Mankind’s journey out into the black has been goaded on by many great thinkers: some, storytellers who craft amazing and fantastical worlds of science-fiction that we yearn to attain, while others are visionary scientists who challenge us with ambitious plans of how that might be achieved (while some, like Robert Heinlein, dabble in both). I’d like to change tack today and look at the latter category.
Over twenty years ago, Robert Zubrin wrote The Case for Mars, the book that inspired me as a young man (and many others, I’m sure) to grow up to study and become an engineer. It’s remained a bestseller in publication ever since, undergoing new revisions/editions every few years or so as new scientific discoveries about the red planet are revealed. More rarely, he’d add a note or two about some development in space policy or the industry that he felt worthy of note. Then, a few years ago, the “SpaceX revolution” broke onto the scene, with the advent of dramatically reduced launch prices and reusable vehicles, and it begged the question of whether Zubrin would revisit his thesis in light of these developments. The Case for Space, published in 2019, is his answer. But does it measure up to the pivotal, groundbreaking volume that started it all for so many of us?
Ni hao, fellow Browncoats! Jeff here, rocket-scientist-in-residence here at Take Back the Sky. A few days ago, Elon Musk participated in an AMA interview on the popular website Reddit prior to the most recent launch attempt of CRS-5. For those of you unfamiliar with the online forum, “AMA” stands for “ask me anything.” It’s like Meet the Press, if it were before an audience of half-starved reavers. The key takeaway, though, was his letting slip that his company intends to announce the full details of just how they intend to beat NASA to colonizing Mars later this year.
Musk has been teasing the Martian Colonial Transport, or MCT, for several years now, but up ’til now has been vague about the details. Is it a rocket? A third incarnation of the Dragon spacecraft, ruggedized for the trip to the Red Planet? Finally, the tech mogul stated online that “The Mars transport system will be a completely new architecture” (Emphasis mine).
Howdy. Chris here. This post is going to be a little off the beaten path from what we usually do here at Take Back the Sky, but as an educator, I wanted to share something that affected me very deeply, both personally and professionally. I hope you don’t mind.
It has been a little over a year since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that claimed the lives of 26 of the school’s students and teachers. Like many people, I was deeply affected by the event, more so than by any other like it before or since. I think this was not only because of the young age of many of the victims, but also because teachers gave their lives in an effort to protect their students.
It’s unfortunate that so much controversy arose in the wake of the Newtown shooting. All the debate about gun control vs. Americans’ right to keep and bear arms and the media’s coverage of incidents like this (and those who perpetrate them) vs. Americans’ right to free speech can sometimes cause us to lose sight of the real human tragedy. Like most Americans, I have very strong feelings about those issues, but it is not my intention to discuss them here. Instead, I want to talk about a project I undertook to pay tribute to those students and teachers who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary, a project I dubbed “The 26 for 26 Project.”