Carnival of Space #157: The 2010 ISDC Round-Up Edition

Welcome everyone to this, the spectacular 157th Carnival of Space. I’m Ken, the Lunar Librarian here at Out of the Cradle, and I’ll be your host as we enter into the fourth year’s worth of weekly space commentary on a galaxy of topics.

The tradition here at OotC is to start at Earth and work our way outwards. The big news in human spaceflight advocacy circles was the 29th annual NSS International Space Development Conference held over the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago. Rapidly becoming THE forum for civil spaceflight, it covers everything from business to science. Below is a round-up of ISDC 2010 news from around the blogosphere:

The Twitter feed can be found at: and

2010 Int. Space Development Conference now underway –

ISDC has a strong NewSpace flavor this year – NewSpace Journal

Space Adventures returns to suborbital spaceflight – NewSpace Journal

ISDC 2010: John Carmack and Eric Anderson – Space Prizes

ISDC 2010 – Anderson/Carmack, Diamandis, Homans –

ISDC 2010: Peter Diamandis – Space Prizes

ISDC 2010: Masten Space, PlanetSpace, NewSpace biz strategy; COTS update –

ISDC 2010: Friday morning – XCOR presentation –

XCOR on a Roll – Parabolic Arc

Bigelow on commercial crew and NASA’s interest in inflatables – NewSpace Journal

Another Customer for Commercial Crew Transportation – Technology Review

Greason: Congressional Debate on NASA’s Future Must Be Based on Facts – Parabolic Arc

ISDC 2010: Collicott – suborbital research; Greason – Augustine panel –

KSC Scores at ISDC – Leadership in the Twenty First Century

“Shame on you, Charles Bolden!” –

Is a circumlunar mission in NASA’s plans? –

ISDC 2010: Friday evening – Bolden speech –

More on PETA, Bolden, and ISDC –

Return to the Planet of the Apes – The Space Review

Debating the Future of NASA – Technology Review

‘Rallying the Troops’ – Space Politics

ISDC 2010: Saturday – NewSpace panel, Garver, Pace –

The other great debate –

ISDC 2010: Schweickart vs Zubrin debate –

Dr. Robert Zubrin talks Mars: SpacePod 2010.06.08 –

The Radiation Exposure Numbers Game – QuantumG blog

ISDC 2010: Whitesides, Nuclear propulsion, Buzz Aldrin –

Julia Kay Rhodes Singing “REACHING FOR THE MOON” at ISDC Governors Dinner

Buzz Aldrin speaks at the ISDC Governors Dinner

ISDC 2010: Affordable Moon Exploration Style – Space Prizes

Richard Garriott talks space toilets: SpacePod 2010.05.31 –

Blinded by the light – The Space Review

Rockets and rhetoric in Chicago – The Space Review

Harvesting Energy From Space – Dr. APJ Abdulkalam

Students invited to global space development meet – The Hindu

ISDC Tweets – QuantumG’s Blog

In a special feature, Dr. Bruce Cordell talks about the Sunday dinner speaker, Dr. Freeman Dyson, whose genius extends to many areas. Dr. Dyson touched on a number of cosmic themes, which you can read about in “Freeman Dyson on What To Do Next in Space: Laser propulsion? Terraforming? Thinking Long-Term?

And OotC’s coverage can be found here.

Still here on Earth, Bruce over at Weird Sciences posits some interesting speculation regarding the nature of those that some believe are visiting us in How Much Aliens Fit With UFOs? Might it be that they’re not so alien after all?

Getting from Earth to orbit is the job of rockets right at the moment, and there is certainly a plethora of activity going on. Over at collectSPACE, Robert gives us the lowdown on the Earth-to-orbit achievements of a Shuttle that just took its last flight (?) in The legacy of space shuttle Atlantis.

Meanwhile, over at the ironically but appropriately named Next Big Future, Brian proclaims SpaceX has Successfully Launched Falcon 9, Falcon 9 is in orbit.

Once in orbit, it’s always nice to have a place to stop over, catch your breath, maybe give things a once over before heading out trans-LEO. Over at Habitation Intention (certainly a motivation of NSS), Daniel explores some of the philosophy underlying support and use of the ISS in The Spirit of the ISS: International Cooperation in Space.


One thing that’s helpful to have when one is traveling in space is a spacesuit. There are a variety of models, so the San Diego chapter of NSS, the San Diego Space Society, is hosting “Spacesuits 101: What to wear in Space” presented by Molly McCormick, a Biomechanical engineer at Orbital Outfitters. It will be at the Serra Mesa Branch Library on Aero Dr. in San Diego, CA on Sunday, June 13 from 14:30-16:30. This talk is open to the public at no charge. However, the topic may cover the effects of a vacuum or near vacuum on the human body, which might be scary for younger children.

If you’re in the neighborhood, go check it out!

While there will always be a passionate core of amateur astronomers, a pastime that is finding increasing popularity is satellite spotting. At the ISDC a bunch of folks went to the top of the parking garage to try to spot the X-37B passing overhead, and now that the TLEs are up for the Falcon 9 launch, people can try to spot the Dragon test model. Heavens Above has always been my reference site of choice, and is widely recognized as the go-to place on the web for ISS spotting info.

Now that more folks are trying to spot various satellites, they’re also trying to take pictures of them. Dave over at AstroGuyz gives a us a ‘How-to’ piece on a low-tech method for imaging satellites in Imaging Satellites: A Low-Tech Method. It’s a clever set-up, and has resulted in some cool images.


