Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Two Cents On Top Space Stories of 2006.
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?
Republished once to fix links.
Technorati: NASA, space, astronomy.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Energy Sultans Of The Moon?
Common to each opinion is the belief that the Moon is a dead world with nothing to offer whereas Mars has all the resources necessary for human life and is just a much more interesting place to study. Putting aside the false dichotomy of "either-or" thinking in Moon versus Mars debates, there is something to be said for exploring desert wastelands, as oil company executives will tell you.
An article in the San Diego Union-Tribune yesterday (here) described the problems with batteries for cellphones, laptops, and other portable electronics. Fuel cells are being touted as the future power source for these devices. But as the article said about fuel cells, "They are costly to make; their electrodes are usually fashioned from platinum, an expensive metal."
Which brings us back to the future direction of human space exploration.
What if Dennis Wingo is right and there are remains of asteriod impacts under the Lunar surface chock full of platinum group metals? In a future fuel cell economy, the people who control all that platinum could be very rich indeed, even if they do live on an arid, lifeless, little world, orbiting the Earth. And then there's all that sunlight falling on the Moon's surface (here) plus the potential use of Helium-3 for future fusion reactors (here).
Arab princes today have lucked into prosperity and political power by living in a desert wasteland on top of all that oil. Will future Lunar energy princes possess similar political power and bring the Moon to life using the money they make providing platinum, fuel, and power, to an energy-hungry Earth?
Technorati: Moon, mars, nasa, energy.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Happy Holy Days And Merry Christmas.
It was interesting to see another blogger using the greeting Happy Holy Days to mark this season. (Here.) I began using it last year as it recognizes the religious nature of December's holidays and is inclusive of the various faiths that populate this country. (Here.)
So Happy Holy Days everybody, Merry Christmas, and Peace on Earth to people of good will.
Technorati: Christmas, Religion.
Sunday, December 17, 2006