Republic of the Moon and a Brief History of Drinking in Space

The Republic of the Moon exhibition is underway in London until Feb. 2nd includes a number of special events  such as A Brief History of Drinking in Space on the last day:

Sun 2 Feb 2014 – 4:30 p.m.


To date, there has been relatively little consumption of alcohol in space and on the Moon, but that could be set to change. With space tourism taking off, new lunar missions on the horizon and manned expeditions aiming further into space – with all its stresses – could a new era of zero gravity libations be next?

Join Sam Bompas of Bompas & Parr and David Lane of The Gourmand for a speculative look and the past, present and future of alcohol in space. From Buzz Aldrin’s legendary Holy Communion on the Moon to sherry experiments aboard Skylab and ceremonial ‘vodka’ consumption aboard the ISS, we’ll discuss the secret history of a slightly tipsy space age and ask what role our favourite poison will play in the future colonisation of the moon.

Ticket price includes the chance to sample Bompas & Parr’s unique Parabolic Sherry, created exclusively for super/collider’s POP ROCK MOON SHOP® based on Skylab-era research about alcohol in space. 

In the 70s, NASA spent about half a million dollars studying which wines would be the best accompaniment for astronauts’ space food – even commissioning Californian oenologists to recommend the ultimate orbital wine and food pairing. Their suggestion? A medium sherry. It’s high alcohol content means that that it stands up to the violence of blast off and travels well. The choice mirrors sherry’s earlier history as a wine popularised by adventurer Francis Drake and appreciated by the British for centuries due to its robustness in travel. 

As bottles aren’t allowed in space for safety reasons, Bompas & Parr’s ultra limited-edition sherry is packaged in a space-worthy plastic pouch ready for extraterrestrial consumption, in moderation.)

New book: Fury of the Fifth Angel

Chris Hoffman writes to tell me about the book Fury of the Fifth Angel written by him and his father, Albert. Here is a description of the book:

Summary: Nights skies reveal something is on its way that could affect the entire world, but nobody is talking about it in this new book released by Dog Ear Publishing. Two authors turn their experiences with electricity into a thriller of epic proportions.

(January 2014) NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – When well-respected astronomer Ben Cohen confirms his suspicions about an impending meteorite storm, even the president of the United States sits up and takes notice. That storm, which will have a catastrophic effect on the world, begins its work quietly at first, but eventually people start to notice, including electric power grid control operator John Halloran working in upstate New York. This new thriller draws on the authors’ insider knowledge of electricity, meshing technical know-how with a realistic story about the human instinct to survive.

In “Fury of the Fifth Angel,” the president must make tough decisions about how to handle the threat of the storm. His task is made more difficult thanks to Rev. Randall Davis, a believer in signs who follows his heart and a heavenly authority who begins talking about end times. As John works to puzzle out what is happening to the power grid, he has help from a new acquaintance, Devon Grant of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As the government moves in to cover up the severity of what the celestial sightings mean, John will need all of his instincts to prove what’s going on and what to do about this news that could signal the end of the world.

“The authors will open many eyes to both how a power system operates and the vulnerabilities of these systems,” writes O-T-S owner Mike Terbrueggen in the book’s forward.” “This is the first book I have ever read that combines a complex technical field (power systems), deep personal relationships, political intrigue, and old-time religion into one fast-paced story.” In a second forward, Edward Rhoads, an astrophysicist lecturer at Indianapolis University Purdue University in Indianapolis warns of the real-life dangers of objects from space. “It is not a matter of if but when, where, and how much damage. The events portrayed in this book will occur someday,” he writes, adding that readers need to choose leaders who will invest in equipment to detect space objects on a path to Earth.

Father-son writing team Albert James “Pat” Hoffman and Chris Hoffman both worked in the electric utility industry as well as visiting and working for many electric companies and organizations. Pat, now retired, lives with his wife in upstate New York during the summer and central Florida in the winter. Chris lives in central Indiana with his wife and four children. They already are working on a sequel to “Fury of the Fifth Angel.”

