The Many Planets of TRAPPIST-1

Wherever you see an alien planet in sci-fi films or television, there's always something weird going on in the sky. How else would you know you're not looking at Earth? So in everything from Avatar to Star Wars we get double stars, panoplies of moons, other planets in the same system---so many disks visible even... Continue Reading →

Icy Mysteries of Europa

I originally had another topic planned for today---it was written and scheduled, and of course I will still upload it at some point---but then my area had a rare winter storm, blanketing everything in ice and snow, and I thought to myself that it would be appropriate to do a blog post on Europa, one... Continue Reading →

The Cosmic Weirdness of Neutron Stars

Space is rather more prosaic than we usually see in fiction. Star Trek postulates a galaxy stuffed to the brim with exciting bumpy-forehead humanoids; we're much more likely to find pond scum. The more nightmarish sci-fi visions are probably off the table, too---a lifeform from a totally different planet would be unable to parasitize a... Continue Reading →

The Cosmic Dark Ages

Happy 2021! A new year dawns, as tends to occur every January. Opportunities beckon, fresh challenges present themselves, and, perhaps, hope dares to appear after the nightmare of 2020... it is certainly quite the time to be alive. Anyway, on to the post! One thing that you'll find to be conspicuously absent on this site... Continue Reading →

NASA’s Dragonfly: A Quadcopter on Titan

A couple posts ago, I reviewed a book about an expedition to Titan---arguably the most interesting celestial body in the Solar System---and I'd like to continue in that theme this week, turning my attention to a real, official Titan exploration project under development at NASA: the Dragonfly mission. Dragonfly will be a quadcopter aircraft sent... Continue Reading →

Guest Post: Orbital Momentum as a Commodity

Hello, everyone! Today I have a guest post by my friend Eamon K. Minges, author of the upcoming novel Paradigm's End from Kindle Direct Press. He'll be examining various energy-efficient methods of orbital launch, comparing their merits, and discussing their possible applications. With no further ado: Part 1: Tsiolkovsky's Tyranny For over sixty years, humans... 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 →

Space History: The Lunar Orbiters

Post by Nic Quattromani: The Apollo missions, as intrepid as they were, did not venture into wholly uncharted territory. By the time Neil Armstrong famously planted his boots in the lunar soil, a whole fleet of US spacecraft had already explored and mapped out the globe of the Moon in meticulous detail. There were the... Continue Reading →

An Obituary for Kepler

Post by Nic Quattromani: I’ve got some tragic news to share today: NASA’s Kepler space telescope, formerly our premier planet-hunter floating in the sky, has ceased operations. This was not due to any technical failure aboard the craft. Rather, it simply ran out of fuel, rendering it unable to conduct stationkeeping or even orient itself... Continue Reading →

Eyeball Worlds

Post by Nic Quattromani: Tidal locking is one of the more interesting phenomena in the realm of speculative fiction, partly because it clashes with our terracentric ideas of what a planet should look like. While our comfortable, spinning Earth has two icecaps sandwiching a hot equatorial region, its tidally locked counterpart, called an “eyeball world”... Continue Reading →

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