Milktoast Music “Makers of fine Space Opera and other noise” points me to Richard Pickman, who creates a “mix of electronic, live instruments and horror/science fiction movies, that crosses the musical boundaries to bring robots, aliens and love to the world”. He will soon release a new album titled, The Pink Laser.
Here’s an infographic that compares costs for living in a base on the Moon for a year for a NASA program versus private ventures. I think they underestimate the former quite a bit and overestimate the latter a bit but overall a reasonable guess-estimate.
I expect that our crowd crafted space future will be quite different than what a crowd-funded space plan could ever predict. Nevertheless, should a plan can be an interesting exercise. Check out the : Integrated Space Plan – Envisioning Humanity’s Future by Integrated Space Analytics — Kickstarter
The National Space Society has now become a $500 logo backer to the “Integrated Space Plan” Kickstarter and encourages NSS members to help this Kickstarter effort reach its goal. Many NSS members have already done so, but with only 5 days left, this Kickstarter is still $3000 short its $18,000 goal.
Become a “Backer” — visit the Kickstarter page to pledge your support.
The “Integrated Space Plan” project is to remake, maintain, and expand the uses of the Integrated Space Plan, a graphically detailed timeline of our future in space for the next 100 years. NSS leader Ronnie Lajoie writes “The five team leaders are all NSS members, including Jay Wittner, a past NSS Officer and Director, and current chapter officer. The ISP will complement and supplement our Roadmap to Space Settlement.”
Jay Wittner writes “20 years ago a detailed long term plan was created showing what was needed to develop a robust space infrastructure. It was called theIntegrated Space Plan (ISP). It was an early infographic developed to depict our future in space. The original plan by Ron Jones was a hit in the space community and it’s time to update the ISP and post it online so everyone can see the path forward!” Ron Jones is part of the new team.
NSS leader Gary Barnhard adds “While no one has a monopoly on insight into the future, the combination of perspectives should be integratable into a common framework which provides a context for understanding where we have been, where we are, and where we could go.”
As an extra incentive, all Backers at the $25 level or higher will get a free year of membership in the Space Frontier Foundation, one of our sister space advocacy organizations.
From the Moon Society:
There are any number of plans for the exploration of space out there in the marketplace of ideas. In the absence of much real-world progress, there is an inclination to plan for when there might be progress in the future. This often becomes a competition in the marketplace of ideas as agendas come into play, and some aspects of space exploration (and maybe development) are highlighted to the detriment of others as personal goals come into play.
One effort to address this was the Integrated Space Plan, which tried to take a meta- approach to looking at our space efforts and determine which activities and technologies fed into what aspects of humanity’s move out into the Solar System. Which aspects of exploration and development should be highlighted? How might they connect? What can help enable what else? Where are the synergies?
The Integrated Space Plan (ISP) was created in the 1980s as a wall-sized poster that ended up in universities and aerospace offices across the country and around the world. Its voluminous content encouraged exploration of how different goals could be achieved, almost like the technology tree structure of many civilization-type video games. It also encouraged many systems engineers, who thrive on complexity.
Now it’s time to revisit the Integrated Space Plan for a new generation of future space explorers, and update it for the new companies, new technologies, and new ideas in regards to things like the cislunar economy, interplanetary superhighways, and relevant resources.
A video from their recent crowdfunding campaign (now ended):
Here’s a new SETI Institute seminar: The Diversity of Habitable Zones and the Planets – Stephen Kane (SETI Talks)
The field of exoplanets has rapidly expanded from the exclusivity of exoplanet detection to include exoplanet characterization. A key step towards this characterization is the determination of which planets occupy the Habitable Zone (HZ) of their host stars. As the Kepler data continues to be processed, the orbital period sensitivity is increasing and there are now numerous exoplanets known to occupy the HZ of their host stars.
In this talk Dr. Kane will describe the properties of the HZ, the dependence on the spectral type properties, and the current state of exoplanet detections in the HZ. Along the way Dr. Kane will attempt to dispel some common misconceptions regarding the Habitable Zone. Dr. Kane will relate HZ results to the calculation of eta_Earth and eta_Venus. Finally, Dr. Kane will present several case studies of HZ Kepler planets, including circumbinary planets for which the HZ is a time-dependent function.
