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

Friday, October 23, 2009



CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- News conferences, events and operating hours for the news center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida are set for the upcoming Ares I-X flight test. The rocket is targeted to lift off at 8 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Oct. 27. The launch will be carried
live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency's Web site.

A launch day blog will update the countdown beginning at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Originating from Kennedy, the blog is the definitive Internet source for information leading up to launch. To follow the blog, visit:

With all eyes on the test, I hope it goes well.
- LRK -

Launch Vehicle: Ares I-X
Targeted Launch Date: Oct. 27
Launch Window: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. EDT
Launch Pad: 39B
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

NASA's first flight test for the agency's next-generation spacecraft and launch vehicle system, called Ares I-X, will bring NASA one step closer to its exploration goals. The flight test will provide NASA with an early opportunity to test and prove flight characteristics, hardware, facilities and ground operations associated with the Ares I.

More Information
› Prelaunch Events and Countdown Details

› Ares I-X Press Kit (PDF, 3.2 MB )

› Ares I-X Fact Sheet (PDF, 1.0 MB)

› Ares I-X Mission Specifications (PDF, 8 MB)

› Management Bios

› Ares I-X Integration Map (PDF, 4 MB)

Best be on good behavior, the boss is looking.
- LRK -

10/22/09 12:00 PM ET
Bolden and Garver Expected to Be On Hand for Ares 1-X Flight

By Amy Klamper

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver are planning to attend the unmanned suborbital test flight of the Ares 1-X rocket, targeted for Oct. 27 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., according to NASA officials.

The test is a major early milestone for NASA’s Constellation program, a five-year-old effort to build new rockets and spacecraft capable of returning humans to the Moon by 2020.

The Ares 1-X test shot comes as Bolden and Garver mull the findings of a blue-ribbon panel tasked with determining a range of options for NASA’s manned spaceflight future. The panel, led by former Lockheed Martin chief Norm Augustine, included completion of the Ares 1 rocket
in two of the five broad options detailed in its report. But the other options would scrap Ares 1 and make substantial changes to other aspects of the Constellation program, including dropping the Moon in favor of other destinations.


Well the Augustine report is out.
What now?
- LRK -

The Augustine Commission issued its final report.
[7.9 MB, 157 pages ]
Review of Human Space Flight Plans Committee


The U.S. human spaceflight program appears to be on an unsustainable trajectory. It is perpetuating the perilous practice of pursuing goals that do not match allocated resources. Space operations are among the most demanding and unforgiving pursuits ever undertaken by humans. It really is rocket science. Space operations become all the more difficult when means do not match aspirations. Such is the case today.

The nation is facing important decisions on the future of human spaceflight. Will we leave the close proximity of low-Earth orbit, where astronauts have circled since 1972, and explore the solar system, charting a path for the eventual expansion of human civilization into space? If so, how will we ensure that our exploration delivers the greatest benefit to the nation? Can we explore with reasonable assurances of human safety? Can the nation marshal the resources to embark on the mission?

Whatever space program is ultimately selected, it must be matched with the resources needed for its execution. How can we marshal the necessary resources? There are actually more options available today than in 1961, when President Kennedy challenged the nation to “commit itself to the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”


To fund or not to fund, that is the question.
- LRK -

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
Found: first 'skylight' on the moon
23:54 22 October 2009 by Rachel Courtland

A deep hole on the moon that could open into a vast underground tunnel has been found for the first time. The discovery strengthens evidence for subsurface, lava-carved channels that could shield future human colonists from space radiation and other hazards.

The moon seems to possess long, winding tunnels called lava tubes that are similar to structures seen on Earth. They are created when the top of a stream of molten rock solidifies and the lava inside drains away, leaving a hollow tube of rock.

Their existence on the moon is hinted at based on observations of sinuous rilles – long, winding depressions carved into the lunar surface by the flow of lava. Some sections of the rilles have
collapsed, suggesting that hollow lava tubes hide beneath at least some of the rilles.

But until now, no one has found an opening into what appears to be an intact tube. "There's sort of a chicken-and-egg problem," says Carolyn van der Bogert of the University of Münster in Germany. "If it's intact, you can't see it."

Finding a hole in a rille could suggest that an intact tube lies beneath. So a group led by Junichi Haruyama of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency searched for these "skylights" in images taken by Japan's Kaguya spacecraft, which orbited the moon for almost two years
before ending its mission in June.

NASA Mission to Study the Moon's Fragile Atmosphere

Oct. 23, 2009: Right now, the Moon is a ghost town. Nothing stirs. Here and there, an abandoned Apollo rover — or the dusty base of a lunar lander — linger as silent testimony to past human activity. But these days, only occasional asteroid impacts disrupt the decades-long
spell of profound stillness.

And this stillness presents scientists with an important opportunity.

