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[VIDEO] Newly Released Remote Camera Footage of the Antares Rocket Explosion

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First Espresso in Space

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This Is the First Espresso Machine In Space

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.

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Oral history of ‘The Right Stuff’


[PHOTO] STS-98 Atlantis

STS-98 Atlantis

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[PHOTO] Mercury

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The Saturn V at the US Space & Rocket Center

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The Saturn V at the US Space & Rocket Center


MURRKA! Chinese Rocketeers Fear SpaceX as Low-Cost Provider

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.

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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!


Rosetta Probe Directly Discovers Organic Molecules on Comet

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Gautam Naik reports: The probe that landed on the surface of a comet has discovered organic molecules, the most rudimentary building blocks of life, according to the German agency involved in the mission.

“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.”

An instrument aboard the Philae lander detected the molecules after “sniffing” the comet’s atmosphere. An organic compound is one whose molecules contain the carbon atom, the basis of life on earth.

“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 »


Modern Feminism: The Fainting Couch

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Dream of a New Earth

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Dream of a new Earth

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The Probe That Launched a Thousand Shirts

Space scientist Matt Taylor apologized for the shirt he wore during live coverage of the Rosetta mission to land a probe on a comet. VPC

Better not to land a spaceship on a comet than let men wear sexist clothing.

Glenn Reynolds writes: So how are things going for feminism? Well, last week, some feminists took one of the great achievements of human history — landing a probe from Earth on a comet hundreds of millions of miles away — and made it all about the clothes.mt

“…what should have been the greatest day in a man’s life — accomplishing something never before done in the history of humanity — was instead derailed by people with their own axes to grind. “

Yes, that’s right. After years of effort, the European Space Agency’s lander Philae landed on a comet  300 million miles away. At first, people were excited. Then some women noticed that one of the space scientists, Matt Taylor, was wearing a shirt, made for him by a female “close pal,” featuring comic-book depictions of semi-naked women. And suddenly, the triumph of the comet landing was drowned out by shouts of feminist outrage about … what people were wearing. It was one small shirt for a man, one giant leap backward for womankind.

“Whatever feminists say, their true priorities are revealed in what they do, and what they do is, mostly,  man-bashing and special pleading”

The Atlantic’s Rose Eveleth tweeted, “No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt.” Astrophysicist Katie Mack commented: “I don’t care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn’t appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in STEM.” And from there, the online feminist lynch mob took off until Taylor was forced to deliver new-schoola tearful apology on camera.

[Glenn Reynolds‘ book “The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself is available at Amazon]

It seems to me that if you care about women in STEM, maybe you shouldn’t want to communicate the notion that they’re so delicate that they can’t handle pictures of comic-book women. Will we stock our Mars spacecraft with fainting couches?

Not everyone was so censorious. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Apollo 8 Astronauts Jim Lovell, William Anders, & Frank Borman

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November 13, 1968 — Apollo 8 astronauts Jim Lovell, William Anders, and Frank Borman during training with the Apollo Mission Simulator at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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NASA: Comet Landing The First Step For Humans To ‘Move Off This Planet’

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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 »


China Flaunts Air Power: Flight Tests New J-31 Stealth Jet During Obama Visit

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 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.”

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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.J-31-Stealth

“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 »


Rosetta Spacecraft Lands Robot on a Comet

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Amanda Wills reports: In one of the biggest space successes in years, a spacecraft named Rosetta landed a refrigerator-sized robot onto a comet.

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.

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This landing is the main reason Rosetta made the 10-year journey to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which is currently orbiting between Mars and Jupiter.

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 »


Google Takes Over Operations Of Moffett Airfield From NASA, Will Invest $200M Into The Site

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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Space Station: Astronauts Return to Earth Today


Buzz Aldrin: Pioneers Will Always Pave the Way With Sacrifices

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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NASA Hoax Response Item of the Day

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Holman Jenkins: Why Space Tourism Matters

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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 »


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