Once more on the search for exoplanets, and Alpha Centauri

This morning I came across this very interesting article on the Centauri Dreams website. By the way, Centauri Dreams, the website of the Tau Zero Foundation, is a very rich source for writers of realistic SF, especially in relation to planetary exploration and interstellar travel. The article summarises results and…

Continue reading

Packing for Mars

by Mary Roach This book is worth reading simply for the laughs. It covers all the niggle and naughty little details about space flight, backed up with details from NASA files. The books focuses on weird and whacky details. Did you know, for example, that rabbits are the only animals…

Continue reading

The Starflight Handbook

by Eugene F. Mallove Another classic reference for the SF writer. Covers all technical aspects of space flight in a format that is not too hard for non-physicists, although this book does cover a bit more detail than others mentioned here. Most of the discussions focus on principles and restrictions…

Continue reading

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?

A post based on my recent reading of some of these books. That 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…

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