Lately I've been lost in space*, reading as much as I can about space exploration, colonization of Mars, the 146 moons in our solar system, etc... what could be cooler than the world "out there"? When I was younger it seemed more important to everyone, maybe because the Apollo program was such a visible success. Anyway it's great exploring it on paper**, but will be even cooler to really do it***.
Not happy about this: NASA ‘forced’ to extend $490mn contract with Russia for manned space flights. If the pioneers of the Apollo program could see this headline, they'd spin in their graves. The U.S. *must* get back to where we can launch people into space.
I *think* this is good news: Senate passes commercial space bill. "The bill extends an existing provision of federal law that limits the ability of the Federal Aviation Administration to impose safety regulations on passenger-carrying commercial spacecraft. The bill also extends through 2020 the commercial launch indemnification regime, where the government is responsible for any third-party losses from launches in excess of a level the company must insure against." I'm definitely in favor of the first provision, iffy on the second.
Cool animated GIF of the day: The moon transits across Earth, as seen by NASA's Deep Space Climate Observatory. This is not CGI. Yay.
Now you can drive around Mars with NASA's Curiosity simulator. Excellent. I'm sure it will be only a matter of time before we can do this with an Oculus VR headset :)
CNet: Let's go to Mars! Yeah, lets... :) I did not write this article, but I could have...
Space Mining is closer than you think, and the prospects are great. What's especially great about this is that it provides the economic incentive private companies need to invest in space exploration. Ultimately there has to be a payback or it won't be done. One key point the article doesn't mention: a lot of space mining can be done outside the deep gravity wells of planets, like asteroids and comets. It's actually a lot easier to travel in space if you avoid landing!