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Inspirations: Riding the bomb to Saturn

The nuclear pulse drive would power a spacecraft with a series of nuclear explosions. Project Orion, led by Freeman Dyson, planned a four-year round trip to the moons of Saturn. After Orion was abandoned, pulse drive has led to several

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Posted in Inspirations, Wednesday Pontification

Into the Kuiper Belt

In 1930, a young astronomer called Clyde Tombaugh noticed something moving across successive photographs of a starfield, and discovered Pluto. In 2006, 30g of Tombaugh’s ashes were loaded aboard NASA’s New Horizons probe before it blasted off for Pluto. Yesterday,

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Posted in Current affairs

Greater Minds: Arthur C Clarke looks back

Arthur C Clarke wrote his Space Odyssey series between 1948 and 1997. Each sequel updated speculations on exobiology. HAL 9000 is a memorable character and a paradigm for contemporary discussions of artificial intelligence. We have not explored the solar system

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification

Greater Minds: The Faustian pacts of Wernher von Braun

Wernher von Braun designed V-2 rockets for Nazi Germany, Redstone missiles for the US military and the Saturn V for NASA. He was a brilliant engineer and an evangelical Christian who directed a concentration camp. He escaped prosecution for crimes

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification
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