Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Two Cents On Top Space Stories of 2006.

Space.com is polling readers for the top space story of 2006. The top 10 so far can be seen here. They are about what you'd expect with the hardy and totally lovable little Mars Rovers coming in first, followed by the decision to save Hubble, and NASA's return to flight.

In my view the top space story of 2006 is Bigelow Aerospace's successful launch and continued operation of its inflatable prototype for a private space station. This story signals the promise of private human space operations in orbit. (Here.)

Second would be NASA's awarding of the COTS contracts, which demonstrates the government's move towards reliance on private space companies for operations in lower Earth orbit. (Here.) Tied for second would be the Democratic Party's takeover of the House and Senate, which has immediately imperiled NASA's plans for human space operations. (Here.)

Third is publication of the United States new space policy document which makes official the view that space is a place within America's security and economic spheres of influence. This is a baby step in the direction of undermining the current unrealistic legal regime that governs human activities in space. (Here and here.)

The most ridiculous space story of 2006 is number 8 on the Space.com list. That story is the decision by astronomers to adopt the neighborhood bully definition of planets and fix the Solar System's planetary population at 8. The story gets my vote for most ridiculous story because it reveals how out of touch scientists are from the general public. (Here.)

What's your opinion?

-tdr

Republished once to fix links.

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