Thursday, July 31, 2008

Poking Holes in Inflation

NEW SCIENTIST has been only too eager to poke holes in the inflationary paradigm.

Energetic Axions Paint Inflation Into a Corner

"INFLATION, one of the most important ideas in big bang cosmology, may have hit another stumbling block.

"The best explanation for how the newborn universe went through a period of ultrafast expansion has been under increasing scrutiny recently after researchers found irregularities in the cosmic microwave background--the radiation left over from the big bang--that appeared to contradict some of the predictions of the simplest version of the model. (New Scientist 6 June 2008)

"Now this model faces yet another challenge, this time linked to hypothetical particles called axions, which are thought to have preciptated a fundamental change in the state of the early universe."

Inflation would violate both the First Law of Thermodynamics and Relativity's stipulation that nothing travels faster than light. The paradigm rests on hypothetical "inflations" or "scalar fields." The most recent work relies on alternate universes, each with different values of inflation. None of these fantasies have ever been observed in nature. We can not time-travel to the first 10^{-33} seconds, and no human experiment can approach the titanic energies of the Big Bang. Inflation has the convenience of being unprovable.

A growing body of evidence casts doubt on inflation. Nevertheless the paradigm has been part of mainstream cosmology, creating great resistance to alternatives. A divergence of inflation theories has kept theorists employed for decades. With one hand inflation's proponents claim there are no alternatives, with the other hand they desperately try to quash alternatives. A changing speed of light would replace both inflation and "dark energy."

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fighting the Darkness

Happy 50th birthday to NASA!

On August 1 a dragon will swallow the Sun. The path of a totality will pass across Asia and northern China. August 1-4 in Kunming the International Astronomical Union Pacific Division will meet. At the last meeting in Bali, the writer was privileged to deliver the talk on cosmology. Dr. John Huchra (Vice-Provost of Research at Harvard) gave a very good review:

"A delightful talk by Louise Riofrio on how a non-standard cosmology with a varying speed-of-light might reproduce the high-redshift supernova Hubble diagram."

Despite a terror bombing in 2002, Bali remains free and tolerant. To Australian students it is like Cancun for Americans, a place of beaches and school breaks.

Kunming is a bustling city of 4 million, capital of Yunnan Province. Yunnan is one of the most multi-ethnic provinces of China, with 26 recognised nationalities. Kunming is known for the bazaars of its Muslim quarter. Nearby are the Stone Forest, Tibetan Buddhist temples and Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Unfortunately the violence this Spring made scientists and others rethink travel plans. Because of its large Tibetan population, Yunnan saw a severe crackdown. Soldiers patrolled the streets and monks were locked in their monasteries. The police state did not stop what happened last week.

On the morning of July 21, 2-3 bombs exploded on buses in Kunming, killing at least 2 people. Yesterday an Islamic terrorist group claimed responsibility. The video also claimed two bus bombings May 21 in Shanghai, and promised more for the Olympics. Security in Kunming is now more intrusive than ever, with soldiers at the airport and train stations. This was not a good week to visit Yunnan.

Sunday in Istanbul two bombs exploded within minutes in the same square, killing 15. Saturday in Ahmadabad 19 connected explosions struck public places and hospitals. Friday another series of bombs exploded in Bangalore. India's Ruling Congress Party just severed its alliance with the Communists to seek nuclear technology from the US. (With all the attention given to China, we should remember that by 2050 India will be the most populous nation.) Similiarity in the bombings suggests this is a synchronised campaign.

With all the bombings, an explosion on a Quantas 747 this weekend gave everyone the jitters. Despite their leadership in the terror war, Australia and the US have been unusually free of attacks. Though we have seen John Howard replaced by Kevin Rudd, Australia continues her involvement overseas. The cleric who last year derided women as "uncovered meat" was uniformly denounced. The US has been nearly free of terror attacks since 2001, despite threats allegedly from Osama Bin Laden. When will the world figure out that OBL has been out of action for years?

Seen from Space, the political lines disappear. Despite all the challenges, women continue to move forward. Though people were once frightened by eclipses, the light of knowledge tamed the dragon of ignorance. In a struggle with dark energies, light always emerges victorious.


