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The world of Apollo 8 was in some ways very different than the world in which we find ourselves today; in others, not so much. In 1968 there was war, same as today. Then there was civil strife, same as today. But the men of Apollo were forged in the crucible of the Depression and World War. They were daring and brilliant. They went about their astronaut business with drive and returned from space to pick up where they left off.
I know there are many here who have far more knowledge of the space program than I do. I have the love of Apollo forged by new color televisions and Major Matt Mason, Mattel’s Man in Space. Yet the tiny fraternity of men who traveled to the moon is getting smaller. Last week, Ken Mattingly died. Yesterday, Frank Borman died.
Join Greg and Rob Long as they’re glad to see Elon Musk becoming the largest shareholder of Twitter and they analyze how it will shake up the social media landscape. They also cover the Biden Administration’s decision to rescind the “Remain in Mexico” policy which would more than double the number of illegal immigrants entering America each month. And Vice President Kamala Harris struggles with boilerplate Democrat talking points in an interview with BET, adding to the lengthy list of verbal mishaps that have plagued her term.
Join Jim and Greg as they cheer William Shatner for going to space and the private sector space industry for their amazing innovation. They also have plenty to say as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggests the media needs to do more to sell the reconciliation bill to the public. And they’re a bit puzzled as GOP California Rep. Michelle Steel reacts to the Pacific Ocean oil leak and the gridlock at our ports by proposing a ban on ships idling off the southern California coast.
Yesterday was the start of the Mars Rover Curiosity’s tenth year! Interestingly, in the last 9 years, it has traveled 16.3 miles. A link to the notice is here: Behind The Black Preview Open
…as envisaged in 1950. In Heinlein’s story The Man Who Sold the Moon , the first manned lunar landing is not government-driven. Rather, it is the achievement of entrepreneur/industrialist Delos D Harriman, known to his friends and associates as ‘D.D.” Having long dreamed of going to the moon, he finally decides that the time is […]
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Farouk El-Baz, retired research professor and director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University. They discuss his remarkable, varied, and pioneering career in the sciences, surveying both the heavens and the Earth, and key teachers and scientists who have influenced him. Dr. El-Baz shares what it was like serving as supervisor of Lunar Science Planning for NASA’s Apollo program, and working on the world-changing project of putting a human on the Moon. He describes what the Apollo program needed to know beforehand to map the Moon in order to select the landing site, and the key scientific facts about the Moon that NASA needed to gather to ensure the mission’s ultimate success.
In the second phase of his career in science, Dr. El Baz used remote sensing and space images to explore for groundwater in the largest deserts on Earth. He explains how surveying the Moon informed this work, and the most significant and surprising discoveries he has made with remote sensing. Lastly, they talk about the mathematical and scientific background knowledge that best prepares students for careers in STEM fields.
Eli Dourado, a senior research fellow at Utah State University, joins Brian Anderson to debunk myths about the great stagnation, discuss new technologies that are on the precipice of unleashing growth, and detail the regulatory strictures and complacency that stand in their way.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8 There is much to unpack in this verse, and I am not about to try to unpack it here. The only […]
Here’s an updated version of a piece I originally published on Election Day. Since Presidents set policy directions for agencies like NASA, and Congress is tasked with funding these institutions, citizens should be informed about these programs and some history behind previous space policy decisions. Read on below for a brief, non-partisan look at Presidential policies […]
Space has been through several periods of rapid growth alternating with stagnation. Sputnik I through Apollo 11 was a rocket ride, figuratively as well as literally. The rest of the 1970s was flat, followed by growth spurts and flat spells during the Shuttle and ISS programs. Since the Shuttle stopped flying, until this year space seemed stuck on stop. Suddenly things are moving again, rapidly.
