Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Cicada Uprising
Can't let this event go by without notice. They're all around here, with the eerie high pitched din when the males sing in huge numbers. The Cicada Mania website has good background info and links to other sites.

Just think of how much the world has changed since their parents emerged in 1987. And what kind of world will their offspring emerge into in 2021? A world with new manifestations of good and evil.

We should pray and work toward a world where we human beings have eradicated today's wave of terrorism and have established a culture of life that respects every member of society. And maybe we will be providing for our future generations by beginning to move outward into the Solar System, with the entrepreneurs and settlers ready and able to follow the explorers.
Deadly Faces

AP/FBI, Link by Fox News

U.S. Government officials urged Americans to be aware of these people and the serious terrorist threat "within the next few months".
A spike in global warming was observed today...
...when Al Gore opened his mouth in public.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Space Developments
The Space Vision is neither dead-on-arrival nor a done-deal. Frank Sietzen reports the situation in Congress is still very fluid.

Meanwhile, Bigelow Aerospace is revealing more details on its plan for developing inflatable space habitats.

These topics and more will make for a lively International Space Development Conference this weekend in Oklahoma City.
W Addresses the Nation.
President Bush laid out a five-point plan for Iraq to determine its own future. The President's speech emphasized the relationship of the Iraq situation to the continuing real threat of terrorism.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Let's put the blame for 9-11 where it belongs, on the terrorists!
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani brings a welcome perspective in light of all the finger-pointing and politicizing of the 9-11 investigation.

Giuliani said in his opening statement that the commission's priority should be preventing a new attack, not assigning blame.

"Our enemy is not each other, but the terrorists who attacked us," Giuliani said. The mayor acknowledged there were "terrible mistakes" made on Sept. 11, but attributed that to the unprecedented circumstances.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Beware the Conventional 'Wisdom'...
especially when it deals with the presence or absence of weapons of mass destruction.
A Commentary on Today's Court-Imposed Start of 'Gay Marriage' in Massachusetts
Colleen Carroll Campbell analyzes the long term trends in the culture's attitude toward marriage.
Two-Thirds of the Way There (in Altitude)

Scaled Composites, LLC

SpaceShipOne reached 212,000 feet during last Thursday's test. That's about two-thirds of the way to the 100 km (62.5 mi) threshold for the Ansari X-Prize for private human spaceflight.
Pope John Paul II Canonizes a Prolife Role Model

"May our era rediscover, by the example of Gianna Beretta Molla, the pure, chaste and fertile beauty of conjugal love, lived as a response to the divine calling," the Pope said, according to an AP report.

Monday, May 10, 2004

W will address the space vision again soon...
...according to this UPI article by Frank Sietzen.

The speech apparently will be timed to coincide with a report by the presidential commission appointed earlier this year to review the space plan and seek broad public comment. The commission, headed by former Pentagon executive Pete Aldridge and featuring leaders from industry, non-profit groups and the military, is expected to release its report in July.

Sources said Bush has been briefed on the hearings held by the commission and is awaiting its report to help frame his forthcoming remarks. Despite the approaching presidential election, the speech, which will reiterate Bush's call for advanced human exploration of space, will not necessarily be made "in a political context."
Mystery Page
What does this Nautilus page imply about the plans of Bigelow Aerospace?

Friday, May 07, 2004

Catholics and the Election
Keith Fournier of Your Catholic Voice has an interesting analysis on how Catholics may decide the outcome of this year's presidential election.

"Though I lived and worked "in the beltway", I no longer do. I am out in the "real world" and I discern an amazing phenomenon brewing in the Catholic community. It is not that most Catholics are necessarily "pro-Bush", though some are. It is the reverse of what some pundits maintain will be the deciding factor in this election. You have heard some refer to a growing "anyone but Bush" sentiment in some circles. I see the opposite among Catholics. There is a growing "anyone but Kerry" sentiment."
Catching up on Space Stuff

The President's Space Commission held its final public hearing in New York City on Monday and Tuesday. The Commission heard from panelists including leaders of space advocacy organizations and NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe and, in its member deliberations, hinted that it would recommend major changes in the way NASA and the space industry do business in its final report.

Contents of presentations from this latest hearing should be up on the Commission web site sometime soon. Just a reminder to click on the 'Contact Us' button to submit your comments to the Commission. Time to comment is growing short. The Commission is due to issue its report to the President in June.

Thirteen space advocacy, industry and policy associations have announced that they have formed an alliance to support the vision of exploring the Moon, Mars and other destinations.

The X-Prize for private suborbital human spaceflight has taken on new money and a new name.

A deal between two emerging entrepreneurial space companies was announced this week. Bigelow Aerospace announced it will launch a prototype of an orbital inflatable habitat aboard a SpaceX Falcon V launch vehicle.

The Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, continue their historic and astounding explorations of the Martian surface. Opportunity has reached the edge of Endurance Crater and provided spectacular imagery. Meanwhile, Spirit continues its journey toward the Columbia Hills.

This approximate true-color image taken by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the impact crater known as "Endurance." NASA/JPL

I haven't been consistent in keeping up with this exciting exploration activity. I've now added the JPL Mars Rover web site to the space section of my permanent links.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

The First Thursday in May
Each year, this date is observed as the National Day of Prayer. Here is the Presidential proclamation of the observance.

The annual observance of the educationally oriented Space Day also occurs on the first Thursday in May.

While I doubt there was any coordination on picking this date for these two observances, perhaps it can serve as a reminder that wherever we go in the Universe, we'll never be alone.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Space Access '04 provides this rather comprehensive review of this latest annual conference of the emerging space transportation industry, held last weekend in Phoenix, Arizona.
Handover Complete
The International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 8 crew has returned to Earth, while the Expedition 9 crew carries on with ISS operations in orbit.