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

Sunday, December 26, 2004

2004 December 26 00:58:50 UTC

Preliminary Earthquake Report
U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center
World Data Center for Seismology, Denver

A great earthquake occurred at 00:58:50 (UTC) on Sunday, December 26, 2004. The magnitude 9.0 event has been located OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

Small globe showing earthquake

Small map showing earthquake

Magnitude 9.0
Date-Time Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 00:58:50 (UTC)
= Coordinated Universal Time
Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 6:58:50 AM
= local time at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 3.298°N, 95.779°E
Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
250 km (155 miles) SSE of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
320 km (200 miles) W of Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia
1260 km (780 miles) SSW of BANGKOK, Thailand
1605 km (1000 miles) NW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 9.2 km (5.7 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters Nst=157, Nph=157, Dmin=>999 km, Rmss=1.35 sec, Gp= 29°,
M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9
Event ID usslav
Felt Reports At least 3,000 people killed in Sri Lanka, 2,300 in India, 2,000 in Indonesia, 289 in Thailand, 42 in Malaysia, 8 in Somalia and 2 in Bangladesh by tsunamis. Tsunamis also occurred on the coasts of Maldives and Cocos Island. At least 200 people killed, buildings destroyed or damaged in the Banda Aceh area, Sumatra. Felt widely in Sumatra. Also felt in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand. This is now the fourth largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and is the largest since the 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake.

Friday, December 24, 2004

GOOGLE search results for HR 5382 - PRESIDENT SIGNS BILL - LRK -

XCOR Congratulates President Bush, Germany - 23 hours ago
23 /PRNewswire/ -- XCOR Aerospace thanked and congratulated President Bush on signing HR 5382, "The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004," into law ...
XCOR Congratulates President Bush PR Newswire (press release)
Private-spaceflight bill signed into law MSNBC
all 5 related »
GUEST EDITORIAL: Regulation vs. innovation
Desert Dispatch, CA - Dec 22, 2004
In a reasonably sane world there would have been no perceived need for HR 5382, the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, which passed the Senate ...
Commercial Space Bill Wins Final Approval form Congress
Space Ref - Dec 9, 2004
... adjourning, the Senate last night gave final approval to the House Science Committee's Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (HR 5382), sending the ...

The Space Review
Getting into the act
The Space Review, MD - Dec 13, 2004
HR 5382 passed the Senate last week and is expected to be signed by the President. ... HR 5382 may be the key to sparking investment in suborbital ventures. ...

The Space Review
Is 2004 the breakout year for space entrepreneurship?
The Space Review, MD - Dec 20, 2004
... While that bill—HR 3752, later replaced by HR 5382—won early broad support in the House, it became bogged down in the Senate over debates regarding the ...
Space Foundation applauds Congress for passing suborbital launch ...
Space Ref - Dec 9, 2004
... President and Chief Executive Officer Elliot G. Pulham applauded Congress for approving the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act (HR 5382) that provides a ...

The Space Review
Thinking big at Bigelow Aerospace
The Space Review, MD - Dec 20, 2004
... s “Suborbital spaceflight: a road to orbit or a dead end?”, The Space Review, December 15, 2003) But with the passage of HR 5382 potentially easing testing ...

How I caught "The Space Bug" and somehow started tracking satellites by radio

Sven Grahn, Sollentuna, Sweden

Trains, Locomotives and Aeroplanes

My technological preferences as a boy started with trains and locomotives and then moved to aeroplanes. An old fabric-covered biplane, a de Haviland Dragon, took me into the air for the first time and aviation seemed to be the closest to heaven that a boy could get. Spaceflight just seemed frightening after having seen the science fiction movie "Destination Moon" where the space travelers experience all sorts of horrifying adventures in their travel to the Moon. But, history had something different in store for my generation.

Catching the "space bug"

In November 1957, at the age of eleven, I finally caught the "space bug" when the Soviet Union launched "Lajka" into space. I then realized that human spaceflight and perhaps people traveling to the Moon would happen in my lifetime! My head spun with the thought: "I will live to see this happen." Just a few days earlier I had seen Sputnik 1, or what everyone thought was Sputnik 1. I had been with my father at a gas station in central Stockholm filling up his model 1954 VW "Beetle" when the bright twinkling light spot generated by the last stage of the rocket that launched Sputnik swept across the sky. It made a deep and lasting impression.

My first "hands-on" contact with space technology came in the summers of 1962-64 when I worked as a rocket assembly technician during the sounding rocket launchings from Northern Sweden in cooperation with NASA to investigate the so-called noctilucent clouds. This was a great experience for a teenager, but it ended when Sweden joined the European Space Research Organization and the makeshift summer rocket base manned by grammar school and university students was abandoned in favor of professional operations at ESRO:s new base in Kiruna in the northernmost corner of Sweden. In October 1964 I started studying for my Masters degree at the School of Engineering Physics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. I was longing for a new "hands-on" connection with space technology.


[Read on - LRK -]

Luna 3 - the first view of the moon's far side

One of the origins of Luna-3 was the work by Boris Raushenbakh on attitude control started in 1955 in the NII-1 rocket research institute of the Ministry of Aviation. This work was co-ordinated with Korolev's design bureau and had as its goal stabilised photo-reconnaissance satellites. Raushenbakh's group was contracted by the lunar project section Korolev's design bureau OKB-1 to design the attitude control for the E-2 variant of lunar exploration craft intended to image the Moon's hidden side. The manager of the lunar probe project at OKB-1 was Gleb Maksimov. An excellent account of these early Soviet lunar missions can be found in (4) and (14).

The radio system was designed by deputy chief designer of the NII-885 (Scientific Research Institute of Radio Instrument Building, established 1938), Yevgeniy Boguslavskiy at NII-885 and it provided trajectory measurements, telemetry and command and command verification functions. Boguslavskiy and Boris Chertok (1) (deputy chief designer at Korolev's OKB-1) preferred pulsed systems for telemetry and ranging ever since the 1940's when Boguslavskiy had criticized the German use of carrier based radio systems in their missiles. However for E-2A Boguslavskiy surprised everyone by designing a continuous carrier system. The explanation was that tried and true methods were quicker and safer to develop under a rushed schedule. Boguslavskiy later explained that the lack of contrast in the pictures from Luna-3 was caused by lack of onboard transmitter power. The low contrast of the Luna-3 images is partly due to the fact that the Moon was illuminated from above. There isn't much contrast in a full moon. The electronics of Luna-3 was transistorized, an innovation that was regarded as risky.

Boguslavskiy and the NII-885 was also responsible for setting up the ground station at Kochka mountain near Simeiz in the Crimea in cooperation with the military unit 32103. The station was placed on the southern slope of a mountain facing the Black Sea. It was formally a part of NII-4 under general Sokolev (1). The location probably had something to do with the fact that the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory and the Physical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences was, and is, located at Simeiz. The ground station and control center had been in operation since 23 September 1958, i.e the same day that the very first Soviet attempt to reach the moon was made (14)

Soviet Moon Images

Russian probes returned the first images of the Lunar far side and the first images from the Lunar surface. While a manned landing was never accomplished, the final phase of Soviet exploration included a number of impressive robotic missions, returning samples and roving the surface. (Click on images to see full-sized versions)

Soviet Space Cameras

Soviet engineers pioneered the use of cameras on spacecraft, obtaining the first images of the far side of the Moon and the first images from the surface of the Moon and Venus. Soviet planetary spacecraft used cycloramic and swept linear photometers rather than vidicon television cameras. On later American missions, the Viking lander's panoramic camera and the Mars Odyssey linear pushbroom camera hark back to Soviet camera designs.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Donald Savage/Gretchen Cook-Anderson
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1727/0836)

Dec. 22, 2004
RELEASE: 04-407

NASA Selects Investigations for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA has selected six proposals to provide instrumentation and associated exploration/science measurement investigations for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the first spacecraft to be built as part of the Vision for Space Exploration.

