Spaceflight

Category archives for Spaceflight

“Well, this is a thing unheard of. An Elf would go underground, where a Dwarf dare not. Oh, I’d never hear the end of it.” –Gimli, Lord of the Rings When you think about the different elements present here on Earth, I hope you think about the different ways they bind together, combine, and add…

How to soar on Venus (Synopsis)

“I remember as a kid having a balloon and accidentally letting the string go and watching it just float off and into the sky until it disappeared. And there’s something about that, even, that feels very much like what life is, you know, that it’s fleeting, and it’s temporal.” –Pete Docter So, you want to…

“Lost — yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.” –Horace Mann The beauty of a sunset (or sunrise) is rare and unique, happening but once a day for those of us on Earth. But aboard a spacecraft like the ISS,…

“Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we’ve ever known.” –Ronald Reagan Three years ago, Sally Ride — the first American woman in space — died of pancreatic cancer. This past week would have been her 64th birthday;…

“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”…