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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In the twentieth century, there have been many men and women to leave their mark on history but perhaps few in the category of Neil Armstrong. Listening to Armstrong yesterday as the keynote speaker at the Intergraph User Conference I wondered to myself if I was seeing the last, true American hero. As a thirteen year-old, I watched the moon landing and witnessed Armstrong’s "one small step for man…" Armstrong doesn’t do much public speaking and was thought to be somewhat reclusive in years following the first manned adventure to the lunar surface. But the man was nothing but humble and generous with his thoughts on going back to the Moon and perhaps to Mars as well.

Armstrong reflected on the day he set foot in the Sea of Tranquility and gazed up to see "a turquoise pendant perched against a black velvet sky." He said that one of the reasons for returning to the Moon is to solve the earth’s energy needs. There is much Helium3 in the soil of the moon that could be mined and used in fusion reactors in the US. The only problem is that a viable commercial fusion reactor has not been constructed. He said that the obstacles and unknowns in going to Mars are far fewer than those he faced in going to the Moon and that it is certainly doable.

Armstrong’s talk was inspiring and nostalgic to those of us who grew up as kids during the early days of the space race and I wondered if there are any visionaries and risk-takers left like him. Armstrong left the stage to a standing ovation and I felt honored to be so close to someone who, as a kid, was a larger than life symbol of America’s dreams beyond Earth.

by Joe Francica on 05/23 at 08:34 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

FCW reports that the House of Representatives denied a $81 million Defense Department request to create a location system based around the Iridium satellite constellation and GPS. The idea its that it would provide centimeter accuracy with low susceptability to jamming. The Iridium constellation was designed as a global communications constellation, but had some trouble staying funded.

The president was not pleased by the cuts while Air Force officials fear that moving forward on the project may delay the launch of the next round of GPS satellites, GPS III.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/23 at 05:14 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

GPS Business News offers up an interview with Plazes co-founder Felix Petersen. With revenues to begin coming in later this year, the company has “60% of our users are located in the USA. 40% of our users are located in Europe. We are very happy that Plazes is now the biggest Geo-community in the world and that it works!”

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/23 at 05:09 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The California First Amendment Coalition lawsuit to force Santa Clara County to share geodata was successful. The group claimed that the county couldn’t restrict data access with high prices because taxpayers funded the collection. The was available but for costs in the ten thousands of dollars. A superior court judge in the state said data must be available for minimal cost.

The county defended its actions saying the data contained “trade secrets” (huh?) and information potentially harmful to public safety. And, of course, it had to pay for the data.

- Associated Press

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/23 at 04:54 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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