A reader pointed me to these posts that look at several topics related to the growth in information technologies and their use in science, which generates ever more data:
- Will we ever Skype from the Moon? – Community Site News..
- Will we ever Skype from the Moon?
- Data and the Internet
- The importance of the Internet on our lives
- Broadband on the Moon
- Look to the stars – Community Site News..
- The World Wide Web
- Ever-increasing resolution
- Ever-increasing data demands
- The power of visualization
- What can the internet and apps be used to see over the coming months?
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has produced new imagery of the Apollo 11 landing site:
From the caption:
Apollo 11 landed on the Moon on July 20th, 1969, a little after 4:00 in the afternoon Eastern Daylight Time. The Lunar Module, nicknamed Eagle and flown by Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, touched down near the southern rim of the Sea of Tranquility, one of the large, dark basins that contribute to the Man in the Moon visible from Earth. Armstrong and Aldrin spent about two hours outside the LM setting up experiments and collecting samples. At one point, Armstrong ventured east of the LM to examine a small crater, dubbed Little West, that he’d flown over just before landing.
The trails of disturbed regolith created by the astronauts’ boots are still clearly visible in photographs of the landing site taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) narrow-angle camera (LROC) more than four decades later.
LROC imagery makes it possible to visit the landing site in a whole new way by flying around a three-dimensional model of the site. LROC scientists created the digital elevation model using a stereo pair of images. Each image in the pair shows the site from a slightly different angle, allowing sophisticated software to infer the shape of the terrain, similar to the way that left and right eye views are combined in the brain to produce the perception of depth.
The animator draped an LROC photograph over the terrain model. He also added a 3D model of the LM descent stage—the real LM in the photograph looks oddly flat when viewed at an oblique angle.
Although the area around the site is relatively flat by lunar standards, West Crater (the big brother of the crater visited by Armstrong) appears in dramatic relief near the eastern edge of the terrain model. Ejecta from West comprises the boulders that Armstrong had to avoid as he searched for a safe landing site.
Apollo 11 was the first of six increasingly ambitious crewed lunar landings. The exploration of the lunar surface by the Apollo astronauts, when combined with the wealth of remote sensing data now being returned by LRO, continues to inform our understanding of our nearest neighbor in space.
2. Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 7 PM PDT (10 PM EDT, 9 PM CDT): We welcome DR. MARK SHELHAMER of NASA regarding his FISO talk from earlier this year regarding critical issues for Human Space Flight. His FISO talk was April 1, 2014.
3. Friday, June 27, 2014, 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12;30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT): No show as am at NewSpace Conference.
4. Sunday, July 27, 2014, 12-1:30 PM PST, (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST). OPEN LINES. First time callers welcome. All space and STEM topics welcome.
/– The Space Show on Vimeo – webinar videos
/– The Space Show’s Blog – summaries of interviews.
/– The Space Show Classroom Blog – tutorial programs
The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.
The latest TMRO/Spacevidcast show is now available on line: #Apollo45 -TMRO
From the caption:
TRMO is a crown funded show. Get you get value from this episode? Consider giving value back! http://www.patreon.com/tmro – Even as little as $1.00/ep can go a long way! Our main topic today is Apollo 45 years later and why we don’t want a repeat of the past. Our next humans on the Moon or Mars should be there to stay, not just flags and footprints!
It was 45 years ago today that humans first walked on the Moon. I hope, and expect, it will be a lot less time than that before humans are on the Moon again.
Some resource sites
On The Space Show today at 12 PM PDT, (3 PM EDT, 2 PM CDT), Rand Simberg and Bill Simon will return to “celebrate this special day with us and the Evoloterra ceremony. You can download Evoloterra [pdf] at www.evoloterra.com.”
Last year my wife and I and some friends celebrated July 20th with the Evoloterra ceremony and really enjoyed it: Our Evoloterra evening. Recommend you give it a try.
There are lots of Apollo 11 documentaries available at Youtube. Here is one from NASA:
Alvin Remmers has led the Moonandback Media effort to document this period of burgeoning private space development with video interviews of many of the leaders and participants in these endeavors. The project has built up a large collection of such interviews and now Alvin is
seeking funds to transcribe 102 hours of video content for donation to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. Our target funding will enable us to pay for the transcription and donation of the archive to the NASM and to continue our documentary project. The transcription is necessary to make the content useful for historians, journalists, academicians and researchers.
