Welcome to another week of marvelous space links. What happened since we last blogged about space stuff?
Gizmodo covers some remarkable new images of Neptune. What’s even cooler is these images were gathered from Earth as opposed to an orbiting telescope like Hubble. Technology really is amazing.
TechCrunch covers the feat by Blue Origin last week of landing its booster rocket and an uncrewed capsule after a test launch. Watch the video if you have time. Seeing the capsule float down on parachutes is pretty exciting for deep space exploration in the future.
Back to Gizmodo again, reporting on the announcement last week of 10 new moons surrounding Jupiter. The fact that we, in 2018, are still finding things as big as moons around planets in our own solar system, is pretty amazing. This has been brought to you by Amazing Links, for when you don’t have a better adjective to describe how cool something is.
Finally, here’s a somewhat darker alternate view of history in the form of a speech President Richard Nixon drafted but never had to use. It was in case astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin never made it off the moon. Glad it got put in history’s dustbin, but it’s startling to think how risky the space program was as recently as 1969. NASA knew they had done everything to keep their guys safe, but the president still felt the need for this speech, just in case they got left there.
It reminds me of something I came across while doing research for astronaut bios. In the second and third astronaut classes, four different astronauts were killed during plane crashes before they flew on missions. Two more died during the tragic Apollo 1 fire. That means six of 23 candidates died before they ever left the Earth. Being in a space race may have caused some of that risk to be taken, but it can’t explain all of it. That’s why Gene Kranz once said, “Risk is the price of progress.”