Tag Archives: space travel

Ray Bradbury reads his poem – “If Only We Had Taller Been” (1971)

Sci-fi author Ray Bradbury reads his space travel-themed poem “If Only We Had Taller Been” in this 1971 video posted yesterday by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Also in the scene are Arthur C. Clarke, Walter Sullivan, Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray

 

“hoping an inch of good is worth a pound of years”

 

// Thx – Laughing Squid

SpaceX manifesto: transparency, low prices, and worldwide dominance for the future of space travel

I recognize that our prices shatter the historical cost models of government-led developments, but these prices are not arbitrary, premised on capturing a dominant share of the market, or “teaser” rates meant to lure in an eager market only to be increased later. These prices are based on known costs and a demonstrated track record, and they exemplify the potential of America’s commercial space industry.

- Elon Musk, The facts about SpaceX costs

SpaceX, the private space transport company founded by Elon Musk, is riding high from their latest slate of successful launches and taking it to the rest of the industry. This includes the traditional American space companies and the entire international system.

Mr. Musk is even boasting that the Chinese cannot compete with SpaceX, or as he puts it, “this is a clear case of American innovation trumping lower overseas labor rates.”

In case you didn’t know, Elon Musk does this all the time. As the power player behind Tesla and Solar City, the country’s largest solar company, he has an impressive resume. Add to that his famous Iron Man chops, where Robert Downey Jr. has based his super hero character on him.

By itself, SpaceX is pretty impressive. The launch manifest shows 36 flights with twelve from NASA, eight from Iridium (private company, satellite phones), three from Europe, and more from five other countries. Not to mention an undisclosed contract with the U.S. Air Force.

The company has been profitable since 2007 and has grown from 160 employees in 2005 to 1,500 in 2011.

The next step is a manned space flight and all signs are a go. The demand to get astronauts into space, and just about everything else in space travel, is so strong that they are winning contracts before they launch vehicles and sometimes before the designs have been drawn up.

Keep an eye on this company because it may just be the next big thing.

Oh, and they are hiring, over 100 positions..

NASA's latest Mars probe, Curiosity, a nuclear robot with science fiction abilities

Tomorrow morning NASA will launch a Mars Probe, MSL Curiosity, into space for an eight month space journey and then a one year trek across the surface of the planet.

A brief description of the probe:

A new robotic mission to Mars, carrying 10 highly sophisticated instruments to seek the basic chemicals of life in the planet’s ancient rocks, is standing on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral, ready to lift off Saturday morning aboard an Atlas V rocket on a 350 million-mile journey.

The six-wheeled rover named Curiosity is headed for the flanks of a Martian mountain that exists inside a crater where layers of sedimentary rock may hold evidence of what the planet was like a billion or more years ago: warmer, probably; wetter, most probably; and an abode for living organisms – just maybe.

Curiosity’s tools will drill into the mountain’s layered rocks and zap them with a laser so spectrometers can analyze the powdery particles to determine their composition.

Via SFGate

There’s more to the story than lasers and spectral analysis, including a return to nuclear powered robots, this one has a core of plutonium. Not to mention that Curiosity looks like Johnny Five’s bigger, geekier older brother, but that’s not what fascinates me.

It’s the science fiction that does. Two key elements of this mission remind me directly of Star Wars. The first is the Sky Crane that uses rocket thrusters to lower the robot to the surface of Mars.

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NASA’s latest Mars probe, Curiosity, a nuclear robot with science fiction abilities

Tomorrow morning NASA will launch a Mars Probe, MSL Curiosity, into space for an eight month space journey and then a one year trek across the surface of the planet.

A brief description of the probe:

A new robotic mission to Mars, carrying 10 highly sophisticated instruments to seek the basic chemicals of life in the planet’s ancient rocks, is standing on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral, ready to lift off Saturday morning aboard an Atlas V rocket on a 350 million-mile journey.

The six-wheeled rover named Curiosity is headed for the flanks of a Martian mountain that exists inside a crater where layers of sedimentary rock may hold evidence of what the planet was like a billion or more years ago: warmer, probably; wetter, most probably; and an abode for living organisms – just maybe.

Curiosity’s tools will drill into the mountain’s layered rocks and zap them with a laser so spectrometers can analyze the powdery particles to determine their composition.

Via SFGate

There’s more to the story than lasers and spectral analysis, including a return to nuclear powered robots, this one has a core of plutonium. Not to mention that Curiosity looks like Johnny Five’s bigger, geekier older brother, but that’s not what fascinates me.

It’s the science fiction that does. Two key elements of this mission remind me directly of Star Wars. The first is the Sky Crane that uses rocket thrusters to lower the robot to the surface of Mars.

Continue reading