The shortest one-way trip, using conventional chemical propulsion, would take six months. If you include the time spent on Mars waiting for the two planets to move back into optimal alignment and also the trip home, the total mission would last at least two and a half years. The crew would have to endure extremes of boredom, isolation, and radiation, and they would require a vast amount of fuel and rations packed into a vessel sturdy enough to shield them from the harshness of space. Simply landing a spacecraft safely on a planet with an atmosphere and substantial gravity poses stunning challenges. And then there’s the matter of keeping the crew alive on the Martian surface.
Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, and as JFK said, we do these things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
NASA has posted photos of the Apollo landing sites as seen by the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO). This is the first time the sites have been photographed, as no Earth based telescope, or even any satellites such as the Hubble Space Telescope, have the resolution to resolve anything on the moon that’s smaller than about a mile wide.
40 years ago today, Apollo 11 lifted off from Earth on its way to the moon. The Big Picture has some great photos from the misson. Looking at the photos makes me really wish I were alive at the time, but hopefully we’ll be back sometime soon.
Is Google evil? It doesn’t matter. They’ve reached the point of corporate ambition and changing corporate culture that means they’re going to be perceived as if they are. Whether they’re able to truly internalize that lesson, accept it, and act accordingly will determine if they’re able to extend their dominance in the years to come.
A great post by Trek Glowacki with 8 tips on creating an API. My favorites are #2 - Use Your Verbs and #4 - Use Your Status Codes. It’s amazing how much simpler an API can be if you integrate basic REST principles, and if you’re using Rails, it’s super easy to do.
Haml/Sass 2.2 was released today, and it’s got a lot of great new features. While I’ve never tried Haml, I use Sass for this site, and I can’t wait to try out 2.2. My favorite update: mixins with arguments