L.E. MODESITT, JR. is the bestselling author of over forty novels encompassing two science fiction series and three fantasy series, as well as several other novels in the science fiction genre. READ MORE
President Obama signs space program agenda into law
WILLIAM HARWOOD, STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE"
President Obama signed legislation Monday that authorizes $19 billion for NASA in fiscal 2011, funding an additional shuttle flight, accelerating development of a new heavy lift rocket for deep space exploration and pressing ahead with plans to use commercial spacecraft to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
The budget cancels the Bush administration's Constellation moon program, but endorses development of a manned spacecraft for deep space exploration similar to the Orion capsule envisioned for the scrapped moon missions. It also calls for development of new technologies, continued robotic exploration and a major upgrade to the launch infrastructure at the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. FULL STORY
Bolden heads to China this weekend for joint space talks
STEPHEN CLARK, SPACEFLIGHT NOW
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden will depart to China on Saturday for introductory talks on potential space partnerships and unprecedented visits to Chinese human spaceflight facilities.
Agency spokesman Michael Cabbage said Tuesday that Bolden's itinerary was not finalized. Seven NASA officials will accompany Bolden on the five-day trip.
Responding to a letter from Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., Bolden said the visit will follow up on agreements reached in November 2009 between President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao. Both leaders issued a joint communique calling for talks on cooperation in human spaceflight. FULL STORY
'Star Wars' Planet with 2 Suns Challenges Theories
By SPACE.com Staff
A huge alien planet discovered in a system with two suns akin to the fictional "Star Wars" world of Tatooine is forcing astronomers to rethink their theories about how gas giant planets form.
The two stars are close enough together that the leading theory for planet formation — that dust and gas circling the stars slowly accrete into such planets' rocky cores — isn't likely, researchers said. The stars' gravity would disrupt this process long before it could get very far, they added. [Gallery: The Strangest Alien Planets.] FULL STORY
Mars or Bust! One-Way Trip to the Red Planet Could Kick-start Colonization
Denise Chow, SPACE.com Staff Writer
The vast plains of Mars may be the most promising place beyond Earth for human colonization, but is it enough for a one-way trip to the Red Planet? Two researchers seem to think so.
In an article published this month in the Journal of Cosmology, environmental scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch and physicist Paul Davies argue that a manned one-way mission to Mars would not only make economical sense, but mark the beginning of long-term colonization of the planet. FULL STORY
New Climate Change Worry: Space Tourism Soot
Humans’ attempts to visit space may not be good for the folks back home, according to a new study that finds soot emitted by space tourism rockets could significantly contribute to global climate change in coming decades.
The researchers assumed that a fast-growing suborbital space tourism market will develop over the next decade, and they examined the climate impact of soot and carbon dioxide emissions from 1,000 suborbital rocket flights per year, the approximate number advertised in recent materials promoting space tourism.
"Rockets are the only direct source of human-produced compounds above about 14 miles (22.5 kilometers), and so it is important to understand how their exhaust affects the atmosphere," said the study's chief researcher, Martin Ross of The Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo, Calif. FULL STORY
So we rented a room on the third floor of a colonial style hotel in Padang where we wouldn't be noticed for awhile.
Nne hundred euros a night bought us privacy and a balcony view of the Indian Ocean. During pleasant weather, and there had been no shortage of that over the last few days, we could see the nearest part of the Archway: a cloud-colored vertical line that rose from the horizon and vanished, still rising, into blue haze. As impressive as this seemed, only a fraction of the whole structure was visible from the west coast of Sumatra. The Archway's far leg descended to the undersea peaks of the Carpenter Ridge more than a thousand kilometers away, spanning the Mentawat Trench like a wedding band dropped edge-up into a shallow pond. On dry land, it would have reached from Bombay on the eastern coast of India to Madras on the west. Or, say, very roughly, New York to Chicago.
Spin Robert Charles Wilson
He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.