January 31, 2005
pm: Space ed briefs ... From
the resources page at Space
Science Education Outreach, posted by the Space
Science Data Operations Office, I found this excellent education
site Student Observation
Network (S.O.N.). The S.O.N. site offers a great set of resources
and tools for getting students directly involved in scientific studies
of our space environment.
section discusses solar observation and, in particular, monitoring
sunspots. This pdf
gives instructions on making a sunspot viewer.
section describes geomagnetic storms and how they can affect the
magnetic field at the earth's surface. Instructions are provided
a magnetometer to monitor fluctuations in the Earth's field.
Waves and Aurora
sections provide similar resources. In
addition, in each case the students are shown how to obtain data
from satellite and ground based observatories....
Sun-Earth Media Viewer: Live Solar Images provides a convenient
tool for examining the latest images of the Sun. (Checkout also
Space Weather Viewer.)...
Lots of lunar info can be found at The
Moon - NSSDC.
pm: Space options ... In
his review of the book ''Collapse''
by Jared Diamond
'Collapse': How the World Ends - NY Times - Jan.30.05, Gregg
Easterbrook argues that the author's pessimism towards the survival
of civilization is influenced to a certain degree by political correctness.
For example, PC prevents Prof. Diamond from seriously considering
space resources when claming that the standard of living for everyone
on Earth cannot be lifted to that of the middle class in developed
I would talk
about a much shorter time frame and would substitute "solar
system" for "Milky Way" but the following passage
eloquently describes a perfectly plausible alternative to Diamond's
doom and gloom:
backward 13,000 years, forward only a decade or two. What might
human society be like 13,000 years from now? Above us in the Milky
Way are essentially infinite resources and living space. If the
phase of fossil-driven technology leads to discoveries that allow
Homo sapiens to move into the galaxy, then resources, population
pressure and other issues that worry Diamond will be forgotten.
Most of the earth may even be returned to primordial stillness,
and the whole thing would have happened in the blink of an eye
by nature's standards."
Note that another
gloomy book from a high power intellectual is Our
Final Hour by Martin Rees. Prof. Rees considers and even
advocates space development as a way to save at least some remnants
of civilization in case some manmade global disaster kills everyone
pm: The Space Review this week
the Moon by
Sam Dinkin, who argues that the Moon offers "opportunities
for capitalization" and that the first letter in Moon and Lunar
should be capitalized. (I've been inconsistent about that).
week's AMSAT news: ISS
Status report * Keplerian Data Update * AO-51 February Schedule
* Kid's Day on AO-51 * Educator's Forum
January 29, 2005
pm: News briefs... The
National Space Society
now has a news site in collaboration with space.com
called ad Astra
Online. Two articles of interest there include:
Walker, musician and space activist, is profiled in
Electronic Pro-Space Pop Music of ZIA - adAstra/Space.com - Jan.27.05
John K. Strickland of the NSS urges NASA to consider alternatives
to dumping the Hubble such as using the Orbital
Recovery space tug to move it to the ISS: Hubble
Trouble: Saving Telescope May Require Non-Governmental Solutions
- Space.com - Jan.28.05 ...
For information on space
solar power, see the Space
Solar Power Workshop. They are in the process of updating their
info, including an extensive review of space transportation systems.
I've also added a subsection on Moon
based solar power....
Moon is also a great place to build astronomical observatories:
Pristine View of the Universe... from the Moon - Universe Today
Rocketry progam continues again this year with its campaign
to inspire young people to participate in hands-on rocket engineering:
America Rocketry Contest Interest Surges - AIA - Jan.28.05
Those mini-skirts worn by the crew women on Star Trek came from
a long tradition of sexy space garb as shown by Babes
in Space - Sci-fi book covers ....
It would sure be a major development if NASA no longer had to compete
directly with funding for military veterans: More
on House appropriations reorg - Space Politics - Jan.28.05.
House appropriations subcommittee shakeup? - Space Politics - Jan.27.05
Here's an interesting recollection of the Challenger
disaster by someone who was directly involved in dealing
with aftermath at KSC: Challenger
- A Flight Surgeon Remembers - Dr. Sanity - Jan.26.05
January 27, 2005
am: Dangerous extrapolations... At
this time of the year, NASA must face the anniversaries of its three
terrible disasters: NASA
revisits tale of three tragedies: Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia
remembered by Alan Boyle - MSNBC - Jan.26.05 ...
James Oberg argues that each accident occurred when operational
practices were extended far beyond where tests and studies had shown
they were valid and safe: Deadly
space lessons go unheeded: MSNBC by James Oberg - MSNBC - Jan.26.05.
am: News briefs ... Young
people can participate in a Science
fiction writing competition: From Earth to Planet X - ESA - Jan.25.05
. Participants must come from "EURISY Members’ countries, ESA
Member States and UNESCO European/North America Member States."
