Tag Archives: NASA

The Long Road: Unresolved and Continuous Stories

For anyone who can still buy a ticket this is the day of the Move Beyond Tour with Derek and Julianne Hough going to New Orleans. I had hoped to get there myself  — although it was never likely. However I think it will be a good event at the Saenger for those who can. I spent my morning at a rosary and funeral for a distant cousin — Agnes Motty. Her brother James and I were pretty close friends decades ago and I was very happy to see him again after not seeing him for decades. However, I did not monopolize him on his return trip to the homeland he does not visit that much. James was a very accomplished artist when I knew him best and says that is not much a part of the life he lives now. His sister Agnes I barely knew and there were a few of his brothers I knew just a bit mostly Louis. But it was clear the long held love they had for the sister who never married was a powerful bond among them as they gathered for the funeral.

This is being typed in part on May 18, 2017 which is my sister Sarah’s birthday. While I am a lot older than Sarah she is next in age to me among my full siblings and living siblings. Also, I have known her much longer than I knew my deceased half-brother Paul. We still spend a decent amount of time together and I called her today  she had just returned from a trip celebrating her oldest daughter Alyse graduating from Mount Saint Mary University in Maryland with many honors. Sarah and I already celebrated her birthday a bit along with an early Mothers Day and me entrusting her with a graduation gift for Alyse which she delivered in Maryland we did that over a coffee and play session we often share with her children at McDonald’s in Abbeville on Mondays. Sarah is a person who exists mostly and largely with little reference to me she has issues and concerns and autonomy that have little to do with me. But she is also one of the great long stories of my life — not to make her feel older than she is.


Part of this post was typed on Mothers Day, May 14, 2017 with the view to it appearing whenever it appears.  My own mother was with my Dad and others sort of separately but also with Sarah on a trip principally to visit with others in the family who are attending her granddaughter (my niece)’s graduation from Mount Saint Mary University.  It turns out that much of the family were able to gather for that event. I was happy to celbrate Mothers Day early on May 6, 2017 with most of my siblings and my mother. For all of us our relationship with our mother is a truly primal on and for me as for many it is a very long running one as well.  I was not on this trip but we have been on many together — my mother and I. The picture below is of my parents and my sister Susanna sharing a meal in the oldest building in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania which was built during the end of the colonial and the start of the revolutionary period in American history. History which has long been a pursuit of mine constantly reminds us of a long set of ties to things which themselves have been around for a long time. This is the theme of this post.Family in Gettysgurg

This month I have stayed abreast of space news and watched with interest and increasing distance the discussions on the future of space exploration in which I was once a more active participant.  Time has not been kind to that involvement so far but it is an interest which has been on of the long-running interests in my life so far.

The truth is the theme of continuity has been one that has been on my mind this week, the way we all attempt to carry on in various ways. I am carrying on less successfully every year by many measures but I still hold out hope for an uptick in some trend or another. I still hope for a better life trajectory than I see before me.


That brings me back to my original concept for this post today. Although Julianne Hough is young I have been her fan for a long time.  I admire the fact that she had a long career in the performing arts before I became aware of her when she was still a teenager. I suppose she is just one of a lot of possible famous and nice looking people that one could take an interest in but there is more to it than that. There is a kind of message in her life that contrasts with a lot of what I do not like in the world I live in.
Julianne Hough is very attractive, but she also works hard at being human. That is not all I could say but it is a start. I would have liked to see her tour for various reasons and maybe one day I will but it is not today.

Love is a strange thing and so is family and so is friendship. In fact sex in all its permutations of attraction and disillusion is a bit odd at times as well. The handful of very famous beautiful young women who get the kind of attention Julianne Hough gets also have real lives to live and she is rooted enough to maintain a close relationship with her family. Not only doing this show with her brother but that is most notable.  Family love reminds us all that life is largely about the long run.

So here’s the deal…. I spent a little time with James mourning his sister, I called my  sister to wish her a happy birthday and I missed seeing Julianne perform with her brother. But I was aware today that each day one has to try to make life connect to the day and people who were there in the past and will be there in the future.  I also tried to trust in God for some things to work out in plans I make. But I know nothing has worked out in a big way in many years. Small successes are getting harder to find — but the show must go on. Not just for those of us in show business but for all us who live this life on any kind of stage. And we all do live out a kind of performance for those who observe our lives.

