June 2012

Space exploration and presidential politics

As with every other issue that the parties have made a "platform," the politicization of space will only serve to ground us.

If there’s one rule for the politics of the present decade so far, it’s been, “politicized issues go nowhere.” Climate change, energy, federal debt, environmental regulation, tax reform, and the list goes on. As more issues come under the polarized umbrella of our side/their side political posturing, those issues fall prey to the same gridlock that has been epidemic in state capitols and Washington. With the presidential campaign accelerating, one other issue is getting more attention from party leaders and pundits; space.

A recent feature in Wired, “Is Space Getting Too Politicized?” acknowledges this fact. Obama’s controversial closing of the publicly-funded manned-space flight program at NASA opened the door for greater private/public collaboration. However, largely a result of the success of Space X, the private company that recently sent a rocket to the space station and back, manned space flight is back in the news. So is Obama’s handling of it. It’s likely that opponents will be looking at Obama’s track record on space as a possible weakness, especially considering a majority of Americans are in favor of space exploration (though they differ on how it should be done).

Possible oldest galaxy in the universe discovered

A galaxy 12.91 billion light years from this planet has been observed.

Hawaii’s Mauna Kea is home to the Subaru and Keck telescopes that Japanese astronomers have used to discover the possibly oldest galaxy in the universe. The galaxy which is 12.91 billion light years away is not the first one that has reportedly been observed with some claims of galaxies just over 13 billion light years away being detected too.