Farewell and Follow Me

Farewell and Follow Me

Beyond Apollo is dead – long live Beyond Apollo. As some of you may be aware, I’ve been writing online about plans for space missions and programs that didn’t happen for quite a long time – it’ll be 20 years next year, as a matter of fact. That writing has taken place under different titles. […]

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Strategic Defense: Military Uses of the Moon & Asteroids (1983)

Strategic Defense: Military Uses of the Moon & Asteroids (1983)

On the evening of 23 March 1983, President Ronald Reagan addressed the people of the United States from the Oval Office. Citing aggressive moves on the part of the Soviet Union, he defended proposed increases in U.S. military spending and the introduction of new missiles and bombers. He then called for a revolution in U.S. […]

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Fun with Killer Asteroids

Fun with Killer Asteroids

To date human beings have spotted about 300,000 asteroids. These range in scale from Ceres, the first discovered, way back on the first day of the 19th century (950 kilometers in diameter), to unnamed boulders. Little asteroids (say, the size of a bus or a house) far outnumber the big ones. Only a few thousand […]

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The Challenge of the Planets, Part Three: Gravity

The Challenge of the Planets, Part Three: Gravity

It is strange that Lexell’s Comet is not better remembered. Discovered by ace comet-hunter Charles Messier on the night of 14 June 1770, it passed Earth just two weeks later at a distance of 1.4 million miles, closer than any other comet in history. On the evening of 1 July 1770, its nucleus shown as […]

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The Challenge of the Planets, Part Three: Gravity

The Challenge of the Planets, Part Three: Gravity

It is strange that Lexell’s Comet is not better remembered. Discovered by ace comet-hunter Charles Messier on the night of 14 June 1770, it passed Earth just two weeks later at a distance of 1.4 million miles, closer than any other comet in history. On the evening of 1 July 1770, its nucleus shown as […]

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The Challenge of the Planets, Part Two: High Energy

The Challenge of the Planets, Part Two: High Energy

President John F. Kennedy did not call only for a piloted lunar landing by 1970 in his 25 May 1961 “Urgent National Needs” speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Among other things, he sought new money to expand Federal research into nuclear rocketry, which, he explained, might one day enable Americans to […]

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The Challenge of the Planets, Part One: Ports-of-Call

The Challenge of the Planets, Part One: Ports-of-Call

A beginners guide to planet-hopping across the solar system.

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Beyond Apollo Welcomes Comet Lovejoy

Beyond Apollo Welcomes Comet Lovejoy

Toward the end of 2013, Comet ISON was all over the space & astronomy news. Then, alas, the poor snowball disintegrated into a spray of dust as it passed close by the Sun: another “Comet of the Century” gone fizzle. Lucky for us comet fans, there’s always another one lurking out there in the darkness, […]

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Centaurs, Soviets, and Seltzer Seas: Mariner 2’s Venusian Adventure (1962)

Centaurs, Soviets, and Seltzer Seas: Mariner 2’s Venusian Adventure (1962)

Hydrogen is the most common kind of normal matter in the universe. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell us something, for the most common chemical element makes an excellent energetic rocket fuel. That does not mean, however, that it is easy to manage. Odorless and colorless hydrogen gas becomes liquid, and thus dense enough […]

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Centaurs, Soviets, and Seltzer Seas: Mariner 2’s Venusian Adventure (1962)

Centaurs, Soviets, and Seltzer Seas: Mariner 2’s Venusian Adventure (1962)

Hydrogen is the most common kind of normal matter in the universe. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell us something, for the most common chemical element makes an excellent energetic rocket fuel. That does not mean, however, that it is easy to manage. Odorless and colorless hydrogen gas becomes liquid, and thus dense enough […]

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