Get Outside and Look Up

nightskytwitter

SOMETIMES PROFUNDITY is best expressed through the shortest, simplest statements. Will Burcher is a former police officer and current author of “The GAIAD,” a story of ancient secrets not quite forgotten and the positive power of global perspective. He lives and works in Colorado, USA. SUBSCRIBE for a chance to WIN A signed edition of The GAIAD. Join the conversation. EARTH. SPACE. INSPIRATION. EVERY 10th subscriber will receive a print edition of THE GAIAD, a new science fiction novel, signed by the author. Subscribers will also receive a 20% discount on the book—our thanks for being part of a conversation that WANTS TO BE HAD.

Perspective

dsc_2821twitter

For geeks: Taken on a Nikon D610, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, 20 second exposure WHEN YOU LOOK into the Milky Way (near the southern horizon this time of year) you’re looking into a “haze” caused by your eyes’ misperception of literally billions of points of light, each a star potentially circled by worlds like our own. At the center of of that haze lies a supermassive black hole, at least 4 million times the mass of our sun, trillions of miles away. I took this photo last night in a pretty remote area west of Colorado Springs, CO, USA. I’m a fan of challenging our perspectives, personal and collective. These terms (millions, billions, trillions) are really just incomprehensible. They’re completely foreign to our daily lives. For me, pictures like this and the thought they invoke have the power to change perspective—from that standard, normal, tired, daily frontal-lobe insularity to a felt … READ MORE…

SPACE and Environmentalism in The GAIAD

NASA-Apollo8-Dec24-Earthrise

I recently had a conversation with an environmentalist author whose mind I very much respect, concerning my assertions on space (and specifically manned spaceflight), and it got me thinking. Some, who haven’t read The GAIAD yet, might be surprised that space figures prominently in the story. This is certainly my fault—putting the rear profile of a long-haired, well-muscled shirtless man holding an obsidian-tipped spear on the cover. But really, space in The GAIAD is represented as a reflection of my own personal beliefs: we as a species must continue to move outward and explore the ultimate frontier—for the good of ourselves and for the good of our planet. My friend argued that the space program, with its massive financial and energetic expenditures (as well as the atmospheric pollution resulting from rocket launches), is a luxury that humanity cannot currently afford. I respectfully disagreed with him. The environmental effects of space-related … READ MORE…

The Future of Manned Space Exploration: Buzz Aldrin’s MISSION TO MARS, A Review

MissiontoMars

 4/5 Stars As the Obama Administration presents its 2017 budget to Congress tomorrow for review (and an inevitable fight), I’m immediately struck by the relevance of the event to a seminal book that I just finished.  Buzz Aldrin’s “Mission to Mars:  My Vision for Space Exploration” is a powerful explication of a specific near-future strategy for NASA’s manned exploration activities, as well as a potent meditation on the importance of such a strategy for this country and indeed, for humanity. Aldrin really doesn’t need any introducing, as he is of course the second man to walk on another planetary body, the Moon in July, 1969.  His qualifications to speak on such a topic are obviously legion.  As such, I feel wholly unqualified to really “review” and pass judgment on any of the technical assertions he makes in the book.  However, I am particularly attracted to his concept of “Aldrin cyclers”—spacecraft … READ MORE…

A Case for Mars: Social Welfare vs. A New Apollo

18r7zuh7o1sxajpg

I wrote this editorial in response to one printed yesterday in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  I hesitate to post the link here, as they chose to reject my response because it was “too long,” presumably, and contained hyperlinks.  But it might provide a context, if needed: Original Article My Response … A Case for Mars:  Social Welfare vs. A New Apollo Typical arguments against a manned mission to Mars center around the idea that such a mission would be too expensive and would result only in vague, minimal economic benefits.  An argument focusing on expense alone misses the point.  Numbers alone don’t tell a complete story, especially with government expenditures.  The annual budget of the federal government (~$3.5 trillion) includes other massive outlay for social programs with equally “vague” and some would say, minimal, economic benefits.  On the political left, the figure of $212 billion is quoted; while on the right, … READ MORE…

The Recent SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch: Our Generation’s Apollo

43 years ago—almost to the day—the crew of Apollo 17 returned to the earth.  This was the last of the Apollo missions.  It was the last time a human being walked on the surface of another body within our solar system.  43 years ago.  Two new generations of humanity have joined the planet in this span of time—two generations comprised of people who have yet to see the technological achievements of Apollo bested. Tonight, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket carrying (11) communications satellites for OrbComm.  All (11) satellites were successfully deployed—a flawless performance by anyone’s measure.  Yet what took the show was the subsequent LANDING of the Falcon 9’s primary stage.  Although attempted before (but only really by SpaceX), this was the first true success, and represents a leap forward in rocket design, ingenuity, and daring.  The economic benefits of such a feat—drastically lowered costs to put objects … READ MORE…