Instead of throwing things away in orbit (Skylab, Salyuts, Mir) we can now build upon these assets and move them around like Lego bricks to form new things as we need them – and then do this again and again. When the government is done with their hardware, it can be used by someone else – just like old military bases can become movie studios and shopping malls. The more orbital capacity that is available, the more customers it can collectively and individually serve. The more valuable these on-orbit assets become for government and non-government uses, the more everyone will want to safeguard that growing capacity (and isolate it from terrestrial squabbles) as has been the case with ISS recently.

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NASA Meets Theologians to Discuss How We Respond to E.T.

The audience was given an update on the current search for extraterrestrial biology including finding chemical signatures in atmospheres of exoplanets that indicate life, direct observation such as Curiosity uncovering layers of carbon strata as it climbs the hills around Mt. Sharp, or detection of radio signals which would indicate intelligent life elsewhere. They were then asked how humanity should handle such discoveries. If we discovered microbial life, what kind of impact would that have on us? If we discovered a technically sophisticated life, what would our reaction be? Further discussions focused on transcending anthropocentric thinking, questioning whether we should assume that all life was built on the same principles as life here on Earth, that our biology wasn’t universal. In the event of coming across life built on chemistry different from ours, would we even recognize it as life?

Theologians were asked to consider the status of alien life within the context of morality. What would be our responsibilities in dealing with extraterrestrials whether microbial or more complex life forms? We humans here on Earth have shown through past behavior little regard for other living things. If we can’t eat them or domesticate them to help us then we often decimate them. It’s only recently that conservation and biodiversity have been adopted as core values within our human existence. So in discovering life elsewhere what would be our behavior? Destroyer or conservationist?

In one session Christian theologians were asked if they would baptize an extraterrestrial A Jesuit in attendance is quoted by the Huffington Post as stating “any entity – no matter how many tentacles it has – has a soul.” So on the question of baptism, if E.T. asked baptism would be granted.

NASA Meets Theologians to Discuss How We Respond to E.T.

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NASA Is Now Accepting Ideas For A Mission To Europa


Europa — a moon of Jupiter first discovered by Galileo — never ceases to surprise and amaze astronomers and amateurs alike. Last December astronomers announced water plumes erupting 100 miles high from the moon’s icy south pole. It was the best evidence yet that Europa, heated internally by the powerful tidal forces generated by Jupiter’s gravity, has a deep subsurface ocean. It caused the search for life in the outer solar system to take quite a turn.

Now, NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to science and engineering communities for ideas for a mission to the enigmatic moon. Any ideas need to address fundamental questions about the subsurface ocean and the search for life beyond Earth.

In my newly self-appointed role as inheritor to Galileo…

As the spiritual leader of the hyperreal religion practiced by the Posthuman Flight Club…

I say: No. No, no, no, no, no, NO!

I say: exercise some patience and restraint.

I say: take only readings.

I declare Europa a protected moon in the solar system’s ecology.

If there really is the highest chance of life there we should tread as gently as possible. Taking each step with maximum certainty.

And right now there is clear doubt that we can send something there that won’t be carrying microscopic life from our own biosphere. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140502120231.htm)

And whilst I can dig on panspermia, I’m not ready to be party to what amounts to ecological colonization just yet.

NASA Is Now Accepting Ideas For A Mission To Europa

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The Space Review: Secret Apollo

This was not the first time that NASA had annoyed the intelligence community with its astronaut photography, and it certainly would not be the last. In 1974, astronauts aboard the Skylab 4 mission had photographed the top secret airfield at Groom Lake in Nevada. Groom Lake, often euphemistically referred to as “Area 51”, is the site of classified aircraft research and is where both the U-2 and SR-71 spyplanes were first flown. Despite apparently explicit orders not to do so, the astronauts had taken a photograph of the airfield. This prompted a debate within the government after the film was returned to Earth. NASA wanted the photograph released in keeping with its mission of being open and public about its activities. Members of the intelligence community wanted the photograph classified because it depicted a secret facility. Other members of the government questioned the precedent of classifying previously unclassified material. (See “Astronauts and Area 51: the Skylab Incident”, The Space Review, January 9, 2006).

