This post is about two things; both having to do with space!
First I’ll tell you about a near earth comet that scientists didn’t know was tracking us! It seems that there were some meteor showers in February that buzzed the planet unexpectedly. These “star breadcrumbs” came from the Draconis galaxy and so they are being referred to as February Eta Draconids- thus FEDS.
Secondly I’m going to tell you about the space station and Russia’s plans to dump it in the ocean in 2020. When that news hit the web people were worried about Russia’s plans. But then when you pay a little more attention it seems that the international space station wasn’t meant to last till 2020. So saying it’s going to be shut down and allowed to drift out of it’s orbit at that date is nothing to be surprised about. And to be accurate, Russia expects its life to be extended till about 2028.
By then we expect to have several platforms in space for reaching the Moon and Mars. So if you hear anyone saying that there isn’t a future for astronauts then just tell them that there certainly is but exploring space is going to be less about governments spending on space and more about private companies venturing out there.
Here is a bit of the story on Russia’s plans from MSNBC:
Until a couple of years ago, the space station partners were working on the assumption that the 500-ton space station would have to be shut down and taken out of orbit in 2016. At the time, the partners were working out a plan that would put the station down in the Pacific just five or six years after its completion. But then the Obama White House revised NASA’s space vision to extend the station’s lifetime to at least 2020, providing an orbital testbed for future exploration.
NASA will have to rely on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to transport astronauts to and from the space station for the next few years, while commercial ventures develop space taxis for NASA’s future use. NASA also plans to move ahead with the development of an Orion exploration spaceship and a heavy-lift launch system for going beyond Earth orbit.
In the “Good Morning Russia” interview, Davydov speculated that a future space station could be built as a platform for trips to the moon or Mars. And he noted that Russia, like the United States, was working on a new type of spaceflight system that will have “reusable elements on a level considerably higher than today’s.”
“We calculate that after 2015 we will also begin to test a qualitatively new ship,” Davydov said.
He was asked which country would be the first to come out with a new spaceship for exploration. “Let us compete,” Davydov answered.