Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Years Turns

As we complete another year, that measure of our shared trip around the Solar System together, we look back on another one that once again seems to outdo the previous years in total strangeness, though there are always signs of hope.

In the Middle East and North Africa, is it an "Arab Spring" or a new terrible Dark Age? On the first day in May, a beloved Pope is elevated closer to sainthood while the world's most notorious terrorist leader meets his violent end.

Economic uncertainty and unemployment and the ongoing conflicts about protection of human life and other fundamental cultural issues persisted through 2011 and will continue into 2012.

While there have been many pleasant days to remember, there was an earthquake, hurricane and heavy rains from a former hurricane all within a couple of weeks along the Mid-Atlantic coast. More destructive forces struck in the form of tornadoes in the Southern and Midwestern US, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and flooding in other parts of the world along with ongoing drought and famine in East Africa.

Off-planet, new worlds being uncovered, particularly by the Kepler mission, are becoming more common and more varied. The Space Shuttle era came to a nostalgic end with its final successful missions to the International Space Station, which will carry on with the assistance of an emerging commercial space sector that will likely become more prominent in 2012.

The race for the GOP presidential nomination has been the most topsy-turvy campaign that I can remember, with front-runners rising and falling almost by the month as the strengths and weaknesses of each are assessed. There's a lot of angst among the voters as many yearn for a redo on that "Hope & Change" thing from the last time around.

So be safe and happy as we enter a new year. And with God's blessing, let's get ready for an exciting 2012 as another opportunity to advance a culture of life, a new birth of freedom and an expanding frontier.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Have a Holy and Merry Christmas!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment,
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
"Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2:1-14

Two Christmas Favorites

Here are two stirringly beautiful Christmas music videos by Enya and Trans-Siberian Orchestra I've posted the last couple of years and would like to share again.

Trans Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Canon

shadow | MySpace Video

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Soyuz Launches Crew to ISS

Image Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi

A Soyuz spacecraft was launched today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying three more crew members to the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS will be back to a full crew of six which will carry out new activities including commercial cargo delivery demonstrations in the new year.

The launch occurred on the 43rd anniversary of the launch of Apollo 8. While now often thought of a mainly a precursor to the Apollo 11 landing the following summer, Apollo 8 was an epic voyage in itself as it was the first time humans had left the immediate vicinity of Earth to approach and orbit the Moon for the first time. This first visit to the Moon at Christmas time 1968 was a particularly memorable event.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NASA Science: New Discovery and New Boss

Scientists with NASA's Kepler mission today announced the confirmation of the discovery of two Earth-sized planets around another star. However, the two exoplanets are too close to their sun to be hospitable to life (as we know it anyway).

Meanwhile, the new head of NASA's Science Mission Directorate has plenty of "hands-on" experience in repairing and upgrading scientific spacecraft in orbit. Former astronaut John Grunsfeld helped to service the Hubble Space Telescope on three different Shuttle missions.

Hanukkah and Our Attitude about the Future

(This is a post I originally made in 2003 and feel is worth repeating each year, especially in light of some very dark anti-human views of the future vs. ongoing and emerging developments that can provide resources for future generations.)

Rabbi Daniel Lapin has a provocative column in WorldNetDaily on a message of Hanukkah that is relevant to people of all faiths. He shows examples, ancient and modern, of how a pessimistic Malthusian worldview has been repeatedly disproved by the Creator's providence of material resources and the ingenuity to utilize them to provide for the future. Rabbi Lapin says:
It only seemed that we lacked sufficient copper, whale oil or wood. In reality, our God-given ingenuity developed exciting new technology that eliminated our need for each commodity just as it was becoming scarce.

Hanukkah's miracle was that, day after day, the Temple's menorah just kept on burning in spite of an apparent shortage of fuel - a metaphor, surely, for all apparent shortages that can be overcome with faith. Hanukkah invites us all to express gratitude to the Creator whose beneficence is boundless. It stimulates discussions that can spur our spiritual growth. It reminds us that with His gift of creativity, challenges become optimistic opportunities to partner with God in creatively solving all material shortage.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Commercial Space Developments Gaining Speed

A team of major space industry players announced yesterday that they are developing a new launch system that would launch cargo and eventually people from what will be the world's largest aircraft. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is financing the innovative Stratolaunch space transportation venture, which has the potential of helping to lower launch costs. Here is a video of how a launch would be carried out.

Meanwhile, another commercial launch vehicle has taken on a new name, the Antares. This vehicle will see its first test launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport possibly as early as February 2012.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Last Night's Debate: Context on Lunar Mining and Commercial Space

NASA, Artist concept by Denise Watt

In a curious exchange in last night's GOP presidential debate, Mitt Romney attacked Newt Gingrich's previously stated position favoring the enabling of a lunar mining industry. Gingrich strongly defended his position in a general way (as Romney brought up multiple issues in one statement).

A video clip of that portion of the debate is linked here.

For many politically minded viewers, the topic of lunar mining must have seemed a rather curious topic to come up in a presidential debate. However, among a community of entrepreneurs, scientists and space planners, the potential use of resources from the Moon and other celestial bodies is a very real possibility.

Evidence going back to the soil samples brought back by the Apollo astronauts to data obtained from robotic probes recently sent by the US and other nations indicate the presence of useful resources on and in the Moon. Evidence of significant amounts of lunar water (in the form of ice) has been detected in recent years. Lunar scientist Paul Spudis envisions a plan to extract this water and break it down into its constituents hydrogen and oxygen to provide fuel for propelling vital space assets.
By having a system where the vehicles are refueled from the resources extracted on the Moon, a system is created that routinely accesses the Moon and allows for returning to Earth, but all the other points in between can be accessed as well.

