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The Space Log
Space for Everyone - October 2004

October.30.2004 Space News

News briefs ... Titan begins to reveal itself: Cassini radar peers through Titan clouds - spacetoday.net - Oct.29.04 ...

... More on space politics: Bush, Kerry differ on space: Moon program tussles with broader research goals - Florida Today - Oct.28.04


October.29.2004 Space News

News briefs ... Titan looks really interesting: Saturn moon geologically alive, probe shows: Cassini radar sees Titan's 'cat,' other detailed features - MSNBC - Oct.28.04 ...

... While Mars continues to amaze: Researchers detect methane on Mars - Univ. of Michigan - Oct.28.04.


October.28.2004 Space News

News briefs ... SpaceDev, a new generation space startup, continues to show progress in growing its business: SpaceDev awarded Phase II of $43 million MDA contract: Successful Completion of First Task Order; Second Task Order Exceeds $8 million - SpaceDev - Oct.26.04...

... Meanwhile, satellite radio is growing its business into new areas as well: Delphi, XM Unveil Handheld Satellite Radio Receiver - Washington Post - Oct.27.04 ...

... NASA's first, and possibly last, artist in residence debuts her space inspired music: Radical Populist: After a year with NASA, Laurie Anderson touches down in Miami - Miami New Times.com - Oct.28.04


October.26.2004 Space News

A Vision for Space... Joe Lennox began collecting space memorabilia in 1962 when he was just 9 years old and now has over 40,000 newspaper/magazine clippings on every US human spaceflight and "over 700 personal letters from astronauts, NASA managers and officials, government leaders, contractors, media people and other space luminaries." In addition he has space related lots of "patches, pens, buttons, checklists, pieces of hardware and countless other mementos."

He planned to pursue a career in aeronautics but a serious eye problem derailed his plans. Tthis did not derail his interest in space, though, and in the book Vision For Space : The Winding Journey Through Life and The Space Program As Seen By An Ordinary Joe by Joe Lennox - iUniverse Publishing he reviews the history of spaceflight from the perspective of an "ordinary Joe".

You can read a sample chapter at iUniverse Online Books. The book is available at Amazon.com (HS affiliate link.)

Titan art contest... The Planetary Society is sponsoring an art contest to "celebrate Huygens Encounter with Saturn's Moon Titan". Huygens Art Contest - The Planetary Society - Oct.25.04. Artists should submit work that suggests what what the space probe will reveal when the Huygens probe parachutes to the surface of Titan.

The contest offers two prizes, one for youth, ages 10-17 and the over for adults, ages 18 and older. Entries are due by November 28, 2004. The Grand Prize is a trip to Darmstadt, Germany to be on site at ESA's Space Operations Centre for the descent of the Huygens probe! The Planetary Society's Huygens Art Contest - Rules

News briefs... Dennis Wingo answers questions about his book Moonrush: Interview: Dennis Wingo, Author of Moonrush - Universe Today ...

... On Mars there may be underground caverns available for Life in a Lava Tube - Astrobiology Magazine - Oct.25.04 ...

... A policy statement on NASA - Space and Aeronautics for the 21st Century - is posted on the John Kerry website. (Via Space Politics: A Kerry space policy statement.)

The SpaceShow this week:

Tuesday October 26, 2004: 7-8:15pm Pacific Time - the Space Show features John Spencer, author of “Space Tourism: Do you Want To Go.” He "is a space architect, the founder and president of Red Planet Ventures, Inc., a well-known and respected architect and designer, as well as an exceptional space advocate and leader in the entrepreneurial space community...."

Sunday October 31, 2004, 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific Time - the Space Show features "Dr. Sam Dinkin, columnist with The Space Review. Dr. Dinkin is the Chief Economist at Optimal Auctions, Founder of SpaceShot, Inc., and on the Advisory Board of the Colony Fund. At the Space Review, he has striven to become the most controversial space columnist writing about property rights, humans vs. robotic exploration, Moon vs. Mars exploration, and suborbital business strategy. At Optimal Auctions he has advised buyers and sellers in auctions that have over $85 billion in cost of goods sold, only recently surpassed by eBay...."


