Wednesday, December 23, 2009

People Just Don't Think Before They Speak

Sometimes, I get into debates with really stupid people. I hate to say that. I don't like calling anyone stupid, but stupid is as stupid does. They are probably nice people, but God do they say stupid things without thinking. That drives me nuts. This reminds me of what I said about Nancy Pelosi's dumb statement about human spaceflight, but that's not what this rant is about. :)

I've stumbled upon a really interesting group called The Venus Project. This ties into Monday's posting. Of course, any time you come up with something this different, this radical, and this detrimental to the status quo, you'll definitely find detractors and people who have nothing serious to contribute, so they say stupid things. Case in point, a discussion between a guy I will simply call "Him" and me. It started off because he hates the architecture depicted in the animations:

Him: Wow...how to make life completely sterile and lifeless...
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Me: Your comments are indicative of the current symptoms of the problem we have today. You've been conditioned to think that having completely unique and special places of living, even at the expense of efficiency, is the best method. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Certain methods and structures are scientifically better than others, period, regardless of how much you may like Victorian architecture, or Gothic structures. A change in thinking is required.
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Him: The only way? This sounds a lot like the Christianity movement. The overall intent is good but is selfish and based on very limited knowledge of technology and our WORLD. The problems of today are a result of greed, ignorance, and lack of good education/leaders.
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Me: No, it's all based on the Scientific Method, and every bit of technology spoken of is completely available right now, today. I think you don't know enough about current technology to make that statement, else you would not have made it at all. Greed, ignorance, lack of education and more ALL revolve around a broken Monetary Economic System that promote scarcity and division. Eradicate that, and all can prosper.
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Him: Personally I don't care to live inside a cold machine...And I'm positive there are a lot of people who would agree. Hell, one could say technology is a result of greed and the scientific method. We don't need these things to survive. People are afraid to die and think it will somehow save them. But all is not lost, it will balance out.
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Me: Tesla developed a crap load of things, furthering technology significantly, and died broke. He's the true inventor of the radio, but was not a money grubbing profiteer. Einstein, Newton, and many other major scientists didn't become millionaires off their work. People used their work to become millionaires. Scientists and Engineers love the pursuit of knowledge and truth, natural truth, not fictionally developed 'truth'.

Yes, we do need technology to survive, to survive longer and live better. You don't need to be a genius to know that human life expectancy is twice as long now than just 100 yrs ago. Science made that possible. I refuse to revert back to caves.
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Him: Yes the scientific is method at the core as well... However the scientific method is uncovering quite a bit about ourselves and our reality that will permanently change the way we perceive. Everything is coming to a critical point and it's all inclusive.

I am not against the movement, I am against seeing people put in little compartments stacked on top of one another...the entire building is symbolic of the monetary system...There is plenty of room for everyone on floor1.
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Me: Jacque definitively states many times that his models don't represent what will actually happen. People will design the city to be as "pretty and useful" as necessary. As for everyone living on the ground floor, that's retarded. You'd run out of usable land for farming and animal cultivation real fast if everyone took up a parcel of land. Hell, the whole world can't sustain that anyway.

6 billion+ people even taking up just 1 acre a piece would consume 6 billion+ acres for living. 1 acre is roughly 4 square km. So now we're looking at 24 billion square km needed for this. Even if you averaged 4 people per plot of land, you're back to 6 billion square km. The entire known land area of the entire world (including Antarctica) is 148.9 million square km. And this includes coastlines, inland bodies of water, like lakes, rivers, etc.

Sorry friend, it's impossible once you apply...I don't know...MATH! Do some research before you speak, it might serve you well.
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That's it for now. No idea what he'll come back with, but I love it when math and proper logic trumps flippant statements that are completely B.S. :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Time Must Be Spared For Self Education

One of the most important things a person can do is to find the time to educate themselves. Self learning is what separates us from a lizard, goat or most other creatures.

Usually I stick to matters of space, science, technology and the like on this blog. For the first time in a while, I am straying from this general topic genre to focus on something just as significantly important, if not more so.

Below are several links to videos, and every single one of them should be watched by you. Additionally they should be watched by your friends, family, loved ones, EVERYONE!

It is important that as you go though these, you do NOT try to accept, deny or argue every point made as it's being delivered. This is a lesson in patience for overall understanding. I myself do not subscribe to every notion presented, but the overall message rings loud and clear, and that is what's important.

I hope you make the time, find the time, manufacture the time to watch these videos and see just how important self education is. The more people understand how the system is flawed, and understand the very probable and realistic solutions to resolve many of our issues, the sooner we can begin the serious move to making life infinitely better for every man, woman and child on this planet. Especially the children.

It is much easier for you to simply watch these videos with an open mind, than to give cursory explanations of what each video entails. In the end, I hope this has the same impact on you that it had on me.
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The Zeitgeist Movement (Basically the Philosophy & Reasons Behind the Movement):

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3932487043163636261#
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Peter Joseph "Where are we now?":

http://vimeo.com/6346955
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Peter Joseph "Where are we going?" Part 1:

http://vimeo.com/7857584
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Peter Joseph "Where are we going?" Part 2:

http://vimeo.com/7938805
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Jacque Fresco of The Venus Project (Part 1):

http://vimeo.com/7866864
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Jacque Fresco of The Venus Project (Part 2):

http://vimeo.com/7979712

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Zeitgeist Movie Website, including the original film from 2007 and the Addendum from 2008. Both help give greater detail if you wish. They aren't necessarily required, as the Orientation Video covers most things on a base level, but these are recommended and very revealing and informative if you want greater detail.

http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/

Friday, December 18, 2009

Obama's Preliminary Decision on Human Spaceflight?

http://blogs.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2009/12/exclusiveobama.html

Once again, far too many statements with respect to NASA are about maintaining jobs and not producing viable products. This is why government space will fail in taking humanity to the next level of space exploration. NASA is now a jobs program, NOT a Research and Development branch of the government for the purpose of space exploration and development.

Is it nice that Obama is considering boosting the NASA budget by a billion, focusing on Heavy Lift, and killing Ares 1 in favor of using NewSpace companies to accomplish the tasks Ares would have done? Yes. But when you have entrenched politicians who only care about keeping jobs in their districts where NASA centers are located, you completely lose sight of the real purpose of NASA. Sometimes, as a viable company would, you trim the fat or relocate your staff to be better utilized. That's just how it is, if you're a private company. NASA is so bogged down by political nonsense that they can't get out of their own way, and it's not their fault really.

I wish this was considered when NASA was being put together, but alas, NASA was a whirlwind creation with the Moon as the prize. I don't think anyone involved in the process saw the detrimental affects of spreading the organization throughout the nation based upon Congressional fancy. Nor would they have foreseen how such a structure and its governance would end up being the cause for its stagnation.

It would be nice, for once, if a President would step up and publicly tell Congress to shut up, that we're going to do what's right for the nation as a whole, and not just your district. That people can move to find new and better jobs if necessary, and although that's not ideal for those people and families, it's better than cutting things completely. For once, I'd like a President with the balls to put Congress in their place and set the stage for the greater good. I am getting sick of the selfish nature of individual politicians who care less about the big picture and are solely focused on their next election. Aren't you?

However, I still find this to be a half-assed move. Obama has yet to address one of the key aspects of the future of human spaceflight, which is fostering the growth of the Commercial Space Industry, not just placating it. What we need are moves like creating tax incentives to start space based companies, increased funding for space based university research, and the restructure of ITAR to get back to missiles, bombs and guns, and get out of peaceful commercial space. Hell, the last one doesn't require a dime to accomplish, but would result in huge economic boons to our nation.

As I said last night during the SpaceVidCast show, WE are the ones who need to get into positions of power, or elect people who share our vision of the future, if we're ever going to make the kind of moves necessary to make our dreams a reality.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Obama Meets with Bolden (and Pelosi is a Bonehead)

http://www.spacepolitics.com/2009/12/17/bolden-and-obama-and-pelosi-too/

Much ado about nothing really. There were no real announcements as it happened later in the day, so there was no real contribution to the press briefing. So they met, which I guess could be considered a good thing, but I want to touch on what Pelosi said.

Nancy Pelosi is an idiot. Oh, I'm sorry, was that not politically correct? Too bad. Stupid is as stupid does, or as stupid says. As the above article quotes her, “I have not been a big fan of manned expeditions to outer space, in terms of safety and cost.” This woman has absolutely NO fraggin' clue what space means to the advancement to humanity. She only cares about the advancement of herself.

She's happy to spend billions on a socialized medical system, which throughout history has been shown to be a huge mistake for the future condition of the people it's supposed to help, which in and of itself incurs major cost and safety risk, but she's willing to cast aside human space exploration using the excuse of cost and safety. What a hypocrite.

Without human exploration of space, we would not have achieved MANY of the major technological advancements that help people every day. Many medical advancements are a direct result of human space exploration, including medical systems, technologies and even biological analysis. The lessons learned from putting people in space directly affects how we diagnose and treat people here on Earth, and this moron Senator doesn't have the foggiest clue, nor do I think she cares about that fact.

