Sixty-Three Years Leading Us to a Star Trek Life

On 1 October 2021, NASA celebrated the agency’s 63rd anniversary of operation. On October 5th two Russians, a film director and an actress, docked with the International Space Station to do a twelve day movie shoot. Are the past sixty-three years leading us to a Star Trek Life? The Beginning In the summer of 1950, a two-stage rocket called Bumper 2 launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It reached an altitude 250 miles higher than the International Space Station’s altitude. Under the direction of General Electric, Bumper 2 rockets were used to test rocket systems and for upper atmosphere research. It was far from even the dream of a Star Trek Life. On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched its Sputnik I. A basketball-sized satellite, Sputnik I, orbited the earth in 98 minutes. Caught off-guard by the launch, the United States scrambled to develop similar or superior capabilities. In December, they launched their first satellite, the Vanguard. It exploded shortly after takeoff. The first successful satellite launch in the U.S. came at the end of January 1958. In July of that year, Congress passed legislation that created NASA. NASA’s Years On October 1, 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration […]

Is the Truth in Asteroid Dust?

Is the truth in asteroid dust? Perhaps we’ll soon learn the answer. This month, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully brought asteroid dust back to Earth for the second time in history. A small asteroid doesn’t have a heated interior. Scientists believe that means that since the materials on an asteroid have never experienced that intense heat and altered, they have the “initial characteristics of the solar system.” Studying this material could lead to a new understanding of the history and development of our solar system. What Is an Asteroid It’s an irregularly shaped celestial body usually found between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. (See the illustration above.) They can be as small as pebbles or hundreds of miles in diameter. Most asteroids are rocks, but some have clays or metals in them. There are currently 1,038,96 known asteroids. Scientists believe that during the formation of our solar system some rocks and materials were “left overs.” These left overs are what we call asteroids.  How Do Scientists Study Asteroids? Astronomers have spent years observing celestial bodies like asteroids with powerful telescopes. Some scientists have been fortunate enough to work with meteorites, tiny bits of asteroids that survived the […]

Beyond the Imagination of the Earthbound

Did you watch Launch America? This weekend’s successful launch and docking of the Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon is the culmination of a lot of dreams-come-true. We’ve got a long way to go before commercial space travel will be available to everyone. But we will get there. What we will discover in space travel and exploration is beyond the imagination of the Earthbound. We cannot predict the new forces, powers, and discoveries that will be disclosed to us when we reach the other planets and set up new laboratories in space. They are as much beyond our vision today as fire or electricity would be beyond the imagination of a fish. –Arthur C. Clarke, “Space and the Spirit of Man” Or is it? Imagination Kindled The first known story about flying in space may have been the Hindu epic Ramayana (5th to 4th century BC). But most likely humans have dreamed of space travel since they first saw the moon and stars. There was a lot of dreaming before Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin launched into space on April 12, 1961. To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit. –Stephen Hawking And even more dreaming […]