What happens when you wake up naked in outer space…

One of the genius moments in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey comes when Dave Bowman, locked out of the Discovery in a ‘pod’, without his suit helmet, re-enters anyway, via the emergency airlock. He’s unprotected in vacuum – but he doesn’t die instantly, or freeze, or explode the way people usually do in movies when… More What happens when you wake up naked in outer space…

Imaginings about imaginary imagination, tulips and climate

I have always been fascinated by the human ability to make what we imagine seem real. And then to take that reality and imagine something else built on it, and so on. Eventually, we build a ‘reality’ that is built not on physical evidence, but on our chain of imagined concepts – which society picks… More Imaginings about imaginary imagination, tulips and climate

Albert’s a spoilsport when it comes to going interstellar

The problem with going interstellar is that the distances involved are huge. Couple that with the fact that our friend Albert Einstein imposed an annoying speed limit on the universe, and going even to the nearest star at light-speed is going to take 4.3 years, Earth time. That’s always supposing you can get your rocket to… More Albert’s a spoilsport when it comes to going interstellar

Saturn’s no longer the Lord of the Rings…

Back in 2007, a science team under Eric Mamajek of the University of Rochester announced something unusual – a giant world, orbiting the star 1SWASP J140747.93-394542.6 with a ring system so immense it makes Saturn’s look like a kiddie toy. This world – officially known as 1SWASP J140747.93-394542.6b to differentiate it from its star  1SWASP… More Saturn’s no longer the Lord of the Rings…

Of the sense of wonder that casts light into the darkness

This post begins on a personal note. My Mum passed away, suddenly, last week. Mum got me writing, encouraged me to write – and was an avid reader of what I wrote. Including this blog, where her favourites were my science posts. Mum taught me to wonder about everything – about the way our curiosity fuels our… More Of the sense of wonder that casts light into the darkness