The LRO mission is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2008 as part of NASA's Robotic Lunar Exploration Program. The mission will deliver a powerful orbiter to the vicinity of the moon to obtain measurements necessary to characterize future robotic and human landing sites. It also will identify potential lunar resources and document aspects of the lunar radiation environment relevant to human biological responses.

Proposals were submitted to NASA in response to an Announcement of Opportunity released in June 2004. Instrumentation provided by these selected measurement investigations will be the payload of the mission scheduled to launch in October 2008.

"The payload we have selected for LRO builds on our collective experience in remote sensing of the Earth and Mars," said NASA's Deputy Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Dr. Ghassem Asrar. "The measurements obtained by these instruments will characterize in unprecedented ways the moon's surface and environment for return of humans in the next decade," he added.

"LRO will deliver measurements that will be critical to the key decisions we must make before the end of this decade," said NASA's Associate Administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Craig Steidle. "We are extremely excited by this innovative payload, and we are confident it will fulfill our expectations and support the Vision for Space Exploration," Steidle added.

"The instruments selected for LRO represent an ideal example of a dual use payload in which exploration relevance and potential scientific impact are jointly maximized," NASA's Chief Scientist, Dr. Jim Garvin said. "I am confident LRO will discover a 'new moon' for us, and in doing so shape our human exploration agenda for our nearest planetary neighbor for decades to come," he said.

The selected proposals will conduct Phase A/B studies to focus on how proposed hardware can best be accommodated, completed, and delivered on a schedule consistent with the mission timeline. An Instrument Preliminary Design Review and Confirmation for Phase C Review will be held at the completion of Phase B.

Selected investigations and principal investigators:

"Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Measurement Investigation" - principal investigator Dr. David E. Smith, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, Md. LOLA will determine the global topography of the lunar surface at high resolution, measure landing site slopes and search for polar ices in shadowed regions.

"Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera" (LROC) - principal investigator Dr. Mark Robinson, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. LROC will acquire targeted images of the lunar surface capable of resolving small-scale features that could be landing site hazards, as well as wide-angle images at multiple wavelengths of the lunar poles to document changing illumination conditions and potential resources.

"Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector" (LEND) - principal investigator Dr. Igor Mitrofanov, Institute for Space Research, and Federal Space Agency, Moscow. LEND will map the flux of neutrons from the lunar surface to search for evidence of water ice and provide measurements of the space radiation environment which can be useful for future human exploration.

"Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment" - principal investigator Prof. David Paige, UCLA, Los Angeles. Diviner will map the temperature of the entire lunar surface at 300 meter horizontal scales to identify cold-traps and potential ice deposits.

"Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project" (LAMP) - principal investigator Dr. Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo. LAMP will observe the entire lunar surface in the far ultraviolet. LAMP will search for surface ices and frosts in the polar regions and provide images of permanently shadowed regions illuminated only by starlight.

"Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation" (CRaTER) - principal investigator Prof. Harlan Spence, Boston University, Mass. CRaTER will investigate the effect of galactic cosmic rays on tissue-equivalent plastics as a constraint on models of biological response to background space radiation.

The LRO project is managed by GSFC. Goddard will acquire the launch system and spacecraft, provide payload accommodations, mission systems engineering, assurance, and management. For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:

2004 marks a turning point in the history of NASA. Energized by the new Vision for Space Exploration, the Agency is transforming itself to return to the moon and eventually to explore Mars and beyond.

"NASA has a new face and new approach to operations and programs," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. "As we approach the return to Space Shuttle operations, NASA is facing the most exciting time in our 46-year history."
NASA Picks Science Team for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission
By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
posted: 23 December 2004
08:57 am ET

BOULDER, Colo. -- NASA announced Wednesday the suite of U.S. science investigators for its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) project, as well as a Russian scientist.

The U.S. Moon probe is the first spacecraft to be built as part of the Vision for Space Exploration, put into motion earlier this year by U.S. President George W. Bush. LRO is slated for a liftoff in the fall of 2008, under the auspices of NASA’s Robotic Lunar Exploration Program.

The LRO underpins NASA’s interest in replanting human footprints on the Moon. President Bush has called for the space agency to conduct the first extended human expedition to the lunar surface as early as 2015, but no later than the year 2020.

Not only will LRO characterize future robotic and human landing spots, the spacecraft will be equipped to inventory possible resources for human crews to “live off the land” -- in this case what’s available on the crater-pocked Moon. Another key duty of the LRO is to characterize the lunar radiation environment and its impact on humans.


Monday, December 20, 2004

NASA Ames Research Center
65 Years of Innovation


On December 20, 2004, the NASA Ames Research Center will celebrate the 65th anniversary of its founding. The public is invited to a FREE day at the Ames Exploration Center, to enjoy displays about Ames' history and showings of an Ames history video prepared by the Ames Public Affairs Division in cooperation with the Ames History Office. Public lectures will highlight Ames' contributions to the Cassini-Huygens mission, as well as research in robotics, information technology, aeronautics and space science. Scott Hubbard, NASA Ames center director, will discuss what to expect during the next 65 years of Ames history.

It was on December 20, 1939, that Russell Robinson led a National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NASA) work crew in turning the first shovel of dirt on the corner of Moffett Field that would become the NACA Ames Aeronautical Laboratory. In January 1940, the first NACA engineers began to arrive at Ames to plan and construct the world's greatest collection of wind tunnels.

At an age when many people might expect to retire, NASA Ames as a center is working and moving forward, stronger than ever.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Lunar Ethics and Space Commercialization
Copyright © 2000 by
David M Livingston


As we start this new century, we note that many of our successful business models are based on greed and are excessively competitive, often to the exclusion of basic human needs and a reasonable distribution of resources. Although they usually operate within the law, these actual businesses do not always value their moral and ethical responsibilities to the consumers, let alone the public in general. In the not-too-distant future, expanding our economy to LEO and the Moon will begin a new era of industrialization in space. Many questions remain as to what this LEO-and-beyond economy will look like, especially the lunar and Martian settlements which are sure to follow.

One of the most important concerns that we can resolve before this era of space industrialization is in full swing involves the standards that our LEO and lunar-based businesses will project. All of us, not just the businesses that will be operating in LEO and on the Moon, can contribute to the debate. The standards that we export to outer space will be with us for many years to come as our new space economy develops, expands, and eventually seeks independence from its source here on Earth. To have a say in the moral component of a new space economy, we need to be addressing these issues now, and even more important, we need to get the business community involved.



