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.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Space Junk -- DUCK!

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/090904-sts128-space-junk-pass.html

My solution...

The Waste Management X-Prize.

$1 billion to the company that develops the best method for cleaning up LEO. :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What Would $700 Billion Do? (Follow Up)

1. The Apollo program cost $150 billion over 13 years (already adjusted to reflect 2008 dollars)

2. Apollo employed over 400,000 people

3. The stimulus package would have funded 4 full Apollo style programs with leftover money to spare

4. This would have directly employed over 1.6 million people and put us on the international stage for space exploration

5. I cannot imagine the ancillary jobs created beyond the 1.6 million, because these employees would have strong paychecks and be consumers of course (housing biz, clothing biz, car biz, vacation biz, etc)

So, what employment problem, or economic crisis?

And beyond that, we could involve the international community. Win win.

One Way Trip to Mars

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/01/opinion/01krauss.html

Argh! I was with him until he made his ridiculous statement about robots over humans for scientific research. That one sided, unchallengeable statement (because you can't comment or debate in an op-ed I guess) was recently directly refuted by none other than Dr. Steve Squyres of the Mars Rover Missions. The lead of one of the most successful robotic missions ever conducted thinks humans can do better, faster science than even his rovers did or can possibly do. I'd like to know why Krauss has doubts about why humans are much more adept for doing science off world than a robot ever would, costs and risks be damned.