May 26, 2008

The Mars Photos Are Awesome, But...

why the heck are they in black and white? Is there an actual reason we can't transmit colour photos from the Mars Phoenix Lander? I assumed with a new, higher tech lander, we'd also get colour photos, but instead, they're the same old B&W. Anyone know why? The only colour image I've seen says it was colourized after the fact.

Posted by Ith at 1:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 28, 2007

Star Trek Day Has Dawned!

The long promised Star Trek Day (which is actually going to be a whole weekend!) has arrived at NRO! And since I was one of the people who ponied up money during the last pledge drive, I'm thrilled!

I even got my 'NRO Resistance Is Futile' shirt!

Thank you, K-Lo!

Posted by Ith at 10:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 25, 2007

My Fic Is Grateful For The News!

Considering I'm writing a 'mirror universe' fic currently, and have written a few others in the past!

Parallel universes exist - study

Posted by Ith at 12:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2007

March 9, 2007

Because Lasers Are Cool

Laser Guided Asteroids

A team of scientists and engineers at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) are conducting research that could one day save humanity from asteroids threatening Earth.

UAH Laser Science and Engineering Group (LSEG), headed by Dr. Richard Fork, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is conducting research into characterizing and deflecting asteroids that may endanger Earth.

It sounds like science fiction, but Fork, who has a doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and more than 40 years of experience working with lasers, said someday it could be possible to locate a laser in space or on the moon to look at the properties of asteroids and perhaps alter their trajectories away from Earth.

Posted by Ith at 9:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 11, 2006

Dropping Into Hyperspace

The English Werewolf points out this fascinating article. Pretty amazing stuff if it panned out, huh? Maybe my dream to stand on the Moon or Mars one day isn't out of the question :)

Posted by Ith at 10:37 AM | Comments (1)

January 3, 2006

Serenity #1 DVD

PrincessJami here. Hi!

Serenity Browncoat members will already know all this, but I want to share the email I found in my inbox with other Serenity/Firefly fans:

"Browncoats to Close

We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty!

Serenity was the #1 DVD upon its release! This was a huge success that would not have happened without the support and dedication of The Browncoats. On behalf of Universal, I would like to thank you all for everything you have done to promote Serenity.

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that on January 6, 2006, The Browncoats will shut down. We have had some wonderful times over these 19 months: met people from around the world, had interesting discussions about Serenity and every topic under the sun on the message boards, had lots of laughs (ďI canít believe Shepherd Book is Malís father *spoiler* Ē was a personal favorite), and seen some sadness as well. There really has never been a community quite like The Browncoats.

Of course this is not the end of The Browncoats; there are many other sites that will allow the community to continue on. If you do get nostalgic for these boards, check out http://serenitymovie.org , a forum similar in look to this one set up by Gossi - one of our own.

All of your orders from the store are being processed, and will be shipped over the next 2 weeks. If you havenít placed an order, please do so - your points arenít going to be of any use once the site closes down. Remember we are at http://browncoats.serenitymovie.com

Once again a huge thank you from everyone here!
S_L"

Hm. We sound like geeks. :-)

Posted by Princess Jami at 3:14 PM | Comments (1)

December 6, 2005

Are Stargate Fans Naming Asteroids These Days?

It's called Apophis. It's 390m wide. And it could hit Earth in 31 years time

In Egyptian myth, Apophis was the ancient spirit of evil and destruction, a demon that was determined to plunge the world into eternal darkness.

A fitting name, astronomers reasoned, for a menace now hurtling towards Earth from outerspace. Scientists are monitoring the progress of a 390-metre wide asteroid discovered last year that is potentially on a collision course with the planet, and are imploring governments to decide on a strategy for dealing with it.

Posted by Ith at 10:23 PM | Comments (1)

November 29, 2005

Aye, It's the Flux Modulation Controller, Captain!

For real!

(though 'capacitor' would have been more amusing) (it just would)

Via The Corner

Posted by Ith at 12:55 PM

November 26, 2005

If Only

Yesterday, I posted a bit from an article on the Canadian guy wanting public hearings on dealing with "ET". Something I meant to mention, but didn't get around to was this bit:

He stated, "The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide."