Our future generations will be in space, on the Moon, Mars, and even beyond. The initial space residents and pioneers will be from Earth, but as future generations are born in space and on the Moon, their own identity will evolve over time. What springs forth from the seeds that we plant is something that we should all be concerned with today. We must come to understand that we do not own the Moon, space, planets, and celestial bodies. We are not guaranteed these entities. They are not ours for the taking just because we can take it. In "Travelogue for Exiles," a poem by Karl Jay Shapiro, the relationship with space is explained in a way that appropriately summarizes the need for moral and ethical business practices in space.

Look and remember. Look upon this sky;
Look deep and deep in the sea-clean air,
The unconfined, the terminus of prayer.
Speak now and speak into the hallow dome.
What do you hear? What does the sky reply?
The heavens are taken; this is not your home.

We can use space and prosper from it, but as the poem says, the heavens are already taken and they are not our home. Capturing space without regard to ethical considerations will surely breed significant problems, some of which may be with us for centuries. With sufficient forethought, we can make living and working in space beneficial for all concerned. When we do this, we will find the heavens inviting us in as treasured and most welcomed guests, and perhaps over time we will have earned the right to call the heavens our extended home.


This week in The Space Review…

What is The Space Review?

The Space Review is a new online publication devoted to in-depth articles, commentary, and reviews regarding all aspects of space exploration: science, technology, policy, business, and more. more info

Old myths never die, they just (sorta) fade away

The Vision for Space Exploration has been burdened with a number of myths and misunderstandings since its announcement in January. Dwayne Day finds that while the myth of a trillion-dollar cost for the program has faded, another myth lives on.
Monday, December 6, 2004

Getting into the act

HR 5382 passed the Senate unanimously at the last minute. Sam Dinkin analyzes this long-sought legislation supporting space adventure travel.
Monday, December 6, 2004

The Senator from Hawaii

Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye will become the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee in January. Taylor Dinerman wonders if Inouye will use that position to push some of the visions for space exploration espoused by a former Hawaiian senator.
Monday, December 6, 2004

Mars: the only goal for humanity

The Vision for Space Exploration has focused on sending humans to the Moon rather than Mars. Donald Barker argues that, for reasons that extend beyond science and education to the future of the US itself, the nation should focus on Mars exploration.
Monday, December 6, 2004

Monday, November 29, 2004

NSS hails NASA budget for 2005 (November 23, 2004)
The National Space Society today hailed Congress on its foresight to fully fund the NASA budget for FY2005. "NSS members and grassroots supporters of space have a right to be proud," said NSS executive director, George Whitesides. "It was their vocal support - including the 1700 letters submitted in the final week of deliberations - that may have been the tipping point for this space victory."
Read on for the full press release.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

NASA'S X-43A Scramjet Breaks Speed Record

November 16, 2004

Release: 04-59

NASA's X-43A research vehicle screamed into the record books again Tuesday, demonstrating an air-breathing engine can fly at nearly 10 times the speed of sound. Preliminary data from the scramjet-powered research vehicle show its revolutionary engine worked successfully at nearly Mach 9.8, or 7,000 mph, as it flew at about 110,000 feet.

The high-risk, high-payoff flight, originally scheduled for Nov. 15, took place in restricted airspace over the Pacific Ocean northwest of Los Angeles. The flight was the last and fastest of three unpiloted flight tests in NASA's Hyper-X Program. The program's purpose is to explore an alternative to rocket power for space access vehicles.

"This flight is a key milestone and a major step toward the future possibilities for producing boosters for sending large and critical payloads into space in a reliable, safe, inexpensive manner," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. "These developments will also help us advance the Vision for Space Exploration, while helping to advance commercial aviation technology," Administrator O'Keefe said.

Supersonic combustion ramjets (scramjets) promise more airplane-like operations for increased affordability, flexibility and safety in ultra high-speed flights within the atmosphere and for the first stage to Earth orbit. The scramjet advantage is once it is accelerated to about Mach 4 by a conventional jet engine or booster rocket, it can fly at hypersonic speeds, possibly as fast as Mach 15, without carrying heavy oxygen tanks, as rockets must.

The design of the engine, which has no moving parts, compresses the air passing through it, so combustion can occur. Another advantage is scramjets can be throttled back and flown more like an airplane, unlike rockets, which tend to produce full thrust all the time.

"The work of the Langley-Dryden team and our Vehicle Systems Program has been exceptional," said NASA's Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Research J. Victor Lebacqz. "This shows how much we can accomplish when we manage the risk and work together toward a common goal. NASA has made a tremendous contribution to the body of knowledge in aeronautics with the Hyper-X program, as well as making history."

The flight was postponed by one day when repair of an instrumentation problem with the X-43A caused a delay. When the preflight checklist was resumed, not enough time remained to meet the FAA launch deadline of 7 p.m. EST.

Today, the X-43A, attached to its modified Pegasus rocket booster, took off from Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., tucked under the wing of the B-52B launch aircraft. The booster and X-43A were released from the B-52B at 40,000 feet and the booster’s engine ignited, taking the X-43A to its intended altitude and speed. The X-43A then separated from the booster and accelerated on scramjet power to a brief flight at nearly Mach 10.

NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., and Dryden jointly conduct the Hyper-X Program. NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, Washington, manages it. ATK-GASL (formerly Microcraft, Inc.) at Tullahoma, Tenn., and Ronkonkoma, N.Y., built the X-43A aircraft and the scramjet engine, and Boeing Phantom Works, Huntington Beach, Calif., designed the thermal protection and onboard systems. The booster is a modified first stage of a Pegasus rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corp, Chandler, Ariz.

For more information about the Hyper-X program and the flights of the X-43A, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Oregon L5 Society
Space & Robotics 2002

Click Here to download this docment in Adobe Acrobat format"As long as we're here...":
Secondary Profit Generators for Moon and Mars Bases

Bryce Walden, Cheryl Lynn York, Thomas L. Billings, and Robert D. McGown
(Copyright © 2002 by the American Society of Civil Engineers)


Lunar and Mars base planners concentrate on one or two economic drivers to justify a base. This is like the "killer app" in the computer world, the single indispensable application that justifies the computer purchase. "Secondary profit generators," numerous economic activities that make a complex lunar or Mars base work, have received less attention.

Trade with Earth is a special case. Due to Earth's deep gravity well, transportation costs are far from reciprocal. Earth industry produces vital items unavailable elsewhere; however, Earth's large population represents a huge market for offworld products.

Space commerce among bases on the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere in space brings opportunities in transportation, sales, legal services, and trade in minerals and volatiles, to name a few.

As bases specialize, an interbase economy will develop. Bases can specialize in power production or construction, for example. Precious volatiles could be traded, as long as they remain onworld.

Intrabase economy, or commerce within a single base, opens up a range of small business possibilities including repair shops, laundry, professional services, and others.

The more secondary profit generators a base can develop, the stronger and more resilient the base economy will be. Settlements initiated as "company towns" will transition to diversified economies. Ultimately, the aggregate of secondary profit generators could dominate base balance sheets and do away with the need for a single economic driver to make a base a viable, going concern.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

RELEASE: 04-353

NASA Unveils Its Newest, Most Powerful Supercomputer

NASA unveils its newest supercomputer today during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the agency's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. The "Columbia" is one of the world's most powerful supercomputing systems. Columbia was named to honor the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia lost Feb. 1, 2003.

