Tag Archives: museum

A Connecticut museum, having switched its focus from art to science, has chosen to sell its most valuable statue to finance its own cubesat.

Art vs Engineering: A Connecticut museum, having switched its focus from art to science, has chosen to sell its most valuable statue to finance its own cubesat.

The Discovery Museum and Planetarium in Bridgeport is making a calculated trade-off as it launches a significant upgrade to its science education program for schoolchildren. The 55-year-old museum is auctioning a massive bronze statue Friday to raise money to outfit and program a satellite the size of a milk carton attached to a NASA rocket beaming back data on space dust. …

The statue [is] of a man handing a torch to another man reaching down while on a horse symbolizes the passing of the knowledge of civilization from one generation to the next. …

The satellite will be programmed to capture small space debris analyzed by students in high-school and younger at the museum’s Challenger Learning Center. “We’re building a mission control at the museum,” said David Mestre, director of space science education at the museum. “We’re developing software for a kid to run a space program.” [emphasis mine]

That last quote clinches the deal for me. The statue is impressive, but it merely expresses the idea. Having children operate their own space satellite puts the idea into action.

To get the space shuttle Endeavour to its new home in Los Angeles city officials have decided to cut down about 400 trees along the route.

The future dies to exhibit the past: To get the space shuttle Endeavour to its new home in Los Angeles city officials have decided to cut down about 400 trees along the route.

Several alternatives for the Oct. 12 move were considered but ultimately discarded. Taking the massive shuttle apart would have damaged the delicate tiles that acted as heat sensors. Airlifting the 170,000-pound craft was also ruled out. Not even heavy-duty helicopters could sustain that kind of weight, Rudolph said. A freeway route was considered until engineers realized that the five-story-tall, 78-foot-wide shuttle could not travel under overpasses. “We had to identify a route that had no permanent infrastructures like buildings and bridges,” Rudolph said.

They settled on a final route that will follow Manchester Boulevard to Crenshaw Drive, then onto Crenshaw Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard — wide thoroughfares with few permanent obstacles. To make way for the shuttle, some trees will be pruned, power lines will be raised and traffic signals will be removed. Inglewood will lose 128 trees, and communities in South Los Angeles about 265 trees, though the exact number has not yet been determined.

Normally I wouldn’t sweat over the removal of some trees, but this is quite disgusting. It once again raises questions about the choice of Los Angeles over Houston for a shuttle.

Catching up with the future of the U.S. space program

As I have been traveling for the past week, I have fallen behind in posting stories of interest. Two occurred in the past week that are of importance. Rather than give a long list of multiple links, here is a quick summary:

First, NASA administrator Charles Bolden yesterday announced the museum locations that will receive the retired shuttles. I find it very interesting that the Obama administration decided to snub Houston and flyover country for a California museum. In fact, all the shuttles seem to be going to strong Democratic strongholds. Does this suggest a bit of partisanship on this administration’s part? I don’t know. What I do know is that it illustrates again the politically tone-deaf nature of this administration, especially in choosing the fiftieth anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s spaceflight to make this sad announcement.

Second, the new budget deal (still pending) included NASA’s budget, with cuts. While requiring NASA to build a super-duper heavy-lift rocket (the program-formerly-called-Constellation) for less money and in less time than was previously allocated to Constellation, the budget also frees NASA from the rules requiring them to continue building Constellation. Since the Obama administration has no interest in building the super-duper heavy-lift rocket and has said it can’t be done, I expect they will use the elimination of this rule to slowdown work on the heavy-lift rocket. I expect that later budget negotiations will find this heavy-lift rocket an easy target for elimination, especially when it becomes obvious it is not going to get built.
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