February 26, 2005
1:35 Am: News briefs ...
of Astronomical Phenomenon Conference (INSAP) - Adler Planetarium
- Chicago, Illinois, June 26 - July 2, 2005 will "explore
the rich and diverse ways in which people of the past and present
incorporate astronomical events into literary, visual, and performance
... Check out the ‘Greatest’
portrait of Saturn - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Feb.24.05
... Scientific exploration
and inspiration for students are good reasons for public funding
of space projects: It’s
not rocket science - Financial Times - Feb.25.05. But there
are many other excellent reasons for humanity to go into space,
see for example this section
and this one,
and they will make it happen eventually even if public funding vanishes.
... Not until there are far
more sophisticated rovers traversing and digging into the ground,
and probably not even till there are scientists working there, will
the question of life on Mars be settled. In the meantime, there
are going to be a lot of battles fought over the topic: Formaldehyde
claim inflames martian debate - Top scientist defends data that
he says point strongly to life on Mars. - news @ nature.com - Feb.25.05.
February 24, 2005
1:35 pm: News briefs ...
James Oberg recounts the story of astronaut Robert Lawrence: The
unsung astronaut:Robert Lawrence's sacrifice, and why it took so
long to be honored by James Oberg - MSNBC - Feb.23.05
... The Allen
Telescope Array (ATA), funded
by Paul Allen who also supported the SpaceShipOne
project, will allow SETI researchers "to search deeper for
fainter levels and broader types of signals": A
Universe of Sounds - Technology Review - Feb.23.05.
... Students with great idea
for space exploration can compete for $9000 fellowships sponsored
by NASA: NASA
Offers Prizes to Students with Revolutionary Ideas - NASA - Feb.23.05
... Alan Boyle reports on an
effort by Deep
Space Communications Network to make a business out of transmitting
personal messages, images, etc into the cosmos: Space
signals for sale - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Feb.23.05
... Dennis Wingo urges that
the government's new vision for space "include the development
of the Moon and its resources": The
Resources of the Moon and Beyond - ad Astra/Space.com - Feb.23.05
... Mark Whittington looks
at opposition to VSE
Fight to Fund Space Exploration: Round Two - The Washington Dispatch
- Feb.23.05 ...
... The Microgravity
Interdisciplinary Research project will open an exhibition of
photos in Edinburgh in March: MIR
Dreams of Space - STILLS Exhibitions
... Space not big at toy business
Fair sparse on space in shuttle wake" - collectSPACE - Feb.23.05
... Satellite radio to offer
racing broadcasts: Sirius
to broadcast NASCAR starting in 2007 - CNET - Feb.22.05
February 22, 2005
4:25 pm: Tracking a fiasco...
Congress, in its collective ham-fisted oafishness, dictated after
9/11 that the government place restrictions on access to spacecraft
tracking information. Apparently, this will keep terrorists from
shooting down comsats with RPGs.
Such access previously has been free and easily obtained from NORAD.
Various services redistributed the tracking data to astronomers,
tracking hobbyists, space radio enthusiasts, etc. Tracking
programs such as CelesTrak,
for example, can automatically update their satellite tracking
Recently, however, a NASA
site that provided tracking data has gone off-line, despite
a promise of a 90 day transition period. Users must now go to Space-Track
to obtain the data. This only requires a free registration but users
are not allowed to redistribute the tracking elements. So all those
web sites and tracking programs out there will no longer be able
to provide current data, at least if they are US based.
See, for example, SatPasses,
which provided tracking predictions as to when the ISS would pass
over US cities. Now the site says:
Note: We sincerely regret that due to changes in federal regulations
we are no longer able to publish ISS pass predictions!
I'm sure the ISS astronauts now feel much, much safer from terrorist
The page CelesTrak:
Important Notice is providing periodic updates on their efforts
to deal with these new restrictions.
A subset of satellite tracking data, such as the AMSAT
- Amateur Satellites, will still be available online. See AMSAT
- Online Satellite Pass Predictions.
Of course, foreign sites will not be bound by these restrictions.
See, for example, Top
50 - List of Bright Satellites and Visual
Satellite Observer, though they also typically obtain their
data from NORAD. (If they get the data anyway and republish it,
I doubt they will be extradited to US courts.)
