News Across the Universe

Apologies for the lack of posts the past few days, but here’s a round-up across the Universe (and the world wide web) of some of the latest and best space news. Above, watch a video about the site being chosen for the E-ELT.

Dr. Paul Spudis writes in the Air & Space Blog about the “Four Flavors of Lunar Water.”

Todd Halvorson of Florida interviews Elon Musk of SpaceX about the upcoming launch of the Dragon spacecraft, schedule for May 11.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Charlie Bolden is taking flack for proposing a generous retirement plan for astronauts.

The SciGuy, Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle interviews Jeffrey Manber, CEO of MirCorp who says NASA must go commercial or it will perish.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory wows again with more spectacular video and Science@NASA describes it as SDO seeing “scorching rain.”

4 Replies to “News Across the Universe”

  1. Re: Wall Street Journal

    Sometimes Gen. Bolden can be a complete goose. He has the right idea about handing over NASA’s repeat business to the commercial sector, but with respect to driving for generous lifetime benefits for himself, other astronauts and their spouses…tsk tsk. Astronauts are just the public face of team of many hundreds of dedicated professionals. Rocket jockeys get additional recognition by making the history pages but don’t deserve any benefits that aren’t available to the rest of the team.

  2. Dr. Paul Spudis’ blog about water on the moon barely scratches the surface of this fantastic finding….

    Finding water on the Moon has got to be the biggest and best news ever for human space exploration! Unfortunately it has not made much of an impact on the public or in the mainstream news media outlets. Don’t they ‘get it’? Water on the moon has the potential of opening up the whole solar system to us! We should be RUNNING, not walking, back to the moon! We should invest heavily and start building the robotics for exploration and mining on Luna! WHERE are the visionaries? Have we been so corrupted by corporate greed and short term profits as to forget our destiny? WHO bought that right?

    Thank the heavens for men like Elan Musk… who DO see the potential!

    Retirement plans for astronauts? Consider the risk, consider the possible radiation damage done to the body while traveling thru space. Think about the long hours, weeks, months and YEARS it takes to become an astronaut! I’d much rather reward those brave individuals than any Wall Street flake – whose soul ambition is taking food from the mouth’s of babies in the name of profit or stealing the life savings of our elderly! The bastards….

    Commercial space is a no brainer – think paradigm change!

    Thanks for catching up UT! And P.S. don’t forget to take a break once in a while to go out to smell the flowers!

  3. There is some truth that astronauts are exposed to radiation in space. Consider the relative data.

    100 mrem/year Walking around a city at street level
    200 mrem/year Airline Flight Crew
    400 mrem/event Barium Enema
    700 mrem/event CT Scan (Chest)

    ~433 mrem/mission Shuttle (Average Skin Dose)

    For orbits at 250 – 300 km at 65 degree inclinations to the equator, astronauts get about 10 millirads/day (“Foundations of Space Biology and Medicine” NASA SP-374 Volume II 1975). Passes through the Van Allen radiation belts give you 10 – 20 rads/hour but most manned flights avoid them, and passages through them last about 10 – 20 minutes.

    Astronauts are retired from the ISS program before their accumulative exposure to radiation becomes hazardous.

    Service men and women in Afghanistan are just as dedicated and at far greater risk than astronauts, so on this basis, give astronauts a medal and a one-off bonus. The money saved on lifetime benefits is better spent on developing radiation protection systems and Mr Bolden, while an improvement on Mr Griffin, can still go bite himself for trying to fill his pockets. 🙂

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