One object that is certain to be of interest is the IKAROS solar sail. This is not the first attempt by The Planetary Society to launch a Solar sail, but it looks like things are going well this time around, and Emily gives us the scoop (of sunshine):

Lou Friedman in Japan: IKAROS sail deployment proceeding
Lou Friedman in Japan: Taking things slowly with IKAROS sail deployment
IKAROS sail deployment delayed until at least Tuesday
IKAROS update: rotation rate inexplicably increasing
IKAROS team proceeds with final stage of sail deployment!

Most folks don’t realize it, but in the original story of “The Planet of the Apes” by Pierre Boulle, the story opens with a couple lazily drifting through the Solar system in a Solar sail yacht. I’ve wanted one ever since.

Moving further out into space, we come to our sister in space, our Moon.

PBS has launched a “Moon Museum” in support of their upcoming June 21st 9-10pm EST episode of HISTORY DETECTIVES that tracks the mystery of some artworks carried to the Moon by the Apollo missions, “Satelloon,” or the mylar mystery, and “Space Boot,” about what may have been an early NASA prototype.

Watch the full episode. See more History Detectives.

Back over at Next Big Future, Brian takes a look at some plans whereby Japan’s Shimizu Corporation Proposes Solar Power MegaProject for the Moon. Not the first time Solar power beaming from the Moon has been proposed [q.v. Criswell, Lunar Solar Power Resources], but at this stage of the game it pays to keep an open mind.


Author Bill White has just published Platinum Moon, a tale of “International intrigue, adventure and suspense wrapped around a moon landing.” You can expect a review here at OotC in the not too distant future, as Bill has graciously donated a copy to the Lunar Library.

Looking Sunward (but not too closely), Allen over at Urban Astronomer answers the question of How can I safely look at the Sun? This is no joking matter, and should be taught to kids as soon as they can get their hands on optics. Here in North Texas, we always let the experts at the Texas Astronomical Society handle displays of Solar telescopes, because it is pretty cool to look at the Sun – through a properly filtered instrument.

Meanwhile, back out to Mars, the rovers are still plugging away, and Stuart over at Road to Endeavour gives us an interesting update on the current navigation strategy for Mars in Where are we – and where are we going..?

Traveling further out, to the Asteroid Belt, Bruce over at Weird Sciences takes a closer look at the threat of impact, largely in the context of the main belt asteroids, in Asteroid Impact: How Hazardous It Is?

The biggest news in planetary sciences at the moment is the startling results from the Cassini mission regarding Titan. Steinn takes a pause from herding cats over at Dynamics of Cats and gives us the low-down on Hydrocarbon Eating Aliens. Adam over at CrowlSpace proclaims Life on Titan!, and notes that we’re going to need better engines if we’re going to go check it out. And Brian over at Next Big Future notes that NASA Cassini Finds Two Potential Life Signatures from the moon Titan. Europa may have just been bumped from the position of vacation destination of choice for astrobiologists.

Moving now beyond our Solar system we travel into the endless reaches of infinity. Lots of big physics happens out there, so let’s buckle up and go see what awaits us…

Paul over at Centauri Dreams tells us about plans for a virtual interstellar voyage to be undertaken by the folks at Project Icarus in real time in vIcarus: Interstellar Mission in Cyberspace. It recounts plans to create a digital version of the Project Icarus interstellar probe design and fly the mission in real-time (50-years plus) over the Net. Open source Icarus modules may spin out of this that could be useful not only to the designers but also for educators.

Once we do start traveling to new stars, we are going to be beholding many strange and beautiful sights. Kimberly over at the Chandra Blog shares with us a project that looks at deep space images and compares them with terrestrial ones, putting a new twist on the concept of our place in the universe in Heaven and Earth.


What would surely be a spectacular sight is described for us by Colin at the Armagh Planetarium Blog in A sky of blazing stars. A cradle of young star birth makes one corner of space a place where the heavens would be filled with big stars, no doubt a wonder to behold.

Something you probably don’t want to be around to witness up close is a Gamma-Ray Burst, or GRB in astronomical parlance. Carolyn at The Spacewriter’s Ramblings tells of a recent episode of The Astronomer’s Universe that explored these cosmic mysteries in Exploring Gamma-ray Bursts

Steve over at Cheap Astronomy offers up a podcast of physics ponderings with the help of Australian skeptic Eran Segev, as well as a brief ad spot for the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast series.

Even when We are all in the gutter, we can still be looking up at the stars, and this month Emma is curating the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition being run by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and shares her thoughts in My Astronomer’s Gallery – A June Journey. Gee, which do you think is my favorite?


The Royal Observatory, Greenwich’s annual Astronomy Photographer of The Year competition closes soon, with would-be winners needing to submit their snaps by 16 July. Categories include Earth & Space, Solar System and Young Astronomy Photographer of The Year. There’s £1000 on offer, and pride of place in an exhibition opening at the Observatory in September, so don’t delay!

While we’re on the subject of astrophotography, Ian and Peta over at Astroblog offer a lesson on how to use the software program GIMP to improve the quality of your astrophotos and create mosaics in Using The Gimp for Astrophotography (Part 3).

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, brings us to the end of this week’s Carnival of Space. I hope you’ve enjoyed the show, and will take the time to look up past Carnivals of Space, which can be found at Universe Today in the CoS Archives.


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