Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Not perfect, still a risk, go or give up?

Is good, good enough?
Do you strive for perfect or asses the risk and make a decision to go or not to go?

Would you sit on top of a roman candle like the Apollo Astronauts?

There still is an International Space Station to complete and use in innovative ways.
Is that possible?

Can we really learn to live in space or will we need the protection of our
magnetosphere and be confined to the crib with our blanket pulled over our head?

Where do you put your resources?
What mail solicitations do you respond to?
Will there be a return on your investment or will it just be skimmed off by some opportunist?

Certainly lots of things to do here on Earth.
That takes interest and money too.
Enough to go around is a question that is hitting close to home. - LRK -

NATIONAL DESK | June 8, 2005, Wednesday

Scientific Group Criticizes NASA Budget Cuts

By WARREN E. LEARY (NYT) 406 words
Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 16 , Column 4

ABSTRACT - American Geophysical Union warns that proposed NASA budget cuts for Earth and space science will decimate programs that are finally giving people an understanding of complex world on which they live; warns that US leadership in Earth and space science is at risk (S)

Going to space or doing things in space doesn't always meet with approval. Nuclear power supplies are feared as a souce of contaminents, leaving trash and cremates on the Moon sound like what we do here on Earth, and making holes in comets can get you sued. - LRK -

Saturday, June 25, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

Russian sues to stop NASA's comet blast
By Douglas Birch
The Baltimore Sun

MOSCOW — When NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft hurls a barrel-sized probe at the comet Tempel-1 millions of miles from Earth on July 4, Marina Bai of Moscow will take it very personally.

The 45-year-old mother of two is so upset about the scientific assault on the celestial body that she has taken the unusual step of suing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Moscow courts. Her lawsuit seeks to block the launch of the probe and to recover $311 million in "moral" damages.

Bai, a self-published author and spiritualist, said this week that she couldn't sleep after watching a television report about the Deep Impact mission, the work of a team of astronomers at the University of Maryland, when it was launched Jan. 12.

"Somewhere deep inside me, a voice told me the whole mission had to be stopped," she said in an interview. "I fear that it could have an impact on all humanity."

In court papers, Bai asserts that Deep Impact will "infringe upon my system of spiritual and life values, in particular on the values of every element of creation, upon the unacceptability of barbarically interfering with the natural life of the universe, and the violation of the natural balance of the universe."

Dolores Beasley, a spokeswoman for NASA, said it would be "inappropriate" to comment.

The Past, Present, and Future, a lot to consider.

Thanks for looking up with me.
If you know of others that would like to look up too,
let them know they are most welcome to join the lunar-update list. - LRK -

Larry Kellogg
larry.kellogg at

NASA chief: Shuttle is ready to go;
Administrator says chances of July launch look good

By John Kelly, Florida Today
Posted Online: June 28, 2005

WASHINGTON - NASA Administrator Mike Griffin has decided to go
forward with the launch of the shuttle Discovery in July even though
the agency has not accomplished some safety reforms recommended by
Columbia accident investigators.

In testimony before the House Science Committee today, Griffin
acknowledged the agency can't eliminate all dangerous launch debris
or repair heat-shielding damage in orbit to the degree suggested by
the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.

However, Griffin said the agency has made enough progress since the
2003 catastrophe to reduce the risk of returning the shuttles to
space enough to justify launching now rather than later. Waiting
longer will not eliminate the danger, Griffin said.

"We must say we have reduced the risk due to debris to an acceptable
level or we must say that we don't ever want to fly the shuttle
again," Griffin said. "We do not have a better technical approach to
dealing with it than the one we have put forward."

Griffin's comments came one day after the independent Stafford-Covey
Return To Flight Task Group determined that NASA had met 12 of the 15
safety recommendations that the Columbia investigators said should be
complete before the shuttles fly again.

In a summary report delivered to Griffin this morning, the task group
said NASA did not fully satisfy the three most difficult and arguably
most important post-Columbia recommendations:

*prevent foam insulation and ice debris from shaking free of the
external fuel tank and hitting the orbiter during launch.

*strengthen the heat shield and windows to better withstand impacts
and survive atmospheric re-entry with minor damage.

*inspect the heat-shielding components in orbit and have tools on
board to allow spacewalking astronauts to repair damage.

"The ideal state would be to have no debris coming from the tank but
we've not been able to achieve that," Griffin said. "The ideal state
would be to have repair tools and techniques. We don't know how to do
that. We have spent quite a lot of money on trying to comply with the
recommendations but we don't know how to do it."

Griffin, an aerospace engineer who's authored a book on spacecraft
design, has sat in on more technical meetings than most predecessors
and participated in discussion and debate about the agency's progress
resolving the problems that doomed Columbia.

