Daily Archives: April 21st, 2008

Space Potpourri

The US space agency hopes to build moon bases that can house astronauts for stays of up to six months, with an intricate transportation and power system, Carl Walz, director of NASA’s Advanced Capabilities Division, said Friday.

NASA is examining different designs for lunar outposts but that they could be inspired by the orbiting International Space Station (ISS), he said.

“We need to establish a long, extended presence on the moon, up to six months — same as the time we spend at ISS,” Walz, a veteran astronaut, told AFP during a forum on the future of NASA at the University of Miami.

“I would anticipate that we would build something similar as what we are building for the ISS, but maybe something different,” he said

One can only hope. Radiation shielding is the big bugaboo here, as in “how to build it?” I’m not holding my breath any time soon.

NASA official envisions six-month stays on the moon

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Is there anybody out there? Probably not, according to a scientist from the University of East Anglia. A mathematical model produced by Prof Andrew Watson suggests that the odds of finding new life on other Earth-like planets are low, given the time it has taken for beings such as humans to evolve and the remaining life span of Earth.

Structurally complex and intelligent life evolved late on Earth and it has already been suggested that this process might be governed by a small number of very difficult evolutionary steps.

Prof Watson, from the School of Environmental Sciences, takes this idea further by looking at the probability of each of these critical steps occurring in relation to the life span of Earth, giving an improved mathematical model for the evolution of intelligent life.

According to Prof Watson a limit to evolution is the habitability of Earth, and any other Earth-like planets, which will end as the sun brightens. Solar models predict that the brightness of the sun is increasing, while temperature models suggest that because of this the future life span of Earth will be ‘only’ about another billion years, a short time compared to the four billion years since life first appeared on the planet.

“The Earth’s biosphere is now in its old age and this has implications for our understanding of the likelihood of complex life and intelligence arising on any given planet,” said Prof Watson.

Is this guy serious? This is the worse case of anthrocentric drivel I have ever read! I can buy maybe, just maybe humanity is alone in this galaxy, unlikely as that is apt to be. Scientists like Prof Watson are myopic in my opinion and often fail to take the sheer size of the Universe into consideration.

Is There Anybody Out There?

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Spaceport America has launched two unmanned commercial rockets and touts plans for space tourism, but some secret rocket research also is being done.

Lockheed Martin Corporation is now using the spaceport to advance some of its less-publicized technology.

This prototype of Lockheed Martin’s new spacecraft is only one-fifth the size the future vehicle would be.

It looks a bit like the space shuttle and would fly to space and return the same way.  But even the big version would not carry people, just satellites.

The goal is to get to orbit faster and cheaper thanks to an automated reusable spacecraft run by its own computers and just a handful of people for a launch crew.

“Doing test work out here at the spaceport allows us to kind of validate those kinds of activities and use those to predict what the future larger systems would be,” Al Simpson of Lockheed Martin told KRQE News 13.

I have to agree with some of the commenters on this article. Other than the fact it’s a drone and computer-controlled, there’s nothing new under the sun here. Further more, Lockheed-Martin is pushing the private enterprise kool-aid drink, which is a lot of bunk because Lockheed-Martin has one customer, the U.S. Government!

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