“America’s New Destiny in Space” by Glenn Harlan Reynolds explains what is happening and why. He asserts we are entering the third and greatest phase of space exploration and development. Today’s apparent sudden space growth spurt is not really sudden. It began nearly a decade ago, around the time the Shuttle program ended
Reynolds identifies trends. He divides space development into three phases. The visionary phase (as imagined by Verne, Tsiolkovsky, and Goddard) defined space’s potential. This was followed by the command-economy phase (run by government space agencies like NASA and Kosmicheskaya). This phase provided massive muscle growth in space. Yet like a muscle-builder on steroids, command-economy spaceflight ultimately yielded sterility and lacked flexibility. The sustainable phase (SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, et. al.) is the payoff. This phase is where spaceflight that generates enough economic value to pay its own way. Reynolds asserts we have entered the sustainable phase.
If there are any fellow space nerds in the house, then you probably already know about the treat this evening’s sky will hold for us. I know where I’ll be hanging out — tonight and next Tuesday. https://mars.nasa.gov/all-about-mars/night-sky/close-approach/ Preview Open
“Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.” – Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
On October 4, 1957, humans placed the first artificial satellite into Earth orbit. Sputnik I’s “beep, beep, beep,” was opening fanfare for the Space Age. Within a dozen years a man was walking on the Moon’s surface.
Today I talk to my friend Brandon Weichert about his tract for the times, Winning Space. Brandon’s gone from staff in Congress to the Institute of World Politics to Oxford for his grad studies and has emerged as the leading young advocate for what Trump called the US Space Force. We talk about America’s shocking satellite vulnerabilities, competition with China in space, and the nationalism required to deal with emerging technologies that will change our world.
Only in the Age of Foolishness (our current age) would you see a headline like the following: “Billionaires could leave Earth behind for space colony as climate collapses.”
This comically preposterous headline, which sounds like something from some stinkaroo sci-fi flick, begs a very serious question; and no, not one about the climate or the technological feasibility of a space colony. Those pale in comparison to the more trenchant question, which is: If an incredibly wealthy person really believes that the climate is in danger of “collapse,” and collapsing so bad that the only way to survive is by leaving the planet, how is it possible that such a person could ever have been smart enough to make a billion dollars in the first place?
I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review Prominent engineer helps change engineering world By MARK LARDAS Preview Open
This month marks the 57th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world dangerously close to thermonuclear war. Several years ago, I read Rockets and People, the totally fascinating memoir of Soviet rocket developer Boris Chertok, which I reviewed here. Chertok’s career encompassed both military and space-exploration projects, and in late October 1962 he was focused on preparations for launching a Mars probe. On the morning of Oct 27, he was awakened by “a strange uneasiness.” After a quick breakfast, he headed for the missile assembly building, known as the MIK.
At the gatehouse, there was usually a lone soldier on duty who would give my pass a cursory glance. Now suddenly I saw a group of soldiers wielding sub-machine guns, and they thoroughly scrutinized my pass. Finally they admitted me to the facility grounds and there, to my surprise, I again saw sub-machine-gun-wielding soldiers who had climbed up the fire escape to the roof of the MIK. Other groups of soldiers in full combat gear, even wearing gas masks, were running about the periphery of the secure area. When I stopped in at the MIK, I immediately saw that the “duty” R-7A combat missile, which had always been covered and standing up against the wall, which we had always ignored, was uncovered.
October 4, the 62nd anniversary of the Sputnik satellite launch, is a good day for a review of Boris Chertok’s great memoir, Rockets and People. Chertok’s career in the Soviet aerospace industry spanned many decades, encompassing both space exploration and military missile programs. His four-volume memoir is an unusual document–partly, it reads like a high […]
“This is really important. I need this at the top of your list.”
The boss-man looks haggard. He’s definitely not been getting enough sleep. And, judging by the look in his eye, he knows exactly how silly of a request he’s making. He’s still gotta make it. He and I aren’t the only ones on this call, and the boss-man has boss-men of his own to appease. That’s life.
I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review ‘Destination Moon’ a fresh take on telling the story By MARK […]