"This amazing new supercomputer system dramatically increases NASA's capabilities and revolutionizes our capacity for conducting scientific research and engineering design," said NASA Ames Research Center Director G. Scott Hubbard. "It will be one of the fastest, largest and most productive supercomputers in the world, providing an estimated 10-fold increase in NASA's supercomputing capacity. It is already having a major impact on NASA's science, aeronautics and exploration programs, in addition to playing a critical role in preparing the Space Shuttle for return to safe flight next year," Hubbard said.

Comprised of an integrated cluster of 20 interconnected SGI® Altix® 512-processor systems, for a total of 10,240 Intel® Itanium® 2 processors, Columbia was built and installed at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing facility at Ames in less than 120 days.

"The Columbia system is a tremendous development for NASA and the nation. Simulation of the evolution of the Earth and planetary ecosystems with high fidelity has been beyond the reach of Earth scientists for decades," NASA's Deputy Associate Administrator, Science Mission Directorate Ghassem Asrar said. "With Columbia, scientists are already seeing dramatic improvements in the fidelity of simulations in such areas as hurricane track prediction, global ocean circulation, prediction of large scale structures in the universe, and the physics of supernova detonations," he said.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Blinding Flashes
Years after exposure to space radiation, many astronauts' vision becomes clouded by cataracts. Understanding why may shed light on cataracts suffered by elderly people.

October 22, 2004: Gazing out of their space capsules, Apollo astronauts witnessed sights that humans had never before seen. They saw the breathtaking view of the Earth's bright blue disc against the inky black of space. They saw the far side of the Moon. They also saw strange flashes of light inside their eyeballs!

Since then, astronauts aboard Skylab, the Shuttle, Mir, and the International Space Station have all reported seeing these flashes. No need to call Agents Mulder and Scully of The X Files, though: what the astronauts are experiencing is space radiation zipping through their eyes like subatomic bullets. When a "bullet" strikes the retina, it triggers a false signal that the brain interprets as a flash of light.

Telescopic Tracking of the Apollo Lunar Missions

Watching satellites in Earth orbit has proven to be a popular and easy pastime. It may not be appreciated these days that it was possible to observe the Apollo spacecraft during transits between Earth and Moon. Many of these reports exist only in printed form, from a time before most electronic indexing has reached. This page begins to document telescopic observations of the Apollo lunar missions. It remains a work in progress, and I welcome further contributions and references. Small thumbnail images link to larger versions.

The first sightings of each mission were of course the launches, watched by hundreds of thousands of people lining the Florida beaches. I start the fun with these two images, which I took at age 13 before and during the launch of Apollo 15.


Acknowledgements. The following people have provided pictures, pointers, or permissions for this material, and I am happy to publicly thank them: Geoff Chester, Mike Drake, Brian Fenerty, Terry Galloway, Maurice Gavin. Elaine Halbedel, M.J. Hendrie, Sally MacGillivray, Paul Maley, Joe Miller, Jeff Pier, Oscar Rodriguez, Elizabeth Roemer, Jonathan Silverlight, Dan Weedman, Ron Welch, and Jim Young.

The Web contains some marvelous resources with enormous detail about the Apollo program, many of them labors of love by a few individuals. Some especially useful ones are:

  • Contact Light - the Apollo archive
  • The Apollo Lunar Surface Journals
  • The Apollo Flight Journals
  • Apollo by the Numbers
  • The Bad Astronomer's analysis of "Apollo Hoax" arguments
  • JSC Digital Image Collection searchable on NASA image number or keywords

    In more tangible media, there is a vast array of material in Apogee Books' collection of NASA Mission Reports and Spacecraft Films' newly compiled DVD sets. If I can find these locally in Alabama, and outside of Huntsville, they're not that hard to locate...

    Bill Keel | UA Astronomy | Dept. of Physics and Astronomy | University of Alabama

    (ostentatious throat-clearing) "The views, opinions, and conclusions expressed in this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of The University of Alabama or its officers and trustees. The content of this page has not been reviewed or approved by The University of Alabama, and the author is solely responsible for its content. "
    Last changes: May 2004 

  • Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    Duffield Hall - "This publication was produced by Cornell University Division of Communications and Media Relations.
    Editor: David Brand, Cornell News Service
    A beacon for researchers
    With the grand opening and dedication of Duffield Hall on Oct. 6, 2004, Cornell University is uniquely poised to serve the needs of nanoscale scientists at Cornell, across the nation and around the world. Whether they meet in the cantilevered conference room overlooking the Engineering Quad, in the clean rooms of the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility and the Nanobiotechnology Center, in state-of-the-art faculty labs or the flexible graduate student space, Duffield Hall is a beacon for researchers whose work is measured on the smallest of scales. more"

    Sunday, October 10, 2004

    BBC NEWS | Have Your Say | Ask astronaut Michael Foale: "Ask astronaut Michael Foale

    A veteran of six space flights, British-born astronaut Michael Foale holds the US record for time spent in space.

    He has logged over 374 days in orbit, including four spacewalks lasting all together more than 22 hours.

    In 1997, he spent 145 days on the Russian space station Mir, during which he experienced a string of problems including a collision with a cargo craft, repeated computer crashes and a loss of power.

    In 2003, he returned to space as the commander of the International Space Station, completing his tour of duty on 30 April 2004.

    What is it like to live and work in space? Is it hard to cope with zero gravity? What does the future hold for space exploration? Will man ever reach Mars? Send us your comments and questions on space to our guest Michael Foale.

    Michael Foale will be the special guest on our global phone-in programme, Talking Point, on 17 October at 1406GMT. Please include your phone number if you would like to put your question directly to Michael Foale. This will not appear on the website. "


    Monday, October 04, 2004

    Project Mercury - A Chronology.: "Project Mercury
    A Chronology
    NASA SP-4001

    Table of Contents.

    Prepared by James M. Grimwood,
    Historical Branch, Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas,
    as MSC Publication HR-1
    Office of Scientific and Technical Information"
    NASA - NASA Mourns Loss of Original Mercury 7 Astronaut Gordon Cooper: "

    Glenn Mahone/Bob Jacobs
    Headquarters, Washington
    (Phone: 202/358-1600)

    James Hartsfield
    Johnson Space Center, Houston
    (Phone: 281/483-5111)

    Bruce Buckingham
    Kennedy Space Center, Florida
    (Phone: 321/867-2468)
    Oct. 04, 2004
    RELEASE : 04-333

    NASA Mourns Loss of Original Mercury 7 Astronaut Gordon Cooper

    Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr., (Colonel, USAF, Ret.) an original Mercury 7 astronaut, died earlier today at his home in Ventura, Calif. He was 77 years old. Cooper piloted the sixth and last flight of the Mercury program and later commanded Gemini V.

    'As one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, Gordon Cooper was one of the faces of America's fledgling space program. He truly portrayed the right stuff, and he helped gain the backing and enthusiasm of the American public, so critical for the spirit of exploration. My thoughts and prayers are with Gordon's family during this difficult time,' said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe.

    'Cooper's efforts and those of his fellow Mercury astronauts, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra and Deke Slayton, serve as reminders of what drives us to explore. They also remind us that to succeed any vision for exploration needs the support of the American people,' Administrator O'Keefe said.

    The youngest of the original seven astronauts, Cooper's flight in his Faith 7 spacecraft stretched the capabilities of the Mercury capsule to the limits. The mission, May 15 and 16, 1963, lasted more than 34 hours and 22 orbits. That was more than three times the longest U.S. human space flight until that time, and far exceeded the initial design capability of the capsule. During his flight, Cooper became the first astronaut to sleep in space.

