When criticism of a trend is not criticism of a project. There is the micro and the macro, the one down at the nuts and bolts, hardware I would see up close and lay my hands on, the other a view from 100,000 feet. Zoomed in, nose at the nitty gritty, there’s a drawing, a … Continue reading The nuts and bolts vs. NASA budgets
Space benefits, stem cells, and why we’re just getting started
Early September saw some good news in the space sector, but not of the usual sort that quickly goes viral. The University of California San Diego received a gift of $150M to fund the Sanford Stem Cell Institute. Their valuable work with stem cells already includes years of research in Earth orbit. Yet news like … Continue reading Space benefits, stem cells, and why we’re just getting started
Is this now?
Saying the universe is vast is an understatement, though it sounds better than saying we have no idea about the nature or extent of everything we have no idea about. These are not your project’s unknown unknowns. This is where words fail. Recently, NASA revealed the first images from its James Webb Space Telescope. If … Continue reading Is this now?
Inflation, NASA’s budget, and ambition
Inflation is a hot topic in the news of late. This is to be expected when daily experience brings a far-off abstraction home for a visit. Also unsurprisingly, this phenom happens more so when the news is terrible. A price dropping is fodder for a moment of amazement, good company with a happy grin about … Continue reading Inflation, NASA’s budget, and ambition
NASA – join the club?
Groucho Marx famously said, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." Here the search for where you belong is not just a horizon you can never reach, but one you don't want to. As the world changes around NASA, there is no lack of similar questioning – what is … Continue reading NASA – join the club?
A book review – “XX” by Rian Hughes
I ordered a book 972 pages long - by mistake. The heft was intimidating, yet it was so enjoyable it is among my fastest reads in recent years. At its heart, "XX – a Novel, Graphic" by Rian Hughes is a book about ideas, but these are as real and solid as ourselves and our … Continue reading A book review – “XX” by Rian Hughes
Unburying the lede
The idea: How each step we explore beyond Earth can only happen if the previous step gets cheaper. I must back-track and unbury the lede from my previous post. Especially as we start the new year and NASA's budget continues at 2021 levels for 2022 (in beltway-talk, congress passed a "continuing resolution.") This idea, in the … Continue reading Unburying the lede
“In the end…”
Once again, it was that meeting, the one with the drone of presenter, questions, or occasional speech posing as a question, set to repeat mode. On cue, add the light-hearted tangent every forty-two minutes. We would cover issues and risks and endless lists, the former already happening, the later possible. Also, as expected, the wrap … Continue reading “In the end…”
Commercial space stations and NASA savings – would you like to do the math?
I'd like to do the math. One day, years from now but seeming too soon, the International Space Station will come to an end. But this ending will also be a story about beginnings. NASA having led the way, learning to live and work in space, others will follow, building on what was learned. If … Continue reading Commercial space stations and NASA savings – would you like to do the math?
Natural and Artificial Flavors Added
The label read, "Natural and Artificial Flavors Added." So, I put it back. Artificial, we've been told, is just not good for you. We are almost at the same place with artificial intelligence. Alarm bells go off there as well, except in the form of Nobel laureates prognosticating about the dangers of A.I. There are … Continue reading Natural and Artificial Flavors Added
The valley of death
We knew the valley of death was up ahead, as we had been there many times before. Most wouldn’t make it. Well, to be truthful, we knew nearly none would make it. The valley of death was not a place though, so much as a phase. Wild ideas, new technology and all those exciting, innovative … Continue reading The valley of death
It’s not what it looks like – the cost of ISS per year
There is an oddity to the International Space Station, its name – a station. On Earth this would be fine, a station, as in stationary, not moving. In space though “station” is a bit of a misnomer for a facility going once around the Earth every 90 minutes and traveling 15,500 miles per hour. Pictures, … Continue reading It’s not what it looks like – the cost of ISS per year
I’m with the AI, and I’m here to help
The same human who helped create the AI had only one task at this moment, move the stone to its place on the board as the AI instructed. The move would seem to be a bad move, except later when it seemed the AI was playing in a way we humans could learn from. This … Continue reading I’m with the AI, and I’m here to help
X-33 – the middle path?
I was walking under a beached whale, and inside it, and around, the dangling entrails smacking me in the face, an amateur mistake on my part. I should have known how to move carefully around flight hardware. It was early 1999 and the X-33 was taking shape. With its internal rib-like frame, and more platforms … Continue reading X-33 – the middle path?
There is a temptation to check off “sustainable” as a project feature merely because it appears likely to persist. Rather than this semi-circular definition, grappling with what is truly sustainable can move sideways. For one, sustainable space exploration and development can move to a measurable engineering feature - reusability. How much of something is reusable? … Continue reading Reusability, priceless.