Commercial space programs, Hype and Reality

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Before I even start I want to express pride in what these Hopeful Commercial Space programs have accomplished so far and hope to achieve in the future. That being said we need to keep in mind what these organizations are realistically doing to provide functional, dependable manned space service.
Hype
The billionaire Richard Bransons space travel venture Virgin Galactic, has planned to order five more spaceships and aims to turn a profit in five years from its commercial start in 2010. As to whether this will happen remains to be seen. The program has become the favorite of most news and space enthusiasts due to the personality following of Richard Branson and the success of SpaceShipOne in reaching suborbital flight. Something to be rightfully proud.
However with plans for SpaceShipTwo and its five ships what are we really looking at? Continue reading

Mars rover Opportunity discovers gypsum

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has found bright veins of a mineral, apparently gypsum, deposited by water. Analysis of the vein will help improve understanding of the history of wet environments on Mars.
“This tells a slam-dunk story that water flowed through underground fractures in the rock,” said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for Opportunity. “This stuff is a fairly pure chemical deposit that formed in place right where we see it. That can’t be said for other gypsum seen on Mars or for other water-related minerals Opportunity has found. It’s not uncommon on Earth, but on Mars, it’s the kind of thing that makes geologists jump out of their chairs.”
The latest findings by Opportunity were presented Wednesday at the American Geophysical Union’s conference in San Francisco.
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The selling out of the Mythbusters

The Discovery Channel has be dropping in quality for several years now. This isn’t telling anybody anything they don’t already know. The “dumbing down” of the U.S. has been in full swing for over a decade. That being said, the Discovery show I most hate seeing slowly ruined is Mythbusters. From the first episode I was hooked. The Mythbusters were the dream team, conclusively answering these questions that I had wondered for years. I read about certain myths and stories but actually seeing someone on TV attempt to do the experiments brought my curiosity to a whole new level. Watching the process of trial and error of scientific experimentation that Adam and Jaime go through was fascinating: the frustration, the heartaches, the disagreements and the victories. Also Adam and Jaime are fascinating people and I love reading interviews with them (especially Adam). The chemistry between them is another reason why I loved watching the show. Sadly as the seasons have pass the show and the hosts became a shell of what they once were and is why I believe that my favorite show has been sold out.

Something happened around season 4 to season 5….

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Curiosity prepares to take flight


NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory is tucked inside its Atlas V rocket, ready for launch on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch period for the mission extends through Dec. 18.

The spacecraft, which will arrive at Mars in August 2012, is equipped with the most advanced rover ever to land on another planet. Named Curiosity, the rover will investigate whether the landing region has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life, and favorable for preserving clues about whether life existed.

If the spacecraft lifts off at the start of the launch window on Nov. 26, the following milestones are anticipated. Times would vary for other launch times and dates.
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Einstein beat by neutrinos?


Physicists working in a lab under a mountain in Italy have been getting some truly extraordinary results. For the past three years, they have been recording the arrival times of neutrinos sent by the Cern particle physics laboratory 730km away, and their data suggest the subatomic particles are travelling through the Earth faster than the speed of light.
If this finding can be verified, it would mean Einstein’s famous declaration that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum is wrong. The laws of physics as we know them state that information cannot be communicated faster than the speed of light. What’s going on?
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