"We create a transportation system that accesses all those points between Earth and Moon. The significance of that is, much of our satellite assets reside there," said Spudis, "for example communication satellites and weather monitoring satellites reside in geosynchronous orbit, (about 36,000 km above the Earth’s equator) and right now we cannot reach that from low Earth orbit. If we have system that can routinely go back and forth to the Moon, we could also go to these high orbits where a lot of commercial and national security assets are."

Other experts describe resources on the Moon that could help America and the world access new energy sources. Perhaps most significantly, President George W. Bush's science adviser, the late John Marburger, saw the Moon and other bodies in the Solar System as a part of our economic sphere.
As I see it, questions about the vision boil down to whether we want to incorporate the Solar System in our economic sphere, or not. Our national policy, declared by President Bush and endorsed by Congress last December in the NASA authorization act, affirms that, "The fundamental goal of this vision is to advance U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests through a robust space exploration program." So at least for now the question has been decided in the affirmative.

Gingrich's ideas for creating incentives for commercial space activities include tax breaks and prizes, but do not appear to include corporate preferences such as Solyndra-style loan guarantees. (Gingrich's space policy proposals are seen as too radical by some in the space industry, but that is another whole discussion.)

I hope that Gingrich will have the opportunity to further explain his space policy proposals during the campaign and I hope that Romney and the other candidates will take the time to become more informed on this area.

Along with tax reduction and simplification and regulatory reform, enabling new industries including commercial space is an integral part of a pro-growth agenda. The national security implications of space leadership can not be ignored. And human expansion into and development of space can also contribute to a culture of life by providing resources for future generations (as opposed to posing threats to life and liberty by dealing with supposed resource shortages through "population control").

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

More Discoveries of Planets around Other Stars

Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

More progress announced this week of the Kepler mission's discoveries of candidate exoplanets (planets that orbit stars other than our sun). One of these, Kepler-22b, is in the "habitable zone", where temperatures would allow the presence of liquid water, enhancing the possibility of life existing there.

Here are the NASA web article and additional links from

Monday, December 05, 2011

2,000 for Life in Germantown, MD

An estimated 2,000 people participated in a large, peaceful vigil this morning marking the first anniversary of Leroy Carhart's notorious late term abortion practice in Germantown, MD. Here are a few pictures I took at the event.

An important link for life

Prayerful participants line Wisteria Drive outside the office park where Carhart's facility is located.

Some of the ~720 crosses representing each of the unborn babies killed here in the past year (and an equal number of women brutalized by the procedures)

This picture speaks for itself.

And here are video highlights. (Please pardon my unsteady hand. If the shaky video gets on your nerves, just minimize the video and listen to the powerful words and singing.)

Participants sing "How Great Thou Art" and "Amazing Grace"

Dr. Grace Morrison introduces the vigil program and Rev. Charlie Baile leads a prayer.

Dr. Grace Morrison goes on to eloquently describe the grim situation and the purpose and importance of the vigil.

Rev. Marcel Guarnizo describes a stark historical perspective to what happens in Germantown, MD.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent 2011

Today marks the first Sunday of Advent, a time of preparation for the coming celebration of our Savior's coming at Christmas. To mark the beginning of this season, here is a video (~23 min) of a group from Christendom College singing on the Ponte Sant'Angelo in Rome. (Thanks to RealCatholicTV.)

Curiosity Heads to Mars

Photo Credit: NASA

The Curiosity/Mars Science Laboratory was launched yesterday. Curiosity is the most sophisticated robotic probe ever sent to Mars to look for evidence of conditions favorable for the existence of life there. The Atlas V launch was provided by United Launch Alliance, a commercial launch provider whose customers include NASA and other US gov't agencies.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

A special day set aside in our nation to give thanks to God for all His gifts to us.

Thanksgiving has a long history in our country, but the theme of giving thanks goes much further back in history, as recorded in the Bible.

Have a good time with family and friends and don't eat any more than I would. ;-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Circus on the Severn Wreaks Havoc Out of Season

The Maryland General Assembly is meeting in special session this week and it looks like it has approved Gov. O'Malley's extremely gerrymandered Congressional redistricting plan. If this plan is actually implemented, it looks like I will be in one strand of a district that resembles a dissected amoeba.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm Back

It's been a month since I've last posted here. I've downloaded Mozilla Firefox and am using it to get around a couple of glitches between IE and Blogger that complicate publishing and updating posts.

A lot of serious stuff has been going on since I've last blogged. There was the thwarted attack by Iran on Washington, DC and the Occupy Wall Street or whatever demonstrations that have been chaotic in message and sometimes offensive and even destructive in practice, especially as they've spread to other nations. (A particularly disturbing example here)

So let's look at a happier event that occurred today, the dedication of the new spaceport terminal in New Mexico. (Clark Lindsey provides multiple links here.) Here is a video of part of the dedication ceremony with the theatrical flare Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson is known for

and one portraying VG's space tourism services.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

MD Renaissance Festival

Today was pleasantly cool, so I really enjoyed my day of food, drink and music at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cold War 'Big Bird' Comes Out Of Hiding

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) declassified two cold war era reconnaissance satellites this week. One of these, the KH-9 Hexagon (sometimes nick-named for the Sesame Street character 'Big Bird'), was put on display today at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar Hazy Center in Dulles, VA for one day only. I drove over for this rare opportunity and took pictures, a few of which are posted below.

