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It’s Tough Being A Malaysian Astronaut

At around 9:22pm tonight Malaysian time (GMT+8), Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor will be Malaysia’s first astronaut. He’ll be flying to the ISS (and into the history books) via a Soyuz rocket blasting off from Kazakhstan.

You might think that he probably has the best job any Malaysian can have. But I have a feeling that it’s probably not as rosy as it seems. Here’s why:

  1. Many Malaysians are politicizing his trip; saying that it’s a waste of public fund, that Dr Muszaphar is merely a government sponsored space tourist and not a “real” astronaut
  2. Politicians are trying to use him as a “space ambassador of Malaysia” by suggesting that he brings along sambal belacan, roti canai, teh tarik and batik into space
  3. The religionazis are busying themselves with finding 1001 ways to “teach” Dr Muszaphar on how to perform his religious duties in space

It’s really a shame that the Soyuz Dr Muszaphar will be boarding to outer space could only fit a few passengers. If only it could carry more people, I’d probably recommend that he brings along the following people:

  1. Bloody overly-political Malaysians who will always skew anything into a race, political or religious perspective
  2. Politicians – all of them useless buggers
  3. Religionazis: For Milky Way’s sake; religion is a belief! Get over it already!

…and dump them into a black hole somewhere.

To Dr Muszaphar, just focus on the mission and don’t give a hoot to what these idiots have to say. You’re going into space anyway, and probably none of these morons even have 1% of your IQ to even understand the significance of this mission.

Is Commercialisation Of Old Technology The Future Of Space Travel?

I find it strange that even after we’ve discovered a potentially habitable planet, the way us humans travel in space remains near absolutely the same as it was three decades ago:

  1. Build a rocket
  2. Attached said rocket to huge fuel tanks that will be used to launch the rocket
  3. Use massive amount of rocket fuel to provide the necessary force to blast off
  4. Ensure that there’s adequate infrastructure, support mechanisms and human ingenuity to make sure the astronauts can return to Earth safely

Regardless if you’re NASA, Russia’s Federal Space Agency or China National Space Administration, all your rockets will be launched using the exact same technology mentioned previously.

Essentially, space travel technology has became stagnant… unless there’s some new space travel mechanisms being kept under wraps by the world’s secretive space agencies.

What we have now is only the commercialisation of old space technology to provide expensive space rides for the world’s richest people. If this trend goes on, then the bulk of astronauts in the world will then consist of mega-billionaires.

I guess the price could become more affordable in the future if the trend for commercial space travel becomes more like home computing… but even the optimist in me keeps on saying, “Dream on!”.

However, I do hope that better space travel technologies will be unveiled during my lifetime. Otherwise, it’ll be a lot less challenging trying to explain to my grandson how space travel was when I was his age 🙂

Earth-like Planet Found

Scientists messing with the Eso 3.6m Telescope have found a planet that resembles earth, located a mere 20.5 light-years away. Here’re some of the things the boffins are saying about this discovery:

“We have estimated that the mean temperature of this ‘super-Earth’ lies between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid,” explained Stephane Udry of the Geneva Observatory, lead author of the scientific paper reporting the result.

“Moreover, its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth’s radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky – like our Earth – or covered with oceans.”

I doubt we can stumble upon light-speed traveling in my lifetime, so even the optimist in me reckons that reaching this planet could only be possible during the times of my great, great, great grandchildren.

I just hope that when they finally do, it’ll be similar to what these present-day scientists have described. It’d be such a disappointment if it’s just a rock that somehow has a mirage-like effect when viewed from 20.5 light-years away 😛