News: August 2004 Archives

Fred Whipple has died

31 August 2004: Fred Whipple, World-renowned Harvard and Smithsonian Astronomer, Dies

"Dr. Fred Lawrence Whipple, the oldest living American astronomer and one of the last giants of 20th century astronomy, passed away yesterday at the age of 97 following a prolonged illness.

25 August 2004: Long Arm of Foreign Policy, Washington Post

"Also off the table is the possibility of buying Soyuz spacecraft through intermediaries or negotiating a new barter agreement. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Steven Pifer told Congress last year that such tactics "would likely be viewed by many as an evasion of the law."

NASA is pursuing the possibility that additional Soyuz might be available under the existing agreement, which authorizes the United States and Russia to trade goods and services "for the life of the station," but it is far from clear whether this wording would admit Soyuz purchases beyond the original 11."

"Founded in 1998, the society has grown to 7,000 members."

Read the story: Convention proves Mars Society isn't just for scientists, Chicago Tribune

  • 19 August 2004: Personal mission to Mars, Chicago Daily Herald

    "... And in fact, probably only 1 percent or fewer of the society's more than 7,000 members do."

  • 19 August 2004: Mars missionaries beam down here, Chicago Sun-Times

    "The society is a private group of about 7,000 Mars enthusiasts, including scientists, engineers, teachers and science fiction writers."

Editor's note: Contrary to the number of 7,000 that Mars Society president Bob Zubrin uses to describe the Mars Society's membership, the real number of paid members, according to reliable sources and statements in Mars Society business meetings, is less than 2,000. A 2003 Mars Society business meeting in Eugene, Oregon heard the society's steering committee report a paid membership number of "approximately 1,600". When Zubrin or his wife Maggie (the society's executive director) cites 7,000 members, what they do not tell you is that they are including anyone who has ever been deemed a "member" regardless of whether they have ever paid dues again. They also include anyone who has ever registered for a Mars Society conference - even if they do not know that they are now a "member".

"The Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group has postponed its planned August 26 public meeting. Because of the postponement, the media teleconference that would have followed the meeting also has been postponed. The next task group public meeting is planned for September."

Read the postponement notice: Stafford-Covey Task Group Postpones August 26 Public Meeting, NASA

"NASA officials will hold a series of telephone conferences for media on Thursday, August 26. They will discuss the progress made since the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) released its report August 26, 2003."

Read the story: NASA to give progress update one year after CAIB report, NASA

"Engineers at NASA's Stennis Space Center (SSC) in Mississippi have successfully tested what's expected to be the last of three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs) that will carry the next Space Shuttle into orbit."

Read the story: NASA engineers test final engine for Return to Flight Space Shuttle mission, NASA

"Written by veteran space journalists Frank Sietzen, Jr. and Keith Cowing, New Moon Rising is a detailed history of the evolution of the U.S. civil space program from the February 1, 2003 space shuttle Columbia accident to the release of the Presidential Commission report on Moon, Mars, and Beyond on June 2, 2004."

Read the review: New Moon Rising, Q&A with co-author Frank Sietzen

Editor's note: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has sent a letter to the General Accounting Office requesting that the GAO conduct an audit of NASA's expenditures. More details to follow.

"Now that NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is finally examining bedrock in the "Columbia Hills," it is finding evidence that water thoroughly altered some rocks in Mars' Gusev Crater."

Read the story: NASA Spirit Rover: Bedrock in Mars' Gusev Crater Hints at Watery Past

"The pace of preparations for Return to Flight is picking up, with several key milestones in recent weeks marking important progress in readying the Space Shuttle Discovery for its next mission."

Read the story: Milestones Set the Stage for NASA Shuttle Discovery's Return to Flight

"The U.S. aerospace industry is hiring once again according to monthly Labor Department data compiled by AIA's Aerospace Research Center. Industry employment reached 579,800 in June after falling to a 50-year low of 568,700 in February. This marks a reversal of a downward trend that began 14 years ago at the end of the Cold War, then followed by declining defense budgets, industry consolidation, and two commercial market downturns."

Read the story: Aerospace Industry Employment Increases After Falling to 50-Year Low, AIA

"After both crewmembers prepared for today's scheduled EPO (Educational Payload Operations) demo by reviewing the training instructions for toys and music instruments (Blues Harp, Chicken Shake and Puzzles), they set up the Lab camcorder and recorded the subsequent demo of both of them performing the Chicken Shake. [The Chicken Shake is an egg-shaped percussion instrument very similar to Cuban Maracas (only without the handles) that in Caribbean or South American orchestras are used in the percussion section to add to its variety of rhythms, textures and tone colors. The Chicken Shake EPO aboard ISS is a project of the Maryland Science Center."

Read the status report: NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 16 August 2004

"With eyes sharper than any that have peered at Saturn before, the Cassini spacecraft has uncovered two moons, which may be the smallest bodies so far seen around the ringed planet."

Read the story: NASA Cassini Discovers Two New Saturnian Moons

"Food makers may eventually benefit from imminent food technologies designed to prolong space travel as NASA calls on food scientists to provide food solutions that will enable humans to travel far from Earth to the Moon or Mars - creating new opportunities for exploration and discovery."

Read the story: Space travel pushes food science forward, Food Production Daily

"NASA has decided to base Project Columbia, which will boost its computing capacity tenfold, on SGI's Linux-based Altix machines and integrate 20 512-processor Altix systems with 500TB of SGI's InfiniteStorage to create the Space Exploration Simulator."

Read the story: Linux on Mars: NASA and SGI Search for Little Green Men, LinuxWorld

See the images: Views from Space, Athens 2004 Olympics

Bad Marketing Taste at JSC

Editor's note: If you visit the JSC gift shop website you will see a promotion notice which says "FREE STS-107 Charm with every purchase over $50". This is rather creepy if you ask me. You would think they could find another shuttle mission to use to promote sales.

"NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. has been selected as the site of NASA's Discovery and New Frontiers Program Office."

Read this story: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Selected as Program Office for Discovery and New Frontiers Initiatives to Explore the Solar System

"The foam that struck the space shuttle Columbia soon after liftoff -- resulting in the deaths of seven astronauts -- was defective, the result of applying insulation to the shuttle's external fuel tank, NASA said on Friday. The official investigation into the accident, conducted by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, left the matter open, since none of the foam or the fuel tank could be recovered for study."

Read this story: NASA Identifies Foam Flaw That Killed Astronauts, Reuters

"The Syracuse SkyChiefs announced today that the NASA Administrator Honorable Sean O Keefe will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the SkyChiefs 7:00 PM game versus the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons on Tuesday."

Read this story: NASA Administrator O Keefe to throw out first pitch Tuesday, OurSportsCentral

Security Goof at JSC

Editor's note: If you go to this page which is part of a solicitation for vending machine operations at JSC you can download floor plans for some JSC buildings, the location of every vending machine at JSC, and a listing of how many people work in each building onsite at JSC.

12 August 2004: Materials removed

"TO: All Prospective Offerors
SUBJECT: Request for Proposal (RFP) 9-EXCHANGEFOODSVC dated 7/22/04, Amendment No. 3

The purpose of this amendment is remove the following historical information from the website. Offerors requiring this information must submit a notice of intent to bid and the information will be provided.

1. Floor Plans
2. Demographics
If you have any further questions, please submit them in writing no later than August 16, 2004. Please send questions via email to: .

Original signed by:

Delene R. Sedillo
Alternate Exchange Operations Manager"



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This page is an archive of entries in the News category from August 2004.

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