News and Commentary on Space
The clouds and greenery (such as it is) distract from the impression here, but the geothermal taps at Krafla struck me as looking a lot like the infrastructure one might expect to see near a settlement on the Moon or Mars. The offworld resemblance wasn’t only in the incompletely-terraformed appearance of the landscape.
This sounds a lot more intriguing than it probably is:
US military’s top secret X-37B shuttle ‘disappears’ for two weeks, changes orbit
Since then, the X-37B been arguably the least-secret secret project on the planet, as fellow backyard astronomers joined in the scrutiny, aided by how-to video guides and apps such as the Simple Satellite Tracker.
That is, they did until July 29, when the shuttle disappeared, causing all kinds of consternation and conspiracy theories about its fate.
It took amateur skywatcher Greg Roberts of Cape Town, South Africa, who noticed that it failed to appear as scheduled above his base on August 14, another five days to find it.
When he did, he noticed it was some 30km higher and on a different trajectory, according to calculations from other colleagues in Rome and Oklahoma.
The X-37B’s new track means it takes six days to pass the same spot on Earth, as opposed to its original four-day track.
So it can maneuver, which is interesting but not unexpected. The hype, though, made me think of an old short story from Analog, Jerry Oltion’s “The Getaway Special”
A certified Mad Scientist invents a hyperdrive which can be built out of spare parts and can instantaneously teleport an arbitrary spherical volume of space and all it contains into a vacuum…
Because he’s immensely rich from having invented the perfect battery, he hires space on a Space Shuttle to test his drive – in a Getaway Special shuttle experiment canister – and tests it by taking the shuttle and crew on an unanticipated jaunt.
Heh. If only.
A slightly-marsified version of one of my Iceland pics, from the wastelands near Emstrur.
It was easy to see why NASA sent Apollo astronauts to train here.
Finally getting the time to post more of my Iceland pictures on Flickr. Aside from the clouds and the sparse moss, one could picture a vista like this on Mars:
As I upload the pictures, I’m also adding any especially un-Earth-like shots to a separate set which I will publish here later. The set will include some shots I got of various geothermal installations, which (like the landscapes) look an awful lot like what I would expect some of the industrial parts of a Mars settlement to look like.
Having just spent three weeks in close quarters in a Mars-like environment, this survey on attitudes towards Mars settlement conditions from Jon Goff (who I may actually meet in person this week) seems well-timed.
My answers to the primary questions:
My answers to the “control” questions:
A young girl sets out to prove herself by resolving a long-forgotten mystery. But when she gets close to the truth, what she thought was a harmless adventure becomes a threat to the future of the independent commercial settlements on Mars.