Daily Archives: May 19th, 2007

Saturday Science and Fiction

It’s been wild around the tinfoil house lately, wilder than I liked it, oh well. Life would be boring if it was the same everyday, wouldn’t it?

From Discovery News

May 18, 2007 — A sinkhole in Mexico seems an unlikely spot to prepare for a search for extraterrestrial life, but that’s exactly where a team of scientists and engineers have gathered this week to test a NASA robotic probe that may one day dive into an ocean on another world.

The sinkhole itself is far from ordinary. It could swallow the 1,046-foot tall Chrysler Building with room to spare, though nobody yet knows the chasm’s true depth.

That’s one goal of the expedition to El Zacatón, located in central Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

Some scientists suspect the vertical cave, or cenote, could be deep enough to hold a stack of three Chrysler Buildings.

I studied about cenotes when I was reading about the Mayas in a class I was taking. To them, the cenotes were entryways to the underworld. They  tossed their sacrifices down them too.  Alien Ocean Probe Practices in Mexico 

This next article made me chuckle. After all this talk I go though about UFOs, anti-gravity drives, wormholes and warp-drives, the next best thing in rocket technology is cow farts:

The trouble with exploring the solar system is that there just aren’t any rocket fueling stations out there. That won’t be the case if future planet-hopping astronauts are equipped with a new kind of rocket engine which burns two gases that are already in good supply on several other planets: methane and oxygen. Methane doesn’t exactly have high-tech, Trekkie credentials, being better known for its association with flatulent cows and natural gas. But the latest tests of a prototype supersonic methane rocket engine by XCOR Aerospace show that the good old swamp gas has interplanetary potential. “It’s not as nice as kerosene,” said XCOR Aerospace’s Aleta Jackson. “But it’s available on Mars and other parts of the solar system.”

That abundance on other worlds is crucial if spacecraft are ever going break free of dependence on earthly fuels and still travel at speeds that will get them to other planets in a timely fashion.

Hot sh*t 21st century tech? We should be sending probes down wormhole nexus points by now. The defence industry has a strangle-hold monopoly on rocket tech.  Don’t need starship drives when all you need are missile launching  platforms from orbit I guess. I’m not chuckling about that.  Methane To Power Rockets of The Future? 

Larry Niven is a Grand Master of Science Fiction and one of my all-time favorites. His Known Space Series of novels introduced fans to the Kzinti, Pak Protectors, Pierson’s Puppeteers, Grog, Slavers (Thrints), tnuctipun and The Outsiders. Not to mention human heroes Gil “The Arm” Hamilton, Beowolf Shaefer, Lucas Garner and my favorite, Louis Gridley Wu. I’m sure there’s some I missed. In my humble opinion, Ringworld is one of Larry’s finest works, if not the finest. The Ringworld is a larger than worlds object that is what it says, a huge ring with a sun in the middle of it. The ring is rotated for gravity and it’s station keeping, or attitude jets are stripped down Bussard ramjets. A ringworld is considered a real technical invention, a possibility for a class III Kardashev civilization to build and is cataloged as Ringworld or Niven Ring at the Orion’s Arm website.

Ringworld is part of a series that include Ringworld Engineers, Ringworld Throne and Ringworld’s Children.

I know I’ve been giving links to different places that sell classic sci-fi, but to be honest with you, I’m satified with Amazon.com. I have an account there and if you have a debit, credit card or a regular checking account, ordering and buying books are easy. If you are already amazon geeks and you all probably are, I’m preaching to the choir.

In fact, I received Star Maker today and I’m going to dig in. Also, my tinfoil blogging is going to be spotty this summer, personal business y’know, but when I do post, I’ll try to make ’em good and weird!