The Shape of Starships to Come

This may be a controversial statement, but any ship large enough to support a crew is too large to be a realistic option for interstellar travel. Space is big, unfathomably big, and the problem of venturing between stars has occupied theorists for quite a long time, leading to some audacious proposals. To see how vast... Continue Reading →

Sci-Fi Film Review: Apollo 18 (2011)

In 1970 the final three Apollo flights---18, 19, and 20---were cancelled, victims of the penny-pinching Nixon administration, and their hardware was either shelved or used for the Skylab program. As a result, only twelve humans from six missions have walked on the Moon. Or so the government would have you believe. I've recently rewatched Apollo 18,... Continue Reading →

TMK-E: The Nuclear Mars Train

Last week I posted a review of the 1963 film A Dream Come True, about a Soviet expedition to Mars, and today I'm going to share the Mars mission the Soviets were actually planning when that movie came out. It was... ambitious, to say the least. "Nuclear-powered Mars train from pole to pole" levels of ambitious.... Continue Reading →

That Time the USAF Nearly Nuked the Moon

The Space Race was a wild time, especially in its early years, when the United States was shocked and humiliated by Sputnik and Gagarin, and threw money at various insane ways to take the lead. I've already written about the proposed one-way trip to the Moon; other highlights include an inflatable re-entry pod and flying to... Continue Reading →

Book Review: The Killing Star

Here we will explore how not to write a science fiction novel. Now, I really wanted to like The Killing Star. Pellegrino and Zebrowski's novel is beloved in some sci-fi circles, and I can see why: their vision of the galaxy is a brutal place, where any civilization becomes an existential threat the moment it develops... Continue Reading →

The New Antarctica

Somewhere between the current human presence in the space—zilch, save for three people aboard the ISS—and the most ambitious, wide-eyed, optimistic visions for colonization—Musk's million people on Mars, Bezos' trillions throughout the solar system—there's a middle ground where we work on and explore other planets, but inhabit them only in the same sense that we... Continue Reading →

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