Exploration: July 2016 Archives

My Star Trek Episode at Everest, SpaceRef

"As we approach the 50th anniversary of Star Trek (and in anticipation of participating in this week's Star Trek-themed NASA Social), I thought I'd write about how many experiences in my life have intersected with- and have been affected by its legacy. In late April 2009 I found myself at Everest Base Camp for a month. I was living at 17,600 feet in Nepal 2 miles from China and 2 miles from the highest point on our planet. I was surrounded by the epic majesty of the Himalayas, a thousand people supporting several hundred Type A individuals with a shared intent to summit the mountain and stand in the jet stream. And all of this was enabled by the austere and noble Sherpa people. I was on a mission not unlike a space mission. My team mate was my long-time friend Scott Parazynski, an astronaut. I could just stop there and what is in these sentences would be cool enough. This had all the makings of a Star Trek episode - and I knew it."

NASA: On the Edge of Forever

"When Star Trek originally aired in 1966, NASA's space program was still in its infancy. But Star Trek allowed us to imagine what could be, if we dared to boldly go where no one had gone before."

Keith's note: NASA NEEMO 21 is underway at Aquarius Base. Check @NASA_NEMO and @ReefBase on Twitter for updates. On Wednesday NASA JSC microbiologists talked about sending new genome sequencing technology that is being deployed on ISS to NEEMO. Clearly NEEMO is part of NASA's overall #JourneyToMars thing. Yet for some strange reason NASA JSC PAO is not issuing anything about the current NASA NEEMO mission. No media advisories, NASA NEEMO website has not been updated since 2015, etc. If NASA does not take its own exploration activities seriously then why should anyone else?

China's Bizarre Stereotypes of the United States, Foreign Policy

"Carp consumption and Anne Hathaway are not topics one would expect to feature prominently in the world's most important bilateral relationship. Yet both are among the most common things that Chinese netizens ask about the United States, at least according to the autocomplete feature of Baidu, China's most popular search engine. ... "Why doesn't America go back to the moon?" This query leads to a few links rooting the decision in the United States' evolving national priorities following the end of the space race with the USSR. More common, though, it seems an excuse to indulge in speculation about the presence of alien artifacts on the lunar surface, something common in U.S. conspiracy theory circles as well."

- NASA Astronaut Andy Thomas is Still Bashing China On The Job, earlier post
- Earlier China posts

Obama's top scientist talks shrinking budgets, Donald Trump, and his biggest regret, Nature

"[John Holdren]: We knew when we came in that we had to rebalance NASA, and we had a committee chaired by Norm Augustine that looked at the space programme and declared that Constellation [NASA's human space-flight effort] was "unexecutable". And that report informed what we did to scale Constellation way back. We still have an Orion multi-purpose space capsule. We still have the Space Launch System, a heavy-lift rocket, under development. But we scaled them back to the point that there was enough money to revitalize Earth observation, to revitalize planetary science, to revitalize robotic exploration, to think about new missions."

Juno was a success- but there is precious little coming after it, Ars Technica

"There are some fairly big whoppers in there, so let's unpack the response. It is absolutely true that the president convened the Augustine panel, and in the wake of the panel's report, tried to scale Constellation back. However, when Congress objected, the Obama administration folded. In the last full year before Obama took office, fiscal year 2008, the agency spent $3.3 billion on exploration, which included Constellation. In fiscal year 2016, the agency will spend $4.0 billion on similar programs. It is not clear how a 21 percent budget increase can be considered scaling back NASA's human exploration program. Moreover, when Obama assumed office, Constellation's initial exploration aim was the Moon - an aim the Augustine report found to be "unsustainable." Now NASA's stated goal is to send humans to Mars- the so-called "Journey to Mars"- which is an order of magnitude more difficult both from an engineering and fiscal standpoint. In this sense, NASA's goals have become more unexecutable, not less."

- Preserving The Status Quo For The Journey To Nowhere, earlier post
- #JourneyToMars Via #ReturnToTheMoon, earlier post
- Previous exploration posts



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This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from July 2016.

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