Tag Archive: Space

It’s Way Out There

20040613
Pioneer 10 reached it’s 21st birthday, and what better thing to celebrate, with a few off-beat dishes?

Second Sunday Supper Circle
June 13, 2004

21 Years Ago, Pioneer 10 Became the First Human-made Object
To Leave the Solar System…
…This Spring It’s Way Out There

Charred Green Tomato Gazpacho
Mumm DVX 1997

Rye Bruschetta, Fresh Morel Sauce
Dirler Riesling “Spiegel” Grand Cru 1992

Wild Bass Sashimi Crab & Root Vegetable Stuffing
Apostles Palo Cortado Muy Viejo 30-Year Old Sherry

Slow-Braised Pork, Salmon Roe Buerre Noisette, Swiss Chard
Chateau de la Charriere Santenay “Clos de la Confrerie” 1988

Chocolate-Rhubarb Pudding
Borgogno Barolo Chinato

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The View From Missive Control

Space Frontier News
Space Frontier Society
A Chapter of the National Space Society
Summer 1995
Vol. 6, No. 5
Page 2

The View From Missive Control
by Dan Perlman, Editor

With the hottest part of the summer stretched ahead of us, it seemed the time to get a summer issue out. You know, something to take to the beach and read while you soak up a little UV-A, B, and C…

Sorry it’s been awhile since the last issue (April), but we’ve all been busy with attending events, planning events, going to films, judging art contests, and similar sorts of procrastination excuses. That’s what summer’s all about isn’t it?

Make sure to catch upon recent events, including SFS’s Apollo 13 viewing and ISDC ’95 in our president’s column starting on the next page. Also, Carolyn’s latest on what’s happening in the world of the upcoming Asimov Seminar – if you’re not already registered, there’s not much time left!

Our cover “article” is a letter by Seth Potter that gives us some food for thought on the world of manned spaceflight.


This is the last newsletter that I have a copy of in my files. I have at least a vague remembrance of more, and definitely that at the point that I stopped being the editor, of writing a final column, and I’m pretty sure I wrote something on the mentioned Asimov seminar, though Linda may have done it and I just edited it. Likely, I just didn’t keep hard copies and the floppy discs, which we still used in those halcyon days, have disappeared.

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Dot, Dot, Dot

Space Frontier News
Space Frontier Society
A Chapter of the National Space Society
April 1995
Vol. 6, No. 4
Page 2

The View From Missive Control
by Dan Perlman, Editor

Pale Blue Dot:
A Vision of The Human Future in Space
By Carl Sagan
Random House
429 pages, $35.00

The “Pale Blue Dot”, of course, is our own planet Earth. Viewed, as the text points out, by Voyager 2 from beyond the orbit of Neptune. Actually Mr. Sagan repeats this theme in various guises throughout the book. I suppose without us each having the opportunity to head into space and look back for the visceral effect, he hoped to drive home the point through repetition. We’re a really small planet in the back end of nowhere. Oh, and we’re pale blue.

This, however, may be the only true negative of the entire book. The text is easy to read and will probably be fascinating for any reasonably intelligent human interested in space exploration. It focuses primarily on the Voyager missions, but doesn’t neglect other forays throughout our solar system. This may be the best “lay” book on the outer planets to have yet been published.

Neatly arranged, he starts us from the early days of civilization and the wonder of the stars. After making sure a couple of times that we’re clear on our place in the scheme of things, he moves us through the basics of space exploration and the detection of life, sentient and otherwise. Then Mr. Sagan leads us on a breathtaking tour of Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, their associated moons, the asteroids, swoops back in for a detailed look at Venus and Mars, explores the possibilities of terraforming, colonization, mining, asteroid deflection, and a few dozen other things. Then he winds up with a philosophical look at our future in space, reminds us once again that we’re on a a pale blue dot in the middle of the backwoods, and refers us on to other books to read.

Most impressive, however, is the illustration work. Mr. Sagan has collected together some of the most beautiful photos and paintings of our neighboring planets and galaxies to have ever been put in one public place. At least that didn’t require driving or flying somewhere and paying an admission charge. If for nothing else, this book is worth the cover price on the basis of the sheer pleasure of flipping through the pages. This is a book no noe should be embarrassed to say, “I just look at the pictures.”

The book is printed on glossy stock, so it’s hefty to hold. But somehow, this gave me a feeling that I was reading something solid and worthwhile. Not to mention the added class it gave to the artwork. One may or may not agree with Carl Sagan’s opinions, arguments and conclusions, but he does a damned fine job of presenting them.

