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 →

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 →

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 →

Blast From The Past: Project Echo Still Echoing

Post by AJ Rise: Here’s a little bit of neat space technology history: Project Echo was one of the earliest experiments in satellite communication, launched in the 1960s, and it paved the way for communicating satellites, which remain essential to our everyday lives. Echo 1 was the very first passive communications satellite to be launched... Continue Reading →

How to Grow a Treehouse in Space

Post by AJ Rise: Biology’s reputation as a “soft” science is ill-deserved. It’s a field of many wonders still unknown to mankind, and endless possibility. I think it likely that many of the technological advancements in the near future will be rooted in the deep study of living systems. Millions of years of evolution have... Continue Reading →

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