Rules are available in the document: Science
Fiction Writing Competition - URISY (pdf), which is posted at
this is a separate contest from The
Clarke-Bradbury Science Fiction International Competition ,
which has a deadline of Feb. 25th....
out the pictures from the Smart-1
spacecraft now orbiting the Moon: Lunar
probe's amazing new images - BBC - Jan.26.05 ...
of spacesuits will be needed to make for practical existence on
the Moon and Mars: High-Tech
Spacesuits Eyed for "Extreme Exploration" - Space.com - Jan.26.05
sound like a satellite radio merger is going to happen: Sirius
denies merger negotiations with XM - spacetoday.net - Jan.26.05
Photos and artwork
describing the system of satellites that monitor our world: Images:
Satellite eyes crowd the skies - CNET News.com - Jan.26.05
January 26, 2005
am: News briefs... Check
out this magnificent picture taken by Cassini of Saturn, its rings
and three of its moons: Simple
Grandeur - NASA Watch - Jan.25.05. See also the Cassini
Photo Essay (click on link in lower right side of the linked
page), which gives a very nice presentation of other marvelous images
continues among those who hunt comets
in the SOHO images: Contest
to Pick Timing of SOHO's 1,000th Comet - Space.com - Jan.25.05
Cranford has updated his excellent reference site: International
Spacecraft, Satellite and Launch Vehicle Names Glossary ...
The X-43 inspires a musical composition: called Waverider:
engineering join for Space Week celebration - The Tullahoma News
January 25, 2005
pm: HobbySpace sponsor plug... I've
been meaning to point out one of the new HS
sponsors - The
View from Zero by Thomas Hunter. I've expressed my enthusiasm
for this book a few times before
because it proves my thesis, as discussed in this essay,
that sci-fi about real space can produce just as much fun
and excitement as all those faster-than-the-speed-of-light galactic
the story in a scenario in which huge O'Neill
habitats are distributed throughout the solar system by the
end of this century (See Spraag's
World.) Alan Spraag is an insurance investigator and an ex-spy
with a penchant for getting himself into and out of tough situations.
takes on a last mission to earn money to return to Earth, he finds
himself racing to save both himself, and the human race from a
psychopath, and a deadly secret buried beneath the highest levels
of government. A secret that will drag him to "The View From Zero"."
While some minor
elements of the story go far beyond the technology we are likely
to have by 2097, the author creates a setting
that is believable and fascinating. The prose is excellent and the
I look forward to further installments in the series.
I hope the book
is a sign that soon many writers and filmmakers will see the wonderfully
rich and amazing possibilities of a solar system full of new worlds
I also want to thank the Space
Review for advertising here. It has become the top journal for
articles and essays about developments in the alternative space
pm: The SpaceShow
25, 2005, 7:00-8:15 pm (Pacific Time ) - Joe Lennox, author of
“Visions For Space.” Joe Lennox has been captivated by space flight
since he was a little boy. Born in the Bronx, New York, he has
spent a lifetime studying about space. His private museum of space
artifacts has been called one of the largest and most complete
in the Country. His dream of being a NASA flight controller ended
because of serious eye problems but he feel he has achieved his
goal of being part of the space program through the teaching he
doe. He hopes that some day, one of his space class students will
be the first human to walk on Mars.".
30, 2005, 12:00- 1:30 pm (Pacific Time) - "features Steven
Wolfe who is returning to the program to lead an introspective
discussion about the nature of humanities yearning to explore
and ultimately move out into the cosmos. This may develop into
an extended and interactive program so check this website newsletter
later in the week for updates. This program is part of The Space
Show’s continuing exploration and theme regarding our spiritual
connection to space. Mr. Wolfe is a noted author and former legislative
aide for space policy to the late Congressman George E. Brown,
Jr., Democrat from California. Mr. Wolfe drafted the Space Settlement
Act of 1998 (contained in P.L. 100-685) and he served as Executive
Director of the Congressional Space Caucus as well as on the Board
of Directors for The National Space Society. Mr. Wolfe's writings
appear in The New York Times and elsewhere."
January 24, 2005
pm: News briefs... Michael
Paolucci of SaveTheHubble.org
is pleading for contributions
to fund a media campaign "to publicize Hubble's fate and to
force the Bush administration to acknowledge that if the Space Shuttle
is safe enough for many missions over the next decade to construct
the Space Station, it is safe enough for one mission to service
Foust examines options for what people would do once they reach
for Martian exploration - The Space Review - Jan.24.05 ...
asked me to remind my readers that they can obtain a free
MP3 file for Lalala, one of the four songs on the Huygens
spacecraft that landed on Titan ...
shielding for spacecraft - The Space Review - Jan.24.05 ...
of Columbia lives on in many ways including some solid scientific
findings made during the flight:
pm Gliding back... An
alternative to parachutes for model rocket return systems is discussed
Gliders - Rocket Jones - Jan.23.05. Rob Edmonds company Edmonds
Aerospace offers combo rocket/glider models that look like great
fun. Note that he offers bulk
deals for students and youth groups.
pm: This week's AMSAT news:
launch 15th anniversary * AMSAT-UK Colloquium Dates for 2005 * Project
OSCAR Symposium * ARISS Status - 17 Jan 2005
January 23, 2005
pm: Space tracking data ... After 9/11
the US became stingy about releasing many kinds of technical information,
including the tracking data for orbiting spacecraft. Such data is
needed, for example, to communicate with
via amateur radio
and to observe
are independent sources of such data for many spacecraft but the
government data is generally more complete and up-to-date, so it's
convenient to have it available.
site is now apparently the official site for public access to space
object tracking data. It requires a free registration.
pm: News briefs... Here's an article on
an innovative space artist: Artist's
imagination rules the galaxy - San Diego Union-Tribune - June.23.05.
