Lots of science fiction of all types now available online for free at Starlog Magazine : Free Texts : Download & Streaming : Internet Archive.
Former NASA manager and long time proponent of space based solar power, John C. Mankins has published a new book on the topic: The Case for Space Solar Power (available in both hardback and kindle versions).
The National Space Society, not suprisingly, likes it: New Book: The Case for Space Solar Power – NSS Blog
A strong case for harnessing space solar power is presented in this ground-breaking new book. Author John C. Mankins, one of the foremost experts in the field, presents his latest research in The Case for Space Solar Power.
The Case for Space Solar Power recounts the history of the space solar power concept and summarizes the many different ways in which it might be accomplished.
Specifically, the book describes in detail a highly promising concept — SPS-ALPHA (Solar Power Satellite by means of Arbitrarily Large Phased Array) — and presents a business case comprising applications in space and markets on Earth. It is possible to begin now with technologies that are already at hand , while developing the more advanced technologies that will be needed to deliver power economically to markets on Earth.
The Case for Space Solar Power lays out a path forward that is both achievable and affordable. Within a dozen years, the first multi-megawatt solar pilot plant could be in operation.
The International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) has examined another ambitious space technology and found it to be feasible and promising: Space Elevators: An Assessment of the Technological Feasibility and the Way Forward. See also
- Science Deck – Space Elevators
- IAA concludes Space Elevators Seem Feasible – The Space Elevator Blog
Uwingu is a private company set up by a group of leading astronomers, planetary scientists, former space program managers, writers and educators (all of whom currently work at Uwingu as volunteers) to raise money for space research. They aim to provide innovative public involvement products that bring a sense of participation and fun to space activities.
Following last year’s successful test with the naming of exoplanets, today Uwingu announces the Mars Crater Naming campaign in which you can offer a name for one of the 500,000 craters found so far on the Red Planet, most all of which have no names. Uwingu has created a dynamic, on line map that will continually update with the latest names. The goal is to raise $10M for space science projects from the fees for posting a name.
See Uwingu’s Mars Crater Naming FAQ regarding the usual questions about the “official” status of such names. No group can claim that only one name and only their selected name can apply to each and every feature in the solar system. Everyone has a right to suggest a name for a feature on Mars and future Mars residents can decide for themselves whether they will use that name or the name they choose themselves or a technical name assigned to it by a particular subset of astronomers.
Here is the official announcement from Uwingu:
Feb. 26, 2014 - BOULDER, Colo. – For years, space mission rover teams have taken it upon themselves to name landmarks on Mars.
Beginning today, the public can get involved in Mars exploration much the same way. Through Uwingu’s newly redesigned web site at www.uwingu.com, now anyone can help to create the Uwingu’s new Mars map, with names for all the approximately 500,000 unnamed, scientifically catalogued craters on Mars.
In almost 50 years of Mars exploration by spacecraft, only about 15,000 features have been named on Mars by scientists and others around the world. Yet over 500,000 Martian craters catalogued from NASA and European space mission imagery remain unnamed. Uwingu is setting a goal of naming all these unnamed Martian craters and completing its new Mars map before 2015—the 50th anniversary year of humankind’s first missions to Mars.
The completed project aims to generate over $10M in funds for space research and education—larger than any other private space grant program in history.
Uwingu’s Mars map grandfathers in all the already named craters on Mars, but opens the remainder up for naming by people around the globe. Unnamed craters in the Mars database range from under a kilometer across to over 350 kilometers (over 200 miles) across. Craters can be named for almost anything or anyone, including friends, family, co-workers, heroes, pets, places on Earth or in space, sports teams, musical artists.
Says Uwingu’s advisor and Mars scientist Dr. Teresa Segura, “This project is truly groundbreaking for public participation in the exploration of Mars. Only imagination limits your choices, Aad I love that it supports funding for space research and education!”
Prices for naming craters vary, depending on the size of the crater, and begin at $5 dollars.
Uwingu makes a shareable Web link and a naming certificate available to each crater namer for each newly named crater.
“Every crater named on this public Mars map contributes to the Uwingu fund for space research and education”, added Uwingu founder and planetary scientist Dr. Alan Stern, “So name a crater on Mars—and make an impact of your own!”
Uwingu (which means “sky” in Swahili, and is pronounced “oo-wing-oo”)
High school teacher Richard Zmuda turned the Apollo 11 landing dialogue into a stage play for students: Apollo 11 Play Aims To Showcase Landing To Teenagers And Inspire Space Love – Universe Today.