You can contribute to their crowd-funded campaign at The People of NewSpace (2010-2013) — a Moonandback documentary project | RocketHub.
Their collection of videos can be seen at Moonandback Media on Vimeo.
Alvin describes the Moonandback collection and the plan to create transcripts for them in this video:
More about the campaign on the RocketHub page.
Government space missions are expensive. New private-sector space ventures always seem to involve billionaires. Yet we achieved results by raising funds a few dollars at a time — and by involving our donors directly in our work.
NASA likes to say that “space is hard,” but to make itself relevant to the people whose taxes fund it, it must get outside its comfort zone. To its credit, NASA saw the potential of our project to reach beyond the traditional audience. The interactions via social media with our supporters have borne this out. Imagine what feats of exploration might be possible if an empowered and engaged citizenry realized that exploring space is really something anyone can do.
And here’s an update on the project: ISEE-3 Status Report 18 July 2014 – Space College
During our pass at Arecibo today we managed to get some propulsion out of thruster K. We’re looking at how this was accomplished with an eye toward repeating it.
JP Aerospace has taken many interesting items to high altitudes with their balloon systems but a small pine tree and a floral arrangement must be among the most unusual.
- What A Bonsai Tree Looks Like Suspended In Space | Co.Design | business + design
- A Japanese Artist Launches Plants Into Space – New York Times
- Exobiotanica - Botanical Space Flight - photo gallery
- Mission Success! – JP Aerospace Blog
- JP Aerospace in the New York Times! – JP Aerospace Blog
A bonzai tree from Japanese artist Azuma Makoto
reaches high in the sky.
And a flower arrangement as well.
I didn’t realize so many pits/caves have been seen on the Moon:
While the moon’s surface is battered by millions of craters, it also has over 200 holes – steep-walled pits that in some cases might lead to caves that future astronauts could explore and use for shelter, according to new observations from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft.
The pits range in size from about 5 meters (~5 yards) across to more than 900 meters (~984 yards) in diameter, and three of them were first identified using images from the Japanese Kaguya spacecraft. Hundreds more were found using a new computer algorithm that automatically scanned thousands of high-resolution images of the lunar surface from LRO’s Narrow Angle Camera (NAC).
“Pits would be useful in a support role for human activity on the lunar surface,” said Robert Wagner of Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. “A habitat placed in a pit — ideally several dozen meters back under an overhang — would provide a very safe location for astronauts: no radiation, no micrometeorites, possibly very little dust, and no wild day-night temperature swings.” Wagner developed the computer algorithm, and is lead author of a paper on this research now available online in the journal Icarus.
This is a spectacular high-Sun view of the Mare Tranquillitatis pit crater
revealing boulders on an otherwise smooth floor. This image from LRO’s NAC
is 400 meters (1,312 feet) wide, north is up.
Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
Most pits were found either in large craters with impact melt ponds – areas of lava that formed from the heat of the impact and later solidified, or in the lunar maria – dark areas on the moon that are extensive solidified lava flows hundreds of miles across. In ancient times, the maria were thought to be oceans; “maria” is the Latin word for “seas.” Various cultures have interpreted the patterns formed by the maria features in different ways; for example, some saw the face of a man, while others saw a rabbit or a boy carrying a bundle of sticks on his back.
The pits could form when the roof of a void or cave collapses, perhaps from the vibrations generated by a nearby meteorite impact, according to Wagner. However, he noted that from their appearance in the LRO photos alone, there is little evidence to point to any particular cause. The voids could be created when molten rock flowed under the lunar surface; on Earth, lava tubes form when magma flows beneath a solidified crust and later drains away. The same process could happen on the moon, especially in a large impact crater, the interior of which can take hundreds of thousands of years to cool, according to Wagner. After an impact crater forms, the sides slump under lunar gravity, pushing up the crater’s floor and perhaps causing magma to flow under the surface, forming voids in places where it drains away.