Science and Making Real Monsters Among Other Things

In some recent posts I have touched upon issues of engineering such as that involved in the Higgins boat used on D-Day.  This blog itself takes advantage of ever evolving information science in a number of ways. But science is a complex subject and I am feeling gloomy so that my take on all issues, including scientific ones is likely to be gloomy as well. So this is a rambling personal post on science as I am seeing it in this gloomy day’s frame of mind.

think of latitudes

A physical geometry illustration: think of latitudes


I think that there is always a question about what sort of science counts most and who determines the borders and values of various fields. I am just not going to get into that theoretical discussion very much in this post as I usually stay away from spending lots of time and space on theory on most posts in this blog. There is a whole history of the word “science”. The history of science  itself is a separate and compelling subject. But most of that will be skipped over in this post.  But this post is more nebulous and ill defined. If it were a matter of me defining science in more ideal terms I put a good bit of stock in Koch’s postulates as properly applied to varied subjects and phenomena.

LSU diploma photo


I have a lot on my mind as my birthday approaches. But not all of it is made up of facts and opinions which relate to a single theme or topic I would choose to post about. Not every theme makes good blog posting material and this theme may not either but it is on my mind. I have taken an interest in science from many points of view for a long time. I have also put some skin in the game. I have a graduate minor in anthropology. I have also taken sociology, computer science, microbiology, political science and astrophysics as an undergraduate. While I am proud to be a humanist by education I consider myself a humanist informed by science education and the scientific method.

USL Diploma photo


I also went to law school and have received an FCC and an insurance license and several religious certifications. I feel that there are some advantages to evaluating science and the progress of theory and technology in having as broad a background as possible.One thing which cannot be replaced in my view is an affinity with direct experience which is often cultivated in travel, seeking out raw nature and hobbies like gardening and beach-combing. I also believe that many human activities develop judgement and insight no less needed today than ever before.



I suppose I have the arrogance to believe that I have some holistic insight to share and so I have sought to share it and that has been a long time project with many people in my readership and audience at any time. However, I am far from where I would aspire to be in that regard. One of my lifelong dreams and ambitions has been to publish a science fiction novel and I have other passionately undertaken projects related to science. Some have been in the area of pure theory and some are very much applied. So, whatever else I may be I do not consider it very plausible to charge me with being anti-science.



How a crater on the Moon or Mars might be developed.

How a crater on the Moon or Mars might be developed.

The fact that I am turning fifty tends to darken my view of a lot of things. Probably a sense of fruitlessness in my own scientific endeavors is part of that sense of disillusionment. But I think I am unhappy about more than that. I know for certain that I am unhappy. I can remember times when the outlook in my life seemed more promising.  I was never going to be as comfortable in life as some people are but I am aware that  2001: A Space Odyssey, Asimov’s books, ERB’s Tarzan novels and the many views of the Lunar Apollo program formed a kind of background for discussion when I was young that is less available to me now. There are people who look at such tends and one such book can be found here.

A flotilla of shrimp boats adapted for skimming

A flotilla of shrimp boats adapted for skimming oil

The costs of the modern age are always very real to a man like me. Therefore it is more bearable when the possible rewards of scientific progress seem real and compelling as well. Otherwise the grind can be very wearisome. Perhaps these days I am only feeling my own isolation and the dead ends of my own routes but I feel there are reasons to be concerned about the direction of many aspects of the development of science. The best science focuses in large part on discovery and carefully opens the floodgates of new insights into nature to an engineering community which invents and produces things where good and mighty social goals drive demand. Those goals are partially derived from the improving insights of science and partly from other real and authentic factors. We do not need and will not get perfect science. But there is an awful lot at stake.

My guest from Mexicoand I looking over the swamps from an Avery Island Viewing station.

My guest from Mexico and I looking over the swamps from an Avery Island Viewing station.

I am writing this post about science. There is a great deal to be said about where science is going and I want to discuss a few things like helping fish to drive. These skills are valuable but other needs are pressing and not being met.

I also want to discuss the vastly more significant creation of really different DNA  which could really e the most dangerous experiment ever performed. I want to colonize the Moon and Mars and it is a valuable thing to learn how other DNA could function in case microbes there from any source spread to Earth. But the risks of a single disease that could wipe out earth would be easier to control in a colonial setting than here operating in too much freedom in the laboratory. I also know that tons of material from the Moon and Mars reach Earth every year from natural causes. We must dare to imagine policy which motivates, directs and channels more science more effectively. I suppose a cute fish and a replicating molecule do not seem much like monsters to many people. But they can be seen as monsters although each on a very different scale. The truth is that there is no easily assigned definition of “terrifying and monstrous mis-allocations of resources” no do I want to single out these two groups of researchers. Transexual surgery (or gender reassignment medicine, whole streams of genetic research, entire types of food science are in my view nightmarish in implication and potential. While all are united in a willingness to ignore the 99.9999 percent of natural resources in the solar system which may be developed only by investing wisely in the filed of space colonization science.  Also medical and social benefits which are possible go beyond description in such a short post as this. The risks are there to be sure but there are also mitigators of risk in abundance which are not often considered.

