Friday, December 3, 2010

ISS and its future manager and the 2011 Span Calendar--a treat for spacebuffs

       While India is debating whether it should partner with the International Space Station (ISS), Nasa is preparing to place the 15-member space station on a new trajectory.

       This does not mean that its orbit is being raised to much higher altitudes. Far from it. Nasa is looking for an independent non profit research management organisation which will in future develop and manage the US portion of the ISS which was designated as a national laboratory in 2005.

        Plans envisage of it being managed by other US government agencies, academic institutions and private firms.

        According to Nasa, the new organisation will stimulate uses of the station as a national lab and maximise US investment in this initiative.

        On December 10,2010, Nasa is holding a public forum in Washington DC for those organisations which want to know more about the new venture.

        Though no date has been given when the process will be completed, the question it raises is whether the European Space Agency and Japan will follow suit at a later period before 2020 when the life span of the station ends. Russia is not being mentioned because there is no big private enterprise in that country.


       For spacebuffs like ``Beyond Moon and Mars,'' the 2011 calendar of Span, the official magazine of the American Embassy, is a super gift. The reason: it is dedicated to space.

      The cover page of this beautiful calendar is a image of the water on the moon taken by Chandrayaan-1.

      It says that ``this calendar produced for the enjoyment and information of Span magazine readers presents images from Nasa, the US National Aeronautics and Space Adminstration, showing the earth, moon, sun stars and other celestial bodies.''

      Go thru the calendar and you will find images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, the Ultraviolent Imaging Telescope, the New Horizon mission to Pluto, the space shuttle Endeavour over the earth's horizon, a photograph of Neptune taken by Voyager 2, Bruce McCandless 11 floating above the earth nearly 100 metres away from the space shuttle ``Challenger,'' and a pics of Saturn taken by the Cassini spacecraft.

      It is a real treasure.

      Thank U Span.

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