This reminds me of the decision by Congress in the late 1990s to
place severe restrictions on the export of any and all space-related
technologies, even to friendly countries, in response to some ill-advised
assistance on satellite launchers given to the Chinese by Loral
Congress once again shows that it is incapable of making sensible
policies with respect to space that carefully and effectively targets
the particular problem without causing devastating collateral damage
to nearby legitimate activity.
4:25 pm: The
Tuesday, February 22, 2005, 7:00-8:15 pm (Pacific Time ) - the
show features Ian Brewster, co-author of "The Simple Universe."
Sunday, February 27, 2005, 12:00-1:30 pm (Pacific Time) features
Tom Hill, a practicing aerospace engineer and space activist discussing
his new book "Space: What Now?"
4:25 pm: This
week's AMSAT news: Orbital
Data Redistribution Update * 2005 Combined Federal Campaign Application
* ARISS School Contact Schedule * NPS RadioFest 2005
February 21, 2005
12:45 pm: Finding a prize space article
... In today's issue of the Space
Review, Sam Dinkin announced
the 2004 Space
Journalism Prize. Sam is sponsoring the contest, which will
award a $1000 prize for "the best article promoting human spacefaring
that appeared in a print or web publication during 2004". Sam,
Jeff Foust and I will serve as the contest judges.
In his announcement,
Sam makes clear his passion for space settlement and is offering
the contest as one blow "in cracking the nut that is colonization."
He points to "the wildly abundant resources that we can see
mere seconds away" and wants to encourage people who are helping
to get the word out about them.
Sam emphasizes the American Wild West model. I look farther back
and see space colonization as a continuation of the process that
began when humanity spilled out of Africa and spread around the
People eventually reached even the most remote areas of the world.
colonization of the Pacific islands is my favorite analogy to
space settlement. I never ceast to be amazed at the level of courage,
skill, and ambition it took to set forth in a small boat out upon
an immense ocean in search of a new island home. On a calm, clear
night with the dark ocean below and the glittering stars above,
they must have actually felt like they were traveling in space.
They relied on the heavens for navigation and they would find it
perfectly natural that we would continue on in our travels and head
directly for those stars.
12:45 pm News briefs ... When
I see a big Cat
on the Moon, I'll know we are making real progress in space: Area
natives lend hand as NASA shoots for the moon - PJStar.com (Peoria
Il.)- Feb.20.05 ...
... Someone offers a multimedia
primer on Kubrick's 2001 and gives one particular interpretation
of the film: Kubrick
2001: The space odyssey explained ...
... Some fabulous images from
Saturn system are posted at Saturn
Today - SpaceRef
February 19, 2005
1:35 pm: Science and art...
Many of the pictures seen in magazines and newspapers that come
from astronomical observatories like the Hubble Telescope and from
space probes like Huygens at Saturn are often not true color photos.
In fact, some of the images may have been produced by radio wave,
infrared, and other non-visible spectrum bands. Even for visible
light imagery, false colors are often used to highlight particular
features of interest.
The researchers who produce these images must make choices and
judgments on the colors, the contrast, intensity range, and other
aspects of the images. So a certain degree of art enters into it.
A speaker at the AAAS
meeting in Washington D.C. this week argues that in fact the
degree can be quite high: Hubble
pics 'like romantic art' - BBC - Feb.18.05 * Artists
of the final frontier - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Feb.18.05.
1:35 pm: Pluto outreach ...
The New Horizons
- Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission under development at Johns Hopkins
University is aiming for a launch next January. It will take the
probe 10 years to reach Pluto.
To encourage interest in the program, the web site offers a lot
of interesting educational
material and promotional items such as a screensaver,
allows you to put your name on the spacecraft and have it taken
to Pluto and beyond ...
February 18, 2005
3:25 pm: Mars life disputed... NASA
disavows the Space.com
report that NASA researchers are claiming the methane
on Mars definitely indicates life: NASA
Denies Life on Mars Claim - NASA Watch - Feb.18.05.
Hardly surprising that NASA management would disown this. They
would want to review it internally since anything published by a
NASA researcher is typically reported as an official NASA result.
This differs from a university where researchers can publish something
dramatic and the media usually report it as the work of the individual
researchers, not as a production of the university.
statement also hints that NASA wants to discount the methane
finding made by the European Mars Express spacecraft. The agency,
however, won't be able to keep outside scientists from using this,
and now possibly the detection of formaldehyde,
to make their own claims about Mars life.
