Tag Archives: space

Book now with the Exoplanet Travel Bureau

(You may have a wait while the technology for your flight is developed.)

A lot of my first reading as a child was astronomy books and magazines. When I was little, my brother told me there was a black hole under his bed (to keep me from snooping—nerd children fight dirty), and after that, I had to know more about the enigmatic and alarming properties of the universe.

One of the things I remember was the hunt for the first exoplanet, that is, the first confirmed planet outside of the solar system. Scientists were quite sure they should exist (why wouldn’t they?), but the equipment and techniques thus far hadn’t shown them. I remember reading about some of the first exoplanets in the hazy early 90s. They were massive, close to their stars, and had outrageous properties that inspired wild imaginings.

Now confirmed exoplanets number in the thousands. And poking around the internet on an unrelated chore the other night, I found this gem: the Exoplanet Travel Bureau. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (the extremely prestigious and awesome JPL) made travel posters for four exoplanets in the style of retro travel posters. Each of them features characteristics of their planet. I promptly printed out three and hung them in my guest room. I’m still ecstatic about them; these are the kinds of visions and dreams I had so long ago as a kid, and that I love to chase in my own art. These are awesome, and I love them, and you can download them at full size. Tell all your friends, and print your own! Here they are!

Click on the image for more image sizes. Images by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Click on the image for more image sizes. Images by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Click on the image for more image sizes. Images by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Click on the image for more image sizes. Images by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Writing prompt: Stay out of the sun day

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Stay out of the sun day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)

“This will be one your first exercises,” the leader wiggled his antennae sternly. “It might seem like a trivial one, but 15% of recruits fail this test.”

Ix’xin sat nervously in his seat. Everyone knew about this test. They were working to develop genetic tests to identify the trait and lower the loss rate, but until then, the best thing to do was place every recruit in a separate vehicle and only give him the opportunity to take himself out.

“We will be launching you into space shortly. Most of your experience will be exactly like your experiences in the flight simulators. Except one. You will feel drawn to fly into the sun. Most of you will be able to resist, but not all.”

Ix’xin’s wings were strapped to a sensitive interface.The interface detected small muscle movements and translated them into the motion of the ship. It was almost like flying back home.

The sun was bigger and brighter than he could have imagined. In his mind, it felt warm and inviting even though with all the shielding he didn’t feel any difference. Several seconds passed before he realized he was flying straight toward the luminous sphere. With compound eyes, he saw the twinkling of other pods travelling as he did.

He continued toward the sun.

Writing prompt: World Laboratory Day

Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“World Laboratory” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)

 

The capsule docked at the World Laboratory station. Dr. Trinner pushed gingerly from weightlessness into the gentle rotational gravity. The door slipped closed.

“Your laboratory is a ways from the dock. It’s all allotted by need, the labs with heavier shipping duties are near here, the vacuum labs are surface labs, the gravity labs rotate faster, the zero g labs are on the axis.”

“It’s all right, I wouldn’t mind stretching out,” Trinner assured the nervous guide. Her reputation obviously preceded her. But it had been years since the Erlenmeyer Incident…

Strictly speaking, her research didn’t benefit at all from work in space. But as a child, she had dreamt of being an astronaut. Doing science on a space station was damned near the next best thing. The station had jumped at the opportunity to have a Nobel winner onboard.

The light gravity was disorienting, harder on her stomach than zero g somehow.“How many are onboard now?” She braced against the walls of the corridor.

“30%, about,” the guide responded. “Some of the laboratories require special work and will take longer to complete. It will be pretty peaceful for a while here!”

“Other than the construction,” Trinner said.

“Yes, other than that.”

#

Trinner was alone in the lab. Some colleagues would follow in a couple of days. Her quarters were in the cluster near that lab section. It felt like science camp, living and breathing science, away from the cares of the world.

The construction echoed through the bulkheads from time to time. But there were other noises that Trinner couldn’t explain—voices. Voices came from the walls, in languages she didn’t know. She wondered if it were recordings of radio or television, but she couldn’t find a source.

Soviet Holiday Cards

Boingboing had a cool post yesterday about Soviet “Christmas” cards. Actually most of the cards say “s novum godom”– “to the new year”. I love all the science and rocketry themes. I also find it interesting how many things we associate with Christmas have been co-opted for a holiday the soviets found safer: New Year’s. You can find the original website for the cards here. Below are a few of my favorites, which can all be found at www.mazaika.com/postcard01.htm.

 

Current work: Zish and Argo

Earlier this week I finished the line work for my next project, “The Galactic Adventures of Zish and Argo“.  Zish and Argo is about a little girl named Zish who steals a spaceship named Argo. They travel deep into space and encounter many strange and wonderful situations. Along their adventures, scientific concepts relevant to the story are touched upon.

You can find ongoing updates about this project under the current projects tab, or through the link. I expect to complete painting early next year. The first Zish and Argo book introduces their situation and their first adventure. The illustrations will be water-color paintings, like the one below: