Posted by on July 31, 2020

President’s Column

Why We Need Artemis

It is ironic that in the same month as the anniversary of Humanity’s first steps on another world, the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee of the House of Representatives has proposed cutting NASA’s budget components directly related to the Artemis program, the scheduled 2024 return to the Moon.

Other aspects of the Space Program are important, but the return to the Moon is in a class by itself. Many people today only know about Apollo from recordings. I was one of the worldwide multitude that watched in awe as we heard the words ” the eagle has landed.”

It was not just an American triumph, it was a human one ‒ a triumph that inspired people all over the globe. Over 650 million people watched it live. 

What an exciting time to be alive. A billion years of evolution culminated in that moment. A step as great as that of the first fish that lay gasping on the shore of the primordial sea. Our first small step into the vastness of the Universe.

There are many reasons to return to the Moon: economic, industrial, and scientific. Those have been covered in detail at other times. The vital ones that have been mostly ignored are the social and emotional rewards. The US has always been a frontier country, founded by those who were willing to endure danger and hardship to challenge an unknown frontier. Exploration is certainly in our history and perhaps even in our genes. The question of what lies beyond the next hill has driven Humanity to every corner of our world, from the frozen tundra of the Arctic to the peaks of the highest mountains, from the deepest caves to the depths of the oceans and now to the Moon, and from the Moon to Mars, and from Mars…..

Artemis can inspire the world. Students will be able to dream of a future beyond the sky, a future they could actually be a part of. Robotic reconnaissance, important though it is, is primarily necessary as a precursor to human exploration.

If our country wants to remain as a beacon of hope for all the world, we must demonstrate that we have visions worthy of that goal. In the polarized political climate we now endure, it is necessary to step beyond the ideology of our parties and embrace the future for all of humankind.

Let your representative know. We need Artemis. We need the Moon. We need a future in space.

Barry Greene
President


Educational Space

Celebrating the Moon
by Anyi Wen

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”
-Neil Armstrong, 1969

This July 20th marked the 51st anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, the first time humans landed on the moon in 1969. Those living on the High Frontier Outpost would celebrate Apollo Day as a holiday that honors an important historical moment in space exploration, but did you know that the moon is also celebrated in other ways by people around the world?

The Moon and Symbolism

Humans have always been fascinated by the moon. Many ancient cultures worshipped the moon as a god or goddess, thought of it as another planet, or used it as a calendar. Even today, there are many beliefs and superstitions surrounding the moon, both positive and negative. Depending on who you ask, the moon may be described as constant —  always being there — or inconstant, due to how its appearance can change dramatically through its different phases and position in relation to the sun and Earth (ex. eclipses). These can be predicted based on the moon’s orbit, or the way it moves in a curved path, around our Earth. In Chinese culture, “the full moon is a symbol of peace, prosperity, and family reunion” (Museum of the Moon).

Lunar New Year

Many East Asian cultures have celebrations timed around the full moon to honor its significance to their people. Lunar calendars are based on the way that people who lived long ago used to keep track of time using the changing phases of the moon. The old Chinese lunar calendar was originally used to help plan for important events such as growing and harvesting crops, which are fruits, grains, and vegetables used for food. The Lunar New Year is celebrated by several Asian countries including China, Vietnam, and Korea starting on the first day of the lunar calendar year (which usually falls in January or February) and lasts for about 15 days, making it one of the longest holidays honored by these cultural groups (Columbia University).

Kagami mochi is a traditional Japanese decoration, usually made up of two flattened mochi cakes and topped with a tangerine.
(Image Source: https://tadaimajp.com/2015/01/kagami-mochi/)

Many of the foods thought to bring extra luck through Lunar New Year celebrations are round, symbolizing unity and prosperity. Perhaps it is no coincidence that this also looks like the shape of a full moon! Chinese families may serve round sticky rice cakes, small round dumplings called tang yuan, and round fruits such as oranges or tangerines during this time. Tet cake (or Bánh Tét) is a round sticky rice cake with various fillings enjoyed by many Vietnamese families during this holiday. Kagami mochi is a traditional Japanese decoration whose “shape resembles a bronze mirror which was considered a treasure by the ancient Japanese” (Mayeda). Can you think of any traditional dishes your family makes that is usually in a circular shape?

Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Harvest Moon Festival, is another major holiday that falls on the day of a full moon in September or October, depending on the lunar calendar for that year. Although the details differ in the traditional stories and activities surrounding this holiday based on each culture and family that celebrates it, most agree that the Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for “families [to get] together to express gratitude, and celebrate seasonal change” (Cheng). For Chinese-American families like mine, we may celebrate by simply enjoying good food together with friends and family,  including special traditional pastries called mooncakes. Mooncakes are round like the moon and come with many different flavored fillings, including red bean paste, nuts, and fruits! Some mooncake recipes include salted duck egg yolks in the middle as an extra symbol of the moon.

Mooncakes and tea. (Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/)

More traditional celebrations, such as those hosted in Asian countries, may be held in community spaces featuring games with prizes such as red packets of money and pastries such as mooncakes. Special thanks to my friends Nazeem and Lilly who shared stories with me about their personal experiences with celebrating Mid-autumn Festivals with their family and friends!

Under the Same Moon

Even though we may all have different opinions and ways of celebrating the moon, it’s good to remember that we all share the same sky and gaze upon the same beautiful moon. No matter where we are from, we have more in common than we think. We would love to learn about other holidays related to the moon that were not included in this article. Please email us at mail@highfrontieroutpost.org with your personal experiences and thoughts related to the topic of this article!

Discussion Questions

Feel free to discuss this with your class or friends, or email your responses to us at mail@highfrontieroutpost.org.

  1. What is your favorite fun fact about the moon you learned from this article or elsewhere?
  2. What words come to mind when you think of the moon? Are there any special stories about the moon passed down by your family?
  3. Do you celebrate any holidays involving the moon? If not, what are some ideas you can think of for activities children and families may enjoy doing in honor of Apollo Day? (Check out this site for a variety of fun moon-themed activities and recipes to try out!)

For More Information

Chan, A. (2019, September 13). Mid Autumn Festival 2019 (Japan)
https://www.google.com/doodles/mid-autumn-festival-2019-japan
Cheng, C. Y. (2018, September 24). Mid-Autumn Festival 2018
https://www.google.com/doodles/mid-autumn-festival-2018
Columbia University. (n.d.) The Lunar New Year: Rituals and Legends.
http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/special/china_general_lunar.htm
Gorden, B. (2020, January 27). 50 Moon Crafts and Activities for Kids.
https://www.123homeschool4me.com/24-moon-crafts-activities-for-kids_36/
Lui, J. (2019, February 4). 8 lucky foods to eat on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
https://supchina.com/2019/02/04/8-lucky-foods-to-eat-on-lunar-new-years-eve/
Mayeda, M. (2015, January 7). A Quick Guide to ‘Kagami Mochi’, the Japanese New Year Traditional Decorative Cake.
https://tadaimajp.com/2015/01/kagami-mochi/
Museum of the Moon. (n.d.) Research.
https://my-moon.org/research/
Siegel, E. (2014, September 8). The Inconstant Moon. 
https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang/the-inconstant-moon-6df463a3b5f5
Stoss, M. (n.d.) A Cultural Roundup of the Moon. 
http://magazine.gwu.edu/a-cultural-roundup-of-the-moon
Tong, N. (n.d.) Essential Vietnamese New Year Foods – Southern Food.
https://www.citypassguide.com/travel/vietnam/food/blog/essential-vietnamese-new-year-foods-southern-food
Young, S. (2018, September 24). Mid-Autumn Festival: What is it and How is it Celebrated?
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/mid-autumn-festival-east-asia-harvest-moon-celebrate-when-is-it-mooncakes-lanterns-a8552276.html


What was the Space Race?
by Roxanne Lee

The 1969 moon landing was, in a word, amazing. Using less technology than someone today has on their smartphone, NASA launched the Apollo 11 spaceflight on July 16, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. They sent three astronauts – Commander Neil Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins – into space, and safely landed two of them, Aldrin and Armstrong, on the moon while Collins remained in orbit (Loff). It was a huge scientific and cultural achievement – the mission garnered an estimated 650 million viewers as it was aired on television. It was an amazing feat, to be sure, but was also incredibly expensive, requiring massive technological innovations, and would not return a profit. So why go through all the trouble of putting someone on the moon?

Buzz Aldrin on the moon. (Image Source: NASA)

Before the Space Race: 1945-1955

To understand what led to the moon landing, we have to go further back in history about 29 years to World War II. World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945, and was primarily fought between the Axis powers, consisting of Germany, Italy, and Japan, and the Allied powers, consisting of France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and China. When the war ended in 1945, political unease was rampant between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union, also called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a centralized nation made of 15 different socialist republics that spanned Eurasia. The Soviet Union and the United States held very different political beliefs, making cooperation unlikely, and both were incredibly powerful. Neither side wanted war at the moment, as the Second World War had been incredibly devastating, but they still wanted dominance over the other. Instead, each country began to act as if they were at war. They gathered allies and began an arms race, a competition between nations where each tries to acquire more and better weapons than the other side. The two countries also used smaller countries in proxy wars, conflicts where the countries involved are fighting for the interests of other stronger countries. All of this was done without the U.S. or USSR directly fighting each other. This was the Cold War, which lasted from 1955 to 1990 (To learn more about the Cold War, check out the link here).