These satellites were highly classified during the cold war and played a hidden but decisive role in providing information that helped preserve the free world and that was possibly critical in averting a nuclear war during those perilous times.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

In Remembrance of September 11, 2001, 10 Years Later

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass

Ten years ago tomorrow morning, I overheard a coworker down the hall from my office telling someone else about planes hitting the World Trade Center. I checked in on the Internet and on news radio for reports on what would develop into the the modern era's day of infamy. We know of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but there was also the attack that did not occur because of the heroic actions of the passengers on United Flight 93.

Ten years of daily living, along with increasing domestic rancor, may have dimmed the feelings of shock, horror, and outrage and the response of prayer, compassion, and resolve that united the people of America and most of the world. However, terrorist activity around the world should serve to remind us that the threat is still real.

This tenth anniversary has stirred abundant remembrance and reflection and many stirring pictorial and video items have appeared on the web and on Facebook. I still find this audio/visual Internet presentation developed by a New Yorker shortly after the attacks as one of the most powerful portrayals of those times. The sequence is ~15 minutes long and some of the images and sounds are quite disturbing, others are inspirational. Use the browser View/Zoom function and adjust the scroll bar to enlarge the slide show.

It is important that we remember, not only to honor those who died and those who acted heroically that day, but to remain constantly aware of the ongoing dangers, of the presence of real evil in the hearts of some men, and to maintain constant vigilance and a determination to defeat this evil. Finally, we must always remember to trust in God and his mercy during trying times. The story of the cross formed by two beams found among the ruins of the twin towers is recounted here.

GRAIL Off to the Moon

Photo credit: NASA/Kenny Allen

NASA's GRAIL mission, using a pair of robotic spacecraft to investigate properties of the Moon, was launched this morning from Florida.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Irene Coming

Well, first there was an earthquake around here on Tuesday and now Hurricane Irene is heading up the coast. Gonna be an interesting weekend. Be safe.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

World Youth Day 2011

Up to a million pilgrims are expected to join Pope Benedict XVI in Madrid for World Youth Day 2011 now occurring to energize the world's young people for Christ. (Despite the title, it is actually a several day event.)

Here is the official web site. The site has been subject to hacking attempts, showing that some are afraid of the spiritual power of this event. WYD is also being covered by EWTN and by Fr. Robert Barron's Word on Fire blog.

Friday, August 05, 2011

On to Jupiter!

Photo Credit: Cape Canaveral, Fla. -- NASA

The NASA Juno spacecraft was launched today on its mission to orbit and investigate the planet Jupiter.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Summer of Mercy 2.0

The presence of a late term abortionist has reinvigorated the prolife movement in the normally liberal Maryland suburbs of DC. For more background and information on what is happening this week, please see the Summer of Mercy 2.0 web site.

Debt Clash Resolved (For Now)

After weeks and months of fierce debate, national debt limit was raised today when President Obama signed the bill agreed to by the House and Senate. There are a range of opinions among conservatives as to whether this was a wise agreement (and perhaps even greater angst among liberals).

My take is that it is far from perfect but that we have begun to "turn the tanker" around to a more sensible direction, even as some of the crew and the captain are resisting the turn. The need is to pick up more crew members and a captain willing to make the turn in November 2012.

Meanwhile, regardless of the debt limit deal, today's stock market tumble indicates serious problems with the economy. Challenging times ahead.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm not attending the NewSpace 2011 conference in person this year, but I am following the sessions via webcast at Spacevidcast. Also, here is the conference Twitter feed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's Been Quite a Ride!

The Space Shuttle Program concluded this morning with the safe landing of Atlantis in Florida. The occasion was observed in various ways. At Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, a group picture was taken to include all those who had any involvement in the Space Shuttle Program during their careers. (I've been involved with Shuttle payload missions during much of my career.)

While it is a day for emotion and nostalgia, it is not a time for despair but a time for renewed determination to bring to reality the potential for more engagement of the commercial space sector while gaining more definition and commitment for NASAs role in leading human exploration beyond Earth orbit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Anniversary Day


Today is the 42nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 pioneering expedition to the lunar surface, the day human beings first made landfall on another world. Check out Rand Simberg's ceremonial commemoration of that epic voyage. Also, Clark Lindsey has several links, including this poetic video piece by Rick Tumlinson.

Today is also the eighth anniversary ('blogiversary') of the launch of this humble blog. Here is the inaugural post (Note that I was too inexperienced to think of giving it a title.) on Life at the Frontier.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dawn at Vesta

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

NASAs Dawn spacecraft has entered orbit around the large main belt asteroid Vesta. Continuing updates on this mission can be found on the Dawn mission web site.

Atlantis Departs Station for Home

The last Space Shuttle to visit the International Space Station (ISS) departed for home early this morning. Atlantis is scheduled to land in Florida on Thursday morning.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

As It Happened, the Apollo 11 Launch

Today is the 42nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to land the first men on the Moon. Here is a (10 min) video of the final minutes of the countdown and the first few minutes of flight. Relive the moment, or experience it for the first time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Signed, Sealed, Delivered!

Spacewalker Mike Fossum rides on the International Space Station's robotic arm as he carries the Robotic Refueling Mission experiment. This the final scheduled spacewalk during a shuttle mission. Image Credit: NASA

In the final spacewalk to occur during a Space Shuttle flight, the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) payload was transferred by astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). Also, a faulty Pump Module was installed on the Shuttle for return to Earth. Inside, Shuttle and Station crews are continuing transfers of cargo to and from the ISS before the Shuttle departs for home this weekend.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Grand Finale Launch for Atlantis

Shuttle Atlantis lofted into space today for the final launch of the Space Shuttle program. The launch drew one of the largest crowds in the history of the space program to the Central Florida Coast.

Turn up your speakers and set to full screen to take in the feeling of this historic launch.

There is abundant commentary around the 'net. Keith Cowing captures the emotion and impact of the event in this column.
I will wager that prior to today's launch, 90 percent - or more - of the people involved in NASA's human space flight program had not fully processed the blunt reality of what the end of shuttle operations really means. Between today and wheel stop in 12-13 day's time it will start to settle in.

People are being laid off. Others are retiring. Others will show up for work weeks or months from now, sense a sea change, and suddenly decide to depart. When all is said and done the agency will look much different. And I will wager that NASA itself has yet to grasp what this will means in terms of what it wants to do - and what it is able to do.

Transitions are never easy but this one was made more difficult than it had to be because of indecision and conflict at several levels of government. However there is the prospect of new ventures emerging over the next few years. Some of these are portrayed in this short video.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Go Atlantis!

Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder

Well, we're finally here, the night before the final launch of the Space Shuttle (putting aside the strong chance of a postponement due to weather). I've spent much of my career working on Space Shuttle payload missions, so it's hard to believe this is the final one. That doesn't mean that there's nothing ahead. The prospect of new commercial ventures taking people into orbit and NASA taking the lead in deep space exploration is still there, but will take some real creativity and daring in light of the financial and political challenges.

Anyway, the STS-135 mission includes a final major resupply of the International Space Station (ISS), providing additional margin until the commercial providers get their services up and running. Also on this flight is the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) (the project I've been working on for the past year and a half), which will demonstrate how current satellites may be refueled in the not-too-distant future.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Happy July Fourth!

As we join in the festivities of the Fourth, let's strive to keep to the values proclaimed in the Declaration that make it worth celebrating.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Some additional thoughts from around the web remind us that "Freedom isn't Free", the significance of some words from the second stanza of America the Beautiful, and thoughts on the Stars and Stripes from a famous Catholic English writer.
Wow. Think about that line: "by whose stars we are illumined, and by whose stripes we are healed." Have you ever thought about your flag that way - so Christ-like? G. K. Chesterton did. It’s a stirring interpretation of America and its mission.

More "Progressive" versus Progress

In a post last year, I link to a Michael Barone column defining the difference between the "progressive" agenda and authentic progress. In a recent column, Keith Fournier zeroes in on how this dichotomy is reflected in fantasy vs. objective reality views of some of the most fundamental issues of human existence.
What is really happening is a clash of worldviews, personal and corporate, which involves competing definitions of human freedom, human flourishing and truly human progress. The positions being espoused and lifestyles being affirmed as "progressive" by those using the term as a political label are anything but. They turn the clock back.

It is the promotion of faithful, monogamous marriage, family, authentic human freedom, the dignity of every human person - and the insistence that there are objective truths that can be known and unalienable rights that are endowed on all men and women - which have guided true progress in human history and always pave the future of real progress.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Night Launch at Wallops

I had a nearly mini-vacation at Chincoteague: spectacular launch, sun, sand, surf, nature, good food and drink. Here's my video (~4 min) of the Minotaur rocket launch from the spaceport at Wallops Island on Wed., June 29 at 11:09 PM, taken ~3 mi. from the pad. (The rocket's exhaust is over-exposed. It actually appeared as a brilliant orange flame.)

Here is the summary of media reports on the launch and its mission for the Department of Defense. A professional launch video from NASA is below.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Space Policy and the Republican Debate

A couple of interesting accounts of the brief space policy debate within the GOP prez debate last night from Jeff Foust and Rand Simberg. Both point out Newt Gingrich's longtime background in innovative space policy and also the context of the current space policy debate.

I think it was great to see a serious space question actually enter a major political debate. It was frustrating that CNN moderator John King was so eager to move on to other topics that he cut off Mitt Romney part way through his response and may have cut off responses from some of the other candidates who had not yet weighed in.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A New American Revolution

My pace of blogging has slowed down recently (not for lack of material in current events), but tonight I can do a little while monitoring the Republican presidential debate on CNN (where one questioner actually instigated a short debate on the subject of space policy).

Andrew Klaven describes how the new revolution is taking place on the field of information.
Like the original minutemen, the current media fighters for liberty are a ragtag and eccentric bunch. Breitbart’s pugnacious, Beck’s emotional, Coulter’s ferocious and Limbaugh is approximately as brash and unapologetic as an atom bomb. The MSM - fronted by anchors as dapper and haughty and "civilized" as the British of 1776 - have sought to use these character traits to demonize the right’s messengers without ever confronting their message. They have tried to turn the very names of these media revolutionaries into obscenities in order to discourage anyone who might be tempted to give their arguments a chance.

It is particularly heartening that the media frenzy over the release of Sarah Palin's e-mails during her tenure as Alaska Governor only wound up making her look a lot better than the media itself.
Mrs Palin as a person has become so remote that it is hard to assess how much, if any, of that widely-held caricature has a basis in truth. The email release could mark the end of a chapter of what conservatives have termed "Palin Derangement Syndrome". Her enemies in the media appear to have overplayed their hand.

NewSpace Business Plan Competition

The Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) announced today that additional prize money to be awarded to the top three businesses competing in its 2011 NewSpace Business Plan Competition. More details here.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Endeavour Home; Atlantis at Pad

Photo credit: NASA/Kevin O'Connell

Photo credit: NASA/Terry Zaperach

Space Shuttle Endeavour returned home for the final time early this morning at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) while its sister ship Atlantis was being rolled out to the launch pad for the final Shuttle mission.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

JFK Reached for the Moon, May 25, 1961

Fifty years ago, on May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy addressed the US Congress on a number of urgent issues relating to the Cold War and the nation's economy. It was the final section on space, however, that put the speech in the history books with the famous call for a human landing on the Moon by the end of the decade.

The world is different fifty years later and there is spirited discussion among space advocates on how to further human expansion into space at this time. Clark Lindsey provides a round-up of commentary links.

I was a five year old at the time, too young to pay close attention to presidential speeches, but this one helped shape the exciting age I grew up in that inspired a passion and a career for me.

ISS & Endeavour Continue Mission

While I was away at the ISDC in Huntsville, AL for a dew days, things were busy on the International Space Station (ISS). On Thursday, the primary cargo delivered by Shuttle Endeavour, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS, was installed on the ISS.

Saturday brought a special blessing to the Shuttle and ISS crews with a call from Pope Benedict XVI, who had a thoughtful discussion with the astronauts on the implications of space exploration.

Monday, May 16, 2011

For Endeavour: One More Time

After a two and a half week delay, Space Shuttle Endeavour lifted off on its final mission today, which is to deliver a major science payload and other supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

MARS is Closer to Home than You Realize

I took advantage of an exciting opportunity to join an AIAA tour on Friday of the NASA Wallops Island, VA facility, just south of Chincoteague. The facility includes the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), which launches small satellites into orbit and will soon be helping to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) with the Orbital Sciences Corporation's Taurus II rocket. MARS gives the Mid-Atlantic region its own "space coast". (Florida can't keep all of the fun to itself!)

Pad 0-A will see launches of the Taurus II rocket starting this fall. The water tower is over 300 ft. tall and stores water to be sprayed on the pad at launch to protect it from damage.

With the Atlantic Ocean in the background, the launch pad's base is surrounded by four tall lightning protection towers and four mounts that will spray water on the pad at launch to protect it from flame and vibration.

Pad 0-B will see its next launch this summer of a Minotaur rocket carrying a military satellite to orbit.

Taurus II boosters being prepared in the new Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF).

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Fifty Years: Americans in Space

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of America's first man in space. Alan Shepard flew for fifteen minutes in his Mercury capsule for the suborbital flight. Summary of media links at HobbySpace.

I was a five-year-old at the time and I remember watching the launch with my mom. It was part of the exciting age I grew up in that inspired a passion and a career for me.

Catholic Bloggers Meet in Rome

A conference of Catholic bloggers was held this week at the Vatican where the role of bloggers in the Church was the theme of the discussion.
The Catholic Church needs active members who blog, but Catholic bloggers also need the church, especially to remind them of the virtue of charity needed in their writing, said participants at a Vatican meeting.

The meeting May 2 was sponsored by the pontifical councils for culture and for social communications.

Later, the bloggers retired to a more informal session at the Scholars Lounge, an Irish Pub in the heart of Rome.

Monday, May 02, 2011

History on a Sunday

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass

It was quite a Sunday, a day that began with the elevation of a saintly man and ended with the violent death of a man who lived by violence.

Credit for the efforts that culminated in yesterday's operation in Pakistan goes to two presidents and all those up and down the line of authority, but especially to our brave military forces, including those Navy SEALs who carried out the operation yesterday. As has been pointed out by several people, we need to remain vigilant as "the fight is not over".

We should always remember the victims of the 9/11 attacks and those who have died fighting these terrorist atrocities. This stirring multi-media Internet presentation was developed by a New Yorker shortly after the 9/11 attacks, recapturing all of those experiences. The sequence is ~15 minutes long and some of the images and sounds are quite disturbing, others are inspirational. You can use the browser View/Zoom function and adjust the scroll bar to enlarge the slide show if needed.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Endeavour Poised to Deliver High Value Science Payload

Tomorrow's scheduled launch of Shuttle Endeavour on its final mission is laden with human interest stories. The recovering Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will be on hand to watch her husband, Mark Kelly, launch into space, joined also by the President and First Family. Finally, the crew will be blessed with a call from Pope Benedict XVI next week while joined with the on-orbit International Space Station (ISS) crew.

In the midst of all of this, it might be easy to overlook the exciting and possibly groundbreaking scientific payload that Endeavour will deliver to the ISS. The mission of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which is designed to detect antimatter and hints of other exotic forms of matter, is described in these articles at the Washington Post and Cosmic Log (MSNBC).

Expose Planned Parenthood Web Site

I've added the Expose Planned Parenthood site, established by a coalition of organizations to the prolife section of my sidebar. Meanwhile, I've removed the ticker I had linked to from that site (for now) as I've recently noticed it appears to have suffered a glitch which reset the counts, thus understating the number of abortions committed by and federal dollars spent on Planned Parenthood so far this year.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Prolife activist Lila Rose of Live Action addresses the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

I attended the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast this morning in DC, which was quite an event. Featured speakers included His Excellency Bishop William Lori, of the Diocese of Bridgeport,CT, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, VA Gov. Bob McDonnell and prolife activist Lila Rose. The theme of the breakfast was the upcoming beatification of Pope John Paul II.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Have a Blessed and Happy Easter!

At daybreak on the first day of the week
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them,
"Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day."
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb,
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened.

Lk 24:1-12

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week 2011

This week is the one considered Holy by many with a strong Faith in God. For Christians, it is the observance of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Easter Triduum as observed in the Catholic Church is described here. Yesterday, in his Palm Sunday homily, Pope Benedict XVI described the meaning of the observance.
"But what are we really doing when we join this procession as part of the throng which went up with Jesus to Jerusalem and hailed him as King of Israel? Is this anything more than a ritual, a quaint custom? Does it have anything to do with the reality of our life and our world? To answer this, we must first be clear about what Jesus himself wished to do and actually did."

