When you first get into this site, it really feels like you are hovering over your prospective real estate like Tom Cruise in Far and Away, only this time, you're really far and away! This company claims to have official deeds to land on the Moon, Mars and Venus, and is selling it real cheap right now. Apparently some American (of course) company has claimed supreme ownership of all the planets and is subdividing. It's a great gift idea and this English company is very thorough in it's legal clarification, so the deeds will stand up in a court case. Get in now, buy up big. At $2.00 an acre, the price can only go up!
Verdict: It's real, it's cool, and it's a great gift idea - SS
Celestial Registry - Name a Star Gift
What a lovely idea eh? You fall in love with someone to the point of being a stalker, without so much as a glance of acknowledgment. How to get their attention… buy them a goddamn star! In this rather ugly and annoyingly fast moving java banner site, you can get a lovely framed certificate with an official star chart circling one of the quintillion dots of light up there with the name of the stalkee attached. It all sounds perfect, until you read the fine print and see that the whole deal is completely non-official. When your beau finds out, they're gonna smash that stupid plastic fake wall plaque over your dumb-ass head.
Verdict: You may as well name a pebble after someone, and toss it, and your wallet, into the sea. - SS
Net Worth: ***
Lease a Piece of the Moon
Here we go, another fraudulent attempt to flog some piece of the universe. This time, it's only a lease! And it's still a fake! For God's sake, if I give my nephew a chunk of moon for Christmas, I want him to develop the land at a later date. Imagine the tears, the heartache, when his dream plot disappears in a puff of smoke as Judge Judy's daughter's gavel falls in favour of the lucky dude with the "official" papers. It's a real land grab up there, these novelty gifts just don't cut it. I'd rather buy a whoopie cushion.
Verdict: Lease a piece of my ass, you charlatans. - SS
Lunar Embassy - The Facts about Extraterrestrial Real Estate
You have to plan ahead in this life if you want to do well. That's exactly what Mr Dennis M Hope did, and he now owns the entire solar system!! The Lunar Embassy is the only company that can officially grant ownership of extraterrestrial land, so any other company doing it needs their official documents to prove ownership has been passed on. The marketing machine is in full swing. Check out the price list on the UniverseShop. T-shirts $18.95, mugs $10.95, the planet Pluto $250,000!!
Verdict: Accept no substitutes, this is the real scheister. - SS
Now here's a twist. Why not flog a piece of the moon off, and bundle it in with a web site? Yeah! It's actually not a bad gift idea. You can get your phony certificate and send it to someone you love to hate, and do them a little web page saying something really witty like, "happy birthday from Uranus!" ha ha ha. That'll be $29.95US thanks! ker-ching!!
Verdict: Now where do you think your friend will want to stick that title deed? - SS
Name a Star - International Star Registry, London
Back in 1979, a very nice Canadian farmer looked up in the sky and wished he could name a star after his daughter. He made a few inquiries and found that he couldn't, so he made a few more inquiries and arranged it so that he could. Word spread of this wonderful gesture, to the point that there are now 750,000 stars officially named after people, organisations and corporations. This is the real thing, and a pretty big venture it is too. There are about 99,999.25 million known stars to go, so start registering!
Verdict: When you wish upon a star, your ego may inflate by far. - SS
CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales)
Luckily this French site has an English version (well, partially, anyway). Au contraire to what you might think after watching a few too many Hollywood movies and CNN news reports, Europe has a pretty extensive space program. X-ray telescopes, space stations, Mars science stations and countless satellite launches put to rest any ideas that NASA is the beginning and the end of space programs. It's all detailed here, but unfortunately the cool educational stuff and meaty bits are all frogs legs and snails.
Verdict: They are so arrogant, aren't they? - SS
JPL Software Archive
Here is a nice little array of cool downloadable files for space nuts. Planetariums, Motion Simulators, Shuttle and Satellite Trackers all allow you to be one step closer to feeling more in touch with the heavens above. Not quite as good as being there, but they're working on it for you. After you're done downloading, follow the link back to the jpl.nasa home page for some fascinating detailed info of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Solar System piccies.
Verdict: Not bad, but how many cool little app's can a person's hard drive take? - SS
Space Telescope Science Institute Home Page
You've heard about the Hubble Telescope a thousand times on TV, mainly because it's got a cute sounding name that news readers can pronounce, but really this baby is a beauty. The site is a full run down of the specs, the missions, the mission statement, and of course the awesome pictures from this and a few other giant lenses. It's really quite mind-blowing what's out there, and almost as incredible that we mere specs of universal dust have managed to get such good photos of it all. Still no aliens though.
