Artemis I, take two

NASA will take another stab at getting Artemis one off the pad this Saturday.

From the article: “It was not immediately clear from Tuesday’s news conference what the implications of launching with a warmer-than-normal main engine would be. From a physics standpoint, igniting super-chilled propellants in a warmer-than-anticipated engine would likely severely damage the RS-25 engine’s turbopump, at a minimum. Presumably, therefore, NASA would not launch the SLS rocket without high confidence in its flight rationale.”

So, we’ll see…

More on SLS

Here’s an interesting interview with Lori Garver, Deputy Administrator of NASA during early SLS development.
From the interview:
“I think a test flight is just that, it’s a test flight. This happy talk of it being completed—just look at the language, the celebration, NASA’s planning, and so forth for the launch. There is not another test flight planned if this doesn’t go perfectly. So then what? You’re going to put people on one in two years if the first one didn’t go well? I just have never heard anyone talk about that plan.”
This is exactly what I’ve been wondering about. SpaceX moves forward by crashing lots of rockets. I know NASA works differently, but surely you have to plan for failure in your test schedule.

The sound of a black hole?

Well, sort of. Sound is the movement of pressure waves through a medium that ultimately cause an auditory impression in a listener. A black hole in the Perseus cluster generates pressure waves in the cloud of hot gasses surrounding it. The frequency of these pressure waves is far below the range of what humans perceive as sound. But, when they are shifted quadrillions of times higher in frequency, this is what results.

It’s weird. It’s cool. If I ever write a horror story for Generation Mars, this will be playing in the background. But to call it the “sound” of a black hole is a stretch.

Artemis 1

NASA’s SLS rocket will launch for the first time this Monday (8/29). Here’s a brief history of SLS and why it elicits strong opinions in the space community.
From the article:
“Those who have focused on the “space race” this year between SLS and Starship have missed the point. The real question is not which of the two super heavy-lift rockets launches first. Rather, it’s “how many Starships will launch between the first and second flights of the SLS rocket?””
Opinions aside, we can all agree that a launch of the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V is a big deal.

Wait, what?

This no more Big Bang thing has been popping up in my newsfeeds. I’ve ignored it because, come on. Here’s a quick summary of where it’s coming from and why it isn’t true.

From the article:
“Scientific theories can — and should — be challenged by well-reasoned scientists presenting highly detailed and thoughtful arguments. This is not one of those times.”


This week, I wrote the first 943 words of the next Generation Mars book, Water. Oh, I’ve written many more over the past months in the form of developmental notes to myself: 14,000 or so. But these 943 are the first words I’ve written of the book itself. They are the climax, no less, and it’s a whopper. I wish I could tell you about it, but you’ll just have to wait till I get up that mountain.

Aurora borealis

The Sun has been busy lately. Recent coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are hitting the Earth’s atmosphere even as I write this. Because of this atmosphere and the Earth’s strong magnetosphere, the results should be limited to spectacular aurora.

Curious about what happens when CMEs hit Mars, a planet with no magnetosphere and a much thinner atmosphere? Find out in the latest Generation Mars book: Shelter.