This year, it also happens that tonight is the start of the Jewish observance of Passover, the celebration of the Jews' passing over to freedom from the bondage of slavery they suffered in Egypt. This event was a historical manifestation of God's power recognized by Jews and Christians alike.

May this week of Holy Days bring blessings and peace to all.

NASA Funds Four Commercial Proposals

NASA today announced four winners of its CCDEV-2 round of funding to help commercial space ventures develop their systems to provide transportation of people to the International Space Station (ISS). Most intriguing will be to see what we learn about Blue Origin's space vehicle system. The company has been very secretive about their plans, but here is the description they submitted in their proposal to NASA.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Circus on the Severn Folds Its Tent for 2011

The Maryland General Assembly, after its 90 day run, adjourned for the year on Monday night.. None too soon, considering the crazy (and sometimes taxing) things they passed or tried to pass.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Human Spaceflight Anniversaries

Tomorrow, April 12 marks two significant anniversaries, the pioneering orbital flight of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961 and the first flight of the Space Shuttle with Columbia's first launch twenty years to the day later in 1981. There is already much respective reflection and pondering of the future in space across the media around the world, which is being tracked at There is a good collection of reflections posted in this weeks additions to The Space Review. An online movie recalling Gagarin's flight, First Orbit, premiers tomorrow.

This video tells the story of Yuri Gagarin and the meaning of his flight.

Defunding Planned Parenthood on the Ground

The agreement reached Friday night that averted a government shutdown did not include a defunding of Planned Parenthood in this year's budget (though it does defund abortions in DC). The decision by Republican leaders to drop the clause at this phase of the battle was a tactical decision that is being both defended and criticized by some in the prolife movement.

So what's the next phase of the battle? Well, the agreement does force Senate Majority Leader Reid to hold a debate and vote on the defunding measure on Thursday. Even if it does not pass, it will put every Senator on record as to whether they want to privatize Planned Parenthood or force the taxpayers to continue subsidizing the abortion industry.

Meanwhile the House will start fleshing out the details on next year's (FY 2012) budget following the outline of Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's plan. As this will require asking citizens to make genuine sacrifices of some of the benefits of many government programs, it is a no-brainer that defunding PP should be at the top of the list.

Both of these steps will continue to engage grassroots prolife citizens to continue to fight for this needed legislative change. But if this doesn't happen, the grassroots "boots on the ground" will be engaged in the great struggle nest year to make some drastically needed personnel changes, particularly in the White House and in the Senate.

At the same time, I've been reminded by a good friend who is strongly committed to prayer, sidewalk-counseling and the 40 Days for Life campaign that many of us are already involved in a ground level campaign that can help defund Planned Parenthood even before our nation's leaders make the right decision. As she says it so well, "Let's Defund PP one client at a time through our prayers, our love and our presence!"

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Shutdown Averted as Ryan Charts a Larger Course Change

Congressional leaders reached an agreement on funding the federal government through the remainder of this fiscal year (ending Sept. 30). Meanwhile, on Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan outlined his sweeping architecture on cutting spending and reforming taxes in FY2012 and future years in order to turn the nation away from its rush toward fiscal ruin. (Text of the plan is here.)

Ryan's plan, along with the debt ceiling limit issue are sure to ignite even more congressional fireworks with Democrats attacking the plan, sometimes with hysterical rhetoric, and some Congressional Republicans wanting to go further and faster.

SpaceX's Bigger Boost

This past Tuesday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced details of his companies largest (maybe) planned space launch rocket, the Falcon Heavy. If this vehicle comes anywhere close to Musk's claims for cost and performance, it will bring about major changes to the space industry

Monday, April 04, 2011

40 Days for Life at Silver Spring, MD

The 40 Days for Life campaign at Silver Spring held it's mid-point rally Saturday morning in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Silver Spring, MD. This was a special event for me to try out my new cam-corder and to learn the ways of Windows Movie Maker and YouTube.

The first video contrasts the grim reality of Planned Parenthood's abortion business with the beauty of the Divine Mercy Chaplet sung by rally participants.

The second video shows some of the joyful singing of praise by the rally participants.

The third video shows the Forty Days for Life Campaign Director Shawn Carney addressing our local crowd. His presence was an exciting recognition of our local effort.

If you have trouble downloading any of the videos, go to the settings number in the lower right (e.g. 480p) and select a lower resolution setting.

For additional videos of this event, please see this Restore-DC-Catholicism post. To find out how to participate in 40 Days for Life near you, please check out the 40 Days for Life main web site.

Friday, March 18, 2011

MESSENGER Arrives to Orbit Mercury

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft arrived at the planet Mercury on Thursday, this time to remain in orbit for the conduct of extended exploration of that planet. The probe was launched in 2004 and has already made three fly-bys of Mercury. The mission is being controlled by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory here in Maryland.

The above image was acquired during the second fly-by in October, 2008. Images from MESSENGER in orbit around Mercury should be available here after March 29.

Judicial Wisdom

While judicial activism is a matter of serious concern in American politics, in some cases, judges have shown more sense than some legislative bodies. For instance, a law passed by the County Council here in Montgomery County, MD, forcing pregnancy counseling centers to post notices that could discourage women from using their services, was put on hold by a federal court while the law's constitutionality is contested in further court proceedings.

Not that this ruling or a similar ruling on a similar law in Baltimore stopped the NYC City Council and Mayor Bloomberg from enacting a similar folly in their city.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Artist unknown, Link by

Thursday is March 17, St. Patrick's Day. Be blessed, safe, and happy however you are celebrating Ireland's patron saint.

Catholic Forum provides links to descriptions of St. Patrick here and here.

Saint Patrick's Breastplate

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort me and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

In the spirit of the holiday, check out for webcasts of Irish music and other media direct from Ireland.

