Monthly Archives: September 2014
We all love to point out the ridiculous bad physics in science fiction — it’s like an awesome sport that everybody wins. (Except physics.) But the truth is, sometimes you have to violate the laws of physics to create science fiction stories that people want to watch.
In recent years, the myth that we can clearly see the Great Wall of China from space has been largely busted. Although the wall is long, it’s not very wide and blends in too well with the surrounding environment. While that realization might be somewhat disappointing, there are still plenty of earthly things we can see from space, especially when in low Earth orbit—where satellites and the International Space Station (ISS) hang out.
Earth is about to have a close encounter with a house-sized asteroid on Sunday (Sept. 7), when a space rock discovered just days ago will zoom by our planet at a range closer than some satellites.
Humans have walked on the Moon and sent machines to the surface of Mars—and we’re even close to getting a Voyager probe beyond our solar system. But that is just the beginning. As science marches on, it seems that all those incredible suits, ships and space colonies we were given by science fiction may actually be just over the horizon.
Mercury is the last of the classical planets, the planets known to the astronomers of Egypt and Greece and Rome and the Far East. It’s an object that has captivated the imagination and the attention of astronomers for millennia.