As the last flight of NASA’s space shuttle began with a photogenic launch this morning, the future of manned space flight is far from certain. From the first shuttle mission — designated STS-1 — in April 1981, when astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen flew the Columbia, through today’s launch of Atlantis for STS-135, the shuttle program has been the focus of much of the praise and criticism in public analysis of America’s space program. Now, as Atlantis begins its twelve-day mission, the debate about the future of human space flight centers on the role of public and private involvement in such endeavors.
As the Space Shuttle Endeavour began its final mission on May 16, the future of NASA’s human space program remains uncertain. The space shuttle program is steadily approaching its end, but the readiness of the space agency to move forward in a post-shuttle era remains to be seen.
Private industry is making progress toward lowering the cost of space flight, and NASA would like to come along for the ride.
Among the earliest actions of the Obama administration was the appointment of the “Augustine Committee,” which was given the responsibility of carrying out a review of NASA’s manned space program. The result of the committee deliberations was a NASA with its budget intact, but without a mission or mandate to go anywhere. The previous administration’s plans for a return to the Moon and eventual missions to Mars were abandoned — few presidential administrations are interested in implementing the showpiece programs of their predecessors.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most significant milestones in the “Space Race” between the United States and the Soviet Union, and it comes at a time when Russia once again hopes to sprint head of any rival space program.
An American company is planning to build the largest rockets since the days of NASA’s Apollo program, and promises to deliver payloads to orbit for a tenth the cost of the space shuttles of the U.S.’s troubled space agency. SpaceX has already successfully launch a smaller vehicle called the Falcon 9 on several occasions, but now the company has announced plans for a bold, new step in the development of private space flight.
Americans have become accustomed to the presence of Global Positioning System (or GPS) technology embedded in everything from the GPS on their dash to their cell phones and iPads. In fact, GPS is nearly taken for granted for everything from locating a restaurant to navigating a fishing boat through the fog. But now it appears that GPS, which was developed primarily for its military applications, is rather overtly returning to its "national security" roots, as NASA plans to turn the security of the GPS system over to the Department of Homeland Security.
Twelve-year old boy genius Jacob Barnett has already acquired boasting rights. He is already in college and possesses an IQ that is higher than Albert Einstein’s. He is currently working on an expanded version of Einstein’s theory of relativity.
As if any of that's not enough, Jacob has announced his intent to disprove the Big Bang theory.
In the near future, in this galaxy not so far, far away … 640 light-years from Earth, in the Orion constellation, a star named Betelgeuse is on the verge of exploding and when it does it will produce a supernova that will give the appearance of there being two suns in the sky. The astronomical phenomenon is expected to produce 24 hour day light for as long as a couple of weeks, sometime in 2011 , 2012, or in the next million years.
Has science disproved God? Pope Benedict XVI has countered emphatically to the contrary. According to Fox News, the Pope declared on January 6 that Christians should reject the idea that the universe was created by accident, adding that God's mind was the driving force behind theories such as the Big Bang
According to a story from Agence France-Presse (AFP), a collaborative space mission planned for later this year may give a new meaning to “Red October.” The governments of Russia and China are planning to launch China’s first Mars probe in October 2011.
Today’s launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is an important development in the future of privately funded space flight. Although the Obama administration has substantially curtailed the manned space flight program proposed by his predecessor, and the future of America’s space program in a "post-shuttle" future sometimes seemed to be in doubt, SpaceX and other private space companies are demonstrating that the "Space Age" is far from over.