Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Another Death Knell To FTL Space Travel?

According to this The Register article, faster-than-light travel has another obstacle besides relativity: the lowly hydrogen atom. Since that article is quite brief, this post will be all the more brief. As a craft approaches light speed, it compresses what would ordinarily be the sparse hydrogen in space, resulting in incredibly high voltages...more than 1000 times the lethal dose of ionizing radiation. (That's bad.) As the author points out, they'll think of something. SF authors will, for sure.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Space Travel Weasel-Physics in Movies & TV

Satellite Internet has a nice, concise piece with good movie pics about 'Ten Ways Space Travel Isn’t Like Television or the Movies.' Some movie weasel-physics and sociological mistakes are obvious (but still abused in the movies). One was particularly interesting, the affect on the human body of unprotected exposure to space. Do not try this at home:

...Thanks to Henry’s Law the drastic change in pressure would cause all the liquid in your body to evaporate at once, from your saliva to your blood to your urine. Because of this, your body expands to about twice its size, while you slip into unconsciousness (don’t worry, the whole process takes about fifteen seconds). Within a few minutes all the liquids and vapors remaining in your body will be sucked out into the void, leaving a dried husk of a corpse behind....

And we all know this, but it bears repeating since it is so ignored in movies, as it's quite an inconvenience for movie making: aliens don't speak any Earth language or any language that would be easily understood.

Go to the article for the rest of the movie trespasses and the nice pictures.

Here are a few that were not included in that article:

11. Space aliens probably don't go ga-ga over Earthling blonde women. They might even be repulsed by them...except Marilyn Monroe, of course.

12. If you have a replicator, why can't you make anything vital, including dilithium crystals for your warp engines when you're stranded?

13. And speaking of replicators: if you can make Saurian brandy and practically anything out of a Betty Crocker's Cookbook, wouldn't operation of the machine be a little more complicated than a microwave oven? They're way smarter than the ship's battle and navigation computers.

14. Space aliens probably wouldn't side with children over their parents.

15. They probably wouldn't come all the way to Earth just to snag a whale. They'd want some booty.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Amazing Interstellar Travel Method

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has revealed an amazing method of interstellar travel first proposed in 1998 by Dr. Robert Metzger, physicist and SF writer. Dr. Metzger dubbed his scheme the take it with you plan. You must read the article to get all the gory details, but to summarize: you use the sun as an engine using advanced third-law-of-motion techniques to scoot the star along. Naturally, the sun will drag along the rest of the solar system with him. So instead of deciding whether to take your lucky ball cap or your teddy bear on your life's journey, you take everything.

Some details of this solar scooter technology are still in the making. Warning: there is some arithmetic in the article.

As if that were not enough for one post, Dr. Metzger also gives some news you can use about fusion, strange sightings, fuel-less orbital boost, turb0-evolution and table-top black holes.


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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NASA's Ares I-X Launch Success


From NASA's blog: NASA's Ares I-X test rocket lifted off at 11:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a two-minute powered flight. The flight test lasted about six minutes from its launch from the newly modified Launch Pad 39B until splashdown of the rocket's booster stage nearly 150 miles downrange.



Now, Flash Fiction Online readers and writers are naturally skeptical, especially after a reader's anonymous tip led to the moon landing controversy, which NASA had to defend. However, Yours Truly personally viewed the launch from about 30 miles south of the Cape. I can attest that the Ares I-X flight had substantial vertical and eastward vectors. As a Fair Witness, I can say it left from somewhere (Titusville, Florida area), but I cannot confirm that it arrived anywhere, as that leg of the flight was beyond unenhanced human vision from my viewing location.

However, I haven't taken our meds in a while and we are very, very confused. Ohh, shiny!

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Astronauts: Houston, Commercial Spaceflight Is No Problem

A baker's dozen of astronauts have penned....no, these guys and gals are the ultimate earlier adopters. (Refueling.)

A baker's dozen of astronauts have texted an endorsement of commercial participation in spaceflight. This statement was aimed directly at NASA. These astronauts feel that NASA's strength is in exploration. Now that near-space access is slightly less than rocket science, the astronauts feel that the commercial sector is more suited to making it commonplace.

The paper cited Sally Ride's statement as capturing their thoughts concisely:

"We would like to be able to get NASA out of the business of getting people to low Earth orbit."

The astronauts participating in the statement were: Buzz Aldrin, Ken Bowersox, Jake Garn, Robert Gibson, Hank Hartsfield, John Herrington, Byron Lichtenberg, John Lounge, Rick Searfoss, Norman Thagard, Kathryn Thornton, Jim Voss and Charles Walker.

Here is The Wall Street Journal's article on the astronaut's endorsement of commercial spaceflight.



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