Some online samples of his work: Victor
Raphael: Envisioning Space - Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art
Raphael - El Camino College ...
Society of Canada has made a special plea
to the Canadian government for more support for space exploration...
still many, many orders of magnitude away from providing enough
anti-protons for direct antimatter
propulsion, this work - The
Most Antimatter - Physical Review Focus - Jan.14.05 - could
be a step towards supplying enough for schemes that use antimatter
to catalyze fission
January 22, 2005
pm: Space audiences... The author of this
article - Bring
back the monkey suit. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to make
space entertaining - SF Chronicle - Jan.19.05 - doesn't find
the Titan pictures particularly exciting. He suggests that like
many others he has been spoiled by Star Trek and similar sci-fi
adventures that make real space exploration seem dull by comparison.
I agree that
this partly explains the problem,
especially when combined with a general lack of knowledge about
space, technology, and science by the general public. Most people
have only a vague notion about the workings of the solar system
and its constituents and most never heard of Titan before the recent
publicity. Without any understanding of the context, it's not surprising
that the Huygens pictures don't provide a sense of amazement and
awe to everyone.
I prefer not to focus on trying to entertain people who really have
no interest in space. I'm
far more keen on those "space geeks" who grabbed the Titan
photos and did their own image processing. As I argued in
million man and woman march to space -The Space Review -
March 25, 2003, space exploration and development will ultimately
be sustained not by mass public interest but by enthusiasts who
range from technical types doing things like space image enhancements
to anyone who is excited enough about space to buy a ticket on a
space tourist rocket.
companies that are starting to serve this community of space enthusiasts
will drive down the cost of access to space. This in turn will eventually
help NASA to become far more cost-effective. The agency will accomplish
much more within a relatively smaller budget and it won't be quite
so dependent on the whims of a fickle and easily distracted public....
of Star Trek, the current show is threatened with cancellation.
Enterprise obtains a weekly audience of about 3 million people and
needs 4 or 5 million to make a profit for its network. This contrasts
sharply with the original series in the 1960s, which needed an audience
at least 10 to 15 times that size. It lived in a time when there
were only 3 major TV networks and niche programming had no place
on the dial.
are several dozen channels on cable and satellite systems. These
minor networks are devoted to specialized audiences that are small
relative to those watching the big networks. Nevertheless, most
of these channels are profitable.
I see space
development following a similar niche approach in which low cost
launchers serve a space tourism market that is not huge but is big
enough to make the companies profitable. These profits in turn will
fund development of new generations of more capable vehicles.
am: News briefs ... Maybe it's a trend.
Here's another space memorabilia appraisal event: Event
spotlights value of space-related bric-a-brac - Wichita Eagle -
I mentioned the other
day one being held in Florida.
really the end or just a gambit in a negotiation with Congress:
NASA to cancel robotic Hubble servicing mission - spacetoday.net
- Jan.21.05 ...
extraordinary place Huygens has revealed: Titan
forecast calls for rain, Huygens data shows - Spaceflight Now -
January 21, 2005
pm: Student nanosat winner chosen...
Air Force Research Laboratory has selected the Univeristy of
project from the thirteen entries in
its University Nanosatellite-3 Competition.
is "actually a pair of satellites designed to demonstrate new
technologies that enable spacecraft to work together in groups.
It is believed that once these new technologies are mature, clusters
of smaller satellites will outperform the larger and more expensive
individual satellites that are used for many tasks today."
pm: News briefs ... The big internet database
a selection of free videos and movies including this documentary
of Apollo 11 (The Eagle Has Landed) - Archive.org. (Link via
A. Bushnell) ...
Speaking of space films, if you buy the book The
Stanley Kubrick Archives from the first printing, then you will
also get a twelve-frame film strip from a 70mm print of 2001:
A Space Odyssey owned by Stanley Kubrick...
The weather up
there has gotten a bit rough lately: Rare
Spate of Solar Storms Bombards Spacecraft - Space.com - Jan.20.05
Space Weather Continues - Spacecraft Affected - NASA Watch - Jan.21.05...
Space cadet test: Would you like to live in a home that looks like
house and to fly your skycar
to the local spaceport
to ride on a third or fourth generation SS1
derived spaceship to an orbital
January 20, 2005
am: Amateurs see Titan better, sooner... The
amateur Titan image analyzers get the attention of Nature:Amateurs
beat space agencies to Titan pictures - Online community processed
raw images at record speed. - news @ nature.com - Jan.19.05.
Not bad. I know plenty of professional scientists who would like
to get noticed by Nature.
Note that some
of the programs used for depicting the Titan terrain are listed
in the Tools
for Space Simulations section.
am: News briefs ... It will be interesting to see if
the next NASA administrator takes advice like this - AAS
backs shuttle Hubble repair mission - spacetoday.net - Jan.19.05
- and reverses the decision not to send a Shuttle mission to the
More tsunami satellite images: New
NASA Imagery Sheds Additional Perspectives On Tsunami - JPL - Jan.19.05
high school rocketeers continue to make impressive progress:
Kids Looking Higher: For Brett Williams' Principles of Technology
II students at Fredericksburg High School, the sky's apparently
not the limit. - Fredericksburg Standard Radio Post/Fredericksburg,
A first try at making solar cells solely from materials that would
be available on the Moon were successful: Lunar
colony to run on moon dust - EurekAlert/New Scientist - Jan.19.05.
