This entry was posted by Wednesday, 11 February, 2009
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Science has gotten beaten up in the past few years. It’s not just that it’s been starved for funds; there’s the feeling that it’s a crappy pursuit – opaque, dangerous, and inconsistent with the things that real people care about. I hope, with this blog, I can strike a small blow for the idea that science, though it most certainly CAN be complicated, is really a warm and lovely wind blowing us toward our destiny.

I, the blogger-in-chief, am an engineer. Not famous. Not a huge success. Just a guy. I’ve studied at Rensselaer Polytechinic Institute, Boston University, and, briefly, at MIT. I’ve worked in private industry and in healthcare (as a Biomedical Engineer). And I (with my team) hold one patent and, have two more “pending”. I’ll talk about the products, including the “LectricLifter”, which is in the prototype stage, as things proceed.

I also have a couple of “stores”. One of them is at where you can see (or even order) bookmarks with photos of our (Sue and my) lovely Cockapoo, Luna, as well as other dogs; other products are gradually being added. The second online store is at and, shameless self-promotion, some of the products are shown below. You can find some of my “Science Ain’t So Bad” stuff there – mugs, t-shirts, and so on..

With some of the introductory business out of the way, let’s get to recent development.

If you’ve been following NASA’s struggling efforts, you know that “manned” spaceflight has become the official mantra once again. Throughout NASA’s history, there’s been considerable tension between those who believe in the symbolic importance of getting our human butts out there and those who feel that the astronomical (good word here) costs and barely manageable risks aren’t justified when robots are proving themselves so capable.

We’ll get to that too.

But, anyway, Mars has been the official goal for awhile now. It was set, nominally, by President Bush and we seem to be stuck with it now. One of the greatest challenges is getting human type people there alive and healthy.

Scientific American, in its March 2006 issue, had an article by Eugene Parker, which was very pessimistic about the possibility of protecting humans from energetic cosmic rays and the whole project was starting to sound like a big waste of money and a real false start. But a team from Europe seems to have demonstrated that protection against cosmic rays really is possible.

If you’re a proponent of robotic exploration, as I am, you may have mixed feelings about this achievement.

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