Exploration: March 2006 Archives

NASA Extends Crew Exploration Vehicle Contracts

"NASA has authorized contract extensions for development of the agency's new Crew Exploration Vehicle. The companies, Lockheed Martin Corp., and a team of Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., and The Boeing Co., were selected as CEV Phase 1 contractors in June 2005. They have been working with NASA to define requirements and develop conceptual designs for the agency's next-generation vehicle for human space flight. ... NASA expects to select the Phase 2 prime contractor by August."

U.S. Planning Base on Moon To Prepare for Trip to Mars, Washington Post

"Not having to pay as dearly for mistakes is one key reason why the moon is an integral part of the Bush initiative. The other, as even scientists point out, is that if the United States does not return to the moon, others will."

Bulgarians go on buying spree - in space, Independent Online

"The Plovdiv lunar embassy is the first in Bulgaria but one of dozens around the world, licensed by the Galactic Government's CEO - in this case, Celestial Executive Officer - US entrepreneur Dennis Hope."

Remarks by NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale at a Space Transportation Association Breakfast March 22, 2006

"One venue to begin this process of international collaboration on exploration is the upcoming Exploration Strategy Workshop from April 25-28, 2006, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center here in Washington. This workshop will be the first step in a series of activities planned for 2006 that will focus on defining a strategy for lunar exploration, including the role of the Moon as a stepping-stone to Mars and other destinations."

Editor's note: Dolores Beasley from NASA HQ PAO sent the following response to an inquiry I made asking when this workshop was going to be publicy announced. She replied: "The Exploration Strategy Workshopscheduled for April 25-28 is by invitation only. This is the first in a series of activities planned for this year andthefirst opportunity toengage partners in a multi-disciplinary dialogue to begin defining a strategy for lunar exploration. TheSpace Exploration Conferenceplanned for later this year is open to the public. At that time we willroll-out results ofthe various strategy workshops andactivities. Thatwill be theopportunity to discuss our progress in a public forum."

In other words NASA doesn't want the public to know what they are discussing - in a select forum - until after they decide what they want the public to know. I wonder if attendees will be asked to sign an NDA such that they won't talk to the media.

Speech by OSTP Director John Marburger to the 44th Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium

"The Moon has unique significance for all space applications for a reason that to my amazement is hardly ever discussed in popular accounts of space policy. The Moon is the closest source of material that lies far up Earth's gravity well. Anything that can be made from Lunar material at costs comparable to Earth manufacture has an enormous overall cost advantage compared with objects lifted from Earth's surface. The greatest value of the Moon lies neither in science nor in exploration, but in its material."

Exploration: Being There

Surviving Denali, David Schuman, Haverford College Alumni Magazine

"There's another saying in mountaineering, "The mind remembers, the body forgets." Climbing Mt. McKinley was the hardest thing I've ever done, almost like running a marathon for three weeks straight. It was a life-changing experience. Back at work behind the desk, I couldn't help but think of all the things one could do in life if only the day job didn't get in the way. I was surprised at the large number of co-workers who followed our expedition and wanted to hear stories, experiencing vicariously the adventure we enjoyed."

Deadly Ascent, NOVA/PBS (Schuman's climbing partner John Grunsfeld's earlier attempt on Denali)

NASA Risk and Exploration Symposium: Earth, Sea and the Stars: Session Four: Why We Explore (Presentation by John Grunsfeld)

"As [NASA] Chief Scientist, I get to spend a little time in the House Science Committee room in Congress, probably more than I'd like. There are some things written on the wall that I think are really fantastic, and every time I sit there, thinking, What am I gonna say? or What are they gonna ask me?, I look up on the wall and read, "For I dipped into the Future, far as human eye could see; saw the vision of [new] worlds, and all the wonder that would be." That's from Tennyson. Again, this is something that I think drives us all."

Transcript of a NASAWatch.com Interview with NASA Astronauts Fincke and Chiao aboard the International Space Station

"Chiao: ... The similarities, I think, would be planning. There is a lot of planning involved, getting the right gear, doing the right kind of research to determine what kind of equipment you are going to need, thinking through the whole plan, and then executing it. I think there are a lot of similarities between other types of exploration and the kinds of things we are doing. Some of the other things that are very similar - if you are out in the middle of nowhere - and you've got your team and your equipment, you've got to be able to deal with any contingency that comes up - any kind of repairs that need to be made so that you can get back to where you need to go. So I agree, there are a lot of parallels."

Keith Cowing's Devon Island Journal 18 July 2003: Wind

"It is just after 10:00 PM and I am sitting in the Science Tent. Outside the winds are blowing constantly with constant gusts over 50 KPH. The wind chill is -1C. The winds are so intense that the entire tent shakes constantly - including the desk I am sitting at. More than once the tent door has blown open. Next to this tent is the large Planetary Society dome tent which houses the NASA Ames Research Center airplane team. The tent was starting to move a bit, hinting at a predilection to become airborne, so Base Camp manager John Schutt anchored the tent to two 200 kg ATVs."

Kevin Hand's Antarctic Journal 1 March 2005

"Now given that we're a bunch of NASA tech geeks, a caf isn't a caf unless you have your laptop out and can get some work done while you sip your mocha-frappa-soy-whatsit-latte. Needless to say we did get power into the tent and often had a full suite of laptops up and running, collecting and analyzing data. On a few occasions I think Rho even managed to link up to his server via the Iridium satellite phone. The BP Cybercafe was up and running in full force."

A Revealing Plan, Editorial, Washington Post

"Some of the proposed cuts, such as eliminating farm subsidies or killing NASA's moon/Mars exploration program, are sensible. But they also are highly unlikely; just think how much trouble Congress had recently agreeing to a mere $40 billion in entitlement cuts."

Nasa to put man on far side of moon, Times Online

"NASA, the American space agency, has unveiled plans for one of the largest rockets ever built to take a manned mission to the far side of the moon. ... The design emerged during a space science conference in Houston, Texas, last week. The plan is part of Nasas "Return to the Moon" programme set in motion by President George W Bush two years ago."

Editor's note: I guess someone at the Times has been asleep for a few months - this was all "unvelied" here last Christmas - and officially "emerged" a few weeks later from NASA itself.

(Back) To The Moon

World's nations will shoot for the moon in the next decade, SF Chronicle

Moon seen as 'dress rehearsal' for Mars, Houston Chronicle

The moon revisited, Houston Chronicle

"Overlooked as a half-dozen Apollo expeditions landed on the moon two generations ago, the lunar south pole could figure prominently in NASA's plans to return to the moon with explorers. Satellite photos reveal that parts of Shackleton's rim are bathed in near-constant sunlight and hint that the frigid, permanently shaded recesses of the crater floor harbor ice deposits."



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