My reaction? About darn time, and if only it were true! I want my moon base, and I want it now. Oh, and the flying car too. When I was a little girl, I was sure we'd have a presence on the moon by this time. It's been something of a disappointment :)

Posted by Ith at 3:31 PM | Comments (6)

August 11, 2005

'Outburst'

Meteor 'Outburst' Expected Friday Morning

Unfortunately, I rarely get to see the Perseids since it's almost always foggy at night here in the summer. But I do love a good meteor shower! One year, we trekked all the way out to Fremont Peak to see the Perseids. Very cool!

Posted by Ith at 12:54 PM

July 29, 2005

Mars On The Rocks

212-010705-1343-6-3d-01-CraterIce_L.jpg

Water ice in crater at Martian north pole

Posted by Ith at 10:49 AM

July 26, 2005

Scotty

In memory of James Doohan, the original Star Trek star who died on July 20, NASA's Opportunity rover team gave a set of small loose rocks on the Meridiani plains on Mars the name "Scotty."

Via SciFi Wire

Posted by Ith at 4:05 PM

February 27, 2005

The Red (with sprinkle of white) Planet

Awesome pictures from Mars here.

This one is amazing -- look at the glaciers!

009_Mars_northPole_H.jpg

click on pic for full size

Posted by Ith at 11:41 AM | Comments (4)

November 23, 2004

Space IQ

Test your Space IQ (answers in the exrended entry)

1. We have strong evidence that our solar system is not the only one; we know there are many other Suns with planets orbiting them.

2. Some organisms can survive in space for years -- without any kind of protective enclosure.

3. Organisms have been found thriving in scalding water with temperatures as high as 235 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. We now have evidence that some form of life exists beyond Earth, at least in primitive form.

5. We currently have the technology necessary to send astronauts to another star system within a reasonable time span. The only problem is that such a mission would be overwhelmingly expensive.

6. All of the gas giant planets in our solar system (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) have rings.

7. In the "Star Wars" films, the Imperial TIE Fighters are propelled by ion engines (TIE stands for Twin Ion Engine). While these spacecraft are fictional, real ion engines power some of today's spacecraft.

8. There is no gravity in deep space.

9. The basic premise of teleportation -- made famous in TV's "Star Trek" -- is theoretically sound. In fact, scientists have already "teleported" the quantum state of individual atoms from one location to another.

10. Tatooine, Luke Skywalker's home planet in the "Star Wars" films, has two Suns -- what astronomers would call a binary star system. Scientists have discovered recently that planets really can form within such systems.


Answers

1. We have strong evidence that our solar system is not the only one; we know there are many other Suns with planets orbiting them.

SCIENCE FACT

Improved telescopes and detectors have led to the detection of dozens of new planetary systems within the past decade, including several systems containing multiple planets. So far, the limits of technology favor the discovery of large planets, and many are more massive than Jupiter and, surprisingly, hug their stars in scorchingly close orbits that last days instead of years. But some other systems look a lot like our own.

2. Some organisms can survive in space for years -- without any kind of protective enclosure.

SCIENCE FACT

A small colony of the common bacteria Streptococcus mitis stowed away for nearly three years aboard NASA (news - web sites)'s Surveyor 3, an unmanned spacecraft that landed on the moon in 1967. The crew of Apollo 12 recovered the organisms and brought them back to Earth under sterile conditions. This unplanned experiment proved that certain microorganisms can survive years of radiation exposure, the vacuum of space and deep-freeze, without any nutrient, water or energy source. Some researchers say life could have traveled from Mars to Earth inside a space rock.

3. Organisms have been found thriving in scalding water with temperatures as high as 235 degrees Fahrenheit.

FACT

More than 50 heat-loving microorganisms, or hyperthermophiles, have been found thriving at very high temperatures in such locations as hot springs in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park and on the walls of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Some of these species multiply best at 221 degrees Fahrenheit, and can reproduce at up to 235 degrees. Bacteria have also been found thriving under ice near the poles, in a highly alkaline lake, and deep underground, feeding off rock.