11:40 am: News briefs.... Another
researcher believes the Mars Express data indicates life on Mars:A
whiff of life on the Red Planet - New Scientist - Feb.16.05
... At least we know that conditions
were once ripe for life there: Water
Spread Across Much of Ancient Mars, Creating Conditions for Life
- Space.com - Feb.17.05...
... Data from the Apollo missions
are still producing interesting results: Scientists
Find Deeper Meaning for Moon Rumblings - NY Times - Feb.15.05...
... The auroral light shows
on Saturn can go on for days:Bright
Lights, Eerie 'Heartbeat' at Saturn - Space.com - Feb.16.05
(Note that I keep a list of resources to natural space sounds in
Anderson continues to tour her space inspired production:
artist's year in NASA's orbit - New York Daily News - Feb.17.05
11:40 am: Tech briefs.... Here
is a report - Rambling
robots show human efficiency - New Scientist - Feb.17.05 - on
robots that use a less fragile and power consuming walking mechanism
than what is used by these
types of robots ...
offers a lot of great tech news.
February 16, 2005
6:05 pm: Mars bugs? Brian Berger
at Space.com is reporting that two NASA researchers are trying to
publish a paper that argues the methane detected by earth telescopes
and confirmed by the European Mars
Express spacecraft is produced by subsurface life: NASA
Researchers Claim Evidence of Present Life on Mars by - Space.com
- Feb.16.05. These researchers have found an earth analog system
that shows similar emissions.
Methane doesn't last long in the Martian atmosphere so it needs
to be produced by something. However, it might be from volcanic
activity. Here are some earlier reports on Mars
life and methane:
February 15, 2005
1:25 pm: News briefs... Leonard
David examines the search for hard evidence of life on Mars currently
or in the past: Is
There Life on Mars? Looking for Rock Solid Evidence - Space.com
- Feb.14.05 ...
... Here are presentations
at a recent NASA meeting about deciding on the course of Mars exploration:
from the NASA Robotic & Human Exploration of Mars Roadmap Committee
Meeting 4-5 Jan 2005 - SpaceRef - Feb.14.05 ...
... This article suggests starting
Mars exploration by going to the Moon: How
to Make the Space Vison Work (Hint: It's the Moon!) - adAstra/Space.com
- Feb.15.05 ...
... A review of the Pluto :
at 75: a uniquely American anniversary - The Space Review - Feb.14.05
1:25 pm: The
Tuesday, February 15, 2005, 7:00-8:15 pm (Pacific Time )- the
show features Michael Laine, President and founder of LiftPort,
which was started to support and promote the business prospects
for the space elevator.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005, 7:00-8:30PM (Pacific Time) frequent
Zimmerman will be on this special edition of the Space
Show to discuss recent space developments such as the new
guidelines from the FAA on suborbital RLV operations.
Sunday, February 20, 2005, 12:00-1:30 pm (Pacific Time) - "Mark
R. Whittington, author of “Children of Apollo” which is an alternate
history novel set during the early space program. Mr. Whittington
is a writer and space policy analyst residing in Houston, Texas.
He also writes numerous articles about space topics in USA Today,
the LA Times, the Houston Chronicle, and the online magazine Washington
Dispatch. Mark runs a blog called Curmudgeons
1:25 pm: This
week's AMSAT news: AMSAT
Financial Reporting Improvements * Miami Hamfest Report * Fairview
School ARISS Contact Successful * ARISS Status
February 12, 2005
3:40 pm: News briefs... The
company Mobile Satellite
Ventures (MSV) is not giving up on making a business of satellite
data/voice services. It will use a ground/space combo system to
make it competitive with current ground-based only systems: New
Generation of Communications Services to Emerge With Today's FCC
Action; MSV Moves Ahead On Vision For MSS - MSV (Mobile Satellite
Venture) - Feb.10.05 ...
... XM Satellite Radio now
has 3.2 million subscribers and expects over 5 million by the end
of 2005: XM
loss, subscribers increase - spacetoday.net - Feb.11.05 ...
... NASA gets a small boost
but some areas like aeronautics take a hit: Reaction
to FY 2006 NASA Budget Continues - NASA Watch - Feb.12.05 ...
... . Does
Mars need women? Russians say no: Russian space effort's gender
war dates back to '60s - MSNBC - Feb.11.05.
3:40 pm: Under water and in space...
A cliché criticism of humans living in space is that it would necessarily
resemble the dark, claustrophobic existence of a submarine voyage.
