Christmas on Mars

This version of “Silent Night” performed on the theremin is magnificent. It also puts 1950s sci-fi B-movies in mind — not unlike Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, a long-time holiday favorite of mine — and so I wrote a new verse for “Silent Night”… Silent night, holy night.Mars attacks with laser light.Saucers flying through theContinue reading “Christmas on Mars”

The Martian Menace

There are Sherlock Holmes novels. And there are novels starring Sherlock Holmes. There’s a difference, a subtle one, but still a difference. A Sherlock Holmes novel has the usual trappings — the client upon the stair, a few cuts at the violin strings, some deduction, a hansom cab out on a dark night on aContinue reading “The Martian Menace”

Facebook Notices and Tonight’s Mars Opposition

While I’m excited that Facebook has taken an interest in astronomy today, I’m also a bit irked by its announcement about seeing Mars with the naked eye. First, Facebook doesn’t explain why it made this announcement. Mars is at opposition tonight; it will be at its closest to Earth. Second, when Mars is in theContinue reading “Facebook Notices and Tonight’s Mars Opposition”

Space Brings Back Boyish Wonder

There’s a Carbon Leaf song that’s an especial favorite of mine — “Blue Ridge Laughing” from Ether-Electrified Porch Music has this magnificent line: “Space brings back boyish wonder.” I cite it from time to time, especially on clear nights when you can see clear into infinity, such as here or especially here: The sky tonightContinue reading “Space Brings Back Boyish Wonder”

Link Roundup

Some random links that caught my fancy today. Islamic clerics in the United Arab Emirites have issued a fatwa against humans traveling to Mars. The reason? They consider it a suicide mission, and the Qu’ran prohibits suicide, therefore anyone who travels to Mars is committing suicide. A cellist wants HBO to rerecord the Game ofContinue reading “Link Roundup”

On Carl Sagan’s Message to Martian Explorers

There’s a link that’s making the rounds on my Facebook and Twitter timelines — io9 has an article about a message recorded by Carl Sagan to future Mars explorers. I shared the link on my Facebook wall. This is the comment I appended to it: Carl Sagan did a lot when I was very smallContinue reading “On Carl Sagan’s Message to Martian Explorers”

On Contemplating the Martian War Machine

On Saturday, I built the Tripod Invader, one of the sets from the new LEGO Alien Conquest theme which is based loosely on H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds and alien invasion B-movies of the 1950s. When I wrote about the set yesterday, I mentioned that I was thinking of modifying the Tripod InvaderContinue reading “On Contemplating the Martian War Machine”

On “The Waters of Mars”

So I’ve watched last night’s Doctor Who, “The Waters of Mars.” It’s slickly made. The effects work was especially nice. Graeme Harper acquitted himself well behind the camera. I loved the mention of the Ice Warriors. I thought it was incredibly boring. The plot is rather linear. The Doctor arrives at Bowie Base One onContinue reading “On “The Waters of Mars””

On Christmas Traditions

My friend Todd has recently been on a Christmas Carol watch-a-thon. He wanted suggestions, and last night I said, “Surely you’re watching Blackadder’s Christmas Carol; I watch it every year on Christmas Day.” It hadn’t occurred to him, to watch, not the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge, but the corruption of Ebenezer Blackadder. Hopefully, it’s inContinue reading “On Christmas Traditions”

On Angering the Red Planet

Astronomers have rated an asteroid as having a 1 in 75 chance of striking Mars on January 30, 2008. The asteroid, known as 2007 WD5, was discovered in late November and is similar in size to the Tunguska object that hit remote central Siberia in 1908, unleashing energy equivalent to a 15-megaton nuclear bomb thatContinue reading “On Angering the Red Planet”