In my previous article on this subject I stated that the photograph in question had not been publicly released. This was untrue, and the result of sloppy research on my part (I assumed that because numerous Area 51 buffs had not previously located the photograph, it was not in publicly accessible archives—I broke one of my own research rules and never bothered to search myself. Then again, nobody’s perfect, and this isn’t the first time that the Internet has perpetuated an untruth…) It turns out that the photograph was placed in NASA’s archive of Skylab photographs. But nobody had noticed. So NASA won its argument with the intelligence community over the photograph. The photograph is published above.

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Discovery of life on other worlds could cause the earth’s civilization to collapse, a Federal report said today.

This warning was contained in a research report given to the National Aeronautical and Space Administration with the recommendation that the world prepare itself mentally for the eventuality.

The report, prepared by the Brookings Institution, said “while the discovery of intelligent life in other parts of the universe is not likely in the immediate future, it could nevertheless, happen at any time.” Discovery of Intelligent beings on other planets could lead to an all-out effort by earth to contact them, or it could lead to sweeping changes or even the downfall of civilization, the report said.

Even on earth, it added, “societies sure of their own place have disintegrated when confronted by a superior society, and others have survived even though changed.”

“Clearly, the better we can come to understanding the factors involved in responding to such crisis the better prepared we may be.”

The agency’s 100-page report, prepared at a cost of $86,000 was for the space agency’s committee on beings-in-space studies. The members, headed by Donald M. Michael also recommended further study of other space activities, including the symptomatic and propaganda effects and the implications of communications and weather satellites.

On the question of life in outer space, the report said that if intelligent or super-intelligent beings were discovered in the next twenty years they would probably be found by radio communications with other solar systems.

Evidence of such existence “might also be found in artifacts left on the moon or other planets,” it said.

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Help NASA Find Baby Solar Systems Forming Deep In Our Universe

This new citizen science project gives you access to images from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, NASA’s satellite telescope peering deep into the far corners of our universe. Disk Detectives, as the name suggests, will search through WISE images for flattened disk shapes, which indicate the swirling clouds of particles that spin around forming stars and eventually become planetary systems.

Help NASA Find Baby Solar Systems Forming Deep In Our Universe

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“Come with me if you want to spaaace”

This image shows NASA’s Valkyrie (R5) robot, which is NASA’s newest humanoid robot and was built to compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge.

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NASA remains an agency driven by its human spaceflight division. If NASA has an original sin, it is that the agency was spawned by the Cold War and its early exploration activities were a technological battle against the Soviets for high-ground superiority; science was essentially a fringe benefit of this quasi-military enterprise.

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Fuel is running low on Cassini, but there’s enough for another four years of maneuvering. Technicians at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., have mastered the art of using Titan’s gravity to steer Cassini into new, interesting orbits. NASA hopes to send the spacecraft diving inside the majestic rings of Saturn to study their composition. The extended mission would cost about $60 million a year. But that money has not materialized in the NASA budget. If there is no funding, NASA will have to end the Cassini mission next year. For robotic spacecraft, the greatest hazard in the solar system turns out to be the NASA budget.

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Professor Parker said that in order to guarantee that it kept getting money from Congress, NASA worked very hard to from the 1960s onwards to develop the story of its importance for the future.

“The cards at the National Space Centre are very poignant. Lots of people will be able to say exactly where they were when they saw Neil Armstrong land on the Moon. It became part of the narrative of your life.

“But the notions of progress which were common in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s are now no longer as universally accepted. I don’t think anyone believes that things only move forward for the better anymore.”

Dr Lewis Goodings said: “This research highlights the intersections between our personal experiences of the event and the particular version of the past that is given to us through the media and other sources.

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