Tag Archives: Space Exploration


Space: Above and Beyond the Myths

Astronaut Chris Hadfield debunks some myths about space in a wonderfully wonky first-hand way that only he can do. If you’re worried about cooking tomorrow’s turkey just right, remember, you can’t do as bad as exposing it to the hard vacuum of space. I’ll let him explain:


Get your ass to Mars! (But first, lawyer up)

I could say I was always interested in space law, but honestly, I didn’t think about it too much until my Dad decided to do his law school thesis on the laws relating to geosynchronous satellites. It made me appreciate how complex space law can be. However, much like Burkina Faso‘s strident claims to the geostationary space above it, many of the issues seemed the epitome of academic. When would there be the possibility of any case?

So it was entertaining to read Maggie Koerth-Baker’s piece in FiveThirtyEight about the coming need to sort out laws that will govern the exploration and colonization of Mars. All of a sudden, these abstract thought exercises don’t seem so abstract. We’re going to need to figure these legal knots out in relative short order. This, of course, assumes we should try to go to Mars.

What are the odds these topics will be covered at a future Escape Velocity? Very, very high (if I or Burkina Faso have anything to say about it).

Alpha Centauri or Bust

In a world obsessed with “maximizing shareholder value,” it’s nice to know that money can mix with imagination and do great things.

Enter Yuri Milner, tech billionaire who wants us to get a probe to Alpha Centauri, stat. Okay, it’s more of a generational thing, but let’s face it: we have to figure out how to become more than a one-planet civilization sooner rather than later. Interstellar scouting missions don’t accomplish that, but they do keep us thinking outward.

And when we’re talking about space exploration and habitable planets, you have to start delving into whether there are other sentient species out there. That raises a question discussed in another Atlantic article earlier today: should we shroud ourselves or announce our presence?