Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Potpourri CXXVII

Been awhile...I've been out of town and tending to various personal matters. Let the madness resume.

Virgin Galactic announced the first captive flight of SpaceShipTwo, "Enterprise." Wired magazine also covered the story. Progress!

I wanted to attend this event, but I will be otherwise occupied by Yuri's Night: the National MS (multiple sclerosis) Society Walk April 10 in Huntsville. I have two good friends with MS, and the stuff they have to go through is painful and heartbreaking to hear (or see). Donations go toward MS medical research. I don't know any of the teams, so I donated to the American Legion's team.

From Hu:
  • A Wall Street Journal story on the NASA leadership's attempt to back away from the rather drastic February 1 budget proposal. The games continue.
  • A Florida Today story indicating that Sen. Nelson is pushing Obama to continue building the Ares V heavy-lift rocket to keep jobs going at Kennedy Space Center. Great in theory, but it'll be awhile before anything launchable would be sent to KSC
From Martin:
  • "The world's smallest starship by the world's biggest geeks." Hard to argue with that.
  • Michael Okuda, former designer for Star Trek: The Next Generation and also designer of the Constellation Program's vehicle and mission logos, has some smart things to say in defense of the program he has helped come to life.
From Twila: An interesting graphic on how the U.S. federal budget breaks out.

From my AIAA news feed: a Jupiter-size planet has been found in a "temperate" orbit, meaning I suppose that if there were an Earthlike world in that orbit, life might be possible there. The universe gets more and more interesting the more we learn about it.

From Kate Down Under:
  • Newt Gingrich gets things almost exactly wrong on the Obama space policy. There are things that the policy does right, but Gingrich, as a historian, should appreciate the historical role the U.S. government has played in developing frontiers--physical and technological.
  • The Mars Spirit Rover is chillin' out on Mars, but still operational.
  • NASA is in the process of shuffling around the last few Space Shuttles.
  • A little late for me to post this, but NASA's Goddard Space Flight  posted some excellent pictures of Ireland on St. Patrick's Day.
Also from the other side of the globe, the Down Under Defense Expert (DUDE) sends these:
  • Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, and Jim Lovell, three of the most influential and powerful speakers from the Apollo Program, are speaking out against the Obama policy to end the Constellation Program. Who better?
  • A look at a New Zealand agricultural show.
From Karl: A YouTube video featuring a variety of quotations (and some rather dramatic music) related to freedom.

From D2: A really cool video on how video games could be used to fix real-world problems. In that video the speaker refers to the Institute for the Future, which is worth a look.

A teenager wins a $100,000 prize from Intel for developing a spacecraft software navigation system. Now THAT'S cool!

A NASA fan site comparing the Space Shuttle to commercial space.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is going to investigate whether NASA's internal plans to shut down Constellation violate federal law. Wonder who takes the rap for that if they say yes.

Found this while doing some random surfing: an open-source site on aerogels.

Who knew? My grad school alma mater, University of Central Florida (UCF) has a Spaceport Research & Technology Institute. Hmmmm...

Lurking under the radar, the U.S. Air Force is still planning to launch a former NASA vehicle, the X-37, on April 10.

If the world was to get smacked by asteroids or comets, would we have a space program capable of handling the situation? The dinosaurs already know the answer to that question.

And just in case you're REALLY interested, the details of the proposed 2011 NASA budget can be found here.

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