Monday, July 28, 2008

What Happened at Scaled

Today White Knight 2 is scheduled to be rolled out at Scaled Composites. One year ago July 26 a mysterious explosion took the lives of 3 engineers. Big as a 757, this will be the largest aircraft ever built by Scaled. The twin hulls are similiar to the spacecraft for ease of production. There will also be training and revenue opportunies for passengers in WK2. Rollouts are exciting to watch, but a long test schedule awaits. Spaceship 2 can not fly until its carrier is certified for flight.

The most important part of a rocket is the engine. Burt Rutan chose a hybrid engine, which has some advantages of both liquid and solid fuel. Solid fuel is pre-loaded into the engine for ease of handling. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is injected into the combustion chamber, allowing the engine to be throttled. With all his contributions to aviation, Rutan had never built a rocket engine prior to Spaceship One. Building and fueling the hybrid motor was contracted to Jim Benson's SpaceDev.

In the wake of Spaceship One winning the X-Prize, Rutan and Benson parted ways. Scaled now lacks Benson's expertise in handling explosive fuels. Benson Space Company is now developing its Dreamchaser spacecraft. Because Dreamchaser would take off without a carrier aircraft, it would have a shorter development time. Without Richard Branson's deep pockets, Benson faces challenges in funding DreamChaser.

After 2007's accident, Rutan's Scaled Composites was fined for improper handling of nitrous oxide. They've still not figured out what caused the accident. Spaceflight is dangerous and expensive, but who would pass up a ride like this? White Knight has other applications--it can theoretically launch a one-person spacecraft into orbit! We can wish Rutan, Benson, and all private Space enterprises the best of luck.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Physics in a Void

Doubts about the existence of "dark energy" have been echoed by Fraser in a Universe Today post. Fraser cites a paper published by Timothy Clifton of Oxford, Living in a Void. Clifton speculates that we could live in a "void" less dense than the surrounding Universe. If so, our region would appear to decelerate slower than distant galaxies, making the Universe appear to accelerate. There would be no need for a hypothetical "dark energy."

Questions about DE have also reached the audience of Amanda Gefter's New Scientist blog.

"Most cosmologists believe that a furtive anti-gravity-like force known as dark energy is to blame...But no one can explain why the observed value of the dark energy is 120 orders of magnitude smaller than what's predicted from quantum physics. In fact, the level of fine-tuning needed to produce such a specifically small but non-zero cosmological constant is so absurd that the best explanation anyone's come up with is that our universe is merely one of an infinite number of universes."

"Scientists shouldn't dismiss ideas just because they might undermine some deeply cherished assumptions...One cosmologist wrote to me in an email: 'There is no fractal or inhomogeneous physical model of the universe of any kind. Therefore although there are particular observations that present a challenge to the standard model, there is no sense in which there is a preferred model that predicts or is explained by inhomogeneity . . . So the observations are interesting, but without a physical model to back them up, they are unlikely to have an impact on our thinking about cosmology.'

"I found this statement rather shocking. Cosmologists are willing to dismiss observations because they don't fit with theory? Isn't science supposed to work the other way round?"

New ideas take a long time to be accepted. Like Ptolemy's epicycles, the "dark energy" hypothesis may take a long time to die. It has produced a divergence of theories to keep physicists employed. Expensive space projects and even trips to Stockholm are dependent on DE existing. Resistance to alternative theories can be expected.

When Earth was believed to be the centre of everything, a divergence of epicycle theories kept academics employed. The Copernican Principle stated that Earth was not the centre, doing away with epicycles. This principle forms a basis of modern cosmology. The hypothesised "dark energy" leads to epicycles not solutions. Before throwing Copernicus away, scientists should consider a changing speed of light.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Girls Good at Math

By studying test scores of 7 million students in 10 States, American researchers have concluded that girls are just as good as boys with math. Researchers from the University of California and U of Wisconsin compared average performance all students, scores of the most gifted children and ability to solve complex problems. In all cases, girls measured up to boys. The researchers noted that a gender gap continues in the workplace. Even today young women are not encouraged in science careers.