4. We now have evidence that some form of life exists beyond Earth, at least in primitive form.

FICTION

While many scientists speculate that extraterrestrial life exists, so far there is no conclusive evidence to prove it. Future missions to Mars, the Jovian moon Europa and future space telescopes will search for definitive answers to this ageless question.

5. We currently have the technology necessary to send astronauts to another star system within a reasonable time span. The only problem is that such a mission would be overwhelmingly expensive.

FICTION

Even the unmanned Voyager spacecraft, which left our solar system years ago at a breathtaking 37,000 miles per hour, would take 76,000 years to reach the nearest star. Because the distances involved are so vast, interstellar travel to another star within a practical time scale would require, among other things, the ability the move a vehicle at or near the speed of light. This is beyond the reach of today's spacecraft -- regardless of funding, according to. Even so, the space agency is looking into the possibilities.

6. All of the gas giant planets in our solar system (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) have rings.

FACT

Saturn's rings are the most pronounced and visible, but they aren't the only ones. Check out the rings (and clouds) of Uranus and Neptune.

7. In the "Star Wars" films, the Imperial TIE Fighters are propelled by ion engines (TIE stands for Twin Ion Engine). While these spacecraft are fictional, real ion engines power some of today's spacecraft.

FACT

Ion propulsion has long been a staple of science fiction novels, but in recent years it has been successfully tested on a number of unmanned spacecraft, notably NASA's Deep Space 1. Launched in 1998, Deep Space 1 rendezvoused with a distant asteroid and then with a comet, proving that ion propulsion could be used for interplanetary travel. And the European Space Agency just put an ion-powered probe into orbit around the Moon.

8. There is no gravity in deep space.

FICTION

If this were true, the moon would float away from the Earth, and our entire solar system would drift apart. While it's true that gravity gets weaker with distance, it can never be escaped completely, no matter how far you travel in space. Astronauts appear to experience "zero-gravity" because they are in continuous free-fall around the Earth. An interesting twist (or rather, nontwist) to this concept is that the gravity of a black hole works the same way. So, while anything too close to a black hole (including light) will be sucked in and hidden from view, objects at a distance from a black hole feel no greater pull than if the black hole were a star of equal mass. Go figure.

9. The basic premise of teleportation -- made famous in TV's "Star Trek" -- is theoretically sound. In fact, scientists have already "teleported" the quantum state of individual atoms from one location to another.

FACT

As early as the late 1990s, scientists proved they could teleport data using photons, but the photons were absorbed by whatever surface they struck. More recently, physicists at the University of Innsbruck in Austria and at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, for the first time teleported information between atoms using the principle of quantum entanglement.

Experts say this technology eventually could enable the invention of superfast "quantum computers." But the bad news, at least for sci-fi fans, is that experts don't foresee being able to teleport people in this manner.

10. Tatooine, Luke Skywalker's home planet in the "Star Wars" films, has two Suns -- what astronomers would call a binary star system. Scientists have discovered recently that planets really can form within such systems.

FACT

Double stars, or binary systems, are common in our Milky Way galaxy. Even three-star systems exist in gravitational harmony. Among the more than 100 new planets discovered in recent years, some have been found in binary systems, including 16 Cygni B and 55 Cancri A. So far, alas, no one has found a habitable planet like Luke Skywalker's Tatooine.

Posted by Ith at 4:09 PM | Comments (4)

August 5, 2004

Why Am I Not Surprised?

...."Outer space is a province of all mankind," says Sylvia Ospina, a member of the board of directors at the International Institute of Space Law. "There is not, and should not be, any privatization of outer space. It is a common thing that should belong to all."

To try to ensure that space remains a "common thing," space lawyers have drafted five international treaties under UN direction. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 provides the basis of all space law with its clear decree that no nation can claim ownership to any part of it, and all nations must agree to its peaceful use. The treaty was signed by all major space powers and remains the guiding light of space initiatives.

The good news is:

Perhaps the single most important issue in space law - ownership - has already been the focal point of space lawyers for some decades. In 1979 they attempted to resolve the issue with the international Moon Treaty.

