Exploration: June 2007 Archives

Next NASA mission: Twitter and Facebook, CNet

"NASA astronauts "twittering" from the moon? It's not such a far-fetched idea, considering the space agency's current push to partner with Web 2.0 companies like Twitter and save itself from turning into a dinosaur in the Internet age. Some executives at the struggling NASA believe that if the agency can adopt Web technologies like Twitter--a social network for broadcasting thoughts online or via text message--then kids and the general public will be more connected to space exploration and inspired to learn about science."

[Above the] Sky Diving

SFF Co-founder Rick Tumlinson's company Orbital Outfitters is "Popular Science" cover story

High Dive, Popular Science

"Scenario 1: Sport Sixty miles up, you sit in a chair on the open deck of a small rocket, admiring the stars above, the Earth far, far below. The vacuum beyond your visor is cold, but it would boil your blood if your pressure suit failed. You give your parachute straps a reassuring pat. It's utterly silent. Just you and your fragile body, hovering alone above the Earth. "Space Diver One, you are go," crackles a voice in your ear, and you undo your harness and stand up. There's nothing for it now: You paid a lot of money for this."

Bush Snubs Marshall

Where he didn't go, Huntsville Times

"But the Alabama visit was also noteworthy for what it didn't include. And what it didn't include was any public gesture to the fact that Huntsville is the home to Redstone Arsenal, a major U.S. Army research and development center, not to mention the fact that the arsenal also houses NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center."

Reader's earlier note: "Keith: Looks like President Bush is coming to Huntsville Thursday (6/21) for a visit! He's landing in Huntsville, AKA Rocket City, but going to the Browns Ferry nuclear facility to check out a broken down reactor. So much for supporting NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center! And, to top it off the Shuttle is landing the same day he arrives and I believe visiting Marshall would have spoken volumes in terms of his support for the space program. I think Griffin may have angered him about the global warming issue a couple of weeks ago. I noticed that on the White House web site you can't find much, if any, information on the New Vision. It appears to be another "slap in the face" for the vision..."

Mikulski Statement on White House Response to Space Summit Invitation

"Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today expressed disappointment at the tepid response she has received from the White House on her request that President Bush convene a bipartisan, bicameral space summit with the White House to address the future of Americas space program and the challenges it faces. Senator Mikulski is Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA."

House Committee on Science and Technology Chairmen: President's Lack of Willingness to Discuss NASA Budget 'Deeply Disappointing'

"We are deeply disappointed that the President has decided not to seize the opportunity to meet with Members of Congress to discuss how best to ensure that NASA will have the resources needed to carry out a balanced and robust program of science, aeronautics, and human space flight and exploration initiatives.""We intend to work with NASA supporters on both sides of the aisle in Congress to try to give NASA the resources it will need to carry out the tasks that the nation has asked it to undertake. However, the President's disengagement will make that effort immeasurably more difficult."

X PRIZE Foundation Announces Competitors for Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge

"A real rocket race is on the horizon with the return of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge -- the centerpiece of the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup and Holloman Air and Space Expo. In the Challenge's second year, the number of teams competing for the $2 million purse has increased from four teams to nine. The NG-LLC, sponsored by NASA's Centennial Challenges Program, is designed to accelerate commercial development of technology that can ferry cargo and humans between the moon's surface and lunar orbit."

VASIMR Roars

Scientists in Costa Rica set plasma engine record, Reuters

"Scientists in Costa Rica have run a plasma rocket engine continuously for a record of more than four hours, the latest achievement in a mission to cut costs and travel time for spacecraft. The Ad Astra Rocket Company, led by Costa Rican-born former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz, said on Wednesday it hopes to use its rocket engines to stabilize space stations in a few years, and then to power a trip to Mars within two decades."

50,000 Years of Resilience May Not Save Tribe, Washington Post

"Tanzania -- One of the last remaining tribes of hunter-gatherers on the planet is on the verge of vanishing into the modern world. .... [Gonga Petro] did impersonations in a high, shrill voice of various researchers he's met over the years. And he looked up and asked about stories he'd heard of people going to the moon. "We hear some people were lost in the stars," he said. "Is this true?"

Gingrich forecasts GOP losses in 2008, AP

"In a glimpse of what his candidacy might look like, he said he would ... offer a $20 billion reward for the first private company that successfully completes a Mars mission. "Somebody would be there and back about 40 percent of the way into the NASA process," he said."

The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon: Final Report

"A new report from the National Research Council examines the scientific challenges and opportunities for the robotic and human exploration of the moon planned for the next two decades and beyond. An interim report released last year outlined the key recommendations from the authoring committee. This final report provides additional details and prioritizes science goals for near-term missions."

An open letter to Gregg Easterbrook in response to recent commentary on the future of NASA, National Space Society

"Dear Gregg, Your recent piece in Wired made the assertion that NASA's priorities are misplaced. It was a thoughtful piece, but we respectfully disagree. Let's begin with the obvious. Your list of four priorities conspicuously ignores the human exploration of space. The American public, in contrast, believes that human space exploration should be at the heart of NASA's efforts. That finding is consistent in poll after poll for the past forty years. No matter how much you disagree with your fellow citizens who foot the bill (and you have been disagreeing with them for many years), your opinion is in the minority."

Virtual Moon Trip Coming Up, MSNBC

"Imagine hitching a ride to the moon on a pint-sized space probe - and experiencing every high point of the flight in real time, thanks to virtual-reality technology. If Pete Worden, the director of NASA's Ames Research Center, has his way, this dream could well become a reality - well, at least a beta version of reality - in a little more than a year."

Buzz of the Week - Geek chic in a virtual world, FCW.com

"In recent weeks, there have been scores of instances of agencies struggling in the new Web 2.0 world. Some examples are the Armys foiled attempts to silence soldier bloggers and the Defense Department ruling that YouTube and other so-called entertainment Web sites are verboten to anyone using a DOD computer. So it was interesting this past week to see a different approach from the director of NASAs Ames Research Center."

NASA DEPTHX Robot Completes Test Drive of Exploration Capabilities (plus extra photos)

"In late May, a NASA-funded robot successfully navigated one of the world's deepest sinkholes. The mission could be a prelude to a future mission to Jupiter's moon Europa, believed to contain a liquid water ocean. The Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer (DEPTHX) is a 3,300-pound, computerized, underwater vehicle that makes its own decisions. With more than 100 sensors, 36 onboard computers, and 16 thrusters and actuators, it decides where to swim, which samples to collect and how to get home."

NASA, 13 Space Agencies Release Exploration Strategy Framework

"NASA and 13 space agencies from around the world are releasing the latest product of their Global Exploration Strategy discussions. The document, "The Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Coordination," reflects a shared vision of space exploration focused on solar system destinations where humans may someday live and work. The framework document allows for the establishment of a voluntary, non-binding mechanism by which space agencies can exchange information on their respective space exploration plans. This coordination mechanism will play a key role in helping to identify gaps, overlaps and synergies in the space exploration plans of participating agencies."

Editor's 31 May Note: Of course, you'd expect that such an important document would be featured on the ESMD website - right? Guess again. Nor is it on NASA's home page or the agency's main VSE page. It does appear on the main "breaking news" page however.


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This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from June 2007.

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