Friday, September 29, 2006

Science fiction meets science fact with space travel

Sometimes science fiction meets science fact in a way that blurs the difference. Richard Branson's fronts a new "movie" about the Virgin Galactic space tourist enterprise on their slick and newly revamped website (

It's inspiring stuff and perhaps more Irish people will sign up to go into space with their $20,000 deposit just as soon as their SSIAs mature... Is it any coincidence that SpaceShipOne's designer Burt Rutan was in Ireland last year?!

If you're tempted, here's the blurb from the sales brochure:
Giving you the groundbreaking opportunity to be
one of the first ever space tourists, Virgin Galactic
will own and operate its privately built spaceships,
modelled on the remarkable, history-making

Virgin’s vast experience in aviation, adventure,
luxury travel and cutting-edge design combined
with the unique technology developed by Burt
Rutan will ensure an unforgettable experience
unlike any other available to mankind.

With safety at the forefront, our unique spacecraft
is being designed at Rutan’s base in Mojave, Cali-
fornia alongside a concerted research and devel-
opment programme.

These spaceships will allow affordable sub-orbital
space tourism for the first time in the history of the

"The deal with Mojave Aerospace Ventures is just
the start of what we believe will be a new era in the
history of mankind, one day making the affordable
exploration of space by human beings a real possibility."
- Richard Branson

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Science Week Ireland 2006

Science Week is one of the science highlights of the year in Ireland and this year's theme takes a look towards the future and will cover "emerging technologies, the latest movements in science and engineering and also predict what science might uncover in the future."

Science Week Ireland will be running from 12 to 19th November with events happening all over the country, and full details are available on the website - including tips on how best promote your own events.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Space agencies set the web standard

When it comes to communicating science to the public - and getting media attention for science - space agencies set very high standards. It does of course help that their stories often include a mix of fascinating science, technological jeopardy and human drama. Both the ESA and NASA websites make a big effort to promote all aspects of their research using the latest web technologies.


One nice NASA "microsite" featured on BBC's "Click" programme recently - Planet Quest: 3D Guide to the Galaxy seems to want to be a Google Earth for the galaxy. It doesn't quite live up to the billing but it is engaging and compelling and will help you find answers to questions such as "How big is our galaxy?" and "Where are we located?". Although as of September 2006, Pluto still seems to be enjoying full planetary status!

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