Most people think that Star Trek-style nuclear rockets are a thing of the future, but the fact is we had them in the 1960s... and gave up on them.
Unless you call yourself a rocket scientist, you probably don't think your daily routine has much in common with flight software engineering. But you would be wrong. If you skip the bits about the flying, disregard the software and pay no attention to the engineering, then what you're left with is some amazingly useful life lessons.
Becoming an astronaut is easily the dream of many but sometimes that's all it ever is -- a dream. For Leland, who happens to be the 13th African American astronaut, that all became a reality through patience, hard work, and a knack for problem solving.
Navigation requires a reference frame. We need reference frames to tell us where we are with respect to other objects and we need reference frames to tell us how we are oriented with respect to other objects. There is no single universal frame that is used for all operations.
The 30th season of Survivor, premieres on February 25th. For 15 years, I have indulged in my guilty pleasure of watching castaways try to outwit, outlast and outplay each other for a million dollars.
Here you have it. In the next few centuries, we can colonize the solar system in any number of different ways using largely conventional technology extended to meet the reasonable challenges of week-long hope to Mars, Saturn or elsewhere.
In recent years, it seems that the allure of space has once again captured the minds of a generation.
Last Saturday night at Stanford University, I had the honor of publicly debating the world's leading anarcho-primitivist philosopher John Zerzan. As a transhumanist, I differ from Zerzan on just about every topic.
Space travel. Bitcoin payments. Suites on airplanes. Some trends just keeping popping up on our news feeds time and time again. Some of these are fantastic and others... not so much.
The science is laid on with a mallet, beating you into acceptance with every gibberish-sounding theory possible. I am not saying it is not all true. I don't know. I just know I didn't understand anything past the first worm hole reference.
Any technology we have today, or any extension of it that we can actually build, will not match the challenge of interstellar travel, especially at a price human society will care to pay. Here is what I recommended instead.
It took around 60 years to get from the Wright Brothers in 1903 to airliners that had modern levels of risk. While we might compress the timeframe, it is not going to happen for spaceflights in a year or two.
Cast into space on September 5, 1977, from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. And mounted on a Titan IIIE/Centaur launch vehicle, Voyager-1 is now the farthest human-made object from Earth at 17,922,521,702 km (119.80465777 au).
Thinking about whether a particular set of religious practices or beliefs would make sense on a different planet might be a valuable exercise in understanding ourselves.
I have been an avid science fiction reader all my life, but as an astronomer for over half my life, the essential paradox of my fantasy world can no longer be maintained. Basically, science tells us that traveling fast enough to make interstellar travel possible requires more money than society will ever be able to invest in the attempt.
Having worked in the spaceflight industry for just under 20 years, I can testify that for an industry full of rocket scientists, we can be a pretty sentimental bunch.