Space Foundation student art contest winners announced

The Space Foundation announces the winners of this year’s student space art contest. See winning entries here and all the submissions here.

Space Foundation Announces 2014 International Student Art Contest Winners 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 23, 2014) – The 25 winners of the 2014 Space Foundation International Student Art Contest are the most globally diverse group in the contest’s history. Young artists were selected for the top slots from among more than 7,100 entries representing 54 countries, including 43 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories – the largest response since the contest began four years ago.

The winners will receive a certificate, ribbon, personalized astronaut autograph and a prize. The winning artwork will be displayed at the Space Foundation’s 30th Space Symposium, to be held May 19-22 at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA. Winners will be invited to tour the Space Symposium’s Boeing Exhibit Center and meet former NASA astronaut Dr. Leroy Chiao, Space Foundation Special Advisor – Human Spaceflight.

The Space Foundation invited students from around the world in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade to submit original artwork for this year’s theme, “My Spaceship Looks Like…,” challenging students to design their own spaceship – and then interpret that idea into an original work of visual art. The artwork could be submitted in any of the acceptable media/formats – drawing, painting, mixed media or digital art.

A panel of international judges selected first, second and third place winning entries in each of eight age categories: 3-4 years, 5-6 years, 7-8 years, 9-10 years, 11-12 years, 13-14 years, 15-16 years and 17-18 years. One Space Foundation Achievement Award was also awarded, selected by the Space Foundation’s internal graphic arts team.

Armeen Jafry, 1st Place
Rongdhonu Art Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Endri Zavalani, 2nd Place
Homeschool, Tirana, Albania
Aishvarya Sivakumar, 3rd Place
Ezone India School, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Mehaulo Goryn, 1st Place
Centre Children and Teenagers Creativity, Zolochiv, Ukraine
Calista Marzouk, 2nd Place
Cornerstone Christian Montessori, Elkhart, Ind., USA
Cole Josef Lydston, 3rd Place
Norman Rockwell Elementary, Redmond, Wash., USA

Vivian Liu, 1st Place
Susan Art School, Milpitas, Calif., USA
Thadeus Christolon, 2nd Place
Absolute Fine Art Studio, Corona, Calif., USA
Zhou Jiayi, 3rd Place
Shanghai Pudong Youth Activities Center, Shanghai, China

9-10 YEARS
Tiffany Chen, 1st Place
Logan Elementary, Ann Arbor, Mich., USA
Francesco Fernando Gregorio Zuñiga, 2nd Place
Ateneo de Manila Grade School, Quezon City, Philippines
Sherry Pan, 3rd Place
Creative Art Studio, Ann Arbor, Mich., USA

11-12 YEARS
Sang Yikun, 1st Place
Shanghai Huangpu Art Activity Center, Shanghai, China
Sabrina Ryu, 2nd Place
Bret Harte Middle School, San Jose, Calif., USA
Gordon Su, 3rd Place
Thomas Russell Middle School, Milpitas, Calif., USA

13-14 YEARS
Zi Lu Wang, 1st Place
Absolute Fine Art Studio, Corona, Calif., USA
Hiba Khamlichi, 2nd Place
La Sacré School, Rabat, Morocco
Mean-Hie Kim, 3rd Place
Northwood High School, Irvine, Calif., USA

15-16 YEARS
Rebecca Yu, 1st Place
Jericho Senior High School, Jericho, N.Y., USA
Jenny Yoo, 2nd Place
D-DIM Academy, Buena Park, Calif., USA
Lucille Miao, 3rd Place
Pingry School, Basking Ridge, N.J., USA

17-18 YEARS
Young Gun Kim, 1st Place
Leland High School, San Jose, Calif., USA
Sayani Karmaker, 2nd Place
Kishalaya Art Center, Chittaranjan, Burdwan, India
Lautice Taylor, 3rd Place
Franklinton High School, Franklinton, La., USA

Stephanie Chen, age 16
Jericho Senior High School, Jericho, N.Y., USA

Where to See the Artwork
Winning artwork submitted for this year’s contest can be seen on the Space Foundation website photo gallery at and all of the submitted artwork can be seen at in the “My Spaceship Looks Like…” Space Foundation art gallery.