"I have a pretty good picture of where we are . . . and based on what
I know, we are ready to go," Griffin said. "The Flight Readiness
Review will either uncover an exception to that statement or endorse

U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Science
Committee, said he was aware of the task group's determinations, but
stressed that he respected Griffin's expertise and would trust his
call on the issue of whether to fly this summer.

"That is a close decision and I am ready to abide by any decision
Administrator Griffin makes," Boehlert said.

Griffin was to leave the hearing, address NASA employees this
afternoon and then fly to Florida this evening so he can participate
in the two-day Flight Readiness Review beginning Wednesday at Kennedy
Space Center.

That meeting is where managers will go over all technical and safety
issues to determine whether Discovery is safe and ready to launch. At
the conclusion of the conference, the space agency aims to announce a
firm launch date between July 13 and July 31.

Griffin expressed optimism, saying that as far as processing the
vehicle goes, NASA is ready to launch Discovery soon.

"We have several days of slack available between today and a launch
on July 13," Griffin said. "We look like we're in pretty good shape."

Meanwhile, Griffin and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked
Congress to amend a nuclear weapons law that bans the United States
from paying the Russians for services related to the International
Space Station. The Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 would prohibit
NASA from buying rides on Russia's Soyuz capsules unless the
President verifies Russia is preventing its scientists and engineers
from passing nuclear weapons technology to Iran.

The law exempted some initial flights of Soyuz, up through the spring
of next year. After that, the Russians have said the U.S. must pay to
fly NASA astronauts to or from the space station. Griffin testified
today that, if the law is not amended to allow NASA to purchase
additional Soyuz craft, American astronauts would not be able to
reside aboard the space station taxpayers built for them.

In recent months, the State Department and NASA have been working on
an amendment to the law that would let the U.S. purchase Russian
spacecraft while still pursuing the original goal of stopping Iran
from getting advanced arms technology.

Without the change, Griffin said, "the United States would not be
able to use the space station. We would not be allowed to have U.S.
astronauts on the station other than those times when the shuttle is
docked there."

U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said he agreed that the law
could be adjusted to resolve NASA's crisis. Without the Soyuz,
American astronauts would have no method for crew escape in an
emergency even if the shuttles were used to take them up and back
from the outpost.

"It was a worthy goal," Rohrabacher said. "We tried to make sure we
used all of the leverage that we had to try to get them out of this
nuclear power plant in Iran." That effort failed and the limitations
the law places on NASA are no longer reasonable, he said. " …There is
no reason for us not to be realistic now."

Well what do we do with the next impactor that is heading our way?

Deep Impact
*A gigantic comet is set to strike Earth within the next year. A sextet
of qualified personnel are sent into space to blow the comet up before
it smashes into ground zero and annihilates all of mankind. Meanwhile,
all of the inhabitants of dear planet Earth must begin to deal with the
not-too-unrealistic approach of Doomsday. Panic and suspense ensues.

Ooops, wrong movie.

Deep Impact Mission
*Night of the Comet *
A new interactive feature previews Deep Impact's July 4 face-to-face
encounter with comet Tempel 1. A slide show, animations and videos
detail this historic encounter

This one is going to be in real time and viewable from the U.S. West
Coast. - LRK -

Night Sky Columnist
By Joe Rao Night Sky Columnist
posted: 03 June 2005
06:23 am ET

In early July, NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft will deploy a tiny impactor
to smash into the nucleus of a small comet. The idea is to excavate a
sizable crater and provide valuable insight into the true nature of comets.

For skywatchers here on Earth, it should also produce a large cloud of
ejected material that should cause the comet to significantly brighten
enough to become visible with binoculars and perhaps even with the
unaided eye.


*June 9, 2005*

TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011

Dolores Beasley (202) 358-1753
NASA Headquarters, Washington

D.C. Agle (818) 393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

NEWS RELEASE: 2005-098


After a voyage of 173 days and 431 million kilometers (268 million
miles), NASA\'s Deep Impact spacecraft will get up-close and personal
with comet Tempel 1 on July 4 (EDT).

The first of its kind, hyper-speed impact between space-borne iceberg
and copper-fortified probe is scheduled for approximately 1:52 a.m. EDT
on Independence Day (10:52 p.m. PDT on July 3). The potentially
spectacular collision will be observed by the Deep Impact spacecraft,
and ground and space-based observatories.

"We are really threading the needle with this one," said Rick Grammier,
Deep Impact project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, Calif. "In our quest of a great scientific payoff, we are
attempting something never done before at speeds and distances that are
truly out of this world."

