Daily Archives: August 1, 2012

NASA Administrator Bolden Suggests Potential For International Manned Mars Mission

Curiosity Rover

Could the success of the Mars Science Lab mission drive future manned missions to Mars?

In an interview with the USA Today editorial board, NASA’s Chief Administrator, Charles Bolden, pointed to Mars as a prime exploration destination but insisted that any US manned missions to Mars would be international efforts.

“I have no desire to do a Mars landing on our own,” Bolden said. “The U.S. cannot always be the leader, but we can be the inspirational leader through international cooperation” in space exploration.

The upcoming Curiosity rover landing, scheduled for August 5th, should fuel public interest in the Red Planet. NASA has focused heavily on public involvement in the event, scheduling viewing parties, offering multiple press conferences to hype the event, releasing a free Xbox Kinect game to simulate the landing, and publishing several sensational videos describing the landing process.  NASA even struck viral gold with their “Seven Minutes of Terror” video, which quickly spread across the internet last month.  It is hoped that the Mars Science Lab mission will find signs of previous microbial life on Mars.  Such a discovery, combined with a similar NASA PR push, would certainly boost public interest in a manned mission.

Don’t forget to tune in to NASA TV this weekend to watch the Curiosity landing!

Read the USA Today article at:  NASA chief: U.S. won’t go it alone on manned Mars mission – USATODAY.com


Notice – Please Discontinue Use of Paper Rocket Launcher Seen In NASA Rocket Education Guide

I’ve received a request from NASA Education advising everyone to discontinue use of air pressure paper rocket launchers seen in the NASA Rockets Educator Guide.  I know that a large number of teachers, scout leaders, clubs, and other organizations use these types of rocket launchers because they are affordable and easy to build.

High Power Paper Rocket Launcher

High power Paper Rocket Launcher – Please discontinue use of this equipment immediately.

I’ve included an image of the launcher (made with PVC pipe and using a bicycle pump for pressure)  from the Rockets Educator Guide to help you determine if equipment you are currently using may be dangerous.  If your launcher looks similar to this image, please discontinue use.  It may be susceptible to failure.

For more information, read the notice below:


Recently, an air pressurized paper rocket launcher being used by an educator failed. This launcher is described in NASA’s Rockets Educator Guide, publications EG-2011-11-223-KSC, pp. 86-90 and EG-2008-05-060-KSC, pp. 86-90.  NASA completed an engineering investigation into the failure and determined that the launcher, or design equivalents, should not be used. NASA has removed the launcher design from its website and its education curriculum. Individuals and organizations should immediately discontinue use of the launcher published in the referenced NASA publications.  The point of contact for additional information is James Stofan, Deputy Associate Administrator for Education Integration at nasaedpartners@nasa.gov.  We request that your organization assist NASA in disseminating this information as widely as possible throughout the education community.

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