Gorgeous Full Moon
Halloween conjures up images of spectacular full moons. Speaking of which, how about that beautiful harvest moon in September? Some people think the harvest moon is in October but that only happens about every three years. The Harvest moon
name is given to the Full Moon that occurs closest to the September equinox
, which is the start of fall in the northern hemisphere. Since astronomical seasons do not match up with the lunar month, the month of the Harvest Moon varies. Most years, it occurs in September. However, every three years, it is in the month of October. October’s full moon is most often referred to as the Hunter’s moon
as it is the month when game is fattened, hunted and preserved for winter - not that we need to do that now. Full moon names come from the names that people across Europe and Native Americans gave to the months according to features of the seasons in the northern hemisphere. It seems that it is a combination of Native American, Anglo-Saxon, and Germanic month names which gave birth to the names commonly used for the full moon
today. Colonial Americans adopted many of the Native American names and incorporated them into the modern calendar. Today we use many of these ancient month names as Full Moon names. In Hawaii the Hunter's moon will occur October 24.
Space - a Renewed Frontier
America’s space program is refocusing on human exploration and discovery. For the first time since 1972, American astronauts are poised to return to the Moon, for long-term exploration and to establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars. Since last December, NASA’s new direction, as stated in Space Policy Directive -1
, emphasizes working with international and commercial partners to refocus exploration efforts on the moon, with an eye on eventually going on to Mars and even beyond.
Dr. Ciotti of the WCC Center for Aeronautics has long believed that we will understand that space exploration has moved out of its infancy when space exploration goals are no longer led primarily by governments but are led by innovative and sustainable programs of commercial and international partners.
We are not quite there yet as NASA remains in the leadership role to develop an Exploration Campaign focused on three core dominant thrusts: Low Earth Orbit (LEO); lunar orbit and surface; and ultimately Mars and deep space objectives. The campaign has four strategic goals:
- Transition U.S. human spaceflight in LEO to commercial operations, which support NASA and the needs of an emerging private sector market.
- Extend long-duration U.S. human spaceflight operations to lunar orbit.
- Enable long-term robotic exploration of the Moon.
- Enable human exploration of the Moon as preparation for human missions to Mars and deeper into the solar system.
These goals have specific objectives with specified dates such as:
Elon Musk - a commercial partner?
- Starting in 2018, increase the breadth and depth of commercial and international LEO activities to expand the International Space Station partnerships to new nations and new international astronaut visits;
- Support a small commercial lander initiative with an initial strategic presence on the Moon no later than 2020.
- Conduct the uncrewed SLS/Orion first flight in 2020 to the lunar vicinity.
- Conduct a crewed flight sending Americans around the Moon in 2023.
- End direct support to the International Space Station Program by 2025 while stimulating commercial industry to develop capabilities NASA and the private sector can utilize that also meet NASA’s exploration risk mitigation and science requirements.
is obviously on board with the idea of partnering with NASA through his company SpaceX
and has already indicated that the first passenger on his Big Falcon Rocket (BFR)
, a launch system that he unveiled in 2016, would be from Japan. The BFR spaceship will carry humans on a trip around the moon but will not land on the moon. Musk’s mission is planned for 2023 but the BFR has not been built yet so the effort is not a 100% certain.
While the BFR has never flown, Musk has released some technical details about it. The rocket is expected to stand 118m high and have a diameter of 9m. Regardless, Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa
has been selected to be one of the two passengers on Musk’s BFR spaceship.
Musk unveiled new artist impressions of the BFR and the spaceship, which will carry passengers around the Moon. It appeared to confirm some design changes to the spaceship, including three large fins near the back and a black heat-shield on the craft's underside. Eventually, the BFR should be able to lift a whopping 150 tons into low-Earth orbit - that is more than the US Saturn V rockets that lofted the Apollo spacecraft.
This is an amazing time for space exploration and space science. The skills that are needed are being developed not only in universities throughout the world and very particularly at the University of Hawaii, but in the Department of Education’s Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that include engineering and technology standards as well as standards relating to Earth’s place in the Universe, structure and properties of matter, molecules and organisms, etc. The Center for Aerospace Education is a proud supporter of fostering the curiosity and understanding of the sciences that will take space exploration to its next stage. Our full dome shows are aligned to support the NGSS from Pre-K through MS.
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