    "NASA's astronauts extend their deepest sympathies to Gordon Cooper's family," said Kent Rominger, chief of the astronaut office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "He was among the first pioneers in space and his achievements inspired many of us to pursue our dreams of exploring our universe. We salute his many accomplishments as an astronaut and as a husband and father. He will be truly missed," he said.

    Project Mercury and the Mercury 7 Astronauts: "Project Mercury Overview and the Mercury 7 Astronauts
    From Nick Greene,
    Your Guide to Space / Astronomy.
    FREE Newsletter. Sign Up Now!

    An Introduction to Project Mercury and the Mercury 7 Astronauts
    Biographies of Original Mercury 7 Astronauts
    Scott Carpenter
    L. Gordon Cooper
    John H. Glenn Jr.
    Virgil I. 'Gus' Grissom
    Walter H. 'Wally' Schirra Jr.
    Alan B. Shepard Jr.
    Donald K. 'Deke' Slayton "
    Project Mercury and the Mercury 7 Astronauts: "Project Mercury Overview and the Mercury 7 Astronauts
    From Nick Greene,
    Your Guide to Space / Astronomy.
    FREE Newsletter. Sign Up Now!

    An Introduction to Project Mercury and the Mercury 7 Astronauts
    Biographies of Original Mercury 7 Astronauts
    Scott Carpenter
    L. Gordon Cooper
    John H. Glenn Jr.
    Virgil I. 'Gus' Grissom
    Walter H. 'Wally' Schirra Jr.
    Alan B. Shepard Jr.
    Donald K. 'Deke' Slayton "
    ANSARI X PRIZE: "Watch the WINNING X PRIZE Flight! On your computer.
    Brian Binney wins the Ansari X PRIZE $10 M dollars for his team!
    Brian Binney wins the Ansari X PRIZE $10 M dollars for his team! A LIVE worldwide webcast began today at 6 AM PDT detailing the winning X PRIZE flight of SpaceShipOne. Watch the event like you were there. Flight archives, interviews and event program now available on demand. View the video here. "


    ANSARI X PRIZE: "Watch the WINNING X PRIZE Flight! On your computer.
    Brian Binney wins the Ansari X PRIZE $10 M dollars for his team!
    Brian Binney wins the Ansari X PRIZE $10 M dollars for his team! A LIVE worldwide webcast began today at 6 AM PDT detailing the winning X PRIZE flight of SpaceShipOne. Watch the event like you were there. Flight archives, interviews and event program now available on demand. View the video here. "


    Video news clips sponsored by Elk & Elk | "Here are the latest 80 news video clips posted on
    Other video topics are listed at right.
    Clips are optimized for a high-speed connection."


    SpaceShipOne reaches space again, wins $10 million prizePOSTED: Monday, October 04, 2004 11:00:36 AMUPDATED: Monday, October 04, 2004 11:12:18 AM
    MOJAVE, Calif. -- It appears that the private space plane called SpaceShipOne has achieved its goal -- reaching space for the second time, to qualify for a $10 million prize.
    For the second time in a week, the stubby rocket plane was carried to the skies on the belly of a carrier plane -- and then fired its rocket engine to soar into space. Within minutes, it appeared to have topped its required altitude. It's now headed back toward a landing in Mojave, California.

    Tuesday, September 28, 2004

    Virgin Galactic: "Virgin Galactic is a company established by Richard Branson's Virgin Group to undertake the challenge of developing space tourism for everybody.

    Virgin Galactic will own and operate privately built spaceships, modelled on the history-making SpaceShipOne craft. These spaceships will allow affordable sub-orbital space tourism for the first time in our history.

    Due to the unique technology developed by Burt Rutan, this space craft design has overcome the difficult issues of re-entry into the earth's atmosphere faced by so many designers trying to create efficient, re-usable space vehicles.

    We believe that it is in mankind's interest to develop our knowledge and understanding as well as access to space. Every customer of Virgin Galactic will be helping the development of a new generation of space craft.

    Designs for the Virgin Galactic craft are progressing on a weekly basis at Rutan's base in Mojave, California and by early 2005 the final design for the maiden Virgin Galactic ship, the VSS (Virgin SpaceShip) Enterprise, should be signed-off.

    What will follow will be a concerted Research and Development programme to earn the craft their qualification to carry some of the world's first scheduled space tourists. Safety is paramount. It is planned to have multiple levels of redundancy on key systems in order to achieve a very robust system in every phase of flight.

    Virgin's experience in aviation, adventure, luxury travel and cutting-edge design will be vital in contributing to the design of the spaceship, the smooth operation of the spaceline and creating an unforgettable experience unlike any other available to mankind.

    "We've always had a dream of developing a space tourism business and Paul Allen's vision, combined with Burt Rutan's technological brilliance, have brought that dream a step closer to reality. The deal with Mojave Aerospace Ventures is just the start of what we believe will be a new era in the history of mankind, one day making the affordable exploration of space by human beings a real possibility."
    Richard Branson "

    Sunday, September 26, 2004

    Kern County General Services: KGOV - Internet Television: "Internet Television (KGOV-Live)
    You can watch the current KGOV broadcast from your computer, via a feature called KGOV-Live. In order to use KGOV-Live, you must first install RealOne Player version 8 or higher on your computer. "

    You should be able to watch SpaceShipOne on September 29 2004. - LRK -
    ANSARI X PRIZE: "Launch Schedule
    September 29th launch currently scheduled for approximately 6:00 A.M. P.S.T.
    Mojave Civilian Flight Test Center
    Address: Mojave Airport
    1434 Flight Line Mojave, CA 93501

    North to Interstate 5 to Hwy 14 North (One hour to Mojave)
    East at First Stoplight (Hwy 58)
    Left on Airport Blvd.
    Right on Riccomini - Head to Parking Area and Viewing Area.

    These directions are informational only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use. The X PRIZE Foundation and its affiliates assume no responsibility for any loss or delay resulting from such use. These directions are only to be used as an aid in planning. When using any driving directions or map, it's a good idea to do a reality check and make sure the roads still exist, watch out for construction, and follow all traffic safety precautions. Gates Open at 3 AM
    Traffic may be heavy
    Plan to arrive by 5 AM
    Posted on Sun, Sep. 26, 2004
    'A tunnel to the moon'
    Next step to future will be taken in desert outpost

    MOJAVE, Calif. - The Mojave Airport is an unassuming collection of old runways and dusty tin buildings. Planes and parts of planes - fighter jets, crop dusters, outdated commercial airliners - sit like ghosts in a desert graveyard.

    The little airport has no regular passenger traffic, but it's becoming known as the hub for space travel's future.

    On Wednesday, the first commercial rocket ever piloted by a non-military astronaut is scheduled to take a second brief trip from Mojave to beyond the Earth's atmosphere.
    SpaceShipOne, as it's called, made its maiden voyage to the stars from here in June, helping reignite a worldwide interest in private space travel that has been compared to beginning of commercial flight.

    Rocket companies abound

    But the company that built SpaceShipOne, Scaled Composites Inc., is only one of several rocket designers here shooting for the stars.

