Aerospace ScienceThe study of air and space flight, astronomy and the effect of flight on living organisms
We seem to be in one of those periods in which basic reasons for doing what we do as a nation are called into question.
September 17, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Part III: Resource Utilization Considerations In Part I and Part II of this series, I examined some of the operational and scientific issues associated with a human mission to a near Earth asteroid (NEO) and contrasted them with the simpler operations and greater scientific return of a mission to the Moon. To continue the discussion [...]
September 02, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Part II: Scientific Considerations In my last post, I examined some of the operational considerations associated with a human mission to a near Earth asteroid and how it contrasted with the simpler, easier operations of lunar return. Here, I want to consider what we might do at this destination by focusing on the scientific activities [...]
September 01, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Unmanned aerial vehicles redefine the term "nonstop flight."
September 2011 | By Michael Milstein
Part I: Operational Considerations The current controversy over the direction of our national space program has many dimensions but most of the discourse has focused on the means (government vs. commercial launch vehicles) not the ends (destinations and activities). Near-Earth objects (NEO, i.e., asteroids) became the next destination for human exploration as an alternative to [...]
August 31, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
According to computer modeling by NASA’s QuakeSim project, Tuesday’s 5.8-magnitude earthquake in central Virginia moved the city of Washington D.C. a whopping 0.02 inches “to the northwest and downward.” The small town of Mineral, near the quake’s epicenter, shifted about 2.8 inches.
August 25, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
A recent paper suggests that early in the history of the Solar System, two sub-moons collided to create Earth’s present-day Moon. Several people have asked for my opinion on this new concept, so I will examine how this result was obtained, along with some general remarks on the nature of modern scientific research. Over 25 [...]
August 18, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
The flood of new data from the Moon continues to enlighten and puzzle lunar scientists. Members of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team have noticed an unusual landform on the far side of the Moon that was as unexpected as it might be significant. We’ve known for many years that early in its history, the [...]
August 03, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Scientists unveiled the first full closeup of the asteroid Vesta today. The picture, stitched together from frames taken by the Dawn spacecraft from a distance of 3,200 miles on July 24, shows mysterious parallel grooves around the asteroid’s middle, which may have formed when Vesta contracted, then expanded after a giant impact early in its [...]
August 01, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
In the 1950s, engineers at Cleveland's brand-new supersonic wind tunnel battled shock waves, unstarts, and the local power company.
August 2011 | By Jeremy Davis
Recently deceased John H. Marburger, former Science Advisor to President George W. Bush and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, had a long and distinguished career as a scientist, an administrator and public servant. I knew him through his advocacy and involvement in the development of the Vision for Space [...]
July 30, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
After four years of spiraling out from Earth, the Dawn spacecraft closes in on its first target.
July 2011 | By Tom Jones
The Dawn spacecraft continues to close in on Vesta, one of the last unexplored objects of appreciable size between here and Pluto. Dawn is expected to go into orbit around the asteroid on July 16. This is how Vesta looked in the navigation camera view as of June 20, when Dawn was 117,000 miles away. [...]
June 24, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
“Now is the winter of our discontent” – Richard III, Act 1, scene 1 There is a good piece in today’s Telegraph UK by David Robson of a fateful one-hundredth anniversary – the Midwinter Dinner — June 22, 1911 held in Robert Falcon Scott’s Ross Island hut. A year earlier, Scott and the crew of [...]
June 21, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
The last time we looked in on the European comet-chaser Rosetta, the spacecraft was still years away from its destination. Well, it’s still years away—three to be precise. And it just went into hibernation. But before going to sleep, Rosetta took this first, very long-distance picture of its target: comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Not much to look [...]
June 08, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
At the recent International Space Development Conference in Huntsville, Augustine committee member and CEO of XCOR Aerospace Jeff Greason gave a talk on the goals of human spaceflight. While he discussed many things that I agree with (in particular, making the use of off-planet resources a high priority), one idea in particular stood out. Greason [...]
June 03, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s special address to Congress – a request for supplemental appropriation for a variety of projects but most famously remembered for the announcement of his Man-Moon-Decade goal of Project Apollo. That event, cited by space advocates and excerpted in space and history documentaries, is remembered as [...]
May 24, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Apollo 17 Commander Eugene Cernan recently voiced his doubts and concerns over the future of the human spaceflight program, while former Lockheed-Martin CEO Norman Augustine reflected on the current state of our space “vision” and/or the possible lack thereof. I found these perspectives by two gia...
May 04, 2011 | By Paul D. Spudis
Late in 2014, a radically different type of rocket propulsion is set to show up on the International Space station for a period of experimentation.The technology is called the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR). It's a rocket engine that uses electricity to ionize a gas such as...
May 02, 2011 | By Mike Klesius
The year we were born.
May 2011 | By Paul Hoversten