The treaty established a clear prohibition on private ownership of extraterrestrial real estate, and designated extraterrestrial resources as "the common heritage of mankind." But the Moon Treaty has received far less support than the Outer Space Treaty - only five countries (none of them a major space power) have signed it: France, Guatemala, India, Peru, and Romania.

"The United States, along with the other major powers has not signed the Moon Treaty," says Prof. Gabrynowicz. Without the treaty there is no law excluding space ownership - a loophole some have sought to exploit.

The whole article here.

Posted by Ith at 5:31 PM

July 22, 2004

On The Astrophysics Front

Hawking Fills World In on Theory of Black Hole Blowouts

The world of astrophysics was sent spinning yesterday when Professor Stephen Hawking, the Cambridge University mathematician, backtracked on his 30-year-old theory about black holes.

Hawking, something of a modern-day Einstein, turned his original theory on its head when he revealed that black holes, the mysterious massive bodies formed from collapsed stars, do not destroy everything they consume but instead eventually fire out matter and energy "in a mangled form."
His radical theory was presented in a paper to the seventeenth International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation in Dublin.

The document capped a three-decade struggle to explain an elemental paradox in scientific thinking: how can black holes destroy all traces of consumed matter and energy, as Hawking long believed, when subatomic theory says such elements must survive in some form?

Posted by Ith at 11:55 AM

June 7, 2004

Transit of Venus

If you want to view a webcast of the transit of Venus across the sun, you can do so here.

On June 8, 2004, astronomers in many parts of the world will watch as Venus moves across the disk of the Sun, one of the rarest planetary alignments. Only six Venus transits have occurred since the invention of the telescope in the 1600s.

For hundreds of years, transits of Venus have been important for scientific research. From the seventeenth century onward, Venus transits provided observers with data that eventually led to a very close estimate of the astronomical unit-the distance between Earth and the Sun.

Transits of Venus occur in pairs that are eight years apart, then don't happen again for more than a century. The last two Venus transits were in 1874 and 1882, so no one alive today has seen one. After transits in 2004 and 2012, there won't be another until 2117.

Posted by Ith at 6:16 PM

March 30, 2004

'Bout Time

U.S. Military Takes First Step Towards Weapons in Space

While the military's presence in space stretches back decades, now there appears to be a new emphasis. Officials in the Bush administration and the Department of Defense are actively pursuing an agenda calling for the unprecedented weaponization of space.

The first real step in that direction appears to be coming in the form of a little-noticed weapons program at the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. The agency has now earmarked $68 million in 2005 for something called the Near Field Infrared Experiment.

The NFIRE satellite is primarily designed to gather data on exhaust plumes from rockets launched from earth, and defense officials claim it is therefore designed as a defensive, rather than offensive weapons.

But the satellite will also contain a smaller "kill vehicle," a projectile that takes advantage of the kinetic energy of objects traveling through low-Earth orbit (which move at several times the speed of a bullet) to disable or destroy an oncoming missile or another orbiting satellite.

As one senior government official and defense expert described the program, which has seen cost-related delays and increased congressional scrutiny: "We're crossing the Rubicon into space weaponization."

Four page article, so follow the link to the whole thing.

Oh,here's a bit further in that needs no comment:

Summarizing the differences between the United States and European views on space was Jean-Jacques Dordain, head of the European Space Agency, who said in a recent interview: "For the U.S., space is an instrument of domination ó information domination and leadership. Europe should be proposing a different model ó space as a public good."
Posted by Ith at 5:12 PM | Comments (3)

February 10, 2004

A Little More On That SG1 This Week

We were discussing this week's SG1 in comments, and now I have a little more info on the ep:


SG-1 Hits Milestone Ep

SCI FI Channel's highest-rated original series, Stargate SG-1, hits a milestone in February with its 150th episode, a key segment in which tragedy befalls a member of the team. The milestone episode is the conclusion of a two-part episode, "Heroes." Part 1 premieres at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Feb. 13; Part 2 debuts at the same time on Feb. 20.

If you don't like spoilers at all, don't hit MORE! If you want to see what's up, then please do.

