May 272016

A few days ago I stopped by the Cutler Marina and saw a creature in the water. Clearly this was some sort of crypto-beast… maybe a pliosaur, maybe an aquatic sasquatch, probably alien. One of the photos shows an spherical flying object… most likely an alien mothership. Alert the media!

WP_20160523_005 WP_20160523_017 WP_20160523_020 WP_20160523_030

Now I’m off to write a 400-page screed to Alex Jones and begin campaigning for Bernie Sanders.

 Posted by at 9:22 pm
May 272016

I have someone who wants me to make some CAD models for large-scale replicas, but I haven’t the necessary reference materials. Can anyone help?

1: Planck space telescope

2: ESA Exomars rover

3: Spaceship Two

Any assistance, pointers, data packages, whatever, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

 Posted by at 7:52 pm
May 262016



Probably wisely, the fusion “Epstein Drive” used by ships in the universe of “The Expanse” are not described much at all. Since the mechanics of the drive systems are not germain to the plot, it’s best to leave them as undescribed as the mechanics of the internal combustion engine in a story about someone driving a taxi cab. Still, hints are dropped here and there, including that they use “fuel pellets.” This would tend to indicate that it’s a form of nuclear pulse propulsion, but one with not only an insanely high pulse rate, but also extreme thrust *and* extreme Isp. The result of that should be an extreme amount of waste heat that would need to be radiated, but clearly the ships of The Expanse don’t have giant radiators. There are theoretical ways to explain that away, but from what I’ve read so far it hasn’t been touched on. I know how I explain the lack of radiators on the fusion powered ships in *my* fiction…

UPDATE: In “Cibola Burn,” Alex the pilot gives a very, very brief description of the engine. It uses lasers to crush the fuel pellets and magnetic fields to direct the resulting exhaust. So it *is* clearly a nuclear pulse system, of the inertial confinement micropellet variety.

 Posted by at 8:22 am
May 252016

SpaceX’s successes with the Falcon 9 is forcing the rest of the launch industry to come up with new ideas. Orbital Sciences has released a bit of info on the Next Generation Launcher, which is based on a Space Shuttle booster first stage with a new Blue Origin third stage (which *might* indicate that the third stage is to be recoverable). And like Falcon 9, the NGL is designed with a heavy version… which has not only a pair of solid strap-on boosters, but a different first stage solid rocket.

Can’t say as that really make a whole lot of sense to me. But I guess we’ll see. First, we’ll see if OSC is truly serious about this, and they actually forge ahead.

With luck a clearer version of this chart will be made public.

 Posted by at 8:26 am
May 242016

In the late 1960s, Barron Hilton of Hilton Hotels pursued the idea of hotels in orbit or on the moon (as discussed previously HERE). Around that time, Hilton Hotels apparently produced a little PR gimmick in the form of a “Lunar Hilton” room key. This was a transitional design, shaped similar to a standard mechanical door lock key, it didn’t have the teeth used to position tumbled, but instead had the small holes that would be later used on plastic keycards. It appear that at least two types of these keys were produced… a stamped metal key with wood inlay, and an injection-molded or machined plastic key with wood “stickers.” Same basic configuration. These may have been produced in order to piggyback publicity for “2001: A Space Odyssey.” They certainly seem like they would have fit in with the design aesthetic of the film… futuristic, but firmly based in 1960’s tech.

The design of the plastic key seems easy enough to replicate in CAD. Might there be a market for replicas? Perhaps something for 3D printing at Shapeways?

lunar hilton plastic key lunar hilton metal key

 Posted by at 2:39 pm