Back in 1953, Galaxy Science Fiction and Simon & Schuster launched a huge contest to find a great new science fiction novel. The prize was $6,500 (a lot of money in those days). The winner? A brand new writer named Edson McCann. Except for one thing: Edson McCann did not exist.
Thirty years ago, the space shuttle Challenger exploded. The tragedy shocked a nation caught in launch fever, and reshaped how NASA thought about risk.
Today was supposed to mark a step forward in human flights for the Apollo program. Instead, flames exploded inside the capsule during a pre-flight test. The fatal accident changed the nature of America’s space program.
CL Moore was one of the only women who ever wrote for famous pulp fiction magazines Weird Tales and Astounding Science Fiction during the 1930s. Now Andrew Liptak has a great article about her life over at Kirkus, including links to never-before-seen short stories by the woman who was both a fantasy and SF pioneer. I…
On December 14, 1972, astronaut Eugene Cernan stepped up onto the lunar module, shook the moon dust off these boots, and ended an era of human exploration of the Moon.
On December 11, 1972, Apollo 17 touched down on the Moon. This was not only our final Moon landing, but the last time we left low Earth orbit. With the successful launch of the Orion capsule, NASA is finally poised to go further again. So it’s important to remember how we got to the Moon — and why we stopped going.
The Paris climate summit may go down in history as the singular moment nations decided to tackle the threat of anthropogenic climate change. But few of us appreciate the fact that it’s taken over a century to arrive at a global consensus on the science.
Every geologist needs a field hat to protect them from scorching sun and drenching rain, but a really lucky geologist will have a trusty dog. Meet the adventurous dogs who trekked across north Alaska, and the geologists who explored with them.
It’s one of the most tantalizing rumors on the internet. Aleister Crowley, one of the most famous masters of the occult ever, was secretly the father of Barbara Bush—and thus, also the grandfather of George W. Bush and Jeb Bush. Is it true? Do we care?
Tasers remain incredibly controversial weapons in the arsenal of law enforcement, given their overuse and the risk of cardiac arrest. But let’s not forget the word “TASER” is a loose acronym for Tom Swift and his Electric Rifle, an incredibly messed-up 1911 science fiction book. The Guardian has all the details.
April 1972: The fourth pair of astronauts to visit the moon were the most enthusiastic geologists, bringing home the largest sample ever collected from the moon.
In 1982, Cliff Twemlow, a former nightclub bouncer turned library music composer for De Wolfe Music, sought to adapt his novel, The Pike, into a feature film starring Joan Collins. “The freshwater equivalent of Jaws”, The Pike told the story of a twelve-foot killer pike mutilating the locals of Lake Windermere, and…
How powerful was the Saturn rocket that boosted the Apollo missions into low Earth orbit? So powerful even the models for the Saturn rocket boosters produced hundreds of pounds of thrust for every engine.
The Zapruder film may be the most famous footage taken of the Kennedy assassination, but it’s not the only one. The “Nix Film” may be lesser known, but it’s no less important. It has been missing for decades, so the granddaughter of the photographer who captured the film is now suing the US government. She wants it…
May 17, 1956: The swinging doors of this massive supersonic wind tunnel utterly dwarf the puny engineer deluding himself that he can control its voracious appetite.
It’s not just paper. From the first notes issued by the Continental Congress to the latest star-spangled bills released by the Federal Reserve, the history of money in America is laced with rebellion, propaganda, and—of course—lots and lots of wealth. It’s awkwardly beautiful.
Ludwig Boltzmann is best known as the Austrian physicist who wrote down the statistical formula for entropy, but if the physics thing hadn’t worked out, he would have made an excellent travel writer. The travelogue he composed of his 1905 trip to Berkeley, California, is chock-full of amusing anecdotes, keen…
Way back in September, our very own Esther Inglis-Arkell found a recipe for condoms from 1844. It was only two paragraphs long, so we thought, how hard can it be? Really hard, it turns out. Also gross and potentially dangerous.
In his 1979 novel Fountains of Paradise, Arthur C. Clarke described an impossibly tall tower that would ferry humans from the Earth’s surface into orbit. Nearly forty years later, space elevators still have the ring of science fiction. But against all odds, a small community of engineers is pushing the idea closer to…
The Galapagos Islands are best known for their giant tortoises, but they’re also the site of one of the most bizarre homesteading misadventures ever, complete with proto-hippies, a polyamorous baroness, potentially poisoned boiled chicken, births in pirate caves, and unsolved deaths that look a lot like murder.