From the manuscript description: Apollo 11 – Original Adaptation for the Stage
This riveting stage adaptation of the historic Apollo 11 mission is written in the classic style of Tennessee Williams. The dialogue reflects virtually the exact words of the astronauts and Mission Control CapComs themselves. It brings to life – in breathtaking detail – the drama that captivated the world as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their unforgettable first steps on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. “Apollo 11 – Original Adaptation for the Stage” is a MUST READ for anyone interested in the history of space exploration and the technology behind its remarkable achievements. Furthermore, as a play it was specifically crafted to be produced at the collegiate and secondary school levels, thus enabling a new generation to finally share in the experience which changed mankind forever.
Here’s a nicely made short film by Nick Gillin and Isaac Cooper titled, Occupy Mars:
Update: I like this one as well:
Space policy/politics related links
- NASA Hoping for Private Sector Successors to ISS – SpacePolicyOnline.com
- NASA Looks to Private Space Stations in the Future – Innerspace.net
- Flight Opportunities Program Busy in 2013; Even More So in 2014 – NASA
- ASAP claim NASA is employing indecision to allow for roadmap flexibility – NASASpaceFlight.com
- NASA Policy Directive: Subject: Challenges, Prize Competitions and Crowdsourcing Activities – Res Communis
- We have no plans to abandon Baikonur: First Vice Director General of Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. Industry & Infrastructure – Tengrinews.kz
- Isro developing technologies to put human payload into space: Isro chief – The Times of India
NASA’s SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) has a revamped website and great video with a music soundtrack displaying spectacular images of our home star: SDO is GO: Four Years of SDO and A New Look for our Website! – SDO Blog
From the caption:
Information about the individual clips used in this video is available at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/…
The sun is always changing and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory is always watching. Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, SDO keeps a 24-hour eye on the entire disk of the sun, with a prime view of the graceful dance of solar material coursing through the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. SDO’s fourth year in orbit was no exception: NASA is releasing a movie of some of SDO’s best sightings of the year, including massive solar explosions and giant sunspot shows.
SDO captures images of the sun in 10 different wavelengths, each of which helps highlight a different temperature of solar material. Different temperatures can, in turn, show specific structures on the sun such as solar flares, which are giant explosions of light and x-rays, or coronal loops, which are streams of solar material traveling up and down looping magnetic field lines. The movie shows examples of both, as well as what’s called prominence eruptions, when masses of solar material leap off the sun. The movie also shows a sunspot group on the solar surface. This sunspot, a magnetically strong and complex region appearing in mid-January 2014, was one of the largest in nine years.
Scientists study these images to better understand the complex electromagnetic system causing the constant movement on the sun, which can ultimately have an effect closer to Earth, too: Flares and another type of solar explosion called coronal mass ejections can sometimes disrupt technology in space. Moreover, studying our closest star is one way of learning about other stars in the galaxy. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. built, operates, and manages the SDO spacecraft for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.
This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/…
Here’s a cool promotional video for an upcoming special about space on Channel 4 in the UK: Live From Space – Channel 4
A Spanish team working in the MIDAS (Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis Software) project at the University of Huelva spotted an exceptionally bright impact on the Moon on Sept. 11, 2013, : Watch the Man in the Moon Get Hit in the Face: Video – Discovery News
Space policy/politics related links:
- Death on Mars: would you take a one-way trip into space? – The New Stateman
- US considers launching production of Russian rocket engines – The Voice of Russia
- Vostochny space centre is key facility for Russia after Olympics – Deputy PM – The Voice of Russia
- Russia to Boost Manpower on New Space Center Construction – RIA Novosti
- Russia cuts space budget. Ministries and governmental organizations suffer – spacedigest.net
- The Space Review
- Avoiding Risk — and Success – SpaceNews.com
- The Band of Brothers Who Want to Fly By Mars – NASA Watch
- Space: The Ultimate High Ground – SpaceNews.com
- Shelton announces new space situational awareness satellite program – USAF
- Library: A Round-up of Reading – Res Communis
1. Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, 2-3:30 PM PST (5-6:30 PM EST, 4-5:30 PM CST): We welcome back DR. MADHU THANGAVELU. Dr. Thangavelu will be telling us about his latest USC student team design projects for innovative space development.
2. Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014:, 7-8:30 PM PST (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST): We welcome back ALAN BOYLE of Cosmic Log and MSNBC to update us on space news and stories of interest.
3. Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, 9:30-11 AM PST (12:30-2 PM EST; 11:30 AM-1 PM CST): We welcome back STEPHEN MURPHEY do discuss his Do It Yourself Space Exploration (DIY), an organization dedicated to showcasing the “Do it yourself” space revolution.
4. Sunday, March 2, 2014, 12-1:30 PM PST (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST). We have a special program pending for this date but are waiting for final confirmation from one of the participants. More about this particular program later.
The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.
The Copenhagen Suborbitals DIY rocket and space organization suffered a big blow this weekend when co-founder Kristian von Bengtson announced his resignation:
- Kristian von Bengtson is leaving Copenhagen Suborbitals (pdf)
- Kristian von Bengtson leaving Danish rocket project – The Engineer (Google Translate)
Von Bengston cited conflicts with the other co-founder, Peter Madsen, as making it untenable for him to stay. He was clearly a major source of ideas and energy for the group. (See his blog at Wired.) It will be interesting to see if they can sustain their momentum without him as they try to continue the projects currently underway, including the launch of the big HEAT-2X rocket this summer, and towards their long term goal of a manned suborbital spaceflight.
Update: Here is a statement (somewhat garbled by the translator) from Peter Madsen: We must continue! – The Engineer (Google Translate).
The Curiosity rover shows off another of its multiple talents by driving in reverse over a long distance:
Mars rover from before reaching “Dingo Gap” — in upper right — to the mission’s
next science waypoint, “Kimberley” (formerly referred to as “KMS-9″) — in
lower left. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona › Full image and caption
Terrain that NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now crossing is as smooth as team members had anticipated based on earlier images from orbit.
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, the rover covered 329 feet (100.3 meters), the mission’s first long trek that used reverse driving and its farthest one-day advance of any kind in more than three months.
The reverse drive validated feasibility of a technique developed with testing on Earth to lessen damage to Curiosity’s wheels when driving over terrain studded with sharp rocks. However, Tuesday’s drive took the rover over more benign ground.
“We wanted to have backwards driving in our validated toolkit because there will be parts of our route that will be more challenging,” said Curiosity Project Manager Jim Erickson of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
The rover team used images taken from orbit to reassess possible routes, after detecting in late 2013 that holes in the vehicle’s aluminum wheels were accumulating faster than anticipated. Getting to the chosen route, which appeared to be less hazardous for the wheels, required crossing a 3-foot-tall (1-meter-tall) dune. Curiosity crossed the dune on Feb. 9.
Erickson said, “After we got over the dune, we began driving in terrain that looks like what we expected based on the orbital data. There are fewer sharp rocks, many of them are loose, and in most places there’s a little bit of sand cushioning the vehicle.”
The mission’s destinations remain the same: a science waypoint first and then the long-term goal of investigating the lower slopes of Mount Sharp, where water-related minerals have been detected from orbit.
The science waypoint, which may be where Curiosity next uses its sample-collecting drill, is an intersection of different rock layers about two-thirds of a mile (about 1.1 kilometers) ahead on the planned route. This location, formerly called KMS-9 from when it was one of many waypoint candidates, is now called “Kimberley,” for the geological mapping quadrant that contains it. The mapping quadrant was named for the northwestern Australia region with very old rocks.
While the rover is headed for the Kimberley waypoint and during the time it spends doing science investigations there, the team will use orbital imagery to choose a path for continuing toward the long-term destination.
“We have changed our focus to look at the big picture for getting to the slopes of Mount Sharp, assessing different potential routes and different entry points to the destination area,” Erickson said. “No route will be perfect; we need to figure out the best of the imperfect ones.”
Curiosity has driven 937 feet (285.5 meters) since the Feb. 9 dune-crossing, for a total odometry of 3.24 miles (5.21 kilometers) since its August 2012 landing.
NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity to assess ancient habitable environments and major changes in Martian environmental conditions. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, built the rover and manages the project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. For more information about Curiosity, visit www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl, www.nasa.gov/msl and mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/. You can follow the mission on Facebook a www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/marscuriosity.
Here’s a BBC program about the Project Orion nuclear powered spaceship (via Twitter / edyson) : Greatest Mysteries of the Cold War: America’s Interplanetary Spaceship (Project Orion) – YouTube
Spacevidcast posts the video of their latest live program: Google Lunar X PRIZE Milestones – 7.05 – Spacevidcast -
In this live show we talk about the all new milestones created for the Google Lunar X PRIZE participants.
Spacevidcast is a weekly show all about space and the comsos. Covering major events from NASA, ESA, JAXA, Roscosmos, SpaceX and more, Spacevidcast is your weekly news and views show for every space geek! Featuring monthly live shows and weekly cosmic updates, get your Space Geek on right here! Don’t forget to subscribe.
