To Long for the Endless Immensity of Space

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

In light of yesterday’s positive post about “I can” and shedding limitting beliefs, let me propose that we can go back to the moon, on to Mars, the asteroids, and any other destinations in space that we want to. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s expensive. But also yes, we can be the first species to […]

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Ten Terrific Resources for Writing Space-Based Hard Science Fiction

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

I wrote this entry as a guest post for the SFWA blog, and it is now available there.  I’ll include it here as well below.   For long-time and regular readers, you’ll see elements of previous posts.  I’ve culled together ten things that I think are helpful resources (a few of these “things” actually include multiple […]

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What’s Really Wrong with our Space Policy

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

There are issues about private industry vs. government, moon vs. Mars, each country for itself or in collaboration, etc., but these, I feel, pale in comparison with the real issue. This week President Obama signed the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, a 3 year plan for NASA’s spending that also clarifies NASA priorities for the […]

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Why Should We Colonize Space?

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

It came up in a post last week (and follow-up comments, thanks James Nicoll!) that E. O. Wilson thinks it would be a bad idea to colonize space, apparently because this is a “ruinously expensive” way to deal with overpopulation.   The big space colony days were in the 1970s, after we’d landed men on the […]

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It’s Got to be Tough to be an Astronaut (Poll on Future of Manned Space Program)

Friday, June 11th, 2010

I have mixed feelings about the path Obama has chosen to take with NASA.   I hate it when discussions develop along mindless political lines, like how some conservatives say that private industry is always better than the government (it is sometimes but not other times), how some liberals and libertarians think that the government has […]

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The Sound and the Fury about Stephen Hawking’s Alien Warning

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Last night I caught the much discussed Discovery Channel episode of Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking dealing with aliens. The initial clip on the website is “Fear the Aliens” which is the controversial bit.   Hawking, unlike Carl Sagan, apparently thinks that we would have much to fear from technologically advanced aliens and that we […]

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Would You Accept a One-Way Ticket to Mars?

Friday, September 4th, 2009

This is the question that Lawrence Krauss asked few days ago in a New York Times op-ed.   He suggested that quite a lot of engineer and astronaut types would be willing to take a trip to Mars, to stay, without expectations of a return voyage home. This plan has two significant merits. First, it makes […]

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An Alternative to the other Star Trek Future

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Last week I asked whether or not the Star Trek future was possible, the part of the series that postulates human beings can set aside their prejudices, solve their problems with each other to eradicate poverty and war, and to join together to explore the universe. Well, that exploration part is very challenging to do […]

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Movie Scenes with People Exposed to Vacuum

Monday, March 16th, 2009

I’m working on my seminar about science in the movies, and one of the concepts discussed will be what happens when you chuck someone out an airlock without a space suit.     We know what happens.   There was a poor guy who had an accident in a high-altitude chamber in the 1960s and lived to tell […]

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Mind-Meld on Science Fiction’s Effects on Enthusiasm for Space Exploration

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Over at, there’s a new Mind-Meld topic I’m participating in: Q: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin said fantastic space science fiction shows and movies are partly responsible for the lack of interest in real-life space exploration among young people. Do you agree with this assessment? Why? In addition to myself, participants include Larry Niven, David Brin, […]

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Mars Forever?

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Buzz Aldrin is at it again. He’s making the case that we should send people to Mars, but not bring them home.   He thinks we should go into space for good, for real, for the duration.   Well, maybe they could return at retirement age if it’s feasible by then. I am sympathetic to this idea.   […]

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Does Science Fiction Dampen Interest in Space Exploration?

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Here’s the brief article quoting Buzz Aldrin: I blame the fantastic and unbelievable shows about space flight and rocket ships that are on today.   All the shows where they beam people around and things like that have made young people think that that is what the space program should be doing. It’s not realistic…if you […]

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