Believer or not, ask if it is technically possible to build a rocket to go to Mars? You'll get a Yes - from top space engineers. How long time will it take? 6-8 years. Do we have to wait for Bush? That's a No. Image courtesy of NASA Ames.
But it will take a bumpy, winding road such as the one across the desert to Mojave spaceport, the launchpad of SpaceShipOne. ExWeb went there a few days before the space conference and got - if not a date with Burt - at least some local "Mystic Maze" desert honey. Image ExplorersWeb (click to enlarge).
July 20, 1969 this man walked on the moon. Image of Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, ExplorersWeb (click to enlarge).
Robert Bigelow (left) parted briefly with his prototype space hotel to attend a space conference in May. Here with Rick Searfoss (right) Astronaut and Space Shuttle commander. Image ExplorersWeb (click to enlarge). <br><br>
The small, dusty town of Mojave (check the first part in this ExWeb series) is the simple home to a big man - Burt Rutan. Image ExplorersWeb.
A genius rocket designer in an Elvis hairdo and black leather jacket: Burt Rutan had much to say on this space event. Image ExplorersWeb (click to enlarge).
The XPrize gang - playing hard. From left tor right, Amir Ansari, Eric Anderson, XPrize founder Peter Diamandis, Noah McMahon, and SpaceAdventure's latest client at the International Space station - Greg Olsen.
While in California, ExWeb took the opportunity to test tech power in Mammoth mountains. Because of the summit pushes during the space seminars, we also had to bring in our laptops to the speeches to give tech support to Everest climbers.
"We are not meant to do only what we are adapted to - when fish started crawling up on land it was not practical." Robert Zubrin, founder of the Mars Society, worked himself up as usual in his plead for Mars. Image ExplorersWeb.
That's when Rick Tumlinson (named one of the world's top "Space Visionaries" and one the top one hundred most influential people in the space field by Space News) jumped up and screamed "Zubrin is WRONG." Image of Rick, ExplorersWeb (click to enlarge).
Neil deGrasse Tyson, the charismatic Astronomer and Director for the cool Hayden Planetarium on Manhattan went straight for the heart of the beast: Doubt and money. Image of Neil, ExplorersWeb (click to enlarge).
Air Continental was waiting to take us back to reality, to the lush spring in upstate New York. That's when, for a second, we hesitated. Image of team ExWeb picking flowers in the barren Mojave desert, ExplorersWeb.
Posted: May 13, 2006 12:05 am EDT SUBSCRIBER CONTENT PREVIEW FOR FULL STORY: LOGIN OR SUBSCRIBE NOW - UP TO 3 MONTHS FREE
They say that competition is hardest at the bottom and easiest at the top. True on this year's ISDC conference in LA, arranged by NSS and Planetary Society to celebrate the formers 25th birthday. One after the other, the world's foremost people in space and science arrived, and we got them virtually all to ourselves. The conference attracted some 200 folks, most insiders and big media. The rest of us couldn't believe our luck. There, just an arms length away - a man who had walked on the moon. 5 feet further, a shuttle...