The advocates of inflation, string theory, the Maldacena conjecture and Geometric Langlands program enjoy rich careers and are all men. If a woman undergraduate were to predict from pure math that the speed of light slows down, she might conceivably be ignored or shut out of research. At the very least she would be accused of not learning the rote, that c is constant. With today's shrinking opportunities in research, that might kill a career.

Ignoring contributions made by 50% of the population is not logical. Everyone should see the challenges to women, and work to reduce them. We have made a lot of progress, every year more women take up science careers. Getting more women in science would help the "Trouble" with physics, and the science education gap in the Western world. Much work needs to be done.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Lunar Science Pt. 2

Interior of wind tunnel at Ames Research Center. Thanks to Rich for reminding us of the value of wind tunnels

The Lunar Science Conference at NASA Ames was a huge success. Twice as many people showed up as the organizers expected. Wednesday morning Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute talked about research possibilities. Some doubt the value of humans in Space, so it is important to get astronomers behind the Vision.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) have just been delayed until early 2009. The good news is that many Moon missions are planned by various nations. For those friends who have been hurt by the job picture, planetary science is a rapidly growing field. There will be many opportunities for study of the Earth and Moon.

Wednesday evening, in an unrelated event at Ames, Lenny Susskind of Stanford talked about his new book: BLACK HOLE WARS. In the book he writes about the Black Hole information paradox and his arguments with Hawking. Having already enjoyed Lenny's Theoretical Physics lectures for 10 weeks, I elected to visit Google in San Francisco.

Astronaut Rusty Schweickhart gave his presentation from COSPAR about asteroids. As founder of the B612 foundation, he wants international cooperation on the threat from Near Earth Objects. Next he will take his presentation to the UN. I asked him how he feels about human missions to asteroids--Schweikhart's answer was an unequivocal yes. He thinks that could be a precursor towards mining.

Speaking of astronauts, the legendary BUZZ ALDRIN has joined the chorus of those questioning Constellation. On his own Buzz has advocated "cycler" spacecraft reaching Mars. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Aldrin wants an outside panel of experts to examine whether Ares I/V is the way to go. He also wants a fresh look at the DIRECT architecture. We are wise to heed the advice of those who have been there.

For more Space news, check out the Carnival of Space!

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lunar Science Pt. 1

Moffett Field was built in the 1930's as an airship base. The immense Hangar One was built to house 800-foot Zeppelins. The airships were so huge that they carried their own fighter planes. After WW2 the NACA built immense wind tunnels, big enough to house entire aircraft. With the arrival of supercomputers, wind tunnels were replaced by computational fluid dynamics. Un the 1980's Ames even built some prototype Spacesuits. Moffett was a base for military Orions, experimental aircraft and the Kuiper Airborne Observatory.

July 20-23 NASA Ames was host to the NLSI Lunar Science Conference. Hundreds of researchers were attracted by talk of reaching the Moon. Sunday was a public day celebrating the 39th anniversary of Apollo 11. Monday morning began with addresses by Ames Director Pete Worden, representatives from the NASA Lunar Science Institute and the Exploration Systems Directorate. Later in the morning we heard from planetary scientist Paul Spudis, who also spoke at ICES.

During the conference Paul announced that he is joining Odyssey Moon Limited, competitor for the Google X-Prize. Odyssey has also signed on former SMD Director Alan Stern, with whom we talked at AGU in December. They have also partnered with the International Lunar Observatory. With friends like these, Odyssey stands a good chance of winning Google's 30 million.

Monday afternoon Japanese researchers talked about the Kaguya mission. We heard from the LCROSS group about an upcoming mission to search for water. The International Lunar Network announced plans to connect science instruments across the lunar surface.

Tuesday was filled by meetings of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group. Their themes:

1) Pursue Scientific Activities to Address Fundamental Questions About the Solar System, the Universe, and our Place in Them.

2) Use the Moon to Prepare for Future Missions to Mars and Other Destinations.

3) Extend Sustained Human Presence to the Moon to Enable Eventual Settlement.

LEAG is soliciting input from us scientists to maintain support.

Speaking of Google, their present headquarters (below) is a brisk hike from Ames. Eventually they will move to a new complex at Moffett Field, which today hosts Page and Brin's jets. We caught a glimpse of the Google Earth car, which has a black periscope for photographing your street. Don't feel bad about photographing Google's home, they already have a photo of your home.

