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Path to Space Diagrammed

September 25, 2012
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Make magazine has tracked down a flow chart created by Rockwell International in the 1980’s which details in highly specific form, how humans can establish a permanent and progressive presence in space.  The 1980’s was a time before the Soviet Union ceased to become a major player in space exploration so some of the chart has to be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s interesting nevertheless.  The address below takes you to a website sponsored by io9.

http://io9.com/5945822/a-detailed-plan-for-getting-humans-off-earth?popular=true


We’ll Never Get To Alpha Centauri

September 13, 2012
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From Discovery News, Sept. 13, 2012:

“Intercontinental travel will never happen.  The nearest shore is thousands of miles away.  This means that even if we had the ability to row five miles per day from here, it would take years to get there!

…the nearest shoreline is probably not a place we’d want to visit anyway.  We’ve heard that beasts of unimaginable horror lurk over the horizon.

…Forget about it.  Don’t look at those distant shores and think that some day we’ll be able to build an engine for that rowing boat.  A little outboard motor wouldn’t get you very far–you’d likely run out of gas before (our) island is out of sight!  Heck, you’ll probably starve before that anyway.

Just go home…We have problems here!   Our resources are dwindling, people are starving!  Your dreams mean nothing in our everyday lives.”

Where would we be if people had engaged in this kind of thinking in 1492?

 

 


Getting Robots to Mars

September 2, 2012
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http://www.youtube.com/embed/XRCIzZHpFtY?rel=0

Above is a Youtube video depicting the flights of Spirit and Opportunity, two earlier Mars rovers which have landed on the red planet and sent back oceans of data.  One of these little devils is still operating almost 9 years later.  Curiosity, the latest craft to be sent to Mars, used a slightly more sophisticated (and complicated) landing technique since it is quite a bit larger than the other two (about the size of a small car).  The only problem with the video is that it depicts the boosters making noise in space.  But, of course, sound doesn’t propagate where there is no atmosphere.