Exploration: August 2012 Archives

Future Neil Armstrongs

Neil Armstrong's lasting legacy, Dan Goldin, Washington Post

"This summer I witnessed the landing of Curiosity on Mars from mission control at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. After the "seven minutes of terror" and Curiosity's successful arrival, I knew that NASA still has the right stuff. NASA is filled with future Neil Armstrongs -- outstanding rocket engineers, scientists and dreamers. I can think of no greater testimony to the entire Apollo team than to undertake another audacious activity that, although risky, will raise the American spirit and create opportunities for future generations. This next challenge will be the catalyst for the scientific and engineering breakthroughs central to the future vitality of our nation. We must reach for the stars."

AIAA Foundation to Establish the Neil A. Armstrong Scholarship Endowment Fund

"The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation (AIAA Foundation), at the request of the family of Neil A. Armstrong, who was the first person to set foot on the Moon, and an AIAA Honorary Fellow, has established the Neil A. Armstrong Scholarship Endowment Fund."

Echoes Of A Single Step

An Echo of Neil Armstrong's First Lunar Step at Earth's North Pole

Moki Kokoris: "As he undoubtedly was for many, this photograph proves just how profoundly Neil Armstrong had been a role model to me. Upon reaching the geographic North Pole, my first thought was to double-check my GPS for validation, and the second thought was to recreate my own rendition of his "One small step" moment. Here is my boot-print at degree 90-North, taken in April 2003."

'Wow' Moments

Two 'Wow' Moments In The History Of Space Exploration

"After his historic trip to the moon, Neil Armstrong became close friends with one of the first two humans to summit Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary. The two historic figures later traveled the world together - including a trip to the North Pole. At one point they both had to sign in at a small lodge in a remote town in the Canadian high arctic ..."

A Hinge in History

Keith's note:We first sent humans to the Moon for reasons that now seem more romantic and idealistic than than they are relevant to today's world. That said, this achievement transcended the politics of the day to become a moment in human history on a par with some of the greatest accomplishments our species has ever achieved. Whereas we once thought the notion of reaching the Moon was fanciful, we all too quickly made it reality.

Now, more than a generation later, half the world was not even alive when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the Moon. Indeed, a lot of people think it was faked in a TV studio. Those who are trying to send us back to the Moon lament that it may take longer to do it today than it did in the 1960s. Neil Armstrong entered this dialog toward the end of his life - his previous silence making his comments event more poignant. Now he is gone. While others who walked on the Moon will continue to speak out about space exploration, none will come close to evoking Armstrong's humble authority on the subject. It may be another generation before we see someone like Neil Armstrong step once again into history on another world. But regardless of where they step, Neil Armstrong will have symbolically been there before them.

On a personal note: this is my connection to Neil Armstrong. I carried some rocks in my pocket for a month - rocks that he picked up from the surface of the Moon. Ever wake up in the middle of the night to feel a lump under your chest only to realize that it is a Moon rock?

Photo: President Obama Winks at The Moon - For Neil Armstrong

"Neil's spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown--including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure--sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step."

Keith's note: I have been informed that this photo was taken several months ago. It was posted on this Tumblr page the other day with the quote from the President referencing Neil Armstrong's passing. I apologize for the incorrect description.

Column: Manned missions to Mars aren't just sci-fi, opinion, Lou Friedman, USA Today

"Human travel to Mars is inevitable. Human journeys beyond Mars will be virtual. This makes Mars the ultimate destination for humans, in body at least. Once we realize that, the context of robotic missions like Spirit, Opportunity and, now, Curiosity changes. President Obama may actually understand this; he is the first president to announce that human expeditions to Mars (he said by the mid-2030s) is the goal of America's space program. The president may understand it, but his administration doesn't. It has cut out most future Mars plans in NASA. That disconnect needs fixing."

Keith's note: I simply do not agree with Lou Friedman when he suggests that personal, physical human exploration is going to be limited to Mars - with no human venturing beyond in person. This is narrow, defeatist thinking in the extreme. Friedman talks about the potential amazing technological advances in on sentence (electronics) for future robotic spacecraft - right after he says that human life support technology is stuck in the 1960s and apparently is immune to similar technological advances. He's already given up and decided what is hard and what is not.

Alas, Carl Sagan spoke for decades about humans inside starships. Not everyone sees Mars as the "utlimate destination" as Friedman does. Rather, many see Mars as just a first step - one of many steps to be taken by human boots - accompanied by robots.

But I do agree with Friedman on one point: if you are going to set a goal i.e. sending humans to Mars, then the monetary resources to build up to that capability need to be in place to enable the development of that capability - now.

As for being Friedman's statement that Presient Obama "is the first president to announce that human expeditions to Mars (he said by the mid-2030s) is the goal of America's space program." I guess Lou missed this 2004 statement from President Bush: "With the experience and knowledge gained on the moon, we will then be ready to take the next steps of space exploration: human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond.". This was immediately followed by the President's Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond. In 1989 his father said that America would be "sending humans back to the Moon, and ultimately sending astronauts to Mars". I was at both events and clearly heard the word "Mars" both times.

NASA's 'Mighty Eagle' Robotic Prototype Lander Finds Its Target, NASA

"NASA's "Mighty Eagle" successfully found its target during a 32-second free flight Aug. 16 at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. This small, versatile robotic lander prototype demonstrates technologies applicable for the final descent of an autonomous controlled landing on the moon, asteroids or other celestial bodies."

Masten Video: Xombie 650m Mars EDL Divert Trajectory, Masten,

"Building on the success of the 500 meter downrange flight on July 25, we're excited to announce the completion of a flight that reached 476.5 meters in altitude and translated 650 meters downrange on August 9, 2012."

NASA's Morpheus Lander Crashes During First Free Flight Attempt, Earlier post

"During its first attempt at free flight today at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA's Morpheus lander crashed and caught on fire."

An Interview With Alexander Kumar at Concordia Station, Antarctica

"Dr. Alexander Kumar is currently residing at Concordia station located at Dome C, Antarctica at 75°06'06''S - 123°23'43''E at an elevation of 3,800 meters. Alex is serving as Concordia Station Doctor for the Institut Polaire Francais (IPEV) and as a European Space Agency sponsored research doctor. I recently had a chance to ask Alex a few questions about his experiences in Antarctica - and elsewhere as they related to space exploration - and exploration in general."

Endeavour Update x 3

NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Update: July 25, 2012 - August 01, 2012

"Opportunity has been roving at the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater."

Preparations for shuttle Endeavour's trip to California near end, Florida Today

"Kennedy Space Center crews this morning attached a tail cone to the orbiter Endeavour, one of the last major preparations for its planned ferry flight to California next month."

Scientist hopes to find wreck of Capt. Cook's Endeavour

"A marine archaeologist is hoping to find and recover the wreck of Capt. James Cook's famous ship the Endeavour in Newport Harbor."

HMS Endeavour, Wikipedia


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This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from August 2012.

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