In Part 1, the president (William Devane) and the Department of Defense send a small crew to film standard operational procedures at Cheyenne Mountain, the Stargate Command base. Gen. Hammond (Don S. Davis) warns Bregman (Saul Rubinek), the seemingly flippant civilian in charge of the filming, that his presence is highly unorthodox and interference with staff safety or mission security will not be tolerated.

In Part 2, Bregman hounds SG-1 in an attempt to capture "the humans behind the soldiers," sensing that his "classified" film will eventually become public. As disaster unfolds, however, and a key member of the SGC is killed in action, Bregman and his crew get more authentic footage than they bargained for.

I heard a few months back that someone was being killed off. My guess then was Hammond, and I guess I'll stick with that for now. Mostly because there were hints that Jack would finally get a promotion, and that would make sense if Jack gets Hammond's job. Not to mention it fits in with RDA wanting less filming hours.

Of course, who they kill off may not seem like a "key member" to me. For me, key members would be Jack, Sam, T'ealc, Daniel, Hammond, Dr. Fraser. My alternate would be Dr. Fraser.

I guess we'll see.

Posted by Ith at 5:42 PM | Comments (3)

January 18, 2004

What He Said

...I want humanity to go to space. If the government wants to spend money on it, fine; if the government wants to get out of the way and leave it to "ordinary" Americans, even better. I don't care. I don't care how much it costs; I don't care what else doesn't get funded.

Read it all.

Posted by Ith at 1:23 PM

January 15, 2004

Authour Talk

This interview of Kim Stanley Robinson was touted as Mars-centric, but it turned out to be pretty much about KSR's far left political views. I've read his Mars series -- long ago -- but his newest series seems to be all about making his political point.

Posted by Ith at 7:50 AM | Comments (2)

January 14, 2004

Even Less Imagination

To continue from my last post and some of the comments...

Something you don't hear much about, and something I think we should talk about more, is simply that a presence in space is vital to our security. There seems to be some sort of attitude that space exploration should be pure. That discussing the military aspect of space is poor form and something we don't want to really talk about. The Chinese aren't moving into space for the heck of it. If we don't go, others certainly will, and they won't be going because they want peace and brotherhood with all peoples of the Earth.

Yes, I'm feeling cynical this morning. Can you tell?

Posted by Ith at 6:23 AM | Comments (3)

January 12, 2004

No Imagination

Not that I'm surprised:

President Bush's plan to build a space station on the moon and eventually send astronauts to Mars hasn't grabbed the public's imagination, an Associated Press poll suggests.

More than half in the poll said it would be better to spend the money on domestic programs rather than on space research.

Will the American public ever have anything but a shortsighted view of space exploration?

Posted by Ith at 6:13 PM | Comments (12)

January 4, 2004

How Come?

Anyone know why the pics from Mars are in black and white? I figured by the 21st century, we'd be able to manage colour!

Posted by Ith at 12:09 PM | Comments (9)

December 30, 2003

Stars

According to this, you can use software to stargaze from other planets. Too bad they don't include a sample pic.

Posted by Ith at 5:34 PM | Comments (1)

December 3, 2003

If Only!

Now this would be the best of news if it's true!

And none too soon, as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by Ith at 6:06 PM

October 1, 2003

SF Bits & Pieces

Good article here, titled, "Goddbye, Sci-Fi"

The Firefly DVDs will have a blooper reel and deleted scenes.

Here's a good roundup of news on the Red Dwarf movie. (I dunno about this one!)

And Ben Bova has some thoughts on a Space Plane:

SF author Ben Bova, a past president of the National Space Society, told SCI FI Wire that he thinks NASA should develop a reusable space plane. "NASA should put everything they've got into a reusable space plane, an orbital vehicle that can carry people into space reliably and economically," Bova said in an interview.

Such a vehicle could be useful should a future space shuttle discover wing damage similar to that that felled the Space Shuttle Columbia, Bova added. "There's a space plane that NASA wants to build, to serve as a rescue vehicle that can be launched on short notice," he said. "The technology is there. It's the investment that is lacking, whether it is government or private. A vehicle that can take a few people into space economically is also a prototype of a vehicle that can fly you from Vancouver to Tokyo in less than an hour."

