Friday, November 13, 2015

Iceland Book Illustrations

Slowly but surely, I am editing the book on my Iceland expeditions, and illustrating it. I'm using a white-pencil-on-black-paper technique, which I think effectively communicates the dramatic conditions of the expedition, which, during winter, was mostly carried out in darkness. Here, a fumarole on the ice cap sends up a cloud of steam, some of which freezes into ice crystals that seemed to rain down through the blackness! The hours spent making such a drawing allow me to revisit my time on that great expedition!

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Tonight I refurbished the old suited person monitor; monitors person in trainer capsule (on left, under spaghetti pile of hoses) with two video feeds, for C02 (new, sensitive gauge donated recently by a local company!), blood oxygenation, pulse, breathing gas tank pressure, suit pressure, various gas flows, various times (with three digital timers), intercom phone & a few others. Very much improved and running 3 laptops, having gone more digital this last year over analog gauges etc. The flying machine will be more analog than digital but for various reasons the laptops are good for testing. Progress!

Monday, November 2, 2015


"In exploration, safety is not the most important thing. In exploration the most important thing is to actually go."

-- Wayne Hale, former Space Shuttle Program Manager & Flight Director for 40 NASA missions over 32 years.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Off to the Printer -- An Adaptive Paradigm for Human Space Settlement

Off to the printer! Since reading "Interstellar Migration and the Human Condition", edited by U Hawaii anthropologist Ben Finney, years ago, I have been working on ideas in the realm of long-term human space settlement; not as flag-planting, or 'the conquest of nature', or an expensive luxury of bored nations, but as a responsible investment in the human future. This article now off to Acta Astronautica, where the message reaches many in the rarefied world of space policy. The point here is to begin assembling an adaptive, evolutionary framework and context for long-term human space settlement. One step at a time!

Acta Astronautica is a peer-reviewed scientific journal sponsored by the International Academy of Astronautics. Content is based on original contributions in all fields of basic, engineering, life and social space sciences and of space technology related to:

The peaceful scientific exploration of space,

Its exploitation for human welfare and progress

Conception, design, development and operation of space-borne and Earth-based systems In addition to regular issues, the journal publishes selected proceedings of the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC), transactions of the IAA and special issues on topics of current interest, such as microgravity, space station technology, geostationary orbits, and space economics. Other subject areas include satellite technology, space transportation and communications, space energy, power and propulsion, astrodynamics, extraterrestrial intelligence and Earth observations.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Eventually, Someone Will Make It

I contributed to this article on Mars colonization for FACTOR magazine (UK, online); "THE FIRST STEPS: HOW THE PIONEERING MARS COLONISTS WILL SURVIVE".

Mars settlement is not assured, but neither was reaching the Moon, or a thousand other big achievements for our species, all of which were called 'crazy dreaming' at the start; flight itself, sequencing genomes, electrical power, radio waves...climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen...certainly all achievements and none started by entirely safe, entirely rational people with entirely safe & rational plans...we must accept some risk if we're ever to step out the front door.

I conclude the article, stating "I think there will be international human-crewed explorations in the next couple of decades. They will be like the first to the Moon or the South Pole – long, risky and expensive, with some catastrophes...But that will not stop anyone, and in fact will only increase the will to succeed. In the end, as with the invention of the aeroplane, someone will make it.” Thanks to interviewer Mark Blaney Stuart!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Historical Visitor!

Recently while working with they system, I had the front door (leading out onto 12th Ave) open, to let in light and air and to let people see inside. Among the people who passed, and saw something interesting, and came in at my invitation, was retired Boeing engineer (44 years with the company!) M. Moseley, who worked on pressure- and space-suit testing during the Gemini program (1961-1966). He had a lot of great stories and very detailed technical information that, once again (I am happy to say) verified things that I'd suspected about these suits and their testing. Since my own suits are roughly at this technological level (Gemini rather the earlier Mercury, yet not as far as the later Apollo), this was great to hear. What a day!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Balloon Flying!

Wrapping up balloon flying school, I've completed my solo flights and am endorsed to take the FAA practical test! Photos: flying 7,420 feet and climbing at 300 feet per minute (we were hunting for an Easterly wind!); looking up at burners; firing a burner; and me with my instructor, Brent, looking out over the endless crops of New Jerusalem, California. Like NASA in the 1950's and 1960's, before long we will be testing my pressure suits at high altitudes, reached by balloon!