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Monday, August 11, 2003


In Whose Hands is our Destiny? Article

Apollo 17's view of the moon.
Apollo 17's view of the moon.
Credit: NASA
This article by Jonathan Street, entitled, In Whose Hands is our Destiny?, makes a strong argument for a space agency controlled by the private sector. Here's a snippet:

In 1961 President Kennedy announced the most audacious propaganda stunt in history: the Apollo moon programme. This was before an American had even been into space and only 4 years after the USSR launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, kick-starting the space race. The drive and determination was such that they not only made it to the Moon, but arrived by the 20th July, 1969. A year before originally planned in 1961.

Today this drive and determination is lacking. The first probes to land on Mars were the Viking probes which landed in July and September of 1976. 28 years on and a manned mission to Mars is still only a dream. Something is lacking. Technologically, we have been ready to go visit Mars for many years. We are far more prepared to visit Mars today than we were to visit the Moon in 1969. It is not the technology that is holding us back, constraining us to exist solely on one planet, one celestial body. What we are lacking is the drive and determination so crucial and so evident in 1961 that just 8 years later saw a human being set foot on the Moon.


- posted by Alex @ 12:59 EST

(permanent link)

Friday, August 15, 2003


New Stories

Stars.
Stars.
Credit: Unknown
Red Colony is proud to present two more exclusive stories, Rise of Mars by Chris Schubert and Counting Stars by Jason Galore. Rise of Mars is the continuation of Chris's ongoing novel, previously untitled. Jason calls his Counting Stars "a short piece about the latter days of colonized Mars with bits of modern relevence spread thorughout." Here's what I had to say about it:

Your story is brilliant. It begins slowly, introducing the setting and the character, all with an impending doom, an emptiness that conveys the character's detest for beauty and for love. Her revolution is certain, but as readers we do not know what form it will take. The Zubrin Festival (love the name!) is portrayed perfectly, the setting as real as the world you have described. Senani is wonderfully described, and the relationship that he shares with Cheyenne builds in intensity as sincerely as if it happened in real life, with the most intense moment at climax.

This is a good one... read it!


- posted by Alex @ 7::8 EST

(permanent link)

Monday, August 18, 2003


Russia: Nuclear Power Plant on Mars by 2030

Russian scientists have announced that they plan to have a nuclear power plant up and running on the surface of Mars by 2030. Experts are sceptical, but Russia's Nuclear Energy Ministry claims it can be accomplished with existing technical designs. The problem is how to transport the construction materials (and construct them) 150 million miles away. The agency says a crew would build the station and and a research base for future missions. The reactor would provide energy for future manned missions of six engineers. Thanks to Ackar of the forum for the heads-up on this breaking news.

(More info: BBC.co.uk)


- posted by Alex @ 21:20 EST

(permanent link)

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


Mars 27: Catalyst on the Plains

A Martian sunset.
A Martian sunset.
Credit: Unknown
Christopher Birkbeck, or Babbler36 on the forum, has written the beginning of a new novel entitled, Mars 27: Catalyst on the Plains. Here's a snippet:

The sun was setting over the reddish-pink sky and flat lands bellow. The temperature was bellow freezing. In fact, it was cold as Antarctica Ė literarily. Yet, the sky was full of carbon dioxide, a gas that traps heat warm up an area, yet did nothing. The ground was rust (or ferrous oxide to use the scientific term). This was Mars, fourth planet from the sun, its star. The land was a seeming desert, a place that did not deserve study, much least inhabitation. The planet seems to have rejected life. And all living things that could survive had to live a harsh and unforgiving existence.


- posted by Alex @ 17:27 EST

(permanent link)

Thursday, August 21, 2003


No Liquid Water on Mars

Researchers say that there is no evidence of limestone formations on Mars, meaning that there were never large quantities of liquid water flowing on the surface. This does not rule out ice or underground water says Philip Christensen of Arizona State University. He bases his conclusion on the information from Global Surveyor. Information that has no significant source of carbonates sources. Ross Irwin, a geologist with the Smithsonian Institution has pointed out, though, that basins and river beds, looking to be clearly carved by running water, allows for the possibility that any carbonate that was formed was carried beneath the surface of the planet, beyond the detection range of the TES.

(More info: Yahoo News)


- posted by Jim @ 17:06 EST

(permanent link)

Friday, August 22, 2003


Mars is Getting Closer

Mars is getting closer...
Mars is getting closer...
Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS
We figured it's about time someone on this website make mention of pretty rare event that's nearly upon us. Mars has been in the news as of late, and why shouldn't it? On August 27th the planet will be closer to Earth than it has been in 60,000 years. Just how close is close? About 34.6 million miles. Already, Mars is the brightest object in the night sky except for the moon. With a cheap pair of binoculars you can begin to pick out major features on the surface. The nearest Mars will be is 5:51 AM EST on August 27th.

