Archive for the 'astrophysics' Category


US Congress Get Balls, Votes to Secure Future of Human Race

Senate Votes to Add $1B to NASA Budget

Thursday, October 04, 2007

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON — The Senate decided Thursday to add $1 billion to NASA’s budget as both Democrats and Republicans voted to further break President Bush’s budget for domestic programs.

The money would replenish NASA accounts tapped to make improvements to the space shuttle program in the wake of the crash of the Columbia shuttle. The space agency has tapped non-shuttle accounts such as science and other space exploration programs for about $2.7 billion for safety upgrades and other costs identified after the 2003 disaster.

“NASA is being starved,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., adding that without the money, the next-generation Constellation space flight program wouldn’t be able to launch astronauts into orbit until 2015. The last shuttle flight is slated for 2010.

Continue reading ‘US Congress Get Balls, Votes to Secure Future of Human Race’


4.54 billion years from now, we might have local neighbors…

Astronomers have spotted evidence of a second Earth being built around a distant star 424 light-years away.

Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, astronomers have spotted a huge belt of warm dust swirling around a young star called HD 113766 that is just slightly larger than our sun.

The dust belt, which scientists suspect is clumping together to form planets, is located in the middle of the star system’s terrestrial habitable zone where temperatures are moderate enough to sustain liquid water.

Scientists estimate there is enough material in the belt to form a Mars-sized world or larger.

Continue reading ‘4.54 billion years from now, we might have local neighbors…’


The Crypt-Rocket of Robert Halem

(prose action)

The Crypt Rocket of Robert Halem

October is a month for fire.

Maybe it’s the changing of the leaves that I remember from Long Island as a child. Passing the old Grumman Testing Grounds( of The Philadelphia Project fame) on the Sunrise Highway, the leaves rolling off the trees and burning in the sunlight is about all I can remember about my early years in the north. It shaped my idea of what a fall should look like.

Later on I began to think of the leaves dieing everytime I watched the launches from Kennedy Space Center. I had forgotten what seasons where like when I moved to Florida – it was either hot, wet, or both. A few times a year it would drop into the 30’s, but it was hardly what I’d ever call “winter”. It just meant I sweat alot less when I wore my favorite three piece suits.

This year, though, October is a month of fire because I am watching the camera on the launch pad as the last solid fuel rocket carry the body of Robert Helam into the air, out of the atmosphere, and away from terra firma. Away, that is, towards the sun where the body of the most important man in the history of space exploration – that is, since John F. Kennedy bent the Russians and NASA over one giant chair and let rip – is going to be incinerated in the universe’s largest sarcophogus.

Helam, as you know, is the science-fiction writer who first adopted the “Shut the fuck up, you bastards, I know what I’m doing!” attitude of his contemporary American presidents to silence critics of manned space flight. I don’t think, though, any of you knew that he really enjoyed the music of Kylie Minogue. Of course you didn’t. You never drove in a car with him. It was maddening.

See, Helam and I were good friends. We skulked in the same circles. He was a science fiction writer (at a time where things like “curing cancer”, & “terraforming Mars” were something we all wanted but we too busy snickering at – the basis of most science fiction,) who became proactive in much the same way that Stephen King became a speed bump. It was if Sci-Fi was a new religion, and Robbie had fashioned himself a cult-of-personality.

So, sadly, in September of this year – amid the laughible Hurricane Cader – I watchced as the man who pioneered the use of social networking sites as tools to better expand the reach of SETI@home (and applied the same structures to NASA’s mission computers and tied advertising dollars to fund early Constellation Project missions,) leaked brain matter out of his nose.

Halem, the giant of human inginuity was struck dumb by Cerebral Deterioration Virus. CeDeV, the disease created when the earliest cancer-fighting nanobots began attacking the wrong sorts of bio-matter, was literally rotting the brain of one of the world’s brightest men.

It struck me as ironic. Not in that mildly horrifying Stephen Hawking/Professor Charles Xavier way. Not for Halem. He had to die in that fatally poetic Indian Larry sort of way.

I remember – some years ago – Robbie remarking that the only way “they’d get him is if they liquified his brain.” He wanted to come back as a giant floating monstrosity that scared women in into fetal positions and shot ray beams. The best we could manage was an AI with no personality at the Constellation Museum of Space Exploration next to the oldest space port on Earth.

(Which, to say, is a bit more endearing than the Alan Moore AI we erected at the Museum of Witchcraft and Extra-Spatial Exploration in North Hampton, UK. Basicly because a fifteen foot tall computer generated face of Alan Moore is creepy. Everywhere you go in that building feels like the thing is staring at you.)

So here I sit, some 75 years after my birth, in a state which I refuse to leave, watching as my good friend Robbie is rocketed off to become star-fuel. President Marsh sits in attendence straightening her skirt, standing next to her is Markum Futures – the noted Extra-Terrestrial Biologist & Sociologist – in a Def Leopard t-shirt. And it dawns on me, that just moments after his bloated and brainless corpse rocketed towards the sun and as I stare at these two mental “giants” set to take us to the next stage of human exploration, that I missed nothing more than my friend Dr. Halem hanging around.

Because, as with all great minds, everything just felt brighter with him around. Instead, I’m stuck not with the fiery leaves of a gorgeous New York fall, but the sickly brown of a wet Florida October. And that is no way to frame a goodbye.


Black Metal + Cthulhu + Metal

 (comic script action)


1 – A swirling mass of inky blackness off of the western coast of South America.



Perched upon freedom rides the end of the age.


The mass of the lesser to be swallowed with the ruins of R’lyeh.


2 – At the bottom of the sea, lit by the barest of light, we can see the ruins of the ancient city of R’lyeh.



            The captive of millennia.


            The end of the Earth is heralded by the breaking of a cage.


3 – A hand clutches at a tower in the city. Another pushes up from the middle of the streets. Cool blue tentacles wind their way through the broken building of the city.



            Come! Rise Cthulhu, old priest of Yog-Sothoth.


            Your father has let you free; The Beyond One asks a gift.


            PAGE 2


1 – The head of Cthulhu towers over the ancient city. The skull like a man, the front of his face nothing but a tight bundle of long reaching tentacles ever expanding in all directions.



            To the outer god Tulzscha you will purify and lift.


            The meat of the land will fill your coffer.


2 – Cthulhu snags a Megalodon (just so you can draw a giant shark…) with one of it’s tentacles.



            The time for cleansing comes, as we ready for the wake of Azathoth; Ancient dreamer.


            Sate yourself upon the kingly and destitute; The lesser races but fuel.




1 – Full page fun! A massive hand crushes a port city as Cthulu rises out of the water. The scale should be massive for the old one, as he’s easily able to destroy the city. Screaming into the sky, his body stretching across the land.



            To the ends of those who serve, and the ancient kings, you are the tool.


            With your task, Nyarlathotep reaches from The Court to aid the blasphemer.

Mike Black is…

A writer, reader, commentator, music lover, art lover, futurist, tech lover, pragmatist, romantic, DepDecoist, and a bastard. Hopefully you enjoy.

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