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Apollo Planetary Historical Preserve

One of my favourite space heritage scenes from science fiction: Tranquility Base is by far the biggest tourist attraction on Luna, and the reason is its historical significance, since it is the spot where a human foot first trod another planet. Right? If you thought that, maybe I could interest you in some prime real estate on Ganymede with a great view of the volcano. The real draw at Tranquility is just over the horizon and goes by the name of Armstrong Park. Since the park is within the boundaries of Apollo Planetary Historical Preserve, the Lunar Chamber of Commerce can boast that X million people visit the site of the first Lunar landing every year, but the ads feature the roller coaster, not the LEM. A good number of those tourists … Read entire article »

Filed under: Fiction

Review: Prometheus

Space archaeology movies don’t come along often, so I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. This review is basically me venting my deep disappointment. There are spoilers. Two archaeologists – the believer ‘Shaw’ and the skeptic ‘Holloway’ – are excavating on the Isle of Skye, Scotland (I just had the awful thought that the site was chosen because it’s a homophone of ‘sky’.) In a cave they discover paleolithic art depicting an ancient alien and a star map. It’s clear that this painting is what the archaeologists were searching for. Think about how they designed that expedition: “Let’s dig randomly all over the world until we find examples of this design to support the ancient astronaut hypothesis.” That is a terrible plan. It wouldn’t take much to fix this … Read entire article »

Filed under: Reviews

Stellar Demolition

I love the bathos of this extract from the Red Dwarf novels: Sipping her champagne Kirsty Fantori, the star demolition engineer, started programming the nebulon missile. It had to explode at just the right moment to trigger off the reaction in the star’s core which would push it into supernova stage. A star in supernova would light up the entire galaxy for over a month, giving off more energy than the Earth’s sun could in ten billion years. It would be a hell of a bang. One undetected bug in Fantozi’s programming could ruin everything. Not only did she have to push the star into supernova, she had to time it so the light from the explosion would reach Earth at exactly the right moment. The right moment was the same … Read entire article »

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