    Not far from Scaled Composites is Xcor Aerospace Inc., which is building rocket engines it hopes to sell to commercial space companies. Also nearby is Interorbital Systems, which is offering promotional $250,000 tickets for a week in space orbit, even though its first ship isn't expected to be complete before 2006. Space Launch Corp., meanwhile, is building a rocket plane that could be used to launch small satellites.

    In all, nine companies are working on space-related projects at Mojave, according to airport officials.

    Those who have been to the airport known to pilots as "Mojo" say it really does have a lot going for it.

    "You never expect by looking at it that this is where the next space age is being born, but it is," said George Whitesides, executive director of the National Space Society, a Washington, D.C. group that promotes civilian space travel. "It's a very special place that I think history is going to remember."

    What makes the 1940s-era former naval air station 100 miles north of Los Angeles the place to be is "location, location, location," said airport manager Stuart Witt, echoing the old real estate mantra.

    Perfect weather for flying

    Friday, September 24, 2004

    Aquababe number one
    Also known as Her Deepness, Sylvia Earle has lived for weeks at a time on the seabed, given her name to marine forms, and dived deeper and more often than practically anybody else on Earth. This month she comes to britain with a message that all is not well in the world's oceans, thanks to mankind

    Colleagues affectionately call Dr Sylvia Alice Earle "Her Deepness". And American publications have dubbed her "Queen of the Deep", among other highly complimentary titles.

    Sylvia Earle makes light of them all, but there is absolutely no doubt that she deserves them. For this diminutive, attractive, highly articulate and passionately committed lady from New Jersey, USA is, among her other remarkable underwater accomplishments, the world's deepest woman diver. In 1979, for instance, she made the world's deepest solo dive, a record of its kind that still stands. Contained in the one-atmosphere armoured diving suit JIM, she was strapped to the front of a small research submersible and taken 385 metres down off Hawaii. Untethered, she then walked the seabed for 21/2 hours.

    At that time, only submarines had reached that depth, and she was later to say that what she saw amazed her - including coral that pulsed with blue light, sharks 18 inches long, and fish with little lights "that cruised by like miniature ocean liners".

    But Sylvia's love affair with the underwater world began much earlier than that, as did the amazing record of her achievements. At the age of 16, when her family moved to the west coast of Florida, she had the Gulf of Mexico on her doorstep, and spent much of her time cataloging the plants and animals in the water.

    Aiming for a degree in botany, she wrote a thesis on the algae of the Gulf, started a collection of marine life samples, and now has 20,000 of these. Using early examples, she is now able to identify changes in the marine habitats of the Gulf, which today adds to her worries about the future of life in the sea.

    Her teenage studies were quickly to earn her a Bachelor's degree from Florida State University, then a Master's degree from Duke University.

    NASA - Administrator's Symposium Examines Exploration and Risk: "Glenn Mahone/Bob Jacobs
    Headquarters, Washington
    (Phone: 202/358-1898/1600)

    Ann Sullivan
    Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
    (Phone: 650/604-3039)

    Sept. 22, 2004

    Administrator's Symposium Examines Exploration and Risk

    Have you ever been into space, in a research submarine, or been a part of a remote polar research base? Whether it's exploring the depths of our oceans or reaching the top of our highest mountains, great feats often involve great risk.

    During a special symposium hosted by Administrator Sean O'Keefe, NASA examines the similarities between space exploration and other terrestrial expeditions with the help of some of the best known explorers in the world, including mountain climbers, deep sea explorers, scientists and science fiction writers. The discussions also will include NASA astronauts, other notable aeronautics and deep space explorers.

    The symposium, 'Risk and Exploration: Earth, Sea and the Stars,' will be carried live Sept. 27-28 on NASA TV and webcast on from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

    Sessions and participants:

    Monday, Sept. 27 -5:30 p.m. EDT

    Session One – Earth Moderator: Chris McKay, Planetary Scientist, NASA's Ames Research Center (ARC), Calif.

    Ed Viesturs, American High-altitude Mountaineer
    Penny Boston, Director of Cave and Karst Studies, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
    Dale Andersen, Astrobiologist, Antarctic/Arctic researcher, SETI Institute
    Nathalie Cabrol, Planetary Geologist, ARC, SETI Institute
    Bill Stone, President, Stone Aerospace
    David Roberts, Writer specializing in mountain climbing, adventure, and archaeology

    Tuesday, Sept. 28 – 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. EDT

    Session Two – Sea
    Moderator: David Halpern, Senior Policy Analyst, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
    John Chatterton, Professional Diver, featured in the book, Shadow Divers
    Sylvia Earle, Founder and Chairman, Deep Ocean Exploration and Research
    Jean Michel Cousteau, President, Ocean Futures Society
    Mike Gernhardt, NASA astronaut
    James Cameron, Academy Award winning director, undersea explorer
    Laurence Bergreen, author, Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe

    Session Three – The Stars

    Moderator: John Grunsfeld, NASA Chief Scientist and astronaut
    Harrison Schmitt, former NASA astronaut
    Shannon Lucid, NASA astronaut
    Steve Squyres, Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University, Scientific Principal Investigator for the Mars Exploration Rover mission
    Jim Garvin, NASA Chief Scientist for Mars and the moon
    John Mather, James Webb Space Telescope Senior Project Scientist, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
    Graham Yost, Writer/Director, From the Earth to the Moon

    Times and participants are subject to change. See the NASA TV schedule on the Internet for the latest updates.

    NASA TV is available in the continental United States on AMC-6, at 72 degrees west longitude, Transponder 9, 3880 MHz, vertical polarization, audio at 6.8 MHz. If you live in Alaska or Hawaii, NASA TV is on AMC-7, at 137 degrees west longitude, Transponder 18, at 4060 MHz, vertical polarization, and audio at 6.8 MHz.

    For more information about NASA TV or to watch the events on the Internet, visit:

    Monday, September 20, 2004

    SpaceDev Begins Work on ''Dream Chaser'' Space Vehicle Space Act MOU Signed with NASA Ames Research Center | SpaceRef - Your Space Reference: "PRESS RELEASE
    Date Released: Monday, September 20, 2004
    Source: SpaceDev, Inc.
    SpaceDev Begins Work on ''Dream Chaser'' Space Vehicle Space Act MOU Signed with NASA Ames Research Center
    SpaceDev (OTCBB: SPDV) has begun designing a reuseable, piloted, sub-orbital space ship that could be scaled up to safely and economically transport passengers to and from low earth orbit, including the International Space Station. The name of the vehicle is the 'SpaceDev Dream Chaser(TM).'
    SpaceDev's founding chairman and CEO, Jim Benson, recently signed a Space Act Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NASA Ames Research Center director, Dr. Scott Hubbard. This non-binding MOU confirms the intention of the two parties to explore novel, hybrid propulsion based hypersonic test beds for routine human space access. The parties will explore collaborative partnerships to investigate the potential of using SpaceDev's proven hybrid propulsion and other technologies, and a low cost, private space program development approach, to establish and design new piloted small launch vehicles and flight test platforms to enable near-term, low-cost routine space access for NASA and the United States. One possibility for collaboration is the SpaceDev Dream Chaser(TM) project, which is currently being discussed with NASA Ames. "

    NASA Transfers X-37 Project to DARPA: "NASA Transfers X-37 Project to DARPA
    By Brian Berger
    Space News Staff Writer
    posted: 15 September 2004
    02:41 pm ET

    WASHINGTON -NASA has transferred its X-37 technology demonstration program to the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which plans to go ahead with atmospheric drop tests of the prototype space plane next year."