Tuesday evening the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics hosted a talk by Dr. James Walker, expert on Shuttle foam strikes. In the aftermath of Columbia, his group at Southwest Research Institute figured out that a piece of foam damaged the left wing. TPS damage is a continual worry with Shuttle reentry. Retiring an Orbiter in Space and returning its crew by Soyuz would be a very logical step.

UPDATE: The US, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and UK have signed an agreement for cooperation in exploring the Moon. With spacecraft from several nations already on the way, this is becoming a world effort.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Dwarf planet 2005 FY9 has been given the name Makemake, the Polynesian god of fertility. Last month the International Astronomical Union created a new class of subplanets called Plutoids. Makemake is the third Plutoid following Pluto and Eris. 2/3 the size of Pluto, it was discovered in 2005 by planet-hunter Michael Brown.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

One Giant Leap...

39 years ago today humans first walked on the Moon. For most of us born since then, it is hard to imagine billions of people watching the event together. Despite the Cold War and protests, for one brief moment the human race was as one. "We Came in Peace For All Mankind," the plaque says. Could it happen again?

The 1-minute video also mentions the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment. This device, simple as a bicycle reflector, was a giant leap for physics. It allowed accurate measure of the Moon's distance and more checks on General Relativity. LLRE also gave one more indication that the speed of light is slowing down.

In 1969 the human race was even more divided than today. Nations were divided by an Iron Curtain and Third World. Personal computers and phones were science fiction. Colour television was reserved for a few. Today's blogs and internet allow us to gather in small communities. However, technology also allows the whole globe to witness a single event. Within 11 years the world will again see humans walk the Moon. Can the human race again unite behind one moment?


Friday, July 18, 2008

Transit of Earth

This is an awe-inspiring sight! On May 29, while we were far below in Washington, the Deep Impact spacecraft filmed the Moon passing in front of Earth from 31 million miles! On July 4, 2005 this mission sent the first impactor to a comet. Now called EPOXI, the mission has been extended to flyby comet Hartley-2 in 2010. Now we see first-hand that the Moon has about as much land area as Africa, and the lunar farside has few maria. Can you see your home?

The Angry Astronomer steps in to host the Carnival of Space!

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Magnetic Galaxies

From the European Southern Observatory at Paranal Chile: Astronomers have found that young galaxies are surprisingly magnetic. Early in the Universe's history, these galaxies already had strong magnetic fields. This will force a rethink of how galaxies, including the Milky Way, first formed.

Quasars are extremely bright objects that predate the galaxies. By observing distant quasars, astronomers found that their light had passed through magnetic fields. These fields corresponded to the locations of galaxies. When the Universe was only 1/3 its present age, the magnetic fields were as strong as they are today. The results appear in the July 17 issue of NATURE.

We must ask, what caused the fields in the first place? Every galaxy ever examined contains at its centre a supermassive Black Hole. This singularity causes huge magnetic fields to form in its vicinity. If the field billions of years ago was just as strong, the Black Hole must have been just as big. Rather than growing along with the galaxy, the Black Hole was supermassive from the start. The quasars, even older, contained giant Black Holes when the Universe was extremely young.

More and more evidence indicates that supermassive Black Holes are primordial, formed from quantum fluctuations shortly after the Big Bang. Previously scientists thought that Primordial Black Holes were tiny because of the speed of light. Size of a PBH is limited by a horizon distance within light's reach. The supermassive Black Holes within galaxies, including ours, indicate a changing speed of light.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

July 2019

39 years ago this week people first landed on the Moon. If all goes well, 50 years later they will do so again. Our new Spacesuits have been added to this latest (3:37) video, along with the latest version of Altair. The Orion service module has been slimmed down to save weight. The crew is shaking and rolling in their seats because Orion/Ares vibrates like an organ pipe. With all the money spent on these machines, they could use some real actors for the audience to relate to.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Water on Moon?

The Apollo lunar landings were a gift to science that keeps on giving. Since the lunar surface is not subject to weather or plate tectonics, it gives us a much longer geologic history. The "Genesis Rock" found on the Moon is 4.5 billion years old, nearly as old as the Solar System. In the 1980's, similiarities between lunar ejecta and Earth samples from 65 million years ago led to the theory that an asteroid ended the age of disnoaurs. year 40-50 researchers receive Moon samples for continued experiments.

