Down to Earth
Astronaut Michael Lopez-Algeria is retiring from NASA to go be president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Lopez-Algeria holds the second place record for most hours on spacewalks. Second to cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev by a full 15 hours. Looking at this list, I don’t think anyone is going to come close to those two in a long time.
Boeing did a test firing of their crew escape rocket motor. This is for their CST-100 crew capsule (least interesting spaceship name ever). via Parabolic Arc.
You can apply to win a flight to space on the Lynx.
80’s-era NASA Flight Director John Cox passed away this week. Keith Cowing of NASA Watch writes about him.
Russia is getting so few cosmonaut applicants that they are extending their deadline. On this side of the pond, I haven’t received my rejection letter yet – no news is good news?
Speaking of Russia, they laid out their strategic plan for the near-term in a recent meeting. You can read their priorities for yourself over at Parabolic Arc.
Don Pettit wrote a blog post about viewing the oil rigs off of southern Argentina from space. They are surprisingly bright. Stunning!
Apparently there is real discussion of bringing new big players into the ISS program.
Robonaut speaks in American Sign Language from ISS! (via NASA Watch).
Around the Solar System
Why do we explore Mars? Ryan Anderson at The Martian Chronicles blog has an answer.
The Road to Endeavour blog has some great mosaics from Opportunity’s winter parking space.
There have been no major solar flares directed at us since the one on March 6, but there is still lots of activity! Keep up to date at the NASA SDO website or download the Sun Viewer iPhone app.
The recent increase in solar activity is really bringing out the crazies on YouTube.
Because it’s Cool
Nice shot of the moon rising behind the Lick Observatory in California.
Check out this animation of the evolution of the moon over 4.5 billion years (via Bad Astronomy).
Amateur astronomer Curt Lewis of Fort Bend got a great shot of the ISS flying in front of Venus.
And this view of galaxy M81 is too beautiful not to share!