News from Outer Space
.Anatoly Perminov, the chief of the Russian Space Agency, is suggesting a cooperative venture including NASA, the European Space Agency, the Chinese and possibly other space agencies to begin work on a ship that will rendezvous with the asteroid Apophis before 2032 in order to change the asteroid’s orbit, lest it become a serious danger to earth.
The 885 foot asteroid was discovered in 2004 and calculations predict the large space rock will pass by earth at about 18,300 miles in 2029…much too close for comfort. The year 2036 gives the best odds for an impact with Apophis at 1:45,000.
There are several different approaches to altering an asteroid’s orbit. One way would be to have a spacecraft simply orbit the asteroid, thus altering its orbit very subtly over a long period of time. The direct approach is have a space probe collide with the asteroid, altering its trajectory quickly. Of course the far end of the spectrum is to use a nuclear warhead to destroy the space rock. There are complications and dangers with each approach.
Asteroid strikes in earth’s past have likely been the cause of some of the sudden mass extinctions, such as when the dinosaurs died off. It is very likely that the Caribbean was hit by an asteroid right by the Yucatan peninsula producing the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event 65 million years ago.This was the last truly huge extinction event caused by an asteroid strike, but there have been many smaller strikes, averaging about one every 500,000 years for rocks in the 1km size range.
Here is the question: should man alter the solar system environment? Everywhere man goes he changes the environment. There is now so much “space junk” in orbit around the earth that it is becoming a serious hazard to the space station. Imagine if we nuked an asteroid? But man MUST alter his environment to survive. As soon as Adam plowed and planted the first field the environment was altered.
I would suggest that a trip to the asteroid Apophis would be well worth the expense but that the minimal approach be used to alter its trajectory. While we are at it, examine the asteroid for any precious minerals. Who knows, there might be gold in them thar asteroids!
Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to launch today at 2:28 EST from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There will be three space walks on this mission that is essentially a resupply mission for the Space Station. The goal of this mission and some others to follow is to get the Space Station filled with supplies, new equipment, and lots of backup equipment, so that it can stay viable during the next several years after the Space Shuttles retire next year. There will be a lag of a few years before we develop our new space launch vehicle.
During this time the United States will be reliant upon the Russian space program to take our astronauts and equipment to the Space Station. How embarrassing is that?! Pres. Bush should have gotten on the ball with that program long ago, and now, Obama is too occupied with taking over the economy to worry much about NASA. Strange how under a Dem Pres. the Military and NASA get budget cuts and transfer payments to government jobs get elevated.
Atlantis is taking 15 tons of equipment and supplies. That is a heavy load!
The current plan for the Space Station ends in 2015, but some are wanting it extended to 2020. Why we aren’t talking about a Permanent Space Station I don’t know. Also, the Obama administration has not finally decided what the goals for NASA should be. The Moon or Mars or an Asteroid are the current choices being examined. Oh for the days of JFK who boldly set a course of the nation that was anti-communist and pro defense and determined to make it to the moon “before this decade is out”.
The Space Shuttles are considerably larger than the Russian, European or Japanese ships; hence the hurry to get all the large equipment to the Space Station before the shuttles are de-commissioned.
If I was in charge of US Space policy I would set a goal of 1) establishing a permanent base on the Moon, 2) constructing a permanent space station that could expand into an orbiting city and dock yard/construction space port, 3) a manned mission to Mars, 4) an effort to go to the asteroid belt. 5) I would deliberately militarize space with some anti missile defenses and anti-satellite warfare weapons and establish a small military unit of Space Marines. If anyone thinks the Chinese and Russians have not already militarized space, you are hiding under a rock. The first time the US sent a recon satellite into orbit, or a communications satellite that the military could use, or a GPS satellite, we already militarized space. The Chicoms and muslims know how dependent we are on space and are developing counter measures.
It is humiliating for America to be without a space launch vehicle to get to the Space Station for the next 10 yrs or so.
