Can we undo the eco-damage we’ve been doing, as a species?

I lament the way that humans have trampled through the Earth’s fragile environment. We’ve already destroyed a lot of habitats, and with it a dismaying number of species. You can be sure we’ll destroy a lot more before we fall into extinction ourselves, which is where we’re obviously heading if we carry on as we … More Can we undo the eco-damage we’ve been doing, as a species?

The cool steampunkish bit about ‘Battlestar Galactica’

The other day I stumbled across a fan-site description of the warships portrayed in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica (2004-09). And something struck me. Sci-fi ships usually derive from an ocean-going ‘conceptual model’ – ‘space dreadnoughts’, ‘space battlecruisers’, ‘destroyers’ and the rest. The ‘conceptual model’ for Galactica was apparently the hybrid carrier-battleship of the kind contemplated … More The cool steampunkish bit about ‘Battlestar Galactica’

Five cool things about TRAPPIST-1 and its seven worlds

It’s SO COOL that we’ve found seven rocky and (broadly) Earth-sized planets orbiting a red dwarf star just 39 light years away. How cool? I’m talking leap in the air and shout ‘this is totally fucking uber-cool‘ scale cool. It’s exciting like nothing else astronomical for a long while. It’s – well, figure this: it’s … More Five cool things about TRAPPIST-1 and its seven worlds

Why do we always see an apocalypse around the next corner?

A retired Professor from the University of Arizona, Guy McPherson, told an audience in New Zealand last year that the human race will be extinct from climate change in a decade. Except here. Apparently we’re well placed at the bottom of the South Pacific to survive. And there’s a precedent. Until the 1280s, for the … More Why do we always see an apocalypse around the next corner?

The Earth isn’t flat, but the universe might be

One of the great appeals to me of cosmology isn’t so much what we learn about the universe, as what we learn about ourselves. Take the shape of the universe, for example. Cosmologists have long wondered about it. What is the overall structure of the space-time continuum with its myriad galaxies, including ours? The actual … More The Earth isn’t flat, but the universe might be

Earth’s comet apocalypse at the hands of Gliese 710

Every so often we’re told that a rogue star or planet known as Niblick or Niburu, or some similar gibberish, is about to cause the apocalypse. Earth’s going to be whacked in 1984, 1987, 1999, 2012, 2018, apparently, with all the effect of a nine-iron on a golf ball, and NASA are hiding the truth … More Earth’s comet apocalypse at the hands of Gliese 710

Breakfast in space, on an asteroid, in a tin can

The other day I picked up an interesting snippet about the likely breakfast menu on NASA’s upcoming Orion spacecraft. Because the vehicle is weight- and volume-critical, there are going to be problems packing enough food in for the expected 28-30 day duration asteroid investigation missions. The same issue also applies to storing the – er … More Breakfast in space, on an asteroid, in a tin can