July 21 News Items

World's Largest Telescope Has Pricetag of $1.2 Billion (Source: Refreshing News)
A consortium of U.S. and Canadian universities has decided to build the world's largest telescope in Hawaii. Thirty Meter Telescope Observatory Corp. picked Mauna Kea volcano instead of Chile's Cerro Armazones mountain, the other finalist candidate site. The $1.2 billion telescope should allow scientists to see some 13 billion light years away — a distance so great and so far back in time that researchers should be able to watch the first stars and galaxies forming.

The telescope will be built by the University of California, the California Institute of Technology and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy. Its mirror will stretch 30 meters, or almost 100 feet, in diameter. That's about three times the diameter of the current world's largest telescopes, which are located atop Mauna Kea. (7/21)

New NASA Boss: Astronauts on Mars in his Lifetime (Source: AP)
NASA's new boss says he will be "incredibly disappointed" if people aren't on Mars -- or even beyond it -- in his lifetime. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr., who's 62, told The Associated Press that his ultimate goal isn't just Mars -- it's anywhere far from Earth. "I did grow up watching Buck Rogers and Buck Rogers didn't stop at Mars," Bolden said in one of his first interviews since taking office last Friday. "In my lifetime, I will be incredibly disappointed if we have not at least reached Mars." That appears to be a shift from the space policy set in motion by President George W. Bush, who proposed first returning to the moon by 2020 and then eventually going to Mars a decade or two later. Bolden didn't rule out using the moon as a stepping stone to Mars and beyond, but he talked more about Mars than the moon. (7/21)

"Feelings are Back" at NASA Under Bolden, Garver (Source: Florida Today)
New NASA adminstrator Charles Bolden introduced himself to employees today with an informal speech filled with humor and emotion, presenting a strikingly different leadership style to that of his predecessor, Mike Griffin. Bolden, a four-time shuttle flyer and retired Marine Corps Maj. General, said he likes to give hugs and cries a lot, and as advertised became choked up several times during an hour-long "all-hands" address from NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

He was joined by his deputy administrator, Lori Garver. The U.S. Senate confirmed both last Thursday and they were sworn in Friday. The talk included little discussion about policy or looming challenges like retirement of the space shuttle and a White House panel's ongoing review of NASA's human spaceflight program. Bolden said the panel chaired by Lockheed Martin Corp. CEO Norman Augustine was "not something to fear," and that he would have requested it had he been confirmed earlier. "It kind of took me off the hook," he said. (7/21)

How TV News Would Cover the Moon Landing if it Happened Today (Source: Slate)
Click here to view a video depicting how the Apollo 11 Moon landing would have been covered by today's television news media. (7/21)

Advertising on the Moon (Source: Parabolic Arc)
New Shadow Shaping technology creates images on the moon that can be seen from Earth. Robots are used to create several small ridges in the lunar dust over large areas that capture shadows and shape them to form logos, domains names or memorials. For more information on this technology, click here. (7/21)

Lockheed Martin 2Q Profit down 17 Percent (Source: AP)
Lockheed Martin Corp. said its second-quarter earnings fell nearly 17 percent, as large pension expenses dug into the defense contractor's bottom line and the company's government-services unit posted disappointing results. The results come as Lockheed and the rest of the defense industry continue to digest the effects of a broad shift in spending priorities at the Pentagon, their biggest customer. The company earned $734 million, compared to $882 million last year. Revenue rose about 2 percent to $11.24 billion. (7/21)

Construction in the Final Frontier (Source: ThomasNet)
Constructing buildings today is no easy task. But building structures in space presents a new set of unique challenges. Here we look at the particulars of non-terrestrial building projects. In the long history of construction, building beyond our planet's boundaries is a relatively new innovation, which explains why we're still hammering out some of the kinks. Delivering materials and assembling parts in an airless, gravity-free vacuum can be a painstaking endeavor further complicated by limits in the number of workers available at a given time.

