In the old Frank Sinatra song, flying to the moon meant “playing up there with those stars” and seeing “what life is like on a-Jupiter and Mars” — in other words, “filling the heart with song”. But in the third decade of the 21st century, it is epochal politics — […]
In the first month of 2020, Forbes was all excitement about fresh opportunities for plunder and conquest. Titled “2020: The Year We Will Conquer Mars”, the contribution by astrophysicist Paul M. Sutter was less interested in the physics than the conquest. A potentially very crowded scene was described. Various countries […]
The discussion about mining the Moon resembles that of previous conquests: the division of territory; the grabbing of resources; language of theft and plunder. All of this is given the gloss of manifest destiny and human experiment. Such language is also self-perpetuating: the plunderer is only as good as the […]
On 19 June, the unclassified section of the Pentagon’s new space defence strategy was released, and it clearly states that the US views the environment as a field of operations. The publicly available document is short in length, but it clearly shows the position and intentions of the US military […]
It would be too simple to regard the latest space venture, funded by Elon Musk, as entirely a matter of vast ego and deeply-pocked adventurism. But it would be close. The successful delivery of astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken of NASA as part of the joint mission with SpaceX […]
“I don’t trust glib reassurances from satellite operators without precise details.” Alice Gorman, space archaeologist, May 26, 2019 Astronomers tend to have their eyes, and minds, not merely in the clouds but beyond them. The dream of unimpaired vision tends to come with the territory; the better the uninterrupted line, […]
The Moon landing anniversary this weekend was given a vigorous clean-up, with the Cold War finding a back seat when it was, in fact, the main driver. The Moon project was a fundamental political poke, soaked by competitive drives. The science was the instrumental ballast and has come to provide the heavy cosmetics to romanticise what is, at best, an effigy.
“LET’S GO!” – Yuri Gagarin’s famous cry at the start of the first manned spaceflight (1961) “DON’T LET GO” – the official tagline for the movie Gravity (2013) Watching Academy Award-winning movies is often more thought-provoking than entertaining. In addition to their responsibility for much of the visual indoctrination of […]