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Archive for the 'space' Category

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

How I wonder what you’re at:

On Sunday, the shuttle had a stowaway attached to the external fuel tank, and although NASA was sure the little animal wouldn’t be a debris risk, the bat remained attached to the shuttle, apparently stuck in place. New details have now emerged about why the bat didn’t fly away before Discovery launched…

This can't end well...

Ouch. Like a teatray in the sky, indeed…

30-second science blogging: The Earth and Moon…

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

…as seen from Mars! How freakin’ cool is that?

The Earth and Moon, as seen by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA\'s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
(click on the picture for full-size image)

[h/t to Oliver Willis]

The Clarke Event

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

I wondered about the timing of Arthur C. Clarke’s death and the gamma-ray burst; now I know:

Larry Sessions, a columnist for Earth & Sky, has suggested in his blog that the gamma-ray event whose radiation reached us a few hours before Arthur C. Clarke died, and which occurred 7.5 billion years ago, be named the Clarke Event. The outburst, which produced enough visible light to render it a naked-eye object across half the universe, is officially designated GRB 080319B. What more fitting tribute to Clarke than to associate his name with the greatest bang since the big one?

The Clarke Event. I like it.

To be filed under “Things I Wish I’d Seen”

Friday, March 21st, 2008

An exploding star, visible to the naked eye…

…from halfway across the Universe.

Damn, that’s bright.

Arthur C. Clarke – 1917-2008

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Sir Arthur C. Clarke has died at age 90. Clarke, probably more than any other ‘Golden Age’ writer, fired my imagination as a futurist. While not without controversy, he will be missed.

Anniversary Day

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

No, not mine, not the blog’s. Rather, this is something more… iconic? individualized?.

It was one of the quiet, colorful afternoons of sheer beauty which we have in October in New England, and as I looked toward the fields at the east, I imagined how wonderful it would be to make some device which had even the possibility of ascending to Mars, and how it would look on a small scale, if sent up from the meadow at my feet.”

19 October 1899, folks – the day Robert Goddard climbed into a cherry tree and daydreamed about building a machine capable of travelling beyond our planet. His journals show that he thought of that date as his “Anniversary Day”, and labeled it as such for years afterwards.

Given that one-hundred and seven years have passed, I wish we’d made more progress – we’re still futzing around with chemical rockets and trying to ride columns of fire to the sky. But regardless; anyone who has visions of worlds beyond ours has had their line of sight improved by standing on Goddard’s shoulders.

Happy Anniversary Day, Dr. Goddard.

“Opening space to everyone”

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006

That’s certainly the dream of Liftport, the space-elevator company I’ve written about before – and it’s the subtitle of their recently-published, eponymously-titled book. I was given the privilege of downloading an advance copy to read and (ideally) review, which I did. Well, I finished the downloading and most of the reading parts, all with the best of intentions.

And I’m sorry, Brian – a PDF just ain’t the same thing as a book ;-) I got about 2/3 of the way through it before I got a little brown and toasty around the edges… 300+ pages of PDF, man! Maybe with an e-book reader that has the same form-factor and heft as a book it’d be easier, but until then, I think I’m a hard-copy guy. Dead trees: wasteful and inefficient, but still oh-so-satisfying…

So today I satisfied that urge. While I couldn’t make last night’s reading and signing at the UW Bookstore in Seattle (supper: 6:30PM; event: 7PM; bedtime for The Boy: 7:30PM. Wasn’t gonna happen.), I could (and did) swing by today to pick up a (signed! woo-hoo!) copy of the book. I don’t have the cash lying around to actually invest in Liftport, so until such time as I have that degree of discretionary income this is the least I can do…

So in a couple of days, I’ll have a review up. Really.