Monday, February 8, 2016

Essay for BBC Radio 3

I've done a talk for BBC Radio 3's 'The Essay', one of five there regarding space exploration, space settlement, and even interstellar dispersal.

Click here for a link to these essays.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A New Publishing Venture -- "À BORD D'UN VAISSEAU MONDE"

A recent short-format book is out, derived from an interview with me on space anthropology and the astounding conception of human dispersal to planets beyond our solar system -- long the ultimate dream of space exploration, today so recognized by NASA and other space agencies. This is the long game, the long goal. It is a fascinating and thoroughgoing challenge!

Many are working toward it; one part I play is in my work at Icarus Interstellar, on both the genetic and cultural issues involved in multigenerational space voyaging.

À BORD D'UN VAISSEAU MONDE is one in a series of books on space exploration and settlement distributed by noblishing/ATCM media, Geneva.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

SUPER Pressure Suit Test Today!

Longer report later, but today a fantastic test proving out a few final technological solutions! On board were scientific balloon builder and industrial designer Mathew Lippincott, professional mariner W. Magruder and yours truly. I have tremendous -- and well-founded -- belief now that we can build the 3rd-generation suit for high-altitude flights. You can always find the most recent updates on twitter.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Iceland Drawing

Wrapping up an essay for BBC3 Radio recently, I was reminded of visions of stars refelected in glacier ice in Iceland. Here's a drawing, and a sketch of some text describing the scene, for my Iceland book.

"I picked my way through canyons and towers of ice and gravel, my supply sled scratching or screeching as its skis crossed pumice or ice. My feeble headlamp bobbed along. Most of the light was in the sky, the moon illuminating tilted terrains that extended into darkness, their geometries not always making sense in my half-seen world. A thousand other celestial lights burned in the sky--planets, stars, galactic clusters, meteorites... The brightest were reflected by the black ice, the photons from those stars bouncing up at my eyes after--well, who-knew how many millions or billions of years in transit? On such cold, clear nights I was stripped down by the terrain and such thoughts, stripped right down to being a life form trying to get from one point to another. It was a pleasant simplification."

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas 2015

Visiting family in California, after an intensive year of talks, pressure suit developments and writing. Also a new illustration for my Iceland book, which was written over several years and which I am editing at the moment. Back to flight training now, for testing and certification in January 2016 so that I can start flying my pressure suit!

From the book, and related to the drawing below:

"It is known that each Icelandic valley ('dalur') is attended by some ghoul; from trolls to witches, giantesses, ghost-sorcerers....elves and goblins...As I scurried along a frozen river that ribboned down the bottom of the Hofelsdalur--my headlamp just a spark in the night-- hurricane-force wild winds whipped snow from the peaks and then avalanched down on me in bizarre vertical downdrafts. I imagined a great ghoul up in the crags, thrilled to have discovered a plaything in his lonely valley. The steep black basalt valley walls were snaked with frozen waterfalls that terminated half way down, acres of ice crust spattered below on near-vertical rock."

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New Iceland Drawing!

Up Periscope! Grades turned in, I'm a free man! From my book-in-progress on my Iceland expeditions;

"I slowly gained elevation up the low grade of the glacier. Strange ice and snow features, sculpted by wind, rain, and summer sun, occasionally caught my eye. The ice I walked on was frequently transparent. My crampons bit into what appeared to be a thick pane of irregular glass, beneath it clouds and galactic tendrils of black ash and white bubbles swirled, trapped in the ice...Some bubbles were a spray of soda fizz, others were large, lonely balloons...There were contorted blue and green swaths, painters’ brushstrokes, some long and lazy, others mere jabs. All appeared to writhe if I was moving, but when I stopped and sat like a child to examine them, they were motionless in the ice. Even here, the glacier was hundreds of feet thick, and I couldn’t tell how far down I was seeing. Irregular drapes of aqua-colored ice seemed to be sandwiched between masses of something that was nearly transparent, but still caught some of the starlight and redistributed it in random waves and flourishes. When melt water flowed half an inch thick across the ice, the strange spectacle rippled and squirmed. It was a surreal painting, drunk at having discovered motion.

The effects were hypnotic. Already the ice was enchanting me, molding my actions. It had already brought me to my knees in wonder. And now, if I tilted my head a little, or scanned slowly from left to right, the leaps and oozes of the deep ice-light swirls were a spell indeed. I swayed gently, like a snake before the flute, to keep the lights in motion. It was easy to imagine that some Icelandic sorcerer of old had set a cold fire into the ice to trap lonely wanderers. It took an effort to get up and keep moving."

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mars Exploration Invention

In press for publication in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (world's oldest organization dedicated to space flight and space exploration), an invention worked out by me and fellow explorer Louis Philippe-Loncke: a 'Mars-Cart' to facilitate exploration of the surface of Mars, independent of mechanized ATV's (all terrain vehicles); there will be many reasons to use ATV's, but also many to explore without them. Just working on correcting proofs this weekend, will be off to the printer 17 December! A few photos from the article, which I first worked out in 2008, applying what I'd learned in Iceland to the concept of Mars exploration.