Last week was spent celebrating the achievements of the Apollo program and the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. Amidst all the celebration and hoopla, many newspaper editorials and television commentators posed the often rhetorical question of when or if humans should return to the Moon or journey on to Mars and if such effort are worth the financial investments. However, what the media has thus ignored is that the debate has move beyond these questions insofar as the spaceflight community is concerned. Despite what Buzz Aldrin might have you believe, the far majority of people who support human spaceflight believe that the principle goal of NASA and commercial spaceflight should be to establish humanity as a spacefaring species by developing a lunar-based space infrastructure. Today's debate centers around what is the best architecture to establishing that infrastructure. There are those that support NASA's current Constellation program, those that support an EELV based development program, and those that propose Direct 3.0.
Nella's Top Ten Space Stories
- Back to the moon: What's the point? Los Angeles Times As much as I respect Bill Nye and his show is among my favorites, I disagree entirely with his view. He essentially ignores what Michael Potter has said about new lunar missions would not be a repeat of the Apollo program, but instead would establish a lunar based infrastructure that can spur commercial human spaceflight development.
- Total Solar Eclipse Awes Skywatchers Space.com China got some shade as well as a big tourist boost from Mother Nature. Of course, as thick as the smog is in some Chinese cities, some people may not have noticed.
- Jupiter Pummeled, Leaving Nasty Bruise Space Daily Wacked! Again! What's worse, nobody saw it happen! You can see the photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope below. That black scar in Jupiter is bigger than Earth! Ouch!
- Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars New Scientist New NASA Administrator Charles Bolden talked about VASIMR in his confirmation hearing. The plama drive engine could do a whole lot more than just take humans to Mars as the article will show.
- Scramjets promise space travel for all New Scientist Scramjet technology has been one of my primary interests over the last 10 years. The rocket engine could provide the reusability needed to create cheaper LEO access.
- UK space sector 'to double value' BBC Another nation and close ally recognizes the growing economic importance of space and space technology.
- NASA Celebrates Chandra X-Ray Observatory's 10th Anniversary NASA While we were all trying to recapture the wonder of Apollo and Moonwalk, some astronomers were celebrating this little marked anniversary.
- Cirque du Soleil founder preps for space trip CBC News The circus act is headed for outer space. What a cool show! Can you imagine the acrobatics that those performers could do in zero g?
- Giant Thirty-Metre Telescope finds a home Astronomy Now With already over a dozen telescopes located on Mauna Kea, Hawaii is gaining fame as an international observatory.
- Sexual discrimination in space Russia Times Another little piece of history flashback from the first woman to go into space.
Giant 'soap bubble' found floating in space New Scientist
Space Photo of the Week