That's invalid for at least two reasons: there is a lot of space
available in space and there is plenty of sunlight there too.
For example, while current space
stations are rather cramped, we will soon have large,
roomy habitats using inflatable
structures like that under development
Aerospace. And there are no fundamental engineering obstacles
And there is certainly no reason for space dwellers to live in
the dark since the Sun is right there to take advantage of. Light
piping and other techniques can bring bright sunshine into even
the tightly enclosed worlds of early habitat designs. On earth our
atmosphere spreads sunlight around to give us a brilliant blue sky
in the daytime but there is no reason large habitats can't also
spread light around as well.
All that being said, I still think that visiting an underwater
resort would be a great treat. There have long been promises of
aquatic hotels but most never made it past the design stage. However,
this project - Poseidon
Resorts - looks promising. Check out more links
to underwater habitat projects and private submarines.
February 10, 2005
11:45 am: Hubble battles ...
The Save the
Hubble organization continues its efforts to save the observatory.
In his latest update, Michael Paolucci of SLOOH
reports that the campaign has raised $13,000. You can make a contribution
1:15 am: News briefs ... Alan
Boyle highlights some amazing views sent from our space probes reporting
from other worlds: Mars
seen on wide-screen - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Feb.7.05 * Saturn's
blue heaven - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Feb.8.05 ...
... And here are some amazing
panoramas taken by people visiting the Moon: Apollo
11 - 17 Mission First man on the Moon - Fullscreen QTVR photo from
... The winds of Titan were
measured after all: First
measurement of Titan's winds from Huygens - ESA - Feb.9.05 ...
... An obsessed space
history buff gets some well deserved recognition: In
Computer Years, Apollo Replica's an Antique - NY Times - Feb.10.05
... Tom Gangale of OPS-Alaska
sent me a list of interesting sites, some of which I have links
to already, but they warrant repeating:
is dedicated to promoting the study of the interactions of space
Synapse Systems - Anna Hill created the company Space Synapse
to make "the human experience of Space travel widely available
and relevant to life on Earth through interactive art and design,
education and outreach."
- Moonfront -
does space consulting in the areas of design and research, education
and outreach, media and entertainment, and space commercialization.
is "developing new spaceflight carrier services for clients
in research, educational and merchandise files who require affordable
and efficient transportation to space on a regular basis."
- LIQUIFER is
a collaboration of Susmita Mohanty Moon and Barbara Imhof who
have worked on a number of space
architecture related projects.
international involves space architect Constance
Adams and is developing a wide range of projects, many
of which are space related.
The OPS-Alaska and Astrosociology.com
sites remind me that I should develop a section dedicated to the
social aspects of space development. This would deal both with its
impact on earth societies and on how societies will be created in
February 8, 2005
7:55 am: The
Tuesday, Feb.8, 2005, 7:00-8:15 pm (Pacific Time ) - Dr. Ira
Sharlip, space tourism, space medicine, and medicine in Iraq.
Sunday, February 13, 2005, 12:00- 1:30 pm (Pacific Time) - Wayne
White, noted space attorney specializing in space property rights
7:55 am: This
week's AMSAT news: AMSAT
P3E Report * OSCAR SKN 2005 * AMSAT Fundraising * ARISS Status
12:55 am: News briefs ... James
Oberg points to a case study of space agency safety culture going
does a sick "space safety culture" smell like? - The Space
Review - Feb.7.05 ...
... Jeff Foust shows some
excellent snapshots from the new Air & Space Museum extension:
Gallery: McDonnell Space Hangar at Udvar-Hazy Center - Jeff Foust
- The Space Review ...
... The Planetary Society
has collected the sound files from the microphone on the Huygens
space probe as it descending onto Titan: Planetary
Sounds: Sounds from the Huygens Microphone ...
... You can watch online the
lectures of Dr. Bruce Betts in his Astronomy and Planetary Science
course at California State University, Dominguez Hills for the Spring
Semester 2005: TPS:
Astronomy and Planetary Science with Bruce Betts
February 7, 2005
12:45 am: News briefs ... I
came across this article - Moon
Music - Moon Miners Manifesto (page 7) - March 1987 - in
which Peter Kokh speculates on how lunar settlers living off the
land might create musical instruments ...
... There have been nearly
two decades worth of great ideas for lunar living and development
offered by Peter and others in the Moon
Miners Manifesto ...