The efficiency is low but this can be improved. (Note that Dr. David
Criswell, a long time advocate of solar power beamed to earth from
the Moon was a recent guest on the Space
Walk Of Fame in Florida is holding a space memorabilia appraisal
next week: Museum
offers space memorabilia appraisal opportunity - Florida Today -
A documentary on Gus Grissom is in the works: Film
director researching Gus Grissom documentary - Florida Today - Jan.18.05
am: SciTech brief... The start of cyborg
robots powered by muscle - BBC - Jan.17.05
January 19, 2005
am: News briefs ... More about the Sights
and Sounds of Titan - Science@NASA - Jan.16.05 ...
Huygens almost became one of those space fiascos like
aberration in the optics of the Hubble Telescope, the metric/English
units mixup in the trajectory calculations for the Mars Climate
Orbiter, and the backward
engineering drawings that led the crash of the Genesis
spacecraft last year: How
Huygens avoided disaster by James Oberg - The Space Review - Jan.17.05
Boyle looks at speculations on future human expeditions to Titan:
will we tour Titan? - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Jan.17.05...
review of space history DVDs from Spacecraft
Films : 'Man
Must Explore' [about Spacecraft Films] - Tech Central Station -
Jan.17.05 (via Rand
you are looking for meteorites, Antarctica and Mars are good hunting
Can Be Found Just Sitting On The Ground - On Earth and Mars - NASA
Watch - Jan.19.05 * Metal
chunk on Mars confirmed as meteorite - New Scientist - Jan.18.05.
January 18, 2005
am: Orbiter 2005 Edition... Over
the weekend I got the following press release from Rob Conley
of the group
working on the Orbiter
Space Flight Simulator project:
release: ORBITER 2005 Edition*
Orbiter now supports 3-D virtual spacecraft cockpits. This takes
Orbiter to a new level of immersion and enhances situational awareness
by providing a rotating camera viewpoint. Instrument displays
are fully functional, and buttons and switches can be operated
with the mouse. The Orbiter distribution provides a reference
cockpit implementation for the Delta-glider, but addon spacecraft
can be upgraded using the virtual cockpit programming interface.
New visual effects: New atmospheric haze rendering make planets
appear much more realistic from orbit. Looking towards the horizon
in low Earth orbit shows the increasing effect of haze blurring
of surface features. Spacecraft, buildings and even smoke trails
now cast a shadow on the ground, providing more attractive visuals
and a useful altitude cue.
More accurate astrodynamics: A lot of effort has gone into improving
Orbiter's physical engine. Planetary ephemeris codes have been
extensively redesigned. The sun is no longer fixed in the centre
of the solar system, but rotates around the barycentre. Earth's
moon uses a more accurate perturbation solution. Jupiter's four
largest moons are now also controlled by a semi-analytic perturbation
code, improving long-term stability. Perturbations of the gravitational
field due to nonspherical planet shapes are now supported.
New delta-glider: One of Orbiter's favourite spacecraft has been
completely redesigned. Apart from a new exterior mesh and virtual
cockpit contributed by Roger Long, it has also undergone a functional
upgrade, including a version with air-breathing scramjet engines.
Better orbital flight model: Orbiter now uses a new method of
orbit stabilisation during time compression. It calculates the
osculating orbital elements of the primary gravity source, and
dynamically propagates only the perturbations of this 2-body model.
This provides better stability of trajectories - invaluable for
New help system: A context-sensitive HTML-based help system provides
information about a particular spacecraft, instrument or simulation
scenario. This greatly enhances the ability to design tutorials
and in-game reference material.
Markers and labels: A variety of configurable surface markers
and celestial labels can now be displayed in Orbiter's "Planetarium"
mode. They can be used to identify places of interest, landmarks,
historical landing sites, guidance stars or other celestial objects.
A more detailed list of new features can be found in the Change
Next is that the Meadville Space Center team and myself released
Project Mercury 5.0
This release features accurate panels, simulation of the capsule's
systems, historically accurate scenarios, checklists, full range
of sound, failure modes, and capsule recovery.
Along with Project Mercury 5.0, Earth 1962 050116 has been released.
It works with the latest version of Orbiter.
while there is still work to be done, it is the most complete
simulation of the mercury capsule you can download for your pc.
am: The SpaceShow
18, 2005, 7:00-8:15 pm (Pacific Time ) - David interviews James
Nugyen, President of Odyssey
Space Lines. Nugyen is "a space entrepreneur with over
16 years of business experience."
January 19, 2005, 5:00- 6:30 pm (Pacific Time) - This will be
"the 300th Space Show and will feature the return of Dr.
Patrick Collins, live from Tokyo, Japan. This show can be heard
Dr. Collins is an exceptionally well known and respected authority
on space economics, space tourism, reusable launch vehicles, and
space solar power. To mark this 300th Space Show broadcast, Dr.
Collins joins us again to discuss space tourism, space economics,
space solar power and much more. Dr. Collins was the initial guest
on The Space Show and also the 100th guest on The Space Show.
