Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Mars is the Destination | SpaceRef

Article talks about the current plans at NASA - go slow and build a nuclear powered deep space propulsion system.

Sunday I met some members of the Clear Lake Science Fiction and Fantasy book group after the Star Trek movie and we went out to coffee and then to eat at Fuddrucker's for hamburgers. Not my choice, I like Asian and Indian better. OK, I like the big condiment bar at Fuddruckers but still not my first choice. Still later I went to Carol and Peter's house and stayed late. I finally got Peter to explain what he would do if he was in charge of NASA.

His plan would be to devote nearly all resources to shuttle replacement, he explained you have to lower the cost to orbit. Minimal support for the present ISS as that provides the official reason to spend money on the new earth vehicles. For deep space the current nuclear power initiative is critical. No big plans for the Moon or Mars until you lick the cost to orbit problem. One you have the boosters you need, possibly 20 years, you junk the ISS to get a space station with gravity. He did point out the critical need for a new space escape vehicle. I may have confused a few details here, it was late.

You might try his articles on Why are launch costs so high? and Why do we have a manned space program?

Monday afternoon was shopping for me and I was also volunteered by Carol for gift wrapping at Barnes and Noble. That was OK although I am sure my family will laugh. Me, wrapping presents for people. I am usually the one with garbage bags under the tree.

Monday night was a regular dinner meeting of CLSciFiBook group - 11 people with several regulars not there. The Black-eyed Pea is much better than IHOP. We discussed books and seeing The Two Towers Sunday the 22nd and a video meeting, probably at my apartment, on Sunday the 29th.

Pat Tuesday found out her sister has a layover in Houston Christmas day. This creates a minor screw up with Christmas dinner at my sister's. Actually I would like to see her sister too but don't see how I can be hours late on purpose to my sister's. As opposed to an hour late accidently on Thanksgiving at my Dad's and Jeans.

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