October.25.2004 Space News

The election and space... Taylor Dinerman says this election could determine whether we head to the stars or not: The US election and the future of the solar system - The Space Review - Oct.25.04...

... If Bush is elected, the question becomes how best to do that: Implementing the vision by Sam Dinkin - The Space Review - Oct.25.04 ...

... If Kerry is elected, the only certainty is that the Shuttle program will be dropped as soon as possible: Draft Paper Provides Insight Into NASA Space Policy Options by Keith Cowing/NASA Watch - SpaceRef - Oct.24.04.

News briefs... Congratulations to the Brazilians for a successful rocket launch: Brazil launches rocket into space - BBC - Oct.24.04...

... Students in Florida plan to build their own two stage suborbital launcher: Florida students aim for space - The Spacearium - Oct.19.04...

... From this video, it appears that cat throwing could become a popular Zero-G sport (via Boing Boing)...

... Learn physics for flying at Cockpit Physics- Physics Instruction for the Twenty-First Century - US Air Force...

... Satellite answers TV's call for help: FCC Investigating TV's Trigger of Satellite Search System - Space News/Space.com - Oct.25.04 (It probably wanted to be rescued from all those political commercials!)

SciTech news briefs... A neural network created from living neurons: Uf Scientist: 'Brain' In A Dish Acts As Autopilot, Living Computer - UF News - Oct.21.04 *
Is That a Pilot in Your Pocket? - Wired - Oct.23.04 ...

... Ultra hi-res displays (30-40 megapixels) may be more practical and cheaper than expected: New display 'as clear as a glossy magazine' - New Scientist - Oct.25.04


October.24.2004 Space News

Space activists gatherings... Two space advocacy meetings will take place this month. The Students for the Development of Space (SEDS) is sponsoring a conference at MIT: SpaceVision2004 Conference @ MIT on November 11th-14th. More info here: SEDS-USA Revives its National Student Space Conference - SpaceRef - Oct.22.04.

Also, the Huntsville Alabama L5 Society chapter of the National Space Society will host Exploring and Privateering Space Conference in Huntsville on Nov.12-14. They call it "a public gathering of space leaders and enthusiasts."

Hearing Titan... A microphone on the doomed Mars Polar Lander never had a chance to send us sounds from another world but maybe the microphone on the Huygens probe will have better luck: The Sounds of Titan - SpaceRef - Oct.22.04.

SciTech: supersonic bizjets... On October 11th the Wall Street Journal had a surprising article about a couple of serious projects to develop supersonic business jets. One of the projects plans to use sonic boom suppression techniques so that it could legally fly supersonic over land. The article required a subscription, however, so I didn't link to it.

Now it's nice to see that AvWeek has posted an article on the projects: Two Groups Vie To Develop Supersonic Business Jets - Aviation Week - Oct.18.04 (Tip via HS reader A. Janes). It will be interesting to see if one or both of these projects actually develop a practical vehicle.


October.22.2004 Space News

Space election ... Alan Boyle is running a sci-fi short story contest at his Cosmic Log web site. The theme of the stories for the "Red, White and Bluetopia" contest should express "positive sci-fi visions of the future, based on the policies of your favorite candidate." He later expanded this to include "none-of-the-above" for polices that don't align with either party.

Here are links to the stories and instructions on how to cast a ballot for your choice of the best vision:

ESA Student satellite... The European Space Agency is sponsoring a satellite assembled from modules built by students from the ESA member states:
Built via the internet, student satellite coming to life at ESA-ESTEC - ESA Portal - Oct.19.04.

See the S.S.E.T.I. - Student Space Exploration & Technology Initiative for more info and you can monitor progress via their WebCam.


October.21.2004 Space News

Cosmonaut opera... Australian composer David Chesworth and librettist Tony MacGregor have created Cosmonaut - An Opera in Four Orbits, inspired by the fate of Soviet cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, who was in orbit as the USSR fell apart. The work made its debut at the Melbourne International Arts Festival - 7 to 23 October 2004:

Cosmonaut - an opera in four orbits
Festival Enews Issue #20 - 20 October 2004

Cosmonaut is a new Australian opera by Melbourne based composer David Chesworth inspired by the fate of Soviet cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, who was in orbit as the USSR fell apart. Not only is the setting for this work interesting, but the music itself will appeal to an audience not necessarily associating themselves as opera goers. Chesworth’s score is typically rich in content and eclectic in instrumental approach, especially in the daring and unusual use of pedal steel guitar normally reserved exclusively for quality country music.

Following is a note from the Composer David Chesworth about this inventive new work.


Cosmonaut is based on recent historical events that were, at the time, well documented in the media. I remember waking to hear live radio reports from ABC reporter Monica Attard as she witnessed the noisy crowds in Moscow during the attempted military coup in 1991. This was a time of gripping radio reportage. In Australia we were listening to variety of vocalising crowds from around the world: the sounds of protesting in Moscow and Berlin, rioting in India and celebrating in Australia. These transmissions of the human voice were powerful expressions of the radical shifts in the political temperatures of the time.

In my approach to creating a sound score for Cosmonaut, it was appealing to situate the composition in the mediated world of transmissions and broadcasts, where audio and images arrive into our own territory from elsewhere: packaged, encoded and compressed. The sonic qualities of these recordings play on us in ways that song and musical gesture do not. The broadcasts illustrate mediated realities that, through the act of recording and transmission, have become altered in form, losing certain details and picking up new resonances. For me, perhaps the single, most powerful space transmission is that of a solitary voice: a radio transmission of Yuri Gagarin singing and whistling during the first manned space flight. If you listen carefully, you will hear his voice in Cosmonaut.

It is worth acknowledging that the ephemeral ‘unworldliness’ of outer space is the true home of electronic music. In composing Cosmonaut, it was impossible to avoid references to other compositions exploring musical ideas of outer space; from ethereal contemplations on the harmony of the spheres to the rich sonic possibilities of Louis & Bebe Barron’s extraordinary score for the film Forbidden Planet. There was also an abundance of scientific patterns and ratios to draw upon: mathematical formulas, algorithmic concepts and macro- and micro-worlds that attempt to describe how the cosmos works.

In composing with these rather heterogenous musical elements, I have employed a variety of idiosyncratic musical structures, translating contemporary realities into musical embodiments of people’s relationships to the world. I have tried to articulate a dialogue between past and future, shaped within the unruly world of the imagination, utilising various combinations of order and chaos, form and formlessness, and static and performative elements.

Further to this, I was interested in delaying the final stages of composition until all the creative personnel were on board. It was then that I could finally resolve the composition, in conjunction with the contributions of designers, choreographers, the Director and, importantly, the performers.

Melbourne International Arts Festival - 7 to 23 October 2004

A short clip of the music begins this interview (realaudio) with composer David Chesworth and librettist Tony MacGregor on the The Music Show - October 16, 2004 (starts at 39 minutes into the show).

More info at

News briefs....Haven't heard much about space burial launches for quite awhile but apparently Celestis is still in business: Space Memorial Service Puts Ashes into Orbit - AP/Space.com - Oct.20.04 ...

... I came across this interesting set of reviews of space opera books: The Spectrum of Space Opera - The Agony Column - Oct.3.02 - Commentary by Rick Kleffel ...

... Satellite comsats are taken for granted but this article gives an idea of how crucial they are to the UK's, and to the whole world's, communications infrastructure: Dishes keeping the UK connected - BBC - Oct.15.04 ...

... The new biography of astronaut Story Musgrave's is reviewed in Astronaut's bio different from usual histories - Florida Today - Oct.13.04 ...

... Keith Cowing asks some interesting questions of astronauts on the ISS: Transcript of a NASAWatch.com Interview with NASA Astronauts Fincke and Chiao aboard the International Space Station - SpaceRef - Oct.19.04...

... I thought the funding for the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) had been eliminated but obviously not: NASA researchers investigate way-out ideas: 'Crazy' projects look decades into the future - Alan Boyle/MSNBC - Oct.21.04

SciTech briefs... More about those neat microturbines: Miniature jet engines could power cellphones - New Scientist - Oct.20.04 ...

... Video conferencing and videophoning over the Internet is growing steadily: Can You See Me Now?: Thanks to voice-over-IP, videoconferencing--the eternal technology of tomorrow--once again appears to be on the verge of success. - Technology Review - Oct.21.04...

... Segway offers modular mobility for your AI box: Rise of the Robots: Segway Platform Gives Mechanoids Motion - Space.com - Oct.20.04


October.19.2004 Space News

News briefs... The ARISS - Amateur Radio on the International Space Station organization has begun an innovative and unusual project to turn a surplus space suit on the ISS into a free-flying satellite: ARISS International Delegates Ponder "SuitSat" Possibilities - ARRLWeb - Oct.19.04 (Via spacetoday.net)...

... Harrison Schmitt reports on how the Moon, planets and asteroids can provide resources for use in space and on earth: Mining The Moon by Harrison Schmitt - Popular Mechanics - Oct. 2004 Cover Story

News briefs ... More from Jeff Foust on the recent space policy debate in Washington: The great (well, ok) space debate - The Space Review - Oct.18.04 ...

... Something else to worry about: Unseen comets may raise impact risk for Earthbreaking: Thousands of dark objects could be hiding in our Solar System - news @ nature.com - Oct.18.04. And yet another reason to have a robust and able infrastructure IN space.

SciTech briefs... Now here's a new idea: micro-turbines to run your PDA: Power on a Chip: Batteries are heavy and inconvenient. Their successors could be tiny jet engines that provide more than enough power for cell phones and PDAs. - Technology Review - Technology Review - Oct.18.04 ...

... Gee, maybe Reagan was on to something after all: New trees cancel out air pollution cuts - New Scientist - Oct.17.04

The SpaceShow this week:

Tuesday October 19, 2004, 7-8:15 pm Pacific Time - Space Show features the return of Jim Benson, Founding Chairman and Chief Executive of SpaceDev, a publicly traded space development and exploration company. He "will be discussing new projects and the SpaceDev participation in the X-Prize flights with SpaceShipOne."

Sunday October 24, 2004, 12:00-1:30 pm Pacific Time - the Space Show features David A. Micheletti, President of the Montana Aerospace Development Association (MADA), which "is involved in "several major aerospace/defense technology development programs, including the MARIAH II Hypersonic Wind Tunnel Program [...] is the nation’s only program developing a true-air hypersonic wind tunnel."

The recent show with Dennis Wingo is now on line.


October.18.2004 Space News

Space software ... The company lRITI (Reading Information Technology Inc.) offers several impressive space related programs. These include:

  • Lunar Map Pro was "designed and built on a (GIS) Geographic Information System, providing pin-point navigational accuracy, Lunar Map Pro offers high-resolution maps, designed to meet the most demanding requirements of both armchair and observational astronomers." See the Cloudy Nights Review of Lunar Map Pro.

  • Celestial Explorer: Mars with 3D view, a "powerful GIS mapping software features the latest NASA high-definition digital maps combined with the most up-to-date geology data. Extraordinary real-time and customizable 3D visualizations place you on the surface of the planet."

News briefs... Laurie Anderson debuts her work commissioned by NASA: Artistic residency with NASA leads to 'End of the Moon' - Richmond TimesDispatch.com - Oct.17.04 ...

... Lots of aerodynamics tutorial info available with the Aerodynamics Index at the Aviation Intranet.


October.15.2004 Space News

News briefs ... A whole new kind of space radio hobby: Car computer hobbyists hack XM Radio - CNET News.com - Oct.14.04 ...

... Speaking of space broadcasting, here is a non-technical introduction to digital satellite TV: How It Works: Satellite TV Spreads Its Signals Across the Landscape - The New York Times - Oct.15.04...

... A new TV network dedicated to science issues debuts: Science Network. (Seems to be available only online for most people)...

... The WTN X PRIZE program that will offer prizes to motivate research in areas outside of space is getting lots of attention: Spawn of X Prize on Horizon - Wired News - Oct.15.04 * X-Prize for world's 'Holy Grails' - BBC - Oct.15.04 ...

... What a marvelous time to be a researcher in planetary science: Mars Reconsidered: New Data Raises Fresh Questions by Leonard David - Space.com - Oct.15.04

Global Warming Bombshell: A prime piece of evidence linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics. - Technology Review - Oct.15.04

Science brief: The hockey stick gets wacked... Scientist Richard Muller is no ideologue of the right wing (or of the left for that matter) so when he questions one of the fundamental results in climate research that ties CO2 buildup to increasing worldwide tempeatures, he has to be taken seriously: Global Warming Bombshell: A prime piece of evidence linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics. - Technology Review - Oct.15.04

See the second plot in Global-scale temperature patterns and climate forcings over the past six centuries: A comment - by McIntyre and McKitrick (pdf) . The hockey stick (bottom) just becomes a stick (top) when the analysis is done in the least biased manner.

News briefs ... A debate on the space policy of the next administration took place yesterday in DC. Read the reviews at: Debate notes by Jeff Foust - Space Politics - Oct.14.04 and Debating Space: A Tale of Two Policies - One Real, One TBD by Keith Cowing - SpaceRef - Oct.14.04 ...

.,. Alan Boyle says there is renewed interest in space and rocket related TV shows in the wake of the X PRIZE success: Space TV renewal - Alan Boyle/Cosmic Log - Oct.14.04....

.,. Apparently the Japanese talent for undercutting the price tags of American vehicles has not yet displayed itself in the high power rocketry market: Rocket targets 'luxury hobbyists' - CNN.com - Oct 5, 2004


October.14.2004 Space News

Space sci-fi musical... The ESA and the Swiss space agency are sponsoring the musical Space Dream Saga II, whose web site says is a

"fascinating space-age fairy tale suitable for the entire family. The story unfolds in a musical filled with wonderful songs, thrilling dance routines, fantastic costumes, a breathtaking laser light show and all topped off with a mind-blowing surround-sound system."

According to this article - Space Dream Saga - ESA Portal - Germany - Oct.11.04 (try the Google German-English translator) - over 620,000 people saw Space Dream Saga I.

News briefs... A new crew heads for the Space Station: Soyuz launched to ISS - spacetoday.net - Oct.14.04...

... ZERO-G seems to be finding riders of all ages (though one oldster thought it should be something only for youngsters) : Thrill Seekers Pay Big Bucks for Zero Gravity - FOXNews.com - Oct.13.04...

...In July I mentioned a music video tribute to the Columbia crew called To Fly, which won a Telly Award. Brad Sayles, who created the video, came across my item about this and sent me a link to the site of Fusion Productions. The company produced the video and also has made a number of space related training and educational films and videos that are distributed on DVDs, CD-ROMS and video tapes.


October.12.2004 Space News

News briefs ... Here are links to several articles about space vehicle designer Max Faget, who died on October 10th:

... Alan Boyle reports that Lance Bass my yet find a way to the ISS: Celebrity spaceflights - Alan Boyle/Cosmic Log - Oct.11.04

Opening space - step by step ... The December issue of Analog: Science Fiction and Fact Magazine (available now in October for some reason) includes an interesting article in the science fact section called Focusing Visions and Goals for Opening Space written by astrophysicist Yoji Kondo and William Gaubatz, who managed the DC-X project.

They lay out a set of goals for space development, such as a permanent presence on the Moon and the building of solar power satellites, and then discuss the steps needed to achieve those goals. The first step is the development of viable reusable space transport for accessing low earth orbit. Then interplanetary vehicles (used only in space) would provide transport to the Moon, Mars, and the asteroids. They discuss how private commercial companies and the government can work together to best achieve these goals..

(Item via R. Boozer.)

The SpaceShow this week:

Tuesday October 12, 2004 - The Space Show features Mike Lounge, former Space Shuttle astronaut and Sr. VP with SpaceHab, now the Director of Business Development leading Boeing’s efforts on The Vision for Space Exploration..

Sunday October 17, 2004, 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific Time - the Space Show "features Dennis Wingo, author and CTO of Orbital Recovery Corporation. Mr. Wingo is also President of Skycorp, Inc. He is a 22-year veteran of the computer, academic, and space communities and was an integral force in the use of commercial systems for use in space and flew the first MacIntosh on the Space Shuttle as experiment controller. Orbital Recovery Corporation is developing a way to extend the life of satellites by up to ten years or more and SkyCorp Inc. has developed a patented approach to the development of highly capable spacecraft manufactured on orbit on the Space Shuttle or International Space Station..."


October.9.2004 Space News

News briefs ... The ZERO-G company starts flying passengers from the general public: Starting today, fliers gain chance to float - Florida Today - Oct.9.04. They have "sold about two dozen fully-booked flights" so far but mostly to corporate groups....

... On his RocketForge weblog, Michael Mealling is posting summaries of talks given at this weekends Space Frontier Conference....

... I've often wondered if drugs developed for bone loss from diseases such as osteoporosis would work for astronauts working in a microgravity environment. Sounds like one such drug may be tested in space: Drug may keep astronauts' bones strongbreaking science news headlines: Annual injection could allow prolonged space missions. - news @ nature.com - Oct.7.04 ...

... A rather exotically dressed visitor at the recent SS1 launch was a fellow named Stan Kent. I've heard a rumor that he provided some funding for the X PRIZE. Turns out that Mr. Kent was something of a rocket prodigy: Rocket Science Webwall. ...

... The National Air and Space Museum has opened a gallery of aircraft and spacecraft art: New Art Exhibition Takes Flight at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum - NASM - Sept.28.04 * Air and space museum opens art gallery - Boston.com/AP - Oct.7.04 ...

... The International Association of Space Entrepreneurs has posted it's latest newsletter: IASE Quarterly Newsletter - Volume II, Number III


October.7.2004 Space News

Renting a Mars station... The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in south central Utah was developed by the Mars Society to develop tools and techniques for Mars exploration and settlement. It is currently used from December to May by a series of teams that come for periods of a week or two to test various technologies and methods in a realistic Mars habitat simulation.

Peter Kokh is the new president of the Moon Society and he is initiating a project in which the Moon Society will rent the MDRS to carry out simulations of lunar settlements: Renting the Mars Desert Research Station for Moon Outpost Exercises - Moon Society.

Kokh, by the way, has been the long time editor of the Moon Miners Manifesto newsletter, which provides articles and news on technologies, concepts and experiments for lunar exploration and development.

Space tourism course... Robert Goehlich wants me to remind you about his space tourism class now starting at Keio University in Japan. You can attend it via the web:


"...after the Ansari X Prize is won, there are many new challenging tasks for space tourism. Why not join 'Space Tourism II life-broadcasted Lecture' and share your ideas? It takes you only about 5-10 minutes to setup your computer. You are welcome to join as a passive online member (just watch occasionally like 'TV style'), an active online member (communicate with classroom and join 'Space Tourism Market Simulation' Game) or online speaker (you like to give a presentation). Please let me know your wish when you register. Login at: www.robert-goehlich.de."

X PRIZES for other challenges... Inspired by the success of the X PRIZE, the WTN X PRIZES program will use prizes as motivators for innovations in other areas. The WTN (World Technology Network) is an organization that seeks to promote technological advancement.

A press briefing to answer further questions about the WTN X PRIZE concept will be held in the Fairmont Hotel (San Francisco) at 1:00pm on Thursday, October 7, 2004, during the WTN's 2004 World Technology Summit.

The SpaceShow this week:

Tuesday October 5, 2004 - The Space Show featured Kevin Greene, a well known and highly respected space activist, investor, and proponent of space settlement and economic development was the guest on this edition of The Space Show. ..." This interview is now available from the archive.

Sunday October 10, 2004, 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific Time - the Space Show will present t "the taped interview with Dr. Michael Duke, Director of the Center for Commercial Applications of Combustion in Space at the Colorado School of Mines, a NASA Space Commercialization Center. Dr. Duke has 40 years in space science and lunar exploration. He has worked at Johnson Space Center for 25 years as Lunar Sample Curator, Chief of the Solar System Exploration Division, and Chief Scientist for the JSC Human Exploration office. ..."

The complete recording of the SpaceShow broadcast of the second SpaceShipOne X PRIZE flight on October 4th is now available in the archve. The broadcast for the first flight on September 29th is also available.

News briefs... Satellite distribution of movies in digitized form looks to be a growing market: Lions Gate to use satellite distribution system: The Final Cut 'the perfect picture to showcase groundbreaking innovation' - Vancouver Sun - Oct.3.04...

... Tech moguls are funding space development: Geeks in space - CNET - Oct.6.04...

... ArianeSpace will offer the chance for fifty countries to launch a nanosat: Arianespace to launch 50 nanosatellites in historic mission - Arianespace - Oct.6.04


October.2.2004 Space News

Space software... Udo Mark offers his high-precision digital astronomical software clock program called MAXCLOCK as freeware....

... Freefall is a satellite tracking program that is quite impressive according to Keith Cowing. Full version on sale from XtremeMac.

News briefs... Check out the web cams from the NASA Haughton-Mars Project and the Arthur C. Clarke Mars Greenhouse on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic...

... Amateurs in many areas are making big innovations according to this article: Amateur Revolution: From astronomy to computing, networks of amateurs are displacing the pros and spawning some of the greatest innovations. - Fast Company - Oct.04....

... Satellite radio continues to rise in popularity and stock price: When Models Explode [Commentary on XM & Sirius satellite radio] - Fool.com - Oct.1.04 ...

... Searching for life all over space: The Genesis Project - The New York Times Magazine - Sept.26.04

Mars volunteers... The Mars Society is calling for volunteers for the Mars Desert Research Station

Volunteers Needed For MDRS Crews: Hard Work, No Pay, Eternal Glory
September 29, 2004

Call for Volunteers: The Mars Society is requesting volunteers to participate as members of the crew of the Mars Desert Research Station in southern Utah during extended simulations of human Mars exploration operations. The upcoming Mars Desert Research Station field season will begin in December 2004 and run through April 2005.

Volunteers should state clearly what segment of MDRS field season span they are available. Both volunteer investigators who bring with them a proposed program of research of their own compatible with the objectives of the MDRS and those simply wishing to participate as members of the crew supporting the investigations of others will be considered. Research proposals which focus the effort of or require selection as a team of up to the full six-person crew will also be considered.

The Mars Society will be issuing an additional call for volunteers for the summer 2005 field season of the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Devon Island later. However those volunteering for MDRS at this time may also volunteer for FMARS 2005. FMARS crew selection is highly competitive, and prior experience at MDRS, while not strictly required, is considered to be an important credential for FMARS selection. In 2004, for example, 6 out of 7 FMARS crew members had prior MDRS experience.

Applications will be considered from anyone in good physical condition between 18 and 65 years of age without regard to race, creed, color, gender, or nation. Scientific, engineering, practical mechanical, wilderness, and literary skills are all considered a plus. Dedication to the cause of human Mars exploration is an absolute must, as conditions are likely to be tough and the job will be very trying. Those selected will be required to participate in certain crew training exercises and to act under crew discipline and strict mission protocols during the simulations.

All of those selected will also be required to sign a liability waiver. The Mars Society will pay travel and related expenses from Salt Lake City, Utah during training and simulation, but there will be no salary. Volunteers will need to pay their own travel expenses to Salt Lake City. Applications including resume, character references, and a brief letter explaining why you wish to participate should be sent to Mars Society, PO Box 273, Indian Hills, CO 80454. Total length of applications should not exceed 3 pages. Please include 3 copies.

Submission deadline for the first round of MDRS selections is October 31, 2004. Applications submitted after that date will be considered for openings as they become available.

Further information about the MDRS and FMARS programs is available at the Mars Society website at www.marssociety.org and in the book, "Mars on Earth," by Robert Zubrin (Tarcher Penguin 2003) available at amazon.com.

Astronaut Story Musgrave's biography is being released this month. Story: The Way of Water by Anne Lenehan tells how he overcame a very tough childhood to become one of NASA's most space-traveled astronauts. From the flyer:

Story Musgrave has an insatiable passion for life. From his childhood on a dairy farm in western Massachusetts, to payload commander on the Hubble Space Telescope rescue mission, share Story’s incredible physical and spiritual journey as he relates to the world, and the universe, around him.

Based on a thematic biographical style, this intimate portrait of one of the world’s greatest thinkers, explorers and aviators is revealed through the eyes of Story himself, his family, friends and colleagues.

Story is an American hero, renaissance man and arguably, NASA’s greatest unofficial spokesperson - certainly one of the few with real vision and authenticity

Here's a review posted at collectSpace, which also sells autographed copies.

Singular thriller...I've been informed about the book Singularity, which has a plot built on the physics of micro-black holes:

Singularity is a Crichton-esque thriller with mass appeal dealing with the 1908 Tunguska event and modern times. Scientists and science fiction writers are taking note of DeSmedt’s Singularity. Caltech astrophysicist and author of the national bestselling Black Holes and Time Warps Kip Thorn said, “I very much enjoyed Bill DeSmedt's Singularity. Bill got the vast majority of the physics right, which is highly unusual — especially in a book that is such a good read.” Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Dune: The Battle Of Corrin, says “Singularity juggles Clancy, Crichton, and The Da Vinci Code. An innovative concept for an end-of-the-world thriller, with convincing research and locomotive pacing."

Here's a review and the publisher's page.


October.1.2004 Space News

More commercial space progress... Looks like Orbital Recovery, the space tug firm founded by Walt Anderson, Dennis Wingo, and others, is close to its first major deal to use its tug to extend the life of a satellite running out of station-keeping fuel: First space tug deal 'on cards' - BBC - Sept.30.04.

The company is based in Britain and has several partners that are major European aerospace players such as Arianespace and Snecma. (See this pdf fact sheet.)...

... Orbimage emerged from bankruptcy just last December and now has won a $500M government deal: ORBIMAGE wins NextView contract - spacetoday.net - Sept.30.04

Space around the world... The World Space Week celebration is set for Oct.4-10. See the highlights, which include events in some 50 countries. Lance Bass is serving again as Youth Spokesperson. Lance Bass Brings Excitement of Spaceflight to School Children in Los Angeles During World Space Week 2004 - Business Wire - Sept.29.04.

Big asteroid flies by ... Toutatis came by but thankfully we didn't have a too close encounter: See Video of Huge Asteroid Flying Past Earth Today - Space.com - Sept.29.04


Continue to September 2004 articles in archive

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