Category Archives: Space

Venus and Jupiter

Taking a break from the Canada Day fireworks over Halifax Harbour on July 3, 2015 (fog post-poned from July 1st), the ‘double stars’ of Venus and Jupiter hang over the harbour, as if to guide the festivities.

Snapped via my iPhone 6.

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Filed under Canada, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Space

Jupiter, bringer of jollity



Among the most lasting imagery from all of the science-fiction that I’ve read is from Heinlein’s ‘juvenile sic-fi’ novel “Farmer In The Sky”.  A boy and his family settle on Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede.  It’s a good little story with some solid ‘sci’ but the image of the planet Jupiter just dominating the sky of their new world really struck me.

The Flea links to some cool imagery of what the planets of our Solar System would look like in the sky if they were the same distance from us as the Moon.  (I would have expected Jupiter to be larger.)

Here, you can listen to Holst while you view.  😎


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Filed under Books, Sci-Fi Web-Cred, Space

Downbelow Station

Another in my Sci-Fi Web-Cred quest to read all the Hugo best novel winners, CJ Cherryh’s “Downbelow Station” won the Hugo in 1981.

It’s a few centuries out.  Humans have begun colonizing other systems, with commerce and trade as the focus.  The Earth’s Company has been managing things, establishing these stations, and it has a military Fleet to help keep things in line, and the merchant traders, who are organized in family groups, carry some power as well.

But, the furthest-out systems, there is independence a-brewing.  The outer planets have formed a Union and a fighting for independence from Earth.  Earth itself is increasing incapable to dealing with them, and doesn’t particularly care.  The Fleet is basically on its own in fighting the Union infiltrations of important trading stations ~ either the stations come into Union hands, or they get blown.  And, there’s a sentient race on the planet Downbelow beneath Pell Station that plays a part.

The main characters here are pretty solid.  In particular, Signy Mallory, the woman in command of the Fleet carrier Norway, kicks ass.

Things are tough on Pell Station.  It’s full of refugees and, perhaps, Union agents.  The old sly commander of the Fleet, Mazian, has a master plan of his own to implement.

Worth reading.  Fairly decent “sci” from what I could gather, particularly regarding the carrier battles; and pretty solid “fi”.  I’d slot in the top half of the Hugo’s I’ve read. I think this one is number 49.


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Filed under Books, Sci-Fi Web-Cred, Space

One Giant Leap for Mankind

3D map of the moon landings. National Air & Space Museum, Smithsonian, Washington, DC. Mike Campbell photo (August 2008).

Neil Armstrong, RIP.

I was four when you went where no man had gone before on Apollo 11.  You were certainly in the “hero” category through my young life.  That is, I’m not sure I knew what the word ‘hero’ meant, but I definitely knew that you were one.  Now that I know what the word means, you are definitely there.  An engineer, a scientist, an explorer, an adventurer; you went beyond the realm of your existence and life, braved serious dangers, and returned home, bringing with you new knowledge for everyone about who they were and of what they were capable.

That’s the definition of a hero.

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Filed under History, Life, Space

NASA’s Eye on the Solar System

Gman provided me with this link to a TED presentation by Jon Nguyen of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory regarding NASA’s Eye on the Solar System app.  Great presentation by Jon, and such a cool application.

I viewed it this morning and just spent some time watching time run through again.  Using a one week per second speed, I watched the orbits of the planets roll along and the launches of the various objects from Earth, some to meet up with Mars in its orbit.  Fascinating stuff.

The app runs from here, and you may need to download a 3D utility that is available on the page.

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Filed under Space