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: The Door Opens

Well. That’s some big news.
Mars has liquid water.
It’s been long suspected, watching the changing striations over the years, and sensing what seems to be material of the proper density just under much of the service. But real chemstry showing the action of liquid water… that is truly the operational door that any future crewed Martian missions would need to walk through to do just about anything of real value.

You need plastic, water has the hydrogen.

You need working fluid for machining operations. Water works pretty well as a base.

Fuel’s the thing? Hydrogen and Oxygen split pretty simply.

Food? Water feeds plants and animals both. Mars already has carbon for proteins and carbohydrates.

Something to drink? Water, right?

You’re fond of breathing? Oxygen again.

This announcement today has been on the tip of our scientific tongues for decades, and now it can be spoken of confidently. It will take a bit for this to filter through current events, and for it to sink in with mission planners and policy makers. But it will.

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. 

A Bolt Out of the Blue (Origin)

I am not the only person in the space commentary community to have missed this flight test, but kudos to Blue Origin. They got half of what they wanted (capsule recovery yes, fly-back booster lost) and that’s very encouraging. Getting those fly-back boosters to work is proving more difficult than expected, I think, but now there is a second company joining SpaceX in developing the technique.

Blue Origin New Shepard First Flight

Science: Disciplines Collide to Discover Warp Fields?

h/t to MarsBlog

Based on information here:

http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/04/nasa-may-have-accidentally-developed-a-warp-drive/

And more in-depth technical discussion here:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36313.1860

It seems that work at Johnson Space Center (JSC) on an EmDrive, where microwaves are used to create thrust, may be generating warp bubbles. There is more work to be done to confirm the consistency of the results in a vacuum, but if it is real, wow. Just wow. Even small warp fields would be astounding to find so early in the field of warp science, and would absolutely belie the assumptions on energy densities required to create a spacewarp drive.

Stay tuned…

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