Map of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was made up of 15 republics, including Russia, Moldova, and Armenia.
(Image Source: Library of Congress)

A substantial part of the Cold War was the struggle for superior weaponry. At the end of World War II, the United States used a bomber to deliver a devastating nuclear bomb on Japan. Rockets became major features of the Cold War, as they could allow countries to attack from vast distances, potentially without warning (Smithsonian). Initially researching rockets as long-range weaponry, both sides gradually expanded their research to include rockets that could be used to reach space (Smithsonian). In their quest to out-perform each other, the United States and the Soviet Union made huge leaps in space flight and rocket technology, and what began as a military project expanded in a contest to achieve space dominance. This was the Space Race.

The Space Race: 1955-1970

The Space Race lasted about 20 years. It started on August 2nd, 1955, when, after the U.S. announced plans to launch a satellite, the USSR subsequently announced that they would also launch a satellite (Royal Museums Greenwich). They accomplished as much 2 years later, launching Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957. This was a major shock to America, both from a military standpoint and a point of pride. The USSR was a much younger nation, and for them to develop satellite technology so quickly was unexpected. On November 3, 1957, the USSR launched Sputnik 2, carrying Laika, a stray dog. Laika was the first organism sent into orbit (Royal Museums Greenwich). The United States finally entered the race with the launch of the satellite Explorer 1 in 1958. With the foundation of NASA that same year, the space race was off in earnest (To learn more about the early days of space exploration from NASA themselves, check out the link here).

Laika, one of the first animals in space. (Image Source: RCS Energia)

The USSR had a promising lead for a long time. It was the first country to send an object in orbit around the moon, the first to send animals into space and return them to Earth safely, and was the first to send a man, Yuri Gagarin, safely into orbit and back to Earth. But the United States was always just behind them, perfecting their own space technology all the while. The Space Race reached a head in 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. The race continued through the early 1970s with a renewed focus on building a space station. There was no set end to the race, since it wasn’t an officially sanctioned race in the first place, but it is generally agreed upon that the US/USSR Space Race ended in 1975. On July 15, a joint mission between the countries sent three U.S. astronauts on an Apollo spacecraft to dock on a Soviet vehicle. The two commanders shook hands, and many saw that as the official end of the race (Royal Museums Greenwich).

After the Space Race

The Space Race has a surprising legacy. Although it began as a by-product of escalating tensions between two countries, the results did not lead to war. The Space Race greatly advanced our understanding of space, and new satellite technology let us study it in ways we hadn’t before. In addition, the race to the moon led to creation of many different inventions that were later used in daily life. Items like scratch-resistant lenses, baby formula, foil blankets, and memory foam all came from efforts to get humans safely to the moon and back (California Institute of Technology). Despite the tensions it came from, the Space Race accomplished a lot of good.

For More Information

Loff, Sarah. “Apollo 11 Mission Overview.” N.p., 17 Apr. 2015. Web. 22 July 2020.
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/missions/apollo11.html
“Military Origins of the Space Race.” Space Race. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, n.d. Web. 22 July 2020.
https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/space-race/online/sec200/sec200.htm
“Space Race Timeline.” Royal Museums Greenwich. N.p., 06 Apr. 2020. Web. 23 July 2020.
https://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore/space-race-timeline
“20 Inventions We Wouldn’t Have Without Space Travel.” Jet Propulsion Laboratory. California Institute of Technology, n.d. Web. 23 July 2020.
https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/infographics/infographic.view.php?id=11358


Cosmic Considerations
by Bill Isecke

The New York Times science section of June 16, 2020 contained an article about a mysterious object that came from interstellar space, passed through our solar system, and continued its travels past our solar system. We do not know what it is made of or where it is going. Researchers think that it might be a cosmic iceberg that was formed in a region of another galaxy that has dark bands of matter and no stars that could cause this iceberg to melt. So the interior of these dark bands of matter could be cold enough to freeze atomic hydrogen. That means that it must be as cold as 6 degrees above absolute zero. This visitor to our solar system might be frozen hydrogen.

