26 February 1970:
- in the morning there were only 4.834.800 seconds on Unix time
- the Beatles released Hey Jude
- rfc 34 was published
- in the evening Led Zeppelin performed in Stockholm
- one of my uncles was 40 years old

today is 26 February 2012:
- Unix time just passed 1.330.210.800 seconds
- only two Beatles are alive
- rfc count is up to 6533
- I am 42
- that same uncle is now 82


Space: the final frontier

Generation X grew up with a recent history of Moon landings that allowed dreaming about permanent Moon bases and manned missions to Mars in the Eighties.... but both seem to be further away than ever.

Currently the most exciting space endeavors are:

Launched in the summer of 2011 and on a five year trip to explore Jupiter. If all goes well Juno will orbit Jupiter in the years 2016 and 2017.  Jupiter was already explored by the Pioneer and Voyager probes, and while I have no doubts about the scientific value of this mission, I fear that the mathematics behind the Earth flyby next year to speed up its course to Jupiter are more exciting.

China achieved automatic space docking in 2011. They have a small space laboratory named Tiangong and reliable rockets and spacecraft to get there. While I applaud their effort and follow their progress closely, it does feel like repeating Mir and Skylab. Expect one or two spacecraft to dock with Tiangong this year. Their progress is steady, but slow.

Richard Branson has the money and the will to start a space tourist business with SpaceshipTwo. The goal is to fly tourists to space... well almost space since they aim for the bottom of the Thermosphere, well below the ISS (which in itself is barely halfway in the Thermosphere). Flights with paying tourists should start in 2013.

New Horizons
Maybe the most promising of all current missions, aiming for a close encounter with Pluto. (Remember Pluto used to be a planet). Promising because we have not been to Pluto yet. The best pictures today are only ten pixels wide. Expect some nice desktop (or smartphone) wallpapers by 2015.

So... no Mars to stay mission yet, no manned Moon base today, nor are there any plans to return to the Moon (please don't point to babbling American presidential candidates or Russian managers at Roskosmos). Maybe a blog post about Bigelow or SpaceX next year... did I miss anything ?