He is a professor of economics at Azabu University in Japan, and
a Collaborating Researcher with the Institute for Space & Astronautical
Science, as well as adviser to a number of companies...".
[See Patrick Collins' web site: Space
Future, which provides an enormous range of space tourism
23, 2005, 12:00-1:30 pm Pacific Time - "Dr. Shan de Silva,
the Department Chair and Professor of Terrestrial Volcanism, Volcanism
in the Solar System,. Remote Sensing and GIS, GPS, Terrestrial
Impact Craters, K-T Mass Extinction, and Astronomy in the Space
Studies department at the University of North Dakota. Dr. de Silva
took up his duties as Chair of UND Space Studies in Fall 2001.
Prior to this he had spent 11 years at Indiana State University
in Terre Haute, Indiana, teaching geology and astronomy..."
am: This week's AMSAT news:
Volunteer's Effort Top $364K * KG4 Satellite Activity * First WAC
Certificate Awarded For ISS Op * AO-51 14 Jan 2005 Schedule Update
* ARISS Status - 10 Jan 2005 * AMSAT Volunteer Reporting Expands
January 17, 2005
am: Huygens sea... It
has been a great few days for space science and exploration. After
raveling for seven long years to reach the Saturn system, the European
Huygens probe not only managed to successfully return data and images
as it sank through the atmosphere of Titan but it even landed safely
and took a snapshot.
The images during
the descent give tantalizing indications of a shoreline to a body
of liquid of some sort: Huygens
images show hints of flowing liquid - spacetoday.net - Jan.16.05.
are not waiting for the results of the image and data studies by
the mission scientists. They are having some fun with their own
analysis. See the amazing pictures at
>> Huygens and T2
- Terrain Texture Generation (link via N. Rogers.) Pictures
are also posted at NASA
am: Titan sounds... During
the descent, microphones on the spacecraft recorded the noise of
to the Sounds of Titan from Huygens - Planetary Society - Jan.15.05
- Cassini-Huygens - Sounds of an alien world.
am: More space music... I've
mentioned the Music2Titan
project several times. Here is another article about the project:
composed for Cassini mission - ithacajournal.com - Jan.15.05.
(I'm a bit surprised they are charging for all but one of the songs)
More about Laurie Anderson's space music: Lifting
off from NASA experience: Laurie Anderson's latest journey is to
'The End of the Moon' - Boston Globe - Jan.16.05
am: Get involved.. Keep the pressure on Congress - participate
in a space advocacy day on Capitol Hill: ProSpace
Online : 2005 March Storm . (Via spacepolitics.com.)
am Nanosats by the dozen... Two spacecraft with "space
mirrors" will be launched by a Russian rocket this spring:
Russian Private Satellites With Space Mirrors To Be Launched In
Spring 2005 - RIA Novosti - Jan.13.05.
But what is of especial interest to me is that it will also carry
containers that "hold fourteen Cub[e]Sat
micro-satellites." That's a lot.
am: SciTech brief... Make
a new magazine devoted to technical do-it-yourself and hobby activities.
It will be
with exciting projects that help you make the most of your technology
at home and away from home. This is a magazine that celebrates
your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your own
Submission Guidelines if you have an idea for an article that
might be of interest (or if you want to give a favorable review
to a particular science/technical hobbies website - hint, hint...)
Check out EdGCM
, a climate simulation for students:
that allows teachers and students to run a 4-D climate model on
desktop computers. The GCM at the core of EdGCM was developed
at NASA and is currently in use by researchers to study climates
of the past, present and future. To operate the GCM in the classroom
EdGCM has a user-friendly interface that simplifies management
of simulations. Experiments are automatically archived in a searchable
database and easy-to-use utilities for mapping, plotting, and
data analysis are integrated with the software. Finally, the software
allows teachers to produce their own instructional materials (text,
charts, images) and allows teachers and students to easily export
research reports to the web.
Imaginova has become the umbrella organization that includes space.com
and other space/science related companies: Imaginova
Corp. Announces Acquisition of Orion Telescopes and Binoculars -
Imaginova - Jan.13.05
January 14, 2005
pm: Huygens probe lands on Titan... Congratulations
to the ESA team on the successful encounter with Titan. Apparently,
they will get data not only for the flight through the atmosphere,
which was the top priority, but from the surface as well. First
pictures should be released by this evening
for tons of links about the story plus this summary
item. There are also regular updates at Cassini
| Mission Status Center - Spaceflight Now.
am: More Huygens Titan encounter... Brent
Rasmussen is blogging
the encounter with frequent updates. Mission info available at the
Cassini-Huygens page and the NASA
page. Web cast at NASA
we no longer have to depend on just the big TV networks for coverage
of space events:
Competing news stories are crowding coverage off the broadcast networks.
But CNN, NASA and the Science Channel keep viewers' eyes on the
star - OrlandoSentinel Jan.13.05.
January 13, 2005
Titan encounter... The
Huygen's probe will enter the atmosphere of the Saturn moon Titan
tonight at around 5am EST. Here is the
Timeline (Spaceflight Now).