Bova said that the soul-searching in the wake of the Columbia accident affords NASA a chance to focus on the new vehicle. "When you talk about space technology the problems are not technological," he said. "If you give engineers the job to do it, and the means to do it, they'll do it. The only question is will they get enough funding to do it? Will they get the political backing to do it? If you got a group of top engineers together and say, 'I want to go to Mars in 12 years with a team of explorers,' ... they'll be able to do it. It's basically a question of political will."

Posted by Ith at 5:13 PM

September 3, 2003

Fizzle...

Which is better than BANG!

Posted by Ith at 6:14 PM

September 1, 2003

How On Earth?

How on Earth could NASA keep it secret that the moon landings were faked? That guy that Buzz Aldrin punched out was just on FNC with new "proof" that it was all a fake. If our government could actually fake moon landings and keep it a secret all these years, I'd be impressed! Especially considering all the things the government would like to keep secret and can't.

Posted by Ith at 2:51 PM | Comments (3)

August 26, 2003

NASA

The Laughing Wolf talks about NASA and the future.

Posted by Ith at 7:50 AM

August 23, 2003

What She Said

Ready, Aim, shoot own foot

Those ignorant, grifting wastrels on House of Representatives' Appropriations Subcommittee nicked $55 million for projects in their home states Out of the $130 million for Solar System missions. That's 43%. This is the program Congress insisted in and funded for $105 million in FY 2003. Now that money is shot. And the cost of the delay will be about $80 million [17%].

The usual Congressional shennanigans with your money? Sure. But. . . the cost to the potential scientific knowledge to be gained is incalculable. This goes way beyond penny wise and pound foolish. Besides the loss of information about Pluto-Charon, about the formation of planets, about the formation of our Solar System; who knows what else the sensors would have seen out there.

Posted by Ith at 12:55 PM | Comments (6)

August 11, 2003

Bradbury Birthday Wishes Sought

From Scifi Wire:

The Planetary Society is asking fans of legendary SF author Ray Bradbury to send greetings from around the world to the writer on the occasion of his 83rd birthday, Aug. 22. The Planetary Society will collect names and birthday greetings through Aug. 20.

The society will present what it hopes is "the world's largest birthday card" to Bradbury, one of the society's advisory council members. The society says that Bradbury, author of such books as The Martian Chronicles, "has contributed so much to the world of science fiction."

Posted by Ith at 6:03 PM

July 31, 2003

July 22, 2003

To The Moon

Words worth remembering over at e-Claire's.

Posted by Ith at 6:32 PM | Comments (3)

July 13, 2003

NEO

Concerned Citizens Ask for Congressional Action on Near Earth Objects

A distinguished group of Americans joined together to send a unique request to Congressional leaders Wednesday -- a request that preparations be made to deal with the prospect of Earth being slammed by an asteroid or comet.

In an "Open Letter to Congress on Near Earth Objects," the communication underscores the danger our planet faces from near Earth objects, also termed NEO's.

Posted by Ith at 4:38 PM | Comments (2)

April 3, 2003

Remembering

"Memory Can't Be Desecrated"

Posted by Ith at 2:49 PM

February 4, 2003

Let's Go

I've got a lousy flu bug and just crawled out of bed. What I wanted to post about was space and what we should be doing. But my head hurts, and I'm kinda foggy (more that usual, at least). But here's a great post by Paul aka Sgt. Stryker on that very subject: We Just Decided To Go

I remember watching the Moon landings as a small child and I always just assumed that by the time I was a grownup, we'd have a permanent presence on the Moon, and we'd have been to Mars. Boy, was I wrong.

Posted by Ith at 1:03 PM | Comments (4)

February 1, 2003

"Aloft In Solitudes Of Space"

Rest In Peace

Almighty Ruler of the all, Whose Power extends to great and small, Who guides the stars with steadfast law, Whose least creation fills with awe, O grant thy mercy and thy grace, To those who venture into space.