    Saturday, September 18, 2004

    Maslow and Mensa: "Maslow and Mensa
    by Mark S. Hutchenreuther

    The Premise
    Around March of 1994, Janice Johnson asked me if I would give a talk for her Local Officer Training sessions at the New England Annual Gathering. Because of my frequent creative involvement in Mensa, she suggested a topic of 'How to Bring Out the Creativity in Your Members.' I immediately accepted, then set out to figure out what I would talk about.
    I had been working on another topic at the time, called 'The Singles Curmudgeon.' In that talk, I briefly covered Maslow's hierarchy and my own 'Hutch's Hierarchy of Relationships.' I quickly realized that much of my talk should be about Maslow and his famous hierarchy.
    Maslow's hierarchy is variously described as having five, six, or seven layers. Fortunately, the lower four layers and the top layer are common to all three schemes. If a sixth layer is included, it is placed between Self-Esteem Needs and Self-Actualization Needs, and it is called Self-Fulfillment Needs. In the seven layer scheme, Self-Fulfillment is divided into two layers, Cognitive Needs, and Aesthetic Needs. I will discuss the five-layer hierarchy for a number of reasons: it is simpler, it is sufficient, and it is what Maslow himself used in his last book."
    A corpse is not a good customer: "A corpse is not a good customer!
    by Adriano Autino

    'Only if I kill a German will I succeed in persuading the other Germans that I am a man. Yet we have a law, that tells us not to kill'. As Mendel, the fugitive Russian Hebrew in the novel by Primo Levi, ' If not now, when?', says. Mendel, wandering behind the German lines somewhere between Bielorussia and Poland, survives Nazi persecution along with other Jews and resistance fighters, badly armed, decimated by hunger, disease and cold. He fights as best he can, against an enemy that understands only death. They have no alternatives, they have to respond to the Nazi's challenge accepting the rule of killing. In that bitter truth, we see all the anger, impotence, and repressed aspiration to a human state - unattainable in 1943-44, during the nazi-fascist Age of Barbarism.

    We can observe that it is war, by itself, which produces this impotence, this regression of honest people to a bestial state, in which they give up and return to Nature's laws, whereby the stronger kills the weaker. This is a true commentary on all the wars which have stained our planet with blood from the dawn of history to our times. Nevertheless there is a big difference between a guerrilla fought with handmade weapons, under desperate conditions, in a state of technological and logistic inferiority, and military operations carried out by a modern technologically well equipped army. Paradoxically, though we would rather sympathize with the courage and the abnegation of those who fights in conditions of inferiority, we have to acknowledge that they don't generally have many alternatives to killing. While technological superiority, indeed, allows alternatives, in which awareness of strength is tempered by wisdom, and, above all, driven by political motives in which aspiration to a human state is a dominant ideological character, and with respect for the Law quoted by Mendel: do not kill. Obviously technological superiority, while it allows to choose behavioral models of higher ethical level, doesn't absolutely guarantee anything. And it is always the free will of the people to choose an higher profile or the simplest logic: I am technologically superior, therefore I can kill you better!

    For Nicolas Van Rijn (a space merchant, protagonist of the science-fiction cycle of the Paul Anderson's "Polesotechnic League") "a dead body is not at all a good client". And not even a boy to whom we have (i.e. "our" soldiers have) slaughtered his parents and raped his sister will never be a good client, neither our friend. We don't even need, after all, to resort to great philosophies, and "ideological roots": our bourgeois culture of commerce and progress it would be enough, in a context of increasing economy. The moral strength and the technological one always owe to be accompanied by friendship, by unconditional help, to all the human terrestrials which dare to smile and to put together their efforts to win the true challenge that we have to face: not the one of the religious ideologies, on the contrary the one - perhaps really religious, in the sense that asks to unite (in Latin religere) lot of people's efforts - to continue the development of the human civilization over the limits of this small planet.

    These simple concepts should finally enter our head, and we will have to pay much more attention that who will sit on the desks of the future governments will have such concepts well present, in their every action and decisions.


    Wednesday, September 15, 2004

    spacelaw: "Space Law and Space Resources

    by Philip R Harris
    Law is not immutable; it responds to the needs of society. Since World War 11, humanity has moved increasingly into outer space, encountering new conditions and new needs along the way. The law of outer space has addressed the new political, economic, and technical needs that accompany this transit of human society into space. Space law has been expressed in broad, vague principles that have permitted the maximum flexibility necessary for exploratory space activities. But, as exploration gives way to settlement, this predominantly international law lacks the specificity and legal certainty necessary for mature commercial activity.
    Space industrialization is confronting space law with problems that are changing old and shaping new legal principles. Manufacturing in space (Space Manufacturing a. Latex beads produced in the microgravity of space b. Latex beads produced in Earth's gravity In the microgravity of low Earth orbit, perfectly uniform spheres of latex can be manufactured. Compare these produced on the Space Shuttle (a) with those produced on Earth (b). Note that the products influenced by gravity are of different sizes and sometimes deformed.) and exploiting nonterrestrial resources pose economic and political issues that the nations must address. Space exploration has been conducted in the names of peace and humanity; yet, the increasing awareness of the value of space exploration and space applications dictates a new consideration of the merits of international competition and international cooperation (A rendering of the cooperative shipping of lunar oxygen.)in space.
    It is given that nations must pursue their national interests. The policymakers in the United States have not always considered well the national interest in space. This lack of policy soph"


    Soviet Missions to the Moon: "Soviet Lunar Missions

    The image at the top of the page is the first image of the far side of the Moon, taken by the Luna 3 spacecraft in October, 1959.

    The Soviet Lunar program had 20 successful missions to the Moon and achieved a number of notable lunar 'firsts': first probe to impact the Moon, first flyby and image of the lunar farside, first soft landing, first lunar orbiter, and the first circumlunar probe to return to Earth. The two successful series of Soviet probes were the Luna (24 lunar missions) and the Zond (5 lunar missions).
    NSSDC currently holds data from the Luna 3, 9, 13, 21, and 22 and the Zond 3, 6, 7, and 8 missions. All this data is photographic in nature, except for the lunar libration data from the Luna 21 Orbiter. Lunar flyby missions (Luna 3, Zond 3, 6, 7, 8) obtained photographs of the lunar surface, particularly the limb and farside regions. The Zond 6, 7, and 8 missions circled the Moon and returned to Earth where they were recovered, Zond 6 and 7 in Siberia and Zond 8 in the Indian Ocean. The purpose of the photography experiments on the lunar landers (Luna 9, 13, 22) was to obtain closeup images of the surface of the Moon for use in lunar studies and determination of the feasibility of manned lunar landings. "

    Teets: America must reach for space dominance: "by Master Sgt. Scott Elliott
    Air Force Print News

    9/15/2004 - WASHINGTON -- On the anniversary of the first man-made object reaching the moon, the Department of Defense�s executive agent for space urged America to strive for dominance in space.

    Undersecretary of the Air Force Peter B. Teets, who also serves as the director of the National Reconnaissance Office, used the occasion of a Soviet Union mission to highlight what he believes to be the three keys for the United States to achieve space dominance."


