The International Space Station is getting a fresh jolt with the first coffee machine aboard the station. The world of instant powdered coffee is giving way in low earth orbit to freshly brewed Italian espresso.
An oral history of the epic space film “The Right Stuff” http://t.co/rfNH71hrYS
— WIRED (@WIRED) November 24, 2014
The Saturn V at the US Space & Rocket Center
According to Aviation Week, the Chinese space launch industry appears to believe that its next generation of launchers will cost more to purchase than those already being provided by SpaceX.
In other words, a product designed and manufactured entirely in the USA can beat the Chinese, who have far lower labor costs. Way to go Elon — we love you!
“A study of the comet’s organic materials ‘will help us to understand whether organic molecules were brought by comets to the early earth,’ which could have kick-started life here.”
“We are very confident that in coming months we’ll get more sun and power and Philae can be reactivated.”
– Stephan Ulamec, Philae lander manager and scientist at the German Aerospace Center
Scientists are analyzing the data to see whether the organic compounds detected by Philae are simple ones—such as methane and methanol—or a more complex species such as amino acids, the building blocks for proteins. A drill on Philae also obtained some material from the comet’s hard surface, but data about organic molecules from that experiment have yet to be fully analyzed. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON (CBS TAMPA/AP) – Following the first successful touchdown on a comet by the European Space Agency’s Philae probe, a NASA director expressed his own excitement by declaring it a big step toward “moving off this planet” and “taking” the entire solar system.
“How audacious! How exciting! The solar system is mankind’s — this mission is the first step to take it. It’s ours… It’s these steps that will lead us beyond this planet and on to Mars and out into the solar system.”
The U.S. space agency’s planetary science head, Jim Green, said the successful touchdown on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday is evidence that the solar system is now in the grasp of wider human exploration, CNET reports. NASA has plans to send humans to Mars in the 2030s, although Elon Musk and Mars One hope to achieve that years earlier. Read the rest of this entry »
Bill Gertz reports: China’s military upstaged the Asian economic summit in Beijing this week by conducting flights tests of a new stealth jet prototype, as the White House called on Beijing to halt its cyber attacks.
“China is moving along at a very rapid pace in its fighter aircraft development and we should be concerned.”
Demonstration flights by the new J-31 fighter jet—China’s second new radar-evading warplane—were a key feature at a major arms show in Zhuhai, located near Macau, on Monday.
“Neither the J-20 or the J-31 will match the F-22 or F-35 in stealth performance but their successors will and we should be concerned as China is a looming economic and military power. They enjoy flaunting their power in front of American leaders who have exhibited weakness.”
– Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney
The J-31 flights coincided with President Obama’s visit to Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting. In a speech and meetings with Chinese leaders, Obama called on China to curtail cyber theft of trade secrets.
China obtained secrets from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter through cyber attacks against a subcontractor for Lockheed Martin.
“In January 2011, China rolled out the J-20 for the first time during the visit to Beijing by Gates, who wrote in his recent memoir, Duty, that one of his aides called China’s timing for the J-20 disclosure ‘about as big a ‘fuck you’ as you can get.”
The technology has shown up in China’s first stealth jet, the J-20, and in the J-31. Both of the jets’ design features and equipment are similar to those of the F-35.
The Chinese warplanes are part of a major buildup of air power by China that includes the two new stealth fighters, development of a new strategic bomber, purchase of Russian Su-35 jets, and development of advanced air defense missile systems. China also is building up its conventional and nuclear missile forces.
Meanwhile, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters in Beijing Tuesday that the president would press China’s leader Xi Jinping to curb Chinese cyber espionage. Read the rest of this entry »
— Philae Lander (@Philae2014) November 12, 2014
Touchdown! My new address: 67P! #CometLanding
— Philae Lander (@Philae2014) November 12, 2014
Operated by the European Space Agency, the mission had a 70% chance of success. If Rosetta was just millimeters off on the drop, it could have resulted in total failure.
Rosetta deployed Philae early on Wednesday from about 14 miles away from the center of the comet. Philae is now on its own. The descent took about seven hours. The Rosetta team received the signal from Philae around 11 a.m. ET.
How it all went down
If you’re just tuning in, however, here are the highlights:
2:57 a.m ET:
Rosetta and Philae were cleared for separation despite some issues with the active descent system. Its cold gas thruster, which was designed to push the spacecraft onto the comet as harpoons and ice screws lock it to the surface, wasn’t working. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted on TechCrunch:
After years of using Moffett Field as the home and launch pad for the private jets of Google’s founders, the company has agreed to a deal in which it will lease the airfield from NASA for the next 60 years. As part of the lease, Google will take over operations of the airfield while the U.S. government retains ownership of the land.
In a press release, NASA announced that Planetary Ventures LLC, a shell organization operated by Google for real estate deals, will contribute $1.16 billion over the course of the lease, while reducing the government agency’s maintenance and operation costs by $6.3 million annually.
The best part of the press release is this quote from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden: “As NASA expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth,” he says.
NASA and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) will…
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— NASA (@NASA) November 9, 2014
Originally posted on TIME:
Pioneering the space frontier is a perilous business.
That was recently underscored by the catastrophic breakup of the commercial Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo and the loss of one of its two pilots in testing the vehicle.
My career as an aircraft pilot and astronaut has been punctuated by both risk-taking and the loss of several close colleagues. The Apollo 1 fire in January 1967 claimed my good friends Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee in a launch pad training exercise.
And it was Gus who had earlier voiced his view of the perils associated with pushing the boundaries of curiosity and exploration:
If we die, we want people to accept it. We’re in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.
We also cannot forget the lost crews of America’s…
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Holman Jenkins writes: ‘Interstellar,” the space opera starring Matthew McConaughey, adopts a post-’60s view of space. Space is not a final, limitless frontier of a questing humanity. It’s a final, desperate refuge for humans escaping a ravaged earth.
In this, the new movie is an ideological laggard to 2009’s “Avatar,” in which humanity was already ravaging new planets.
But why spend money on space at all, people like Mr. Kluger will ask, when Viagra copays are going up?
As the dinosaurs could testify, however, nothing in puny human destructiveness is a match for the ecological transformations that nature can unleash in an instant. The most certain danger to our species’ longevity is not our own technology. It’s still an errant rock or other cosmic mishap, like the massive gamma-ray bursts a new study suggests will befall a planet in the Milky Way every billion years or so. Which brings us naturally to SpaceShipTwo.
One giant step toward the kind of human permanence we should care about is already the fact that our culture, dating back to cave paintings, is now digitizeable. But how to carry this record of our creativity forth so somebody, somewhere will always appreciate what we’ve accomplished, especially if it turns out we are the only intelligent species we’ll ever discover?
The “I told you so” crowd was out in force in the first hours after last week’s crash, blaming the ship’s low-cost hybrid motor burning solid nylon with a nitrous oxidizer. A day later, government investigators indicated no obvious problem with the motor and pointed to an unplanned deployment of an aero-braking system. Read the rest of this entry »