Saturday, 26 October 2013

Everybody's Exploring Space These Days!

It's a happening thing. So many companies and organisations are opening up, developing their own spaceflight programs, building the hardware out of sheet metal in their garage, or networking with people to spread their vision of colonising the Moon or Mars or even further afield. You can go online and help to discover planets orbiting other stars; you can chat with the volunteer colonists at Mars One; you can sign up to be an astronaut. No doubt there's a lot I've missed, because there's just so much happening!

By the way, the Book Signing Show at Chapters went very well. I met lots of friends, and the pack of boys seemed to enjoy it all, including the Win-A-Book quiz (well done Noah!) and the Choose-Your-Adventure story.
Wanna-be-Chris-Hadfield: Singing a snippet from 'A Space Oddity'

So here's my list, which I will update from time to time on the page listed in the margin on this site. Let me know in the Comments if you find more good ones.

Some Internet Links Relating To The Exploration and Settlement of Outer Space

Planet-Hunting Online:

Developers of spacecraft:
Reaction Engines - developers of Skylon
SpaceX - a successful private space company
100 Year Starship - developing a starship in the next 100 years
Studies for propellant depot in Low Earth Orbit
Private Danish team developing manned space program in garage
Another homemade space program

A number of organisations and companies interested in lunar expeditions:
Golden Spike
Moon Express
Shackleton Energy Company
A paper by Boeing

Space Tourism ventures:

Asteroid Mining ventures:
Deep Space Industries

Colonisation of Mars and elsewhere:
The Mars Society
The Space Settlement Initiative
Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station

Space Law and miscellaneous
Text of the U.N. Outer Space Treaty (1951)
Property rights in space - article
Proposal for a U.S. Space Guard
American citizen makes claim on asteroid - article
International Institute of Space Law - statement

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Well, I never! DIY Space Rockets!

I remember travelling by train in England along a route which I'd normally driven. The difference was marked - you see the countryside and town from a startlingly different angle. It's not as blatant as the wow-factor in flying over your hometown for the first time, I know.

I experienced something comparable, though, while doing a little background research for this Chapters book-signing event (see last post). Looking into the many and varied efforts people are putting into private space travel ventures is like old-style barn dancing - who will be your partner next time around? And the next? I looked again at SpaceX on Wikipedia (bless their cyber-socks) and clicked on a link that said 'private spaceflight'. Way down the bottom of that page under the exciting 'External Links' section I found two intriguing companies called 'Starchaser Industries' and 'Astrobotic'. Who could resist finding out about names like that? Starchaser is building its own rocket to launch two people up to 100,000 feet - that's about 30 km - not quite 'real' space which is 100 km, but still impressive. Here's what it looks like:
Thunderbirds Are GO!
And they're recruiting astronauts to fil the navigator's seat! Need I mention that it's based in the UK, in Cheshire to be exact, where they make such good cheese.

Sadly, Astrobotic's page didn't load. Oh - wait a sec - I tried again and here's a picture of one of their planetary exploration rovers.
Anyway, you get the idea. I spent a few other web crawls finding out about the advantages of orbital tethers, LEO refuelling depots, the Outer Space Treaty of 1951 and its ramifications for private space investors, and the Mars Society. It's all out there. Isn't it wonderful that so many people are taking the initiative? My favourite of the week is the Danish engineer who is building Denmark's first manned space program in his (rather large) garage, along with some buddies. They're called Copenhagen Suborbitals. Look!

Shiny rocket cones! I like! This is the liquid oxygen tank.
I'll be adding a whole list of similar links after the book signing. See you then.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Book Signing - And More

After an impressive pause, the local branch of Chapters has made some shelf space for The Calling. I delivered 15 copies on Thursday. On the evening of Friday October 25th there will be a book signing show, including a picture show I'm planning.

Since the book's intended readership is from 8 up to teenagers, I'll be talking about the science in science fiction - artificial gravity, orbits, the Solar System and so on - as well as introducing the book and the main one or two characters. A special feature will be a picture story where members of the audience will choose what happens next! Then there will be time for questions and (if I'm on the ball) answers.

If you're in Thunder Bay, perhaps I'll see you there! It starts at 7 pm (and not the 7.30pm I mistakenly posted here originally!).

Here's the Facebook event page link.