OK. So I get a fail on the blog title. But I found this in my Google Reader today:
I can honestly say I wish I lived in D.C. right now. Then after the party, I’d move back to ‘bama. Can’t wait until the WH releases the pics. If you can’t make it to the WH on that day, you can watch live on NASA TV.
I wonder if this is a first? If not, when was the last time?
Keep promoting that science Obama team! We need more young scientists in this country!
My post on GeekDad went popular today. I even got above the fold for the first time!
The end is coming too fast! I only have seven more chances to catch a Space Shuttle launch. That is unless the Human Space Flight Review Committee recommends an extension for the Shuttle and the Obama administration approves. Big decisions are in the works…
The above image is a concept drawing for the successor to Russia’s Soyuz. Today, Russia announced the winner of the contract to begin building the next-generation space capsule. It will be roomier and capable of entering Lunar orbit! The BBC article where I saw this pic speculates that Russia may be planning for their own moonbase and this new craft will be a big piece in that puzzle.
For many of the past few years, the US government (aka NASA) has dominated the above 100KM mark when it came to human spaceflight. Now, there are a number of nations and private companies wanting to get in on the action:
- China recently carried out their first spacewalk using the Shenzhou design and has its eyes on the moon
- India’s planning to meet us out on the regolith in 2020
- While unmanned, the European’s have proven out the ATV concept
- Space X’s Dragon is slated for a demo launch this year
Constellation is still on track, but there are still questions about what the President plans to do with that project, the Space Shuttle, and the entire future of our manned space program. I’m on pins and needles waiting for a decision!
I’m still getting caught up with my nerd news because of the move. But I thought this was worthy of me taking a break from unpacking. I’ve had a few posts about NASA, Obama and what is in store for the future of America’s space program. It’s encouraging to see that our beloved national space program will be shown some love at the inaugural parade.
The STS-126 crew, as well as the experimental Lunar Electric Rover (see picture) will be featured. With the record crowds that are expected (not to mention on TV and on the intertubes), let’s hope this generates some excitement amongst the American public.
You can follow the Rover team as they progress through the parade on Twitter. Go NASA!
**Update (Jan. 20)** The NASA Twitter site linked to this picture. Looks like Barack and Michelle stuck it out for the long haul. Look at all of the empty seats!
I was getting caught up on my Google Reader and saw this great post over at The Launch Pad (note to ISU team, I’m very jelly right now). Shuttle launches (or any other event where tons of man-made machinery is pushed up and out of the gravity well) are one of those rare events that few humans have had the pleasure of seeing in person. I’ve always wanted to be there. I’ve been to the Space Coast and KSC, but unfortunately could not visit during a launch.
Note: Posts may be spotty over the next few weeks. The Calrissian family is relocating to another state. I’m trying to keep up with the latest nerd news during this time. We’ll see how it goes.
I picked up a this presentation from MIT’s Space Policy & Society Group via Open NASA. Its primary focus is to outline what they believe the Obama administration’s priorities should be when it comes to space policy. A large part of the document also focuses on why it is important to have a manned space program.
After the Columbia accident and some now infamous cost overruns, some people in the general public called for a cutback in manned flight. Others even advocate for the government to redirect money spent by NASA to more “down to earth” programs. (remember readers: NASA’s budget amounts to about one half of one percent of the total federal budget).
This paper makes a good case as to why America (or any other country that has aspirations of a space program) should continue with manned exploration. I won’t spoil the findings, you’ll have to read through it for yourself. I’ve always believed that we should send people up 100KM (and more). But as the doc points out, my reasons are largely sentimental. After reading through the presentation, I’ve come to a new understanding about sending people into space: the costs and the benefits.
One of the disadvantages of working full-time is that I can’t blog til I get home. Then I have to settle in, eat dinner, talk with the kiddos about school, then I get some daddy time. And before blogging, I have to check on my websites, answer emails, and clear out my Google Reader.And when I want to blog about something I read earlier in the day, everyone else already has. 😦
Heather Headley had that Me Time song. Can someone make a “Daddy Time”?
OK. Now on to what I really wanted to blog about.
Apparently, there is a rumor floating that current NASA top-dog, Mike Griffin, is data-blocking on the Obama transition team. The team has asked NASA to clarify the status and costs of a number of projects including the embattled Ares program. The questions focus on savings that can be achieved from scaling back or canceling the program. But, they also ask what would be the result of receiving increased funding. So as promised, Obeezie is looking at all options.
Either way, I think the signs are there for Mike: Your time is short, money.
With the change that Obeezie and company are promising to bring to D.C., I can only hope that this spills over into NASA. The programs coming out of NASA have for the most part been very well done (big ups on the long lasting MERs). However, a lot more could be going on if there weren’t the big drags on the department budget due to some colossal cost overruns: space shuttle (keep or replace), ISS (finish and expand or abandon), MSL (now we have to wait two more years), just to name a few.
Later in the day, Mike said all was cool between him and the transition team. I think it’s best for him to play nice, if there is any chance he’ll keep his job (which I don’t think there is).
I read through a pretty good presentation today about why we MUST go to the Moon (via Popurls via Reddit). While I agree with the premise of the deck (we must go because exploration = advancement of science), I’m not sure if the Moon should be our next destination. BA discussed this a week or so back on his blog. I am a member of the Planetary Society and I fall in line with their plan:
Leave the Moon to other nations and the private sector. The United States should focus on touring NEOs and ultimately Mars. In their mission agenda, A New Roadmap for Human Space Exploration, they advocate the following incremental steps:
- FIRST human trip beyond the Moon
- FIRST human trip beyond Earth’s gravity well
- FIRST human step into interplanetary space
- FIRST human mission to a Near-Earth Object
- FIRST human mission to the Mars gravity well
- FIRST human mission to the Mars surface
To me this is logical, progressive, and daring. I believe that an agenda like this would keep the public excited and tuned in as we attempt to push further and further beyond our home planet. Exactly like something that Shackleton (read the Moon presentation above) would do.
The new Obeezie administration will have some tough choices to make when it comes to NASA and the country’s space priorities. You have people clamoring for a return to the Moon or on beyond, but at the sametime, you have the MSL sucking the wind out of everything, the Ares program on weeble-woble legs, the nation is a serious financial funk, and it looks like no one cares about space anymore.
If you are reading this, do your part. Help to keep the spirit of exploration alive…