|Mitchell Slaggert by Phil Poynter|
SpaceX says it will fly a spacecraft
to Mars as soon as 2018
SpaceX plans to land an unmanned spacecraft on Mars as soon as 2018 with the help of NASA, an extraordinary collaboration between the public and private sectors in an effort to eventually get humans to the Red Planet.
SpaceX made the announcement on Twitter Wednesday, laying out an ambitious timeline for an incredibly difficult mission that only governments have dared try. Landing a spacecraft or a robot that can then operate successfully on the Martian surface is so difficult that the U.S. is the only country to have done it, and many attempts over the years have failed.
The partnership between SpaceX and NASA has the goal of sending humans to Mars in the 2030s. (The Washington Post, April 27, 2016. Read more)
The first and most important rule of the Mile High Club
is to fly... at night.
Night flight over Northern Russia, as seen from the First Officer's seat of a Boeing 747-8 cockpit. A beautiful show of green and purple Northern Lights, a slow beginning sunrise and millions of stars are visible, including the Milky Way. Photo and text by JPC van Heijst.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio in Illinois
|Studio Facade. Photograph: Tim Long|
Born in Wisconsin in 1867, Frank Lloyd Wright’s career as an architect spanned some 70 years until 1959. Wright built his home and studio at 951 Chicago Avenue in Oak Park, Illinois, at the age of 22. It was here that he lived and worked for the first 20 years of his professional career and experimented with space, form, light and material, creating a visual essay that revealed the founding principles of Wright’s Prairie style, inspired by America’s wide mid-western plains.The house and studio has been restored to its iteration from 1909, the last year that Wright lived on site.
|Living Room. Photograph: James Caulfield|
Rusticated by shingle and stone, Wright’s home blended into its woody landscape and was rooted to the ground by its brick façade.The ground floor of 951 Chicago Avenue consisted of a cluster of rooms (living room, studio, pantry, dining room) that would satellite the hearth. The chartreuse palette of the living room with its warm wood paneling and window seats combined simplicity with quiet opulence and overlooked the then-wooded grounds of the house, resplendent with willow and ginko trees.
|Frank Lloyd Wright playroom. Photograph: James Caulfield|
|Frank Lloyd Wright playroom mural. Photograph: James Caulfield|
Wright designed every element of his home, including the intricate stained glass windows and wooden furniture that adorned a Japanese-inspired dining room cushioned with fabric-covered walls. Much as the materials of the façade rooted the building to the ground, here terracotta tiles provide warmth and rustic simplicity to an inviting sunken dining room.
|The dining room. Photograph: James Caulfield|
Source: The Glass Magazine, Rowena Chiu, March 28, 2016. Read more...
Can Gay People
Ever Master Aging Gracefully?
Ever Master Aging Gracefully?
|And wisdom is early to despair: |
Be beginning; since, no, nothing can be done
To keep at bay
Age and age’s evils...
Good God, the mirror's a challenge. Gravity's relentless tugging and all those summer tans are conspiring with time. They dash in an unholy, unruly, triathlon of, well, let’s call it maturing. It’s not as if I wasn't warned. Beauty is only skin deep, and stay out of the sun. But, I must admit, gravity kind of surprised me. Unless a cliff was involved, I always thought it such a benign and helpful force. Gravity keeps everything in place and the heavenly celestial bodies orbiting as they should. But that sneak, gravity, eventually pulls your face, your butt, and everything else on your body in the absolutely wrong direction.
There’s no denying that sometimes it's hard to face your maturing face. I remember Dad looking at his reflection once and exclaiming, "Hell's bells, who is that old man?" I got it, but at the time I could only sympathize with his pain. Now I feel it too. The quest for graceful aging — and a salient belief in the truth of inner beauty — is officially urgent.
Our community is hilariously obsessed with physicality. Too often, only chiseled abs and chins need apply. A cold chill passes over me every time I see those sculpted couples in a print ad for gay cruises. Personally, I can imagine wearing a burka for the duration at sea. I suppose a full body cast could work too, and sympathy would be an effective icebreaker. It’s all so crazy, because I know we’re better than the form, reflected by light, off our skin. But I also know that very few people, including myself, don’t judge. Our first impression of others is their appearance, and as hard as I try, I still evaluate. We all do this, straight or gay, but I think gay people do it more and do it longer.
I think straight people are off the hook, once they have kids. Mom just went through a physical ordeal that’s unbelievable. Meanwhile, Dad’s done his thing. He goes to work and comes home and goes to work helping raise a family. He has to, because two incomes are the root for survival in America. Suddenly, there’s just no more gym time, and the little time left is dedicated to a well-deserved time-out with the recliner.
Gay folks, especially men, generally don’t have these societal fallback positions. We’re expected to die at the pec fly machine, working in that third set of 10 reps. And if we have to leave a button on our 501s unbuttoned, it can’t be the top button. We can only let people speculate if there’s not enough room for the bottom buttons.The reality is the fine line between healthy fetishes and unattainable or unrealistic stereotypes. These aspirations and fetishes have to lose some grip as we grow older unless we want to be that mad, bitter queen in the skinny jeans, drinking alone.