About the Judging Panel

The panel of judges comprised:

  • Lourn Eidal, Assistant Art Director, Crystal Peak Design, Colorado Springs, Colo., USA
  • Richard Green, Senior Environment/Cinematics/Concept Artist, Kirkland, Wash., USA
  • Carolyn Strong, Director, Young Rembrandts, Denver, Colo., USA
  • Joe Vinton, Digital Artist, Renderosity Artist of the Year, Burton, Trent, United Kingdom
  • Hans Wolfe, Middle and Upper School Visual Arts, Visiting Artist Coordinator, Art Department Chair, The Colorado Springs School, Colorado Springs, Colo., USA
  • Mercy Yeo, Professional Artist, Ann Arbor, Mich., USA (originally from Singapore)

Learn more about the annual Space Foundation International Student Art Contest by

About the Space Foundation
Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is the foremost advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium, all in support of its mission “to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity.” Space Foundation world headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., features a public Discovery Center including the El Pomar Space Gallery and the Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere®, and is a member of the American Alliance of Museums. The Space Foundation has a field office in Houston, and from its Washington, D.C., office, conducts government affairs, publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity and provides three indexes that track daily U.S. stock market performance of the space industry. Through its Space CertificationTM and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, the Space Foundation recognizes space-based technologies and innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Visit, follow us on FacebookLinkedInPinterest and Twitter, and read our e-newsletter Space Watch.

Pictured top: Winning artwork submitted by Stephanie Chen, of Jericho Senior High School, Jericho, N.Y., USA. She won the Space Foundation Achievement Award.

Pictured second: Winning artwork submitted by Armeen Jafry, Rongdhonu Art Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1st place, age 3-4 years.

Pictured third: Winning artwork submitted by Francesco Fernando Gregorio Zuñiga, Ateneo de Manila Grade School, Quezon City, Philippines, 2nd place, age 9-10 years.

Pictured bottom: Winning artwork submitted by Jenny Yoo, D-DIM Academy, Buena Park, Calif., USA, 2nd place, age 15-16 years.

[ Update: Some background to the contest: This Spaceship Could Use Some STEAM – Space Foundation.]

Moon dust may not be as dry as thought

Speaking of the Moon, there are indications that there could be minute but non-zero amounts of water in lunar dust created by solar wind protons smacking into mineral molecules and freeing oxygen, which would in turn combine with the protons (i.e. hydrogen) : Space Dust Possible Source Of Water On Moon And Maybe Even Life On Other Planets – –

Researchers from the University of Hawaii, Manoa, the University of California, Berkeley, and California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory used state-of-the-art electron microscopes to get a close-up look at particles of interplanetary space dust. What they found was that solar wind radiation had changed the outer rims on the silicate minerals in space dust to water, something scientists previously believed to be the case but weren’t able to prove because of limited technology.

Their study, published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that the water found on interplanetary dust forms from the reaction of solar wind and oxygen in the silicate mineral grains. Solar wind, which bombards the particles with ionized hydrogen atoms, reorganized the atoms in the dust particles, leaving oxygen more available to react with hydrogen to create water. Researchers say the implications of finding water on the rims of space dust are huge.

Chinese rover Yutu experiences mechanical problem

Yutu, China’s Jade Rabbit rover on the Moon, has some sort of mechanical control issue:  China Exclusive: China’s moon rover experiences abnormality – Xinhua

China’s moon rover, Yutu (Jade Rabbit), has experienced a mechanical control abnormality, and scientists are organizing repairs.

The abnormality occurred due to “complicated lunar surface environment,” the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) said on Saturday, without giving further details.

The abnormality emerged before the rover entered its second dormancy at dawn on Saturday as the lunar night fell, according to SASTIND.

I’m sure the Chinese team will have a plan on how to deal with the problem when the rover is reactivated after the two week long lunar night is over.

The article goes on to describe various tests and research activities that the rover and the Chang’e 3 lander have been doing for the past lunar day.