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The View From Missive Control

Space Frontier News
Space Frontier Society
A Chapter of the National Space Society
April 1995
Vol. 6, No. 4
Page 2

The View From Missive Control
by Dan Perlman, Editor

I’ll chalk it up to tax preparation time that our regular contributors were short on time to prepare articles for this month’s issue. It’s been awhile since excerpted the NASA and other source space news for your reading pleasure – hopefully we can continue to include it in future issues – any volunteers to take on scanning the publication and net-worlds?

You’re also going to be subject to another of my book reviews. This time, the weighty (physically, not intellectually) tome, “Pale Blue Dot” by Carl Sagan.

Our Hayden Planetarium watchers, David Millman, Frances Crane and Don Fowler provided us with detailed information on an April 25th special presentation, “Public Forum on Near Earth Objects.” The tagline for the program is ‘How should society respond if a comet were found on a collision course with earth?” The panel will focus on the potential threat to human survival after a major comet or asteroid collision with the earth. Neil de Grasse Tyson of the Planetarium and Princeton University will moderate. Panelists will be Freeman Dyson, David Morrison, Richard Gott and Nicholas Wade. Cost is $12 ($10 for members). The program will begin at 8:00 p.m. Call (212) 769-5900 for more information.

Welcome to new member Bill Engfer, and thanks for your renewal memberships: Greg Zsidisin (saved us from having to find a new president…), Richard Nadler, Edward Finch, and Susan Thau.

The next Programming Committee meeting will be Monday, May 22, at 6:30 p.m. It will be held at Lucy Schmeidler’s home, 470 West End Avenue, at 83rd Street, Manhattan. Anyone interested in attending should call Lucy at (212) 580-0207.

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The View From Missive Control

Space Frontier News
Space Frontier Society
A Chapter of the National Space Society
March 1995
Vol. 6, No. 3
Page 2

The View From Missive Control
by Dan Perlman, Editor

One of our goals in providing Space Frontier News to our membership and readers is to communicate what’s happening in the space, astronomy, astrophysics, and yes, even science fiction, world in New York and surrounding areas. We’ve been a little lax in the past few issues in providing our regular Space News column, as well as including information about events sponsored by organizations other than SFN or NSS.

Starting with this issue we’d like to rectify that. But to do so, we need your help. If you know about events of interest to our space advocate community, let us know – preferably with sufficient advance notice to have it appear in these pages. If you attend an event, be it a lecture, a film, a meeting, or convention, send us a couple of paragraphs on what happened.

Some of you have already started doing this after we made a similar request at the last general meeting. Thanks go to Frances Crane and Don Fowler for providing the schedule for the Hayden Planetarium’s Frontiers in Astronomy & Astrophysics lecture series. David Millman provides a look at NASA’s new budget, and several of our space colleagues have submitted news about upcoming events and services. Also, arriving barely in time, we received a flyer on a program “Rovers on Mars via Hawaii” running between March 4th and 11th at the Maritime Center at Norwalk, sponsored by The Planetary Society and the JASON Project. Call 203/852-0700 for more information. And, if anyone goes to the exhibit…

Make sure to attend our general meeting on March 12th, where Dr. Greg Matloff will take us on a trip “Across The Galaxy in 20 Minutes – Interstellar Flight”.

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The View From Missive Control

Space Frontier News
Space Frontier Society
A Chapter of the National Space Society
February 1995
Vol. 6, No. 2
Page 2

The View From Missive Control
by Dan Perlman, Editor

Just a couple of quick notes this month. Seth Potter’s much awaited primer on solar power beaming graces our front cover. Robin Vernuccion serves up a review of a book for teachers, and Carolyn Josephs catches us up on the Education Committee’s doings. Our speakers for the next two meetings are: Dr. Seth Potter, NYU, speaking on “Low-Mass Solar Power Satellites”- Sunday, February 12; and Dr. Greg Matloff, NYU, speaking on “Across the Galaxy in 20 Minutes” (Interstellar Flight) – Sunday, March 12; both at 3:00 p.m. at Houlihans, East 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue.

The Education and ISDC ’96 Committee meetings will be held back-to-back on the dates listed below. Education will meet 12-2, ISDC 2-5. As always, the specific room will not be known until shortly before the meeting; the location will be displayed on the monitors in the hotel lobby. We’ve included the planned calendar for all of 1995 so that you can scribble in your date books now!

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The View From Missive Control

Space Frontier News
Space Frontier Society
A Chapter of the National Space Society
January 1995
Vol. 6, No. 1
Page 2

The View From Missive Control
by Dan Perlman, Editor

First, and foremost, Happy New Year to all! We begin Volume 6 of Space Frontier News with the latest news releases from Boeing on the International Space Station venture. This lead piece comes direct from them and was originally released back in September. It is followed on page 5 by their latest December update.

