Ever wonder what happens when you wring out a wet wash cloth in space? Neither did I but the answer was still fun to watch!
“That awkward moment when you realize a an energy drink has a better space program than your nation.”
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.
A video parodying “Sexy and We Know It” referring to the amazing feat of engineering and science NASA made by landing Curiosity on Mars. Also hilarious.
Ever wonder what NASA is doing? Well the NASA website is actually a really good place to learn that but some people prefer to hear.
One of my Science Future articles went up over on Escape Pod yesterday. In the article I talk about water producing quasars, faster than light travel, and just how easy it is to get a culture to change what it believes, all in the context of a great science fiction short story. Go check it out!
Sandra Tayler is the other half of the pair that make up the family Tayler. If that name is familiar it’s because I like Schlock Mercenary, a serial comic online written and drawn by Howard Tayler, the man who is famous (to me) for s stating that “You’re so talented.” is really an underhanded insult, and post links to the comic on this blog.
Sandra wrote a short but sweet article for Locus, a Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine that I would like to share.
In the articles I write for Escape Pod I try to link modern science with science fiction. Sandra has pointed out I think yet another possible link between the people who pushed us so far out into the stars and what they read as children. I remember reading various novels about colonies on Mars as a child. I agree with Sandra that it is both thrilling that one needs to no longer look in the fiction section of the library to find inspiring stories about our exploration of space but sad that entertainment media out there that help to inspire young people to purse a career in space are fewer than they once were.
I suppose there is always Schlock Mercenary?
So the final space shuttle liftoff is set to launch in just a little over an hour. There is a chance weather is going to cancel the lift off until next week but as of right now, everybody is still preparing. Right now you can go to Nasa.gov and the first page will take you to their live stream of NasaTV which will be covering everything up to and beyond the launch.
Space Shuttle: Atlantis
Primary Payload: Raffaello Multi-purpose Logistics Module
Launch Date: July 8
Launch Time: 11:26 a.m. EDT
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A
Landing Date: July 20
Landing Time: 7:06 a.m. EDT
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility
Mission Duration: 12 days
Inclination/Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles
Good luck Atlantis!
NASA made the announcement a few days ago that they are contracting with Lockheed Martin for the creation of the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV). This would be a rocket launches a crew of four for up to 21 days of deep space exploration and then splash down in the Pacific ocean. In addition to this, it is capable of docking with the international space station. NASA feels confidant this design will be ”10 times safer during ascent and entry than its predecessor, the space shuttle.”
This is probably some of the best news I’ve heard about space flight all year. With the space shuttles retiring soon, and the prior manned spacecraft project, Orion, cut due to over-budget and over-time, manned space flight for the US was looking very bleak. Now there is hope out there in deep space!
So we made some science history the other day. We have proof of two of Einstein’s theories. Albert Einstein came up with a lot of scientific theories and formula but a fair amount of them could never be tested. Why? Because they required testing in outer space and Einstein never managed to live to see human space flight.
- Geodetic effect which is the warping of space and time around a gravitational body.
- Frame-dragging which is the amount a spinning object pulls space and time with it as it rotates.
It was confirmed by NASA’s Gravity Probe B mission which was launched in 2004 and completed its mission in 2010.
This is actually a good example of how space based science works. It is sadly not a quick science.