I first encountered the art of Lyra Romanas in 2018, and was immediately struck by the richness of story contained within her images, so I was delighted to learn a further small selection of her work is on display through until April 2019 at the Galerie Alice, curated by Alice (angedem).
Renewal and Transformation presents nine images by Lyra in respect of the theme, with a broad split between avatar and art studies. No liner notes are provided for the exhibition or its theme but frankly, the images themselves are so expressive, few additional pointers are required.
The four avatar studies in particular perfectly embody the ideas of renewal and transformation of self. Each offers us a moment in time, seemingly personal, with Mutation perhaps must clearly underlining the transformation theme. Within its monochrome lines it is clear something is happening – and that from the expression on the face of the subject, it is either not unpleasant, or she is oblivious of the change – although this seems unlikely; but what the trigger for her change, and why it is happening is the tease, the story we are invited to weave around the piece.
Equally, When It Rains, It Pours speaks of transformation – although this time it focus is on emotional transformation, rather than physical, while The Twilight Zone perhaps invites us to consider our own ability to transform ourselves both in and of the moment. It is left to the titular piece to offer an image suggestive of pure renewal, brought about through peaceful reflection whilst lying a warm waters. Yet, at the same time, the first three pieces also carry the theme of renewal as well: the birth of a new life-form, the opening of a new page of a life; the renewal of limber exercise, while the titular peace also carries with it a message of transformation, of rebirth from the water.
Supporting these four pieces are four focused on the 3D art of Mistero Hifeng. Again the themes of renewal and transformation are evident in all of them: the transformation of stone into caring figures, the emotions generated in their form itself renewing; the pure strength of renewal and simultaneous transformation from passive to active seen in Blown Away. Only the last piece, The Scales might at first seem at odds with the rest; until that is, one looks part the very different approach to colour and presentation and consider the balance between matters of renewal and transformation that can mark our own lives.
This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:
It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.
Official LL Viewers
Current Release version 184.108.40.2064670, formerly the BugSplat RC viewer February 13th, promoted February 28th. No Change.
Release channel cohorts:
EEP RC viewer updated to version 220.127.116.115044, on March 7th.
SpaceX successfully completed the first demonstration flight of the Crew Dragon Capsule on Friday, March 8th, when the vehicle returned to Earth after a visit to the International Space Station (ISS).
As I reported in my previous space Sunday article, DM1 lifted-off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Centre on March 2nd, rendezvousing with the ISS 27 hours later, when it successfully docked with the station. It remained at the station through until Friday, March 8th. At 07:30 GMT that morning the capsule and its service module detached from the space station and moved to its own orbit ready to make a re-entry into the denser atmosphere and a splashdown in the Atlantic.
This phase of the mission was regarded by SpaceX as the most critical part of the flight, and the one presenting the most risk to the vehicle. While based on Cargo Dragon, the Crew Dragon is a very different vehicle; the parachute system and backshell are new, the DM1 flight being the first time they would be used operationally. The Crew Dragon’s backshell, for example, is asymmetrical in order to accommodate the eight SuperDraco escape engines designed to get the capsule out of harm’s way in the event of a launch emergency, and which are not present in the Cargo Dragon. As SpaceX CEO commented ahead of the vehicle’s launch, this asymmetry could cause roll instability on re-entry, potentially resulting in vehicle loss.
As it turned out, after moving well clear of the ISS and positioned on a track for its eventual splashdown, C201, now separated from its service module, fired its thrusters at 12:53 GMT for a 15-minute re-entry burn. Once through the seating heat of re-entry, the craft dropped into the denser atmosphere and passed the second of its final tests: deploying first its drogue parachute system and then the four main parachutes; in doing so, it recaptured the heyday of NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules.
At 13:45 GMT, C201 splashed down in the Atlantic, close to the waiting SpaceX recovery ships. Making the return aboard the capsule was the instrument-laden flight dummy “Ripley” and a small payload from the ISS. The plushy toy used as a zero-gee indicator on the vehicle’s ascent to orbit remained aboard the ISS, where it has become a celebrity. Named “Earthie” (or “Earthy”, it’s not actually clear), the plushy has been treated to tours of the ISS, has been featured in photocalls and videos, and become something of a station mascot. It will be remaining on the ISS until the first crewed flight of the Dragon vehicle docks with the ISS later this year.
Fifty years after humans landed on the moon for the first time, America has driven a golden spike on the trail to new space exploration feat. It won’t be long before our astronaut colleagues are aboard Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner vehicles, and we can’t wait.
– NASA astronaut Anne McClain aboard the ISS, marking the depature
of Crew Dragon from the station
However, even before splashdown, NASA was indicating plans to start flying crew aboard the Crew Dragon might be subject to delay. Currently, a further flight of C201 is due in June. Again, uncrewed, it is intended to test the launch abort system. The first crewed flight is currently scheduled to follow that flight, some time in July. It will carry two astronauts up to the ISS where they will remain for several weeks. However, comments from NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel seem to suggest the crewed demonstration flights of both Crew Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100.
There’s a lot of forward work to complete on both Crew Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner vehicles. We’re not quite ready to put humans on either vehicle yet.
– Former astronaut Sandy Magnus, a member of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel
These doubts notwithstanding, Boeing and NASA have indicated that the first uncrewed flight of the CST-100 Starliner could take place in April. Referred to as Orbital Flight Test (OFT), this mission will lift off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket, and follow a similar profile to that of SpaceX DM1.
NASA SLS May Face Launch Delay
We are reassessing those dates to see if that date will work, based on making sure we have the vehicle ready, and ready to go fly safely. We are assessing that date. Our launch readiness date is still 2020, and we’re doing everything within our power to make sure that we support that.
– Jody Singer, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre,
March 5th, 2019
With this words, the director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre, responsible for overseeing the development and construction of NASA new Space Launch System super booster, suggested the maiden flight of the rocket could be subject to further delay.
Singer did not give specifics on what might cause the delay following the statement, but in October 2018, NASA’s Office of Inspector General was sharply critical of both NASA and Boeing, the prime contractor for the rocket’s massive core stage, for problems with that element. At that time, the office concluded that the first flight of the rocket – designated EM-1 – could not take place in the first half of 2020 as had been planned, so the launch date was then moved back to the latter half of the year. October 2018 also saw NASA order Boeing to slow down work on the system’s Exploration Upper Stage (EUS). Originally scheduled to be flown on the second test launch of the SLS, NASA has opted not to fly it until the third flight of the system.
Despite the concerns raised by Singer’s comments, the other major elements of the SLS are largely complete, including its two five-segment solid rocket boosters, upper stage and adapters, leading weight to the idea that it is the core stage that is causing problems. In the meantime, structural test articles of the vehicles, liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks will be tested in the coming months at Marshall, while the core stage is due to be transferred to NASA’s Stennis Space Centre in Mississippi for so-called “green run” testing which will see its four RS-25 engines are fired on a test stand, in late 2019 early 2020, a test that’s seen as a critical test on the road to launch readiness.