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 →
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 →
A couple months ago I wrote about Michael Moreci's novel Black Star Renegades, and, as chance had it, the author himself took note—he sent me an ARC of the sequel, We Are Mayhem, for me to review. Here is that review: We Are Mayhem is a worthy follow-up to Black Star Renegades. It excels in the same areas... Continue Reading →
Well, it looks like it's been almost a month since I last posted, but the hectic days of midterms and Thanksgiving break are behind me, now, and I can give this blog the attention it deserves. I'll start things up again with a review of the newest book on my shelf: Andy Weir's Artemis. This tale... Continue Reading →
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 →
Very interesting article from the Science Geek, about what exactly we’re going to do about that vast, aging, and expensive piece of hardware we’ve got sitting in LEO. My personal hope is that we can boost the ISS into a high orbit and use it as a museum; failing that, a controlled reentry would make for some interesting fireworks.
After the Soyuz spacecraft failed to get into orbit on 11 October 2018, it looked like Soyuz flights to the ISS might be on hold for a period of time and that the ISS would even need to be temporarily abandoned. Fortunately this has proved not to be the case and the next Soyuz will fly to the ISS on 3 December 2018.
Soyuz MS spacecraft docked to the ISS – image from NASA
Although this is good news for now, the future of the ISS is uncertain beyond 2024. In February 2018, the White House indicated that NASA would cease to receive government funding for the ISS by 2025. If this is enforced, billions of dollars will need to come from private companies, and other countries benefiting from the ISS will need to make a much greater contribution to the costs.
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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 →
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 →
Post by Nic Quattromani: I’ve discovered a surprising craving lately, for straightforward—perhaps derivative—storytelling. Of course I appreciate sleekly inventive settings and genre deconstructions as much as the next nerd, but the problem is that that’s all we’ve been getting lately. Nowadays, to follow in the footsteps of another work is looked down upon as trite,... Continue Reading →