Back in November, we’d asked for some thoughts from our members on Craig Ward’s e-mail letter to some of the NSS membership on the future structure of NSS. While the topic generated considerable verbal discussion, and apprently quite some letters to Craig, Greg Oleson was the sole member to send SFN a letter in response. That letter is reproduced in full on the next page.

Taking up a big portion of this month’s issue are the announcements for the upcoming ISDC ’95 in Cleveland, Ohio.

However, we couldn’t let that edge our our monthly Education column from Carolyn Josephs, another top flight children’s book review from Robin Vernuccio, and our last student essay to be published from last year’s contest. Look to Carolyn’s column for the latest news on this year’s art competition. Greg Matloff also contributes a short news piece following upon this summer’s robotic interstellar flight conference.

Our president, Greg Zsidisin, sent me an update fort he January 8 ISDC ’96 planning meeting, which, due to this month’s delayed publication date, isn’t included. Greg will rejoin us next month with his President’s Message and ISDC ’96 Update columns. Right Greg?

Last month’s piece on the potential reopening of the “life on Mars” question generated a flurry of activity around the country, with articles and copies of the letter being reproduced in numerous other chapter newsletters. Glad we got your attention!

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The View From Missive Control

Space Frontier News
Space Frontier Society
A Chapter of the National Space Society
December 1994
Vol. 5, No. 9
Page 2

The View From Missive Control
by Dan Perlman, Editor

Well, here we are at the end of 1994. It seems this year went incredibly fast. The political clime pormises change – as to how it affects space exploration remains to be seen, but it seems promising.

Greg Zsidisin gives us an analysis of that political future in his President’s Message. He also gives us a quick update on ISDC ’96 and a look back at last weekend’s joint “field trip” with the Philadelphia chapter of NSS. This issue we have the continuation of Darrell Coles’ feature on Space Development Finance that he began with our October issue.

Steve Wolfe joins us this month with a look at some restructuring of the SFS committees and how you can be a part of it all. Carolyn Josephs catch’s us up on the doings of the Education Committee, especially as regards next year’s educators conference and the current student space art competition. Robin Vernuccio gives us another excellent book review, and we present another one of our outstanding student essays from this year’s competition.

George Lewycky joins us with a look back at an exciting year for him, 1993. If 1994 was as exciting, perhaps we can look forward to a similar review?

Big doings are afoot in the world of life on Mars. Take a look at the Space News column to see just what’s happening. In other news, the Space Shuttle fleet gets a boost from McDonnell Douglas and Boeing. David Anderman sends us the latest update on the Lunar Resources Data Purchase Act.

Thanks to all of you who sent compliments on my review of Marshall Savage’s The Millennial Project, I enjoyed reading it and writing about it. Fair warning though, with this kind of encouragement, you may find yourself stuck with more reviews…

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Do You Know the Way to Cygni A?

Space Frontier News
Space Frontier Society
A Chapter of the National Space Society
November 1994
Vol. 5, No. 9
Page 7

Do You Know the Way to Cygni A?
by Dan Perlman, Editor

The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps
by Marshall T. Savage
Little, Brown and Company
$16.95 softcover, 508 pages

Colonizing the galaxy in eight easy steps sounds like the sort of book that Time-Life would issue in the middle of a twenty-three volume series. You now, fixing your pipes, building bookshelves, wiring your VCR, colonizing the galaxy. And in some ways, this book lives up to that how-to genre. Except that it is, for the most part, completely speculative.

I should start by saying, I liked this book. I really liked this book. Like Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote the book’s introduction, I am awed by Marshal Savage’s depth of knowledge in the worlds of engineering, astronomy and physics. But, even more, I am awed that someone sat down and came up with a plan this big. Like, really, really, really big.

In nine easy to read chapters, Mr. Savage takes us through colonizing the oceans, building workable launch facilities, creating habitable space ecospheres, constructing moon colonies, terraforming Mars, colonizing the solar system, and moving on to the stars. Then he takes us right back to right now and the establishment of a foundation to make it all possible. Three hundred and eighty four pages of text, plus appendices, and I enjoyed every minute of reading it.

Now, that said, I’m going to tell you waht I didn’t like about the book. First, a pet peeve. I hate endnotes. Seven hundred and twenty seven times I was prompted by superscript numbers to flip to the back of the book and read through forty nine pages of endnotes. Needless to say, I shortly gave up and just waited till I was done with the text to go read the notes. Endnotes should be saved for information that is useful only for those who want to delve deeper into a given subject. Unfortunately, many of the notes here give details that are important to understanding the text. Then again, many do not, such as note 22, which, I quote, “Including seaweed.” This, couldn’t have just been put in the main body of the book?

