Tag Archives: space science

The Transit Program and the Origins of Nuclear Power Systems for Spaceflight


Since the dawn of the space age more than 50 years ago, the United States has pursued a variety of methods for delivering electrical power to spacecraft in flight. Nuclear power systems are the only ones that have been found … Continue reading

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That Was the Year That Was: Civil Space 2013


We say this about every year, but 2013 was memorable in so many ways that I cannot begin to catalog them all. As a result, let me confine my remarks to three accomplishments that I consider the most significant taking … Continue reading

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Rationales for Human Spaceflight after the Shuttle


I originally published this piece in Space News on February 11, 2013. The original may be read here. One respondent to it on April 15, 2013, thought I downplayed the importance of human spaceflight in the pursuit of scientific understanding … Continue reading

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How Have We Constructed the Origins of the Solar System Over Time?


Where did the solar system come from? Why and how? What accounts for its evolution over time? Those questions have plagued scientists, philosophers, theologians, and other thinkers from the point where humanity first realized that Earth was part of a … Continue reading

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Protesting Cassini’s Launch


The Cassini space probe—the largest interplanetary probe ever launched, weighing 6.3 tons, and extending 22 feet in length—was a joint NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), and Italian Space Agency (ASI) mission to study Saturn and its rings, moons, and magnetic … Continue reading

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Redirect: “Voyager 1 Finally Leaves Solar System—for Real This Time”


Science writer Clara Moskowitz  has a good article at Scientific American on how Voyager 1 has left the Solar System. Congratulations to the “little spacecraft that could” after 35 years of continuous operations. Check out the story here. In addition, … Continue reading

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Was NASA Serious about Trying to Rescue Skylab?


On the May 19, 1979, episode of Saturday Night Live, the path-breaking comedy program that everyone who was anyone watched, John Belushi played a science commentator for “Weekend Update,” its faux news segment. Belushi began with a staid report on … Continue reading

Posted in History, International Space Station, Politics, Science, Space, Space Shuttle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Proposed Syllabus for “Spaceflight and Society” Course, Fall 2013


I am the instructor for a course at Johns Hopkins University in the Fall 2013 semester with the title, “Spaceflight and Society.” I taught this class in the fall of 2011 as well and had a great time doing it, … Continue reading

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Redirect: “If You Set Out to Go to Mars, Go to Mars”


I’d like to call your attention to a really interesting piece in the by Harley Thronson submitted to the  Human Spaceflight Study Group at the National Academies. Entitled “If You Set Out to Go to Mars, Go to Mars.” Its … Continue reading

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A Clear View of Alaska, and the Problem it Presents


This is really interesting. NASA released this rare photograph of Alaska from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on June 17, 2013. Most of the time the state is covered with clouds, but not on that … Continue reading

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