Tag Archives: Space Exploration

Tips on Isolation from Astronauts

It’s week two of a lot of us Americans staying at home. Per historian and librarian recommendation, I am keeping a journal during this time. Lesson plans and activities are set up for the kids. We’re doing our best to make sure Jabberwocky Audio Theater continues as planned for this year. And of course, there’s some home projects that are rearing both their practical and sanity-based heads.

In the face of all this, it can be kind of overwhelming, so it’s been nice see the take on some isolation subject matter experts: astronauts. Former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has a nice quick two-minute video that might help you feel a bit more centered:

And if you want a longer, written take, former astronaut Scott Kelly has a great piece in the New York Times that covers some of the same topics in detail. I especially appreciate the idea of pacing oneself.

That’s no moon. Oh wait, yes it is!

February 29th is sort of a little bonus of a day, so perhaps in line with thinking about traveling to the moon early this week, there’s more space news.

In fact, we have a second moon. No, really. Our planet has a temporary second natural satellite. See the coverage from New Scientist, NBC News, and Mental Floss. Now granted it’s not big enough to land on (it’s about the size of a car) and it won’t be parked in our orbit forever, but all you picayune trivia buffs rejoice!

Earth -> Moon -> Mars… or Mars Direct?

Although I don’t have a huge number of posts on the site about space exploration, it remains something I always like to follow.

I mean, some of this should be obvious given the whole writing science fiction thing. The writing doesn’t exist in a vacuum, as it were. A couple years ago, I read a number of science fiction (and straight science) pieces about Mars, but I suppose I just scratched the dry, red soil surface.

So I read this recent piece by Marina Koren in The Atlantic about the current NASA planning around getting to Mars with great interest. I especially liked some of the details of the different plans people have about getting to Mars.

One Giant Leap

This past weekend, there were numerous celebrations and commemorations of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

I was lucky enough to be able to go to the National Mall where they had a special presentation –including a projection onto the Washington Monument itself– celebrating the achievement.

I posted on social media then that no video or pictures could do it justice (and for people to try and make it to the later showings that night or the following night). However, for countless people not in the DC area, that just wasn’t a possibility, so I’m happy to share a video captured of the event:

After you’ve tackled that, there’s also some behind-the-scenes fun:

Now that’s motivation!

Video

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?