Second, we all know the old adage about statistics. I’m not an engineer, I’m not a scientist, I’m and editor and chef. But I did take several courses in statistics and numerous courses in mathematics while in college. Mr. Savage is a master at using statistics to prove his point at any given moment. My favorite is his proof that there is no life anywhere else in the universe besides here on Earth. He may be right, he may be wrong. But (reducing the numbers here to something usable in this column), something which has a chance of 1 in 100 of occurring does not mean that you have to go through 100 trials before it happens. This is “you always find your keys in the last place you look” taken to extremes.

There is also the controversy over the existence of alien life itself. This is neither a positive nor negative of the book, but much as the argument used by someone like Carl Sagan (x number of planets around y number fo stars with z number of chances of life.. etc.) is easily shown to be, shall we say, overly optimistic; the converse, or, there’s no other life because we haven’t seen it yet, is equally specious.

Mr. Savage argues, after first asserting throughout this book that we humans are somehow the pinnacle of sentient development, that if life existed on other planets it would be so far ahead of us that we’d either see it in the transformation of galaxies, or been contacted by now. Who says? We could be ahead of the game, we could be even with the pack. Or, he could be right.

Last, is purely stylistic again. There are more bad puns, ludicrous plays on words, and silly jokes in this book than in a Xanth novel. Not to mention the constant use of works of fiction, television shows, movies and mythology as illustrations of either the way it is or the way it will be. Sure it helps for speculation to use other folks’ speculations, but many of his reference materials were never intended to be considered seriously – e.g., The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!? Speaking of which, Marshall, for those of us who consider this work on a spiritual level with the Bhagavad Gita, the character’s name is Zaphod Bebblebrox, not Zeyphod Beebelbrox. And, he’s the President of the Universe. Okay?

Now, back to what I really liked about this book. There are no illusions here about what it’s going to take to accomplish this Brobdingnagian task. Mr. Savage presents everything laid out ina potentially reasonable timeline (though I think it will take longer to really get started than he does, once the project is truly underway, he’s probably right on track). He gives step by step instructions through currently existing technology, which gets us through a good chunk of the first two stages of the project, and then uses what appears to be sound reasoning as to what it will take to proceed beyond. He is also clear that life in space, the pioneering of new worlds, the initially artificial environments, and the changes in humanity itself that will be necessary, are not for everyone.

The illustrations and artwork make much of the text come clear. Beyond that, his descriptions of each phase of the project, while often sounding like a Madison Avenue pitch for condominium timeshares, are clear, concise, and either in spite of, or perhaps because of this style, exciting and enticing to read. Mr. Savage has an excellent command of the English language, and more than once I found myself building a better vocabulary through reading, and turning to the dictionary.

But most important is his vision. Mr. Savage is a dreamer. Not a dreamer in the everyday sense of the word. His is no dream of what somebody might do someday if it all goes somehow right. Instead, it is a dream of hope for humanity, and a plan of action for taking us to the starts. I may just apply for the chef’s job in Anlagen – after all, even pioneers need to eat.

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The View From Missive Control

Space Frontier News
Space Frontier Society
A Chapter of the National Space Society
November 1994
Vol. 5, No. 8
Page 2

The View From Missive Control
by Dan Perlman, Editor

Welcome to our biggest issue yet! I hope you find this one as interesting to read as I did putting it together. We start off with a lok back at NSDC ’94 by our own Seth Potter, who not only was present as an attendee, but presented his work on thin-film solar power satellites as well.

For those of you who didn’t make it to our first Space Science Technology Opportunities conference for teachers, you really missed out! we, and the teachers, built model rockets, rod on demonstration hovercraft (and come to think of it, built some of those too), practiced planetary surface mapping, learned about local astronomy opportunities, growing crystals, and even created our own First Contact with an alien race that some of us got to design! I wouldn’t miss this one next time around.

Carolyn Josephs updates us on what’s coming up in the world of education, and Robin Vernuccio brings us a book review for teachers. I’ve also included a copy of the entry form for our upcoming student space art contest. Having mentioned a book review, I of course must plug my own promised one – I hope I’ve done justice to Marshall Savage’s The Millennial Project.

Craig Ward, the NSS Chapters Coordinator sent around by e-mail a survey for planning the future of NSS. Larry Roberts joins us again with a colleague and a press release on their recent article touting ST:TNG as a teaching tool for law schools. We have an announcement about the upcoming Satellites and Education Conference in Pennsylvania, and, speaking of the Keystone State, Greg Zsidisin passes on word that our planned joint field trip with the Philadelphia chapter of NSS is on for the first weekend of next month.

Finally, on a sad note, for those who hadn’t heard, Dr. Myron S. Malkin, nuclear physicist and the first director of the space shuttle program (1973-1980), passed away at age 70 in late October. Ad Astra…

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