Category Archives: Final Frontier

Is this really a good idea?

NASA wants public to vote on best Earth science mission – Breaking News from The Huntsville Times – al.com

I mean, they’ll just vote for “Colbert” again.

I didn’t expect that

India launches unmanned mission to moon – CNN.com

It’s been a long time since anyone even sent an unmanned probe to the moon. I expect that the place hasn’t changed much, but good for the Indians.

Oldest news ever

Star explodes halfway across universe – CNN.com

This happened 7.5 million billion light years away, which means that it happened 7.5 million billion years ago. Frankly, I’m not that impressed with their newsgathering.

UPDATE: Nor should anyone be impressed with my typing.

Well, yeah

Study to gather info for the next trip to the moon- al.com

First line:

“Oxygen, water and rocket fuel will be vital for astronauts manning an outpost on the moon.”

Actually, oxygen and water are pretty much vital for everyone everywhere.

Not exactly the same

Scientists find most Earth-like planet yet – CNN.com

I mean, it’s like saying I’m like Brad Pitt because we’re both humanoid bipeds and all the other comparisons are to trees. This planet is five times Earth’s mass, with 1.6 times the surface gravity, it orbits a red dwarf, and is tidally locked — that is, it always has the same face to its sun. I seriously doubt that complex life could exist on the surface of a tidally locked planet.

Eventually

Probe to measure if time slows down as Einstein predicted

Today’s launch, it turns out, was delayed. Which, if you think about it, is kind of ironic. I’d thought that time dilation was already proven, but I guess this is something different. It’s one of those things that’s completely over my head.

What I want is an experiment to find out if Joseph Heller was right about time slowing down if you’re really bored. I say yes.

Bush Push Smushed

Bush push to Mars may be slowed

To the surprise of… Well, nobody… returning to the Moon and visiting Mars would cost more money than we can conveniently afford at this time. The NASA Comptroller (ladies and gentlemen, the least glamorous but most important job at NASA!) told the NASA Advisory Council that domestic needs and that pesky war “might” force Congress to delay funding. Bush wanted a 5.6 percent increase in the NASA budget, but that’s probably not going to happen.

Great moments in Juxtaposition

Work on how to use nuclear power in space heating up at Marshall

Hint for the Huntsville Times: find a way to phrase this headline so it doesn’t sound like they’re trying to manufacture nuclear-powered space heaters. All I could think of were the fires every winter when those things set the carpet or the curtains ablaze. Imagine: “Tragedy struck today when Chicago was vaporized by an atomic fireball. Authorities blamed a faulty space heater.”

They’re talking about using nuclear power in space. That’s just fine by me. If they’re going to fission uranium and plutonium, that’s a good place for it. I’m sure that if they actually tried to launch an atomic-powered vehicle everyone’d go nuts.

Mooncrete a reality

UAH tests moon dust in concrete

Obviously, with it costing thousands of dollars an ounce to bring moondust to the Earth, using it for concrete here isn’t very practical. But it would come in handy on the moon, especially since getting concrete up there is even more expensive. And concrete is a practical building material, of course.

By the way, I’d like to point out that the scientist doing this work, and proposing that concrete be used to construct any moonbase, was born in Syria. Occasionally, some nice news does come out of that part of the world.

Too many options

Universe Today – Dummy Will Test the Effects of Space Radiation

Lamont Sanford in space! No, George Bush in space! No, Jessica Simpson in space! Me in space! Grady Little in space!

Oh, you get the idea.