SpaceX’s Dragon is recovered after a successful splashdown last week. The unmanned transport ship returned over 3,100 pounds of cargo and experiments from the ISS. (Photo: SpaceX)
by Jeff Cunningham
Ni hao, fellow travellers. Jeff here, in a long-overdue return. When I offered to take over this weekend to lighten Chris’ load during exam week and we got to discussing a topic, something about his choice of words got me thinking about the future. In the past week or two, we’ve seen the successful milestone pad abort test of the Dragon II manned spacecraft, followed by the safe return of her unmanned freighter sister craft from the International Space Station. The past couple of days have also seen some unprecedented conversations in the United States capital–who ever thought we’d see the day when legislatures would seriously discuss things like property rights for the first settlers in the ‘Verse? It is indeed an exciting time to be alive. Between stories like this and the premiere of Disney’s Tomorrowland in theaters, it’s becoming clear that society may finally be beginning to turn away from the general malaise and pessimism that accompanied the recession, and is now looking towards the future. In this same spirit, I’d thought it might be a good time to talk to you all about “the road from here.” I suppose we haven’t been as detailed as we could have been about how your letters and petition signatures would lead to a real-life Serenity or what comes in between the two. “No time like the present,” as they say… Continue Reading
The weather at the launch site was beautiful today, but less than ten miles away dark clouds were looming… (Photo credit: Look in the upper right-hand corner!)
by Chris Tobias
River Tam: Storm’s getting worse.
Mal Reynolds: We’ll pass through it soon enough.
Today’s attempt by SpaceX to launch a Falcon 9 carrying a Dragon capsule to the International Space Station on the sixth commercial resupply mission to the ISS had to be scrubbed just a few minutes before liftoff because of weather concerns.
Those who watched the launch attempt live online probably scratched their heads at the announcement, given the beautiful blue sky and white, fluffy clouds that served as the backdrop for the rocket as it sat on the launch pad. The real danger, however, was a front of dark, well-developed cumulonimbus “anvil” clouds that were within ten miles of the launch site. There were also some reports of distant lightning strikes within the ten-mile limit in the run-up to the launch window, and it is standard procedure to scrub a launch under such conditions.
The next launch attempt will be tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14, just after 4:10pm EDT. In all fairness, though, tomorrow’s weather currently only looks to be 50% go for launch, whereas today’s was 60% just a short time before the scrub had to be called.
And yet, the way we see it, there was a lot to feel positive about today.
Leonard Nimoy (center, as if you needed to be told) with Gene Roddenberry and the rest of the cast of Star Trek at the unveiling of the Space Shuttle Enterprise. (NASA photo)
by Chris Tobias
If you’re a fan of science-fiction, or one who passionately believes that mankind should continue striving to boldly go into the black, then I’m sure that like me, you’re saddened by the passing of Leonard Nimoy this weekend. Unlike so many in his profession, Nimoy never became a parody of himself. He remained relevant throughout his long career– from his early days of guest appearances on shows like The Twilight Zone to his final portrayal of the character that made him a pop culture legend.
The first time I ever walked the floor of a science-fiction and comics convention in costume (at the old Pittsburgh Comicon back in sixth grade), it was as Mr. Spock. As a kid I loved watching Star Trek re-runs, and I identified with Spock more than any other character. Sure, as the Science Officer he got to play with all the cool gadgets, and the ears were kind of neat, but I think it was because every young kid can relate to feeling like they’re different from all the other people around them and having to struggle to fit in, much like Spock did as a half-Vulcan living and working among humans. I don’t think any member of Enterprise’s crew was as complex as Spock, and in Leonard Nimoy, Gene Roddenberry found the perfect actor to show us that.