It's FACT! Not trumped up B.S. It's FACT! For the life of me, I cannot fathom why the people of California constantly elect such a myopic dolt, unless many of them truly share the same perspective. If that's the case, I do hope California falls into the ocean. It's obvious she doesn't have any significant care for the future of this country, unless that future means more power for her, her party and government in general.

Nancy Pelosi, you're a bonehead. You don't have a clue, you never have and I venture to say that you never will. Fortunately you have not managed to take away free speech (yet), so I proudly sit here and say this, and I'd gladly say it right to your face. Human space exploration is not only beneficial, but necessary for the survival of the human race.

Space can solve many of the key issues we're facing today, such as the economy, employment, education, environment, energy, international relations and more!

It's about time "We the People" start to put people in Washington D.C. who understand this fact and look to make America a space faring nation.

It's about time "We the People" push and demand that our growth is not based on banking, investments and "invisible money" bubbles that can/will pop, but that it's based on solid production, true advancement and sustainable growth.

It's about time that "We the People" strike now, strike often, and strike true with our message, our votes and our demands.

It's about time that "We the People" start acting like "We the People" and do what is right for the future our our children and generations to come.

Let's get it done!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Flyers Among Us


The Flyers Among Us from Stanley Von Medvey on Vimeo.

This was far too good NOT to post on my blog. Great message and great graphics! Well done and very true!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Revolution is Coming -- Try and Stop It

The revolution is coming, the NewSpace Revolution. Last week marked the unveiling of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, the newest craft designed for the sole purpose of commercial space. Now, there are those who will argue that Virgin Galactic is not going to space, because by their definition, if it doesn't orbit the planet, it's not real space travel.

I think some would disagree, like the World Air Sports Federation (FAI), which sets the altitude at a simple and fixed 100km. You break that altitude, then you're in space. NASA has adopted this fixed altitude as well, and no where in the definition does it say how long you have to be up there, or whether or not orbiting makes the point more valid. Suffice to say, many of the people complaining are also the same ones who are against the commercial development of space. No surprise.

And now we come to today, when SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) has announced that not only is it conducting training with bonafide astronauts on its Dragon system, which is their capsule craft designed to rendezvous with the ISS and any other orbiting platform, but that it plans to be up and running to support crew shifts for the ISS between May and November of 2010.

Notice I said up and running, not developing and testing. With Ares still undergoing good old fashioned NASA testing and development, which as we all know is a wonderfully streamlined and delay free process, SpaceX is stepping up to the plate with the full intent to knock the ball out of the park. Now, I can hear the bickering already, "Falcon 9 hasn't even launched. SpaceX is being pre-mature. This is a PR stunt. No way they'll be ready by then. Falcon 9 is much more complex than Falcon 1, and they screwed up Falcon 1 three times before it worked." Blah, blah, blah.

The core systems between Falcon 1 and 9 are the same. The trick, which is genuine, is to make sure all 9 engines run properly at the same time. The issues related to Falcon 1 all represent learning and growth in understanding of new systems. Last I checked, new rocket systems don't always perform perfectly the first time. What's unique here is that SpaceX achieved success in a very short time at a fraction of the cost when compared to government programs. That's the difference, achieving the same results at a lower cost, which is what commercial space provides us all.

Couple this with Masten Space Systems winning the Northrup Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, Armadillo Aerospace coming in a close and respectable second in the same competition, and other NewSpace players making strides of their own, and it's becoming apparent that NewSpace is not a fleeting movement.

Do you hear that? That's the drum beat of revolution, and it will be a benefit to us all.

Friday, December 11, 2009

You Want the Economic Impact?! You Can't Handle the Economic Impact!


This is a must read! Yes, it's from 1992, and there should be another study like this done today, but the data in here is astounding!

Many people ask about the benefits of the space industry in these hard economic times, and far too many subscribe to the ludicrous argument that we should spend money on Earth rather than on space. It's a false argument, because it's not like we're launching cash and having it orbit the planet serving no use. The money is spent here, at companies on Earth (in America), that employ great people with diverse educational backgrounds, to create systems that operate in space. The location of use isn't Earth, but the foundations ARE from Earth.

From the small electronics manufacturer in Illinois to the big Boeing corporation, there are more pieces to the space industry puzzle than many people realize. Special thanks for Marcel (blog viewer and contributor) for bringing this to my attention.

Read this and understand...

(click each image to expand)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quantum Propulsion Machine - Popsci Article

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2009-12/quantum-propulsion-machine

Well, this is just plain cool. I love the fact that it's pretty easy to test the theory. So rare that the studies of Quantum Mechanics can be put to an actual test. Far too much of it is mathematical masturbation with very little chance of being turned into a practical device. This, however, might actually turn into something significant. But as the article insinuates, let's not get to far ahead of ourselves. :)

SpaceShipTwo Unveiling and the NewSpace Movement

I guess I should comment on Virgin Galactic's reveal of SpaceShipTwo. I figured it would be pretty obvious to anyone who follows this blog that I'm ecstatic about the event. I do find it interesting, however, the number of people who poo-poo something like this because it's "just a sub-orbital roller coaster".

Well, last I checked, no private company was doing this at all, so don't you think any step up is a good step? What, do you want a company to instantly come out with gravity driven spaceships and simply glide us into the cosmos? Wake up. The NewSpace movement is only NOW finally gaining momentum and, albeit small, some respect.

With SpaceX having success with Falcon 1 and getting ready to demonstrate Falcon 9, Scaled Composites winning the Ansari X-Prize and Masten winning the Northrup Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, Virgin Galactic falls in line with a series of NewSpace companies that are showing what they're made of, and it's good stuff! Just look at what's been accomplished thus far based ONLY on the dollars spent. It's amazing the accomplishments that have been achieved on such limited resources.

And remember this, Virgin Galactic is but one of several NewSpace companies poised to help propel us to the next level. Currently on PopularScience.com they have a story ranking the top 15 NewSpace companies in order of their progress toward the goal of bringing cargo and human passengers to space. 15 companies! Here they are in order of ranking:

Virgin Galactic
SpaceX
Orbital Sciences
Scaled Composites
Masten Space Systems
Armadillo Aerospace
Planetary Society
Bigelow Aerospace
XCOR Aerospace
Blue Origin
Ad Astra Rocket Co.
Interorbital Systems
ARCA
Da Vinci Project/The Dreamspace Group
Space Adventures

Did you know there were that many? Do you know what they're doing? Virgin, Masten, Armadillo and SpaceX seem to top the media highlights, but as you can see there are more players in the game than just those few, and who knows how many others are out there working hard for the NewSpace Movement, but just haven't been recognized yet (which could be on purpose, who knows).

Now if the American government, and governments around the world, would embrace NewSpace as a partner and not a competitor, I firmly believe we'd see even greater things accomplished, not only for the commercialization of space, but also for the potential of government space agencies to focus on much more challenging and rewarding missions and advancements. It's a win win scenario. It's our job to drive that message home, to force our hand and to ensure that our future is not wrapped up in Committee Meetings, but that it is allowed to unfold as we all know it should.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Letter to the White House

I am sending this every day, maybe even a few times a day, until I get a solid reply and not some generic automated reply. :) If you wish to use this email and reference me as the author, go right ahead. The more people we have to hammer this message to the White House, the better the odds of its implementation, and the success of our future. I am more than willing to be the front man on this endeavor.
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Greetings,

I will send this email every day until I get a reply that it's been received and reviewed. I am not trying to be rude, but heard and recognized. I offer a serious solution that must be considered.

For many of our concerns today there is one strong solution. Not every problem requires a special unique solution. Sometimes, you can hit several flies with just one swat.

What we have right now is a lack of focus on long term production. The shovel ready projects (bridges and roads) that were the core of the Stimulus Package are very short term jobs and limited in scope and scale. What we need is a larger full scale project, or projects, that employ hundreds of thousands of people over the course of decades, but which also serves a purpose for the future of this nation and our growth as a society.

Public/Private Space Exploration and Development serves this purpose. To stay within the 2,500 character limit, I’ll omit details, but I do have them. In short, what is needed are lofty, high value, audacious goals the whole nation can benefit from, like a Moon Base, an asteroid mission to review prospects for mining resources and a project to help private industry develop Space Based Solar Power concepts, the ultimate in green energy.

This approach doesn’t necessarily require large govt. spending. The govt. made loans to the Union and Central Pacific RR's to build the Intercontinental Railroad, so why can't we do the same today to build a space infrastructure between the Moon and the Earth? The government can actually make money on the projects.

What issues can this course of action help solve? The Economy, Employment, Education, Energy and International Relations.

This is a real solution with unlimited potential. It would also put America back in the drivers seat as the worlds leader in taking on amazing challenges, but challenges that offer a better life for everyone in the world. How would you feel being the President who started this and made America become a space faring nation? I would be honored to go into further detail if you're interested Mr. President. You have my email.

Regards,

Douglas Mallette
Space Shuttle Systems Engineer
Space Advocacy Speaker
Author: Turning Point
Email: mallette.doug@gmail.com

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hey Washington D.C. Jobs Summit: I Have Your Answer Right Here!

I have to think that whatever they come up with during this jobs summit, if anything at all, it will not be focused on long term job creation, but short term quick fixes. This is depressing, because it's painfully obvious that what we need is a long term focus, a strong solution that covers years of job sustainability, and NOT just government jobs, but private sector jobs.

What we have is a lack of focus on long term production. These shovel ready projects (bridges and roads) that were the core of the Stimulus Package are very short term jobs and limited in scope and scale. What we need is a larger full scale project, or projects, that employ hundreds of thousands...if not millions. A Moon Base sounds like a good project to spur innovation and get our kids excited, and add to it a nice asteroid mission to mine resources and a serious project to help private industry develop Space Based Solar Power concepts. These are things that will take 20+ years to accomplish...LONG TERM!

Like Kennedy did in the 60's, but for reasons of challenging Russia, the current or next Administration should once again use space as a rallying point. This time, as a means for creating jobs, not just engineers and scientists either, but a whole host of jobs that would be directly and indirectly related to the endeavor. For every 1 person directly related to the project(s) making an average of $80,000 a year, you'll end up also creating another 1 or 2 jobs based on the fact that that person now has the kind of income to buy a house, car, clothes, eat out...basically spend money. Hello retail sector.

And more than 50% of this should be handled by private industry, not NASA and the government. NASA has a role, but to create long term jobs you must have the private sector carry the lion share of the work, use the grants and loans for technological development, and grow the Commercial Space Industry so that it becomes a self sustaining force for space travel and space based development. The government could even make money on this like they did when they worked with the railroad industry to build the Intercontinental Railroad.

This would also spur technological growth in a whole host of sectors, because as all space advocates know, developing space technologies ends up also developing technologies in unrelated sectors. Who knows what crazy advancements would be made in the medical, transportation and even clothing sectors. History has proven this, so why not embrace it?

This is a common sense, no-brainer solution to one hell of a problem...series of problems! Bring in other nations to join us in the grand project, thereby fortifying our peaceful cooperation relationships. Kids seeing real movement in the space industry beyond 2 or 3 launches a year will get them excited to get into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), especially if they genuinely feel they can go into space themselves to do work.

Mr. President, the time is now. The solution is obvious. Let's go!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Market Argument for Commercial Space

I am sick of the market argument for Commercial Space. Was there a market for the car when everyone was happy with their horses and buggies? Was there a market for the airplane when most people were terrified of the prospect of flying and content with the status quo? Is there ever a market for radical technological shifts? I say no, but that doesn't stop progress! Nor should it stop innovation because there's no apparent market yet.

Build it and they will come. Develop the Commercial Space Industry, even if the govt. has to subsidize it at first, and people will find a way to use it. The market will develop and grow. The systems will improve, the advances will be astounding and the costs will drop. The growth will be immense and the prosperity of our species will be ensured once we start to utilize space and its resources.

I firmly believe that there will NEVER be a time when the government will do anything cost effectively. That's just not what they do. The commercialization of space will be the only method by which we see space travel costs drop to the point that you or I can go after just saving a reasonable amount of money.

Also, this nonsense of people complaining of no commercial market right now is ridiculous. There is a current market. Right now, it's rich people. That's how it usually is. There is also scientific interest in low cost commercial space. Let's not forget Bigelow, who wants to put his hotels up there. He's one of those customers that spawns even more customers, the people visiting his hotel! Now put several hotels up there and see how that grows the market. Add in orbiting fuel depots which can be commercial, located in LEO, GEO, L-points and around the Moon, and you have a whole new market sector where other private fliers and governments are the customers.

This isn't difficult to wrap your head around, so why the hell does Congress and government space make this so difficult. I'm starting to get the feeling that govt. space doesn't WANT a commercial sector to compete with, because they know they'll lose. They (Congress) needs their pet project in order to garner votes during elections...using NASA as a jobs program more than a science and technology program. The people working in government space want to hold their jobs, which is beyond me, because if they are worth a damn, they can get jobs in the private sector building commercial space ships and systems. I guess they just like their cushy, can't fire me, do a little but get paid a lot jobs.

I'm sick of the gray hairs running things! I'm sick of this stupid argument that commercial space isn't yet viable! If not now, then when?! Never on your watch, grandpa, I guarantee that, because you are stuck in the world of government space running the show. Well, that time is coming to a close and it will be us young whipper snappers that put you in your place, change the paradigm, shift the focus, and make dreams reality.

It's time for us to demand the proper courses of action, or get into office ourselves and make it happen. It's time for US to take the torch, because it won't be handed to us, that's for sure. It's time for us to be the game changers, the ones history will look back on and note as the one damn generation that actually stood up and carried humanity on it's back into the stars! We are the ones who will affect the right change, the ones who will turn sci-fi into sci-fact, and we must do it NOW!

Vote with space in mind. Run for office with space in mind. Ensure every decision you ever make has space in mind, because space exploration and development solves so many issues all at once. We get that, so now it's time for us to make sure everyone else gets it too!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Time Plus Space -- But Not Spacetime?!

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=splitting-time-from-space

Well well, if you step outside the box, realize that all efforts thus far have been proven to be wrong, then you might just come up with some wacky idea that is more plausible than anything thought of so far. I like this Petr HoĊ™ava guy. He basically said BUNK to classically accepted theories and tried something radically different. And what do ya know, it's starting to look rather promising.

You can get the details from the article. I'm not going to rewrite it. Suffice to say, I LOVE it when people challenge scientific dogma and take the risk of looking like an idiot on a hunch that what they've thought of might actually be valid. There aren't enough risk takers anymore in the scientific community, and there are far too many people who are so absolutely entrenched in faithfully following what they've learned in school that they've lost their ability to question even the basics in the hopes of maybe...just maybe...making a startling discovery.

Will this new idea pan out? Who knows. It looks good so far, even with its bugs. Still, at least Petr is humble enough to admit he's not perfect and that he hopes people will tweak and refine his theory. Can't say the same for so many scientists who stick to their pet theories to passionately they consider it fact.

I personally hope it does pan out, because then we can put this dark matter/energy bunk to rest. :)

Magnetic Shield for Reentry

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2009-11/europes-magnetic-heat-shield-could-protect-spacecraft-during-reentry

Well, this is REALLY cool! I can think of no better way to reduce heat issues on a spacecraft than by creating a shield that helps prevent the particles from getting close to the skin in the first place. A nice bubble around the craft, or at least a field leading the way, is a great idea that should be researched by the U.S. as well. Good on you Europe.

Of course, this also could be used for shielding in space for a craft doing a long duration mission with people aboard. Nice "deflector shield" technology. Now, uncharged particles aren't affected of course, but anything charged could either be caught in the field, or bent away. Time for some serious R&D NASA, if you even do that anymore.

I think private companies would eat this up if they could just sell the technology to other nations. Imagine being the company that develops a real shield generator and how much $$$ you'd make on THAT?! Hello economic boom. Food for thought...chew on that a bit. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Great Conversation to Share

Just follow along class. For the sake of privacy, no real screen names were used. :)
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Person X: Actually, I do think that going to the asteroid is EXACTLY what NASA was built to do. Their mission is to push the envelope for Space and pursue Astronautics and Aeronautics. BUT, NASA, and the feds can help get commercial space off the ground and make it possible for private space to pursue LEO space as well as the moon. In the mean time, NASA continues to pursue doing something unique.
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Me: Person X (and others who think going back to the Moon is old hat) - I'm pretty sure building a Lunar base is unique and different. It's completely different than what we did before on the Moon. Yes, the location is the same, but so what. Last time all we did was play golf, drive a dune buggy and bring home some rocks. Whoopie fraggin' do. People who "yawn" at going back to the Moon probably aren't old enough to have been around for it the first time. I'm not old enough myself, but at least I have some respect for the challenge required not just to land, but to BUILD! That's the difference, and the ONLY reason for going back to the Moon.

Building a base will be a huge test, and also a huge PR move for NASA if they ever wake up and promote themselves properly...or solicit non-profit organizations to be their PR team. Building a base on the Moon is no joke, and vastly important.

Additionally, and this is a must, it requires multiple nations to pull this off. No one nation should be do anything major like this by itself. Spread the work and spread the cost. This helps that whole international relations thing. :)
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Person X: Hmmm. Where did I say that I am against going back to the moon? All that I have said is that the feds should be encouraging private space to get there, by helping them to get the infrastructure in place. I think that we have enough RD from NASA to help companies like L-Mart/Boeing/SpaceX/Bigelow/Blue Origin/etc get there. NASA can help them get there using a LITTLE BIT of federal money, while the majority comes from the private venture.
In the mean time, NASA can do what it does best; RD and pushing the envelope.
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Me: Person X - Okay, I'll buy that. If NASA were to do something like that, and the government would enable private international company cooperation and collaboration by fixing ITAR, I'd be all for commercial space working the Moon Base and NASA doing the asteroid thing. That would be a fun race to watch, who finishes their mission first and cheapest...NASA or Commercial Space. My money goes with Commercial Space. :)
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Person X: First, I do not think that the feds have to help International space achieve commercial space. That is not their mission. Over the years, I have watched this site (I hate to be into too many blog sites; joined this due to one discussion that was way off), and have noticed that many seem to think that NASA is about helping the international space programs come along. At this point, I have a strong desire to see America get our own commercial space program off the ground.

Now, as to ITAR, it is NOT ABSOLUTELY NOT BROKEN. It has doing the job that it was suppose to do. Nearly, all of the western companies that will not be building weapons and will not disseminate it to use against us can get that information. One of the issues that we have is that we want partners that will not out and out steal our tech, and we want to know that the partner will not be using it in a missiles aimed at us.

I have worked in various positions in several 3 letter agencies and one time for a 4 letter (NASA). I have SEEN attempts to steal our tech. And this was tech that could only be used against us. In addition, I have dealt with at least one gal that married an America major, came here, looked for jobs and we turned down (she was lukewarm on the job until she found out that it was dealing peripherally with the CIA and then she was adamant about getting the job). I found out that she was ultimately deported. I do not know why, but i can make guesses. BTW, this happens more than ppl realize.

As to a race, yeah, my money would be on commercial space. They will have more money and a great deal more flexibility. In addition, they have the luxury of focusing on one or just a few jobs. But, even with that, it requires the feds (obama and dem congress) to get their act together and help these folks. I am not certain that it will happen. I watched how short term thinking the neo-cons were, and as I watch the dems, they are not much better. The one good news is that generally in NASA's history, they have done much better with a dem at the helm, than either a pub or a neo-con. We will see how this shakes out.

Finally, with the above said, it would be useful for the friendly nations to stay to comment designs; Common docking; Common fuel hookups; common wiring hook-ups; etc.
NASA can play a major role in this and more importantly, should. I would very much like to see RSA, ESA, CSA, and JSA be able to hook up with Commercial space in being on the moon.
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Me: Person X - WHAT?! ITAR not broken? The 1999 reform of ITAR to include Commercial Sats KILLED the American SatCom industry. 50% drop in global market share in 2 years. 50% drop in launch provider revenue in 5 years. Other nations don't want to work with us because ITAR is a nightmare. ITAR is a cancer and should be put back to what it's supposed to be (missiles, bombs and guns), not peaceful commercial space endeavors.

People need to stop being paranoid. Bad guys don't need space technology to be bastards (9/11 didn't require rockets), so to hamstring the commercial space industry from freely working together because of some overt paranoia that every international company is going to build missiles and laser weapons is stupid. Yes...stupid. What kind of national defense issues are present if companies want to build a space hotel together? Or make a commercial shuttle service to carry people to LEO, the Moon or beyond.

The damn government needs to STOP controlling space, because for the past 30 years all we've been dealt is a hand of bullsh%!, floating in LEO while we watch our kids get bored with space, science and technology because there's absolutely no WAY they will ever go to space.

Odds of becoming a Pro Athlete - 1:25,000
Odds of becoming an astronaut - 1:12,000,000

Yeah, and we wonder why kids don't give a crap about space once they turn 12. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that the present system (govt. controlled) makes it virtually impossible to actually GO into space. That needs to change. NewSpace NOW!

(This message brought to you by a pissed off space advocate who's seeing the dream of space get destroyed by the government.)
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Me: Person X - Oh, and sorry for throwing you in with the people who say "bunk" to going back to the Moon. I accidentally got you mixed with others. The point remains the same, but I retract you as a target of the point. lol.

Also, love the debate...keep it coming! :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Obama Addresses Science/Technology/Engineering

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2009/11/23/next-generation-innovators

I like this, by why hasn't Obama come to the conclusion that the space industry, and a serious investment into it, will help many of the current issues we're facing right now. Look, if you're going to make a stimulus package that's supposed to save the day, you might as well spend the money on something that will last many years, grow an entire industry, employ hundreds of thousands of people directly (if not over a million) and also cause a double of that employment number by all the ancillary jobs that will end up being created.

This is a step in the right direction, but let's finish the play. Fix ITAR so the American commercial space industry can once again work with companies around the world to develop better products and systems. Use the unspent stimulus money and dump it right into the space industry in the forms of grants to businesses and schools, tax breaks to start new space based businesses, a large bonus check to NASA, etc. Put that money to use on building a Moon Base, something that will take 15+ years, that's never been done before, will be an inspiration to our young people, and will lead to unlimited future potential.

You're a smart guy Mr. President. Get it done.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The LCROSS Finding

Hello everyone,

I bet some of you are wondering why I have not yet written about the most recent news that LCROSS found a lot of water. Well, I was at the SpaceVision 2009 SEDS National Conference, and was quite busy, so my ability to get in front of a computer and write out an article wasn't very good. However, now I'm home and have had the time to read some articles, see the report, etc.

I only have one word about this: GALLONS!

Not teaspoons, not trace amounts, but gallons of water found in a relatively small area represents one of the most important findings in near space in the history of mankind. Yeah, that's a big statement, but I strongly feel that way.

This much water on the Moon represents the strongest incentive for a Moon Base ever. Period. Before it was all speculation and hope. Now it's fact and data. You can't argue with that. What drives me nuts are the people still saying, "Well, that's all nice, but you still have to get the water out in appreciable amounts." Duh, that's what scientists and engineers do, figure those things out, and with this kind of excitement you know darn well that there will be a strong push to make it happen.

This also gives the private space industry a real economic reason to go to the Moon. Turn water into fuel and make the Moon a gas station and you can make a fortune selling fuel to others, but the fuel would still be wicked cheaper than ever having to bring it with you from Earth. The savings for launchers and missions would be significant, and the revenue for the fuel provider would be huge. Win win.

We live in an amazing time in human history. It's now time to turn sci-fi into sci-fact. Let's get this thing rolling! I am still on a mission. Priority one, educate the public to the point that they base a large portion of their political vote on how serious candidates take space. Space solves many issues, and this needs to be known. Parallel to that, try to talk to politicians either directly or through groups in an effort to fix ITAR and enable peaceful international private business collaboration to advance technology and space based systems.

I've got a lot of work to do, so let's get going!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Space Future Journal Interview

http://spacefuture.com/journal/journal.cgi?art=2009.11.09.douglas_mallette

Here is an interview article written by SpaceFuture.com.

My Fox News Appearance Recap

Well, without a doubt this was one of the coolest trips I've ever been on. Thankfully the New York weather cooperated with my visit and it wasn't bitterly cold, nor rainy or snowy. The people at Fox News are amazingly cool, gracious and fun people.

Harris Faulkner was a great person (and she's quite tall). Our conversation was fun, fluid and engaging, and by far the best of my two interviews, but that isn't a negative against Uma Pemmeraju. Uma and I on Friday were up against the Orlando shooting breaking news and I was actually surprised that I got on at all.

There was a stark contrast between Thursday and Friday. Thursday morning was relaxed, good pace, but not hectic. Then around 2 and 2:30pm is when the word was going around about the Ft. Hood shootings. You could instantly feel the pace quicken, even though it was drawing close to the end of the day on the Strategy Room. Right about then is when I thought my Friday interview might be dropped.

Friday was crazy to begin with as the story of Ft. Hood developed, but then some jackass in Orlando has to join the fray and go on his own shooting spree. What the hell is with people? I've lost jobs before and been on hard times, but NEVER thought to kill anyone over it. Anyway, with the Strategy Room trying to take coverage of the Orlando shooting as maybe a copycat incident to the Ft. Hood shooting, I completely thought I was out of the loop for the day.

First I was to be on at 3pm for the whole hour, then 1:30pm for 30 minutes, then 1pm for the hour (first 30 min. as a military veteran talking about Ft. Hood and the second 30 min. talking about my book), then it changed again to 1:45 for 15 min., and it finally ended up being around 1:50pm for 7 minutes. lol. Crazy day. Still, they got me on, but it just wasn't right. It wasn't fluid and there were still things coming down regarding the hot news of the day. I jokingly called myself the "And Guest". We've got Orlando, Ft. Hood...and Doug. Not exactly their high priority for the day, and I understand that.

As you can see, I did record my Harris Faulkner interview and have posted it. I also tried to record my Uma Pemmeraju interview, but the file is corrupt. I basically said the same thing in both interviews, but you would have easily noticed the difference between the two...relaxed vs. rushed.

Nevertheless, this was an amazing opportunity and I hope to be able to more in the future. I just hope I can graduate from New Media (online) to good old fashioned TV. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Off to NYC today!

Hello everyone,

Well, 4 hours to take off and I'll be on the way to New York to be on Fox News' Strategy Room for the next 2 days. Yes, I'm pretty excited about this. It's a major step in my life, and I hope it leads to future opportunities. My passion for space is unquestionable, and for the first time ever I see a chance to become more than just a fan, but an actual voice for the industry and hopefully affect a new mindset for this nation and how we view space.

Space exploration and development is not a nice thing to have, but an essential thing to do. Space should not be for the select few, but for everyone. Space is not an expense, but an investment. It's an investment in our economy, our national future, the inspiration of our youth, the survival of this planet and our survival as a species. Space is the answer to many questions.

Tomorrow and Friday mark the beginning of something special, I hope. I appreciate your support and your equaled passion.

Regards,

Douglas

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sometimes I Wish I Had a Stronger Voice

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/10/robotarmada/

I read things like this, and I become sad. Several years ago I had this exact idea. I was the project manager for the SEDS @ UCF Chapter (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space at the University of Central Florida). I was the Project Manager for 3 years before graduating and moving to Houston. I still chat with my fellow SEDS peeps, and am going to the SEDS National Conference in 2 weeks to be a speaker there. Anyway, back to the point...

One of my ideas was MAARV, the Martian Automated Ariel Reconnaissance Vehicle, basically a Martian Blimp! So what do I find today, but an article on wired.com talking about THAT very idea! Argh! As a college student, albeit one that was older than the average by a good 10 years, you never have a voice strong enough to pull significant weight. Double road blocks hindered MAARV progress for me then: Professors who were too busy to care and SEDS members who didn't jump on the idea.

Well, how do you like the idea now?
___________________________________

Addition after I originally posted this: Make no mistake, I do love the idea and I hope it actually comes to pass. I think low latitude, versatile blimps would be great scouts for Mars, cover much more terrain than a rover and could be loaded with ground penetrating radar to see what's really under the surface.

I have many other ideas, and with my book and who knows what will come of that, maybe I can spearhead those into becoming reality. :) Gotta make your own way in this world, which I am working hard to do. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why private industry can do it better, cheaper, etc.

Why is this always a debate? I've answered this 100 times over, but am always asked the same questions in whatever forum I'm in. First, I'll address questions including my answer:

1. Are you saying that private industry will go to space without taxpayer financing? Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

2. If so, what's stopping them? ITAR and a host of bull crap regulation created by the government, preventing the sharing and utilization of space technologies for private space based operations. This is currently agreed upon by many, even some in government, and is being rectified, hopefully sooner than later.

3. Or are you saying that private industry would do a better, cheaper job than NASA if the taxpayers give them money? Nope, private industry can do it on their own if the playing field is leveled. NASA's role is NOT what it's doing now. It's spread too thin. The private industry should have taken up LEO operations years ago, including building the rockets.

4. If so, wouldn't there still be some government oversight (to watch out for the taxpayers billions)? Proper government oversight and regulation, yes, like the rules protecting airline passengers, but nothing more drastic than that. Fly at your own risk does have its place in space as it does in driving, aircraft flying, etc.

5. And isn't that like the current system? NASA contracts out almost everything, don't they? NASA Contractors are NOT private industry as far as I'm concerned. They don't create a product that is used by the general marketplace. They create a product specifically for government. They are beholden to government and sell to the government. That is not a private industry, that's a government contractor. I want a ride to space dammit. I'm sick of the government picking people from a select pot. Everyone should be able to go if they want too.

6. Explain this mantra, "...private industry can do it better, cheaper, etc." Here you go...

a. Private space must do it cheaper in order to be financially viable. The government doesn't give a damn about making profit, but are REAL good at over inflating costs due to asinine regulations and rules. Private industry must provide a viable product at a reasonable price for the public to afford it, so with this necessity, they must do it better and cheaper.

b. Private space must do it safely else they are toast, period. One accident and their out of business. Not so good for the bottom line.

c. Part b cannot conflict with part a. It must be reasonable, unlike NASA which makes safety so damn paramount that it takes 5 people to verify the turning of a stupid bolt. There's your cost balloon right there.

7. Economic Incentive?

a. Moon: Research Facility to be rented out to global corporations for special research that just can't be done on Earth (major revenue for that alone). Vacation Resort (modest revenue, maybe breaking even, but vital to getting many people to experience space and bring that memory home to share, which is priceless). Fuel depot with local mining for the fuel depot, but also for other materials to be used In Situ (instrumental for further advancement into space).

b. Asteroids: All about mining here. Not much else I can think of to use an asteroid for other than monitoring, but no profit in monitoring.

c. Mars: Squat. Everything Mars offers is available on Earth. Mars is another resource limited location that's a pain to get too right now with current technology. Yes, good place to move too if all hell breaks loose on Earth, but tourism, mining, etc. is already accounted for with the Moon and asteroids...at least until we develop gravity drives and glide around effortlessly through space. But then, everything changes.

And lastly, a statement I addressed: There is no product on the Moon, Mars nor NEA/NEOs that makes economic sense to bring back to Earth and get a profit.

NONE of this depends on bringing anything back to Earth, except knowledge from research and research experiments themselves. Everything else is to be done in space to be used in space, to get us AWAY from Earth, not to bring it back.

Any more questions?

Monday, October 26, 2009

General Relativity Under Assault!?

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427314.400-rethinking-relativity-is-time-out-of-joint.html

I'm telling you, space is weird and awesome all at the same time! :) Just read this report and go here to read the paper:

http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0909/0909.3853v2.pdf

The more we investigate and really try to nit pick certain scientific "norms", the more I think we'll discover new and interesting things. I especially love gravity research. Come on baby, daddy needs a new gravity drive! :)

HSF Committee Final Report Part 2

WOW, is this a dry read. Want to fall asleep? No need for medication. Just print this, drop the lights as low as possible to read comfortably, and give it 10 minutes. I'm sure you'll be out before then. :)

Of course, this was never written to be an award winning literary work. It boils down to this, and this is my take on the thing...

1. "The Committee concluded that the ultimate goal of human exploration is to chart a path for human expansion into the solar system." Kind of a no-duh statement, but worthy of mentioning and supporting. Hanging out in LEO does NOT further the human influence into space.

2. Yes, NASA needs more money, a LOT more! I'd love 50 billion a year for space considering how much money we blow on floundering other federal programs.

3. Amen, the word commercial was used a LOT in the document. Hand LEO off to Commercial business and have NASA focus beyond. Like I've always said, NASA is Lewis and Clark, NOT the settlers.

4. In looking at goals vs. destinations, an idea I like, when you start listing the goals of what we need to learn and do in order to perfect our ability to expand into space, I personally cannot fathom why we'd not use the Moon, build a base there for a whole host of reasons and profit motives, and also play around asteroids. Everything we learn there will apply to eventual Mars habitation and settlement but at a much lower risk and cost. You use the Moon for the purpose of going to Mars, not just to stop at the Moon.

5. I really think the "Flexible path" will be Moon dominated, darn near to being a Moon first path.

6. I still don't like Ares. That's not going to change. The shuttle is going out the door. We're probably going to rely on the Russians for a taxi service, and I would not be surprised if they raise the cost per astronaut after the shuttle is definitely gone.

7. Expanding into space requires nations, not a nation. Yes, I'm a RAH RAH Red White and Blue American for certain, but I'm also realistic about the challenge of the task. If you are not racing to beat someone to a target (US vs. USSR), then you are working with others to get to the target and spread the load. At some point national pride must be balanced by reality. Should the USA lead the way? Hell yes. We're still the strongest global space nation, but international partners are imperative, and when I say partners, I mean true partners in every sense of the word, including financial investment.

I guess in a nutshell, I want my Millennium Falcon, and I want it 10 minutes ago. I will do whatever I have to in order to realize the dream of affording every single person who wants to go to space to have that option. Nothing will be better for humanity than having person after person see this glorious planet from afar. Only then will we truly respect our place in the universe.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Human Space Flight "Augustine Comission" Final Report

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/396093main_HSF_Cmte_FinalReport.pdf

Here it is. If you care about the future of not just space, but our nation, this matters! I will read it and give my thoughts later.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Space Infrastructure: A Comparative Analysis

By now I hope it's obvious that I'm a huge commercial space advocate. I'm all about the economic impact of space exploration and development and how we can turn America into a space faring nation with space as a significant economic foundation.

The problem is no one has ever invested into the commercial space infrastructure. Honestly, that's the only thing I want the government to do, just like they did in 1862 with the Pacific Railway Act, where they loaned private business the funds necessary to build the transcontinental railroad. The businesses built the infrastructure, they paid the govt. back, and the govt. got free use of the system while the private industry made a boat load of cash using it commercially. Space is no different, but we treat it as if it is.

Here's a comparison: The average subsidy per mile of track laid by the Union and Central Pacific companies was $32,000 a mile. I'm taking a gross average here, because the breakdown was $16,000 per mile for easy grade, $32,000 for high plains and $48,000 in the mountains. The Union Pacific laid 1,087 miles of track and the Central Pacific laid 690 miles of track. That's 1,777 miles of track at roughly $32,000 a mile. That gives a total of $56,864,000 in 1864 dollars. What cost $56,864,000 in 1864 would cost $774,289,258 in 2008 as adjusted for inflation. $774 million.

Now look at land. Land has pristine value, and even more so after the railroads were complete. Entire modern day cities like Denver would not exist were it not for the railroad. From 1850-1871, the railroads received more than 175 million acres of public land - an area more than one tenth of the whole United States and larger than Texas. What do you think the cost per acre was back then...the value? In some parts of the country you could find land at $10 an acre, like rural Colorado, but in other parts it would be more expensive.

So let's say $100 per acre as an average considering the immediate jump in value the railway would give the land. It's not that much of a jump in logic. Even if the land started at $10 an acre, the fact that the Intercontinental Railroad now existed on that land would instantly increase its value significantly. So that's $17.5 billion in 1864 land value. Adjusted into 2008 dollars we're sitting at roughly $238,288,935,357 in 2008.

So what do we have? $774 million in loans and $238 billion in land. The land value dwarfs the loan value, but to be precise, we're sitting at $239,063,224,615 in total cost to set up the railway infrastructure. $239 billion!!!

$239 billion in loans to space based companies would build fuel depots, better launch systems, better spacecraft, destinations like orbiting hotels, a new space station, a Moon Base, etc. If we were capable of doing this back then, why the hell aren't we capable of doing the same thing now for the establishment of the space infrastructure?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Public Advertising for Space Tourism - A Question Posed to Me

A follower of this blog (Norman Copeland) posted a good question to me in the "Buzz Aldrin & the Space Renaissance Initiative" article, and for the first time in a while I've had the time to really hash out a good rant on this. Yes, I touched on this in my "The Image of Space" article, but this rant is more raw and in your face. :) So, here's the question...

"What sort of public advertising does he (Douglas) think will be central for the interest of space tourism [NSA?], I guess there is a lot of business development opportunities for large companies, but, a unit quota for this era could potentially tell the stories of how much money really is available sitting around the place..."

My answer...

To be honest, Abercrombie physiques, tits and ass. Space needs to be sexy. It needs to be sexed up. The only image of real space people have is geeks in lab coats and suits in Mission Control. It's time to make the Moon seem like Jamaica, a sporting event, a wild time, etc.

Look, we all know beer doesn't really equal hot chicks with you in a hot tub, but that's exactly the image they sell, so why the hell doesn't the space movement adopt the same vision?! Purists suck, because all they will say is that you're demeaning the scientific and engineering integrity of space by "selling out" to main stream advertising techniques, but those same dumb asses are the ones wondering why space isn't more popular and how they can make it an economically strong, viable commercial industry.

You can't have it both ways. To the average person, the one you're SELLING space too, space is not on the front of their mind because it's not as appealing to them. For them, space is either sci-fi, only for the scientists and engineers, or a combo of both. Time to wake up and start selling space the way we sell everything else, by appealing to the human nature side of adventure, excitement, sexuality and fun. Period.

NASA Administrator Bolden Appeals to Investors

http://spacefellowship.com/2009/10/20/remarks-by-nasa-administrator-charles-bolden/

WOW! Read this and tell me it doesn't sound wicked familiar. In fact, you can go back just a few articles on here and almost hear the same thing. I've been saying this for almost a year on this blog, and even longer among friends in random conversations.

Okay, so I don't have the forum, pull nor the gravitas that Administrator Bolden has, but at least the word is getting out there. My most favorite line is this...

"What if you were a seventh grader and you knew that if you buckled down, and studied hard at math and science, that you could go to space? Not because you would be the one of the very few who might become a NASA astronaut, as I was so privileged, but because you saw hundreds of people of all nations traveling into space each and every year, and knew in your bones that you could soon be one of them?"

Damn! I've said almost the exact same thing...almost verbatim...as my main argument for why America needs to become a space faring nation. A REAL one, not some flag dropping, short term visiting bunch of no-stayers. If we build a space infrastructure, and use it for economic growth, kids WILL become interested because they CAN get there. They know it can happen. THAT matters!

Now, to only get this kind of information to the general public. Hmmm, oh yeah, that's my job. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Buzz Aldrin & the Space Renaissance Initiative

http://www.spacerenaissance.org/papers/SRI_endorsement_to_LIDC_2.pdf

The above link will take you to the official response by the Space Renaissance Initiative regarding a special request issued by former astronaut and Moon walker Buzz Aldrin. The response letter includes the details. This is a good step for SRI in the right direction of joining forces with other space advocacy organizations in the development of space for humanity. Thanks Buzz and way to go SRI!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Amazing Space Exploration Picture

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2009-10/ever-wonder-what-every-space-mission-last-50-years-looks-one-map

This is just plain awesome. I have now made this picture my desktop image at home. :)

Manufactured Black Holes for Energy?

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17980-first-black-hole-for-light-created-on-earth.html

I LOVE SCIENCE! When is the last time I said that? Just then? Good, because I want to make it perfectly clear that science and technology are amazing and we are discovering things that are astounding every day! :)

So what am I raving on about this time? Electromagnetic black holes being created that trap light! Now there may be an option to use this technology to trap visible light from the sun and create the most amazing solar power collector EVER!

From the article: Such a device could be used to harvest solar energy in places where the light is too diffuse for mirrors to concentrate it onto a solar cell. An optical black hole would suck it all in and direct it at a solar cell sitting at the core. "If that works, you will no longer require these huge parabolic mirrors to collect light," says Narimanov.

I LOVE SCIENCE!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Virgin Galactic Does Business Diversification

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17963-virgin-galactic-adds-satellite-launches-to-space-tourism.html

The best way to ensure the success of your business is not to put all your eggs in one basket. I'm pretty certain Richard Branson knows that, and now Virgin Galactic has announced that they will be getting into the satellite launching business. Great!

There are are too many people who think that New Space is just about tourism. Not even close. New Space is about applying every business application we do here on Earth, and just change the venue to space. It's that simple. Yes, space tourism is part of the equation, but so is space industrialization, mining, research, transportation, etc.

Virgin Galactic is making a strong and bold move here, giving their business the diversity necessary to survive...especially if their cost is adequately low and crushes the competition...and I think they will.

The New Space Revolution is coming and the engines are fired up. Jump on now, because when this Starship launches, there's no turning back.

Friday, October 9, 2009

LCROSS and its "Impact"

Alright, I would say "after the dust settled", but it looks like there wasn't much dust up to begin with. That's fine. According to the press conference afterwords, they still got good data from the other spectra they were analyzing in besides just visible.

Now here's the fun part, people expect answers right away! Attention general media and the mass populace: Science does not provide instant gratification. Sheesh! I don't expect any hard results for at least a month or two. There is a lot of data to collect and sift through. However, I am anxious to know what was found, but no more anxious than the scientists working on the project itself. Significant water on the Moon is a real game changer.

Now, for all you idiots who thought the Moon was going to be blown up, here's the timeline of thought I'm seeing from the past few days and then today...

"OH MY GOD, you're going to kill the Moon!!!!"

"What, that was it? You guys suck."

Some people are never pleased.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Finding and Dealing With Life Not of This Earth

So a debate ensued about Europa, the water there, what if life does exist in that water, and how we should proceed if there is life there. Someone posted this comment:

"If life is to be found anywhere, in our system or beyond, we would probably kill it 1st in the name of science, then well just because....whatever reason. Until we humans get beyond our own need for violence here on mother earth, we should leave alone."

This got me thinking about how ridiculous that sounded, and sadly there were other posts that reflected this Star Trekian notion of the "Prime Directive", where we should not interact with any life we do find. How then, are we supposed to learn about it? We're not to the point technologically where we can "scan the planet" and know everything we need to know. Maybe one day, but not now. For now, we are very much at a hands on, get down there and grab it level. So, this is what I wrote back to him...

You're talking about changing human nature, and the act of survival at its most primal level involves violence. Kill or be killed. Humans are still animals. We may be the most advanced animals with the ability to reason and apply logic to multiple ends, but the core of our being is still primal. Regardless of our egos and hubris, we are nothing more than advanced animals.

This is why we fight for mates, fight for possessions and fight to exist. Yes, there are those who fight to be bastards, but do you think we can breed any of this out of us? I think not, and I wouldn't want too. The ability to defend oneself from a potential foe is paramount to maintaining our existence. There will come a time when we will find other cultures in space that will most likely be hostile, and heaven forbid we pussify ourselves to the point that they just dominate us without an ounce of resistance on our part.

Our goal is not to kill the life we seek, but to learn about it and from it. Will we and the other life have coexisting issues, and possibly cause harm to each other unintentionally? I bet so. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean we have to remain in our cradle, afraid to crawl into the cosmos.

Congratulations Masten Space Systems

http://thelaunchpad.xprize.org/2009/10/masten-qualifies-for-150000-level-1.html

Alright! One more official player in the game. I consider official to be anyone who passes the Level 1 part of the Northrup Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. So right now we have Masten and Armadillo. Additionally there are more teams set to give this a shot, Team BonNovA on Oct. 26-27 and Team Unreasonable Rocket on Oct. 30-31.

One more step closer the the Moon for us all! Woohoo! :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

U.S. Paranoia Almost Derailed Huge Lunar Water Discovery

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8281480.stm

This article explains it all. It's very simple, the United States needs to relax its paranoid mentality over space based partnerships, or else this nation is NEVER going to become a true space faring nation.

ITAR is ridiculously overbearing as it stands right now and needs to be severely modified. I talk about this in greater detail in my book, but the point is that you cannot expect the space market to expand, which can be an extremely lucrative market globally, if you choke it to death under old school paranoid cold war B.S.!!! Knock it off! Not every nation is planning to use space as a war zone, especially if nations are working together to accomplish whatever space based task their involved with.

