Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Saturday, November 12, 2005

  That's one for the flying spaghetti monster

8 supporters of intelligent design policy ousted in the election...

All PRAISE the Flying Spaghetti Monster


Raaaahhhhhhh-mennnnnnnnnnnn

 
Friday, November 11, 2005

  A faith based asteroid defense

You know that an issue is getting overhyped when a parody goes by like this one:

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

  Deep Impact gets "Vision to reality" award

The Space Frontier Foundation has given Deep Impact the Vision to reality award. It was the single most watched unmanned mission ever - and gave us a picture of an otherworld body that was more than skin deep.

In other news Hayabusa, limping along on one out of three reaction wheels, is GO for the first landing attempt on Nov 19th. And they are blogging the event, in both japanese and english, as it happens!
 
Monday, November 07, 2005

  The Dawn mission stands down

There are a lot of budget cuts going on at JPL - the rewards of success are seeing your projects canceled to fund the manned programs. Sigh. Still I confess that I have been very lukewarm about the Dawn mission for a very long time.

1) It's using antiquated hardware originally designed as a backup for the Deep Space 1 mission. By the time of launch the basic hardware will be well over 10 years old.

2) It's a 9+ year mission to study two very large differentiated bodies in a realm (the asteroid belt) where SEP (solar electric propulsion) does not work well.

Distant differentiated bodies like Ceres don't interest me. All that means is that the useful materials are buried deep where they can't be easily got at by the primitive mining techniques we have as yet developed. Undifferentiated rocks are possibly of less interest to science, but are far easier to mine.

Far better to launch Dawn towards any of the 3000+ near earth asteroids and comets, where it could survey 1 NEO (more or less) per year in flight, thus giving us a much better overview of the characteristics of the most energetically available off-planet resources.



I won't cry if Dawn is canceled entirely... but I would jump for joy if someone in congress or NASA got a clue and vectored Dawn towards an M class ("M" meaning metal-bearing) asteroid like Amun or an Apohele like 2003 CP20 or any of a variety of other noteworthy asteroids

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  Voyager's picture

Chip writes in about the pictures on the side of voyager:

Signs of intelligent life down here?
 
Sunday, November 06, 2005

  Worms and methane hydrate and rocket fuel and food

I've had one of those months where a phrase kept popping up in different contexts long enough for me to pay attention. "Methane Hydrate" has been the phrase. It started when I looked to the gulf of mexico at the current series of hurricanes, and ended up, as always, distracted by the crater that signaled the KT extinctions.

I discovered that since I'd last paid attention a decade ago a lot of evidence had been piled up in favor of the KT event - including the discovery of four other craters that appear to have nearly the same impact time and composition of the KT event.

At the same time I was listening to Vernor Vinge talk about the singularity that Kurzweil is also talking about.

...while remembering that in Vinge's last book, he had used exotherms - heat loving bacteria - as a means to get around a planet with frozen air.

...while thinking about the problems of transporting cryogenic propellants. Compression isn't the problem (we have plenty of materials that can contain pressurized gas), it's cooling the gases involved down to a liquid state - and keeping them cool - that's the problem... and about how the ISS wasn't even close to being a closed ecosystem - and Biosphere 1 and 2 weren't either.

I also ran across an interesting alternate theory about the KT extinction and others, one that involved methane hydrate release...

The next day I ran across methane in another context - as a proposed simpler fuel for the last parts of the upcoming moon shot....

Something was nagging me though, about this substance... I kept thinking of spiders, until finally the word I'd seen related to methane hydrate popped into google - archaea.
Then I saw pictures of mussels and shrimp feeding off halo bacteria...
(Halo bacteria live in a unique niche: the hypersaline environments of the world. Halobacteria are able to resist high levels of radiation, and thrive on both chemical and light energy)

From the NASA article: And I asked myself - hmm... transporting huge amounts of liquids in space, in a very cold environment that needs the liquids for fuel, life support... and food supply... perhaps somewhere in the briney deep of our food chain are some germs of some good ideas.
 
David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


Resume,Songs,
My new blog, NeX-6, My facebook page
Orgs I like
The EFF - keeping free speech in the world
Musical stuff I like
Jeff, Rick, Ardour, Jack
Prior Rants - Wireless and Wifi in 2015 - not what I dreamed of Saving wifi! Fixing Bufferbloat! Fighting the vend... Virgin Media - Fixing the epidemic of bufferbloat ... 49... and trying to find my navel Wheels down on mars! Tracking the landing of Curiosity, from Seattle spotting NEOs from around venus's orbit Asteroids as lunar orbit resources SOPA is bad news Departing France for England, then 'home'.
Best of the blog:
Uncle Bill's Helicopter - A speech I gave to ITT Tech - Chicken soup for engineers
Beating the Brand - A pathological exploration of how branding makes it hard to think straight
Inside the Internet Mind - trying to map the weather within the global supercomputer that consists of humans and google
Sex In Politics - If politicians spent more time pounding the flesh rather than pressing it, it would be a better world
Getting resources from space - An alternative to blowing money on mars using NEAs.
On the Columbia - Why I care about space
Authors I like:
Doc Searls
Where's Cherie?
UrbanAgora
Jerry Pournelle
The Cubic Dog
Evan Hunt
The Bay Area is talking
Brizzled
Zimnoiac Emanations
Eric Raymond
Unlocking The Air
Bob Mage
BroadBand & Me
SpaceCraft
Selenian Boondocks
My Pencil
Transterrestial Musings
Bear Waller Hollar
Callahans
Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member

If you really want to, you can poke through the below links as well.

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