I have said before that I believe. and  think that science in a wide variety of disciplines and manifestations is vital, important and an urgent priority for our society and the world. But not all science is created equal. What are our priorities and do our politics serve them?

MIRROR BOWL features highlighted

MIRROR BOWL features highlighted

This is not the occasion for me to hope for great new breakthroughs in my life. But it is an occasion for me to share some concerns highlighted by my own concerns. America, the world and my own life will in large part choose the future they will have by choosing to define science and the priorities if science in a particular way.

I am aware of many an issue, as are we all…

They are debating the budget now. We do not have a metal standard. We do not balance our budgets. We are the world’s largest debtor nation.

There are programs being cut for the poor and for the defense establishment. There are investments being cut but we are still completely out of control. Ironicaly, the medical establishment is in my opinion responsible for many of the worst problems in the United States and I have voted for Dr. Charles Boustany every time he has run when I was around to vote largely because he is a physician. Mycorrespondence with him about the budget has been  limited to an issue many would find hard to justify in these times. But I do not find it so…

Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D.
Representative Dr. Boustany,
Thank you for your timely response of quality. Because in my Original e-mail I had indicated that I was passing on copies of the correspondence I will take the liberty of doing the same thing with your response.
Best wishes in your efforts,
Dear Frank:

Thank you for contacting me regarding President Obama’s proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget for NASA.  It is good to hear from you.

There is no question that NASA and the breakthroughs that have occurred within have made America a leader in science and technology.  As a heart surgeon, I have personally experienced the real world value of equipment such as specialized monitors, x-rays and other medical devices, the basics of which were developed from the hard work and innovation of NASA employees.  While there will always be a place for the government’s role in creating and developing innovative technology that is far too capital intensive and risky for the private sector, there is also a time and place to hand over the hard work of our government scientists and allow the private sector to make the leaps and bounds that have proven true in the past.

Right now our country is facing a budget deficit that has spun out of control in the last few years and tough choices are ahead of us.  It’s important to note that the President’s budget is only a blueprint and represents his spending priorities.  Congress will ultimately decide funding levels for specific programs through the legislative process.  I appreciate your input.  Be assured I’ll remember your strong support for NASA as I discuss the FY12 budget with House leaders and as Congress considers any related legislation. 

Again, thank you for contacting me. 


Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D.
Member of Congress

I am not including my original missive here, but much of its substance is suggested in his response.

From: “Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D.” BLANKED OUT@mail.house.gov>
To: frank64summers3@yahoo.com
Sent: Mon, February 14, 2011 10:39:57 AM
Subject: A Response from Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D.


Water on the Moon: A Frank Summary of Implications

I. LCROSS has reported: “There is water in Cabeus.”  This is a long way from reading these word on a statue of Anthony Colaprete on the campus of Cabeus High School on the Moon but it is important. The picture below is of me on one of my family’s farms when I was a child but modified to seem the interior of one of my imagined lunar or Martian crater colonies. The wetlands, ponds and gardens at the bottom of the crater are analagous to the Pacific Ocean on Earth it is to be remembered. They are the great concentrations of the water. 

Crater cap fish


The way this environment could be effected is diagrammed below. However, since wet craters exist on the Moon’ polar regions the plans would need to be modified in the first colony. Thus the major solar arrays would either be orbital or (preferably) miles away and connected to the colony by buried cables. Later colonies in the regions of more light  would use a design closer to this one.


CCCC mining concept
How a crater on the Moon or Mars might be developed.

Here is a crude  and brief key to the diagram.

1. The ring at the top is a cap which covers the crater rim.
2.The yellowish gold lines running out from it are rail lines joining the colony to spaceports, colonies and other assets — no spacecraft are allowed near the colony.
3. The red straight lines are the rails on top of the cap built of very strong and light materials.
4.The blue disks are solar array which in the case of a polar colony would have to be remote.
5.The orange-gold disks on the land near bu or observational astronomy, science and communications assets.
6.The green square with the x in the middle is a green pyramidal building housing the only airlock connecting the colony to the surface.
7.The heavy dark green line and the heavy dark red line are buildings which as columns support the cap from the middle and have elevators connecting the floor to the cap and in the case of the green building to th rest of the universe.
8. The irregular green and blue areas at the bottom are the farming, fishing, park and hydrology features.
9.The series of lines in grays and blues and tube-like shapes fanning out near the bottom are the mines which would be the economic base of the  colonies in most cases.
10. In a mature colony many homes would be in the mines and the better ones would  carefully built into the rims of the craters. The floor space of the crater would only be for viewing, agriculture, recreation and truly urgent assignment for other uses. The mental health and prosperity of these colonies would depend upon such a rule.

 II. Having seen what could be does not mean that it will be. We will probably never do these things — but our only hope for a good future involves doing these things.