Look, I sure as hell don't want to give Iran or Afghanistan serious spaced based technologies, but when the paranoia prevents legitimate companies from doing business in the space market, we have a problem. As the article itself states, "They seem to be happy that co-operation takes place in not-for-profit science related projects, but profit-making commercial ventures in the lucrative space market are still a no-no."

Stupid U.S. government...WAKE UP! Space, specifically commercial space, is the answer to the future prosperity of this nation if you just let it happen! Fix this ITAR mess and you'll see U.S. companies working with trustworthy and solid global partners on amazing and important space based endeavors...and the U.S. GDP will be the better for it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Want to Wear My Funny Tin Foil Hat!

Okay, time to put on my conspiracy hat, but not for reasons you may think. :) This is more reflective thinking and not current thinking. Well, it could be current, but who knows. :)

I stumbled upon this article on www.foxnews.com, where a group of researchers working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have confirmed the existence of the super heavy element (SHE) 114, furthering research in the field of nuclear science. The article is here:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,557061,00.html

And the Physics Letter itself is here:

http://scitation.aip.org/getpdf/servlet/GetPDFServlet?filetype=pdf&id=PRLTAO000103000013132502000001&idtype=cvips&prog=normal

So this got me thinking about Bob Lazar. You see, Bob Lazar is well known in conspiracy circles. Basically, it boils down to the notion that Bob admits having worked on top secret UFO technology stuff while employed by the government, and he did this in and around the famous Area 51 complex in Nevada. You can find all kinds of stuff on him by doing a simple Google search.

Now, Bob claimed to be working on advanced gravity drive systems that were fueled by a stable isotope of element 115, such that it didn't decay and provided the special property of gravity manipulation. Many websites go over this process, what Bob said, how it works and all that. My point is this...

A lot of research labs have been "working" on finding stable isotopes of SHE's as of late, getting closer to proof of concept and who knows how close to actual discovery of stability. I can't help but wonder, with my tin foil hat firmly in place, if certain groups are slowly preparing for the inevitable event that will give us advanced propulsion systems the likes of which only lived in sci-fi movies...and on tin foil hat websites. :)

The Image of Space

I'm not talking about gorgeous planets and their glorious ballet among the stars, or amazing nebula gas clouds that echo the rainbow of colors, but the image of how space is presented to the public. Recently I read an article about a high school kid that managed to make a very interesting and rare discovery. The article is here...

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/080925-student-discovery.html

I always promote the articles I read. :) This is a nice story, but something hit me, and it was this: "I was home on a weekend and had nothing to do, so I decided to look at some more plots from the GBT," he said.

Although I applaud the discovery, this kid needs to get out on the weekend. Somehow, I'm thinking he's a stereotypical nerd kid and this makes me sad, because far too many people think all space nuts are this way, so the field overall experiences a negative social aspect, which is totally bogus.

I'm a socialite that parties like a rock star on the weekends when the bills don't drain the paycheck too much...lol...and am still a Grade-A certified space geek. Plus I'm a fitness junkie @ 5'9", 190 and hit the gym 5 days a week. I also know some seriously hot girls who are into space/science/tech. The stereotype drives me nuts.

There needs to be a science geek calendar. :)

Don't get me wrong, I totally agree that what this kid did was amazing and great, but I also think the space, science and technology sectors need a face lift. We have far too many old farts, or "Lewis Skolnick's", in front of the cameras talking all things space/science/tech to the public. Face it, image matters in today's world, and this attachment to brains over appearance is a detriment to the cause. Yeah, we're smart, but that doesn't translate to the general public.

I guarantee you this, if you make a 5 minute Youtube video of 3 extremely hot women in bikinis (or hunky guys in swim trunks) talking about Moon water, spacecraft, CERN, or whatever else scientific and it will get a LOT of hits. Yes, some people will just drool over the sexiness, but if you increase the percentage of eyes watching the material, you also increase the percentage of people who might actually gleam some knowledge from the topic, or gain some interest in the subject. The eye candy brings them in, the subject matter astounds them.

We wonder why space budgets have fallen, but fail to recognize the obvious. It's the exposure that matters, and we need to learn how to market space to people who would not otherwise give it a second glance.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Another Stab at Global Warming

http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/10811

Alright, now THIS is something to think about. Selective data presentation is definitely a way to skew any argument in ones favor. The alarming thing here is that people are doing this right in front of the world, and the gullible world is buying it...or spending on it as the case may be.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Moon Water

I have waited until the end of the week to post about the most exciting and interesting topic in the space industry to come about in a long time. By now most people know about the amazing discovery that the Moon harbors more water on its surface than scientists ever thought. No, we're not talking lake beds of course, but as far as I'm concerned, that's not the point. What struck me as most interesting is the process by which this water seemed to generate, dissipate, and regenerate as the Lunar day progressed.

If, as one hypothesis suggests, the water is being created by a process of solar wind striking the Lunar soil, thereby creating water and hydroxyl molecules, it stands to reason that we might be able to duplicate this process artificially and manufacture water in space. Think of that, using Lunar soil to make water. No longer would we have to worry about the ever present "water question" when it comes to traveling off Earth. Of course, there needs to be significant return on the production of water for it to be feasible. If one can only create 32 oz of water from a ton of soil, then it's problematic, unless we acquire and siphon that water constantly throughout the day, yielding more than just 32 oz.

Another interesting statement is that this unique and startling process might likely occur on other similar bodies in our solar system, like Mercury and asteroids. I am very interested in the asteroid idea, because at that distance, I would assume the water remains longer and could be more "thick" than on the Moon. Asteroids might provide us with something even more interesting than just their materials for mining and use. If asteroids in the belt harbor decent amounts of water, and generate it in the same manner as the Moon does, we might be able to locate serious base platforms on asteroids that are hydro-self-sustaining. All we'd have to ship would be a lot of chickens, cows and vegetables. :)

With all due seriousness, this is an amazing discovery, and hopefully will light a fire under certain important and influential people to press that we need to get humans on the Moon ASAP to conduct extensive research and analysis of this new discovery. Robots and probes are nice for finding things like this out, but boots on the ground will deliver the details in a much faster way, and the entire world would be watching. Given everything that's going on in the world right now, a nice global mission on the Moon would be a nice redirection of attention.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Boeing + Bigelow = WOW!!!

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/hyperbola/2009/09/commercial-crew-boeing-and-big.html

Oh my gosh, I can't believe this. Could it be that one of the "good old boys" of the Aerospace Industry is manning up and taking on the action of making commercial space transportation a reality? Could it be that their business model is shifting to include the common person and not just the fat government contract? Could we be witnessing the evolution of a company who is willing to take on the challenge (probably because they see the writing on the wall)? If this manifests properly, with the strength of a company like Boeing in the mix, we may just see advancement even faster than we thought before...as long as NASA doesn't bog everyone down with overtly restrictive and expensive requirements. Time will tell.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Comment to Mr. Wayne Hale's Blog (Double Indemnity)

http://blogs.nasa.gov/cm/blog/waynehalesblog/posts/index.html?cdt=1253650643109

I'm not sure if my comment will be posted. It might, but just in case, here is what I had to say about his most recent blog article Double Indemnity...
________________________________

In most respects I see your point, but where I separate is the notion that companies like Boeing, Lockheed, etc. are genuinely considered "private" companies. They are government contractors, nothing more. They don't build and sell products or services to the general public, at least not that I'm aware of. Their entire business model relies on the American tax payer, not the global consumer.

The New Space (Commercial) movement has one main goal in mind, to make space available to almost everyone, much like the airline industry makes travel around the world available to almost everyone. With this initiative, the target market is not the government, but average everyday people who deserve the opportunity to go into space, something that is currently restricted to specially appointed people as so deemed worthy by the government, or those with significantly deep pockets to pay for a space tourist ride on their own (and that's Russia doing it, not us).

The history lesson of air mail is justifiable and worthy if we don't learn from past mistakes and repeat the idiocy that was rampant then. I find it hard to believe we'd let the Commercial Space Industry fall on its face, because too many dollars and too much is at stake. Proper regulation, mixed with proper incentives and growth capability, is what will allow the private sector to assume control of the space from LEO to the Moon.

Let NASA and other governments focus on beyond, until the private industry catches and passes them of course.

Monday, September 21, 2009

ULA Makes a Good Point at the 2009 AIAA Conference

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/air_space/4330793.html

It's about time some of the heavy hitters start to throw their weight around and bring to light the problems of Project Constellation. It's not just the fun issues we're dealing with on the Ares I, but the overall architecture of the program in general.

I completely agree with this article, and specifically the notion brought forward by ULA at the 2009 AIAA Conference. We don't necessarily need a heavy lift, because what are you lifting? 75% fuel just to get to LEO, that's what you're lifting. It's stupid. We need smaller, lighter, faster, better craft that are task specific and take things in parts to be assembled in space. Wasn't that the point of ISS, besides political international cooperation, to learn how to build in space?

Good job ULA for bucking the system and putting the Kool-Aid down. Your vision will become less blurry over time.

Not a Lot

Every now and then there just isn't anything going on in the science/space/technology world that I want to discuss. Last Wednesday was my last post and nothing major has jumped up since then to grab my attention. Yes, there are some things going on, there always are, but nothing that has warranted a post.

