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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

  1.  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.
  1.  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.
  1.  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!
  1.  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.
  1.  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.
  1.  UK space sector 'to double value'  BBC  Another nation and close ally recognizes the growing economic importance of space and space technology.  
  1.  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.  
  1.  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?  
  1.  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.
  1. Sexual discrimination in space Russia Times  Another little piece of history flashback from the first woman to go into space.

Astronomy Corner

Ray of hope in dark-matter hunt Nature

Weird Space

Giant 'soap bubble' found floating in space New Scientist

Space Photo of the Week

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Originally posted to NellaSelim on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 01:21 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If planets could feel (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, Anna M, JeffW, Neon Vincent, NellaSelim

    Jupiter would have a bit of sharp pain (at the sharply defined hole cut into it); a bit of surrounding dull ache (around the slowly spreading and diffusing purple scar); and a bit of whatever that itchy tingly feel is, that indicates wounded but healing.

  •  Re: Direct 3... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, Neon Vincent, NellaSelim

    ...are some of the F-22 contrcotrs/subcontractors also involved in the Shuttle, and could they concentrate on developing Direct as a commercial lift venture to offset the loss of F-22 work? Just askin'...

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 02:06:52 PM PDT

  •  Here's one from the progressive online press. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, JeffW, YellerDog

    Alternet: Space Travel: The Path to Human Immortality?
    By Tad Daley, AlterNet. Posted July 24, 2009.

    On December 31st, 1999, National Public Radio interviewed the futurist and science fiction genius Arthur C. Clarke. Since the author had forecast so many of the 20th Century's most fundamental developments, the NPR correspondent asked Clarke if anything had happened in the preceding 100 years that he never could have anticipated. "Yes, absolutely," Clarke replied, without a moment's hesitation.  "The one thing I never would have expected is that, after centuries of wonder and imagination and aspiration, we would have gone to the moon ... and then stopped."

    Were Clarke alive today, he undoubtedly would have added, "and then lost so much interest that we erased the tapes of our epochal voyage because of a shortage of blank cassettes."

    This month, the 40th anniversary of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong's first footsteps on the moon, you will hear many rationales for sending humans into space, many noble goals that the challenge of space can help humanity to fulfill. However, in cosmological consequence, one, and only one, stands paramount above all others -- human immortality. Space is the only place where we can ensure ourselves against extinction.

    The above will get an encore in tonight's Overnight News Digest.  In return, I'll pimp your diary.

    "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

    by Neon Vincent on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 02:58:08 PM PDT

  •  Ion Engine (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, JeffW, Neon Vincent

    About the Ion Engine. Well they did say this at least 45 years ago.  They also said that we were going to build a forward base on the moon as an extension of the Apollo program for a jump off to Mars.

    Like Clarke I was also dumbfounded that we went to the moon and just stopped. I saw the Kennedy speech and was a total space geek as a kid.  What I really didn't understand at the time was that the moon landing was more of a Cold War stunt than about real science.  We beat the Russians and then the Russians gave up and quit the race.  If they had continued we would probably be on Mars today. To a large extent the Vietnam war grounded future mood adventures.  It was more important to "Kill a Commie for Christ" than go to the moon.

    In a sense we may be doing the same thing.  The space station just got it's final module and it is scheduled to close in 2016.  It took longer to build than to use.  

    Meanwhile does anybody know where any good health care diaries are?  ;-)

    Jihad for Public Healthcare.

    by YellerDog on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 03:29:02 PM PDT

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