Despite these challenges, aerospace agencies from around the globe have achieved impressive feats of space construction, most remarkably the International Space Station (ISS). The space shuttle Endeavour's much-delayed mission STS-127 finally launched last Wednesday. It will be a 16-day long project to complete construction on Japan's Kibo laboratory in the ISS, and will be tied for the longest flight in the station's history. (7/21)

Alabama Senator Shelby Recast as Scrooge in NASA 'Christmas Carol' (Source: DailyKos)
Imagine, if you will, that Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has been adapted into an allegory about NASA. Follow Senator Ebenezer Scrooge (R - Alabama) as he is taken on a magical journey through time and space, witnessing events as they occurred, are occuring, and will occur if the status quo continues. Click here to read the story. (7/21)

Apollo Astronauts Offer Obama Their Views on NASA's Future (Source: AIA)
President Barack Obama welcomed a group of former Apollo astronauts to the White House on Monday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's "great leap" onto the lunar surface. But despite the president's vow to maintain NASA's "inspirational" role in space exploration, the Apollo vets had little positive to say about the current state of the space agency. Walter Cunningham said NASA's funding levels are "idiotic," while Jim Lovell called the International Space Station "almost a white elephant." Buzz Aldrin said a mission to Mars was needed to rivet the nation's attention, and Lovell seemed to agree. "The only way to have people glued to their TV sets is to have an accident ... or do something that is really different," he said. (7/21)

Final Frontier Attracts Few Investors, Analysts Say (Source: AIA)
The space industry has grown by only 25% in the last three decades or so, with two-thirds of spending coming from government sources, according to experts. "Rockets are no better today than what they were with Sputnik," says an analyst with GlobalSecurity.org, who adds: "We thought we'd be going to the moon on PanAm by now." Lower government spending is partly to blame, along with the absence of a clear business model for private companies. "Nobody's been able to figure out what can you do in space that will allow you to make a lot of money," says a Teal Group analyst. "In the aircraft and railroad business, it became obvious that transporting cargo made you money, but in the case of space it is just not that easy." (7/21)

ATK Unveils Ares-1 First Stage Demo Motor (Source: Hyperbola)
Alliant Techsystems released on 20 July an image of the first five segment demonstration motor for NASA's Ares I crew launch vehicle first stage. Called Demonstration Motor One or DM-1, it is set for ignition on 25 August. The test had been set for 2 April and then 13 August. Between now and the new date of 25 August ATK will install the instrumentation for the test. (7/21)

Seven Astronaut Teacher Candidates Announced for Suborbital Flights (Source: Parabolic Arc)
At the NewSpace 2009 conference in Mountain View, Calif., Teachers in Space introduced the next generation of space explorers: seven astronaut teachers who will boldly go where no astronaut has gone before — back into the classroom. “Fifty years after the Mercury 7, on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing, we’re rebooting the American space program,” said Teachers in Space project manager Edward Wright said. “The Pathfinder 7 are now training to fly on suborbital spacecraft under development by private companies. They will be the first astronaut teachers to fly in space and return to the classroom, paving the way for hundreds to follow.” (7/21)

Florida Governor Declares Apollo 11 Anniversary Day (Source: EOG)
Governor Charlie Crist declared Apollo 11 Anniversary Day in recognition of Floridians who have played a vital role in our nation’s space program. Today, Floridians can join together in celebration of the Apollo II 40th Anniversary, the day three courageous Americans Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins launched from NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was their mission to the Moon that forever shaped the future of space exploration in America, and it continues to be Floridians who serve such a vital role in our nation’s space program. (7/20)

Moon Rush - Goldmine of the Future (Source: Daily Beast)
It may look like a lifeless chunk of rock, but scientists say the moon may become a valuable piece of real estate one day. According to Agence France-Presse, manned missions to the moon may uncover scarce resources that ultimately prove profitable. One potentially useful find is helium-3, which could be used as fuel if nuclear-fusion technology ever becomes widespread. "It's not the only solution to the accelerating demand for energy that we are going to see on Earth, but it's certainly one of the major potential solutions to that demand," geologist and former astronaut Harrison Schmitt told the AFP. Click here to view a collection of articles on whether we should return to the moon and venture on to Mars. (7/20)

Poll Shows Mixed Public Support for Space (Source: FOX)
A new Fox/Rasmussen poll surveyed people’s feelings about space exploration: 44% believe the U.S. should cut back on space exploration, given the state of the economy; 45% think the U.S. space investment since Apollo 11 has been worth the expense; 51% think the U.S. should not be planning to send humans to Mars; 58% would not want to be part of a mission to space; 55% think it is very likely or somewhat likely that life exists on other planets. (7/20)

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