEO of Sensors Unlimited Inc.

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, the Allen 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 Sun Rings composition, which was commissioned by NASA and had its premier 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 about it.

Mar.24.2004 Space News

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 and Politics of Water: Ancient Sea on Mars Begs Human Exploration - Space.com - Mar.24.04

What this means with regard to past life on Mars is discussed in Salty 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 minute: NASA dusts historic launch tower - Florida Today - Mar.24.04. The savethelut.org 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 by BankStreetBooks for an award in the category of childrens history books.

Mar.23.2004 Space News

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 Live365.com 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 development sketches

The Sunday Space Show. March 28, 2004 at 12-1:30PM Pacific Time willfeatures Andrew Chaikin, author of A Man on The Moon.

”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 in 1998".

More about Adams and Chaikin on the Spaceshow news page.

Space sponsorship progress... Over in RLV 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 (via spacetoday.net)

Mar.22.2004 Space News

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 worth it.

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

Mar.20.2004 Space News

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 ...

Mar.19.2004 Space News

New NSS Chief... The National Space Society announced the selection of a new Executive Director yesterday: George 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 new Space 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: The sound of science - CNET News.com - Mar.18.04 ...

... Speaking of audio, the Vocera company has developed a communicator right out of TNG: Your Trekkie Communicator Is Ready - Forbes.com - Mar.16.04

Mar.18.2004 Space News

News briefs... Another warning shot: Earth 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 it? ...

... 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 Desert Research Station.

Mar.17.2004 Space News

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, and relativity.

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 task: Creature 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 * Broadband and the Role of Satellite Services - Frost & Sullivan - Mar.04 (pdf)

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 program: British Mars Mission Criticized by Spending Group - Space.com - Mar.16.04

Mar.16.2004 Space News

The SpaceShow tonight 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 article 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 Lunar Prospector 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 the Activism section.

Nice to see that Dr. Binder has written a book about the project - Lunar 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.

Yuri's Night 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 Yuri's Night Music.

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 geologic formations 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 of Mars.

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 : Most 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

Mar.15.2004 Space News

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 far. Mars 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 provider VOOM joins DirecTV and Echostar/Dish 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 table.)

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

Mar.14.2004 Space News

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 * A 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

Mar.12.2004 Space News

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.

In astronomy 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... The Colorado 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 partnership: Not 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 space: Outbreak 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

Mar.11.2004 Space News

House hearing... NASA Watch has posted the testimonies of witnesses at yesterday's House 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: Out-of-this-World job opportunities await college students at Space Foundation's free Space Career Fair [Mar.30.04] - Space Foundation - Mar.10.04

Mar.10.2004 Space News

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 their Perspectives on the President's Vision for Space Exploration: (Link via Joan Horvath)

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 it: Carnegie 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

Mar.9.2004 Space News

News briefs ... Rand Simberg reports on Greg Klerkx's book: The Fall Of NASA? - Transterrestrial Musings - Mar.8.04 ...

... This should be a cool experience: NASA 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 (via spacetoday.net)

... Space nuclear rising again: Work on how to use nuclear power in space heating up at Marshall: Project Prometheus looks for new ways to power voyages - Huntsville Times - Mar.8.04

Sci-Tech: New briefs... The term light panel has a nice sci-fi, Star Treky ring to it: GE 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 * Using 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 - Feb.28.04

Mar.8.2004 Space News

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 Lost 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

Mar.6.2004 Space News

The Rocket Company - Chapter 19

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 per pound.

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 - Mar.5.04....

... 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 - Mar.5.04

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: Rocketry students at SDSU hope to soar sky-high today - SignOnSanDiego.com - Mar.6.04 ...

... More about the IMAX Moon movie: Tom Hanks & IMAX Team for Magnificent Desolation - Coming Soon! - Mar.3.04 ...

... Students build Space Station lockers: Students 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: Students build satellites: Program at ASU is taking off - AzCentral.com - Mar.6.04 ...

... The Space Foundation releases the monthly publication: SpaceWatch - Space Foundation Newsletter

Mar.5.2004 Space News

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 Society: Exile 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 links)...

... Space experiences available now for the public are listed in The 'final frontier' is closer than you think - USATODAY.com - Feb.4.04.

Mar.4.2004 Space News

NASA's short term memory problems... Back in January 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 they learned.

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 article - 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: NASA 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 NASA.

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- Mar.3.04

News briefs... More space views for your desktop: JPL Wallpaper ...

... Pressure on NASA to save the Hubble isn't going away: Hubble resolution introduced in House - Space Politics - Mar.4.04

Mar.3.2004 Space News

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 Soil)

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 - Mar.2.04...

... 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 * Bubble 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 work.

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 project.

Mar.2.2004 Space News

Sometime in the past, a wet & wild Mars ... Rover reveals region of Mars once drenched in water - spacetoday.net - Mar.2.04

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 Soil)

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: NASA Planning Steps To Moon, Mars by Frank Sietzen - UPI/SpaceDaily - Mar.1.04 ...

... Some grants are going out to small companies to support the development of new manned spacecraft: Paragon 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: Satellite 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 interests: Aerosmith Reaches New Heights Talking With Astronaut - NASA - Jan.29.04

Mar.1.2004 Space News

News briefs... What has Opportunity found? NASA 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 enthusiasm: Beagle 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

Continue to February 2004 articles in archive

HobbySpace News Articles Index 1999-2003


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