Getting New Horizons and Pluto at the same spot at the same time 5b km away

The rendezvous of deep space probe New Horizons and Pluto is an achievement few people can grasp. It is like shooting a golf ball in mid air with a rifle from a hundred miles away — only harder! Five billion kilometres over nine and a half years to hit a planetoid a lot smaller than […]

How Christopher Nolan’s #Interstellar unified all time travel movies for me

I finally got around to seeing Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. It’s alright, I guess. I liked the way they turned these complex relativity principles into visual eye candy, specially that part about how time (the fourth dimension in spacetime) was turned into a kind of a physical coordinate that Cooper (played by Matthew McConaughey) could navigate […]

The men and women behind Voyager 1 put to shame the iPhone generation of the 21st Century

I read with wonder how Voyager 1, a little space probe launched by the United States in 1977 had “finally” left our solar system — “for real this time” according to a Scientific American report. What is really amazing about this spacecraft and the men and women who designed, built, launched, and worked with it […]

First Man on the Moon: Neil Armstrong 5 Aug 1930 – 25 Aug 2012

The following are excerpts from Craig Nelson’s awesome book Rocketmen describing the role the late Neil Armstrong played as commander of the spacecraft Eagle which landed him and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin on the Moon in 1969 while crew member Mike Collins remained in orbit in their Command Module mothership above. Eagle fell to an altitude […]

Men in Black 3 makes brilliantly entertaining nonsense

I recently saw the trailer of the third and latest instalment of the Men in Black franchise in which Agent J (played by Will Smith) goes back in time to 1969 to help save the world from an alien invasion. Actor Josh Brolin plays a younger Agent K who, as the trailer hints at, exhibits […]

The whole trouble with ‘teleportation’

The concept of teleportation was popularised in the cult (and later hit) 1960’s TV series Star Trek and its subsequent spin-offs. In Star Trek, teleportation (executed at the renowned command “beam me up”) is used mainly for re-locating people over short distances, say, between the surface of a planet and a space ship orbiting above […]