NASA TV will webcast the mission. Also, you can see it at space.com:
at Titan: Huygens Probe to Take the Plunge - Live Webcast - Jan.13.05
Impact spacecraft was launched yesterday and headed for a rendezvous
with Comet Tempel 1. It will release an "impactor" to
smack into the comet so that researchers can study the
resulting debris to determine the composition of the comet.
for the ride is a compact disk with the names of 625,000 people
who participated in the Deep
Impact: Send Your Name to a Comet! program. ...
While no one has yet spotted a planet that is small enough to be
hospitable to life, it is seems that planets are very common and
that more and more will be seen as the resolution gets finer and
Confident: Planet Beyond Solar System Has Been Photographed - Space.com
- Jan.11.05 ...
another idea for active radiation
shielding (as opposed to bulk matter): Lunar
Shields: Radiation Protection for Moon-Based Astronauts - Space.com
- Jan.12.05 ...
of Michigan students will have the opportunity to do hands-on microgravity
Zone: Two teams prepare experiments for weightless environment -
The Michigan Daily - Jan.11-05
The physics group I use to work with in Sweden briefly collaborated
with a group at Los Alamos that included Mark
Tilden, the brains
a fun robot that has been winning all sorts of media
attention and awards. The last time I heard about him he was still
building little insectoids that would crawl towards a light source.
Looks like he's advanced a bit beyond that ...
I got an announcement of this contest the other day but can't find
any details about it on the web site: WaterCarOne
Water Car Contest Water-Fuelled Car Sustainable Mobility. It's
obviously about hydrogen powered cars but it doesn't say if they
must carry their own electrolysis systems or what.
January 11, 2005
news briefs ...
web site got an excellent reworking recently and includes informative
features like this Table
showing the status
of the currently active OSCAR satellites ...
next major, high orbit satellite project is the
Eagle. AMSAT needs to raise $600K for this project - about a
factor of 10 more than what is needed by the usual low orbit nanosats
like the Echo
that was launched last year ...
Headlines for the latest AMSAT news: ISS
News * UCISAT-1 News * Straight Key Nite * Tulsa, OK ISS Activity
* AMSAT 51 Award.
Spaceship earth got banged around: How
the Earthquake affected Earth: The Dec. 26th Indonesian megathrust
earthquake quickened Earth's rotation and changed our planet's shape.
- Science@NASA - Jan.10.05 * How
much did the earth move?- Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Jan.10.05
New high resolution observatories are starting to see stuff that
Dr. Who would really appreciate: Beyond
Einstein: Spacetime wave orbits black hole - Spaceflight Now - Jan.10.05....
hope this report lessens the regulatory threat to a fuel used in
hobby rocketry: Report
Assesses Health Implications of Perchlorate Exposure - National
Academy of Sciences/SpaceRef - Jan.10.05
Jan. 11, 2005 - David interviews Jeff Krukin, Executive Director
of the Space
16, 2005, 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific Time - features Shubber Ali, Executive
Director of AstroVision
of Sydney, Australia.
People sure love to find new ways to fly and Don
Shaw's PPG Scooter certainly uses one of the more unusual techniques.
You can try it yourself by buying his Ultralight
Scooter Aircraft powered paraglider on ebay. (Item via HS
reader B Brunner.) ...
This could be a significant advance for photovoltaic solar power:
plastic can better convert solar energy - CTV.ca - Jan.9.05
new plastic can see in the dark: Infrared-sensitive material five
times more efficient converter of solar energy - University of Toronto
January 10, 2005
The National Space Society's
annual conference - ISDC
2005 - will be held in Washington D.C. May 19-22. They have
now put out a Call
for Papers ...
A long time space advocate and NSS leader passes away: Glen
P. Wilson Dies; Senate Aide, NASA Official - Washington Post - Jan.10.05
News briefs ...
Fischer believes we should see space probe pictures live as they
arrive from space rather than hours or days later after processing:
from another world - The Space Review - Jan.10.05 ...
Sam Dinkin offers some dramatic schemes for energy production:
and brim stone - The Space Review - Jan.10.05...
Taylor Dinerman discusses the advantages of remote medicine and
learning in the aftermath of the tsunami: Telemedicine
and distance learning after the tsunami - The Space Review - Jan.10.05
More about the recent Planetary Society Titan art contest: Young
artist envisions a tumultuous encounter with Saturn's moon Titan
- ESA - Jan.10.05.
briefs ... A longer version of the Wall Street Journal
article mentioned previously
about why really big catastrophes like an asteroid strike
should be taken more seriously is available here: The
Tsunami and the Economics of Catastrophic Risk - The Becker-Posner
Blog - Jan.5.05 ...
in Indiana are building a nanosat prototype to compete for Air Force
funding to launch a working version: Taylor
students compete to launch satellite into space: Project members
hope to win funding to build completed version of satellite - Marion
(Indiana) Chronicle Tribune - Jan.9.05...
V rockets in Huntsville and Houston are finally going to be restored
and protected: Retro
Rocket: The Saturn V Took America to the Moon. Now It's Taking Us
to the Museum - Washington Post - Jan.10.05
January 8, 2005
9, 2005, 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific Time - " features Marc Schlather,
President of Pro Space. ProSpace, a grassroots space policy organization,
was founded ten years ago to focus attention on Capitol Hill toward
needed changes in American space policy, and to facilitate the
opening of space to new ventures and to more Americans. Mr. Schlather
also serves as executive director of the Space Roundtable at the
United States Senate..."
show with Peter Kokh, the President of the Moon
Society., is now available in the archive.
January 7, 2005
Boyle offers in - Before-and-after
views revisited - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Jan.6.05
- more tsunami satellite imagery info (and a much appreciated link
to HS) such as this page: Asian
Tsunami Imagery - Global Security
Scientist says that some valuable satellite radar measurements of
the tsunami will be released soon by NASA: Radar
satellites capture tsunami wave height - New Scientist - Jan.6.05.
See the Ocean
Surface Topography from Space site for info on how ocean surfaces
are measured from space.
Check out the cool Titan artwork: Winner
of Titan Art Contest Announced: Planetary Society Art Contest Winner
Wins Trip to Huygens Mission Control in Germany - Planetary Society
Boys Life Magazine and Michaels Arts & Crafts Store is sponsoring
Scouts in April.
January 6, 2005
imaging at home...
reader tells me that NASA provides for free a program just
as good as the Google Keyhole
program that I mentioned previously.
World Wind package
user to zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth,
leveraging high resolution LandSat imagery and SRTM elevation
data to experience Earth in visually rich 3D, just as if they
were really there.
focus was put into the ease of usability so people of all ages
can enjoy World Wind. All one needs to control World Wind is a
two button mouse. Additional guides and features can be accessed
though a simplified menu. Navigation is automated with single
clicks of a mouse as well as the ability to type in any location
and automatically zoom into it.
was designed to run on recent PC hardware with 3D acceleration.
You can download
it here. (Broadband needed cause it's big - 250MB!). World Wind
runs on a PC and "requires DirectX 9b and the .NET Runtime
environment to be installed. These have been included in the World
Note that when
I discussed Keyhole and suggested they offer "a tool on line",
I meant a tool in the browser environment, e.g. a Java applet. You
need to be on line, i.e. connected to the Internet, when running
Keyhole so that it can download imagery.
World Wind allows
one to download image databases and actually work off line....
More about the tsunami satellite imaging: Satellite
imagery helping tsunami relief effort - New Scientist - Jan.5.05
The IEEE recommends a manned mission to save the Hubble: IEEE-USA
Urges 'Safe Servicing' of Hubble Space Telescope for Humankind -
SpaceRef/ IEEE - Jan.3.05. But it looks like NASA is sticking
with robots so far: MDA
gets Hubble repair contract - spacetoday.net - Jan.6.05...
Anderson continues to get press about her space inspired
star lines up with the moon [About Laurie Anderson] - The Globe
and Mail - Jan.5.05 ...
Sally Ride continues here campaign to attract girls to technical
fields of study: Festival
for girls mixes science, fun: Ride aims to put kids on path to technical
careers - Florida Today - Jan.4.05..
January 5, 2005
space images... Here is a list of sites that show satellite
photos of the havoc caused by the tsunami in southern Asia:
implications... In this article - The
Probability of Catastrophe . . . by Richard A. Posner - WSJ.com
- Jan.4.05 (requires a subscription) - Mr. Posner notes that
infrequent but hugely catastrophic events like this tsunami can
dwarf the cumulative death and destruction of more common events
like hurricanes and earthquakes. Yet the natural human tendency
is to ignore the possibility of these huge disasters because they
seem so unlikely to happen on our short time scales.
this is a potentially fatal mistake for humanity. He points out
that exploded above Siberia in 1908 with the force of a hydrogen
bomb might have killed millions of people had it exploded above
a major city. Yet that asteroid was only about 200 feet in diameter,
and a much larger one (among the thousands of dangerously large
asteroids in orbits that intersect the earth's orbit) could strike
the earth and cause the total extinction of the human race through
a combination of shock waves, fire, tsunamis, and blockage of
sunlight, wherever it struck.
We have the
capacity not only to watch for such deadly asteroids and comets
heading our way but to create a space space infrastructure that
can move their trajectories safely past earth if we obtain an early
enough warning. Just as there is justifiable anger at the lack of
a tsunami warning system in place in southern Asia, there will be
similar anger, assuming there are any survivors, if we are struck
by such a cosmic calamity. It could be avoided if we simply make
Google is now selling an aerial/space imaging program called
Keyhole that lets
you zero in on a particular location on earth. I hope they eventually
offer such a tool on line ...
rovers amazingly continue to rove a year later: Mars
Exploration Rovers' adventures continue - Spaceflight Now - Jan.3.05
marks one year on Mars - spacetoday.net - Jan.4.05 ...
Alan Boyle finds a Mars scientist who sees humans as just as important
as robots when it comes to exploring the Red Planet: Are
astronauts obsolete? - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Jan.3.05 ...
Yet another reason to regret that I sold my satellite radio stock
way too early: Sat
Radio Recording Moves Ahead - Wired - Jan.4.05....
Alan Boyle's readers vote on what were the high points in space
in 2004 and what may be the space highs in 2005: High-frontier
highlights - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Jan.4.05
Eclipse model ... The first of the so-called Very
Light Jet (VLJ) category vehicles to reach the market looks
to be the Eclipse 500. If the schedule
holds, it will attain FAA certification in the spring of 2006 and
the vehicle will sell for around $1M, which is about a third of
the cost of the currently available lowest priced business jets.
The hope is
that it and other VLJs will lead not only to more businesses and
rich individuals flying their own jets but also to air taxis that
fly passengers between small airports at prices not much more than
those of airline tickets. This would take advantage of the excess
capacity at the many small airports in the US and also allow people
to avoid the terrific congestion at the big hub airports.
a serious problem with their engines (they had to switch suppliers
at a late date when the original choice for an engine was found
to have insufficient power), they appear to be back on track. Last
week they began test flights with a vehicle using the production
Aviation Completes Two Successful Flights of First Eclipse 500 Certification
Flight Test Aircraft - Eclipse Aviation - Dec.31.04. You can
follow their progress at Eclipse
is relevant to the space industry in a couple of ways. There has
been great skepticism in the aviation community that the Eclipse
would ever fly at all, much less come close to the target price.
If successful, the Eclipse will prove that aerospace technology
is not stuck forever at a plateau reached decades ago but that in
fact dramatically lower costs can still be achieved with innovative
approaches. This is also what entrepreneurial rocket companies have
been arguing is possible for spaceflight to a very skeptical space
some new technology is needed (the Eclipse relies on friction wielding
for assembling the air frame) the low unit price comes from high
volume and from management that gives highest priority to keeping
the price down. The new space transport companies probably won't
achieve high unit volume (though that was the goal of the Rocket
Company), they do seek high flight rates as the means
to achieve low costs. These rates will be achieved via the only
big volume space market on the horizon - flying people to space.
January 3, 2005
status... HobbySpace presented
over 1,430,000 pageviews during 2004. That adds up to over 3,500,000
since the site opened in January 1999. RLV
News was by far the most popular page.
I hope I can
continue to build on this traffic. The
mainstream space sites still focus primarily on NASA so I will try
to inform visitors on activities in alt.space, as it's called.
This is the private sector world that involves small, innovative
companies, volunteer organizations, and highly motivated individuals.
Alt.space is where the most intense and genuine enthusiasm for space
lies and where I expect to see many exciting things happen this
This web site,
which definitely has a "hobby" look to it, needs a big
overhaul but I don't have time to do it all at once. Instead I will
try a gradual rollout of a new format. This will allow me to experiment
a bit and some sections may look quite different than others. I
also need to do a site wide "dead-link cleaning", which
I've postponed for a long time.
Thanks for visiting
HobbySpace and I hope you will visit
regularly in the coming year.
briefs... A space advocate reflects on two big political
events in 2004: A
tale of two victories by James Muncy - The Space Review - Jan.3.05...
A NASA scientist believes the agency has made strong progress towards
initiating the VSE:
NASA vision: Moon, Mars and a crew vehicle - Financial Express -
Jan.3.05. He downplays private efforts to reach the Moon but
Sam Dinkin says it's possible the Moon could develop into a Wild
West style frontier scenario: Cowboys,
miners, farmers, and hoteliers -The Space Review - Jan.3.05
some other reviews of space highlights in 2004: 2004:
NASA's year in review - NASA/Spaceflight Now - Jan.2.05 * ESA
Portal - Focus On - Review 2004 ...
Here's an interview with David
Hardy, the well known space artist: The
David Hardy Interview - SF Crowsnest - Jan.1.05 ...
Leonard David discusses possible features of a stealth spy satellite:
of a Spy Satellite - Space.com - Jan.3.05 ...
Space Center offers many space history such as Historical
Documentation for Mercury, Gemini, Manned
Spaceflight PDF Documents, and Virtual
Apollo Guidance Computer Emulation ...
European GPS project highlights differences between Britain and
the rest of Europe: Britain
and Galileo by Taylor Dinerman - The Space Review - Jan.3.05
threat rating systems are reviewed by Tom Hill: Revising
the Torino Scale - The Space Review - Jan.3.05
brief... The next Burt Rutan record-breaking project
will soon lift off: Scaled
Composites' GlobalFlyer Readied for Record Flight - Aviation Week
January 1, 2005
assembled a timeline
that lists some of the most significant developments in the alternative
space development movement during 2004.
briefs... Here's a gallery
of tsunami satellite images at DigitalGlobe...
Robert Zimmerman says a dealer at Amazon
(scan down the list of "used & new" copies for sale) is selling
new, autographed copies of his book Leaving Earth. The dealer
is Univelt, run
by Bob Jacobs, who is also the dealer who handles books published
by the American
Robert Zimmerman says a dealer at Amazon
(scan down the list of "used & new" copies for sale) is selling
new, autographed copies of his book Leaving Earth. The dealer
is Univelt, run
by Bob Jacobs, who is also the dealer who handles books published
by the American
update to the report on the search and recovery of the CSXT
boosterthat sent an amateur rocket to space last May:
Solved: Stratofox Recovers CSXT Booster....
robots did well during 2004: Analysis:
The triumph of the robots - UPI/Washington Times - Dec.31.04.
That's good. They help lead the way to the important goal - human
exploration and settlement of space....
Looks like the fall in business for the major launch providers has
bottomed out: ILS
Expecting Moderate Growth In Launches As HDTV Spreads - Aviation
Week - Dec.29.04.
to December 2004 articles in archive