Exploration: September 2006 Archives

Editor's update. Apparently NASA can't muster the energy to issue a press release for this worthwhile activity. So I took the webpage and posted it in the SpaceRef database as if it were a press release. And guess where a link to it ended up appearing - on one of the world's more popular space sites (at this moment).

Editor's note: Have a look at 21st Century Explorer Podcast Competition: "The 21st Century Explorer Podcast Competition is an Education and Public Outreach project designed to inspire and motivate the next generation of explorers and to compete effectively for the minds, imaginations, and career ambitions of Americas young people. Students will create an audio recording or video short to answer the question: "How will Space Exploration benefit your life in the future?"

This certainly looks like an interesting way to engage the public - yet NASA itself does not seem to want to promote it very much. If you go to ESMD's website, there is no mention whatsoever about this competition. So I guess they have nothing to do with it - even though it has an overt exploration theme. However, there is mention on the Grades 5-8 page at NASA's Education Office. So I guess they are sponsoring this (it is not clear from the contest website who the sponsor actually is)

NASA had certainly better hurry up and do something to promote this a little more widely since entries are due in just 2 weeks (10 October 2006).

The domain explorationpodcast.com is registered not to NASA - but to Grow Interactive in Norfolk, Virginia. The website is very nicely done and tells visitors exactly what they need to know in order to submit an entry. The website also includes an intro by "Chris" and his goofy sidekick "Blair" - who claim to be from something called "NASA Edge". There are also prizes (iPods, Mac laptops) donated by SpaceCamp and Crewstone Technologies.

Again, this looks like a really good idea - but what use is a good idea if no one knows about it?

Dittmar Associates Finds Young Adults 'Largely Disinterested' in the U.S. Vision for Space Exploration

"In a study reported on at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Space 2006 meeting, Dittmar Associates reported that young American adults are "largely disinterested" in the Vision for Space Exploration announced by President Bush in January of 2004. ... Most important concerns are jobs, the war, and relationships; space ranks near the bottom of the list of personal priorities. ... Interest in "New Space" (commercial) human spaceflight efforts such as the X-Prize flights of SpaceShip One is increasing, relative to the results of the previous study."

New Gallup Poll Reveals Americans Continue to Strongly Support Space Exploration, Coalition for Space Exploration

"Cumulative results indicate that, over the course of time and despite varying world and national circumstances, the American people still strongly support space exploration and are willing to support its funding at current levels or even slightly increased," said Jeff Carr, chairman of the Coalition for Space Exploration."

Editor's note: Gee, how can these polls/surveys both be correct?

Alas, the usually lethargic Coalition for Space Exploration woke up just long enough to write Gallup a check for conducting this poll and then slipped immediately back into sleep mode. When you go to their website the title page says "Copyright 2004". When you click to go further (as a member of the public) all you see is a link to the "New" 2005 Gallup Poll. C'mon Jeff - there isn't even a link to the new poll. Why send people to such an outdated website? This all seems rather counterproductive to me that the VSE's main corporate cheerleader doesn't even seem to have the enthusiasm among its staff to keep their own website current.

See the earlier NASA Watch posting "What Does the Coalition for Space Exploration Actually Do?" for more examples of their lack of activity.

But wait: someone is thinking ahead: the Coalition did sponsor an official VSE coloring book for all the folks who will be voting in the 2018 election...

Editor's update: I got a call from someone at the Space Foundation today. Looks like the Coalition has dueling websites. The one I linked to above was slightly modified the other day. This version of their website is more up to date - but only with regard to the Gallup Poll. That's it - the rest of this "newer" version is as stale as the "older" version. The accomplishments page seems to be circa 2004, the news page only has 2 items from 2006, the VSE page has lines like "Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch again July 13 on its first flight since February 1, 2003.", and the Congressional page stops with FY 2006 info (circa 2005). Again, where does all the money that gets donated to the Space Foundation to run this organization go? One Gallup poll a year?

NEEMO 11 Update

NEEMO 11 Topside Support: Splashup and Thanks Mission: September, 2006 Saturation

"The 11th NEEMO mission to date ended today with "splashup" at about 8:45 am, concluding another safe and successful mission. All mission objectives were accomplished, the crew is healthy, and we are another step closer to successfully returning people to explore the lunar surface.

We can't properly thank everyone who had a hand in making this mission successful, but a few key entities should be noted: ... JSC's Mission Ops Directorate, for the funding (via the Constellation Program), the majority of the manpower that keeps this project flourishing, and your unflagging support ...."

  • Previous NEEMO Reports, News, and Updates
  • Editor's note: ESMD still can't seem to get a simple link to NEEMO onto the main ESMD homepage - yet ESMD pays for the bulk of NEEMO's operations!

    The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon: Interim Report, Committee on the Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon, National Research Counci

    Full Report

    Time to Go Back

    Destination Moon, OpEd, Eugene Cernan, The Hill

    "With those final words spoken on the Moon over three decades ago, I took the liberty of committing our nation to returning someday. Today I believe that the destination is less important in determining our destiny than the direction in which we are headed, and with a new Vision for Space Exploration, our course is set to cross a new frontier."