... The mission of the ARC
- Alliance to Rescue Civilization is to create "continuously
staffed facilities on the Moon and other locations away from Earth"
in order "to protect the human species and its civilization
from destruction that could result from a global catastrophic event".
The project's leadership roster
is quite impressive. ...
... The restoration project
for the Saturn V at the Houston Space Center begins by protecting
the mighty rocket from the weather: Inside
the Saturn V's Houston home - collectSPACE - Feb.4.05 ...
... Making Mars suitable for
outdoor living, begins with some gas: Best
Way to Make Mars Habitable: Inject Greenhouse Gas - Space.com -
... Kenneth Schweitzer informs
me that the forums
at Space Investor are now up and running...
... .Alan Boyle finds a wacky
wabbit on the wed pwaanet: Bugs
spotted on Mars - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Feb.3.05 .
SciTech brief... Gee, I could
get all the seasons of all the Star Trek series on just one of these
holographic storage disks and have room left over for the ST movies
as well: Group
aims to drastically up disc storage - CNET - Feb.3.05.
February 3, 2005
5:35 pm: News briefs ... Richard
Godwin offers 19 excellent reasons for people to go into outer space:
Send People Instead of Just Robots Into Space? - ad Astra/Space.com
- Jan.28.05 ...
... Alan Boyle describes
a proposed replacement for the Hubble telescope: A
new and improved Hubble? - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Feb.2.05
... This problem - Lawyers
Lay Waste to Military Models Industry - Strategy Page - Feb.3.05
- might start to affect rocketry and spacecraft modeling
... Here are some suggestions
with regard to satellite radio devices: Satellite
Radio Article - the-gadgeteer - Jan.20.05
... Alabama's scheme for
funding the Saturn V restoration looks to be off to a good start:
systems go for Saturn V tag: Space Center hits state deadline with
last-minute push - Huntsville Times - Feb.01.04
... At least some at NASA
are thinking that space is not just for science: NASA
- Space Settlement.
5:35 pm: Big time space sims ... Space
simulation games are getting increasingly sophisticated
and are starting to be used in real space development: Games
Join.Space Race - Wired - Feb.3.05.
For example, the space station simulation developed by Vision
Videogames is going to be used with Raytheon to develop their
proposed systems for the Crew
Exploration Vehicle (CEV) system for Earth-Moon exploration:
Videogames Assists Raytheon in NASA Initiative to Develop Virtual
Moon Vehicle - Vision Videogames -Jan.18.05.
By the way, Vision Videogames is looking for people to test
beta version: Vision
Videogames Seeks Game Testers for SpaceStationSIM Game- i-Newswire.com
- Dec.20.04. ...
Commons is a company that develops 3D modeling and simulation
programs. Check out the many space related projects,
including CEV development, such as this Concepts
for Lunar Exploration Staging Rack.
February 1, 2005
1:50 pm: Space music briefs ... From
Eli Goldberg at Prometheus
Music comes word that NASA has released their Born of Dreams
- Inspired by Freedom DVD-ROM, which includes a full recording
Waltz from the To
Touch the Stars album. See the Social History/Aviation and
Space Music essay area of the DVD. You can obtain this DVD for
free ($1.90 postage): www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/what.html
... More info about the Music2Titan
'n' Roll is out of this world! - ESA Portal - Jan.31.05.
1:50 pm: News briefs ... Space
artists work with space developers to show the way: Universe
Looks Good From Here - Wired - Feb.1.05 ...
... The NSS
will collaborate with Space.com
not only on ad
Astra Online but also with the print magazine: National
Space Society Partners with SPACE.com on Web Site, Magazine - Space.com
- Jan.31.05 ...
... Mars construction will
be trickier than how it's done on earth: Sands
of Mars: Driving, digging, mining: these are things astronauts will
be doing one day in the sands of Mars. It's not as simple as it
sounds. - Science@NASA - Jan.31.05 ...
... Here is some interesting
and nice looking artwork of a Mars base: Janek
Kozicki - Base on Mars
1:50 pm: The
Tuesday, February 1, 2005, 7:00-8:15 pm (Pacific Time ) - Rusty
Schweickart, former astronaut
and Chairman, B612
Sunday, February 6, 2005, 12:00-1:30 pm (Pacific Time) - Dr.
David P. Millier, Professor of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
at The University of Oklahoma, will discuss the Sooner Lunar Schooner
to January 2005 articles in archive