Mars flyby conference streaming live at 12 Noon central time — Now

From the press kit, an artists'c conception of the fly-by vehicle.

From the press kit, an artists’c conception of the fly-by vehicle.

Link is here, not sure if you can see it without  registering press creds, I hope to have video and transcripts shortly. … There are candid details about the inherent risks, challanges, and mission architectures. But my favorite speaker so far has been Dennis Tito, the driving force behind this team. An example, paraphrasing to the best of my recollection:  ‘This is a “non profit mission,” meaning if it goes off as planned, “I will be much poorer,” but my grandchildren and yours will be much richer …’

Jane Poynter adds the sobering assesment “This will be like being crammed into a modest RV for a year and a half. With three thousand pounds of dehydrated food hydrated with recycled water … the crew will have to be doing hours of exercise every day while working on their life support system “. Full press kit and release below the fold. [Read more…]

The Sequester, she approaches


Once again we see the bizarre creature that was once a consistent political partyP cleave into the beast with two heads. One head talks to the base and their propaganda organs in a language it hopes only they understand, cheering on the sequester and the downfall of Big Evil Government (When dems hold the WHtm). The other head talks to the middle of the nation and the mainstream press, where it confesses the sequester will be terrible and it’s all Obama’s doing. And of course, like in so many other situations as of late, the public can plainly see both heads and hear them both talking and isn’t buying it. That 30% and change you see blaming Obama? That’s the almost exactly how many voters are part of the Teaparty base. A plurality blames the GOP, a smaller segment blame both sides, both of which are completely defensible positions in my view.

Mars flyby and other links

This was supposed to be a secret until this coming Wednesday, and it was secret, right up until someone spilled the beans almost a week early:

Buzz is building about a planned 2018 private mission to Mars, which may launch the first humans toward the Red Planet. A nonprofit organization called the Inspiration Mars Foundation — which is led by millionaire Dennis Tito, the world’s first space tourist — will hold a news conference on Feb. 27 to announce the 501-day roundtrip mission, which will aim for a January 2018 launch.

Yes, there are many unresolved questions. But these people are not flakes; they are serious veteran space travel professionals. I think they’re really thinking about doing this. There will be more info soon. [Read more…]

Mr Cruz goes to Washington, & gets in hot water real fast


I’ve been watching this clown with interest ever since he ended up being one of our two wackaloon senators from Texas. Cruz has a big problem in the Lone Star State. It’s one of the last hold outs of the dying Teaparty, and a bunch of those crazy mother fuckers hate Hispanics. They just despise them, for no reason other than pure, evil, xenophobic racism. A guy with the last name of Cruz gets a shot with that bunch for two reasons only: first he helps put a thin veneer of non racism on an overtly racist sub party, and two, he has to be or at least act like he is snake venom spitting crazy. It seems Cruz has chosen to serve that last goal by playing Joe McCarthy: [Read more…]

I may have been bitten by a radioactive spider

Two things, first it’s my birthday. The 51 year-old milestone doesn’t carry quite the heft of age 16, or turning 21, but it’s a big deal to me because I had a massive heart attack a few weeks ago that kills roughly a third of the people who get it. So I’m celebrating by doing some bragging today. On that heart attack, I have a question … I seem to have developed super human powers! [Read more…]

Siberia takes another big hit from space, shock waves hit nearby towns


Second Update 7 PM Cdentral: This is now looks completely unrelated to the larger NEO. But interestingly, there are conspiracy theories now popping up, mostly in Russia, that this was an attack or test attack of some sort from an unfriendly nation and the Russian government is covering that up for political reasons. Or variations on that. I’ve only seen it so far on some weird sites, that I had to badly translate, so I’m gonna have to dig around to get some details and better links. Anybody heard anything about this?

Update: Video now emerging, see below, more to come. One researcher told me it’s possible an NEO making a close pass today may have calved off some small chunks. Unconfirmed, reputable sources say unlikely at this time.

It wasn’t in the same class as the 1908 Tungaska Event, but Siberia got clobbered good with at least a ten ton space rock. Astronomers are scouring the region already for clues to its exact size, composition, and origin: [Read more…]