So, this post is just going to be dedicated to yelling at Tony Romo. 3 fraggin' interceptions, one returned for a TD?! Are you kidding me? Add to it the retarded fumble that should never have happened and I'm surprised Dallas even made the game as close as it was. Thankfully the Giants are virtually inept at scoring touchdowns when they get near the Red Zone, but in the end we still lost the stupid game.

One shining point of course was the Dallas running game, which should have been used more frequently in order to set up quality play action passes deep down the field, but Jason Garret didn't seem to dial up that strategy. What a bunch of crap. There were several times when I saw...as the play was happening...where Romo should have gone with the ball and he made a bad choice every fraggin' time!!!

My wife says I should be a coach, because I am perversely knowledgeable about the game. 90% of the time I call out what the defense is doing before the snap, I can tell pre-snap reads as they happen, I understand shifts and formations by the offense, etc. So it's not like I'm some goofball fan who "thinks" they know what the hell they're talking about. I do know what I'm talking about and that kind of makes it even more sour, because I know what the simple correct decisions are supposed to be and they're not being made.

Last week, the defense allowed far to many points and yards. This week, the same thing. Wade, fix your sh*!, because us Dallas fans aren't going to be tolerant forever.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Augustine vs. Congress People (some of them)

http://www.space.com/news/090916-ft-house-augustine-nasa-spaceflight.html

Oh, I tweeted about this like crazy yesterday as it was going on. Some of these Congress people so piss me off. All the money we piss away on bogus social programs that don't produce a damn thing, and they want to bicker about the fact that Augustine basically said that the space program needs more money to do what it needs to do, period.

How about this, take the unspent money from that bloated, overgrown, pork laden $700 billion stimulus package and throw it into the space program; part for NASA, part for University Research, and part for private company grants. THEN you'd see one hell of an economic rebound and watch America become the dominant power in peaceful space exploration and development.

Done!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spirit - Stuck Forever?

http://www.space.com/news/090914-spirit-stuck.html

Well, it looks like the rover Spirit might actually be stuck for good. I'm not sure what further science she can do while stuck, but I'm sure the crew will milk all they can until the batteries die. You have to admit, it's been one hell of a tour, and the fact that Spirit is still running, if not able to run, shows just how robust and strong the rover is.

It's unknown how many more Martian sunsets Spirit will be able to witness, or how long she'll be able to send us those amazing images, but one thing is for certain, Spirit is a testimonial to the engineering and scientific capabilities of America. Imagine how much more could be done if the space industry was just given more to work with. Thank you Spirit for representing the spirit of the American Space Industry.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Congratulations to Armadillo Aerospace!!!

http://thelaunchpad.xprize.org/2009/09/2009-ngllc-videos-of-armadillos.html

On Saturday, Sept. 12th, Armadillo successfully completed the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge - Level Two part. This $1 million dollar X Prize competition represents exactly why I think the private industry is more capable than most people give them credit for when it comes to the adventure of exploring space beyond just LEO. :)

Again, congratulations Armadillo.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Global Cooling...Seriously, This is GREAT!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDqfXHjp-N0

I don't watch Bill O'Reilly on Fox News mainly because I'm knee deep in other things when he comes on, like working on my movie, book, or watching other shows with the family. However, by accident the other day, I ran across his show and saw this segment live. I was SO hoping it would find its way to Youtube, and it did. :) I love Youtube and people who post pretty much everything that's ever aired. lol.

Nothing is more dangerous to an environmentalist whacko than arming yourself with facts and proper data, not flamboyant speeches and unsubstantiated claims. The Climate Change (Global Warming) crowd is only after one thing, power and control over your life and how you live it. Period! No better way to get that power than to guilt trip and scare you into thinking you are personally damaging the planet, which none of us want to do by the way, in order to have you voluntarily give up personal freedoms and rights in some vain effort to "save the planet", because you don't want to be thought of as a planet killer, do you?

What a bunch of crap, and this simple segment on O'Reilly highlights it perfectly! :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Former NASA Admin. Griffin Sounds Off

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=32351

Oh boy, this is fun. Mike Griffin is a little red under the collar I see. Let's break this down...at least my opinion of his comments. Here we go...

Point 1: I agree, it's about time someone official stepped up and said there wasn't enough money being given to accomplish the task assigned.

Point 2: Reiteration of point 1...show me the money. I concur.

Point 3: ISS matters a hell of a lot for the private industry, if it's used in that manner, but we'll see later how Mike feels about the private sector. I have always felt that it's stupid of us, the United States, to determine the fate of a station that has so many international partners. Do you think JAXA or ESA want the ISS flamed out after just getting their expensive stuff up there?!

Point 4: Blah, blah, cost/level/maturity, blah blah. Look, Ares is already behind schedule and we just started. Yeah, budgets suck, but even the initial pen and paper crap was late to the party. Puh-lease.

Point 5: I agree with this. If you call something out, prove it. The details may just be in the final whole report. Remember, this was in reply to just the summary.

Point 6: His pessimistic views of the private space industries development and growth is insulting. His head is buried in the government soup. Apparently he can't see the future through his government tainted goggles. Solid and tested private sector launch vehicles, manned and cargo, will be available long before this monster they call Constellation is ever ready to fly. I bet even before Ares I is up and running.

Point 7: Whaaaa, we worked real hard on this, so much so that we're now behind schedule and had to tinker with all kinds of fun issues and reduce our original capability. Oh wait, those last words are mine, not his.

Point 8: Ah...see point 7...the tail end. I like the verbal trick though. "Constellation issues are prevalent because we're doing something, and there are no other issues because nothing else is being done." Well, duh. It's not like we're running several full scale options all at the same time to directly compare, but at some point, common sense has to overtake pride and stubbornness.

Point 9: Ares 5 Lite doesn't thrill me either, and I'm definitely in favor of more lift capability when it comes to getting to the Moon.

Point 10: How the hell can he possibly argue against fuel depots, especially when that is a sure fire way to help the private industry gain solid footing in the market, providing fuel options to all players in the space game? If fuel depots require special technology, then great, let's do it and move on, especially if it's important to chemical and nuclear powered upper stages. Why NOT invest in something that also serves additional benefits?!

Point 11: The clear-eyed analysis of Constellation is that it's bunk! It costs way to much to get done, and could easily be duplicated by the private sector at a hell of a lot cheaper cost, because ANYTHING the private sector does will be cheaper than the government.

To me it basically sounds like he crying about his baby getting slammed a bit by the Commission.

JAXA Launches HTV

Okay, so it looks good so far. Japan launched the maiden flight of their HTV resupply vehicle that will eventually dock with the ISS next week. Well, not dock, but more like be plucked out of free space and berthed. Ya know, that's kind of cool.

"Oh look, our supply ship, go grab it." lol.

Seriously though, this is a nice first step in the international development of space by more than just a small handful of nations. Factor in this and the private industry as it matures and solidifies itself, and we have the makings of great potential for the future of spaceflight...especiall human spaceflight.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hubble: Back Online and Cookin'

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/090909-new-hubble-images.html

If there was ever proof in the pudding that we should not be going back to a capsule, and ishould nstead focus on creating the next generation Shuttle (lighter, better, faster, stronger), the Hubble Telescope is that proof.

If it were not for the Shuttle, Hubble would have been a dead duck after day one (remember the messed up lens right away?), and Hubble's upgrade/repairs would never have happened.

Our technical ability to travel around in LEO and fix things, plus jaunt back and forth to the ISS for scientific research, is a clear indication of our need to move forward with our spacecraft, not backwards. Every time I think about the direction we're going, I need a Tylenol.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Summary Report of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=32327

I have just finished reading the summary report by the HSF Committee. Although I am fully aware that none of this matters until the President picks a plan, I do have some comments on what I've read.

First, I'm not happy about their acceptance of hitching rides on other rockets, but fiscally it's still cheaper than running a shuttle launch, and the shuttle can't be extended forever if we ever plan to get to the next level. I just wish we were designed the next best shuttle/space plane and not reverting back to a capsule.

I totally agree that we need to maintain and increase the life of the ISS. We're idiots if we kill the ISS in 2015 after just finishing the blasted thing. It's like building a multi-million dollar house over a year, living in it for just 3 months, and then destroying it. Who the hell does that?!

I like how they leaned several times on the idea of having the commercial sector assume LEO operations (Crew and Cargo) while NASA focuses on all things beyond LEO. Now THAT'S a familiar concept...I wonder where I've heard that before? lol.

About time a group of people with a boat load of experience and practical knowledge make it perfectly clear that jumping to Mars right away isn't possible. Well, not possible within any realistic realm of budgeting. Throw enough money at the program...$700 billion would have been nice...and we could definitely go to Mars first, but that's not real life. Moon to test Mars stuff, maybe even a Lagrange or asteroid visit for testing, then Mars. Makes perfect sense to me.

Giving NASA full rights to shuffle money as it sees fit to accomplish the task. Why does this sound like common sense, and something that should not have to be implemented, but should already be there?

What's next to see is the full report, the numbers, but more importantly how the White House responds. Don't hold your breath too long, you'll pass out.