Return to flight

NASA’s space shuttle program may be approaching the end of its two-year hiatus. This morning, the shuttle Discovery was moved from its processing hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building.

Happy trails, Gordo

Colonel Gordon Cooper died yesterday at age 77. He was one of the legendary seven Mercury astronauts and flew into orbit on the last and longest Mercury mission in 1963. Cooper also commanded the Gemini 5 mission in 1965 and was backup commander for Apollo 10. I don’t know whether Cooper witnessed the X Prize…


Astronomers have discovered a cloud of frozen sugar near the center of the Milky Way. This is bad news for Atkins dieters who were hoping to live in a low-carb galaxy. (Well, with a name like Milky Way, that wasn’t very likely anyhow.)

Falling stars

I’ve just come in from watching the Leonid meteor shower with my children. The peak was predicted for 4:00 to 6:00 a.m., so I set my alarm for 5:00 and we spread a blanket on the front lawn and lay down to watch the show. The weather was perfectly clear, which helped to make up…

Looking down

The Enterprise titles begin with some lovely pictures of the Earth from orbit, which demonstrate how far Star Trek has come in 35 years. Remember when the original series depicted the same thing in episodes like “Miri” and “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”? It looked like a globe: continents and oceans, but no clouds. That’s understandable, because…