Tag Archives | space exploration

Rockets Go Boom

The explosion of a SpaceX rocket on the launch pad last Thursday reminds us of a basic problem with the current state of space transportation: rockets go boom. Our current best idea for sending people and machines into space is to strap them on top of a giant tank full of highly explosive materials. SpaceX’s […]

Comments are closed

“The Martian” and the Earthlings

There’s one question everyone I know is asking about the film adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel The Martian: Did they mess it up? The book became a surprise self-published bestseller by drawing on a detailed and realistic understanding of the actual science and technology of space transportation—an outstanding example of “hard sci-fi“—to propel a suspenseful […]

Comments { 0 }

The Contest Between Homer and Hesiod, in Space

There is not much about Andy Weir’s The Martian that ought to work. And yet it works. The novel is like a twisted literary experiment: can you write a story that is about 5% dialogue, 10% action, and 85% exposition? And can the exposition be about scientific problem solving and the technical details of NASA […]

Comments { 0 }

Icarus and Apollo

Originally published in TIA Daily. The space shuttle Endeavor just landed for the last time last night in Florida, marking the end of the second to last manned space flight to be undertaken by the United States for the foreseeable future. In a recent op-ed, three legends of the Apollo space program mourned the end […]

Comments { 0 }

From the Cave to the Moon

Originally published in TIA Daily. Today is the 40th anniversary of man’s first landing on the moon—an event that still reverberates as the symbol of mankind’s unlimited potential for achievement. But as Ayn Rand observed at the time, the culture’s intellectuals did not want to have to confront the meaning and implications of the moon […]

Comments { 0 }