How many people are needed for a space colony?

Shifting Reality is set in a space station orbiting Epsilon Eridani b. The planet, which my characters call Sarasvati, is a gas giant which I have given rings, and the station’s main industry is the harvest of ice from these rings for the production of water, oxygen and fuel. The…

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Choosing a landing spot for the Mars Curiosity rover

Adapted from a talk given at #CSIROTweetup by Marion Anderson School for Geosciences Monash University. Marion is an incredibly passionate speaker and Australian ambassador for space science. Marion is a geologist, and was involved with site selection for the Curiosity landing. Our understanding of Mars has changed a lot in…

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#CSIROTweetup in photos

A few pictures of the Tweetup event (explanation of what this event is in this post) ETA: An official report of the event is now up here These are some general overview pictures. Others will follow when I cover some of the subjects we heard about and discussed. Seen from…

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Mars Curiosity Tweetup in Canberra!

On 25 November 2011, NASA will launch the Mars Science Laboratory mission in the form of the rover known as Curiosity, which will be the third such rover to be trundling about the red planet. Curiosity (follow on Twitter as @MarsCuriosity) is larger than the previous two, Spirit, which famously…

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Space flight in Science Fiction: getting off this rock

Image: the last Shuttle lift-off in May 2011. Image snarfed from the amazing APOD site. I’ve just finished reading a book I won’t mention, for the reason that it describes something that’s impossible and inaccurate, would never be practical in the way described, and I don’t want to single out…

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Terraforming Mars or Venus?

In an earlier post, I described the difficulty a small planet, like Mars, faces when people are trying to terraform it: the planet simply doesn’t have enough gravity to hang onto the gases we need to survive. Some people suggested that maybe instead of Mars, we might look at Venus,…

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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…

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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…

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