During the early morning hours of July 3 (EDT), the Deep Impact
spacecraft will deploy a 1-meter-wide (39-inch-wide) impactor into the
path of the comet, which is about half the size of Manhattan Island,
N.Y. Over the next 22 hours, Deep Impact navigators and mission members
located more than 133 million kilometers (83 million miles) away at JPL,
will steer both spacecraft and impactor toward the comet. The impactor
will head into the comet and the flyby craft will pass approximately 500
kilometers (310 miles) below.

Tempel 1 is hurtling through space at approximately 37,100 kilometers
per hour (23,000 miles per hour or 6.3 miles per second). At that speed
you could travel from New York to Los Angeles in less than 6.5 minutes.
Two hours before impact, when mission events will be happening so fast
and so far away, the impactor will kick into autonomous navigation mode.
It must perform its own navigational solutions and thruster firings to
make contact with the comet.

"The autonav is like having a little astronaut on board," Grammier said.
"It has to navigate and fire thrusters three times to steer the wine
cask-sized impactor into the mountain-sized comet nucleus closing at
23,000 miles per hour."

The crater produced by the impact could range in size from a large house
up to a football stadium, and from two to 14 stories deep. Ice and dust
debris will be ejected from the crater, revealing the material beneath.
The flyby spacecraft has approximately 13 minutes to take images and
spectra of the collision and its result before it must endure a
potential blizzard of particles from the nucleus of the comet.

"The last 24 hours of the impactor\'s life should provide the most
spectacular data in the history of cometary science," said Deep Impact
Principal Investigator Dr. Michael A\'Hearn of the University of
Maryland, College Park. "With the information we receive after the
truly out of this world."

Thanks for continuing to look up with me.
If you know of others that would like to look up too,
let them know they are most welcome to join the lunar-update list. - LRK -

Larry Kellogg
larry.kellogg at


Monday, June 27, 2005

Good day,

Experiments were conducted during the Apollo missions to learn about the
environment in space outside the protection of Earth's magneto sphere.
Going to the Moon with no atmosphere or magnetic field leaves you open to
high energy particles. Mars will not be much better with its thin
atmosphere. Even here on Earth the high energy particles hitting our
atmosphere can generate a shower of secondary emissions which you hope are
reduced in energy by the time they strike you.

Dr. Tony Phillips has info on a more recent hit by high energy particles
from our Sun.

What kind of Sun block would you devise? How will you protect yourself on
the Moon. How much warning will you have?

When you think of something that is not heavy or strong like a piece of
grass and then see a stalk impaled in a pole after a storm you know that
something going fast can do damage to you. When you think of filling a
party balloon with Helium or an even lighter gas like Hydrogen, you don't
think of it being able to do harm. (except maybe by lighting a hydrogen
filled balloon and watching it go pop). What harm could a Hydrogen atom do
with its electron stripped off and thrown at you?

You watch a baseball game and they clock the ball in the 90 mile an hour
range. How fast do you throw and atom to get from the Sun to Earth in a
minute? Now what kind of energy is given up when you try and catch this
little nit in your glove? That is a zinger.

Is this a problem or an opportunity for you to put on your thinking caps and
marvel at the universe and realize just how little we know as we learn more

What will you use for a force field that can deflect this kind of bullet?

Dr. Phillips says," Stay tuned for more on this topic in an upcoming
Science at NASA story, 'Radiation Shelters: Don't Leave Home Without One.'"

Check out other interesting posts at The Moon is
full and looks even larger to our eyes than to a camera. Mercury, Venus and
Saturn are converging for a spectacular close encounter this weekend.

Larry Kellogg

Why does a bull wipe snap? How fast can you flick magnetic lines of flux,
and how do you catch a wave with your surfboard? Ever throw an arrow with a
throwing stick?
Going to the Moon? Be careful. A new kind of solar storm can take you by

June 10, 2005: January 2005 was a stormy month--in space. With little
warning, a giant spot materialized on the sun and started exploding. Between
January 15th and 19th, sunspot 720 produced four powerful solar flares. When
it exploded a fifth time on January 20th, onlookers were not surprised.

They should have been. Researchers realize now that the January 20th blast
was something special. It has shaken the foundations of space weather theory
and, possibly, changed the way astronauts are going to operate when they
return to the Moon.

Sunspot 720 unleashed a new kind of solar storm.

Scant minutes after the January 20th flare, a swarm of high-speed protons
surrounded Earth and the Moon. Thirty minutes later, the most intense proton
storm in decades was underway.

"We've been hit by strong proton storms before, but [never so quickly],"
says solar physicist Robert Lin of UC Berkeley. "Proton storms normally
develop hours or even days after a flare." This one began in minutes.


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