I was very young when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in 1969, so I have no memory of the landing, and only limited memory of the Apollo program in general. I think I remember seeing some of Apollo 17 on TV in 1972, the final flight to the moon. (At the … Continue reading Apollo 11 and the lost space age
There's been a lot of celebration this holiday season of the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission, the first time humans went into (relatively) deep space and orbited another body, the moon. I'm glad to see Apollo 8 getting some recognition. It's usually overshadowed by Apollo 11, the first mission to actually land on … Continue reading The difficulty of going to Mars
Rather than attempt to write about this, I'm just going to embed a couple of tweets from NASA. https://twitter.com/NASA/status/648523470070923264 https://twitter.com/NASA/status/648527086299316224 Water, of course, is the elixir of life. The probability of some kind of life existing on Mars seems to have just increased.
I recently read Andy Weir's novel: 'The Martian'. Weir's book is a self publishing success story. An admitted life long geek, he enjoyed thoroughly researching how a mission to Mars might work and what might go wrong with it. He originally published the book, in serialized form, on his web site. In response to reader … Continue reading ‘The Martian’: Robinson Crusoe meets Apollo 13
New Horizons passed by Pluto this morning, so be on the watch in the news for all kinds of detailed photos and analysis over the next several days. One of the best sources is probably NASA's New Horizons page. To commemorate, here's xkcd's take on one of the recent images. (Click through for full sized … Continue reading xkcd: Pluto
Last week, I was having lunch with some friends, which included a number of programmers. One of them mentioned an old urban myth, that I hadn't heard in several years, which claims that, due to a programming bug (involving a misplaced semicolon), NASA once accidentally sent a probe into the Sun. I pointed out to my friend how implausible this was. … Continue reading NASA has never accidentally sent a probe into the Sun.
I've written critically about Mars One before, just evaluating their claims at face value. But it appears that I wasn't nearly skeptical enough. Mars One appears to be a scam. A Mars One "finalist" candidate explains why: Mars One Finalist Explains Exactly How It’s Ripping Off Supporters — Matter — Medium. “When you join the ‘Mars One … Continue reading Yep, Mars One appears to be a scam
Similar to the relative spacecraft and rocket sizes I linked to the other day, here's xkcd's version, in horse units. At first I thought he was referring to horsepower, but then I realized it was horse mass. (Click through for full sized version.) via xkcd: Payloads. It's worth noting how large the Saturn V and … Continue reading xkcd: Spacecraft and launch vehicle payloads, in horses
This is pretty cool. A Reddit user put together a chart showing all the human occupied spacecraft that have been used so far. Click through to see the full sized version. via Every Ship That Has Carried Humans Into Space, In One Chart. One thing that stands out for me is how huge the Saturn V was, … Continue reading Every Ship That Has Carried Humans Into Space, In One Chart
In case you haven't heard yet, there's a comet headed for Mars. It will pass pretty close, close enough for the various orbiters we have in there to get pictures, and for them to be in a little bit of peril. But apparently there is a plan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oq8lEKAY_fI Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring will make … Continue reading Comet Siding Spring: A Close Encounter with Mars