Now, how do we do these things? How do we age gracefully? Who are our role models to guide us through the golden years? Why. it’s us, by golly! It’s up to you and me, and I think there are many paths down the golden yellow brick road.
Source: The Advocate, Kurt Niece, April 25, 2016
Richard Burton reads Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem 'The Leaden Echo & The Golden Echo'.
"Most of the film magazines taken during the Apollo flights have been scanned in high resolution format and made available on the web through the Project Apollo Archive. I used these images to create panoramas using Panorama Maker from Arcsoft. In the same spirit as Olivier de Goursac in his book "Lune" I "cleaned" the images, removing scratches and cross hair references for instance. The results are high-resolution photos of how the Moon appeared to the Apollo astronauts. In some instances, since the astronaut not taking the photos moved, he may appear twice on the panorama. In other cases, I had to use details from more that one mission to recreate some missing details. This is indicated for each panorama. Here are some of the results of my work..." See more: Lunar Panoramas
Apollo 11, Sea of Tranquility, 20 July 1969, frames A11-40-5864, 65 and A11-40-5869. After Armstrong picked up the camera and took the contingency samples, Aldrin started to descend the LM [Lunar Module] ladder to set foot on the Moon. One of his first tasks was to test the ability to reach the first rung of the ladder and we can see him preparing to make a jump. Note also the jettison bag just beneath the descent stage of the LM; this was the first item ever put on the lunar surface by humans...
Apollo 12, Ocean of Storms, EVA 1, 19 November 1969, frames A12-46-6717 and A12-46-6718. Pete Conrad is on the ladder. We can see his RCU, hose connections and checklist. Note that his OPS antenna is up. The porch and the lunar surface below are reflected in his visor. Alan Bean is taking the picture by holding the camera upside-down, at knee height, and is guessing at the pointing...
Apollo 14, Fra Mauro Highlands, EVA 1, 5 February 1971, frames A14-66-9229 and A14-66-9341. Ed Mitchell took this photograph of Alan Shepard's first steps on the Moon. This picture was the very first taken during EVA [Extravehicular activity] 1 from the LMP [Lunar Module Pilot] window. It is combined here with one of the very last pictures also taken from the LMP window at the end of EVA 2. Note the effect of "wind" on the Moon, as parallel traces around pebbles can be seen. This is due to the descent engine exhaust prior to landing...
Apollo 15, Hadley Rille/Apennine Mountains , EVA 3, 2 August 1971, frames A15-82-11056 and A15-82-11057. Jim Irwin took a panorama of the the Swann range with Falcon in the foreground before they drove to Station 9 and explore the Hadley Rille...
Apollo 16, Descartes Highlands, EVA 3, 23 April 1972, frames A16-117-18815 to A16-117-18820. Panorama taken by Charlie Duke at the end of EVA-3 at Station 10. John Young is pointing the high gain antenna towards the Earth. Note the LM on the left and the ALSEP [Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package] on the right...
Apollo 17, Taurus-Littrow, EVA 1, 11 December 1972, frames A17-134-20420 to A17-134-20425. Panorama taken by Gene Cernan at Station 1. Jack Schmidt is shown shaking soil out of the rake after making a swath through the surface soil. Seismic Charge 6 can be seen between the LRV and Jack Schmidt...
How far to let two Rover-riding astronauts go?
'No scene could have conveyed more vividly the reach of this exploration -- or the risk. If something had happened to the Rover now, Scott and Irwin [Apollo 15] would have faced a long and difficult walk to safety, for the LM was now more than 3 miles away -- much more than the distance covered by Shepard and Mitchell [Apollo 14] during their round trip to Cone crater. The whole question of how far to let two Rover-riding astronauts go had consumed hours of pre-mission deliberation. At no time could the men be allowed to drive farther than they could walk back with the amount of oxygen remaining in their backpacks. Because their oxygen supply dwindled as the moonwalk progressed, this walkback limit would be an ever tightening circle.
Even if the Rover worked flawlessly -- and so far, it had done nearly that -- there was always the chance that a backpack would fail. In that case, the men would break out a set of hoses that would allow them to share cooling water. The man with the failed backpack would survive on his own emergency pack, which contained about an hour's worth of oxygen, and, if necessary, his partner's emergency pack, allowing more than enough time for the Rover to race back to the lander. A more dire scenario was that both the Rover and a backpack might break down. For a time, this remote possibility had so worried the managers that they considered writing the mission rules around it -- a change that would have severely limited Scott and Irwin's explorations. In the end, NASA bought the risk of the double failure, knowing that if it came to pass, one of the astronauts would not make it back to the lander alive.'
-- Andrew Chaikin, A Man on the Moon - The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts, Penguin Books Ltd., 1994