Category Archives: Science

Boarding the Spaceplane?


I posted this originally to the blog, “Above and Beyond,” on June 15, 2015. I thought I would reprint here. During the administration of President Ronald Reagan, senior government officials began to discuss the possibility of developing an “Orient Express,” … Continue reading

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A Balance Sheet on All of the Landings on Mars


Since the beginning of the space age there have been 17 landings on the surface of Mars, some of which were not successful. Initially the Soviet Union carried out two attempted landings in 1971, Mars 2 and 3, but the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Scientific Exploration of Mars”


The Scientific Exploration of Mars. By Frederic W. Taylor. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010. V + 348 pages. Prologue, acknowledgments, notes, illustrations, appendices, index. ISBN: 978-0-521-82956-4. $45, hardcover. Mars has long held a special fascination for humans who pondered … Continue reading

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Recalling the First Vikings on Mars


The 20th of July marked the 39th anniversary of Viking 1’s touch down on Mars after a voyage of nearly one year, followed within a two months by Viking 2. The landings represented the culmination of a series of missions to … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Great Warming”


The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations. By Brian Fagan. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2008. Is there anyone who is not familiar with the concept of global warming? Or, if one wants to use a less … Continue reading

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“New Horizons” Reaches Pluto


The “New Horizons” spacecraft is a major NASA program to complete the initial exploration of all of the major bodies of the solar system. It was designed to help understand worlds at the edge of our Solar System by making the … Continue reading

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Governing Antarctica: A Continent Dedicated to Science or a Place of Geopolitical Rivalry?


In many respects, the history of cooperation and collaboration in Antarctic science mirrors the larger story of how the various great powers have interrelated since the conclusion of World War II. If one were to characterize it accurately throughout the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Evolution vs. Creationism”


Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction. By Eugenie C. Scott. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. For many years the author of this book, Eugenie C. Scott, oversaw the activities of the National Center for Science Education. In that capacity she … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Intimate Universality”


Intimate Universality: Local and Global Themes in the History of Climate and Weather. Edited by James Rodger Fleming, Vladimir Jankovic, and Deborah R. Coen. Sagamore Beach: MA: Science History Publications, 2006. Although nearly a decade old now, Intimate Universality is a … Continue reading

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A Revolution in Cosmology?


Only five centuries ago, not even the blink of an eye in time when compared to the age of the universe, humanity’s vision extended but a little beyond Saturn. Our ancestors envisioned a universe both limited and orderly. The telescope … Continue reading

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