“Gravity” film: Getting the biology right + Commercial option missed + Google Hangout with astronauts et al

The very popular movie Gravity doesn’t get the orbital mechanics right but Joel Achenbach thinks they did fine with the human part of the story : “Gravity” better on biology than orbital dynamics [spoilers] – Washington Post.


With the Space Shuttles now retired, the movie could have shown the astronauts flying in a private spacecraft like the Dragon, which SpaceX hopes to fly people on as early as 2015 : The Gravitas of Commercial Spacecraft – Greg Autry.


Here’s a video of an interesting Google Hangout held on Thursday night and organized by Ryan Kobrick of Yuri’s Night and with a focus on the movie Gravity.

From the Caption:

The first in a series of one-of-a-kind hangouts hosted by Yuri’s Night. We’ll be talking with some amazing experts in zero-gravity about the movie “Gravity” that came out a few weeks ago. Joining us will be Astronaut Ron Garan, Astronaut Cady Coleman, Italian Astronaut Paolo Nespoli, JSC Physiologist Liz Warren, Founder and Editor of collectSPACE Robert Pearlman, Zero G Flight Director Tim Bailey, and Yuri’s Night event host and Executive Director Dr. Ryan Kobrick!

Watch our Google+ account and +1 us to learn about more  Hangin’ with Yuri Hangout events in the coming months leading up to Yuri’s Night on April 12, 2014.

FISO: Laser communications relay demo project – Bernard Edwards, NASA Goddard

The latest presentation to the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) study group is now posted in the FISO Working Group Presentations Archive. Find slides and audio for the talk at Overview of the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration Project, Bernard Edwards, NASA GSFC – Oct.23.13

Here are some slides from the presentation about the successful demonstration of high bandwidth communications via laser between the LADEE orbiter at the Moon and stations on earth:






Here’s a NASA press release about the demonstration: NASA Laser Communication System Sets Record with Data Transmissions to and from Moon – NASA.

Chinese scientist promotes military aspects of lunar program

Ziyuan Ouyang‘s views on a military role for the Moon seems like a throwback to the 1950s at the start of the Space Race : China Chief Lunar Scientist Ouyang Notes Moon Military Uses – Lunar Enterprise Daily :

In Speech At Shenzhen City People’s Culture Hall On 13 October 2013, Prof Ziyuan Ouyang, Senior / Chief Lunar Scientist At NAOC / Chinese Academy Of Sciences, Noted: “To Carry Out Lunar Exploration Project Has Four Major Reasons: The Moon Has A Major Military Strategic Position, Will Become A Contemporary Space Warfare Military Platform …”, And Many Other Vital Resources And Assets; Statement Likely To Need Resolution With American Apollo Spirit “In Peace For All”

Ouvang is the chief scientist for the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program , which intends to land the Chang’e 3 rover on the Moon later this year.

Frankly, it’s silly to claim the Moon can offers any benefits to the Chinese military, particularly as long as space transportation costs are so absurdly expensive. And nothing China is currently doing in rocketry will lead to lower costs. I expect his comments are primarily to attract funding for the lunar program.