I started reading a book on astrobiology last night (Life Everywhere: The Maverick Science of Astrobiology by David Darling). It looks like it is going to be mostly about extra-terrestrial bacteria rather than ET, but perhaps I should brush up on the spacecraft of alien civilizations. Here is a spaceship size comparison chart:

Credit: Dan Carlson

Here’s a closeup:


Grace and Peace

P.S. I had a similar post in 2006: Museum of science fictions spaceships.


Todays Astronomy Picture of the Day is Iapetus, one of the moons of Saturn:


Each of the major moons of the solar system is unique. Iapetus is interesting for the great contrast between its brilliant white surface, which is probably composed of water ice, and the dark black area on the right, which could be covered by some form of carbon.

In the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, Iapetus is the site of the transformation of astronaut Dave Bowman into the “star child.” In the film, this occurs in orbit around Jupiter rather than inside Iapetus.


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Turkish Star Wars

My sons recently found “Turkish Star Wars” on the internet. This 1982 film has everything you would want in a movie that has made it to lists of “the worst movies ever made.” It has scenes stolen from Star Wars, music stolen from Indiana Jones, and is bad in just about every possible way. It is so bad it is fun to watch. One of my favorite scenes is about 14 minutes into the movie, where one of the actors gives his “famous whistle that no woman can resist.” It didn’t attract women.

The movie is in Turkish with English subtitles. Grab yourself some popcorn, get yourself a date, and enjoy.

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Museum of science fiction spaceships

In Senior physics, we just finished a short unit on Einstein’s special theory of relativity. One of the implications of special relativity is that nothing can travel faster than light, which travels at 300,000 km/s (186,000 miles per second) in a vacuum. In fact, it would take an infinite amount of energy to accelerate an object with mass—such as a spaceship or even an electron—to the actual speed of light. I had my students write essays on this, and they did an excellent job.

This doesn’t stop science fiction authors from having their characters zipping around the galaxy, using hyperdrive or warp speed. The internet has a Museum of Speculative Fiction Inspired Spaceships, where you can see all of your favorite spaceships from Star Wars, Star Trek, and other series drawn to scale for comparison. The images I have here are not all from the same page, so they are not all drawn to the same scale:






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