SpaceX has successfully launched their new Falcon Heavy rocket! This was the massive rocket’s first test launch, and Elon Musk had given it a 50/50 chance of blowing up. But the launch was literally picture perfect, and rocket succeeded not only in delivering its cargo into orbit, but also managed to land two its two booster rockets back down to the launch pad.
The Falcon Heavy is now the largest operating rocket in the world. It’s bigger than the Delta IV Heavy, the Ariane V, the Atlas V, and even the former space shuttle (as far as cargo capacity). The Saturn V was larger, as will be the upcoming SLS rocket, but for now, the Falcon Heavy is the heavy weight champion, with a payload capacity of 60 tons — nearly 3x more than all current operating rockets. Not only that, but it can deliver its payload out of Earth orbit to deep space.
If that wasn’t awesome enough, the test rocket deployed Elon’s own cherry red Tesla roadster in its third stage, complete with a dummy in a SpaceX space suit, and playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” from its radio. The car is headed out past Mars orbit to the asteroid belt, where (if it doesn’t get smashed by an asteroid) will enter an elliptic orbit around the sun, to forever orbit our solar system — a veritable space oddity if there ever was one.
Here’s the video of the launch. Keep watching through to the end to see the two boosters land.
And here’s the Tesla roadster in space. It’s unreal.
The latest movie addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is almost here, and if your not excited about it after seeing this trailer then… Well, I’m sorry, but I don’t actually have a pithy come back for that. So, just try to be excited.
On Friday, December 22nd, 2017, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenburg Air Force base, near Los Angeles, at around about 5:30 PST (around sunset). This was nothing unusual, but what was usual was the atmospheric conditions, and the fact that the rocket’s contrail caught the sunlight at a high altitude in the ionosphere, resulting in this spectacular display!
Seen by tens of thousands of people, it is not surprising that many imagined everything from a UFO flyby, to an alien invasion, to the beginning of World War III. LA’s 911 system was flooded with calls, media announcements went out to allay concerns, and LA’s mayor even had to make a statement. There was also at least one traffic accident involving 3 cars caused by distracted drivers witnessing the event on the LA freeway.
As you can image, there were a lot of photos and videos taken of the event. You can find some great photos and videos on this article on The Verge and on this Space.com article as well.
This is my quick review of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”. A quick review because I don’t have time to do a longer one, and more importantly, to keep things spoiler free.
In short, despite all the mixed reviews out there, my opinion is that “The Last Jedi” ranks right up there at the top of Star Wars films, on par with “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Rogue One.” It’s far better than all the prequels (I don’t consider “Rogue One” a prequel) and it’s also better than “The Force Awakes.” It might even be better than “Return of the Jedi.” I think I’ll need to watch it a few dozen times to decide on that one.
Ignore whatever the naysayers are saying. Naysayers are going to say nay.
Turn your volume up as far as you can stand and get ready to place this absolutely awesome music video tribute to the MCU. It’s made all the more awesome by Queen’s “We Will Rock You!” If you’re not already excited about the upcoming “Infinity War” movie, I think this will certainly do the trick.
The Avengers: Infinity War trailer has just come out! Everything in the Marvel Universe line up has been building to this, from the Iron Man movies, to Thor, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and the other Avenger movies, comes the final battle against the arch-villain of the universe, Thanos.
My steampunk fantasy short story, The Clockwork Horseman, is published and available now on both Amazon and Lulu and it can be found in the anthology Devil’s Armory III. Alas, there does not appear to be an e-book version! Oh well. The story will one day be available in e-book form whenever I compile and release my collected short stories.
In the mean time, you can order the printed version of Devil’s Armory III from Amazon or Lulu.
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.
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).
There are lots of other great articles about DragonCon 2017, so I don’t need to go into more detail. Just checkout the articles on TheMarySue, AtlantaMagazine, and Geek.com.