Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Some of the very best blogs are those that focus obsessively on just one topic — and so it is with one of the newest additions to my blogroll, Yonah Freemark’s “The Transport Politic.” As you might guess — it’s all about the politics of mass transit, and while the rest of us have been watching the progress of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through various ideological or political or economic prisms, Freemark has cared only about what its passage might mean for mass transit funding.
And in something of a surprise, the very latest word is that the version of the bill currently agreed to by House and Senate negotiators includes $8 billion for high-speed railway construction, which is more than four times what was originally in the Senate version of the bill. There was no funding at all for high speed rail in the original House stimulus proposal.
To what do we owe this? The Associated Press reports that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, pushed hard for the funding in “late stage talks.”
We have a pretty good idea of why Obama wanted it: On Tuesday he told an audience in Florida that the days of building “sprawl” were over, and the he would like to “see high speed rail where it can be constructed.” High speed rail serves multiple Obama energy and environmental agendas.
But what about Reid, the senior senator from Nevada? Again, from the AP:
Reid’s office issued a statement noting that a proposed Los Angeles-to-Las Vegas rail might get a big chunk of the money.
So, we can decrease our usage of fossil fuel-burning, greenhouse gas-belching automobiles, and cut the commute time for Southern Californian gamblers at the same time. Talk about hitting the jackpot!
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.