The Moon, Europa

The Moon, Europa

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chutes and Rockets

There are two significant high altitude/low orbit activities taking place in the next 38 hours:

Today at 8:35 p.m. EDT (7:35pm Central) SpaceX is scheduled to launch their Dragon capsule atop the Falcon 9 rocket. The unmanned capsule is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station and deliver 1,000 pounds of supplies (about 3 days after launch). There has already been a test run by the Dragon capsule and it successfully docked with the ISS and delivered a few supplies as proof of concept. However, today’s launch will be the first official delivery by SpaceX under their contract with NASA. Coverage is on NASA TV (available on Roku and Apple TV) or at:

Tuesday October 9, 2012, At 6:00 a.m. MDT, skydiver Felix Baumgartner will attempt to break the sound barrier by freefalling from an altitude of 100,000 feet. Baumgartner, wearing a specially developed pressure suit, will step from a capsule attached to a helium balloon when he reaches his target altitude. If all goes well the lack of atmosphere will allow him to accelerate significantly beyond terminal velocity and reach super sonic speed before he is slowed by the Earth’s atmosphere. The event will be covered live via webcast at:

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Lunar Landers

ARCA is one of the teams competing for the Google Lunar X Prize. ARCA is a Romanian team that is set to launch a satellite for Bulgaria sometime in 2013 using their HAAS 2 single stage rocket, the same rocket they will use to launch their lunar explorer. There are currently 25 teams competing for the Lunar X Prize, six of whom are American. Most of the teams have made enough progress to still be in the running, but the clock is ticking and although no team has set a solid launch date (that I am aware of) several are touting launches within the next few years. My current favorite lander design, although admittedly mostly for its unique look, is the Chilean team's named: Dandelion.


Wikipedia -European Lunar Explorer

Google X prize teams - ARCA

ARCA Lunar Lander site

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Speeder Bike Not Retail Ready

A California company called Aerofex is testing a manned hoverbike using an innovative mechanical design to maintain balance control; something previously believed only possible with expensive electronics. The dual rotor vehicle is, unfortunately, only a test bed for the company's planned helicopter drone. Nonetheless, this gives me hope that I may be able to replace my motorcycle with a hoverbike someday.

Full Story at Innovation News
Or if you want to go straight to the good stuff...
Here's the video

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mars Curiosity Touches Down

Just a quick update in case anyone has fallen behind on the going's on within our home solar system:

The rover 'Mars Curiosity' successfully touched down Sunday and will begin it's survey. Touted as a fully equipped laboratory on wheels the Curiosity weighs in a roughly one ton. Curiosity will soon begin its two year mission to climb the slope of Mt. Sharp (Image via NASA) while taking and testing rock samples along the way. The rover will begin taking radiation measurements and photos of Mars today, NASA also has a rigorous array of systems checks to do as well.

Image of Curiosity's descent from NASA - Mars Rover Miracle of Engineering

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Book Two: Update

Yesterday I finished my second draft/second edit of The Black Chronicles: Book Two. I am giving the manuscript to my sister for a continuity critique and then it will come back to my wife for a technical/creative check. I will begin looking for a publisher shortly. I will release the title name of Book Two when I have settled on one of the two titles I have in mind. I have already started Book Three and am continually writing notes for Four and Five. All that to say I have no intention of giving up on this whole writing endeavor anytime in the near or distant future.
I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read Europa for giving me, a new author, a chance. I appreciate your patience while waiting for the second book. The feedback I get from everyone has been very encouraging and I would like to request all who have enjoyed reading Europa to write a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc.(reviews help a lot!).


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Set Phasers to Fry

Picatinny Arsenal researchers are experimenting with directed lightening guided by laser. Admittedly the technology has a long way to go before it could be field worthy but it is promising none the less.

Picatinny Engineers Set Phasers to Fry

Monday, March 12, 2012

Movie Review: John Carter

I watched the film John Carter yesterday and found it to be very interesting. The names of the various factions and places in the opening scene were a difficult to follow, but soon thereafter it became fairly effortless. The story was well done and did not seem to leave any gaps or questions about what or why events transpired as they did. I enjoyed the character development and interaction. There was plenty of action and the effects were believable under the portrayed circumstances. The character and technological designs did a good job of depicting a world that was alien and very different from our own. Over all I liked John Carter. It was fun to watch and I recommend it to my friends and fans. I give it an 8 out of 10. 

Disclaimer: I have not actually read 'A Princess of Mars' by Edgar Rice Burroughs so I have no idea how closely the movie follows the book/Barsoom series. I downloaded it onto my Kindle months ago, but have not gotten around to reading it yet.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dust Devil on Mars

This link to is to a great photo (taken by the the great a marvelous Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) of a 'dust devil' on Mars. I saw one of similar size in west Texas about ten years ago and it was very impressive.
I spent a lot of time looking at maps of the surface of Mars last year trying to find suitable locations for a few scenes in my second book. I become so fascinated with the red planet I considered shelving book two, saving the idea for book three, and trying to write a story that features one of my new favorite locations. However, I will probably refrain from writing anything but short stories - that fit into the Black Chronicles universe - since there have been so many science fiction stories set there already.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Europa Too Acidic For Life?

According to Astrobiology Magazine Europa's ocean may be too acidic to support life. Assuming the presumed acidity to Europa’s possible ocean precludes the development of life seems a bit close minded. Perhaps I have an overactive imagination or perhaps they should merely say, “Europa may be too acidic to support life as we know it.”  Nonetheless it is an interesting article. I particularly like the notion of vivianite bones or shells…

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Website Trouble

I'm not sure what is going on with my publisher's website, but Google is currently warning that there may be malware on it. The publishing company is aware of the problem, although they are unsure why it has occurred several times in the past month, and they are currently trying to correct it. Until then, be wary of following my or addresses to my main site.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Great Product Review

A colleague sent this link to me. It is a hilarious, and somewhat practical, review of the 'blood rayne' sword on Amazon: