Next stop, Alpha Centauri

I’ve been playing Civilization 4 a lot recently, so my first reaction on seeing this story was to worry that Tokugawa was going to build a Wonder before me…

More seriously, it’s interesting that someone appears to be taking steps to make a space elevator happen, but we could be waiting a while for physics and engineering capabilities to catch up with imagination. Even then, the resources and the will needed to build it might not be around.

“So,” you ask yourself one dull day, “What would be the effects of asteroids of various sizes landing on Wales?” (via Bad Astronomy)

Just another day at the office

Video of the inside of the cockpit of Space Shuttle Endeavour during takeoff. (via the great Bad Astronomy Blog)

Sad news comes that Arthur C. Clarke has died. I can remember watching his Mysterious World series as a child, and then his books being one of the reasons that got me into SF – particularly Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood’s End.

When the first European ATV was launched to the International Space Station last week, I noticed that it had been named after Jules Verne and wondered if the ones that follow it would be named after authors too. While there are a number of objects and other things named after him in the stars already – both in reality and fiction – I think it’d be fitting for the second ATV to be named after him

The big blue marble

The European Space Agency have released ‘walking maps’ of Mars at a 1:200,000 scale (each grid square in that image is 15km square). Maybe that should be my next walk?