I will also take this time to mention the new Red Colony button, a small 88x31 pixel advertisement you can put on your own site. HTML code is available at the Link to Us page.


- posted by Alex @ 9:46 EST

(permanent link)


Brazilian Rocket Explodes

Brazillian rocket explodes.
Brazillian rocket explodes.
Credit: AP
A rocket exploded on a Brazilian launch pad today, killing 21 people and injuring 20 others. The 100 ft rocket exploded during routine tests, just days before its scheduled launch. The launch would have made Brazil the first Latin American country to reach orbit. This disaster is the third for Brazil, a devastating blow for the developing space agency. Civilian technicians were among the dead, and two research satellites and the launch pad were destroyed.

Red Colony is deeply saddened by this loss but, as with any disaster humanity must face, is looking to the future. Again, our expansion into space has been paid with the price of human lives. But we must remember why we keep pushing forward. We must remember what those men and women died for. If we forget that, their sacrifice is nothing but a statistic.


- posted by Alex @ 23:17 EST

(permanent link)

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


Mars is at Opposition

Mars.
Mars.
Credit: NASA
Modern man has never been so close to Mars. (Hopefully he'll be much closer in the near future.) Tomorrow morning Mars will be at opposition with the Earth. There are lots of events scheduled for tonight and nights this week. Fraser Cain of Universe Today has put together a list of worldwide Mars events going on this week. You can find the list here.

The RC Team was going to go out tonight and watch Mars, but our county is currently under a thunderstorm warning. (The power is flickering on and off here, so I must be brief.) I did, however, get the chance to watch Mars cross the sky at a campfire last night. It is unbelievable. If you haven't seen it yet, don't miss it!


- posted by Alex @ 22:08 EST

(permanent link)

Friday, August 29, 2003


Why Colonize Mars? Page

Erosion on Mars.
Erosion on Mars.
Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS
I've written a list of reasons why we should colonize Mars. I'm going to continue updating the list, but this is the latest version. It seems like this site needed a page explaining why so many people want to colonize Mars. Here's the beginning of that page:

My grades arenít too bad in history, and I could bore you with a story about 16th century Europeans and dreams of leaving their crowded, disease-infested cities and moving to the empty New World. I could ramble on about how the expansion to this continent brought about progresses in exploration and cartography that would fuel the scientific revolution of a new age. And if I were really cruel, I could spend this entire page talking about how the country that came out of it advanced the world perhaps centuries beyond its time in scientific, economic, diplomatic, and religious progress.

But thatís not why youíre here.


Go read it. I'm proud of it :-)


- posted by Alex @ 13:42 EST

(permanent link)


Space Elevator Article

Space elevator.
Space elevator.
Credit: Pat Rawling
Kevin Reimund, or Zzap from the forums, has sent us his excellent article about space elevators. Although it's not quite finished, you can see that his knowledge of the topic is vast and advanced. You can find it here. Here's a snippet:

The space elevator is a concept, so magnificent, so huge and so daunting that it may seem like an impossible, task from the future. But in reality, the concept of the space elevator has existed since 1895 when a Russian scientist, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky who was inspired by the Eiffel Tower, envisioned a tower that stretched all the way into space. The idea was quietly forgotten over the turmoil that arose in the world as militarism and imperialism grew popular in the early 1900ís. However, in 1957, another Russian scientist, Yuri Artsutanov drew up a more feasible plan in which a cable was lowered toward Earth while a counterweight was extended from Earth, keeping the cableís center of gravity at the geosynchronous point. The task was not forgotten and in 1966, four American scientists did tests and found that the cable would require a strength twice that of any known material, including diamond. In 1975, Jerome Pearson did a lot of work regarding the physics of the tower, determining how much material would be needed. He even accounted for fluctuations, such as lunar gravity and winds. The idea was picked up by the legendary eccentric Sci-Fi writer Arthur C. Clarke and publicized 1978.


- posted by Alex @ 14:47 EST

(permanent link)

Sunday, August 31, 2003


The Future of Mars? Section

Viking Bay.
Viking Bay.
Credit: Frans Blok
Frans Blok, webmaster of the Netherlands Mars Society Site, has given us permission to use his map of a terraformed Mars. Analyzing data from the Planetary Data System of the US Geological Survey and the map created by the Mars Orbital Laser Altometer onboard Mars Global Surveyor, Frans created what he believes is the future of Mars. This section is fantastic: a click able, zoom able map of the entire surface of Mars, with descriptions and a history to complement each region. You could literally sit down for hours and explore his work, and every time you come back to look you find something different. Towns named "Microsoft" and "Orsonwelles", a coastline called "New New England." And there's even an About the Map page so you can learn how (and why) he did it.

- posted by Alex @ 9:47 EST

(permanent link)

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