This time Myke is joined by Merlin Mann, for a very different episode of CMD+SPACE.
Tagged with “space” (26)
This week, Americans have been remembering Neil Armstrong. But before he walked on the moon, he had to solve a much more prosaic problem.
"You’re about to embark on a mission that’s more dangerous than anything any human has ever done before," Robert Pearlman, a space historian and collector with collectspace.com, told me. "And you have a family that you’re leaving behind on Earth, and there’s a real chance you will not be returning."
Exactly the kind of situation a responsible person plans for by taking out a life insurance policy. Not surprisingly, a life insurance policy for somebody about to get on a rocket to the moon cost a fortune.
But Neil Armstrong had something going for him. He was famous, as was the whole Apollo 11 crew. People really wanted their autographs.
"These astronauts had been signing autographs since the day they were announced as astronauts, and they knew even though eBay didn’t exist back then, that there was a market for such things," Pearlman said. "There was demand."
Especially for what were called covers -– envelopes signed by astronauts and postmarked on important dates.
About a month before Apollo 11 was set to launch, the three astronauts entered quarantine. And, during free moments in the following weeks, each of the astronauts signed hundreds of covers.
They gave them to a friend. And on important days — the day of the launch, the day the astronauts landed on the moon — their friend got them to the post office and got them postmarked, and then distributed them to the astronauts’ families.
It was life insurance in the form of autographs.
"If they did not return from the moon, their families could sell them — to not just fund their day-to-day lives, but also fund their kids’ college education and other life needs," Pearlman said.
The life insurance autographs were not needed. Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon and came home safely. They signed probably tens of thousands more autographs for free.
But then, in the 1990s, Robert Pearlman says, the insurance autographs started showing up in space memorabilia auctions. An Apollo 11 insurance autograph can cost as much as $30,000.
Dr. Mae Jemison was the first black woman in space. Now, she’s leading a wildly ambitious project: to achieve interstellar travel in the next 100 years. She’s with us.
Think Star Trek and you won’t be far off. A new Pentagon project is putting out seed money for interstellar travel. Humans, rambling around among the stars. It’s called the 100 Year Starship project. It’s as wildly ambitious as just about anything you can imagine.
The spaceship, its energy source, its passengers’ survival – full-blown or just as DNA… all giant challenges. Not to mention that we’re sort of broke and not even flying space shuttles right now. Leader of the new effort: astronaut Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space. She’s with us.
This hour, On Point: the 100 Year Starship.
The idea of exploiting the natural resources on asteroids has been around for more than a century. But a new company called Planetary Resources has the financial backing of some big names in high tech, and hopes to launch specially-designed prospecting spacecraft within two years.
In the old days, we sang about fear and fortune way down in the mines. This week, the mining talk was way up in space. Mining asteroids. A bunch of rich guys with big track records and big dreams have formed a new company – Planetary Resources – to chase down asteroids and suck out their riches. Platinum. Iridium. Water in space.
If it sounds like the movie Avatar, well, director James Cameron is in the venture. So are Google guys. And Microsoft money. Is this for real?
This hour, On Point: Planetary Resources founder Eric Anderson and more. We’re thinking about mining asteroids.
Conference: IA Summit 2011 Speaker(s): Andrea Resmini, Andrew Hinton, Jorge Arango Like building architects before them, information architects are creating the spaces in which people meet, transact, communicate, and learn. The spaces that IAs design are where many people will be spending a considerable part of their lives. A heady role!
This session will explore relationship between information and architecture, taking seriously the phrase “the design of information spaces”. You’ll learn how place-making works as a design methodology, the importance of context on the design of an information space, and how to explain the value of IA in architectural terms that clients and colleagues can understand more clearly.
The SpaceX company has gotten approval to launch its Dragon spacecraft this fall. If all goes well, the ‘craft will dock at the International Space Station nine days later, making it the first private spacecraft to do so. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discusses plans for the launch.
Designing the Apollo space suit When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on to the lunar surface in July 1969, they wore spacesuits made by Playtex: 21 layers of fabric, each with a distinct yet interrelated function, custom-sewn for them by seamstresses whose usual work was fashioning bras and girdles. Playtex’s spacesuit won out against hard armour-like spacesuits designed by military contractors and favoured by NASA’s engineers. Today we explore the story of that spacesuit. Keep the walls AND put the dunny outside! Stuart Vokes is one half of the up-and-coming Brisbane architectural firm Owen and Vokes. In the face of open-plan houses and an ever increasing desire for bigger houses, Stuart makes a case for the miniature and for keeping the walls in our houses — and putting the bathrooms and toilets outside. Why? Trends: networked digital communities Digital networks we know about — but we live in early days of these technologies and communities.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft is now 11 billion miles from Earth, speeding along at 38,000 miles per hour towards the edge of the heliosphere, the bubble that surrounds the solar system. Voyager chief scientist Ed Stone discusses the craft’s discoveries about the environment at the edge of the solar bubble.
Science, technology, environment and health news and discussion from the makers of the NPR public radio program Science Friday with host Ira Flatow.
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