It's that time of year again--a time of year space fans love! Those of you who saw my posts last year will remember that April 12th is Yuri's Night, t...
Ceding America's leadership in space, world passing us by? Uh, nothing could be farther from the truth.
It's not the most colorful place on the planet, but that's only because it isn't on the planet. Space tourism is going to happen. In fact, it's happening as we speak -- and far be it from me not to jump on this bandwagon.
Mars has been restored to the reachable horizons of human spaceflight. Millionaire financier and engineer Dennis Tito has announced a plan to launch a middle-aged married couple on a flyby mission to the planet in early January 2018, returning them to Earth a year and a half later.
It is highly likely that the generation that will first step foot on Mars is already with us. Assuming these individuals are still of school age today, "The Mars Generation" will have a much different perspective of the world than previous generations.
I'm on rutted, dirt roads in the Jornada del Muerto desert of southern New Mexico headed to Spaceport America, the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport. It's adjacent to White Sands Missile Range where, for 70 some years, assorted rockets, nuclear bombs and other WMDs have been tested.
Continued testing and updates of mission plans continue to assure that the Curiosity rover's drill will operate as planned, when needed, for the primary mission and beyond. Now let's go drill some rocks and get on with the exploration of Mars!
Although Curiosity is not designed to verify life, we are left to wonder -- if Curiosity did discover life on Mars, what would be the impact of that discovery to the general public and to the future of human and robotic exploration of Mars?
When Neil Armstrong passed away in August, for many people, including myself, his death marked not just the loss of a truly great American, but the end of an era.
Heroes such as imagined by the ancient Greeks, and exemplified by individuals like Neil Armstrong -- whose actions shift paradigms and extend horizons -- are proving increasingly difficult to come by. At a number of levels this is due to the development of new technologies.
With its technical prowess no longer in doubt, what the private space industry needs now is to be left alone to percolate and develop market opportunities free from intrusive regulation and harassing litigation.
But as summer turns to fall -- and weekend warriors try to squeeze in just a few more last-chance trips -- smart travelers look to Maryland's beautiful, historic Eastern Shore.
And so we have two men who achieved extraordinary fame through determination and diligence, but who responded to fame very differently. One exulted in his success, and became a hero of his time; the other shunned publicity, and became an enduring icon.
From an iPhone (or Android), consumers will be able to request an image from the satellite, orbiting 600 kilometers above the Earth. They will be able to send a message to SkyCube from their phone as well.
Plutonium has long been described as the most lethal radioactive substance. And the plutonium isotope used on the Curiosity rover is significantly more radioactive than the type of plutonium used in nuclear weapons or built up as a waste product in nuclear power plants.