Verdict: Hubba Bubba! - SS
NASA Human Space Flight
What started off as a cool concept of sending the same vehicle in and out of the atmosphere has grown into a global effort of cosmic proportions. This site is the home base for the entire international space station program, and is constantly updated as the world builds a very large floating research centre. The resources available here are extensive, with history, media releases, fact sheets, real time reports and cameras, and a whole lot more in a compact design with lots of nice mouse-over menu action. You will feel like one of those NASA staff members watching a monitor in the big control room, which, in a way, you now are.
Verdict: Hail NASA, hail space station, hail the human race! - SS
Shuttle Countdown Online
Separate, but not completely unrelated to the previous site, here is a dedicated countdown arena, where everything relating to Space Shuttle flights is detailed and updated. Cargo, weather, technical info, past shuttle missions, along with video feeds, photo library and heaps of reference material make this a well spring for students, teachers or anyone interested in space flight. One day you could be on this mission, so it might pay to get a good understanding of what is involved as the launch time approaches.
Verdict: 5...4...3...2...1... Bookmark!! - SS
NASA Spacelink - An Aeronautics & Space Resource for Educators
More NASA, this time dedicated to those in charge of rounding up unruly youngsters and trying to fill their minds with something more useful than MTV and grunge music. There is, naturally, a huge stockpile of stuff here to access. Without this site, the space program's budget would be just that little harder to justify to congress. Material to fill a couple of good years of your students' school life is contained within these invisible walls. If you think you might stay in the teaching game past your second nervous breakdown, you can subscribe to a mailing list to receive regular updates.
Verdict: You've just hit lesson plan pay dirt! - SS
Just like celebrities have fans who construct web shrines in their honour, so space programs attract similar flattery, inspiring this particular fan's imagination to create quite a worthy tribute to the galactic action east of NASA. The design of the site is a little clunky, but the content is quite impressive. It is updated regularly and has a large collection of archives and other material like technical data, history, contracts and news. With no affiliations here, there is no bias or propaganda, just a great place to find out about past present and future space projects.
Verdict: One small web for mankind, one giant undertaking for this man - SS
It seems every country in the world has got some kind of space thing happening these days. Norway has a particular need with its close proximity to the polar ice cap. They really need to get up high and check out the rugged terrain below, as well as improve communication through the use of satellites. An extensive push by the government to improve business opportunities has led to a broad program that puts Norway up with the best of them (nearly) in the space race. Read all about it here in this straight forward and easy to read site.
Verdict: Oslo, we have no problem. - SS
Here is a very valuable grass roots result of the existence of a space program. SatelLife is a non-profit organisation dedicated to using satellite technology to improve communication and health care in third world countries or disaster-struck areas. The potential for a well-managed system of information exchange to improve quality of life around the world is tremendous. Doctors and nurses in remote areas can access new info, talk to other professionals across the globe, on-line conferences can be held, news of worsening situations can travel fast and far to get faster response. It makes the whole space thing seem that little bit more worthwhile.
Verdict: At last, a tangible benefit to the non-rich of this world. - SS
Just a little bit of fun, this guy has dedicated a small page to those chunks of rock floating around out there. Taking the same angle as those space estate agents, but not really offering anything, you just get to read about a couple of prime lumps of charcoal and surf on to the next site you might have been heading to. Maybe you can do a better job. Have a go.
Verdict: About as valuable as a lump of rock. - SS
The Martian Consulate, L.L.C. -- Earth's Exclusive Claim Registry For Martian Real Estate
I don't know how this works, because the Lunar Embassy has claimed exclusive rights to the entire universe, but here is an "official" legal place to buy land on Mars. You'll get your 1 square mile of land, certificate and a plat of survey for $29.95, or 3 for $59.95. To feel that little bit more in touch with your investment, why not throw in a coffee mug and t-shirt?
Verdict: I'd suggest you contact a solicitor first. - SS
Views of the Solar System
Thanks to the Hawaiian Astronomical Society, this vivid display of every thing within our little speck in the universe is quite a delight to peruse. One by one, you can look at each planet, the sun, asteroids, meteorites and comets. Different views are offered ranging from filtered stills highlighting different aspects, to movies showing planetary activity, and more detailed studies of each body. There are heaps of specs, historical info, and astronomer biographies. It's like each element of our complex solar system has been singled out and honoured just for being there. Fair enough, too. It's all quite awe-inspiring.
Verdict: The ultimate neighbourhood watch scheme. - SS
Sky And Telescope Magazine
This is the Internet representation of a publication, which, like the one you are reading, is printed on processed wood pulp. It would be an astronomer's dream to get this baby in the mail box regularly, but until you do, there is quite a lot to do and see here. This week's sky at a glance tells you what to look out for up there, while tips, news, imaging and resources will have you salivating for the hard copy. Once you read the overview of the contents of the latest issue, it will be almost impossible not to subscribe. Stay up to date, and informed of the very latest developments in the space station project, Hubble and some spectacular images.
Verdict: The title sounds very Poindexter, but the content is out of this world. - SS
Nebula: UFOs, Aliens, Flying Saucers, Roswell, Area 51, Extraterrestrials, Sightings and More
Parascope is like an ongoing web version of that TV show, "The Extraordinary". Mysteries and inexplicable occurrences are delved into with relish. In nebula, the subject is Aliens and UFO's. It's amazing how there can be so much to write about without one single alien or UFO actually being proven to exist. This site really digs deep, though, since the UFO "community" is a big thirsty beast, looking for anything remotely interesting to speculate about. There are heaps of funny pictures of big-eyed, slit-mouthed people with rumours and gossip aplenty. Hardly scientific, though, but then without a shred of real data or evidence, how could they be?
Verdict: I think I'll wait until I have an actual close encounter. - SS
Hailing itself as "the worlds first site studying the reptilian image within the UFO phenomena", Reptoids takes the whole thing very seriously. The basic premise is that all our abduction and close encounter stories can be explained thus: Dinosuars weren't completely wiped out. They continued to evolve to humanoid forms underground, and only come out occasionally to either meet and greet, or eat the meat of humans. It is argued that we must learn to understand rather than fear these creatures. In ancient times, these lizard people were looked on as Gods, with their superior intelligence and strength. We need to prepare for their "coming out" so to speak, and together we can make this world a truly wonderful place.
Verdict: Which chapter is this? Space or Loonies?. - SS
Aliens - The Anchorpoint Essays
At least this site admits to being a work of pure fiction. Based on the Aliens movie series, we are taken through a complete scientific study of the creatures, in quite impressive detail. It's easy to see how with such good imagination, others could fabricate equally convincing evidence about alleged extra-terrestrials. The life cycle from egg to queen is explained along with detailed journeys through all the different facets of the creature as explained in the movies. If this were a site about an actual creature, it would win Nobel prizes. As it is, it may only win your approval as you marvel at the effort involved in creating all the graphics, pages, text and data to build this amazing work.
Verdict: If only it was true. - SS
Aliens and Soul Abduction
Sydney based Andrew gives us this dire warning and advice about Alien abduction. It seems poor Andrew has had a few nasty things happen to him on a regular basis. He can't explain exactly who or what is conducting these intrusions into his otherwise completely normal life, but he has been forced to learn a few tactics of defence that he is willing to impart to you, for your own good. The "Grey's" as he calls them seem to enjoy harassing him at every available opportunity, but somehow, I think the only thing bothering our Andrew is an over-sensitivity to the effects of a certain herbal weed.
Verdict: Another case of wrong chapter, I think! - SS
The First Millenial Foundation
Science meets fiction in this extraordinary project to colonise the entire universe with trillions of humans. With an astounding vision for technology to achieve all kinds of things like creating new continents, the FMF proposes some pretty huge developments on earth in preparation for applying the technology elsewhere. Personally, I think we should just wait for the aliens to come and show us what they've got, but the premise here is that there are no aliens, we are alone in the universe, therefore it is our duty to spread our seed as far as we can. I think we've probably gone far enough already, it would be nice to fix up our own backyard before destroying other planets. Plenty of food for thought here, and some amazing technological concepts.
Verdict: Just what the universe needs, a plague of humans. - SS
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS)
Founded in 1980 by students at MIT and Princeton, SEDS is dedicated to nurturing an enthusiasm and enlightenment in young people about the benefits of leaving the atmosphere. By being organised and having a strong educational element in their activities (and this web site) SEDS has the ability to influence space programs by offering suggestions and supporting the carrying out of experiments and activities by others. Abounding in links, data, graphics and ideas, the youthful exuberance here is a delight to browse, and is enough to convince anyone that humanity is heading in some kind of right direction.
Verdict: Space, the final frontier. - SS
National Space Society of Australia
Formed in association with, and in allegiance to the American societies, the NSSA is our local chapter for supporting, promoting and believing in the future of the space race. The site itself is a little under construction and not up there in the eye-candy department, but there is plenty to see and do. Membership gives you access to conferences, a regular magazine, and the opportunity to be involved in plenty of activity aimed at lobbying government and schools to get behind space research, building an appropriately educated and funded talent pool for the needs of the future.
Verdict: Lost in space Oz syle. - SS