The GAIAD Preview—Chapters 14 and 15

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The GAIAD is the story of one modern woman’s attempt to heal the fundamental rift between humanity and the Earth—a separation born of an event occurring both on a physical plain and in the minds of men millennia ago. In the following two chapters she contacts a man, an innovative thought-leader she believes will understand the consequences of the secret she’s discovered: a message from an unlikely source motivating us to look beyond our insular lives, both up and out. 14 Abdul-Jabbar Sulayman It began as a recognition of the undifferentiated emotion inside her, a kind of physical feeling not yet expressed. It was a heavy thing located near her heart, a concretion of lighter stuff, stuff that should be free. She let it overtake her—which was hard, scary. In an instant it overwhelmed her like an ocean wave. It became something else, something more. First it was pain, raw … READ MORE…

The Future of Manned Space Exploration: Buzz Aldrin’s MISSION TO MARS, A Review

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 4/5 Stars As the Obama Administration presents its 2017 budget to Congress tomorrow for review (and an inevitable fight), I’m immediately struck by the relevance of the event to a seminal book that I just finished.  Buzz Aldrin’s “Mission to Mars:  My Vision for Space Exploration” is a powerful explication of a specific near-future strategy for NASA’s manned exploration activities, as well as a potent meditation on the importance of such a strategy for this country and indeed, for humanity. Aldrin really doesn’t need any introducing, as he is of course the second man to walk on another planetary body, the Moon in July, 1969.  His qualifications to speak on such a topic are obviously legion.  As such, I feel wholly unqualified to really “review” and pass judgment on any of the technical assertions he makes in the book.  However, I am particularly attracted to his concept of “Aldrin cyclers”—spacecraft … READ MORE…

A Case for Mars: Social Welfare vs. A New Apollo

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I wrote this editorial in response to one printed yesterday in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  I hesitate to post the link here, as they chose to reject my response because it was “too long,” presumably, and contained hyperlinks.  But it might provide a context, if needed: Original Article My Response … A Case for Mars:  Social Welfare vs. A New Apollo Typical arguments against a manned mission to Mars center around the idea that such a mission would be too expensive and would result only in vague, minimal economic benefits.  An argument focusing on expense alone misses the point.  Numbers alone don’t tell a complete story, especially with government expenditures.  The annual budget of the federal government (~$3.5 trillion) includes other massive outlay for social programs with equally “vague” and some would say, minimal, economic benefits.  On the political left, the figure of $212 billion is quoted; while on the right, … READ MORE…

The Recent SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch: Our Generation’s Apollo

43 years ago—almost to the day—the crew of Apollo 17 returned to the earth.  This was the last of the Apollo missions.  It was the last time a human being walked on the surface of another body within our solar system.  43 years ago.  Two new generations of humanity have joined the planet in this span of time—two generations comprised of people who have yet to see the technological achievements of Apollo bested. Tonight, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket carrying (11) communications satellites for OrbComm.  All (11) satellites were successfully deployed—a flawless performance by anyone’s measure.  Yet what took the show was the subsequent LANDING of the Falcon 9’s primary stage.  Although attempted before (but only really by SpaceX), this was the first true success, and represents a leap forward in rocket design, ingenuity, and daring.  The economic benefits of such a feat—drastically lowered costs to put objects … READ MORE…