Inflatable Space Elevator, Eh

(Alternate post title: “Hey to James Nicoll”) Via John Dupuis, our clever neighbors to the North has come up with a possible (partial) alternative to rockets: “For decades, scientists have been grappling to find a more efficient means of getting payloads into space,” says Brendan Quine (right), professor of space physics and engineering in York’s […]

Overbye on Kepler

Having complained about the lack of recognition for good physical science writing recently, it would be bad form for me not to note Dennis Overbye’s story about the Kepler spacecraft in today’s New York Times: Presently perched on a Delta 2 rocket at Cape Canaveral is a one-ton spacecraft called Kepler. If all goes well, […]

Fourth Time’s the Charm

Congratulations to SpaceX for successfully launching a payload into orbit after three failed attempts: The two-stage Falcon 1 rocket built by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) lifted off at about 7:15 p.m. EDT (2315 GMT) from the U.S. Army’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Defense Test Site on the Kwajalein Atoll in the about 2,500 miles (4,023 km) […]

Rocket Science: Still Hard

Bad news from the worthwhile sections of this morning’s New York Times: another SpaceX rocket blew up. A privately funded rocket was lost on its way to space Saturday night, bringing a third failure in a row to an Internet multimillionaire’s effort to create a market for low-cost space-delivery. The accident occurred a little more […]

Blue Sky On Mars

Well, OK, that’s a stretch, but there is water, according to the latest Phoenix results: “We’ve now finally touched it and tasted it,” William V. Boynton, a professor at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona and the lead scientist for the instrument that detected the water, said at a news conference […]

The Ingenuity of Rocket Scientists

There’s another Mars article in the Times this morning, which I wouldn’t bother to note in a full post save for one thing: the way they got the results. The right front wheel of Spirit stopped turning in March 2006. Since then, the rover has been driving backwards, dragging the lame wheel along. This May, […]