Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Settling Luna

Settling the Moon will be a challenge, not least because of the radiation, meteorite impacts, and huge temperature swings at the surface.

Living underground would deal with all those problems, however, and NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is finding lava tubes and lava pits that could shelter settlements.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Holiday?

Yesterday was the 45th anniversary of humanity's first landing on another world.  For many of those years many people have suggested making July 20 a national or even worldwide holiday.

It's an interesting proposal.  If we go on to settle space, it will probably happen.  If human civilization begins to crumble, however, such a holiday could serve as a reminder of what humans can achieve.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ukraine Shoot Down

U. S. military surveillance satellites probably observed the shoot down of the commercial airliner over Ukraine last week.  Such satellites have been constantly monitoring that area for decades, looking for ICBM launches.  A midair explosion big enough to destroy an airliner should be easily seen.

And not only by military satellites.  Commercial satellites are now good enough to pick up such an event.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Alien Life

NASA scientists announced this week they expect to find alien life within the next two decades.

It was a bold prediction, but there are several opportunities to make it come true-- on Mars, on Titan, inside Europa, inside Enceladus, through SETI, through studying the atmospheres of exoplanets....

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Making Martian Gullies

A new study indicates that most of the gullies on Mars were cut by frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice.

Scientists had thought the gullies were made by flowing liquid water, but the study finds they tend to form in winter, when it's too cold for liquid water.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Apollo 11 Plus 45

Today is the 45th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the mission that delivered the first manned landing on another world.

Years later, Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander and first man on the Moon, said he'd thought they had a 50/50 chance of a successful mission and a better chance of getting home alive.  Fortunately, both were accomplished.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Landing Test Fails

SpaceX's attempt to softly land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket failed yesterday when the fuselage collapsed.

More study will be necessary to determine exactly what happened.