III. I hope ye few, ye brave, ye readers will consider getting involved in this process.




I hope to post more later but the LCROSS team did have a program on NASA TV today it was a press conference and I watched most of it. I have been looking for it and stumbled on to it in the middle.

The basic data is that there is both ice and water saturated material on the poles of the Moon. In the spot which the impactor struck there was certainly more water present by proportion than there is in the Earth’s driest deserts.
To review my earlier posts see the following:

It is important to understand that a ew doaen gallons of water in the ejecta cloud is so very much more than no water at all. On the other hand it is so much less than a real ice cap. But it is possible to imagine exploiting it for a base.

Delayed Launch

Deep waters stretch out beyond the launch pad and gantry, blue sky-met.

Extending from the pad to the cameras used by NASA TV shallows lap.

Launching Ares has been delayed now and lots of view on my TV set.

Ares awaits an all-clear announcement as to atmospheric activity.

Yet we face only a little haze as we worry about some thunderclap.

Engineers have cleared the mechanical things to near certainty.

Dangers are less for lack of living leapers launching at finger snap.

Launches carrying cargo calculating and cared for all for caution.

A higher hedge halts haste where humans blast tot the heights.

Under the current case the great care and cool calculation

NASA makes is without some of its then needed  feeling frights.

Check and recheck yes but do not fail to make a  go decision.

Here we test the rocket that can  later bear folks to starry nights.

Waiting on Water on the Moon

Well it has been a few days and we have not heard anything from NASA about how much water they did or did not discover with the LCROSS mission. Certainly some of that early morning data seemed compatible with just about anything one could be tempted to think. Given that most of us did not record the transmissions as I can assure you that I did not. We had no blazing tower of ejecta that all the telescopes could photograph well. NASA_launches_rocket_72f4

Assuming the conspiracy theorists are not right and that the reason there were no good pictures is not because nothing happened. Likewise believing that the money was used on this mission and not all diverted to something horrible then here are a few facts I picked up on:

1. There was a sodium flash at the time of impact.

2. There was a drop off in the degree of luminosity and and a drop in some other things indicating reflectivity after the impact.

3.The  shepherding spacecraft traveled well through the ejecta cloud.

4.The Chandraayan discovered hydration cycle must be considered good data until shown otherwise.

All of this data is compatible with water which will create vapor features which obscure reflective particles, will suspend and dissolve sodium and hold it in relative stability and would in my opinion tend to diminish the chance of unpredictable particles exceeding the limits of tolerance of the shepherding spacecraft. Of course there was so little data in that first press conference that it could be compatible with a set of crystalline salt rocks and metals reacting in some mutually destructive way or almost anything else.

That is why we all want to know who are into this sort of thing. Hey NASA what did you find?

For what I was thinking before they hit the Moon go to the post from that time:


I think that this is a very important moment in our history whether we can perceive that or not. I hope they find water but most of all I hope they provide good and ample data.

LCROSS: We Slam the Moon looking for Water

Tomorrow, on my clock here in Louisiana NASA will slam a school bus sized part of a space craft into the Cabeus crater on the Moon’s South Pole. A second shepherding spacecraft equipped with many sensors and transmitters will navigate through the particles, gasses and vapors and whatever may have been thrown up by the impactor. The principal purpose of this exercise is to prospect for water.

If the impact reveals an ample near ice cap in the shadows and just below the surface then many other factors will suggest to many people and companies that the Moon can become a hub for a space industry. If there is water rich subsoil that does not amount to the large quantities in an icy pole but is nontheless significant it means outposts and colonies on the Moon can be started with great care and skill and hoping for the best according to optimistic space boosters. If there is very little water then developing the Moon in any way will be a very costly and daunting task by most definitions and analyses of the situation. Of course the spot could be an anomaly and not represent much that is typical of anything but almost everyone will presume that this is not true.

The LCROSS will be a vital step in coming to know what the resources on the Moon are and how they are distributed. We know there is abundant water ice on the Martian poles. We know there is water in many other places in the solar system. However if it does not exist on the Moon it will be much harder for us to develop a real space policy than if it does not have water in greater than the small amounts we have already detected across most of the surface of the Moon.

The more water we find the more chance there is also for me to see the Crater Cap Colony Concept I have pushed for come to some kind of fruition in my lifetime. It will not cause anything to happen but will certainly help if LCROSS kicks up lots of water.  For some basic data on the LCROSS as it has been intended from the start go to:


This will interact with my own colonial ideas in complicated ways. But a water train shuttle or pipeline from the poles to feed the colonies would certainly be a vastly superior goal than hauling the water in from the Earth.

Crater cap fishCCCC mining concept

We may hit dry spots that are not typical or there may be malfunctions we do not detect. However, it would be great to find a great deal of ice and water. That is what I will be hoping until the report comes in to us all.