You may already know this, but in a move designed to make me (and you?) ever-so-slightly giddy, Paul Allen (SpaceShipOne) and Richard Branson (Virgin Airways) have decided to join forces and get a space tourism business up and running by 2007. It’s only $198,600 a pop for a three-hour tour, so start saving (Oh, yeah, there’s going to be a space hotel, too)! Check out the Virgin Galactic site — fun!
Seems reasonable to me: If you want to know whether astronauts could handle an extended-duration mission to Mars, “ask an astronaut”:http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/news/040923/foale.shtml. Specifically, ask one who has logged over a year on orbit, including a 6-month stint living with just one other cosmonaut. His advice? Don’t sweat the niceties, and don’t skimp on oxygen.
Now that he can’t use the WMD justification, the terrorist justification, or the International Community justification, Our Fair President has devolved to using the “dictator justification”:http://www.misleader.org/daily_mislead/Read.asp?fn=df09222004.html to explain why we invaded Iraq at a cost of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. “The Daily Mislead”:http://www.misleader.org/daily_mislead/Read.asp?fn=df09222004.html begs to differ with that reasoning.
This just in: “SpaceDev”:http://www.spacedev.com/, the San Diego company that provides “SpaceShipOne”:http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/sso_rutan_archive.html’s revolutionary hybrid rocket engine, is developing “Dream Chaser”:http://www.spacedev.com/newsite/templates/subpage_article.php?pid=489, a low-cost sub-orbital spacecraft. Not limited to X-Prize ranges, Dream Chaser is designed to scale up to the point where people can be delivered to and from Low Earth Orbit (read: “space station”:http://www.space.com/news/businessmonday_040524.html).