Crochet Rocket

This is one of NASA’s better endeavours, “space crafting” with wool. Isn’t it cute?



….woooooosh….

If you’re artistic and know how to craft, you can enter a competition and get your creation on the last Shuttle flight. But hurry up, the deadline is the 2nd of November.

The competition is brought to you by NASA and Etsy, Etsy being an online social website for selling all things crafted. It’s funny to see a multi billion operation as NASA teaming up with the small scale cottage industry individuals of Etsy.

Maybe it’s a sign of the time, big government (and big corp for that matter) trying to get in touch with the “grass root” population. A population which is less and less charmed by big governments and big corporations. One way people expressing their feelings is by making their own products and selling these online with as little “middlemen” as possible.

Is this this new “maker” movement you keep hearing about?

Water on the Moon. Finally?

Probably everybody interested in space affairs has already read the good news about the confirmation of water on the Moon. The results of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) were in and they found 5.6 per cent water in the material ejected by its companion LCROSS (Lunar Crater Remote Observation and Sensing Satellite). LCROSS and a rocket stage impacted on the moon in order to create two visible plumes of Moon material.


Image by the LRO Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment
Now, during the decades the discussion was whether the Moon contains water or not. For future long term manned Moon missions that would be a big plus. The rocks from the Apollo missions indicated to a bone dry Moon. Hope was put on the eternal shadows of the Lunar poles where water could be deposited by the solar wind and remain there. An idea that was difficult to proof and until the LRO mission for the pro Moon lobby something like grasping at straws.

Large quantities of water and other volatiles are now pretty certain, so what’s the big deal. Well, remember the little capsule on top of the Saturnus Moon rocket? That was the only thing that returned to earth of this huge spaceship. Most of it was fuel. Now what if you could produce the fuel for taking of the Moon and returning to earth on the Moon itself? That would save an enormous amount of expensive lift-off mass on earth. A moon-base could get to be much more affordable and it could produce fuel and consumables for other kinds of space missions.

With this confirmation the attention is getting back to the Moon. Bush’s Moon-plans died pretty much under Obama and Obama aims at the Mars. But without real commitment. It looks that the future manned space plans of Obama will be dead on arrival. No concrete plan and no good and solid long term goal. It would direct and waste efforts of the US space community into a dead end for decades to come.

With plenty of volatiles on the Moon (one suspects billions of litres of water in a radius of 10 km from the impact of LCROSS) this satellite becomes interesting again. Especially for the private industry. In my opinion a small space industry near earth is more important for the future of manned space-flight than the Apollo style missions of politicians. The Moon as producer of fuel and consumables would be a good step in the right direction.

Going English…

It’s been a while since my last post, so a quick update is in order. First things first, I’m changing from Dutch to English. Hopefully I’ll get a bigger audience, because last years I got very little response. Also there’s another reason. This year I started to blog a bit about financial issues, mainly about keeping alive long enough to witness a wonderful space future.

One way to be part of a space future is, besides a good health, a fat bank account. Now you can save and invest your savings all you like, but it won’t make you exactly rich. Most people just have a salary and even with a frugal life, accumulating enough wealth is difficult. And a pile of wealth is what we’re aiming at. A couple of years ago I bought the book “The Millionaire Next Door”. The authors in this book explain why some people acquire wealth and others only debt.

I’m not going to explain the whole book, you better buy it yourself because it so well suited to an ordinary individual with a job. One thing I’ll mention and that is the rule of thumb the authors use to figure out if you’re accumulating wealth fast enough or if you’ll have a very poor pension. The rule is, multiply your age with your income before taxes and divide by 10. This should be you net worth if you’re an average saver. Also calculate your true worth, that is all your assets (f.i. your house) minus your debt (your mortgage). Divide your true worth by the ideal worth. If this number is lower than 0.5, woe unto you, if it is higher than 2, start dreaming about retiring.

So how did I fare?

2002 0.67
2003 0.73
2004 0.76
2005 0.89
2006 0.89
2007 0.91
2008 0.89
2009 0.94

Not very fast, I’d say. Almost average. What my income is and what I posses, a house f.i., that is not for the world to know, but this way I’ll stay average. By saving alone nobody gets rich, therefore one needs extra revenues. One way is to monetise this website, but I’m still guessing how to do that. That was a very long explanation why switching from Dutch to English. Sorry.

Now, I also need to update my Permanent Portfolio status, so there:

August 1st.

Amount Percentage
Stock 5.60 5.10%
Bonds 0.00 0.00%
Cash 104.11 94.90%
Gold 0.00 0.00%
Total 109.71 100.00%

September 5th.

Amount Percentage
Stock 5.89 5.37%
Bonds 0.00 0.00%
Cash 103.95 94.63%
Gold 0.00 0.00%
Total 109.85 100.00%

Still no changes, savings are going well and the Euro is going strong. Last months, whole summer really, it was really busy and I hadn’t the time to give PP the attention it deserves. Nevertheless I need to start to allocate my little bit of cash. It’s getting risky with all my eggs in one basket.