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 →

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 →

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 →

Book Review: Artemis

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 →

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 →

Space News: ICESat-2

Post by Nic Quattromani: You know it’s a breathtaking time to be alive when you can Google “space news” and count on dozens of fascinating results instantly flowing into your browser. One such news story, which escaped my attention because Earth science escapes everybody’s attention, is the recent launch of NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land... 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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