~ R A Heinlein

capt.1044116699.topix_space_shuttle_ksc111.jpg


The Crew of Columbia Space Shuttle Mission STS-107

Col. Rick Husband
Commander, 45, was married with two children, making second trip to space.

Lt. Col. Michael Anderson
Payload commander, 43, was married, went into orbit once before.

Cmdr. William McCool
Pilot, 41, was married, making his first journey to space.

Col. Ilan Ramon
First Israeli in space, 48, was a payload specialist with four children.

Pilot Capt. David Brown
U.S. Navy captain, 46, made his first flight into space.

Cmdr. Dr. Laurel Clark
41-year-old physician, of Wisconsin, was married with one child.

Dr. Kalpana Chawla
First India-born woman in space, 41, was an engineer.

1044125762.2751881249.jpg

Posted by Ith at 1:00 PM | Comments (1)

Other Thoughts

Some of the things I've read over the last few hours. I'll save the things that have infuriated me for another time. Right now, I don't want to let the bastards impose themselves on this tragedy.

_________________________________________________________________

From President Bush: These men and women assumed great risk in this service to all humanity. In an age when space flight has come to seem almost routine, it is easy to overlook the dangers of travel by rocket and the difficulties of navigating the fierce outer atmosphere of the earth.

These astronauts knew the dangers, and they faced them willingly, knowing they had a high and noble purpose in life. Because of their courage and daring and idealism, we will miss them all the more.

All Americans today are thinking, as well, of the families of these men and women who have been given this sudden shock and grief. You're not alone. Our entire nation grieves with you. And those you loved will always have the respect and gratitude of this country.

The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.

In the skies today, we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther than we can see, there is comfort and hope.

In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."

The same creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth, yet we can pray that all are safely home.

May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue to bless America.

_________________________________________________________________

Rod Dreher on "A Childs Dream Of Space" : I was deeply moved to learn this morning that Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut killed on the Columbia this morning, had taken into space with him a drawing made by a child in a Nazi concentration camp. It was the child's conception of what Earth looks like from the moon. That drawing survived the Holocaust and its aftermath, and was kept in Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial site. Now it has perished, along with Ramon and six others, on its way back from space.

Think about that drawing: that Jewish child lived in a death camp, yet he was still able to dream of space, and these dreams no doubt brought that child some small measure of comfort in a world overwhelmed by tragedy, suffering and loss.
_________________________________________________________________

Peggy Noonan: "These are the days of miracle and wonder," sang Paul Simon in the 1980s. It ran through my head all morning, from out of nowhere, and I think I know why. It has to do with the impossibility, the sheer implausibility, of the facts. We are on the verge of war in the Mideast, a war springing in its modern origins from the tensions of the Arab-Israeli conflict; our president, a Texan, believes we must move on Iraq. The space shuttle that broke up today carried, for the first time ever, a Mideastern astronaut, an Israeli who won fame when he led a daring raid on a nuclear reactor in Iraq, 20 years ago. The shuttle broke up over the president's home state, Texas. The center of the debris field appears to be a little town called Palestine.

If Tom Clancy wrote this in one of his novels--heck, if Tim LaHaye wrote this in one of his Left Behind books--his editor would call him and say, "We're thinking this may be too over the top."

******

Today the tragedy feels less like something that teaches than something that reminds. We were reminded of what we know. President Bush referred to it when he lauded the astronauts' courage. We forget to notice the everyday courage of astronauts. We forget to think about all the Americans doing big and dangerous things in the world--members of the armed forces, cops and firemen, doctors in public hospitals in hard places. And now, famously again, astronauts. With their unremarked-upon valor and cool professionalism. With their desire to make progress and push on.

Buzz Aldrin captured it this morning. He tried to read a poem about astronauts on television. He read these words: "As they passed from us to glory, riding fire in the sky." And tough old Buzz, steely-eyed rocket man and veteran of the moon, began to weep.

He was not alone.

God bless and bless and bless their souls, and rest their souls in the morning.

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'Touch the Face of God': The Challenger speech.
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Posted by Ith at 12:59 PM | Comments (2)