    Worden Looks Ahead

    Keynote Speech by Dr. S. Pete Worden at AIAA Space 2006

    "Next month we will observe the 49th anniversary of the first Earth-orbiting satellite. But as much as we can take pride in the accomplishments of the past five decades, the dawn of the true space age lies ahead of us. Sooner than we may think people will be able to look up, and with the aid of a telescope see the glimmering lights of a research station on the lunar surface. At about this time astronauts will be readying spaceships for humans' first voyages to Mars and Near-earth Asteroids. This second giant leap for mankind begins now."

    Asleep at the Keyboard at ESMD

    Editor's note: I know they don't like to hear this at ESMD, but have a look at Key Documents on the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Activities on the ESMD website. It sure looks like it is all 2004 material. If you assume this website to be an accurate representation of ESMD's activities, I (and any other web visitor in America) would have to conclude that ESMD hasn't published anything of note since Mike Griffin arrived. C'mon folks, websites are not this hard to update. Trust me.

    Dazed and Confused in Hampton

    Other Voices: Forget Mars; let NASA focus on its mission, opinion

    "Try to imagine cramming men and women in a space vehicle for years, landing it, exploring the hostile Mars environment in bulky protective gear, cramming back into the capsule and launching for that long return trip! Most scientists could not endure this trip. The astronauts would not learn as much as scientists controlling robots."

    Editor's note: Gasp! Those fragile scientists! How could we ever think to send them into space! The author of this rant claims to have worked at NASA - and NACA before that. Given his overt hatred of human spaceflight he must have had a truly terrible time over the years. He must have been really upset when America did the impossible and landed humans on the moon - and eclipsing all of the previous surface robotic work in a single mission.

    NASA Desert Rats Live webcams Online From Meteor Crater

    "Two webcams are active (approximately) from 11:00am to 10:00pm EDT. The Desert RATS is a NASA-led team of research partners working together to prepare for human-robotic exploration."

    Editor's note: There will be a live webcast on Thursday, September 14, 2006: 2:00 pm-3:00 pm EDT (not listed on ESMD's calendar)

  • Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS) - Teams and Team members
  • Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS) Webcast
  • Editor's 13 Sep update: NASA HQ PAO tells me that the points made here (see below) are valid and that they are looking at a redesign of the ESMD website. This is, of course, good news - but what baffles me is how such a simple task as putting a single link on a website is so very difficult for NASA to do. This ain't rocket science - its just HTML. Why one person (me) can do this - yet NASA with all of its resources can't - is even more baffling.

    NASA tests Linux-based planetary surface exploration robots, Linux News

    Robonaut Joins the NASA Desert Rats at Meteor Crater

    "Throughout the day, SCOUT tested fully autonomous operations of the thumper payload. This integration between the Planetary Exploration Geophone System (PEGS) H/W, SCOUTs onboard systems and Mobile Agents allows for the autonomous acquisition of seismic data. In the past, a person would have to very precisely manually drive to a certain location, another person would manually operate the thumper, and then another person would have to prepare and coordinate the movement to the next thump location."

    Official Statement From the Coalition for Space Exploration Regarding NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle Program Announcement

    "The Coalition for Space Exploration enthusiastically congratulates NASA and the entire Orion Team for this important step in moving the Vision for Space Exploration forward."

    Editor's note: Blah Blah Blah. Will someone please explain to me just what it is the Coalition for Space Exploration does with the hundreds of thousands of dollars it collects from various NASA contractors every year? Most of their website does not seem to have been updated for more than a year. Their "accomplishments" page is all about things they did in 2004. The page for Congressional folks to check stops with FY 2006 info. Alas, NASA is fighting FY 2007 budget issues and is preparing for FY 2008. It seems that their specialty is issuing press releases about what NASA has done - after NASA has done it. Before this release, the most recent release the Coalition lists is from February 2006.

    But there is hope: they do have a VSE coloring book. But wait - it is out of date too.

    Reader note: "The CSE website isn't the only thing out of date. That poor coloring book needs updating as well. Their definition of "planet" is out of alignment with recent IAU terminology (see this page)."

    Editor's note: According to this coloring book the CEV "turns around as it travels in space, which makes artificial gravity. Artificial gravity is healther for the astronauts." Wow, its amazing what you can learn by reading children's books!

    SMART-1 Crashes Into The Moon

    Impact landing ends SMART-1 mission to the Moon

    "Early this morning, a small flash illuminated the surface of the Moon as the European Space Agency's SMART-1 spacecraft impacted onto the lunar soil, in the 'Lake of Excellence' region."

    SMART-1 impact update

    "Scientists have received and are analysing the final data gathered by SMART-1 on 2 September, prior to today's Moon impact. This update presents several of the images received, as well as additional images and information from the worldwide ground observation campaign."

  • Observation of the Impact of Smart-1 (impace images), Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope / 2006
  • More Moon News at MoonToday

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    This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from September 2006.

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