LT Rob Lyon, serving in Iraq I appreciate the support we have been getting here in Iraq. Knowing that folks like you are out there, not just for the support, but to provide much needed diversion, is greatly appreciated.
Scientists who dissent from the
alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and
themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse.
Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they
fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.
In 2003, when the draft of the
U.S. National Climate Plan urged a high priority for improving our
knowledge of climate sensitivity, the National Research Council instead
urged support to look at the impacts of the warming--not whether it would actually happen.
Kitty is thinking it's about time to swing back to the Ice Age Scare.
The launch has been cleared for the final four minutes of countdown as I post this. Fox says it will carry it live.
Hope it goes well.
1433GMT (0933EST) UPDATE: Mission aborted, due to mechanical malfunction. Date of next try TBD.
An air-launched Pegasus
rocket made by Orbital Sciences will haul the three birthday-cake-size
spacecraft into a highly elliptical orbit and then deploy them for a
90-day mission. The 55-pound micro-sats will probe Earth's magnetic
field using highly sensitive magnetometers to demonstrate whether such
tiny craft can do the job.
The Pegasus rocket is
mounted to the belly of Orbital's L-1011 carrier aircraft at Vandenberg
Air Force Base, California. The jet will carry the rocket over the
Pacific Ocean and release it for the launch into space.
A slim cable for a space elevator has been built stretching a mile
into the sky, enabling robots to scrabble some way up and down the line.
Group, a private US company on a quest to build a space elevator by
April 2018, stretched the strong carbon ribbon [5cm wide and 6 sheets of paper thick] 1 mile (1.6 km) into the
sky from the Arizona desert outside Phoenix in January tests, it
announced on Monday.
The company's lofty
objective will sound familiar to followers of NASA's Centennial
Challenges programme. The desired outcome is a 62,000-mile (99,779 km)
tether that robotic lifters – powered by laser beams from Earth – can
climb, ferrying cargo, satellites and eventually people into space.
recent test followed a September 2005 demonstration in which LiftPort's
robots climbed 300 metres of ribbon tethered to the Earth and pulled
taut by a large balloon. This time around, the company tested an
improved cable pulled aloft by three balloons.
When A-C-E first reported on this intriguing concept a year or two ago, some scientists were scoffing at the idea, saying only fractions of inches of the needed material had been created in labs to date. Looks like progress has been made. But, they've still got 59,999 miles to go. A string that long will have to be very light, or have a very heavy orbiting anchor its weight cannot pull down (if I understand the physics correctly).
Without significant action, he said, the planet would see a dramatic increase in violent storms, infectious disease, deadly heat waves and rising sea levels that will force the evacuation of low-lying cities such as Calcutta, Shanghai and New York City within decades.
3 FEB 04. NY Times. Mr. Bush gave no clear indication how, or whether, the United States planned to use the Space Station after its prospective completion in 2010. With NASA focusing its efforts and its budget on the Moon and Mars, the station's prospects are uncertain.
Visionary scientists and science fiction writers laid out the road map for us over a half century ago:
At the start of the space age, visionaries invariably saw outposts in earth orbit as jumping-off points. Dr. Wernher von Braun, in a famous 1952 article, told of a huge inhabited wheel. "From this platform," he said, "a trip to the Moon itself will be just a step."
In 1968, Stanley Kubrick's movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" featured a giant outpost in Earth orbit that was a way station to the Moon and Jupiter.
Finally, after decades of fantasies, President Ronald Reagan proposed in 1984 that the United States actually build a space station. It too was envisioned as a hub for colonies on the Moon and Mars.
As this graphic illustrates, the Space Station orbit finally selected makes it impractical as a launching point for missions to the Moon and Mars.
Logically, we should have been building the Space Station back in the 60s, a Space Plane to fly to/from it in the 70s, manned missions from it to the Moon (using relatively small rockets) in the 80s, and a Moon Base in the 90s. We would now be realistically ready for a mission to Mars from the Moon in this decade.
Had we just followed the roadmap provided by science fiction (based at least in part on real science), we'd be way ahead now.
Instead, our presidents have jerked NASA around (with great waste and loss of momentum) as they change the goals. President Bush's redirection is more political than practical, given where we are. It will have a short-term negative impact on current programs. NASA will be in fibrillation mode for a while, in terms of manned space programs. At least the lower-cost robotic programs are going well now.