Doug Turnbull interviews Mars One volunteers + Reads from new novel

Science fiction writer Doug Turnbull has a weekly podcast program in which he reports on space news highlights, interviews guests, and reads from his books. He recently has been interviewing Mars One expedition candidates and he also just started reading his latest novel, Zachary Dixon. Thus far it has a Robert Heinlein scenario and style to it that I like.

(BTW: Mars One just posted their latest newsletter: Mars One Begins Work on Simulation Mars Home for Crew.)

Here are the four most recent podcasts, which include the start of the Zachary Dixon novel:

Episode XLVII – Mars One Second Round volunteer Anderson Wilder + beginning of the novel Zachary Dixon.

*Episode XLVIII – Mars One Second Round volunteer and data architect Dan Carey + 2nd installment of the novel Zachary Dixon.

Episode XLIX – Part 2 of interview with Dan Carey +  3rd installment of  Zachary Dixon.

Episode L – Mars One volunteer and US Army Chemical Defense officer, Heidi Beemer + 4th installment of Zachary Dixon.



LittleBits SpaceKit: Assemble your own space program

The company littleBits has developed an open source collection of electronic modules that snap together with magnets to make all sorts of fun gadgets. They have collaborated with NASA to create a SpaceKit package:  Build Your Own Mini Mars Rover With These Brilliant, NASA-Approved Blocks – Design.WIRED


The package includes “12 modules, 5 NASA lesson plans and 10 STEAM activities”.  With it you can assemble a Mars Rover:


A space helmet:


A space station:


The Space Booklet (pdf) describes the SpaceKit and several projects based on it.

This video shows a sampling of space projects:



Video: Astronauts on spacewalk replace balky relay box outside the ISS

On Wednesday at the International Space Station:

… Expedition 39 Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson of NASA conducted a spacewalk April 23 to replace a backup computer relay box on the station’s S0 (s-zero) truss. The relay box, which failed April 11, is called a multiplexer-demultiplexer, and assists in providing insight and commanding for the station’s truss systems and associated hardware.

Here are some highlights of the EVA:



Kepler’s second and third acts + Sara Seager’s drive to find distant earths

The Kepler space telescope continues to look for exoplanets while its data continues to be mined for new worlds : Earth II? – PJ Media


A profile of exoplanet finder Sara Seager of MIT : Sara Seager’s Tenacious Drive to Discover Another Earth – Smithsonian


Update: And here is an item about not taking too seriously artists’ visions of how exoplanets might look close up : Envisioning Alien Worlds – Centauri Dreams