Exploring impact melt pits would pin down the nature of the voids in which they form. “They are likely due to melt flow within the pond from uplift after the surface has solidified, but before the interior has cooled,” said Wagner. “Exploring impact melt pits would help determine the magnitude of this uplift, and the amount of melt flow after the pond is in place.”
Exploring the pits could also reveal how oceans of lava formed the lunar maria. “The mare pits in particular would be very useful for understanding how the lunar maria formed. We’ve taken images from orbit looking at the walls of these pits, which show that they cut through dozens of layers, confirming that the maria formed from lots of thin flows, rather than a few big ones. Ground-level exploration could determine the ages of these layers, and might even find solar wind particles that were trapped in the lunar surface billions of years ago,” said Wagner.
To date, the team has found over 200 pits spread across the melt ponds of 29 craters, which are considered geologically young “Copernican” craters at less than a billion years old; eight pits in the lunar maria, three of which were previously known from images from the Japanese Kaguya orbiter; and two pits in highlands terrain.
The general age sequence matches well with the pit distributions, according to Wagner. “Impact melt ponds of Copernican craters are some of the younger terrains on the moon, and while the maria are much older at around three billion years old, they are still younger and less battered than the highlands. It’s possible that there’s a ‘sweet spot’ age for pits, where enough impacts have occurred to create a lot of pits, but not enough to destroy them,” said Wagner.
There are almost certainly more pits out there, given that LRO has only imaged about 40 percent of the moon with appropriate lighting for the automated pit searching program, according to Wagner. He expects there may be at least two to three more mare pits and several dozen to over a hundred more impact melt pits, not including any pits that likely exist in already-imaged areas, but are too small to conclusively identify even with the NAC’s resolution.
These images from NASA’s LRO spacecraft show all of the known mare pits and
highland pits. Each image is 222 meters (about 728 feet) wide.
Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
“We’ll continue scanning NAC images for pits as they come down from the spacecraft, but for about 25 percent of the moon’s surface area (near the poles) the sun never rises high enough for our algorithm to work,” said Wagner. “These areas will require an improved search algorithm, and even that may not work at very high latitudes, where even a human has trouble telling a pit from an impact crater.”
The next step would be to tie together more datasets such as composition maps, thermal measurements, gravity measurements, etc., to gain a better understanding of the environments in which these pits form, both at and below the surface, according to Wagner.
“The ideal follow-up, of course, would be to drop probes into one or two of these pits, and get a really good look at what’s down there,” adds Wagner. “Pits, by their nature, cannot be explored very well from orbit — the lower walls and any floor-level caves simply cannot be seen from a good angle. Even a few pictures from ground-level would answer a lot of the outstanding questions about the nature of the voids that the pits collapsed into. We’re currently in the very early design phases of a mission concept to do exactly this, exploring one of the largest mare pits.”
The research was funded by NASA’s LRO project. Launched on June 18, 2009, LRO has collected a treasure trove of data with its seven powerful instruments, making an invaluable contribution to our knowledge about the moon. LRO is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
Here’s the latest NASA Earth to Ground report on what has been happening aboard the International Space Station:
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe was launched in March 2004 on an Ariane V rocket and on August 6th it will finally
rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and remain in close proximity to the icy nucleus as it plunges towards the warmer inner reaches of the Sun’s domain. At the same time, a small lander will be released onto the surface of this mysterious cosmic iceberg.
Here is a post from the Rosetta blog about how the comet’s structure is starting to come into focus:
This week’s images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko reveal an extraordinarily irregular shape. We had hints of that in last week’s images and in the unscheduled previews that were seen a few days ago, and in that short time it has become clear that this is no ordinary comet. Like its name, it seems that comet 67P/C-G is in two parts.
What the spacecraft is actually seeing is the pixelated image shown [above], which was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow angle camera on 14 July from a distance of 12 000 km.
A second image and a movie show the comet after the image has been processed. The technique used, called “sub-sampling by interpolation”, only acts to remove the pixelisation and make a smoother image, and it is important to note that the comet’s surface features won’t be as smooth as the processing implies. The surface texture has yet to be resolved simply because we are still too far away; any apparent brighter or darker regions may turn out to be false interpretations at this early stage.