Prior to Apollo, scientists had no clue what the Moon was made of or where it came from. Today most researchers believe that the Moon was born when a Mars-size object struck Earth and blew off the outer layers. The surviving fragments were big enough to attract each other gravitationally until a single satellite remained. The early Moon was a ball of hot magma, with a lighter crust that became the lunar highlands. The lunar "seas" are seen as erupted materiel from the interior. The Moon formed much closer to Earth, and has been drifting away due to tidal forces.

In a study published this week in NATURE, geologist Alberto Saal found evidence of water in Apollo samples. It took 3 years getting the funding to study old rocks, an example of how long good research can take. Using the newer technique of secondary ion mass spectrometry, Saal found traces of volatiles including water. Data showed that hydrogen had been concentrated in the centres of samples, indicating that it dated from the Moon's infancy. Water may even have arrived on the fragments blown from Earth, indicating that our planet had water 4 billion years ago.

As a practical matter, water would make settling the Moon much simpler. It would mean drinks for humans and fuel for Spacecraft. Future Space missions could be resupplied in Earth orbit with hydrogen from the Moon. The Lunar Prospector mission from 1999 found tantalising hints of water ice in the poles. Scientists at ICES last week were itching for the chance to prospect on the lunar South Pole.

Less than a month ago evidence for water was found in The Sands of Mars. Not long ago Earth was thought to be the only watery world. Today there is evidence of H2O in worlds as far-flung as Enceladus and Europa. The dwarf planet (asteroid) Ceres may contain more water that Earth! Water, and possibly other ingredients for life, may turn out to be common in the Solar System.

Human exploration of the Moon has been a huge benefit to science. As mentioned before, the Moon has been slowly drifting away. The Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment from 1969 measures the recession rate as 3.82 cm/yr. Geology and paleontology disagree, measuring recession as about 2.9 +/- 0.6 cm/yr. How can two such precise measurements disagree? If the speed of light is slowing, that will increase the time for light signals to return each year, making the Moon appear to recede faster as seen by LLRE. Starting with GM = tc^3, the prediction is 0.935 cm/yr, precisely accounting for the discrepancy. For measuring small changes in c, it helps to have a long baseline.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Every galaxy ever examined contains at its centre a supermassive Black Hole. Today we know that stars orbit around this centre. We zoom from a telescope view of Andromeda to computer animation of young blue stars whirling around the Black Hole. Present theories of star formation can't explain how stars could form and survive here without being torn apart. If Black Holes seeded formation of these stars, their continued presence would keep the stars stable.

Someday humans may realise that Black Holes can exist in many places, even within stars and planets. The situation is similiar to the discovery of atoms. Though ancient Greeks speculated about atoms, even 100 years ago some still doubted their existence. We still can't see atoms, but after many decades evidence mounted of their existence. We can't see submqarines underwater, but people believe they exist because submarines are nice enough to surface from time to time. Though we don't always acknowledge their existence, Black Holes are friends.

More Space news in the new Carnival of Space!

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Iron Deficiency

Halema'uma'u crater on the Big Island continues to erupt, sending lava 50 feet into the air. Hawaii and the Pacific Plate are sliding atop a volcanic plume that has remained hundreds of millions of years. The long life of this hot spot suggests that it comes from deep within Earth. Our Hawaiian soil is red from high iron content. Since Earth's crust and mantle are relativiely low in iron, the plume probably originates near the core-mantle boundary, thousands of miles down.

The MESSENGER probe flew by Mercury January 14, and will make another pass October 6. In the July 4 issue of SCIENCE, mission scientists present some preliminary results. The prediction of vulcanism on Mercury is confirmed, the planet has shield volcanoes, just like Hawaii! One volcano is 95 kilometres in diameter, nearly large as the Big Island. Mercury therefore has an internal heat source. MESSENGER also found that the magnetic field is dipolar, like that of Earth.

