Sunday, March 04, 2007
Saturn ,Tugboats, Dirt and More!
One of the Brickmuppet's crack team of science babes decompresses after days of futuristical space type research...
...and the rest of us begin to understand what happened to the labs missing pocky stash.
Beginning her presentation with the inevitable power point, she treats us to tons of schweet pictures of NASAs competing lunar exploration designs (hat tip Hobby Space) A brief detour to the past takes us to this post by Chairforce Engineer on how many lessons might have been learned from the canceled X-20 program.....lessons that have cost us dearly in lives and treasure.
While there have been mistakes and tragedy in space exploration, space is still a cornucopia of infinite wonder.
Case in point...Saturn has been in the news lately with these spectacular shots of the northern hemisphere, but there have been several other interesting discoveries recently as Centauri Dreams points out in this post on the discovery of the many lakes on Saturns Moon Titan as well as the discovery of new mountain ranges! This latter post has a neat visual explaining how basic geography can still be being written and gives a good perspective of the sheer scale of the exploration. Also looking at Saturn is an actual, real life Science Babe! L Riorfrio (who discovered that the speed of light is slowing)....who blogs at A Babe in the Universe posts on the aurorae around Saturns southern pole recently filmed by Hubble as well as the spectacular storm Cassini filmed there.
Pictures are nice, but space travel should arguably involve people ...you know...TRAVELING...Like Sir Stephen Hawking will be soon when he buys a ride on a vomit comet to prepare for his planned space trip! Lots of links on this cool story at Hobby Space.
More commercial space developments are discussed here where Bob Bigelow is interviewed by James Oberg about Bigelow's plans to not only deploy the prototype of his space hotel sooner than expected, but how he is trying to lick several problems regards lunar settlements, including an innovative method for moving the regolith (that thar's moondirt) around and using it as shielding. This has been proposed for decades, but Bigelow is trying to minimize the number of mechanical moving parts...to reduce the potential for breakdowns.This is an IMPORTANT line of thought, as has been pointed out here and elsewhere, we need to be making sure that the sorts of frontier tech being used in space is as low tech and robust as possible. The K.I.S.S. principle holds doubly true in space.
On a related note, over at Selenian Boondocks is a link to and THOROUGH analysis of a recent Space Show interview regarding orbital propellant depots. This has great potential to increase commercialization and enhance even the Govt. exploration program in a way that can grow space industry. NASA chief Griffin has expressed interest in this before but this really lays out a lot of detail....listen to the show and read John Goff's comments...(he's NOT posting above his paygrade:).
One of he most humble, little appreciated and vital types of merchant ships is the tugboat.
Rand Simberg posts on the potential benefits of the Russian plans for a space tug. He links to Clark Lindsey's site who has several links on the promising Russian Parom project. This has the potential to develop into a class of manned commercial space ships. Moving satellites equipment and people as well as facilitating repairs, as Mr. Lindsey points out here, given proper incentives (bounties perhaps), they or manned or unmanned craft like them might also be quite profitable removing space debris which are becoming such a hazard.
Life imitates art. The future's almost here!
Science Babe is actually Mizhuo Sensei from Onegai Teacher which you can buy here.
Non-Murderous astronaut chick stalking nobody is from Planetes, obviously. :)