But the movie, which uses a sequence of 36 interpolated images each separated by 20 minutes, certainly provides a truly stunning 360-degree preview of the overall complex shape of the comet. Regardless of surface texture, we can certainly see an irregular shaped world shining through. Indeed, some people have already likened the shape to a duck, with a distinct body and head.
Although less obvious in the ‘real’ image, the movie of interpolated images supports the presence of two definite components. One segment seems to be rather elongated, while the other appears more bulbous.
Dual objects like this – known as ‘contact binaries’ in comet and asteroid terminology – are not uncommon.
Indeed, comet 8P/Tuttle is thought to be such a contact binary; radio imaging by the ground-based Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico in 2008 suggested that it comprises two sphere-like objects. Meanwhile, the bone-shaped comet 103P/Hartley 2, imaged during NASA’s EPOXI flyby in 2011, revealed a comet with two distinct halves separated by a smooth region. In addition, observations ofasteroid 25143 Itokawa by JAXA’s Hayabusa mission, combined with ground-based data, suggest an asteroid comprising two sections of highly contrasting densities.
Is Rosetta en-route to rendezvous with a similar breed of comet? The scientific rewards of studying such a comet would be high, as a number of possibilities exist as to how they form.
One popular theory is that such an object could arise when two comets – even two compositionally distinct comets – melded together under a low velocity collision during the Solar System’s formation billions of years ago, when small building blocks of rocky and icy debris coalesced to eventually create planets. Perhaps comet 67P/C-G will provide a unique record of the physical processes of accretion.
Or maybe it is the other way around – that is, a single comet could be tugged into a curious shape by the strong gravitational pull of a large object like Jupiter or the Sun; after all, comets are rubble piles with weak internal strength as directly witnessed in the fragmentation of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and the subsequent impacts into Jupiter, 20 years ago this week. Perhaps the two parts of comet 67P/C-G will one day separate completely.
On the other hand, perhaps comet 67P/C-G may have once been a much rounder object that became highly asymmetric thanks to ice evaporation. This could have happened when the comet first entered the Solar System from the Kuiper Belt, or on subsequent orbits around the Sun.
One could also speculate that the striking dichotomy of the comet’s morphology is the result of a near catastrophic impact event that ripped out one side of the comet. Similarly, it is not unreasonable to think that a large outburst event may have weakened one side of the comet so much that it simply gave away, crumbling into space.
But, while the interpolated images are certainly brilliant, we need to be closer still to see a better three-dimensional view – not to mention to perform a spectroscopic analysis to determine the comet’s composition – in order to draw robust scientific conclusions about this exciting comet.
Rosetta Mission Manager Fred Jansen comments: “We currently see images that suggest a rather complex cometary shape, but there is still a lot that we need to learn before jumping to conclusions. Not only in terms of what this means for comet science in general, but also regarding our planning for science observations, and the operational aspects of the mission such as orbiting and landing.
“We will need to perform detailed analyses and modelling of the shape of the comet to determine how best we can fly around such a uniquely shaped body, taking into account flight control and astrodynamics, the science requirements of the mission, and the landing-related elements like landing site analysis and lander-to-orbiter visibility. But, with fewer than 10 000 km to go before the 6 August rendezvous, our open questions will soon be answered.”
I mentioned Ken Murphy in the previous posting about the Moon Day event this Saturday in Dallas that he is helping to organize. Ken was interviewed on the Space Show recently : Ken Murphy, Tuesday, 7-15-14 – Thespaceshow’s Blog
They talked about a number of topics, particularly his extensive compilation of space films with settings in the Earth-Moon system (i.e. cislunar):
Our goal is to provide a a cinematic and immersive experience that doesn’t compromise on gameplay. Project Tool is inspired by many works of science fiction, and aims to push the genre forward in a faithful but new way. We actively consult with scientists, astronauts, NASA and even some world recognized museums to make a universe that is futuristic, but plausible. When you look at classic Star Trek, you see how much modern technology is inspired by it, with cell phones and more recently, Google Glass being great examples. So in that sense, we want to show people what technology might look like in the future via our game. Ultimately, we want Project Tool to be smart sci-fi, that has awesome gameplay and a fully engrossing storyline.
Check out the trailer for the game:
And this video focuses on the graphics used in the game:
They are crowd-sourcing the funding for the game with the goal of releasing it at the end of December, 2015.