sábado, 25 de junho de 2011
SOBRE A ESTAÇÃO ESPACIAL INTERNACIONAL
O físico norte-americano Robert Park, na sua coluna semanal What's New, opina sobre a Estção Espacial Internacional e o vaivém espacial (na figura a Atlantis):
"LEFT BEHIND: WAIT, WAIT! YOU FORGOT SOMETHING.
Don't worry, that's just the international space station. It isn’t "our" space station of course; its operation is overseen by five separate space agencies. Nevertheless we bear a major responsibility for this $160 billion monument to the age of manned space flight. Left alone, it’s a 417,000 kg missile that will return to Earth traveling at 28,000 km/h. I leave it to the students to calculate the energy. I raised this point in 1998 when ISS assembly began and was told it would be disassembled and the parts returned to Earth on the shuttle. President Obama might prefer to see this done with commercial space vehicles, except they don't exist yet. Controlled or uncontrolled, the ISS will return to Earth.
STS-135: THE FINAL MISSION OF A PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM.
The space race with the Soviet Union ended with Apollo-17. Both countries explored the Moon, brought back piles of moon rocks, and took astounding photographs, but today few even remember that the USSR had a Moon program. They had chosen to do it with robots; more technologically advanced than Apollo perhaps, but it counted for little in the hearts and minds of the public. You can't give robots tickertape parades down Broadway. Apollo was followed by the Space Shuttle. For a time, every space mission had to begin with a shuttle launch, guaranteeing a constant supply of heroes but the shuttle could not keep up with the demand for launches. Atlantis is now being prepared for a July 8 launch. A prosaic 12-day "UPS" flight to deliver supplies and equipment to the International Space Station, it will be the final mission in the 30-year-old shuttle program. Sold to Congress as a cost-effective way to get into space, the shuttle will be remembered as the most expensive launch system ever devised."