Space links for 11 July 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Time to close a few tabs.

The first tow aren't recent news but worth sharing: this page on how to build an observatory using the same materials and design as a doghouse, but larger. The design featured there only fits one but it's probably the easiest and cheapest way to conduct observations from an indoor setting.

This is another one I found when doing a search for the cost to construct an observatory, where a city that was given a telescope then had to find a place to house it. Sometimes a city will be willing to foot the bill for the observatory (or part of it) in this case as it is then able to have its own observatory (a matter of prestige) with a telescope for just the price of a simple building.

NASA's Moonbase Alpha video game began a few days ago and a review is here. It's free. I haven't and probably won't be playing it as Moon Zoo feels similar and is far more productive, as it involves actually helping NASA process image data of the Moon taken by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

On that note, here's an article on LRO's first year in orbit. The next lunar probe to look forward to will be China's Chang'e 2, to be launched in October. Once again, the great thing about the Moon compared to any other destination is the fact that it orbits us, and thus any mission sent to it can be sent off as soon as it's ready instead of having to meet a launch window.

More on Project M: NASA's plan to put humanoid robots on the Moon within 1000 days is IMO the next best thing they could do after sending people back there. We haven't had images from the surface of the Moon for decades now, and seeing them will be almost like exploring the surface for the first time all over again; in addition to that sending robots that look like us is a very good idea. The largest problem with space right now is almost certainly that average people feel no emotional attachment to it, and there's something about a robot that looks like us that will certainly cause more people to tune in. Especially the Meet the Parents-style "I will be watching you" sign at the end of the video.

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