Exploration: December 2009 Archives

Discovery Channel's Everest: Beyond The Limit Air Dates Announced

Schedule information, Discovery Channel

"Now in its third season, the Discovery Channel's Everest: Beyond The Limit is taking a new approach to filming this year and will feature both International Mountain Guides and Himalayan Experience in a five-part series. IMG climber Scott Parazynski returned to Everest this season after coming tantalizingly close last year. The former Nasa Astronaut was sidelined with a ruptured lumbar disc at 24,500' on his summit bid in 2008. This year Scott came back fit and ready to top out with Danuru Sherpa. Scott achieved his goal at dawn on May 20, 2009. A veteran of several space flights and spacewalks, Scott is the only person to both summit Mt. Everest and fly in space."

An Astronaut Atop Everest, OnOrbit

Engage the x drive: Ten ways to traverse deep space, New Scientist

"Apart from the mundane problems of budgets and political will, the major roadblock is that our dominant space-flight technology - chemically fuelled rockets - just isn't up to the distances involved. We can send robot probes to the outer planets, but they take years to get there. And as for visiting other stars, forget it. As an example of why, the Apollo 10 moon probe is currently listed as the fastest manned vehicle in history, having reached a maximum speed of 39,895 kilometres per hour. At this speed, it would take 120,000 years to cover the 4 light years to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system."

The Science Behind James Cameron's Avatar

"It's the year 2154 and humankind has reached out to the stars in director James Cameron's new science-fiction epic Avatar. The movie takes us to an exotic jungle moon called Pandora where humans are the aliens and a clash is brewing with the natives."

The Apollo 11 Telemetry Data Recordings: A Final Report, NASA

"Perhaps there are no clear answers. All that can be said with any certainty is that NASA and the Goddard Space Flight Center followed all procedures in storing the Apollo telemetry tapes, the search team has concluded. After reviewing their content and determining that Apollo program managers no longer needed the data, Goddard personnel shipped the telemetry tapes to WNRC for storage. Over the ensuing years, Goddard recalled them and either reused the one-inch tapes to meet a network shortage in the early 1980s or disposed of them because of the high cost of storing them. At no time did anyone recognize the unique content on roughly 45 tapes containing the actual moonwalk video. At no time did anyone ever consider what could be possible nearly 40 years into the future with the advent of new technology."

How Quickly We Forget

Stage now set for grand human space flight plan, Opinion, Lou Friedman, Houston Chronicle

"We don't know yet what the Obama administration has in mind for NASA or how it is going to handle the issue of human space flight. We are sure it will not be canceled, but how will it be advanced? We see two distinct possibilities: a great one that would have us engage the world and several generations to take the next great leap, or a mundane one that would have us locked in Earth orbit with little purpose and a level of risk that exceeds its gain. The 1970s shuttle decision produced a great vehicle and a magnificent technological accomplishment, but ultimately a poor program with no destination and little purpose. We hope this type of decision will not be repeated, and believe that the stage has been set for something much grander."

Keith's 14 Dec note: Lou, in your haste to wrap your arms around the as-yet unreleased Obama space plan, you apparently haven't bothered to read up on the decades of human physiology expertise gained from these Space Shuttle (and shuttle-supported ISS) missions of "little purpose" or the immense experience gained in the assembly and operation of large complex spacecraft (the ISS was mostly carried into orbit by the Space Shuttle). Both of these things are needed in order for humans to go to Mars. So, do not be so quick to dismiss the value of the Space Shuttle program. Indeed, it may not be going away entirely (sidemount HLV).

"Flexible Path" means that we try many things Lou - not just the one particular destination that you are interested in (Mars).

Keith's 15 Dec update: I got a short email today from Lou Friedman: "Did you have a typo in this sentence "the decades of human physiology expertise gained from these Space Shuttle" Did you mean "the decades of human physiology expertise gained from these Soyuz and Mir?"

It would seem that Lou is utterly ignorant of the long list of research projects done aboard the Space Shuttle including multiple Spacelab flights, some of which were totally dedicated to human physiology and space life science. As for the quality of Soyuz and Mir research (before the U.S. got involved during shuttle flights, that is), Lou, go talk to a few space life science experts about that and then get back to me. You will find that the quality of that Soviet/Russian research to be somewhat "lacking" to put it kindly.

Also, I find it rather bizarre that Lou would characterize the value of the Space Shuttle as he has given that NASA's current Administrator put his life on the line 4 times to fly on it. I (guess) that Lou thinks that the risk that Bolden and his crewmates took was really done for "little purpose" as well.

Again, how quickly we forget. Indeed, as is the case in this instance, some people forget on purpose.

Aerojet's Glenn Mahone and Jacobs Technology's Jeannie Kranz to guide the Coalition for Space Exploration Public Affairs Team in 2010

"Two veteran aerospace communicators will lead the Coalition for Space Exploration's Public Affairs Team in 2010. Aerojet's Glenn Mahone and Jacobs Technology's Jeannie Kranz were recently named the organization's new chair and deputy chair, respectively. Each will serve a one-year term, effective January through December 2010."

Feasibility of Using Constellation Architecture or Robotic Missions for Servicing Existing and Future Spacecraft

"In conjunction with this RFI, NASA will conduct an open workshop tentatively scheduled for February 16-18, 2010 to bring potential users and providers of on-orbit servicing capabilities together with the NASA study team. The study team will present the notional mission definition process and the first draft of the notional mission suite. RFI responders will have an opportunity to present ideas, technologies and capabilities as well as forecast existing and planned spacecraft/observatories that would benefit from on-orbit serviceability. The study team will then finalize the notional missions based on the RFI responses and the presentations and discussions at this workshop."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from December 2009.

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