If it is actually frozen hydrogen, then a lot of the hydrogen that composed it must have melted as it passed through our solar system. So this large chunk of frozen hydrogen that passed through our solar system must have melted quite a bit as it passed close enough to our sun to absorb heat from our sun. If we imagine that there are many people living in a huge habitat that orbits past Mars but not as far from our sun as Jupiter, then then we can imagine how the humans in that habitat might interact with this visitor from out of the solar system. Perhaps they might be equipped with sophisticated telescopes that could detect the approach of this visitor from out of our solar system before earth-bound astronomers could notice its approach. If this is the case, then would there be any action that would be advantageous for the human residents of the habitat to take as the interstellar visitor passed through our solar system?

Let’s assume that the humans in the habitat detected the approach of this object and were able to determine that it was in fact a huge chunk of frozen hydrogen. The first question would be whether the object might be a danger to the habitat. If we assume that the object would not collide with the habitat, then the next question might be whether the hydrogen that composed the object could be captured and used by the residents of the habitat. This would be a difficult project because the object was moving so fast (40 miles per second) that it would be nearly impossible to capture it. But it would be a good idea to keep watch for other similar objects just in case the next one might have a different trajectory and be a danger to the habitat or to a comet that would disintegrate and scatter debris that would endanger other satellites or even parts of the Earth.


Closing Words

HFO Development Projects

Throughout most of human history, a person’s life was set from the moment of birth. If your father was a farmer, you would be a farmer or a farmer’s wife. Society, too, was almost static. An ancient Roman transported to the 19th century might be amazed at some of the changes but they would be comprehensible to him. That is no longer the case. Society has changed beyond recognition, and the scope and scale of change is increasing exponentially. We are riding an ever accelerating toboggan into an incomprehensible future.

My grandmother was born when the main form of transportation was the horse. She lived to see men walk on the moon. What wonders will today’s children see? Those of us alive today are forging the foundations of their future.

At High Frontier Outpost, we hope to be a part of that future. Our goal is more than just advocacy. We want to build that future. Our education program is dedicated to inspiring students, to help them realize that they can create the future they imagine, that their dreams can take them far beyond the sky.

To support our goals we have a diversified series of projects that we are pursuing:

1. Education
The High Frontier Outpost Space Fair: We originally planned to have a space fair at Bushkill Park in Easton, Pennsylvania this October. Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus pandemic it appears probable that this will be postponed until next June. Instead we will have a smaller virtual space fair on our website in October.

We have constructed a demonstration ion thruster designed to show the principles of ion propulsion (See the article in our June newsletter).

Anyi Wen, our educational director, has been in contact with numerous schools and educational associations regarding the Space Fair. She has also compiled STEM-related educational materials designed to encourage student interest in habitat development. In addition, she writes an educational column for our newsletter that can be used by teachers in the classroom or online.

We have contributed content to Readorium, a popular educational program used in numerous schools. Readorium advances students both in reading ability and science literacy. An arrangement with the company gave us the opportunity to make the program available for free to students for the school year.

2. Space Rescue
We are currently developing an Astronaut Rescue System compact enough to be carried in a habitat or spacecraft. In the case of a catastrophic loss of pressure, it is designed to keep an astronaut alive for about an hour in full vacuum ‒ hopefully long enough to effect a rescue.

3. 3D Printing for Habitat Construction
The bulk of The Outpost would be built using 3D printing technology. In order to advance that goal, we are designing a robotic 3D printer that would be able to print in multiple materials simultaneously. This project is still in the early design phase.

Barry Greene
President


Around the Cosmos

Creative Space

In this edition we are featuring work from artist Chesley Bonestell who was a pioneer of space art. Find the entire gallery here.

Saturn as seen from Mimas (Image Source: https://www.bonestell.org/Image-Gallery.aspx)

Show us your creativity of bringing science and art together! Submit your art to mail@highfrontieroutpost.org.

We have also started a poster challenge project. For details please visit our HITRECORD challenge page.

Space Holidays

  • Apollo Day – July 20 1969: First human to set foot on another world.

Opportunities

Are you or someone you know interested in joining our team? Use our volunteer form to notify us!

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Due to the current coronavirus crisis we are temporarily cancelling all in-person meetings. Please keep in touch with us through our contact: mail@highfrontieroutpost.org. We are still maintaining our schedule for the space fair. The weekend of October 24th and 25th is far enough in the future that we hope for the restrictions to have been lifted. We will keep our members informed as new information becomes available.
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