August 2012

Building a space elevator

Subject of science fiction or right around the corner?

Most people would like to take a trip to the moon if it were within their power to do so.  Riding a shuttle through space is already becoming a near-future reality in the form of space tourism.  The next step of that project is to have moon fly-bys and, no doubt, eventually moon landings.  But shuttles are expensive and it’s not likely to happen soon, even if technology progresses steadily.  Some people are looking at an alternative to shuttles, however, in the form of a space elevator.  Though it would not take average people to the moon anytime soon, if what one person says is correct, the implementation of a working space elevator might be just around the corner.

Mars Curiosity rover dominates the news

The news in space today is pretty much one-sided.  The Mars Curiosity rover just touched down on our red neighbor and everyone is eager to get a view of the desolate landscape.  As more attempts are made to unravel the mysteries of the planet, people everywhere look on, watching video of the rover as it makes its historic journey.

Monday morning at 1:32 AM eastern U.S. time was the official touch-down.  Since then, pictures and video have been transmitted back on a time delay.  So far, no Martians have been spotted, nor are they any other signs of life, but the view of Mars, however barren it may be, is one that is unique to our generation.

Iran making moves into space, despite an angry Western world

Iran is not a country one might normally associate with a burgeoning space program.  Economic and technological sanctions against the country have made it hard for them to get much done in the way of developing anything related to getting something off the ground or acquiring new power sources.  Still, they persevere and recent developments have shown that they are indeed serious about making their way beyond the limits of Earth.

The Iran Space Agency (ISA) is still in its infancy, with only three satellites launched from the country so far.  The first Iranian satellite went up in 2005, but it was a hitchhiker on a Russian program.  The first to actually leave Iranian soil was just a few years ago, in 2009.  They’ve managed to send up some smaller life forms, such as rats, turtles and worms and the newest launch will take the ambition a step further by putting a monkey into space.