Hephaestus's Blog

New addition to the ISS
February 11, 2010, 11:54
Filed under: Space stuff

The space shuttle Endeavour docked with the International Space Station at midnight on Wednesday to deliver a new module. The module,  called the Tranquility node, is 15 ft wide x 23 ft long. Inside Tranquility, there is a bathroom with a system to recycle urine into drinkable water and also a system for removing carbon dioxide from the air so that the astronauts can breathe. Attached to Tranquility is the Cupola, a dome-shaped extension with 7 windows for Earth observation. The Cupola offers a 360-degree outlook on space, which is new to the ISS. The other day, we heard an interview on NPR with an astronaut who was very excited about that.

NASA is going to retire the shuttle after 2010. In his budget, President Obama encouraged NASA to look forward and use private companies to build spacecraft to put astronauts into orbit. I was going to do this post on NASA’s Constellation program, but it was using old technology and went and got itself canceled earlier this week, so I don’t see much of a point. I’m  not sure whether or not I think that using private companies is a good idea. What’s your opinion on this and on Tranquility?

What are UFOs?
February 1, 2010, 21:18
Filed under: Space stuff

UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) are things in the sky that have no apparent explanation.  Sometimes they are clouds, & sometimes they are other things.  Some people believe that UFOs are visitors from space.  Some UFOs are hoaxes or jokes. Some are weather balloons or airplanes or other man-made objects.  Others are flocks of birds. Still others have no explanation whatsoever. My dad said “the probability that aliens have visited the earth in spacecraft is precisely zero.”   I think that it is possible that a highly advanced alien civilization could visit earth in advanced spacecraft and people might see them. What do you think about UFOs?