Shatner In Space

Today was another one of those incredible days for humanity. The second customer based space flight took place on Blue Origin. This time the oldest person to travel to space was on board. William Shatner aged 90 was Jeff Bezos’ guest. Which is fitting considering that Star Trek paved the way over 55 years ago. In 1970’s NASA named their space shuttle “Enterprise” as a nod to the 60’s sci-fi as well.

This morning I took thirty minutes out of my day to watch the launch and re-entry into Texas. The take off and landing is always the most exciting parts to witness. As technology has progressed over the years, I am in awe of the accuracy in which these feats are achieved.

I’ve always been fascinated by space travel. I know that I am unable to ever accomplish that goal at this time. Even if money was no object and I forked out that money to get on an Amazon rocket- the tallest a person can be is 6’4”. I’m about four inches too tall. Darn you genetics!!! But hey, if a 90 year old can go to space and safely return home- I’ve got 45 years to figure out how to get there myself.

For now, I live vicariously through the events that NASA and these Private Companies showcase. It’s a brief entertainment value that allows for the imagination to run wild. Congratulations to William Shatner for being the first living Star Trek star to make it into space. As well as being the oldest person to do so as well. I can’t wait to hear his tale of travel once he gathers himself together after such an emotional journey.

Seven Minutes of Terror

Today NASA is sharing a live feed of the Perseverance Rover landing on Mars. It has taken a decade of planning to get to this point. And there is no guarantee that it will go smoothly.

Approximately 60% of the trips to Mars have failed. That’s huge considering this next trip has cost $2.7 Billion. It is set to touch down at 12:55pm Pacific Time (15:55 Eastern). NASA is providing a live feed on their YouTube Channel starting at 11:15 Pacific Time (14:15 Eastern).

The information I read online about the final few minutes, dubbed “Seven Minutes of Terror” is:

“The Perseverance will plow into the Martian atmosphere at speeds reaching 12,100 mph (19,500 km/h) at 3:48 p.m. EST (12:48 p.m. PST). The ensuing Seven Minutes of Terror will involve extreme heat, the deployment of a supersonic parachute, and the rover’s separation from the heat shield and back shell. By the time it hits the dirt—with the assistance of retrorockets and tethers—Perseverance will have slowed down to a walking pace.”

So we could be witnessing a historical landing or absolute destruction involving billions of dollars of research. Either way- I’m excited to watch it. If the rover is successful in its landing- it will share images with us within moments of landing.

NASA has a live feed on YouTube leading up to these events: NASA if you wish to watch.

The News Today

I stopped watching the news reports on tv a few years ago.  I found most reports are made for shock value.  Inflated numbers about “possible” injured and casualties.  Sensationalized terror attacks breeding fear into the public.  All followed up with some story involving celebrity gossip.  

I still pay attention to the news.  In fact, I get most of my news from NEWS 1130 on the radio as I drive to work.  In the 45 minutes to an hour it takes me to get to work, I usually hear a full cycle of the most important news of the day.  Plus traffic reports and weather every ten minutes.  I like this style of reporting because they need to give facts and not show videos to get their story across.  Sure, on their website there are pictures and video clips, but during my short drive- none of that distracts from the story.

Social media outlets do not share news.  People share “clickbait” and motivational images.  Of course there are things like Kony2012, The Ice Bucket Challenge or changing your profile pic to have the colours of a flag to show “support” to a country that spread like wildfire.  Again, very sensationalized for a brief moment.

Fireball


Yesterday, SpaceX had an unfortunate setback.  I shared a video from CNN on my Facebook profile of the explosion.  Guess what?  It received a few comments & likes, but really no one else shared the footage.  Why?  Most likely because no one died, no one was injured.  Nothing more than a rocket exploding on a launchpad into a fireball.  Not news worthy to most people.  But I have questions. Hard hitting real questions.  


How did it happen?  What does this mean for commercial space travel?  How soon until they try again?  What kind of insurance did SpaceX need? Travel insurance or vehicle insurance?  

Turns out, Wired also asked some of those questions.  Click on the Wired link: The answers will astound you. (Clickbait joke)

The short answer: Nobody knows.  It’s only the day after the incident.  Science and business fields are waiting to find out about the future of SpaceX and the future of commercial space travel.  I’m waiting to find out.  My friends?  Some may be curious, but most likely do not care.  Part of that reason?  The idea of space travel to regular folks like me still feel out of reach.  As if it’s only for the wealthy elite.  At this point in time, it kind of is.  But one day, we may get off this rock and find a new rock.  

I hope I’m around for that day.  

I also hope SpaceX bounces back quickly from this set back.

I also wonder what their insurance deductible is.