November 13, 2009

NASA tops the 50 best innovations of 2009

Time Magazine has released a list of the 50 best innovations of 2009. Some of them high-tech, some of them life changing and some of them are just plain weird. The No. 1 on the list was NASA's Ares Rocket which could potentially launch men to the moon and beyond.

The new rockets could take astronauts to some thrilling places. The biggest costs — and risks — associated with visiting other celestial bodies are from landing and taking off again. But suppose you don't land? An independent commission appointed by the White House to make recommendations for NASA's future recently returned its 154-page report and made strong arguments for bypassing the familiar boots-in-the-soil scenario in favor of a flexible path of flybys and orbits.

Under the new thinking, astronauts could barnstorm or circle the moon, Mars and Mars' twin moons, deploying probes to do their rock-collecting and experiments for them. They could similarly sample near-Earth objects like asteroids. They could also travel to what is known as the Lagrange points — a scattering of spots between Earth and the moon and Earth and the sun where the gravitational forces on the bodies are precisely balanced and spacecraft simply ... hang where they are. These would serve as ideal spots for deploying probes and conducting cosmic observations.

Ladies and gentlemen, the 21st Century! (This is from Tech Rave)

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