Also, here's an ad featuring the singing and music of Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers that those of us who remember watching the Apollo missions to the Moon will recall. (Gulf Oil sponsored NBC news coverage in that era.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March Storm Forecast for Capitol Hill

ProSpace's annual March Storm will have teams of citizens briefing Congressional offices Monday and Tuesday on innovative ways to spur the economic development of space. This year's agenda includes introduction of a major tax policy to spur new space industries and support for NASA's commercial crew & cargo to orbit programs.

Seismic Devastation

The news and images from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan yesterday are so horrifying to witness. The tsunami waves traveled all the way across the Pacific to have a major impact on the US West Coast. Now there is also growing concern about the impact on two Japanese nuclear plants.

Here is a short list of some organizations providing assistance to the people in the devastated areas in Japan.

States Overturn Conventional Wisdom

In Wisconsin this week, the stalemate over public employee unions, collective bargaining and state benefit expenditures was broken with the enactment of legislation that will allow that state to move forward in addressing its fiscal situation. Despite continuing passionate protests, the new law and similar legislation in other states will likely herald big changes not only in labor relations but in state and national politics.

Closer to home in Maryland, same sex marriage (SSM) proved too much even for the Circus on the Severn, where a SSM bill, deemed a slam-dunk a few weeks ago, was pulled when it was clear there were not enough delegates willing to support the radical alteration of marriage as practiced by societies for thousands of years. Opposition from the Catholic Church and many black evangelical churches helped to galvanize a strong grassroots movement that was effective in defeating this bill.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, marking start of the Lenten period of reflection and penance between now and Easter.Pope Benedict XVI marked the observance in Rome.
Wishing all Christians a "happy Lenten journey", Pope Benedict XVI said today that fasting, almsgiving and prayer are traditions for Lent because they are effective tools for conversion.

At his weekly general audience on Ash Wednesday, the Pope said Lent is a time "to accept Christ’s invitation to renew our baptismal commitments" to arrive at Easter in a new and stronger state.

One recent activity that has become aligned with Lent is the 40 Days for Life campaign, which organizes prayer vigils at local abortion facilities. I'll be participating in the event here in Silver Spring, MD.

Discovery Home To Stay


Space Shuttle Discovery completed its final flight by landing safely in Florida today. The ship's permanent home will be an as yet unnamed museum. In the mean time, the end of Discovery's cosmic journey's is cause for much reflection in the space and general media.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Times They Are A Changing!

Kirsten Powers is most known for being a TV commentator who generally takes a liberal Democratic point-of-view. Thus she made some serious waves this week when she broke with the party line on the subject of Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood officials are allowed to believe whatever they want and to pursue whatever goals they choose. But their dishonesty in how they present their organization to the public, along with ignoring basic statistics about their area of expertise, makes you wonder what else they are hiding. It’s also hard to deny that they are at core a blindly ideological organization, not a run-of-the-mill charitable nonprofit.

Whatever you think of abortion rights, this is not the kind of organization that taxpayers should be funding.

One more hint that the end of the abortion culture may be closer than most people realize, as Peter Heck writes.
All this trickery, misdirection, obfuscation and corruption within the so-called "pro-choice" movement are causing an increasingly large number of Americans to reassess their position on the issue. That, coupled with a reinvigorated pro-life movement infused with a youthful energy and a refocused approach that addresses humanness rather than politics, convinces me that the day is fast approaching when our society finds the moral courage to end the killing.

Space Round-Up

Discovery's crew boarded their Shuttle after a very productive stay. The ship departs from the International Space Station on Monday to return to Earth to stay (scheduled for Wednesday).

Two other launches took place in the past week, the unsuccessful Glory satellite launch and the apparently successful launch of the second USAF X37B robotic spaceplane.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Joyful Prolife "Flash Mob"

Participants in a "Walk for Choice" demonstration were surprised to be joined by a buoyant prolife "flash mob" on Saturday in downtown Chicago. I like their initial entry into the plaza with the LOTR "Shire" theme. A striking example of how new media and a joyful positive approach can help bring about a much needed seismic cultural shift to our society.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Discovery Sets Sail One Final Time


Space Shuttle Discovery launched this afternoon to deliver vital hardware and supplies to the International Space Station. This is the final flight planned for Discovery, which has been flying since 1984.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Are We on the Cusp of Something Big?

Events have been moving increasingly fast recently, with so much going on that I have to let go of any thought of covering it all on this humble blog. But just to take a few of the events occurring in the nation and the world the past few weeks, are we on the cusp of some tectonic cultural shifts?

Take for example, the upheaval in Egypt and other countries where leaders who have ruled for decades are suddenly being turned out amidst mass demonstrations by many citizens of those countries. I don't think there have been so many near simultaneous changes in so many countries since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in late 1989. Whether these changes lead to a new birth of freedom for people in that part of the world or to something more grim that could be trouble for all of us remains to be seen.

Closer to home, we see the Republican led House of Representatives making serious cuts in most federal programs in the Continuing Resolution for the balance of the fiscal year 2011. With Senate Democrats and President Obama likely to be opposed to many of the cuts, we could be headed for a government shutdown on March 4 if no agreement is reached. A shutdown did occur in 1995, which was perceived to have been damaging to the Republican Congress at that time. With the nation's deficit situation much more severe now and a whole different media environment, the political ramifications could point in a different direction, reversing the growth of government that has taken place for decades.

This battle is being played out more dramatically in Wisconsin and other states, where elected officials are confronting entrenched public employee unions with the dire fiscal consequences of continuing the generous benefit packages of the past. This may be the start of a confrontation between the left wing community organizing movement and the more conservative Tea Party movement over the direction our nation takes.

