Saturday, May 2, 2015

A quick note

Some really fascinating things scrolled across my screen this week and I wanted to touch base upon them, but the Spurs lost to the Las Angeles Clippers by two points. They were neck and neck for the entire game with neither team taking a commanding lead. For the last three minutes of the game I thought they were heading to over time. Sadly, that is not the case. There is only one thing to say about the power forward for the Clippers: Blake Griffin, you're on my list.
With it being six weeks out before my vacation, I've collected most of the ingredients to make my summer beer. The remaining items will wait until next week when I put the batch together.
The new Avengers movie came out yesterday and I urge all of you to see it. The opportunity to see it with my family arrived with the Saturday matinee. No spoilers or anything resembling giving away the plot from me. My daughter tells me the soundtrack rocked. (The Avengers have a theme song? Who knew?) I'm going to catch it again simply because there was so much going on, I'm pretty sure I missed stuff. There was a minor incident with the open captioning. Near as I can tell, the battery for the unit crapped out at the beginning of the movie. Running back to the box office, I went into bad temper mode for a few seconds to get a fully charged unit. Those things pinch my head and nose anyway, so I better get a damn good movie along with the Tylenol moment I'll be having afterwards.
Right. On to the space stuff. The good folks over at have been testing an electro-magnetic drive that has far reaching implications. In short, it is an engine that doesn't rely on propellant.
Think about that for a second. The reason our MESSENGER spacecraft crashed into Mercury is that it ran out of fuel. What would that mean to the design of craft if we didn't have to haul rocket propellant around? To this end, various agencies around the world have been testing and peer reviewing the EM engine. In fact, NASA has been testing the engine in a hard vacuum. If tests are confirmed, it would be possible to go a fraction of the speed of light. (okay, 9% is a bit small, but still...)
This could literally open up the system to mankind. A trip to Mars would only take around 70 days, as opposed to 150 to 300 days it would normally take. Nine months to get to Saturn. We could get to Alpha Centauri in under 100 years.
In just sixty-six years we went from the first airplane flight in 1903 to the first lunar landing in 1969. Where will we be in the next fifty years?
We've been sputtering on the ground since the the dawn of the Space Age. Doing stuff in Low Earth Orbit is great and all, but that really wasn't our best effort. We've sent robotic emissaries to our neighbors and while that seems to be all well and good, we could have been doing more. Perhaps that's my opinion, but we should have gone back to the moon years ago.

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