You would thing that the combination of astronaut and pop culture icon would result in some lowest-common-denominator banter abd idle chatter about green-skinned women. Instead, Shatner asks real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield about the U.S. space program and what life is like on a spaceship.
As commander of Skylab 4, NASA astronaut Jerry Carr has spent over 2000 hours in space, breaking the world record for individual time in space. In this animated TEDEd lecture, Carr recounts his life as an astronaut from the beginning of training to his first assignment as commander.
Diane Turnshek is an astronomer whose short fiction has been published in Analog Magazine and elsewhere. She teaches astronomy and experimental physics lab at Carnegie Mellon University and at the University of Pittsburgh “The Physics of Science Fiction” as well as astronomy. She’s a contributing author of Many Genres/One Craft, a 2011 award-winning book on writing. She has taught college writing classes, helped organize science fiction conferences, founded Alpha, the genre workshop for young writers, and ran the 2007 SFWA Nebula Awards in NYC. Diane has four stellar sons and an out-of-this-world boyfriend.
I am on Mars, at least that’s what it looks like here in the high desert of Utah. Six of us are living in the Mars Desert Research Station, a two-story cylindrical habitat 30 feet across with steep ladder stairs between floors. Our bunks are 4 by 11 feet and we share one bathroom. Why am I here for Christmas instead of home with my four children? For science.
We are pioneers, studying how humans could live on another planet. We’re in full sim. We eat rehydrated/dehydrated food, suffer a 20-minute lag time with communications, travel outside the Hab in spacesuits and ride ATVs in the red desert. We each pay for our travel and a flat fee for food and lodging, but what we get back is invaluable. We have forwarded the progress of science, taking humanity one small step closer to striding onto the surface of Mars.
I was very pleased to learn that yet another extrasolar planet has been discovered, this time closer to Earth than ever before. It turns out that Alpha Centauri, our closest neighboring star system, has an Earth-like planet. Yay! However, this sort of news never manages to totally counteract the conflicted feelings I have about our prospects for deep space exploration.
By Mike Poole | Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 at 10:00 am
Mike Poole is a part-time system administrator, part-time bookkeeper, full-time heavy box toter working in the backwoods of South Carolina. He spends his free time reading science fiction and trying to get this Facebook monkey off his back.
I don’t remember whose post I saw first. There were several, all saying basically the same thing. It was a lazy Saturday and I’d decided to put off the weekly mowing until Sunday, opting for a nap instead. I woke up late afternoon, grabbed a cup of coffee, and logged into Facebook for a quick meme fix. Instead, I got the news that Neil Armstrong was dead. I got as far as the first headline, then I started to cry and I just sat there and cried for a while.
I guess I should feel embarrassed and keep that to myself, a grown man sitting alone at his desk, crying like a little baby about the death of someone far away. It’s not like I knew him, not really, anyway. I never saw him in person or got to shake his hand. All I knew of him was the same PR published over and over throughout the years with ever decreasing regularity, a Wikipedia entry waiting for its final update. He was decades out of the public eye, famous for something many no longer think important enough to fuss over, some think never really happened, and even he felt was inappropriately focused on him. And yet, I don’t feel embarrassed at all. Not even just a little.
Reuters is that reporting that atsronaut Neil Armstrong has died at 82 years of age. Armstrong was the commander of the Apollo 11 mission and became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969.
Mining Asteroids! Has the future finally arrived? Is this B.S. or not B.S.? Scientist and Sci-Fi author David Brin breaks down the idea into its fascinating ideas, taking a look at how Planetary Resources is planning to obtain metals and fuel by mining asteroids.
The short is based on the Tomorrowland episodes of the Disneyland TV series (specifically Man in Space), showcasing artistic projections and live action dramatizations of a flying saucer invasion. It’s design comes entirely from the early space race and cold war period.
It’s probably not a stretch of the imagination to guess that science fiction fans tend to like science, nor is it a stretch to guess that Astronomy is a particular area of science that elicits interest. I thus welcomed the chance to take a look at the Journey to the Exoplanets, a multimedia iPad application that makes it fun to explore exoplanets (the planets outside our solar system).
This vigorous discussion on “Our Future In Space” featuring Phil Plait, Pamela Gay, Lawrence Krauss, Bill Nye, and Neil deGrasse Tyson was one of the most memorable moments at TAM 2011 Las Vegas. We invite you to enjoy the video of this great panel discussion
Via Space.com: “Astronomers using Europe’s HARPS telescope have discovered 50 new exoplanets orbiting nearby stars – including these 16 super-Earths, one of which lies within its star’s habitable zone”
Martha Wells is the author of nine fantasy novels, including The Wizard Hunters, The Ships of Air, and The Gate of Gods, and the Nebula-nominated The Death of the Necromancer. Her newest novel is The Cloud Roads, just released by Night Shade Books. Her next novel from Night Shade will be The Serpent Sea, coming out next year. Her publications also include two Stargate: Atlantis novels and several short stories.
NASA Up Close and Personal, for SF/F Writers and Editors
For the past few years, one of the perks for the guests of honor at ApolloCon, in Houston, Texas, is a VIP tour of NASA, led by Paul A. Abell, Lead Scientist for Planetary Small Bodies. If you are ever lucky enough to be offered the chance, you want to take this tour. Put on your comfortable shoes and leap into the car, because you don’t want to miss it! It takes about eight hours with a break for lunch, but it is worth every second. I was lucky enough to be an ApolloCon guest of honor this year, and took the tour the Thursday before the con started, with my husband and Ann VanderMeer, the ApolloCon editor guest of honor.
You do need a security clearance, and for each section a briefer/escort who works in that particular area will join you to give that part of tour and answer questions and be happy when you stare at everything with wide eyes and tell them how incredible it is.