Entering space

Entering Space by Robert Zubrin Another book I would highly recommend for writers of science fiction. This book goes through the history of space flight, the basics of rocket flight, realistic directions for the future of space flight, and a few pie-in-the-sky ones as well. Want to know the realistic…

Continue reading

Aliens and Alien Societies

Aliens and Alien Societies Stanley Schmidt, edited by Ben Bova People often ask where to start reading up on factors to consider in worldbuilding, and I think this book should be up there with the advice to use sites like Wikipedia. In each chapter, it goes through a different aspects…

Continue reading

Communication in space

Electromagnetic waves, whether gamma ray, microwave, radio or visible light frequencies, travel through vacuum at the speed of—well, uhm—light. When on Earth, this means communication is pretty much instant. If the distance travelled in one second by a photon, a light particle, were a string, it would wrap around the…

Continue reading

What would earth be like without the Moon?

The search for terrestrial extrasolar planets in the habitable zone of stars suggests that these planets may not be all that rare. However, examination of the solar system points to the fact that planets with a satellite similar to the Moon are probably a lot less common. It is massive…

Continue reading

Why should we colonise space?

This is, of course, a very good question. It seems that at the moment no one has a satisfactory answer. Space travel is expensive, it’s risky, only few people appear to benefit directly, for a questionable gain, and there are more ‘worthy’ causes to spend our money, so why indeed…

Continue reading

Exoplanets: could Alpha Centauri have any?

My fiction recently gave me cause to examine interstellar travel. Many writers tend to shy away from the reality that we’re a long way from anywhere. It’s too hard, too intimidating, too depressing. I, too, have done the wormhole thing, you know, where your characters can zip between worlds, but…

Continue reading

what makes a habitable planet?

Red dwarf and planet. Image pilfered from the Hubble Space telescope site, a great source of space pictures, all of which are free to use. Last week, scientists analysing data obtained by the Keck ‘planethunting’ observatory (located at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii) revealed data about the GJ 581…

Continue reading

The next step: should we go to Mars?

From a Worldcon panel Race to the Red planet with science fiction writers Kim Stanley Robinson and David Levine and physicist Jim Benford, identical twin brother of science fiction writer Greg Benford (who was also at the con, which made for plenty of confusion). It’s a fact that humanity already…

Continue reading