Blog Archives

First Steps to Deep Space

Tomorrow (December 4th) morning at 7:05 am EST, the first uncrewed test flight of NASA’s new human spacecraft will lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. For those of us who remember the Apollo moon flights of the

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Posted in human spaceflight, Spacecraft

What “Gravity” Gets Wrong

Let’s establish a few things at the very beginning. I love movies about space. I quite happily go along with improbabilities like warp drives, phasers, Vulcan mind melds and the concept that every extraterrestrial species we encounter will be remarkably

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Is Interplanetary Space Too Hot For Humans?

Radioactively hot, that is. While the Curiosity Mars Rover was cruising for eight months between Earth and Mars, one of the instruments aboard was measuring the radiation levels encountered along the way. The Radiation Assessment Detector—RAD—was inside the spacecraft, shielded

Posted in human spaceflight, Mars, Solar System, Spacecraft

Warning: 14-Year-Old Geek Ahead

Most people my age who have wound up in some sort of a science-related career (and many who have not) can trace their excitement about the subject to the space programs of the late 1950s and 1960s. I’m no exception.

Posted in human spaceflight, John Glenn, Lynchburg College, Mars, Solar System

The “What Ifs?” of Science Fiction

If someone were to ask people who have one way or another made a career out of science or technology what they read in their childhood, the chances are very good that the common thread would be science fiction. I

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Posted in human spaceflight, Planets, Solar System

Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Anyone above the age of 50 remembers where they were when Neil Armstrong took his famous one small step on the moon. It was the culmination of an age-old dream, to fly through the sky and to set foot on

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Godspeed, John Glenn

When I was six years old, I wanted to be what every other six-year-old boy wanted to be in Texas—a cowboy. When I was eleven years old, I wanted to be what every kid in America wanted to be—an astronaut.

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Posted in human spaceflight, John Glenn, Spacecraft