Year End Round-up

What is there to say? I’m here to vent my spleen at the science of the day.

  1. Elon Musk wants to put a man/woman on Mars. Well, we all want that. Can his ship land/take off again? Maybe. Looks like a good concept at least. Still, long way from here to trusting a rocket to set my butt down on the red planet. “Many a slip twixt the glass and the lip.”


2. Steven Hawkings wants to send sail satellites to other stars. The idea is terrible. I love his work, especially after he decided the Black Hole evaporation doesn’t happen. His current theory allows mini black holes, but enough about that. Let me trash his space probe idea.

Sorry, but just imagine that they do get the satellite up to 3000 km/s, a hundred times faster than anything we’ve done before. How far is a light year again? Look, 3 kklicks is a good number, it means you cross a light year in a hundred years. the CLOSEST target is about 3 ly away. So, the mission, launched in 2020, would arrive in 2320. Exciting, we’d get the return broadcast in 2323. Except, that is a boring dead system. The closest living world is about 10 light years away, so we’d get the broadcast in 3030. I ain’t waiting up. Besides, it’ll only be in that system for a few days. It’ll only be “near” the planet for about a minute.

Great, first principle of the light sail, it doesn’t have a breaking rocket. Not that you could slow down anything at that speed. We’re accelerating it using a super laser for a hundred years. Unless the aliens have a super laser, and want to slow down this beast, it isn’t stopping there, or anywhere. It will just keep going forever…buh bye.


3. NASA is getting a change in plan. It hasn’t had a plan in the last 8 years. Constellation, however you want to trash it, was a plan. It had some elements which may or may not have worked. I know, I was there, I worked on some of them. The radiation part, duh. I wrote, had my hands on at least, the majority of the environment documents. It was a plan. The Obama administration killed the plan. They didn’t have an alternate idea, didn’t really want NASA doing its thing. Whatever. Now hopefully a real plan for a Lunar Mission will be articulated. We’ll see.

4. I’ve got a paper to write. so I took a break to vent my spleen. Back to paper writing. I hope everyone has a good summer planned.