Let's get this over with once and for all: We are going to Mars. The only questions are: When? Who? How? Which way? And, of course, why?
The F-35 joint strike fighter, the United States' most expensive warplane to date, was supposed to cost $1.5 trillion over 50 years. The current contract is seven years behind schedule and $163 billion over budget. Here are four other things the US could have bought with the waste from the program.
Where are the neighbors? Where are the schools and community organizations? Who reaches out to see what the problem is? Does anyone see this child/youth desperately in need of help and hope? Who listens or offers a helping hand amidst the violence and despair they face daily?
Becoming detached from the International Space Station (ISS) during an EVA (spacewalk) is a low probability occurrence. While not likely to happen, since it is possible, astronauts prepare for it.
A rocket can be fixed. A mindset has to be changed or those holding it made irrelevant.
Almost 100 years ago, on November 25, 1915, Albert Einstein presented to the Prussian Academy of Sciences the final version of his general theory of relativity, which also became the standard theory of gravity.
We don't know the answer to that. But every crew that resides on the International Space Station provides us information that we use to adjust our protocols and that extends that period of time.
Let's ignore the technologies that might be impossible (e.g. warp drive, dilithium crystals, and transporters). Let's ignore the technologies that we have no idea how to reproduce in a similar way (artificial gravity). Let's just focus on trying to build a space-worthy scale replica of the USS Enterprise that uses existing structural and propulsion capabilities.
Yes, I know the current push by our Federal Space Agency on social media is #JourneytoMars, but are we ready? Really ready? Nope, I don't think we're even close.
Navigation requires a reference frame. We need reference frames to tell us where we are with respect to other objects and we need reference frames to tell us how we are oriented with respect to other objects. There is no single universal frame that is used for all operations.
Move over, stiff neck; there's a new spinal problem to reckon with. Doctors are seeing some patients with "text neck"--pain caused by inclining one's head for long periods of time while staring at a smartphone, thus putting extra stress on the spine.
I took off my helmet and it felt like I was holding the anchor of the U.S.S. Nimitz in my hand. Oh great, I thought, how am I ever going to brush my teeth -- the brush will be too heavy!
SpaceX has an impressive half dozen commercial launches to its name and a manifest of launch orders from domestic and international clients stretching into the future. They've managed to do this the old fashioned way, by being cheaper, faster and more reliable.
NASA's successful launch of the Orion spacecraft was an important step, but it is only like dipping a toe in the cosmic ocean. In fact, the future of U.S. space leadership is being starved by lack of funding. Continued neglect will harm our national security, and our economy.
Christopher Nolan's first film since the massive success of his Dark Knight Trilogy is a big movie about the future with with big ambitions, big themes, big images, and big questions about human nature, time, and president-day attitudes and policies. Or lack of same.
There are moments in time when the coincidence of art and reality interact to allow us a glimpse into the context of history. The release of the Christopher Nolan film Interstellar a few days after two catastrophes in our space endeavor gives us one of those moments.