Archive for the ‘Space Exploration’ Category

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON – MEMBERS OF PREVIOUS GENERATIONS NOW SEEM LIKE GIANTS

Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

 

Past vs. Present

Victor Davis Hanson column: Members of previous generations now seem like giants

Oct 9, 2019

 

www.richmond.com/opinion/columnists/victor-davis-hanson-column-members-of-previous-generations-now-seem-like-giants/article_bca413bb-5505-5ee9-8ed8-86a25e4f57a9.html

Many of the stories about the gods and heroes of Greek mythology were compiled during the Greek Dark Ages. Impoverished tribes passed down oral traditions that originated after the fall of the lost palatial civilizations of the Mycenaean Greeks.

Dark Age Greeks tried to make sense of the massive ruins of their forgotten forbearers’ monumental palaces that were still standing around. As illiterates, they were curious about occasional clay tablets they plowed up in their fields with incomprehensible ancient Linear B inscriptions.

We of the 21st century are beginning to look back at our own lost epic times and wonder about these now-nameless giants who left behind monuments that we cannot replicate, but instead merely use or even mock.

Does anyone believe that contemporary Americans could build another transcontinental railroad in six years?

Californians tried to build a high-speed rail line. But after more than a decade of government incompetence, lawsuits, cost overruns and constant bureaucratic squabbling, they have all but given up.

The result is a half-built overpass over the skyline of Fresno — and not yet a foot of track laid.

Who were those giants of the 1960s responsible for building our interstate highway system?

California’s roads now are mostly the same as we inherited them, although the state population has tripled. We have added little to our freeway network, either because we forgot how to build good roads or would prefer to spend the money on redistributive entitlements.

 

When California had to replace a quarter section of the earthquake-damaged San Francisco Bay Bridge, it turned into a near-disaster, with 11 years of acrimony, fighting, cost overruns — and a commentary on our decline into Dark Ages primitivism. Yet 82 years ago, our ancestors built four times the length of our single replacement span in less than four years.

It took them just two years to design the entire Bay Bridge and award the contracts.

Our generation required five years just to plan to replace a single section. In inflation-adjusted dollars, we spent six times the money on a quarter of the length of the bridge and required 13 agencies to grant approval. In 1936, just one agency oversaw the entire bridge project.

(more…)

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THE URGENT NEED FOR A UNITED STATES SPACE FORCE

Monday, February 24th, 2020

 

This article is a real wake up call for what the future holds and how extremely important it is for the United States to develop its own space force.  Nancy

The Urgent Need for a United States Space Force

January 20, 2020

Steven L. Kwast
Lieutenant General, United States Air Force (Ret.)


Steven L. KwastSteven L. Kwast is a retired Air Force general and former commander of the Air Education and Training Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in astronautical engineering, he holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is a past president of the Air Force’s Air University in Montgomery, Alabama, and a former fighter pilot with extensive combat and command experience. He is the author of the study, “Fast Space: Leveraging Ultra Low-Cost Space Access for 21st Century Challenges.”

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on November 20, 2019, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation lecture series.

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  If China stays on its current path, it will deploy nuclear propulsion technology and solar power stations in space within ten years. This will give it the ability to beam clean energy to anyone on Earth—and the power to disable any portion of the American power grid and paralyze our military anywhere on the planet. America is developing no tools to defeat such a strategy, despite the fact that we are spending billions of dollars on exquisite 20th century military equipment.

In June 2018, President Trump directed the Department of Defense to “begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.” The reason for a space force is simple: space is the strategic high ground from which all future wars will be fought. If we do not master space, our nation will become indefensible.

Since that time, entrenched bureaucrats and military leaders across the Department of Defense, especially in the Air Force, have been resisting the President’s directive in every way they can. And this December, although Congress voted to approve a Space Force, it did so while placing restrictions on it—such as that the Space Force be built with existing forces—that will render it largely useless in any future conflicts.

At the heart of the problem is a disagreement about the mission of a Space Force. The Department of Defense envisions a Space Force that continues to perform the task that current space assets perform—supporting wars on the surface of the Earth. The Air Force especially is mired in an outmoded industrial-age mindset. It sees the Space Force as projecting power through air, space, and cyberspace, understood in a way that precludes space beyond our geocentric orbit. 

Correspondingly, the Defense Department and Congress think that the Air Force should build the Space Force. So far, this has amounted to the Air Force planning to improve the current Satellite Command incrementally and call it a Space Force. It is not planning to accelerate the new space economy with dual-use technologies. It is not planning to protect the Moon or travel corridors in space to and from resource locations—raw materials worth trillions of dollars are available within a few days’ travel from Earth—and other strategic high grounds. It is not planning to place human beings in space to build and protect innovative solutions to the challenges posed by the physical environment. It is not developing means to rescue Americans who may get stranded or lost in space.

In short, the Air Force does not plan to build a Space Force of the kind America needs. In its lack of farsightedness, the Air Force fails to envision landmasses or cities in space to be monitored and defended. Nor does it envision Americans in space whose rights need defending—despite the fact that in the coming years, the number of Americans in space will grow exponentially.

