Sunday, June 29, 2008

This Anniversary is a Real Blast

Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the explosive arrival of a large object from space in Siberia on June 30, 1908. The issue of detecting asteroids or comets in the vicinity of Earth's orbit around the Sun, known as Near Earth Objects (NEOs), and responding to, preferably by deflection, of those that threaten to impact our planet, has gained attention in recent years. The B612 Foundation has as its purpose development of NEO deflection methods. Also, the citizens' space agenda organization Prospace (of which I am a member of the Board of Directors) included NEOs in this years 'March Storm' agenda.

Friday, June 27, 2008

It Ain't Over'Til It's Over

John Fund explains why, despite the conventional wisdom, there's no certainty of an Obama inauguration next January.

The McCain campaign can't expect to win the election on the strength of their man's personal appeal or character. He is most likely to win by engaging Mr. Obama on the issues, and forcing debates over competing visions of foreign policy, and the size and scope of government. Tackling concerns about energy and food costs are key.

Here Mr. McCain has an opening. On many core issues, the country still leans right of center. In last week's Washington Post poll, 50% of voters favored a smaller government with fewer services while 45% wanted a bigger government with more services - the same percentage breakdown as in June 2004.

Second Amendment Ruling

One doesn't have to have a big interest in guns to applaud an occasion when the Supreme Court (albeit by a narrow 5-4 vote) bases a decision not on foreign law, an "emerging national consensus", nor "the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life", but on the US Constitution. What a concept!

Michael Reagan celebrates this week's Supreme Court ruling striking down the DC handgun ban, but ends on a cautionary note.

The Supreme Court ruling has been greeted by the American people as a welcome sign that many of their rights long threatened by out-of-control judges who make or misinterpret laws, rather than enforcing them, are now at last being safeguarded by the High Court.

That’s a dangerous misconception. The new decision was a 5-4 ruling. That tiny majority, often reversed in other rulings that defy the meaning of the Constitution, will vanish if the liberals manage to elect Barack Obama and give his party sufficient control of Congress to guarantee that future Court vacancies will be filled with activist liberal justices who will turn the Constitution upside down.

Water Ice and More on Mars

Phoenix mission scientists last week announced that material observed disappearing from a trench dug by the robotic lander was frozen water that evaporated after being exposed by the digging. (See the amazing evidence here.)

Since then, the mission team has begun to use the Phoenix lander's chemical analysis capabilities, which are already yielding quite interesting results.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert, RIP

The Nation and the world are remembering Tim Russert for his contributions to journalism. He was known for asking tough questions, but probably more than many in today's media, was fair to people on all sides. Tim Russert's passions went beyond journalism and politics, as he was known for his devotion to his family and his Catholic faith.

I learned earlier in the week that a friend I'd grown up with from grade school through college had recently passed away. These two instances of people passing in the prime of their lives are a reminder to me that we each don't know how much time we have in this life and that we should be mindful of the next life.

Discovery Returns

The STS-124 mission completed this morning as the Shuttle Discovery landed in Florida after its highly successful mission to the International Space Station. The next mission to fly is the one I'm involved in supporting, the STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope in October. Here is an impressive video preview. (Hat tip to NASA Watch.)

Monday, June 09, 2008

MARS Rising

Orbital Sciences Corporation has confirmed its selection of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at Wallops Island, VA for launching the company's Taurus II launch vehicle. The rocket will demonstrate cargo resupply of the International Space Station along with lofting satellites into orbit.

As I've already noted, having an emerging major spaceport will be an exciting development for this region.

UPDATE 6/10/08 Here's the round-up of links from

Year of the Potato

Almost halfway through the year, I've learned that the United Nations is honoring one of my favorite foods by observing 2008 as the International Year of the Potato. The observance highlights the spud's contribution to agriculture and mitigating world poverty. (Hat tip to Dr. Astropixie.)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Hi-Def Space History

This Sunday night the Discovery Channel starts it's spectacular series When We Left Earth showing (some never before shown in public) scenes from NASA's video vault covering the epic history of the US space program. Check out the spectacular video preview trailer.

Lab Delivery

The Kibo Lab has been successfully installed and opened up by the ISS/Discovery crews.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Discovery in Orbit at ISS

NASA/Jerry Cannon, George Roberts

Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off Saturday afternoon on its mission to the International Space Station (where it arrived today). Highlight will be the installation of the large Kibo Japanese laboratory module.

Update on Rachel's Field

In September 2006, I posted a short piece with links regarding Rachel's Field, an effort by some local prolife friends to establish a memorial to unborn babies lost to abortion. For the latest on the twists and turns on this amazing ongoing effort, please check out the Rachel's Field web site.