Finally, as part of the House budget actions, but worthy of being highlighted, is the passage of a measure defunding Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider. Planned Parenthood has managed to embed itself into our society with a "mainstream" image for decades, but that image is crumbling, and hopefully with it, the organization's destructive influence on our society. The defunding measure was sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), who gave a stirring keynote address at the Susan B. Anthony List Gala I attended on Wednesday evening.

In short, we may be on the verge of a cultural shift at least as profound as that of the sixties and seventies that changed our society and continues to influence cultural assumptions to this day. The new shift will not be a return to 1950s social norms, but it could reject some of the more negative influences of the shift that followed, leading to 21st century norms that hopefully will include more respect for life and liberty.

Comet Close-Up

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

NASA's Stardust-NExT made a close approach to Comet Tempel 1 on Monday, providing spectacular images along with data to be analyzed.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Trillions with a T

President Obama sent his $3.7 trillion FY2012 budget to Congress today, opening the next phase in the debate of how to deal with the nation's huge and mounting deficit situation. Republicans (and others)are saying that the budget does not contain nearly enough reductions to make a serious dent in the burgeoning deficit. With major cuts likely in the pending Continuing Resolution (CR) that will probably stand from March 4 through the rest of FY 2010, this budget story is going to be a wild ride.

The budget proposal for NASA is $18.7 billion, equivalent to the amount in last year's (FY2010) budget. Cuts in the current House CR proposal for FY2011 take this year's budget ~$300 million lower. Given the need to tackle the deficit, cuts in every program are unavoidable. The trick in an area like space, which has so much potential for spurring future economic growth, is to allocate the resources we have most effectively. The most significant way of doing this is to sustain the efforts currently underway to engage the private sector in a greater role in human expansion into space.

Hard choices will have to be made across federal, state and local budgets. While many budget reductions will be painful cuts in beneficial programs, some cuts will be a no-brainer, especially this one.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Commercial Space Developments

This (~10 min) video describes the exciting developments occurring in commercial space activities that many people are barely aware of.

Change in Egypt

People in Egypt are celebrating the departure of Hosni Mubarak from office as leader of that country. For now, the military is heading up a "transitional" government. Pray that today's events truly lead to a free and peaceful future for Egypt, and not in a darker direction where some forces there would go.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Ronald Reagan Centennial

Tomorrow, February 6, would have been the 100th birthday of President Ronald Reagan. Reagan will be remembered in history for his role in ending the Cold War in favor of freedom over communism, for reviving the American economy with free enterprise oriented solutions, and for being the first US President during the dark abortion-on-demand era to take a strong stand in favor of life.

Here is the official Reagan Centennial web site, which contains tributes, multi-media resources, and information on events that will go on through this year.

I probably can't say much that hasn't already been said and an abundance of Reagan tributes and info are available. Quite a number of good articles and resources are currently available at National Review online.

Here's an excerpt (~ 4 min) of the 1964 speech (" a time for choosing") where Reagan initiated his involvement in national politics. The full version (~30 min) is here.

And here's an excerpt of one of President Reagan's 1980 debates with President Carter which includes one of Reagan's most famous quotes.

Another Evil Empire Crumbling?

A fast pace of breaking news recently about revelations concerning Planned Parenthood (PP), the nation's largest abortion provider and a radical sexual revolution advocate. Recently came the release of the book Unplanned by Abby Johnson, a former PP center director in Texas who quit her job at PP and joined the prolife movement, a conversion she explains in the book.

Then, of course, there are the recent revelations by Live Action, which has in fact been revealing the dark side of PP for several years. The latest being the release of several videos of undercover visits to PP facilities by persons posing as a pimp and an underage girl from outside the US looking for assistance to deal with the consequences of illegal human trafficking without stopping the activity.

Further background is provided at this web site assembled by a coalition of prolife groups, where you can watch a replay of a Thursday night web cast (~ 73 min) explaining the situation and actions planned to deal with it.

The fact that these occurrences have occurred at several PP facilities indicates something more than the aberrant actions of one or two employees, but a mind set within that organization that seems to take any kind of sex anywhere, any time, as a given with a blindness to the consequences. For too long, Planned Parenthood has manage to embed itself into society pretending to be a "mainstream" organization. Now, with the combination of new media investigative journalism and a renewed determination on Capitol Hill to at least end taxpayer funding of PP, we can hope, pray and work for the curtailment of the PP world view's destructive impact on society.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Egypt in Upheaval

In 1993, I went on a Holy Land pilgrimage that included both Israel and Egypt. Memories of Egypt, and Cairo in particular, came back in recent days with the upheaval after nearly thirty years of rule by Hosni Mubarak. (Here's a timeline of highlights of recent events.)

The events have generated mixed feelings with hope and prayer that the many Egyptians who truly aspire for more freedom (sort of an Egyptian Tea Party) prevail over the darker forces in play that might take Egypt into the most extreme form of Islam. This later outcome would be particularly threatening to Egypt's Christians and to the neighboring nation of Israel.

It's time to pray for the people of Egypt and their leaders to find a path to a more free and peaceful land. Also, for guidance for our own leaders as they figure out what role to play in this delicate situation.

Judge: Obamacare Unconstitutional

A lot happening this week. On Monday, a U.S. district judge ruled that the health care law violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by requiring individuals to buy insurance. Twenty six states have taken legal action to stop Obamacare from being implemented. This case is headed to the Supreme Court.

If the Supremes don't outright overturn Obamacare, Congress may disassemble it. Either way, there's hope that this debacle can be thwarted.