Science for the People: Impossible Space

sftpThis week Science for the People is exploring the limits of science exploration in both fictional and fact. We’re joined by “lifelong space nerd” Andy Weir, to talk about his debut novel The Martian (and soon to be film, trailer below), that pits human invenitveness and ingenuity against the unforgiving environment of the red planet. And astrophysicist and science blogger Ethan Siegel returns to explore so-called “impossible space engines“, and what news stories about them can teach us about journalism and science literacy.

*Josh provides research & social media help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.

No sign of life

If you read news reports, you would think that the only point of sending the Curiosity rover to Mars is to search for extraterrestrial life. Therefore, I suggest, that after every test it conducts Curiosity play the chorus of OK Go’s “No Sign of Life”. This will make it easier for the journalists to understand the results, but also carries a sense of optimism for the future.

No sign of life, no sign of life, no sign of life, no sign
But I got a hunch, oh, it’s not over yet, oh, it’s not over yet Continue reading “No sign of life”

Skycranes >> Ospreys

I had a nightmare last night. A very nerdy nightmare*.

During the space shuttle’s ascent in to low earth orbit, I was dropped out of the space shuttle’s cargo bay strapped to an osprey. Somehow, both the osprey and I survived our descent. I know what you are thinking. The poor osprey’s wings should have snapped into pieces the moment it tried to provide lift for the two of us. This, my friends, was a key point in my complaint to the NASA authorities. I also suspected that my publicly stated preference for unmanned space exploration was a factor in the decision to drop me into the upper atmosphere. I have no idea what the osprey did to piss NASA off. Continue reading “Skycranes >> Ospreys”

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