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NASA’s LCROSS moon probe that was intentionally crashed into a dark, shadowed crater last month, did in fact find large quantities of ice. The October 9 crash into the crater Cabeus at the Lunar South Pole by the probe did not send up an expected visible dust plume. For the thousands of people watching live, it was pretty much a disappointment. The sensitive instruments, however, yielded the hoped for information by detecting significant amounts of frozen H2O.
A couple of months ago, India’s Chandrayaan-1 probe, also detected water on the moon, but that was not in a concentrated form, it was widely scattered in the dust and, therefore, not usable. The ice found at Cabeus is concentrated enough to be usable.
If man is to ever establish a lunar base, concentrated areas of ice would be essential as transporting enough water to the moon would be cost prohibitive. Mining the water on the moon for people to use and to even raise food with, is invaluable for any type of permanent base, even with strict rationing and recycling.
Water can even be turned into fuel by harvesting the hydrogen or by making deuterium.
Can you think of the potential sales of “Moon Water”? It could revive the old song, “Moon River”. The tourist industry would include Moon Spas. Even the TV preachers could get involved by hawking “Moon Holy Water”.
While NASA has a tentative plan for returning to the moon by 2012, the funds just plain may not be available with the current administration’s efforts to bankrupt the country.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The Human Space Flight Plans Committee, appointed by Pres. Obama, has studied NASA’s budget and plans for the future and has reached the conclusion that there is no way we can go back to the moon by NASA’s target date of 2020 or even 2028. The “Vision for Space Exploration” signed by President George W. Bush in 2004, called for a return America to return to the moon by 2020.
President Obama seems intent on overturning every decision made by former Pres. Bush.
With the current budget projections for NASA, in order to meet the target date we would have to basically cancel the International Space Station, letting it fall to earth in 2016.
Shortly after Apollo 11 the Republican President Richard Nixon began cutting back the NASA budget, even cancelling two moon trips. NASA’s budget has fallen from 4% of the Federal Budget to a meagre .6%.
The Chairman of the Human Space Flight Plans Committee is Norman Augustine, a retired aerospace industry leader. Mr. Augustine has impeccable credentials being an Eagle Scout, a magna cum laude from Princeton, has a Master’s Degree, worked for Douglas Aircraft, LTV, Martin Marietta, and retired as CEO of Lockheed Martin in 1997. He has served as an Undersecretary of the Army and chaired the Advisory Committee on the Future of the US Space Program back in 1990.
Instead of returning to the moon, the Augustine Committee is examining some deep space options including a trip to one of Mar’s moons, Phobos, or an asteroid close to the earth, or going to a Lagrange Point outside the Earths magnetoshpere.
The bottom line is that America is not as great as she once was. You simply cannot supply “bread and circuses” to the masses, and health care, pay an severely overbloated bureacracy, fight two wars and go back to the moon. Especially when you have had economic nonsense from both political parties that has resulted in the bankrupting of America. The current financial crisis is but the gust front of the financial storm that is coming.
I am convinced that unless the LORD returns soon, we will self destruct as a nation, western civilization will fail-at least temporarily- and we are looking at a new Dark Ages. Like Rome in the third century crisis, our glory days are behind us, the barbarians are at the gate, our currency is near worthless, the patrician class doesn’t care and the hoi poloi are getting restless. The Decline of the Space Program is a symptom of a greater problem.
While certainly many of those on the political Left have long opposed NASA expenditures in favor of things like welfare, medicare, and other forms of “bread and circuses” and the conservative Libertarians have opposed NASA as being an unconstitutional use of money, I maintain that we must publicly fund space exploration. I look back to President Thomas Jefferson and the Lewis and Clark expedition as an example. and further back to the Columbus expedition funded by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. Great things that improve the lot of the great majority of the country happen when daring men go where no man has gone before.
Equality 7-2521Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )