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4 April 2011
Have you read the book Red Mars yet? If not, you can download a pdf of it here. It’s a classic hard sci-fi epic about the colonization of Mars, and for my latest post over at Science in my Fiction, I took a look at how the highly accurate depiction of Mars in the book has held up with all the new discoveries in the last 20 years. Head on over and check it out!
28 January 2011
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Challenger shuttle explosion. I was too young to remember the disaster, but it has had a lasting effect on our space program, and I certainly remember the Columbia disaster which occurred when I was an undergraduate. It’s tempting when these sorts of things happen to say that space exploration is too dangerous and too hard and that we should turn back. But that’s exactly the wrong response.
17 January 2011
I’ve voiced my frustration with NASA TV and the fact that NASA isn’t allowed to make self-promotional TV ads before. Luckily, there are a lot of people out there who are passionate about space, and some of them have video editing skills and access to the internet. So, even though we might never see an ad like this on TV, it at least can go viral online!
7 January 2011
I realized relatively recently that I like planets and I like speculative fiction for basically the same reason: strange new worlds just fire up my imagination. That’s the topic of my latest post over at Science in my Fiction, where I take a look at some spectacular and bizarre real (or at least realistic) planetary locations that I think would be great settings for some sci-fi. I got a little …
8 November 2010
A few weeks ago, on the same day as the runway dedication at New Mexico’s “Spaceport America“, the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters published a paper suggesting that soot from commercial rocket launches could cause significant climate change. Based on the results of climate modeling, the authors found that 1000 launches per year would have the same influence as all of the subsonic air traffic in the world combined. Talk …
17 October 2010
The Outpost Tavern burned down Friday night. The Outpost was a rickety little tavern in Houston a couple miles from Johnson Space Center, famous as a hang-out for astronauts and other NASA folks. It went out of business earlier this year and it has apparently now met its fiery demise. I first visited the Outpost when I was in the 2006 Goddard NASA Academy. 20 of us showed up without …
8 October 2010
I always found the contrast between Soviet and US engineering fascinating. The goals were generally similar, but while the US seemed to aim for elegant, lightweight, optimized designs, Soviet spacecraft always look like they’re bolted together out of cast iron or something. That’s why I love this gallery of photos of the Soviet lunar lander that they developed during the space race. This thing looks like it should be used …
12 August 2010
I’ve got a new post up at The Science of Starcraft! This time I tackle the question of whether unprotected living things could ever survive in the vacuum of space. Go check it out!
29 July 2010
Force fields are common in lots of science fiction, but how realistic are they? That’s the question I tackle in the latest Science of Starcraft post. Head on over and check it out!