Spaceflight

Category archives for Spaceflight

“A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with.” –Tennessee Williams The depiction of dying in space — by exposure to its terrifying vacuum — is incredibly varied, from freezing to swelling and bulging to simply exploding. For this week’s Ask Ethan, we take on…

“Even in hindsight, I would not change one whit of the Voyager experience. Dreams and sweat carried it off. But most of all, its legacy makes us all Earth travelers among the stars.” –Charley Kohlhase It’s a taxing enough task to launch something off the surface of the Earth, escaping our planet’s gravity and finding…

“This Administration has never really faced up to where we are going in space… As a result, NASA is both drifting and lobbying for bigger things — without being able to focus realistically on what it should be doing.” –White House staff assistant Clay Thomas Whitehead, February 1971 What should we be doing with respect to our…

The Physics of Wormholes (Synopsis)

If you wanted to travel to the stars — and by that, I mean star systems beyond our own — you’d better be prepared to take your sweet time. Even at the speeds the Apollo astronauts traveled to the Moon, it would take millions of years to reach even the next nearest star beyond our own,…

“We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.” –Bill Anders, Apollo 8 astronaut When you think about the most amazing sights available to humanity here on Earth, you probably don’t think about leaving Earth in order to capture them. But sometimes, doing exactly that…

“You can’t cheat an honest man. Never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump.” –W.C. Fields Well, it was bound to happen. A bad science story — a story of illegitimate science with all the right buzzwords — has gone viral. By now, you, too, have probable heard about the “impossible”…

“Geologists have a saying: rocks remember.” –Neil Armstrong 45 years ago, the Apollo 11 mission was on its way away from planet Earth and headed towards the Moon, where the first human beings would set foot on the surface just a few days later. Back in 2012, the very first man on the Moon, Neil…

“Some prophecies are self-fulfilling But I’ve had to work for all of mine Better times will come to me, God willing Cause I can’t leave this world behind” –Josh Ritter Sure, many of us have dreams of leaving this world at one time or another. How wonderful it would be to leap from one giant…

“I saw for the first time the earth’s shape. I could easily see the shores of continents, islands, great rivers, folds of the terrain, large bodies of water. The horizon is dark blue, smoothly turning to black. . . the feelings which filled me I can express with one word—joy.” -Yuri Gagarin Most weekends, you…

“There is just one thing I can promise you about the outer-space program — your tax-dollar will go further.” –Wernher von Braun Over the past 100 years, we’ve gone from looking out at a Universe whose very nature — the stars, nebulae, and even the planets — were virtually unknown to us. And because of the investment…