This lack of forward thinking can be put down to human nature and organizational behavior: people in bureaucratic settings tend to build what they have built in the past and defend what they have defended in the past.

(more…)

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VIDEO – PRESIDENT REAGAN’S SPEECH TO THE NATION – SPACESHIP CHALLENGER DISASTER – JANUARY 28, 1986

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

TODAY IS THE ANNIVERSARY OF PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN’S SPEECH TO THE NATION – THE SPACESHIP CHALLENGER DISASTER – JANUARY 28, 1986

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MAKING THE CASE FOR GOD

Monday, December 29th, 2014

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
SCIENCE INCREASINGLY MAKES THE CASE FOR GOD
By
Eric Metaxas  Mr. Metaxas is the author, most recently, of “Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life” ( Dutton Adult, 2014).

 

In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumors of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place—science itself.

Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion—1 followed by 24 zeros—planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion—1 followed by 21 zeros—planets capable of supporting life.

With such spectacular odds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a large, expensive collection of private and publicly funded projects launched in the 1960s, was sure to turn up something soon. Scientists listened with a vast radio telescopic network for signals that resembled coded intelligence and were not merely random. But as years passed, the silence from the rest of the universe was deafening. Congress defunded SETI in 1993, but the search continues with private funds. As of 2014, researches have discovered precisely bubkis—0 followed by nothing.

What happened? As our knowledge of the universe increased, it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed. His two parameters grew to 10 and then 20 and then 50, and so the number of potentially life-supporting planets decreased accordingly. The number dropped to a few thousand planets and kept on plummeting.

Even SETI proponents acknowledged the problem. Peter Schenkel wrote in a 2006 piece for Skeptical Inquirer magazine: “In light of new findings and insights, it seems appropriate to put excessive euphoria to rest . . . . We should quietly admit that the early estimates . . . may no longer be tenable.”

As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here. (more…)

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VIDEO – HOW THE ROVER GOT TO MARS

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

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NASA HEROES WARN AGAINST CLIMATE-CHANGE ALARMISTS

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

STEWARD: Weighty words from space pioneers

NASA heroes advise climate-change alarmists to stick to science

By H. Leighton Steward

Friday, May 4, 2012

  • Illustration by John Camejo for The Washington TimesEnlarge Photo

    Illustration by John Camejo for The Washington Times

Astronauts have had a unique perspective of Earth, home to us all. Having viewed it as a whole from above, they realize the finite nature of our planet and have had to weigh what humans may be doing to it through industrialization. The upshot is they’ve become supersensitive to published information relative to man’s potential influence on the planet but concerned over the direction NASA has taken on climate-change science.

Earlier this month, a group of 49 former NASA astronauts and the scientists who put them in space and on the moon raised a red flag over NASA’s questionable embrace of climate-change alarmism. In a joint letter to NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, those American heroes admonished the agency for advocating a high degree of certainty that man-made CO2 is a major cause of climate change while neglecting empirical evidence that calls the theory into question.

The group, which includes Apollo astronauts Walt Cunningham and Harrison Schmitt, lays out the astronauts’ concern that “unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.” They fear NASA’s unproven and unsupported advocacy risks the exemplary reputation of NASA and the reputation of science. (more…)

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HOW VULNERABLE IS OUR ELECTRIC GRID TO A SOLAR SUNSTORM?

Friday, May 18th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

  • May 15, 2012
  • Here Comes the Sunstorm

Electric Grid Is Vulnerable to a Big Solar Blow; Officials Spar Over What to Do

By RYAN TRACY

[0514flare02jpg] ReutersU.S. electricity regulators are studying the impact of historic sunstorms. Pictured, a NASA handout image of the sun.

With a peak in the cycle of solar flares approaching, U.S. electricity regulators are weighing their options for protecting the nation’s grid from the sun’s eruptions—including new equipment standards and retrofits—while keeping a lid on the cost.

They are studying the impact of historic sunstorms as far back as 1859 to see if the system needs an upgrade, and encountering a clash of views on how serious the threat is and what should be done about it.

Among the events they are examining is the Canadian power outage of 1989. On March 13 of that year, five major electricity-transmission lines in Quebec went on the fritz. Less than two minutes later, much of the province was in the dark. The cause: A storm of charged particles from the sun had showered Earth, damaging electrical gear as far away as New Jersey and bringing displays of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, as far south as Texas and Florida.

NASA, Associated Press, Istock

The sun is expected to hit a peak eruption period in 2013, and while superstorms don’t always occur in peak periods, some warn of a disaster. John Kappenman, a consultant and former power engineer who has spent decades researching the storms, says the modern power grid isn’t hardened for the worst nature has to offer. He says an extreme storm could cause blackouts lasting weeks or months, leaving major cities temporarily uninhabitable and taking a massive economic toll.

“This is arguably the largest natural-disaster scenario that the nation could face,” said Mr. Kappenman. (more…)

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CAPTAIN MICHIO AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW

Monday, March 12th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

  • Updated March 9, 2012, 7:17 p.m. ET

Humans are born with the curiosity of scientists but switch to investment banking.