Currently, the Moon's tenuous atmosphere is relatively undisturbed. But that won't be true for long. NASA is planning to return people to the Moon, and human activity will kick up dust, expel rocket exhaust, and release other gaseous emissions into the lunar atmosphere. Because
the atmosphere is so thin, these disturbances could quickly swamp its natural composition.

If scientists are ever to know the lunar atmosphere in a relatively natural state, now is the time to look. So researchers are building a probe called the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) that will orbit the Moon and measure its wispy atmosphere better than ever before.

"It's important that we understand it in its pristine state before there's much perturbation," says Anthony Colaprete of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. "It's such a fragile system. It's possible that it will be hard to study once humans are once more living and working on the Moon."

Controversial Moon Origin Theory Rewrites History
Michael Reilly, Discovery News

Oct. 22, 2009 -- The moon may have been adopted by our planet instead of descended from it.

If a new twist on a decades-old theory is right, conditions in the early solar system suggest the moon formed inside Mercury's orbit and migrated out until it was roped into orbit around Earth.

The idea flies in the face of scientific consensus, known as the giant impact hypothesis, which holds that the moon formed from red-hot debris left over after a Mars-sized object collided with Earth around 4.5 billion years ago.

However, the moon has several curious traits that go unexplained with that theory, and Robert Malcuit of Denison University has argued for decades for an alternative view of our moon's history.

Malcuit's version of events is tantamount to cosmic blasphemy, but scientists have recently found 4 billion-year-old minerals in Australia that suggest our planet was too cool to have sustained a cataclysmic moon-forming impact early in its history.

"Everything in the giant impact model is hot, hot, hot," he said. "It's incompatible with what we see in the geologic record. Earth is cool enough at that time to have ocean water on its surface."

Malcuit's computer modeling studies, which he has worked on since the 1980s, show that it is possible for Earth's gravitational pull to capture the moon. At first, the moon's orbits would have been highly elliptical, swinging close to Earth and then far away about eight times a year.
[JAXA:0211] Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" (PLANET-C) Message Campaign

October 23, 2009 (JST)
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is scheduled to launch the Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" (PLANET-C) by H-IIA Launch Vehicle in Japan Fiscal Year 2010. The AKATSUKI will enter the orbit of Venus about half a year after its launch, and will take some two years to explore the atmosphere of Venus.

JAXA would like to enhance people’s interest in space and the Earth by holding a "message campaign" in which we invite people to send us messages that will be printed in fine letters on an aluminum plate and placed aboard the Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI". We will accept
messages both from Japan and overseas so that we can bind the feelings and thoughts of everybody in the world into one, and inject it into the orbit of Venus. Through this campaign, we would like to boost the public’s knowledge about Japanese space science research activities in
Japan as well as abroad.

With the cooperation of the "International Year of Astronomy 2009 Japan Committee," we would like to carry out the "message campaign" to collect messages to be attached to the Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" as follows.

1. Campaign name

"We will deliver your message to the bright star Venus"
- "AKATSUKI" Message Campaign -

2. Message accepted
From October 23, 2009 thru December 25, 2009 (Japan Standard Time)

3. How to send your message
[For individual senders]
Through the Internet
Japanese site:
English site:

You can send a message in Japanese characters (Hiragana, Kanji, and Katakana) as well as using numbers and/or Roman letters. However, some letters (such as half-sized Katakana) or some PC specific letters may not be properly encoded on our side. Therefore, if you use such
letters, they may not be printed as you intend.

Only a name (without a message) is also acceptable.

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 Japan Committee will be in charge of accepting names and messages sent through the Internet, counting them, and protecting your private information.

Your message and illustration may be used on our Web site, leaflet, and/or magazines for the purpose of public affairs and promotion.

Copyright of the messages and illustrations basically belong to JAXA.


Venus is well known by the Japanese as the first star, and has been called the "morning bright star" or "evening bright star" since ancient times. In the West, its shining beauty is explained in its name "Venus", the Goddess of beauty. Venus comes closest to the Earth, and the dimensions of the two planets are very similar, hence they are often called "brother planets." However, it is imagined that there are no oceans on Venus because it is located a little closer to the Sun.

As its atmosphere mostly consists of carbon dioxide, which causes the greenhouse effect, Venus has become a tropical heat planet unlike theEarth. Although Venus has little rotation, its surface is surrounded by strong east winds called a "super rotation," which is one of the biggest wonders of meteorology.

The Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI" (PLANET-C), scheduled to be launched by JAXA in Japan Fiscal Year 2010, will explore this unique climate of Venus to elucidate the mechanism of determining the planetary environment in order to help deepen our understanding of the Earth's climate.

This year also marks the 400th anniversary since Galileo Galilei first turned a telescope to the night sky to open the door to space. The United Nations and the United Nations Educational, Science, and Culture Organization recognize this year as the "International Year of Astronomy 2009," and a lot of space-related events are being carried out all over the world. It is said that Galileo became certain about the theory of "Heliocentrism" thanks to observing the waxing and
waning of Venus.




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