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How Many Quarks in an Omelet?

April 26, 2012
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“Unfortunately, one of the problems is that it’s hard for me to justify this expense to my constituents, because, after all, nobody eats quarks.” And then Weinberg, in his typical fashion, pretended to do a little calculation on the piece of paper in front of him and, as I remember it, said something along the lines of, “Actually Senator, by my calculations, you just ate a billion billion billion quarks this morning for breakfast.”  —Neil Degrasse Tyson in Space Chronicles.

The U.S. military spends as much in 23 days as NASA spends in a year–and that’s when we’re not fighting a war.”–Tyson again.


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Mining Asteroids Could Pay Off Big

April 24, 2012
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This article in Space.com claims that there is enough wealth in asteroids to provide several hundred billion dollars for every person on Earth.

 

http://www.space.com/15401-asteroid-mining-huge-dollars-sense.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+spaceheadlines+%28SPACE.com+Headline+Feed%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo


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A Penny for NASA

April 22, 2012
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Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s assertion that NASA could do really serious space science if its budget were simply increased from .05 per cent of taxes to one penny has led to the formation of a grassroots organization called “Penny 4 NASA”.  It is collecting signatures for a petition to provide the space agency with one penny from every tax dollar collected.  You can sign the petition at pennyfornasa.org.  I just did.


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More Popular than Pornography

April 22, 2012
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Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity for three days after their arrival on Mars were more popular than pornography.  The mission’s webpage got more than 500 million hits.  Nothing NASA has done since comes close. America needs new challenges in space to refire the public’s imagination and get kids interested in science once again.  We’d better do it before China beats us to it.  It would not be good to see a red flag or the red planet.


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Inspiring Message from DARPA Chief Regina Dugan

April 11, 2012
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Dugan details what is possible if we remove fear of failure.

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-03/video-former-darpa-chief-regina-dugan-talks-hypersonic-gilders-and-hummingbirds-ted


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SpaceX Aims to Fill Void.

April 10, 2012
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Elon Musk, chief executive officer for the rocket start-up company SpaceX expects the second flight of its Dragon space craft to launch in late April and visit the International Space Station, a report in the science magazine Nature says.

“The next important step in the evolution of life is that mankind develops a space-based civilization, Musk says. He sees getting people to other planets as the only way to protect ourselves against some humanity destroying catastrophe such as an asteroid strike or destruction by nuclear war.  Musk would one day like to find himself on Mars.

His company is developing a version of the Dragon that will carry seven passengers and crew.

 


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Space Research Crucial

April 9, 2012
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NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Agency) is one government entity that is being starved for funding right now.  This is a time when we need to be boldly looking for new frontiers–expanding our knowledge bases as much as possible.  The potential benefits that could accrue from a more ambitious space program, although some would be long-range, are ultimately endless.  Doubling NASA’s budget  would increase the cost to taxpayers from 1/2 cent per dollar to one cent per tax dollar.  Most people don’t realize how little space exploration costs in terms of overall government spending. Not much to sacrifice considering the benefits.  What are the benefits, you ask?  Well, science first: Finding out whether life exists elsewhere in the universe, learning more about the make-up of other planets which might teach us something valuable about Earth, expanding our knowledge of the overall nature of the universe–serendipidous knowledge that may lead anywhere.  Then there are the jobs created, all over the country actually, by an active attempt to expand our space horizons.  Research into better methods of propulsion might someday save us from an asteroid or comet strike–a very real threat if you know anything about ancient geological history.  Finally, the possibility of settling on another planet such as Mars would guarantee that the human race would survive in spite of any planetwide disaster here on Earth.  But there is also the national pride that would be maintained by the fact that the U.S., not China, still holds the lead in space exploration.  That pride inspires the imagination of young people and promotes their interest in science and technology, leading them to careers that need to be filled in other complex areas related to improving human welfare.


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Funds Short for Retraining

April 9, 2012
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In Dallas, as of April, 6, 2012, 23,400 have lost jobs in the last 10 weeks, yet the town has only enough funding left to offer retraining to 43 people.  According to The New York Times, this situation is common throughout the country.  Peak spending on job training reached $2.1 billion, but has dwindled lately to $1.2 billion. Work centers all over the land are seeing funding cuts. Not a good state of affairs in a country where more and more jobs require specific and complex skills.


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Most Popular Museum

April 8, 2012
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The most popular museum in the world is not The Louvre in Paris.  It’s the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. with 9 million visitors a year.  What does that tell you about people’s imaginations?


When you look a…

April 8, 2012
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When you look at what can be possible in the future, consider this quote by John Wilkins–a 17th century clergyman who wrote in 1640: “Yet, I do seriously affirm it possible to make a flying chariot, in which a man may sit and give such motion unto it as it shall convey him through the air, and this might be made large enough to carry divers men at the same time…so that notwithstanding all seeming impossibilities, tis likely enough there may be a means invented of journeying to the moon.”  –quoted in Space Chronicles by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.            331 years later, we did just that.  So in looking toward the future, we need to consider what new knowledge about the universe will come to us and what potentials will it unlock.


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