By BRIAN BOLDUC

New York

By 2020, the word “computer” will have vanished from the English language, physicist Michio Kaku predicts. Every 18 months, computer power doubles, he notes, so in eight years, a microchip will cost only a penny. Instead of one chip inside a desktop, we’ll have millions of chips in all our possessions: furniture, cars, appliances, clothes. Chips will become so ubiquitous that “we won’t say the word ‘computer,'” prophesies Mr. Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York. “We’ll simply turn things on.”

Mr. Kaku, who is 65, enjoys making predictions. In his latest book, “Physics of the Future,” which Anchor released in paperback in February, he predicts driverless cars by 2020 and synthetic organs by 2030. If his forecasts sound strange, Mr. Kaku understands the skepticism. “If you could meet your grandkids as elderly citizens in the year 2100,” he offers, “you would view them as being, basically, Greek gods.” Nonetheless, he says, “that’s where we’re headed,” —and he worries that the U.S. will fall behind in this technological onrush.

To comprehend the world we’re entering, consider another word that will disappear soon: “tumor.” “We will have DNA chips inside our toilet, which will sample some of our blood and urine and tell us if we have cancer maybe 10 years before a tumor forms,” Mr. Kaku says. When you need to see a doctor, you’ll talk to a wall in your home, and “an animated, artificially intelligent doctor will appear.” You’ll scan your body with a hand-held MRI machine, the “Robodoc” will analyze the results, and you’ll receive “a diagnosis that is 99 percent accurate.”

In this “augmented reality,” as Mr. Kaku calls it, the Internet will be in your contact lens. “You will blink, and you will go online,” he says. “That’s going to change everything.” Students will look up the answers to tests while taking them. Actors will cheat from their scripts while performing onstage. Foreigners will translate their conversations with natives instantly. Job-seekers will identify “who to suck up to at any cocktail party” surreptitiously. And President Obama “will never have to have teleprompters in front of him,” he jokes. (more…)

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KRAUTHAMMER- THE SILENT UNIVERSE-“WHERE IS EVERYBODY?”

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

The Register-Guard www.registerguard.com/

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Like it or not,

human survival rests on politics

Published: Friday, Dec 30, 2011

Huge excitement. Two Earth-sized planets found orbiting a sun-like star less than a thousand light-years away.

This discovery comes two weeks after the stunning announcement of another planet orbiting another star at precisely the right distance — within the so-called “habitable zone” that is not too hot and not too cold — to allow for liquid water and therefore possible life.

Unfortunately, the planets of the right size are too close to their sun, and thus too scorching hot, to permit Earth-like life. And the Goldilocks planet in the habitable zone is too large.

At 2.4 times the size of Earth, it is likely gaseous, like Jupiter. No earthlings there. But it’s only a matter of time — perhaps a year or two, estimates one astronomer — before we find the right one of the right size in the right place.

And at just the right time. As the romance of manned space exploration has waned, the drive today is to find our living, thinking counterparts in the universe. For all the excitement, however, the search betrays a profound melancholy — a lonely species in a merciless universe anxiously awaits an answering voice amid utter silence.

That silence is maddening. Not just because it compounds our feeling of cosmic isolation. But because it makes no sense. As we inevitably find more and more exo-planets where intelligent life can exist, why have we found no evidence — no signals, no radio waves — that intelligent life does exist?

It’s called the Fermi Paradox, after the great physicist who once asked, “Where is everybody?” Or as was once elaborated: “All our logic, all our anti-isocentrism, assures us that we are not unique — that they must be there. And yet we do not see them.” (more…)

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NASA’S CONFUSION ON INTELLIGENT DESIGN NOTED

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Becy Yeh – OneNewsNow California correspondent – 11/28/2011

David CoppedgeAn attorney says NASA had a “knee-jerk reaction” when it fired a Christian employee after he mentioned intelligent design.

David Coppedge, a 14-year employee for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s mission to Saturn, was fired last year for handing out DVDs to coworkers that mentioned intelligent design (see earlier story). He was issued a written warning for “pushing his religion” on coworkers, charged with harassment, and finally demoted. When JPL veteran filed suit, the company fired him, claiming his termination was necessary to reduce the workforce due to budget problems.

JPL filed a motion for summary judgment, and the court held oral arguments, but reversed a tentative ruling. In a final decision, the court denied the summary judgment motion, and a Los Angeles Superior Court judge sent the case to a jury.

“The judge’s ruling on the summary judgment indicates that there are some very strong arguments to be made in this case that JPL is acting on biased reports from coworkers, who were claiming that my client harassed them,” says William J. Becker, Jr., the Los Angeles attorney representing Coppedge. “A jury would have to determine whether or not my client was discriminated against on the basis of religion.”

Becker tells OneNewsNow that the theory of intelligent design is often mistaken for creationism, and causes a knee-jerk reaction.

“Intelligent design has nothing to do with the doctrine of creationism, and people often confuse it with creationism because the central argument of intelligent design is that there is scientific evidence to show that the universe, and life within it, did not evolve randomly,” he explains.

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