Category Archives: Concepts

Orbiting magnetic balloons

I recently got the following question: Let’s say I have a 500kg balloon floating in the stratosphere at fixed altitude with solar cells collecting 10kw from the sun, then my computation shows that if this energy can be converted to … Continue reading

Posted in Concepts, Space | 9 Comments

Spacecraft Research is at it again

It’s been a little while since I checked in with the goings-on back at my Cornell research lab. Totally unsurprisingly, some very cool things are happening there! One is that the Sprite and KickSat project has gone all the way … Continue reading

Posted in Concepts, Graduate school, Research, Science Fiction, Space | 1 Comment


Way back when I was looking at grad schools, I visited an MIT space propulsion lab where students and faculty were developing something called an electrospray thruster. This is a device consisting of a plate covered in tiny spikes, with … Continue reading

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On the World Zarmina

2014 update! You can now buy prints of this map! …Preliminary report on image data from the LongShot-2 mission… The planet Gliese 581g – also known as Zarmina – is a circular world. It is not circular in the literal … Continue reading

Posted in Art, Concepts, Geology, Maps, Original fiction, Science Fiction, Space | 6 Comments

Space Carriers

Two space-fighter games recently came out in quick succession. Both are free, downloadable fan-made takes on popular franchises, and both show very high production values. The first is Wing Commander: Saga, based on the 1990s-era Wing Commander space simulator games.* … Continue reading

Posted in Concepts, Science Fiction, Space | 7 Comments

Stoking our Curiosity for Other Worlds

In the wee hours of last Monday (Eastern US time), a jubilant Mission Control erupted at the successful landing of the Mars Science Laboratory “Curiosity.” Curiosity has demonstrated some amazing technological feats. Now, that portion of its mission is nearly … Continue reading

Posted in Concepts, NASA, Science, Space | Leave a comment

Stealth Spaceships

When I started my original series of posts on space battles, I speculated about what a combat-spacecraft designer might want to do in order to make a vehicle that could avoid enemy detection: It would make sense to build their … Continue reading

Posted in Concepts, Science Fiction, Space | 5 Comments