Welcome to the realm of Meta-Earth–homepage of Mark William Chase–writer, programmer, and creator of the World of Mythania.
Launched in 1997 and arriving at Saturn in 2004, the Cassini-Huygens mission was a phenomenal success, lasting some 10 years beyond its initial 3 year mission. The spacecraft gave us thousands of pictures of Saturn, gigabytes of scientific data, and launched the Huygens probe into Titan, giving never-before-seen footage of the mysterious methane-shrouded moon. And Cassini also discovered the geysers of the moon Enceladus, which may mean it has a liquid water ocean beneath it’s icy crust.
But today, September 15th, 2017, we say farewell to Cassini. Her last few orbits brought her closer and closer to Saturn, until finally she hit the atmosphere at nearly 70,000 miles per hour and was, well, destroyed. This was done to prevent the dead spacecraft from hitting either Titan or Enceladus and introducing possible biological contamination (however unlikely) to the moons that could (also however unlikely) harbor life.
To read more about Cassini’s Grand Finale check out the article at Space.com, and for all the information you could possibly want about the Cassini mission, check out the Cassini JPL page. And don’t miss Cassini’s Hall of Fame picture gallery!
DragonCon 2017 was the biggest DragonCon ever, with some 82,000 to 85,000 people attending! My wife went to some of the bigger media panels, but I stayed away, sticking mostly to the Science and Space tracks with some excursions to the Sci-Fi Literature track, Star Wars track, and the Writing track. But I did get to see Larry Niven, so that was cool! I didn’t get to see Stan Lee, mainly because I didn’t want to stand in a 3 to 4-hour line…
While I do have a lot of pictures, I don’t have time to go through them all, so I’ll just leave one picture here showing the crowd at the Hilton (it was nothing compared to the crowd at the Hyatt or the Marriott, but I couldn’t get a good crowd-shot picture there).
Monday, August 21st, 2017, will mark the first total eclipse to span the entire United States since 1918! That’s a pretty big deal, and if both traffic and the weather cooperate, my family and I will hopeful be in the direct path of totality to see it.
SpaceX has just launched its 12th resupply mission to the International Space Station, and has succeeded in its second landing of its stage 1 one Falcon 9 rocket on solid ground (instead of a barge at sea)! This is great news, as the better they get at landing their rockets (and assuming they can be refurbished and reused) the lower the cost of launching into space will be.
See below for the full launch and landing webcast, or checkout this article on Space.com for more details!
The latest trailer for “Thor: Ragnarok” just came out, and all I can say is, “Wow!” The Hulk, Thor, Valkyrie, and Loki team up to face off against the Goddess of Death, played by Cate Blanchett, and the Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum. This is going to be one wild ride (of the valkyries)!
Even so, I still like this trailer best, as there can be no better theme song for Thor than Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song…
SpaceX has become more and more successful at landing their first stage rockets, and Elon Musk says it is for reusability, which will save money in the long run and allow for quicker turn-around on launches. Sure, but, maybe there’s another reason, too. Elon Musk has become increasing vocal about his desire to get to Mars, and there is apparently going to be big announcement about his plans in September of this year at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia.
This Space.com articles goes into some detail about SpaceX’s recent successes, and how they plan to return the rocket boosters to the launch pad, rather than a barge (which is mainly done for safety reasons).
However, I cannot help but wonder: what about landing rockets vertically on Mars, just like in “Duck Dodgers in the 24th and Half Century!” You might think that sounds as loony as a loony tune, but it makes sense. Mars has a third of Earth’s gravity, and less in the way of cross-winds to worry about, so it would actually be easier, and if SpaceX can perfect orbit (or sub-orbit) to ground landings on Earth, they can certainly do it on Mars.
I guess one day we’ll see. And I’m hoping we’ll see it sooner, rather than later!
The Blade Runner 2049 trailer has just come out! It looks like it captures the feel of the original Blade Runner, and even has Harrison Ford… Or at least it will until he gets run through by a lightsaber… no, wait… I have that mixed up with something else. Nevermind.
Anyway, I have no idea if it will be as good as the original Blade Runner, but at least it’s a sequel and not a remake. I’m so tired of remakes, so kudos for this not being one.
My latest steampunk fantasy story to be published has arrived! Down in the Clockwork City has been released under the Society of Misfit Stories anthology series, and is now available for Kindle download from Amazon.com. The description they gave it has a bit to be desired, but I didn’t come up with it. So far it doesn’t have any reviews, so if you read it and like it please, review away!
The latest trailer for “Valerian (and Laureline) and the City of a Thousand Planets” looks even more amazing than the first trailer!
Riding on my earlier post about the TRAPPIST-1 star system, I’ve decided to post a couple more informative videos. The first is a 9 minute PBS video describing some of the science behind the discovery and the possible implications for any life that might have evolved there. The second video is a bit more informal, and presents the information with some fun animation.