    Friday, September 10, 2004

    Mission Index

    NSSD Image Catalog Mission Index.

    Looking for interesting images.
    - LRK -

    Sunday, August 22, 2004

    A Field Trip to the Moon: "A FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON
    Harrison H. Schmitt


    The last Apollo mission to the moon "Apollo 17" left Earth on December 7, 1972 to land near the southeastern edge of Mare Serenitatis in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow. For 75 hours, Gene Cernan and the author lived and worked in the valley, performing extensive geological studies of the volcanic rocks that partially fill the valley, the boulders that rolled into the valley from the surrounding mountains, and the meteor impact generated soils that cover the valley floor and walls. Successful exploration of Taurus-Littrow capped a six mission investigation of the materials and history of the moon. At the conclusion of these studies, science had gained a first order understanding of the evolution of the moon as a planet. Humankind had gained knowledge of new resources in the soils of the moon that may help solve many energy problems on Earth and help initiate the exploration and settlement of Mars. "

    The vision of LiTeRaTi, lunar branch:
    A lunar colony established before the year 2030.
    With a lunar colony, we mean a group of people; men, women and children; living on the moon, without need for supply of materials or technology from earth. Thus, all necessary goods are produced from lunar raw materials in factories on the moon.


    Rationale and motivation:
    There are many potential uses for a Lunar workforce and infrastructure. Most things that anyone would like to use outside the gravity well of Earth would be cheaper if Lunar materials could be used. Of primary interest would be products that are heavy, but easy to manufacture. Production of goods such as hydrogen fuel, construction materials for earth orbit or deep space exploration are obvious candidates. On the other hand, services, such as tourist resort facilities and construction and support of observatories and other scientific activities, would be much cheaper with a life support infrastructure in place. The extraction of helium3 for use in fusion plants on Earth, or solar arrays beaming power down to Earth are much cited examples, but of no immediate interest as technical solotions are lacking. In exchange for work done by the colonists, Earth would provide goods and services that are easy to transport but difficult to manufacture, such as high tech goods, knowledge and entertainment.
    But the most compelling argument for a self-supporting lunar colony is that it would be self-supporting. Thus, even if all space funding on Earth would for some reason be cut off, mankind would still have a bridgehead in space. When a lunar colony is able to sustain itself, human nature will ensure that it will also grow. Eventually, the next step outwards, towards Mars, moons of other planets, or the asteroids will perhaps be taken from the lunar surface rather than from within the protective atmosphere of earth.


    Business strategy:

    "Sell" a lunar colony – or rather convince enough governments and wealthy corporations to join forces in building the infrastructure of the colony.

    To achieve this goal, two things are needed;

    1) The capability to produce a colony on the moon. On the moon, everything needed for human life is present: energy and raw materials. Solar energy is abundant without an atmosphere to dissipate it, there are water reservoirs frozen at the pole, and all base elements needed for biological life are present, albeit some only in trace amounts in the soil. The technologies needed to extract crucial elements from lunar soil, and to establish an artificial ecosystem able to support humans exist today and have been tested in smaller scale(see Biosphere 2). It is our firm belief that sufficient knowledge does exist, but that co-ordination and proper funding is lacking. To gain "control" over this production capability, we need to establish good contacts with institutes and enterprises with necessary know-how and production capacity. Note that we are not striving to acquire companies or build an industrial empire - just to stimulate cooperation between independent companies by creating a common vision.

    2) Commitment of enough funds: The cost will of course be enormous, and we do not believe that any government or corporation will be able to cover the entire cost. Thus, a large number of customers are needed. Since the idea is to create an infrastructure for the common good of society, the governments of the large industrial nations must stand for the major cost. But commercial investors and less developed countries are expected to contribute, in order to gain priority access to the facilities. What is needed is worldwide commitment, not to send someone to an exotic piece of rock in space to take samples and photos, but to produce the necessary infrastructure, making it possible for people to live in space - on the moon. LiTeRaTi will work towards raising the motivation for such an endeavour by gathering and distributing information about what will be needed to build the colony, by encouraging individuals and organisations working on relevant projects, and other activities to gain public support for lunar colonisation efforts.



    Achieve credibility within the space community by publishing several papers on lunar base construction and strategy, and working with others with coincident interests. (1997-2002)
    Break down the requirements for the lunar colony, starting with "indefinite survival of inhabitants", and eventually going into the technical detail needed for design specifications. (1997-2002)
    Define the project and secure commitment and support from national funding agencies and industries, worldwide. (1999-2010)
    Construction and successive immigration. (2010-2030)


    Back to LiTeRaTi main index

    LiTeRaTi is a small company run in the spare time by
    Niklas Järvstråt
    Klövervägen 12
    S-461 58 Trollhättan

    Saturday, August 14, 2004

    The trip to Thailand was interesting and enlightening.

    We had about 250 kids and adults from the Thai temples in Washington DC, New York, Chicago and our San Francisco area. We went to a number of temples, schools, government houses, Channel 5 TV, where the kids performed what they had learned of Thai dances and music. Often the kids from Thailand would reciprocate with their performance. Listen to political speeches in Thai with our American Thai audience buzzing on with their own talk. Was as a bit disappointed at our conduct.

    We had six big busses (3 Navy, 3 Army) with police escort. We had onboard the busses some Thai college students that have been to the US teaching Thai language, dance, and music to the kids here at the Thai Fremont CA temple so the folks on the bus knew them.

    I had fun trying to read the road signs in Thai before reading them in English.

    We also went to Southern Thailand to Phuket, Krabie, Jame Born 007 island. Boat tours where kids got to go swimming in lagoon with pretty fishes swimming around. (they threw food in the water too) I wondered where the sharks were.

    We went from Bangkok down to Sattahip deep water port and got to go on their aircraft carrier. Fun riding up on aircraft elevator lift. The ship has Harrier aircraft and the runway bow sloop up in a curve. Not what one is used to for American carriers. The Spanish made the ship for them.

    We had a final goodbye party on a Thai Naval Officers secluded beach. Kids got to row over in long boats. We had some relatives there and road around the bay in 4 wheel drive vehicle. Rough road to get to the beach by land.

    Spent the last week at our place in Bon Chang about 12 kilometers away. (The Eastern Star Resort wraps three sides of my six acre field.) Houses a couple of klicks to the East.

    DID NOTHING. Which is something I don't know how to do. Watched the road crew dig up our street and four side streets. All week long. Back hoe, grader, roller packer. Dirt in, dirt out, grade, pack, dig up, bring in more dirt, grade, pack, etc. Sangad and daughter, granddaughter remained 10 more days.

    Hope I get a report that we finally get some asphalt by the time she comes home on the 19th. :-)

    Had breakfast made for me by one of our neighbors that lives in one or our houses. Brought me the Bangkok Post and read it from front to back and back to front. Wrote notes in a notebook and will have to see if I can read them and make any sense out of the strange ideas that floated into my thoughts not having the noise of everyday USA rush intruding.

    Was different and will probably affect where we go from here. There is more out there than just my own little world. If I am to look into going to space, I will have to be able to look at the larger picture and hence include what is going on in the whole World to see what will help support the idea of developing a space frontier.

    At least that is what seemed to be playing in my mind there in Thailand.
    Will see how long it stays above the event horizon in my short span of attention. :-)


    Moon and Mars - Videos