Space


Embiggen it!

…maybe.  Actually, in many way, not habitable for us, in all likelihood.

Gilese 581g orbits a red dwarf 20 light years away and is tidally locked (or close to it),which would create sharp environmental zones ranging from 160 to -30F, depending on which side of the planet you were on.  The terminator — the area of twilight on the planet — would be most livable…if you’re Eskimo or Norwegian, maybe, with a balmy -10 to 20 degree F climate.  It’s three times the size of Earth, and if the composition is right, might not have devastatingly high gravity and should be able to hold an atmosphere.

Buy your ticket now!

From effects artist Simon Terrey…

I’ve been trying to find a way to make this funny…but I’m just too damned gobsmacked to pull it off…

The Chandra X-Ray telescope is being used to study galaxy clusters and their possibly effects on the behavior of gravity.  Instead of making the universe 80% dark matter (aka “fudge figure”)  several of the theories are trying to modify general relativity

Just a little more to the Armstrong/Aldrin dustup on the current state of affairs in the space program:  Government General Motors is building the unimaginatively named R2 android for use in space exploration missions. I personally don’t see a problem with smarter, better robotic vanguards for space exploration — they’ve done sterling service for half a century.  But GM? No quality control issues there…and could they have done a better job with the design?  The fake spacesuited man design is awful.

Hot Air has a piece here on how the Apollo 11 astronauts are viewing the decision to cancel the Constellation program a bit differently.  Armstrong is deriding the president’s decision to close out the massively expensive program, while Aldrin is supporting the decision.  Like me, Aldrin thinks the future of space travel rests with the private sector.

Of course, considering the damage being done to the private sector by government policy for the last year, I think Aldrin might be a bit more optimistic about the prospects than is realistic.  (Although we’ll have a lovely spaceport a few hours south of here, if they finish it.)

NASA is a badly managed agency with serious aversion to physical and public relations risks.  They are underfunded for their visions, often because of their connections to the “bilk them dry” military contractor industry.  While they do good science with drones and robotic explorers, their manned mission future is doubtful.

The public sector is much more likely to do the job on the cheap, but they will need a reason to go to space:  profit.  The space tourism industry is a good addition to the massive telecommunications satellite business, but it probably won’t be enough to get us to the moon or Mars.  And I doubt it’ll be an American company that does it, at this rate.

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