Currently viewing the tag: "space"

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) reported on January 18, 2017 that electricity blackouts from an extreme space weather event – generated by a super-storm on the sun – could cost the U.S. up to $40 billion daily, or more. The AGU journal Space Weather published a new study on this subject, which indicates that more than half the financial loss would happen outside the blackout zone. –$40 billion a day for solar super-storms by Deborah Byrd

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in a day when all the electricity goes out due to a solar storm.

Journaling Prompt: How do you react to the loss of electricity?

Art Prompt: Solar storm

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the dangers of an extreme space weather event.

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr

…the most comprehensive work being done at the moment is the somewhat off-centered initiative announced by NASA in 2013 called the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM).

That plan is to develop and build an unmanned spacecraft that can rendezvous with a near-earth asteroid, carve away a chunk of it weighing a ton or so, and tow it back to a lunar orbit where astronauts arriving in an Orion Spacecraft can explore and study it and return samples to Earth for more detailed analysis. This program is planned (hoped) to be ready by the mid-2020s.

NASA’s website states that ARM is part of their larger plan “to advance the new technologies and spaceflight experience needed for a human mission to the Martian system in the 2030s”. I’m a little fuzzy on how this mission leads us to Mars, but many of the technologies involved (asteroid rendezvous, asteroid carving and asteroid repositioning) would absolutely be relevant to learning how to deflect a killer asteroid. –Killer Asteroids: Can We Stop Them? by Jack Clemons

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story where the plot is driven by an asteroid on collision course with Earth.

Journaling Prompt: Are you worried about threats from space? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Killer Asteroid

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about ARM and why we need it.

Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!

Photo Credit: Sharon Brogan on Flickr

space elevator

A space elevator is a proposed type of space transportation system. The main component would be a cable (also called a tether) anchored to the surface and extending into space. The design would permit vehicles to travel along the cable from a planetary surface, such as the Earth’s, directly into space or orbit, without the use of large rockets. An Earth-based space elevator would consist of a cable with one end attached to the surface near the equator and the other end in space beyond geostationary orbit (35,800 km altitude). The competing forces of gravity, which is stronger at the lower end, and the outward/upward centrifugal force, which is stronger at the upper end, would result in the cable being held up, under tension, and stationary over a single position on Earth. With the tether deployed, climbers could repeatedly climb the tether to space by mechanical means, releasing their cargo to orbit. Climbers could also descend the tether to return cargo to the surface from orbit. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story using a space elevator as part of the setting.

Journaling Prompt: If there was a space elevator today, would you be willing to use it?

Art Prompt: Elevator into space

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the different ideas people are working on to travel into space.

Photo Credit: Bruce Irving on Flickr

“The fact that we have not yet found the slightest evidence for life — much less intelligence — beyond this Earth,” said Arthur C. Clarke, “does not surprise or disappoint me in the least. Our technology must still be laughably primitive, we may be like jungle savages listening for the throbbing of tom-toms while the ether around them carries more words per second than they could utter in a lifetime.” –The Daily Galaxy

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about an intelligent civilization that is searching for life and how they miss the Earth because our signals are too primitive.

Journaling Prompt: Do you care about the possibility of intelligent life on other planets? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: SETI

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the search for intelligent life on other planets – the history of the search and your predictions for the future.

Photo Credit: amandabhslater on Flickr


…an advanced civilization must grow faster than the frequency of life-threatening catastrophes. Since large meteor and comet impacts take place once every few thousand to million years, a Type I civilization must master space travel to deflect space debris within that time, which should not be much of a problem. Ice ages may take place on a time scale of tens of thousands of years, and so a Type I civilization must learn to modify the weather within that period. –The Daily Galaxy

Writing Prompt: Write a story about a technology that modifies the weather or protects the planet from space debris.

Journaling Prompt: What do you believe about global warming? Do you believe that there is anything you can do to affect it?

Art Prompt: Advanced Civilization

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience why you believe scientific research and progress is so important.

Photo Credit: Thomas Tolkien on Flickr


NASA is developing technologies that will allow a human explorer based on Earth, or in the relative safety of a space station or habitat, to actually experience exploration of a distant location. If the technology can be tied to robotic ‘avatars’ on a planetary surface in real-time, the user would not simply experience a simulation of the world – but could directly participate in exploration and science as if they were there…

“If every habitable world in the universe is unique, and the precise chemical conditions of a planet helps shape the life that evolves there, then avatars could allow aliens to visit other worlds from the safety of their spaceship,” reported “Could it be that all the stories of alien encounters on Earth were really encounters with alien avatars? Maybe aliens don’t actually look like grey humanoids with large eyes and no noses. Instead, that haunting image may simply be what we look like to them.” –The Daily Galaxy

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem about exploring another planet via an avatar OR about meeting an alien avatar here on earth.

Journaling Prompt: If you could visit any planet via an avatar, which one would you like to visit and why?

Art Prompt: Alien Avatar

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about your dreams to explore space.

Photo Credit: liber on Flickr

Macaque - Monkey Cave Temple - Thailand

What does it mean for a civilization to be a million years old? We have had radio telescopes and spaceships for a few decades; our technical civilization is a few hundred years old … an advanced civilization millions of years old is as much beyond us as we are beyond a bushbaby or a macaque. -Carl Sagan

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem about a civilization that is millions of years old.

Journaling Prompt: Write about what you believe our world will be like in 50 years.

Art Prompt: Ancient civilization

Photo Credit: Pavel Sigarteu on Flickr
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Most Magnetized Object in the Universe (artist concept)

It came suddenly from the distant reaches of the constellation Sagittarius, some 50,000 light years away. For a brief instant, a couple of tenths of a second, on December 27, 2004, an invisible burst of energy the equivalent of half a million years of sunlight shone on Earth. Many orbiting satellites electronics were zapped and the Earth’s upper atmosphere was amazingly ionized from a massive hit of gamma ray energy. –Daily Galaxy

Writing Prompt: Write about an attack from outer space.

Journaling Prompt: How do you react when your electronic devices don’t work?

Art Prompt: It Came from Outer Space

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about our culture’s vulnerability to gamma ray blasts.

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video on Flickr