Category Archives: Astrosociology

Kindred Spirits – Space Nation

Kindred Spirits – Space Nation

I ran across a new organization out there, Space Nation, who has the noble goal of creating the largest space discovery community on the planet. Their belief statement reads thus:

We believe that Astronaut skills are life skills. Using a range of space experiences to connect everyday life to space, and space to everyday life, we’re motivating and enabling discovery of space skills for 21st Century Space Travelers.

We believe that expansion to space is a key moment in human evolution that brings new perspectives, unity and tangible benefits to humanity, the Earth and worlds we have yet to discover.”

To those of us on the Outbound journey, this sounds incredibly familiar.

Frankly, it’s exciting to peruse their website, and see the sorts of things they’re delving into. In particular, they are working on what they call the Space Nation Astronaut Program (SNAP). This program kicks off in February of 2018, including a new smartphone app that guides the program participants as they work their way forward, culminating in a possible free flight into space for the top performer! This is a bit if genius where they offer free training towards an astronaut skillset and way of thinking, under the concept that astronaut qualities are excellent qualities for life in general. As per the Outbound motto, “We Live and Work In Space”, Space Nation’s philosophy aligns so very well with our own.

I’ve signed up for their “Space Station Orbit” newsletter and also for the SNAP, and I have to say, I am excited to see what begins to develop two months from now.

The Weird, Ugly Side of Space Politics

Keith Cowing at NASAWatch seems offended by this image:

Lockheed Martin Orion Spacecraft in Martian Orbit

#JourneyToMars Facebook hype from @LockheedMartin As if Orion with only a service module will be in Mars orbit

Here’s a bit of SpaceX concept art that is essentially the same as the CowingSnark is concerned about:

Dragon entering the Martian Atmosphere - Elon Musk Instagram Concept Art

It’s rather GOOD concept art, and I can see why Elon Musk published it on Instagram. Can we NOT poke at concept art? That seems incredibly picky, perhaps even petty.

Nuclear Aftermath – Future Studies for the Really Hardcore Student

There is a recent article by Steven Starr over at the Federation of American Scientists, bemoaning yet again the futility of surviving Nuclear War. Suffice it to say, even after a long heritage of debunking nuclear winter, there is always a subject matter expert willing to re-approach the concept.

What does this have to do with Outbound’s mission, you ask? Simply put, with recent geopolitical events as they are and continue to develop, we face a renewed and increased chance that a nuclear exchange is in our future. Perhaps our near future. Despite the horror that promises, the likelihood of human extinction from that event is not high, but it will set back human civilization. How far back is primarily driven by how prepared we are to recover from the event. Pre-emptively surrendering humanity’s future isn’t the best strategy.

Imagine all the people that will be asking themselves: “Aren’t I supposed to be dead? What do I do now?”

Hopefully, WWIII will be averted. If it isn’t though, we’ll be better served both on Earth and beyond by being prepared to weather the (fire)storm. As a reference, here is some excellent information on doing just that:

The Good News About Nuclear Destruction

And in addition to plans to survive a nuclear war on Earth, a faster implementation of space settlement (a la Outbound) removes at least some humans from the stupidity, and allows them to continue advancing our race while the Earth recovers.

Mars Underground and Grumpy

In my continued theme of interesting YouTube wanderings, I’ve run across this video:

The Mars Underground

It describes the history of the Mars Society and the Mars Direct mission. Again, I wouldn’t recommend this unless I really enjoyed watching it, which I did. However, I have come to the definite conclusion that Robert Zubrin is one bitter guy. I hope he can find a way to shed his attitude, and stow the chip on his shoulder somewhere far from his reach. I think he is really a (frustrated) genius, and would move with more freedom and be better regarded without his acerbic tone.

For Diehard Space Geeks

This is a really great bunch of film history of the original astronauts from Mercury through Apollo. The restoration of these candid shots is wonderful, and for those of us who like to see space nostalgia walking and talking, it’s quite a sight. And yes, the background audio is not linked to the video, it’s a media presentation of what I understand was the third group of astronaut selectees. Enjoy!

The Lost Archives: NASA’s Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo Missions

Hey! An Area of Investigation for Outbound

One of the dual-purpose areas of interest for us is the blending of space development with terrestrial benefits. Not ancillary spinoffs, but really conscious efforts to make space technology directly applicable to earthly needs and desires.

NASA has offered a prize challenge here

Challenge I

for coming up with ways to use Martian materials for either textile production or for building structures. Outbound is particularly interested in building efficient and technologically advanced living and working buildings, so this is a pretty good fit. I think we’ll take a closer look at this challenge and work to submit a proposal.

So, About Plans, Mice, Men

Sigh. I had started this year strong, with every intention of averaging a post a day (or better) here. Obviously, I’ve gone off the path for that.

I have an out though: I said average.

This means that I have to post a lot more to get my average up, so I have my work cut out for me. And I certainly don’t want to just post junk, either. Then again, there is so much going on that good topics litter the ground these days.

To kick off my sprint to catch up with my plan, here’s the article that kicked me in the rear to get cranking again:

Get 1% Better Every Day: The Kaizen Way to Self-Improvement

Mars Study – Oldie But Goodie

Robert Zubrin’s The Case For Mars (TCM) has been in publication for a couple of decades now, and is a seminal work in the space advocacy genre. Really, it shares space next to weighty volumes like those from Carl Sagan and Gerard K. O’Neill.

It has occurred to me more than once that it would be useful to design an academic course around such books, with TCM as the main reference in this case.  So, that’s what I’m going to embark on now. I’ve just picked up the newest edition and will give it as solid an evaluation as I  can and start generating course materials. 

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