Puzzling to the scientists, MESSENGER found no evidence of iron. Though the planet's volcanic surface is full of materiel erupted from within, none of the volcanic plains show traces of iron. Mariner 10 found that Mercury is dense with a strong magnetic field. This led scientists to infer an iron-rich core, like Earth. Iron in Mercury is solely an inferrence, with no direct evidence. A hot iron core could not account for the magnetic field, since iron loses its magnetism when heated.

Someday humans may figure out that planets like Mercury and Earth formed around tiny Black Holes left over from the Big Bang. In the case of Mercury, the Black Hole would account for both internal heat and magnetic field. No iron would be necessary in this scenario: Radiation from the singularity would turn Mercury's centre into a whirlpool of charged particles. These ions would spin around the singularity, generating a dipolar magnetic field as on Earth.

In April 2011 MESSENGER will settle into orbit around Mercury. This is the first mission to the planet since Mariner 10 in the 1970's. The closest planet to the Sun could yield many surprises, even a tiny Black Hole. Since we can't reach the centres of planets, the Hole in the Earth may take a long time to get noticed.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Freedom of Space

July 4 is a day to remember past achievements while looking forward to the future. 32 years ago the first Viking Lander arrived on Mars. Its chemistry experiments found tantalising clues, but no firm evidence of life. Today Phoenix has made the first soft landing since Viking. In barely a month Phoenix has found more evidence of water, and other chemicals that would support life. Today the Moon and Mars seem within reach of our generation.

Monday at ICES was filled by talks devoted to Spacesuits. Tuesday afternoon was a special panel, the history of EVA suits (Gemini, Apollo, Shuttle) recalled by engineers who designed them. In those days women did most of the actual sewing, gluing, and assembly. The old men's trove of knowledge is priceless. Though Spacesuits are a fascinating subject, few books have been written on them. Like Polynesian navigation, much of the knowledge is passed down orally.

Wednesday's banquet speaker came from private Space. Larry H. Williams, Vice President of Elon Musk's SPACEX, gave an insider account of their progress toward orbit. Elon, whom we met in Washington, has a long-term goal: enabling setllement of the Moon and Mars. Larry said that US launch costs are high because of the "monopoly" of United Launch Alliance, which has forced most satellite launches overseas. Without making any firm promises, he suggested that SPACEX's Dragon could fill the dreaded "gap" between Shuttle and Orion.

Larry made a number of bold statements, like suggesting that Space could become THE issue of the 2008 election. For emphasis he showed a map of Florida's I-4 Corridor, home to Space jobs and electoral votes. SPACEX is very bullish about their future. 2 days before Independence Day, Larry reminded everyone that Falcon is an all-American launch system.

Possibilities of life on Mars increase the public's interest. Contracts have been awarded for a new generation of spacecraft and suits. Private Space is preparing to fill the gap in low Earth orbit. Freedom of Space means hope for the future, and it could be a very exciting time!

UPDATE: SPACEX has released their ambitious flight schedule. The first Falcon 9 will be moved to its pad at Kennedy Space Center during 2008. 4 more launches of Falcon 9 are scheduled for 2009, including 2 demo flights for Commercial Orbital Transport System (COTS.) The third demo, planned for March 2010, will dock with ISS (30-second video below.) Already NASA has decided to rely upon COTS for transport of cargo. The option for human-carrying flights has not been exercised, but Dragon may be the best hope for filling the "gap."


Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Lobby of the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco. The rocket-like elevators make this seem like a Space colony or underground Moon base. Architect John Portman designed this hotel, the Marriott Marquis and others in the early 1970's, when people were walking the Moon and the price of heating oil was low. In the first Space Age, optimism about the future was everywhere.

This week the hotel is host to the International Conference of Environmental Systems (ICES). Like last year in Chicago, this event brings together people who work on Spacesuits and life support systems. Sunday night was an early bird reception hosted by Hamilton-Sundstrand, who were decidedly downbeat. We heard from people working on everything from life support to Spacesuits. With Oceaneering winning the Constellation Spacesuit contract, there is excitement in the air.

Monday morning's plenary address was by planetary scientist Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute. His talk was full of enthusiasm about a return to the Moon. (This writer asked him about missions to asteroids.) As in the Chicago meeting last year, the program cover (below) showed people working on the lunar surface. This could be a second Space Age, moving upward with hope for the future.

Check out the new Carnival of Space!

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