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Blog Series: Countering misconceptions in space journalism

As a lover of all things space I enjoy reading a wide variety of perspectives. The more different the origin, the more likely I am to learn something new! Even in articles which contain errors or elements of confusion, there’s still a good chance that I’ll encounter a new way of thinking about an issue. Many posts in this series and otherwise are now part of a book that is available as a commentable Google doc and on Amazon. I have discussed aspects of this topic in two appearances on The Space Show, as well as The Space Cave podcast, … Continue reading Blog Series: Countering misconceptions in space journalism

Scaling Carbon Capture

This blog is a follow up to So You Want To Start A Carbon Capture Company. In the last five months, the cadence of new entrants in this space, as well as new climate-focused funds, has only increased. This is a marked, though welcome, contrast to the now familiar dithering and lack of unified action at the international political level. Our entire civilization rests on our ability to harness ancient solar energy stored underground as reduced carbon and capture the heat unleashed when we bring it into chemical equilibrium with the surface by combusting it in our oxygen rich atmosphere. … Continue reading Scaling Carbon Capture

Starship is Still Not Understood

Another entry into my blog series on countering misconceptions in space journalism. I discussed this post on The Space Show on November 5 2021. It has been exactly two years since my initial posts on Starship and Starlink. While the Starlink post has aged quite well, Starship is still not widely understood despite intervening developments. As usual, this blog represents my own opinions and I do not have any inside information. To catch you up, two years ago SpaceX unveiled their boilerplate full scale mockup of Starship. Starhopper had completed two untethered flights. SN5 and SN6 hopped to 150 m … Continue reading Starship is Still Not Understood

Last minute trip to the Sierras

It was with dawning dread I realized I hadn’t camped overnight in the high Sierras since late 2015. I did attempt a family trip as recently as 2019 but we realized just before sleep time that we were downwind of a major wildfire and hastily retreated. Photos here. I also realized that I had left it too late in the season, with too much to do and too many responsibilities at home, to tackle my long term goal of finding a Class 2 route up Table Mountain. That would be fun but it would probably take a week to do … Continue reading Last minute trip to the Sierras

Summer 2021 road trip

Having spent a year or so, including the entirety of our youngest child’s life, in COVID-related lockdown, my wife Christine and I wanted to get out of town for a bit while we exhausted the remainder of our parental leave. Read on to discover how this simple objective morphed into a 7700 mile coast to coast (to coast to coast) road trip towing a classic 1960s travel trailer behind a modified Tesla Model 3 family sedan. Complete public photo album. Christine’s grandmother was having a 95th birthday celebration in Ohio, and we wanted to introduce her to her ~40th great … Continue reading Summer 2021 road trip

New Opportunities for Space Companies

Or, basic surface infrastructure for the Moon and Mars. I’ve written a few blogs about space stuff over the last couple of years but I’m not yet out of ideas. The usual disclaimers apply. As of May 2021, it looks like SpaceX has a reasonably solid lead in launch. This isn’t preordained to last forever, especially as copying a finalized Starship will be much easier for competitors, liberally salted with former SpaceX employees, than getting the design right in the first place. In the mean time, however, there are plenty of other worthy problems now that deep space transport seems, … Continue reading New Opportunities for Space Companies

The Unstoppable Battery Onslaught

I’ve written more than a few blogs about energy before. Why would I write another? I can’t think of a single reason. More seriously, I recently reviewed a personal whitepaper I wrote in January 2019 about battery economics and feel it is now time for it to see the light of day. The reasons for my reticence about publishing at the time should be obvious enough by the end of the post! No, I Will Not Shut Up About Solar And Batteries But first, a quick review. Slices of insights have made it into other, intervening posts. Most recently, I … Continue reading The Unstoppable Battery Onslaught

So you want to build a carbon capture company

Would you like to win one hundred million bucks from Elon Musk? Carbon capture (CC) is all the rage these days, with dozens of companies springing up to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and help stabilize the climate. I am not an expert on carbon capture but I do get asked about it from time to time. As a public service, therefore, I am offering the following rubric as a means to organize our thoughts, refine our strategy, and champion quantitative rigor when it comes to developing and evaluating a wide variety of carbon capture systems.  Is our carbon capture … Continue reading So you want to build a carbon capture company

Powering the Lunar Base

NASA’s selection of SpaceX’s Starship within the Human Lander System (HLS) program was both surprising and exciting for space nerds all over. Previously I have written about how Starship’s ambitious approach could transform the Artemis Program, particularly since Starship’s excessive cargo payload capacity creates a lot of opportunities that were previously curtailed by the harsh reality of razor thin Lunar mass budgets. As a rough rule of thumb, conventional approaches to Lunar transportation put cargo costs at upwards of $100m/T, while Starship should be able to get as low as $1m/T without any miracles, and perhaps as low as $100k/T … Continue reading Powering the Lunar Base