Monday, July 28, 2014

Observing War

The U. S. Government says it has satellite imagery showing missiles being launched from Russia into Ukraine.

That, of course, could take the crisis to a new level.  If commercial satellites show the same thing, and if those are released to the public, the political situation could change swiftly, putting Russia in a box.  How Vladimir Putin would react is anybody's guess.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Curiosity's Wheels

The surface of Mars is doing a number on the wheels of the Curiosity rover.  Sharp rocks, for example, have cut holes in wheels.

Because the damage seems to be less when Curiosity is in reverse, NASA will drive it backwards over the tougher terrain.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Space Business

Both governments and private groups are looking at shaping humanity's future in space, but corporations are unclear about their rights, under current law, to own property beyond Earth, bring profits made in space home, etc.  Some lawyers say such rights are protected, while others aren't so sure.

That probably means a new treaty is needed.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Organizing The Future

Returning humans to the Moon will likely be a joint effort.  Several major nations have expressed interest over the last few years in participating in an international lunar program.  Various private ventures are also under consideration.

President Obama has expressed interest in joining such a program, but he doesn't want the U. S. to lead it, even though NASA is the obvious agency to lead it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

If

If Apollo 11 had failed, trapping Armstrong and Aldrin on the Moon, for example, President Richard Nixon had prepared a statement he would have delivered.  Having such a statement ready had been suggested to the White House by NASA.

In the statement, Nixon would have committed the nation to sending other men to the Moon.

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.