I was asked the other week, on Facebook, why Jupiter doesn’t just fly off into space. You know, it’s so enormous, surely the Sun can’t hold it. Actually, it can. Jupiter is around 300 times the mass of Earth, sure – but it’s only 0.09 percent the mass of the Sun. Not only can the Sun… More The Sun’s big. Really big. And really grippy.
Yesterday’s Pluto flyby’s been one of the most amazing unmanned space moments of the last half century – up there with the Voyager probes and with the Mars rovers. It’s also only the beginning. Over the next sixteen months the probe will transmit the data it picked up during that super-fast cruise through the Pluto system.… More Why the Pluto flyby means we need to re-think our view of the solar system
Last weekend I visited Sir Peter Jackson’s giant diorama of New Zealand’s attack on Chunuk Bair at the height of the Gallipoli campaign in August 1915. Giant? You betcha. With 5000 custom-posed 54-mm figures, individually painted by volunteer wargamers from around New Zealand, the only word is wow! Here are my photos. The whole thing was assembled by… More Peter Jackson’s re-definition of awesome – the Gallipoli diorama, close up
It seems this week that Russia’s ‘Investigating Committee’ wants an investigation into the US moon landings of 1969-72 – not so much to reveal them as fake, but to find out where missing moon rocks have gone. I know where one is – a scrap weighing less than 1 gm, which is in the Carter… More Is Russia stirring up the moon landing loon conspiracies?
Last week The Little Bookshop in Napier, New Zealand, devoted an entire window display to my books – 14 titles, out of the 52 I’ve written and published over the past 30 years or so. The display included books of mine that are long out of print and unavailable anywhere else. It doesn’t happen for authors… More How much is that book in the window?
Efforts are under way to crowd-source a message for putative future aliens, to be uploaded to the New Horizons probe after it completes its historic mission to Pluto and (possibly) another object in the Kuiper belt. New Horizons is the fifth object we’ve sent on a one-way journey out of the solar system, and the… More What would YOU say to aliens before the apocalypse hits us?
This week’s news that a previously unsuspected magnitude 8+ mega-quake could hit central New Zealand and then douse the place with tsunami isn’t too surprising to me. I wrote the most recent pop-sci book on our earthquakes. It was published by Penguin Random House last year. While I was writing the book I had a chat… More And now Kiwis are facing a potential mega-quake and tsunami. But of course…