Well Ladies and Gents, Early tomorrow morning, if everything goes well, NASA will execute EFT-1 for the Orion Program. Although I'm sure the test will keep some folks at NASA up tonight, I for one, am pleased that NASA has finally taken a step in the right direction to returning their activities to space exploration. Obviously many more years of tests and other activities will have to be successfully completed before we can take a trip to Mars, but any step in the right direction is a good one at this point. I attempted to play a tiny part to further space exploration by enticing a Spanish professor who has done some interesting things with magnetics, namely projecting, shaping, and intesifying magnetic fields using alternating magnets and superconductors, to submit a proposal to the InnoCentive Program that NASA runs whereby cash prizes are awarded to selected contenders for innovations that assist with space exploration technology objectives. As some of you may know, space that lies outside of Earth's protective Van Allen belts can be hazardous to your health due to highly energetic particles that are referred to by the misnomer of cosmic rays. These particles are primarily protons, essentially hydrogen atoms stripped of their electron, and travel at a substantial portion of the speed of light. Naturally, these things are difficult to stop, but using projected magnetic fields it may be possible to re-route them around a spacecraft. When Mike, Buzz, and Neil set out on their little trip to the moon, every so often they'd see these flashes or floaters inside the command module. They never said anything about it to CapCom at the time because they didn't want anyone thinking they had lost their marbles. However, what they were actually seeing were "cosmic rays" or the energetic reaction between these high energy particles punching through the command module and anything that was in the way until the ions were stopped by enough matter in front of them. A handful of those involved with the Apollo program were aware of this phenomenon and its deleterious effects on equipment and personnel if intense enough or sustained for a long period of time. This was one of many reasons why NASA elected not to travel to Mars at the time. Whereas spacecraft are generally capable of withstanding a severe exposure to radiation, humans don't fare so well. It now appears that with research only recently conducted by Professor Sanchez and his compatriots at the Autonomous University of Barcelona that we might have something approaching a solution to this problem, assuming power requirements for this form of active radiation shielding are not inordinately high. I'm looking forward to a successful completion to EFT-1 and a speedy second launch into lunar orbit. Everyone keep their fingers crossed. We may actually live to see humans set foot on another planet.