Monday, September 24, 2007

Images of a New Space Age

This updated video is still subject to change. The Lunar Surface Access Module, in particular, is still in concept stage. That is a long ladder climb to the surface, so watch out for that first step! If the payload diameter of Atlas V is increased, the lander could be built lower to the ground. One reason the LSAM is so big is that it must perform the Lunar Orbit Insertion burn. If the lander dropped a stage during descent, it could be built even smaller.

At the Chicago ICES meeting, this scientist had the pleasure of talking with astronaut Michael Gernhardt. At the Space 2007 meeting in Long Beach, Gernhardt talked right after Laurie Leshin. He showed designs of pressurised rovers that would be about the size of the open rover but much more comfortable. Those spacesuits still look very bulky! Gernhardt showed graphic photos of broken nails and other injuries from spacesuits. NASA wishes to minimise the time spent in uncomfortable suits.

On the far side of the world, Michael Griffin spoke at the International Astronomical Congress in Hyderabad. In October 1957, Sputnik changed the world forever. Griffin said that by 2057 we should be celebrating 20 years on Mars, indicating that the landing may wait until 2037. Even today's undergrads will be middle-aged. Watch those primary school children, they may be first to Mars.

Below is animation of the Orion logo by a STAR TREK consultant. The original Space Age inspired all kinds of creativity. In film it inspired favourites from DESTINATION MOON to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. The James Bond series and even I DREAM OF JEANNIE started with the Space Race. Who knows what will be inspired by a new Space Age? We can hardly wait to see!

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