Future Travel Plans

There was a time when travel was sleek and sophisticated (and inaccessible). Frank Sinatra sang about flying. I remember finding an old PanAm in-flight service menu my grandfather ha kept in his attic. There was real food that you might actually want to eat. The newest installments in the NASA/JPL Visions of the Future poster series invite us to imagine travel across our solar system and the galaxy with nostalgia for the optimism of mid-20th Century travel and hope that the future of space exploration is sexier than The Martian.

It is not polite to talk about one’s “Chaos Regions” in public

You can argue that Pluto is not really a planet (really, at this point, why would you?), but the New Horizons probe has categorically dismissed any notion that Pluto and its associated moons are boring. Pluto has a “Chaos Region”. Boring things do not have “Chaos Regions”.


HT: Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing.

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.

Science for the People: Private Sector Space

sftp-square-fistonly-whitebgThis week, Science for the People is learning how private enterprise has jumped in to fill the gap left by shrinking government budgets for space exploration. They’re joined by journalist Elmo Keep, to talk about her article on Mars One, a nonprofit planning to make a reality show out of a one-way trip to colonize the red planet.  And they’ll get an update on the state of the for-profit space industry with Space News Senior Editor Jeff Foust.

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

Blast Off!

Finish this sentence, “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…”

Did you say, “Blast Off!” My wife and I both do. But, I suspect that our children won’t, because they will not grow up in an era heavily influenced by space shuttle launches.

I am an advocate for space exploration, but not necessarily manned space exploration. Still, this made me a little sad or nostalgic or it just made me feel old.

*If you start the countdown at 3, I invariably whisper “Contact” at the end.

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