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The “Senator V”: NASA’s New Big Monster Rocket

Over at Pajamas, Rand Simberg looks at the political and technical disaster that is the Senate Launch System (aka ‘the Rocket to Nowhere’).

I’m hardly naïve when it comes to the capacity for dishonesty and self-delusion among politicians, but the brazenness of these shenanigans is still breathtaking. Nobody wants this vehicle. Nobody needs this […]

RIP John Steakley

John Steakley, author of Armor and Vampire$, has died.

Funny, Armor was one of my favorite science fiction books growing up, and one of the first I read after really getting into the genre (and after consuming everything by Larry Niven I could get my hands on), and I just re-read it about two weeks […]

Farming in the Sky explores an interesting question: Can We Grow Crops on Other Planets?

The answer is obviously “yes”, it’s just a matter of how. The article primarily discusses soil composition (along with the philosophical question of what, exactly, “soil” is), leaving out hydroponics and aeroponics.

In Labyrinth, we have taken the position that farming on Mars […]

New Life for X-34?

Wired seems to think so: Grounded NASA Space Plane Poised for Comeback?

There were probably more reasons for the cancellation than were publicly admitted to than just the engine difficulties. But if that’s all there was, it’s interesting to note (as others have) that SpaceX’s original Merlin-1 engine is in the same thrust class as […]

What If Earth Had Rings?

[h/t Eileen]

New Amateur Video of the Challenger Disaster

This has been out for a while now – don’t know how I missed it. “That’s trouble of some kind, George!”

Extremophiles on Mars

Well, not exactly – more like terrestrial microbes living in harsh environments like those Mars likely had some time back.

Minerals on Mars studied by the NASA rovers suggest water once flowed on the planet’s surface, but was very salty and acidic, raising doubts about whether it could have supported life.

But in 2007, Melanie […]

Before the Fall

Last night, I finally got around to watching the pilot episode for SciFi’s* new series Caprica. For those who don’t know, it’s a prequel to the recently (and horribly) ended Battlestar Galactica, set 58 years before the events of that series in the titular city.

So far, so good. After being grievously disappointed with the […]

Could Be Worse

I was going to complain about getting trapped in Milwaukee overnight by high winds here and blizzard conditions elsewhere (our plane out got stuck in Racine and never came in). And how I couldn’t upload pics from my Blackberry of the arctic conditions outside my hotel room last night. But at least our flight made […]

Snow…in December…in New Orleans

That’s Michoud across the street there…somewhere…

[thanks to Eileen for posting the pics yesterday]