Back to the Moon

NASA Reveals Goal for Eventual Manned Lunar Outpost

The Obama administration has laid out its most detailed ambitions yet for a return of U.S. astronauts to the moon, including the prospects of a lunar outpost where explorers could live for months at a time.

Lori Garver, the No. 2 NASA official, on Tuesday gave a speech in which she emphasized the importance of exploring the moon and its environs. She also disclosed that an unspecified mission to the moon is tentatively scheduled as early as 2017.

“Let me say that again,” she told an industry conference in Pasadena, Calif. “We are going back to the moon,” while pursuing more-ambitious goals to blast manned spacecraft deeper into the solar system.

The comments come after NASA sent Congress a report on “sustainable human exploration” of the moon and beyond that includes a section focusing on the scientific benefits of establishing a long-term human presence on the lunar surface. The last manned moon mission took place in December 1972.

Part of the report, which Ms. Garver’s speech described as a comprehensive overview of exploration destinations, spelled out long-duration visits to the moon by astronauts who would live in “a nearly self-sustaining surface habitat,” or outpost, capable of extracting oxygen, water, silicon and other materials on site.

Very exciting and unexpected!

via the Wall Street Journal

Huge Impact on Jupiter

Jupiter was just hit by something really, really big:

Jupiter is huge. The visible impact, itself, is larger than Earth.

Incredible. And scary.

via Space

9/11 as Seen From Space

On September 11, 2001, US astronaut Frank L. Culbertson watched the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks from the International Space Station. He wrote up his experience that day and the days following in a letter posted on NASA’s site:

I glanced at the World Map on the computer to see where over the world we were and noticed that we were coming southeast out of Canada and would be passing over New England in a few minutes. I zipped around the station until I found a window that would give me a view of NYC and grabbed the nearest camera. It happened to be a video camera, and I was looking south from the window of Michael’s cabin.

The smoke seemed to have an odd bloom to it at the base of the column that was streaming south of the city. After reading one of the news articles we just received, I believe we were looking at NY around the time of, or shortly after, the collapse of the second tower. How horrible…

I panned the camera all along the East Coast to the south to see if I could see any other smoke around Washington, or anywhere else, but nothing was visible.

It was pretty difficult to think about work after that, though we had some to do, but on the next orbit we crossed the US further south. All three of us were working one or two cameras to try to get views of New York or Washington. There was haze over Washington, but no specific source could be seen. It all looked incredible from two to three hundred miles away. I can’t imagine the tragic scenes on the ground.

via BoingBoing

The Story of Bobby

Bobby was not a particularly strong nor well-liked boy. He often had problems with his stomach, and regularly suffered from colds and bronchitis. He didn’t do very well in school—he had fallen behind two whole grades, in fact, and his schoolmates were happy to tease him about it.

Having very few friends, Bobby spent most of his time at the public library, reading books about the physical sciences, as well as science fiction. He was particularly fascinated by H. G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds,” and Isaac Newton’s magnum opus, “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.”

One day, when he was 17 years old, Bobby climbed a cherry tree to cut off some dead limbs. Whilst up there in the tree, he looked toward the sky and started daydreaming. “How wonderful it would be to build something that had even the possibility of ascending to Mars,” he thought to himself. He sat there for what must have been at least half an hour, and finally climbed down. Although he was no longer looking at the sky from upthere, he couldn’t quite shake the idea he’d had.

Bobby’s health had started to clear up, and his study at the library had paid off. As he went through high school and eventually university, he did much better in class. He even impressed the head of the physics department at the university, and became his assistant. He did quite well. He published several peer-reviewed papers, and patented some of his findings. He even enjoyed some public acclaim.

Still, though, he was ridiculed. His ambitions were too lofty. Too unrealistic. Too ridiculous. The prestigious New York Times opined that his ideas were “a strain on credulity,” that “he seemed to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools,” and that, ultimately, his work was an utter waste of time.

Even in his later years, Bobby had to seclude himself to avoid continued criticism from the public, and because he worried that he didn’t have long to live. His bad health had returned. Sure enough: a few years later, Bobby was diagnosed with throat cancer, and died shortly after.

Bobby’s full name was Robert H. Goddard. He invented the liquid-fueled rocket, and (together with Konstantin Tsiolkovsky) is the father of modern rocketry and spaceflight.

Bobby dreamt of building rockets that could travel into the blackness of space, and we laughed. Yet here we are, sending people and machines to other worlds, thanks to him.

It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.

— Robert H. Goddard

The Milky Way Seen From North America

I am a photographer from Portland, Oregon. I want to share the beautiful NW region through my eyes with time-lapse photography.

I choose to shoot locations that appeal to the way I would like to interpret the story of time. Here in the Pacific Northwest, there are endless opportunities to document the magnificence of the world around us. I have discovered that when time is the storyteller, a special kind of truth emerges.

Various locations include Mt. Shuksan, Crater Lake, Mt. Bachelor, Mount St. Helens, Oregon’s Badlands, Painted Hills, Cape Kiwanda, Mt. Hood, Lost lake, and Cannon Beach