Category Archives: Science

Money problems and Science Friday

If you're anything like me, you'll be listening to NPR Science Friday every week (although not necessarily on Friday if you listen to it as a podcast like I do). One of the funding sources for the radio program was the NSF; unfortunately, they've decided not to continue their support. The NSF probably have their own valid reasons to stop their funding (like, there's a lot of pressure to cut the deficit, although I personally think that a public radio program promoting science would still be a very worthwhile cause to fund), but this means that Science Friday is facing financial difficulties. And despite being an NPR program, it only gets 10% of its funding from NPR. Fortunately, the program is in no immediate danger of going off the air, but of course, they could use all the help they can get.

Support Science Friday

I love the show, so I support it. If you're interested in science and have never been a listener of NPR Science Friday, then you might want to give it a listen.

Flying with the mothership

VSS Enterprise
VSS Enterprise

VSS Enterprise, aka WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo attached together, succeeded in completing its first flight. The test flight only checked out that the mothership, WhiteKnightTwo, can fly properly while carrying the spaceship, SpaceShipTwo. It did not test if SpaceShipTwo will detach properly from WhiteKnightTwo during actual flight. Neither did it test out the rocket engine on SpaceShipTwo that will blast it into space. And even if all the tests succeed without a glitch, SpaceShipTwo will only achieve suborbital flight, being unable to accelerate to a high enough speed to achieve orbit. So the news is only interesting rather than exciting.

Still, it is a great first step towards suborbital space tourism, where reaching the boundaries of space would be a very expensive dream instead of a complete pipe dream to an ordinary person like myself.

Cupola on the ISS

With the installation of the cupola attached to the Tranquility module on the International Space Station, I know what I will definitely be taking a look at if I ever visit the space station. (I can dream, can't I?) With its much more open view compared to the tiny viewports that were already on the space station, the cupola provides a beautiful platform for looking outside at Earth or at space.

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