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The Martian Movie Poster

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Mixed feelings about the scientific accuracy of this film (artists ought to be held to the same standards as scientists…we should no more accept depictions of Martian dust storms toppling a rocket than creationism as a plot catalyst). Nevertheless badass supersedes all. Good to see a masculine educated hero!

Chin Li Zhi: “Pale Blue Dot”

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Set to the words of Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot is an animation that situates human history against the tapestry of the cosmos. Using a eclectic combination of art styles woven seamlessly together through music and visuals, the animation seeks to remind us that regardless of our differences, we are one species living together on the planet we call Earth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot

Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen: Copenhagen Suborbitals logo

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“This is the logo that we made. It contains the essence of the project – it should be as far away possible from the normal space logo, which always
has planets and stars and rockets. Well this has a rocket but it’s kinda
concealed in there…”

http://copenhagensuborbitals.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_Suborbitals

“I have no idea how to do this – but let’s find out.
It’s incredible what you can get away with as an amateur guy.
If I want to do this enough, I can actually do this.”

“Even if I’m eighty years in a wheelchair I’m going to push this button here because I want to get ourselves into space and kinda invite other people
to be a part of it no matter where they are in the world.”


The Onion: “NASA Announces Bold Plan To Still Exist By 2045″

NASA administrator Charles Bolden says that, with dedication and precise execution, the space agency might even be able to go beyond the year 2045.

WASHINGTON—In what is being described as the most ambitious mission ever undertaken in the space agency’s history, NASA officials announced at a press conference Tuesday their bold new plan to still exist by 2045.

NASA’s top directors, who presented a detailed, long-term timeline for the project, dubbed the Fortuna Program, told reporters that the plan would lay the groundwork for the space agency to reach far into the 2040s. Senior officials noted that their goal of keeping NASA’s facilities open for the next 30 years would test the very limits of their skill and ingenuity, explaining that the undertaking would likely surpass the Voyager missions and manned spaceflight in terms of technical difficulty.

“Though the scope of the Fortuna Program is far greater than anything we’ve ever attempted, I’m certain that, through the right combination of hard work, perseverance, and a little bit of luck, NASA can make it all the way to 2045,” said the agency’s administrator, Charles Bolden, who emphasized that the plan would require cutting-edge innovation and spectacular administrative feats to arrive at the lofty objective. “With so many great minds devoted to this project, we have a chance at achieving something that once seemed like the stuff of fiction.”

“It may seem impossible now, but we hope to realize the vision of establishing a human presence in NASA deeper into the century than ever before imagined,” Bolden added.

When questioned about the plan’s viability, Bolden told reporters that while certain doubts remain, the project was nonetheless an absolutely crucial undertaking for NASA. Bolden further emphasized that the Fortuna Program’s goal was technically achievable on paper, and could feasibly be accomplished in a real-world scenario so long as everything “goes perfectly” for the space agency.

“The first critical step toward reaching our goal is to still be here by the year 2020,” said Bolden, adding that the plan allowed absolutely no room for error. “From there, we will move on to the next phase of the mission, which is to implement an intensive 10-year plan to remain operational. If we meet that goal in 2030, then there’s no reason to believe NASA won’t make it to 2045.”

“As long as each stage succeeds and we keep hitting our yearly milestones of being a functioning agency, we will eventually get there,” Bolden continued. “This mission, if successfully completed, has the potential to be one of mankind’s greatest achievements, greater even than the Hubble Telescope, the International Space Station, and putting a man on the moon.”

Bolden, who confirmed that all of the agency’s personnel and resources would be focused solely on the project, explained that the Fortuna Program represented the very future of NASA.

“We may not be around to reap the benefits of the Fortuna Program, but the next generation will be,” said Bolden, noting that the plan was rife with logistical challenges and unknowns that would have to be dealt with as they emerge. “Though the risks are great, we will continue to build upon what we’ve learned during our 56-year history to reach our objective at any cost.”

“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for NASA,” Bolden added. “Whether we succeed or fail, I believe that the outcome of this mission will define the American space program for years to come.”

http://www.theonion.com/article/nasa-announces-bold-plan-still-exist-2045-50398

Why Reusable Rockets Make Asteroid Retrieval Worthwhile

Ice extracted from asteroids or lunar craters will not be competitive with fuel launched from Earth on reusable rockets costing fifty thousand dollars. This should concern us.

15 tons of high quality fuels trucked from massive sophisticated refineries in Houston then launched for $250,000 on Falcon 9s in Brownsvile will always outcompete expensive fuels cracked from water-ice extracted out of lunar craters using as of yet non-existent multi-billion dollar technologies. In fact, the ability to launch tons of fuels from Earth to LEO on reusable rockets may delay the development of in-space resource utilization for decades.

When Musk achieves reusable rockets, development of all near Earth resources may be delayed from any cislunar source – even unfortunately asteroids with their superior concentrations of ore and favorable zero g environment. This ironically however provides a reason for taxpayer support of asteroid retrieval: private/public research partnerships teleoperating on an asteroid in Earth orbit owned by all U.S. citizens (NASA) could jump-start technologies humanity will need to develop asteroids. Humanity needs access to asteroids long-term. Asteroids – not the moon – will fuel a billion-fold increase in our industrial base. Despite a huge disparity in initial cost-competition with launches from Earth, government subsidized R&D on asteroids placed in an elliptical orbit around Earth could advance for-profit Free World leadership of in-space resource utilization by decades.