Most of the really wrong design decisions in the Shuttle system — the side-mounted orbiter, solid rocket boosters, lack of air-breathing engines, no escape system, fragile heat protection — were the direct fallout of this design phase, when tight budgets and onerous Air Force requirements forced engineers to improvise solutions to problems that had as much to do to do with the mechanics of Congressional funding as the mechanics of flight. In a pattern that would recur repeatedly in the years to come, NASA managers decided that they were better off making spending cuts on initial design even if they resulted in much higher operating costs over the lifetime of the program.

It turns out that if all the stars and all the planets in all the galaxies were before you in a terrifying, brilliant, impossible box, the color would you see (while no doubt experiencing a transcendent feeling of oneness) is the most boring color in the world.

Are you tired of the air tight movie sets of contemporary 3D games? No places are off-limits in Shores of Hazeron. Face any direction and start to walk or swim or fly a riding beast or ride a dirt bike or sailboat. At best you'll circle the globe and return to your starting point; more likely something will kill you and eat you along the way. Build a city to manufacture spacecraft; pick a star in the sky and go there. Explore its planets and moons. Build cities and defenses. Expand your empire and prepare to meet the unknown.

For me the idea that humanity is the only glimmer of intelligence in the universe makes all our petty squabbles and politics more damning. It means that the people in power are risking stakes they cannot comprehend for gains so short term that they're not even visible on a geological scale, much less a cosmic one. Imagine all that humanity could accomplish, the colonies of life and reason spreading throughout the cosmos, every planet we visit and terraform would bring new and unique life into the universe, imagine the wonders we could create and then realize that we risk it all over things which won't matter in 40 years or which would be better solved using reason. Add to it the fact that we risk all of that potential not only for ourselves but for the universe at large, and it is an awesome responsibility.

KSP is a game where the players create and manage their own space program. Build spacecraft, fly them, and try to help the Kerbals to fulfill their ultimate mission of conquering space. The game is currently under heavy development. This means the game will be improved on a regular basis, so be sure to check back for new updates. Right now, KSP is in Sandbox Complete state, but we want you to try it out and have fun with it. The first versions are free to download and play, and will remain so forever.

There’s no comfort in the statistics for missions to Mars. To date over 60% of the missions have failed. The scientists and engineers of these undertakings use phrases like “Six Minutes of Terror,” and “The Great Galactic Ghoul” to illustrate their experiences, evidence of the anxiety that’s evoked by sending a robotic spacecraft to Mars — even among those who have devoted their careers to the task. But mention sending a human mission to land on the Red Planet, with payloads several factors larger than an unmanned spacecraft and the trepidation among that same group grows even larger. Why? Nobody knows how to do it.

As if space travel was not already filled with enough dangers, a new study out today in the journal PLOS ONE shows that cosmic radiation – which would bombard astronauts on deep space missions to places like Mars – could accelerate the onset of Alzheimer's disease.


CubeSat, posted 2012 by peter in community diy space

The CubeSat Project is an international collaboration of over 40 universities, high schools, and private firms developing picosatellites containing scientific, private, and government payloads. A CubeSat is a 10 cm cube with a mass of up to 1.33 kg. Developers benefit from the sharing of information within the community. Resources are available by communicating directly with other developers and attending CubeSat workshops.

Computer models have accurately forecast conditions on Mars and are valid predictors of climate change on Earth, U.S. and French astronomers said on Tuesday.

These computer programs predicted Martian glaciers and other features on Earth's planetary neighbor, scientists found.

"Some public figures imply that modeling of global climate change on Earth is 'junk science,' but if climate models can explain features observed on other planets, then the models must have at least some validity," lead researcher William Hartmann of the Planetary Science Institute said in a statement.

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