Space policy/politics related links:
- NASA and companies prepare for next round of commercial cargo contracts – NewSpace Journal
- NASA to evaluate ISS resupply options through 2024 – NASASpaceFlight.com
- Brevard facing strong competition for space ventures – Forida Today
- U.S. Air Force reveals ‘neighborhood watch’ spy satellite program – Reuters
- USAF Space Chief Outs Classified Spy Sat Program – Aviation Week
- France’s DGA Remains Hopeful of Cooperating with Britain in Military Satcom – SpaceNews.com
- The consolidation of the Russian aerospace industry continues as the government considers taking over privately owned Sea Launch. – Behind The Black
- ISRO’s Crew Module Flight by May-June – The New Indian Express
- Uneasy rest begins for China’s troubled Yutu – Xinhua | English.news.cn
- Xinhua: Yutu Moon Rover’s Mechanical Problems Remain Unresolved – SpacePolicyOnline.com
ANS 054 Weekly AMSAT Bulletin – February 22, 2014:
* G. Gould Smith, WA4SXM Steps Down from AMSAT BoD, VP-User Services Positions
* Upcoming ARISS Contacts
* Upcoming Satellite DX
* 2014 Spring CubeSat Developers’ Workshop Registration Now Open
Some related links:
- ISS CubeSat deployments to resume February 25 – AMSAT-UK
- Interested in the PocketQube? Register for the Workshops! – Kentucky Space
- Satellite built by UK/Morehead State students sends data from space – Lane Report
- New Video of KySat-2 Posted – Kentucky Space
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey released this impressive visualization of 100,000 asteroids. From the caption:
Over 100,000 asteroids and their colors, as seen by a single remarkable survey telescope.
This animation shows the orbital motions of over 100,000 of the asteroids observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), with colors illustrating the compositional diversity measured by the SDSS five-color camera. The relative sizes of each asteroid are also illustrated.
All main-belt asteroids and Trojan asteroids with orbits known to high precision are shown. The animation is rendered with a timestep of 3 days.
The compositional gradient of the asteroid belt is clearly visible, with green Vesta-family members in the inner belt fading through the blue C-class asteroids in the outer belt, and the deep red Trojan swarms beyond that.
Occasional diagonal slashes that appear in the animation are the SDSS survey beams; these appear because the animation is rendered at near the survey epoch.
The average orbital distances of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Jupiter are illustrated with rings.
Colors represented with the same scheme as Parker et al. (2008):
Concept and rendering by Alex H. Parker: alexharrisonparker.com/
Congratulations to Elon Musk on winning the National Space Society Heinlein Award. (In 2011 Musk won the The Heinlein Prize, which is a separate honor given “for making practical contributions to the commercialization of space”.)
Washington, DC — February 21, 2014: The National Space Society takes great pleasure in announcing that its 2014 Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award has been won by acclaimed space entrepreneur Elon Musk, the Chief Designer and CEO of SpaceX. In the last decade, SpaceX, under the leadership of Elon Musk, has been moving directly toward accomplishing goals that many of us in NSS think are of utmost importance, such as forcing a drastic reduction in launch costs by doing the very hard task which no one else in the world has been willing and able to tackle: working to create a family of commercially successful and reusable rocket boosters and reusable spacecraft.
The National Space Society’s prestigious Robert A Heinlein Memorial Award will be presented to Elon Musk at the 2014 International Space Development Conference (ISDC). The conference will be held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. The ISDC will run from May 14-18, 2014.
The imaginations of our visionaries of the last 100 years will not be fulfilled until affordable, large scale and high mass operations can take place in Earth orbit and beyond. SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft is reusable and SpaceX is making great progress towards a reusable rocket, the key development that would make such operations possible.
About Elon Musk
Elon Musk was born in South Africa in 1971 and emigrated first to Canada and then to the US. He has two B.A. degrees, one in physics and one in economics, from the University of Pennsylvania. He became a multimillionaire in his late twenties when he sold his start-up company, Zip2, to a division of Compaq Computers. He went on to more early successes, launching PayPal via a 2000 merger. He founded Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) in 2002, the same year that he became an American citizen and also the same year he earned the money to fund the new company from the sale of PayPal. The SpaceX Falcon 1 was the first privately funded liquid fueled rocket to put a payload into orbit. The larger Falcon 9 rocket has been flying since June 2010 and SpaceX is also developing a reusable version called Falcon 9R and a much larger rocket, Falcon Heavy. SpaceX has a 1.6-billion dollar contract with NASA to supply the space station via its recoverable Dragon spacecraft. They are also a competitor in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Like NSS, Musk views space exploration as important for the preservation and expansion of humankind. Musk likes to say that we should become “multi-planetary” as a hedge against all threats to our survival. He said, “Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond this green and blue ball—or go extinct.” To help make that happen, Musk’s goal is to reduce the cost of human spaceflight by a factor of 100.
About the Robert A. Heinlein Award
The Heinlein award is presented once every two years for lifetime achievement in promoting the goal of a free, spacefaring civilization. The winner is determined by a vote of the NSS membership. The award consists of a miniature signal cannon, on a mahogany base with a black granite inlay and a brass plaque as shown. The award concept came from Robert Heinlein’s classic book The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Previous winners include Sir Arthur C. Clarke and Dr. Carl Sagan. More information about this award is at: http://www.nss.org/awards/heinlein_award.html.