Monthly Archives: March 2014

Gwynnagain: “I am a cheerleader for anyone who wants to be an engineer”

“I am a cheerleader for anyone who wants to be an engineer. I think everybody should be an engineer or at least get an engineering background – even if you don’t work professionally as an engineer, I think it provides such an extraordinary problem solving ability. So I cheerlead for anyone. We continue to give to the Frank J. Redd Student scholarship competition – I don’t manage that anymore – I speak at high schools, grade schools, and universities, to encourage people who would never consider being engineers to become engineers. I think it is just something that will create a much better world if more people focus on being engineers – or physicists.”

Gwynne Shotwell is the President and Chief Operating Officer of SpaceX

Gwynnagain: “Our Focus is Mars”


“Our focus is Mars. You know, getting back to the moon will be really hard. And we’re afraid that, if we focus as a nation on getting back to the moon – when we should be focused on doing somewhere beyond where we’ve gone before – that, you end up spending so much money on that hard problem, that, you severely delay solving what we consider should be the focus of the root of the problem we should be looking at. And that is getting to Mars. So, we consider it [the moon] more of a distraction if we’re talking about a national program.”

Gwynne Shotwell is the President and Chief Operating Officer of SpaceX

Lionsgate TV Mars One Reality Series


Lionsgate TV has teamed with Mars One for an unscripted TV series that will chronicle a group during their training to be sent on a one-way trip to Mars, in their attempt to establish the first human settlement. The untitled project, in the social experiment genre, will be shopped to networks shortly. Lionsgate TV is expected to start its own casting search, with the two selection processes ultimately merged.

Candidates for the mission will be followed during their preparation for the mission, from selection to training, with new candidates brought in as necessary. “This is a social experiment that focuses on the people that would sign for something like this — they have to agree to participate and be willing to go on a one-way mission, knowing that if you go, you can never come back,” said Roy Bank, who is producing the project as part of his overall deal with Lionsgate TV.

Read more here:

“Endymion…A Thing of Beauty” by John Keats

Reading and video by Tom O’Bedlam. The full text of Keats’ Endymion may be read herehere:

The paintings are:
“Sleeping Endymion”, by Nicolas Guy Brenet, 1756
“Sleeping Endymion” by Pietro Liberi, c1660
“Selene and Endymion” by Nicolas Poussin, 1630

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.
Nor do we merely feel these essences
For one short hour; no, even as the trees
That whisper round a temple become soon
Dear as the temple’s self, so does the moon,
The passion poesy, glories infinite,
Haunt us till they become a cheering light
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast
That, whether there be shine or gloom o’ercast,
They always must be with us, or we die.

Interspace Tourist Attraction


Interspace, a space-themed attraction and research facility, could open as early as 2016 according to Mark Homnick, manager of NewSpace Center LLC, the company planning to build the  22,000-square-foot replica of Mars. “We felt it was very important for people to know about the space frontier. They will actually live and work as if they were a settler on Mars. We remove the barrier between the guest and the experience. The guest is the experience. They are directly involved.”

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The Onion: “Modernized Space Camp Allows Kids To Simulate Frustration Over Lack Of Funding”

Space Camp attendees react to news that budget pressures have postponed their mission indefinitely.

HUNTSVILLE, AL—Aiming to provide attendees with an authentic glimpse into the nation’s space program, representatives for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center announced Thursday that its newly updated Space Camp will allow children to simulate the anger and mounting frustration experienced by NASA personnel over a continual lack of funding.

Camp organizers explained that the redesigned education program will offer kids the unique opportunity to contend with all of the budgetary restrictions and bureaucratic red tape impeding the progress of actual astronauts and researchers, allowing children from grades four to six to immerse themselves in a true-to-life NASA environment in which financial shortfalls and endless procedural delays plague them at every turn.

“At Space Camp, each attendee experiences the trials of real-life astronauts who simply are not provided the resources they need to explore outer space,” said director Deborah Barnhart, noting that campers get a firsthand look at what it’s like to pursue cutting-edge astronomical research on a budget that, when adjusted for inflation, is a mere fraction of what it was in the 1960s. “Our campers endure constant setbacks throughout their week here, from engaging in spaceflight training modules that can be shut down at a moment’s notice, to working tirelessly on a solar probe project only to be informed that an across-the-board spending freeze has led to the indefinite suspension of their work.”

“Kids will walk away from a week at Space Camp knowing exactly what it’s like to be an American astronaut,” she added.

Barnhart told reporters that the modernized camp offers attendees an array of hands-on activities that include designing next-generation spaceships, searching for virtual extrasolar planets, and building a robotic Mars rover, any one of which could be effectively derailed by an abrupt mandate that the research and development process be made more cost-effective.

Additionally, campers will reportedly be able to sigh and throw their hands up in exasperation within a replica of the actual mission control room at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center after learning that a reconnaissance mission to scan for the presence of life on Jupiter’s moon Europa has been scrapped just weeks prior to the intended launch date.

Program officials also highlighted their efforts to make the experience as realistically discouraging as possible by furloughing a significant number of campers immediately at the start of each weeklong session.

“We put camp attendees in the shoes of dedicated NASA scientists whose attempts to further scientific understanding through the analysis of asteroid composition are halted by one of our camp staffers playing the role of a U.S. senator targeting all ‘nonessential’ initiatives,” said counselor Tyler Campbell. “When they take their seats in our mock congressional chamber, campers will work together to deliver an impassioned yet ultimately futile request for continued support of NASA until they have no choice but to stand up and leave, having just witnessed their life’s work go up in smoke.”

“When you see the stunned expressions on these kids’ faces as they realize their goals and dreams are no longer attainable because of political pressures completely out of their control, that’s when you know they’ve gained a valuable understanding of our space program,” Campbell added.

Early participants in the new program have reportedly hailed the experience as “eye-opening,” with many describing their visceral disappointment watching satellite feeds of their Chinese and Russian Space Camp counterparts pursuing scientific endeavors that were eliminated in the U.S. years ago.

“I’ll never forget what it was like to go to Space Camp and repeatedly attempt to convince the budget committee of the importance of our solar wind study so they would cancel the other teams’ projects and not ours,” said 11-year-old camper Sara Andrews, who explained that she spent most of the week steadily reducing the scope of her simulated mission so that it would remain financially viable. “I’m just glad I wasn’t working on the asteroid flyby project that was ultimately deemed too cost-prohibitive and was contracted out to a private aeronautics firm. The kids on that team just had to sit around and do nothing for the rest of camp.”

“I can’t wait to work at NASA when I grow up so I can constantly stress over limited financial resources and have my scientific projects canceled for real,” she added. “That is, if NASA even still exists then.”