Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!
Welcome to the Era of Commercial Space Travel (No Explosions!)
So, as you all are well aware (because you read up on a lot of science and space exploration news), President Obama has an eye towards taking the advice of the Augustine Commission and cancelling the Constellation project to return humans to the Moon and provide transit capability to the ISS. It was behind schedule and drastically over budget, and there was some concern that it might not even work.
Instead, we are going to task NASA with exploring deeper into our solar system with a new heavy lift system, and turn transit and cargo to LEO (low-Earth orbit) to commercial entities.
The most promising of these commercial ventures is SpaceX, founded by the guy who started Paypal.
They took a couple of shots at launching the Falcon 1, a light rocket, before finally getting it into orbit, and now they are taking the first crack at the Falcon 9, a heavy lift rocket. The first stage is a cluster of nine engines, a pretty complicated system that will provide lower risk (assuming it works).
While this is part of a monumental moment in commercial space flight and a step closer to allowing you to get your ass to Mars, it's also very likely that the rocket will lift off a bit and then explode.
Nothing against SpaceX, but this is a first test flight of a new rocket, history is not on their side with this one.
So we will either see something awesome, or a new rocket taking off.
Here's the Falcon 1 taking off on it's successful launch: