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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Space Reading

The Space Settlement FAQ - a useful roundup of terms
China celebrates first docking of its space station modules. Not widely reported here, or indeed almost at all, but a necessary achievement on the way to a permanent foothold in space.
the recent nuclear thermal rocket variants are described. They are estimated to require 5 years of technological development and could have launch costs of $85-150/kg for a single stage to orbit vehicle.  These are launch from Earth's surface vehicles but involve superheated water etc as exhaust not radioactive material.
An Awful lot of asteroids out there for us to mine.
So far, the mission has observed more than 60,000 asteroids, both Main Belt and near-Earth objects. Most were known before, but more than 11,000 are new.
"Our data pipeline is bursting with asteroids," said WISE Principal Investigator Ned Wright of UCLA. "We are discovering about a hundred a day, mostly in the Main Belt."
  Interview on the Mach Effect reactionless drive
Question "I saw the prediction of a 15-25 year development timeline."
At the rate we are going, 15-to-25 years may be optimistic now, for we have been able to generate zero outside support for this M-E effort at DARPA and NASA. The idea of extracting energy and momentum from the gravinertial field for power and propulsion is just too new, foreign & quackish to most folks who control the R&D coins
 Discussion of light sails
Wikipedia history of Project Orion atomic bomb powered spacecraft.
NYT "Interview" with Presidential; front runner Newt Gingrich. Actually what he says barely gets mentioned
and the author spends her time trying to make fun of him having some vision and supporting space development, and in my opinion merely making herself look small. Almost the only sentence of his given in full is praise of Jerry Pournelle.

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