1. NASA to Hold News Conference on “Astrobiology Finding”

    Graffiti on an advertisement spotted this week at Morgan Avenue Subway in Brooklyn suggesting this is the year.

    We’ve covered alien disclosure in November 29, 2009 and UFO disclosure October 13, 2010. Nothing has happened on those days. No, balloons in Chelsea New York does not count as a UFO sighting. The objects were identified. This is damn interesting though. NASA is calling the press to deliver a recent discovery in astrobiology, aka the study of aliens and ETs. Sentient or not.

    Though rumors always circulate, as Google’s spike in “alien disclosure” shows for the end of 2009 and (so far) 2010 nothing results.

    So what is NASA going to say this week?

    From NASA’s Press Release Archive:

    NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

    Wozers. Before anyone jumps to fantastic conclusions, it’s unlikely they are going to say “Hey, here’s the guys we caught at Roswell. We gave them a shot and they are alright guys once you get pass the whole giant-head-and-giant-black-eye-thing.” Or anything like that.

    There’s been some recent traction that our own galactic backyard might have alien life, life we may have come from. Saturn’s Moon Rhea has an oxygen-rich atmosphere, Mars is mysteriously producing methane, and undiscovered life even in our own stratosphere.

    There may be life out there that we just never noticed. It may not be sentient and calling us, but maybe it’s there. If they announce the recent finding is life at all. It’s easy to invent fantasy, hard to invent banality. Could be something so much as a more efficient way for probes to detect life. Or just a new committee to investigate the possibility of extra terrestrial life. Which is still fantastic.

    Either way, this is one press conference that perked my interest more than any turtleneck wearing CEO’s unveiling of an iProduct.

  2. Space Shuttle Crew Operation Manual

    The Space Shuttle Crew Operations Manual is available to anyone who wants to read. With the shuttle program retiring it you made need it if you are lucky to beat Space Center Houston, Seattle Museum, or numerous states vying for the Space Shuttle you might need this. Some of the pages are beautiful and you can download the PDF (41.2mb) or look at some samples below. It’s not the most interesting read at hundreds of pages, but some of the diagrams are beautiful.

    Space Shuttle Crew Operation Manual PDF

  3. Gambling on Space

    Last week Obama introduced the new United States budget– which notably kills the American space program. There is one way the zombie that is NASA can return from the dead: a lottery.

    NASA has been in the sick ward for some time. Few come to visit these days. The Shuttle is a flying Betamax of technolgy. NASA has been reduced to finding parts on eBay.

    Perhaps the only thing George W Bush did I concur with was give NASA a reboot. The proposed Constellation Program was Apollo on steroids. After all, we have computers, CAD, and iPods so let’s use that awesome technology to go to the moon. Using proven rocket technolgy from the design of Saturn V and Soyuz rockets, the Ares would take us back to the moon.

    It might have, but now the money and interest is gone. This has been the problem with manned spaceflight since it’s inception: money and interest.

    The money is obviously an issue in the credit crunch economy. Interest also as many see other things to worry about. Interest, in the traditional knee jerk short sighted reaction.

    Consider Sputnik in 1952: at that time there was no MLB Network, Internet, or cell phones. Sputnik had no clear benefit, no practical outcome. Soviet scientists were not sitting around saying “let’s put ball in space then it go beep beep. After, we will sell– how can you say– sports network to yankee blue jean American to watch on TV.” Nope, just a ball in space that went beep beep. Heck, most people didn’t even have a TV. Yet Sputnik’s development was absolutely critical in the world we live in today.

    All that anyone could promise at best was the ball went beep beep and didn’t explode. That’s it. Today satelite technology is an invaluable part of our way of life but then it was simply ball that go beep beep.

    Today where fortune and success come and go by the second space is a hard sell. The average person cannot afford a trip in space.

    There’s a way to make money off space: get the real average Joe and make people excited about space again. The answer is a lottery.

    At $100,000 Virgin Galactic isn’t cheap but it is cheap for space travel. If 100,000 people bought a $1 ticket (better odds than most lotteries) that would break even. Chances are though mote would buy– and outer space would start making money and interest.

    This is the kind of viral and word-of-mouth advertising marketing types have wet dreams about. Even a few minutes in space is a lifetime experience and at $1 the price is right. Anousheh Ansari spent time in space and left feeling depressed– as if she had seen a fantastic world just out of arms length. As a result she created the X-Prize, offering a prize for affordable space travel; which in turn led to Virgin Galactic. Imagine when not just some guy on TV but your neighbor, your friend, or you journey into space. What we could accomplish with renewed money and interest in space is unimaginable. It’s unimaginable because right now we can’t get there, yet.

    With a lottery, we could.