Tag: Bad Astronmy

“That awkward moment when you realize a an energy drink has a better space program than your nation.”

by on Oct.22, 2012, under Articles, Science

Nevermind how egotistical that statement sounds to the majority of the world who doesn’t even have the capability of a space program thanks to local weather conditions and other environmental conditions such as latitude and elevation, the sad part is that such an awkward moment doesn’t exist even for the United States.

Why? Because of several reasons, as enumerated by Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy in one of his articles.

1. While extraordinary and recording breaking Felix Baumgartner’s skydive was, he did not jump from space. He was only about half way to the designated point that people agree is exiting the earth’s atmosphere and entering low orbit.

2. NASA is still doing amazing space exploration, and will continue to do so as long as it has a budget, regardless of its capability to send a person into space. Thanks to technology such as satellites and robotic rovers, we’re exploring our solar system faster than we ever have before, in an incredibly safe manner. We’re collecting the data we need for true human space travel. NASA isn’t half-assed when it comes to this stuff.

3. We’ve been unable to send people into space in the past. After the Apollo missions, there was a nine-year gap in which NASA did not have a space vehicle capable of sending people into space. In comparison, we’re expecting SpaceX and various other companies to being contracting human spaceflight to NASA within the next five years.

4. The shuttle retiring is not a bad thing. Yes most of you may have grown up with the NASA space shuttle program. But you do realize there were other programs before it? And there will be other programs after it. The shuttle program, while immensely successful in helping us build the international space station and fixing Hubble, and doing multitudes of scientific studies in space, outlived its estimated timeline for several years. Those shuttles needed to retire. We pushed them further on an increasingly smaller budget than we really should have. It is time for something new.

Phil Plait makes this points far more eloquently and with more inherent knowledge than I, but I felt like needing to share these things. I understand that a majority of people aren’t interested in space anymore. It makes me sad, considering how close we are to so many great breakthroughs.

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Mars Rover Spirit’s mission finally over

by on May.26, 2011, under Articles, Comics, Science, Technology

NASA lets go of Spirit [Bad Astronomy]

Jan. 3, 2004 – Mars Rover named Spirit lands on Mars. It has a 90 day mission to wander Mars and see what it can find. Three months later, Spirit was still rolling along, having completed its primary mission and starting to work on a little bit of over time, because why not?

A year later. Spirit is still roving. Two years. Four years.

On March 22, 2010, Spirit sent its last message to earth. NASA waited until yesterday, May 25th, 2011, to official confirm that there is no real chance Spirit will wake up and re-transmit. Spirit lasted six years and nine months longer than anybody ever thought it might, and it’s twin Opportunity, is still roaming.

Spirit also has an extra small achievement in that it was one of the first reasons I got a Twitter account.

NASA has announced that Spirit’s support assets, the Mars orbiters will be re-tasked for the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory Mission, which will include the new generation of Mars rover, Curiosity, which will likely be launching in November.

Bad Astronomy linked to an xkcd comic done about Spirit, and I will as well. It is an excellent comic, if a little sad, especially what we know now. Maybe someday, Spirit.

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