Government on Mars

A Friday in August 2020 a colleague from the Department of History sends me an email. Elon Musk has tweeted about bureaucracy which is our shared research topic (mine: contemporary; his: the middle ages). The gold nugget Musk offers us is this: "Bureaucracy is inherently Kafkaesque" (Musk on Twitter 20 August 2020). Someone replies: How... Continue Reading →

Get Out of My Room!

As 2020 wears on, Mars is all over the news. There’s corona, there Black Lives Matter, there’s Beirut, there’s starvation, there’s Hong Kong, there's Trump & Biden, and now there’s Mars. SpaceX has successfully launched astronauts going to the International Space Station from the US for the first time since 2011. I had no idea... Continue Reading →

The night sky as we knew it

The great thing about industrious people is that things happen. I’m beginning to wonder if the bad thing about industrious people is the same. The night sky as we now know it is in the process of changing for good. I am talking about Starlink; Elon Musk’s fleet of satellites intended to revolutionize internet speed... Continue Reading →

Soylent

In January 2017, the number one grocery product sold through Amazon was a meal replacement drink called Soylent (Watson 2018). Soylent is, according to the company website, an engineered nutrition drink consisting of soyprotein, slow-burning carbs from beets, oleic sunflower oil, and 26 vitamins and minerals. The composition of the drink has been engineered so... Continue Reading →

Feeding one million people on Mars

I find that my fascination with Elon Musk’s endeavors is not universally shared when I contact a colleague from the Department of Biology. As an astrobiologist he is not at all impressed with Elon Musk. In fact, Musk irritates him. Not that he thinks Elon Musk has not done remarkable things, but what bothers him... Continue Reading →

I’m in awe of Elon Musk

How can I allow myself to be in awe of what Elon Musk does? Didn’t I read what he said about those divers who didn’t want his too complicated and beside-the-point submarine? Haven’t I read Noam Chomsky or Naomi Klein (who for some reason for me blur into the same person) and what would they... Continue Reading →

The ‘woman question’

According to Robert Crossley (2011) utopian fiction relocated from Earth to Mars towards the end of the 19th Century. By then most of Earth was mapped and the chances of finding uncharted valleys significantly reduced (ibid.:90). I bought a pile of the utopian novels referred to by Crossley. According to this literature, Mars was the... Continue Reading →

“Making life multi-planetary”

Having said apocalypse, Sam Altman, Peter Thiel and thinking about the Sillicon Valley tech elite my mind jumps to Elon Musk and outer space. At the dawn of 2019 three of multibillionaires have their eyes set on space fare and are building rockets that will take some of us into space. The visions that guide... Continue Reading →

Nothing on Mars

In the summer of 2018 Mars’ surface is swept by a planet-encircling, red dust storm. Dust storms on Mars is a seasonal phenomenon. Storms begin every M-year (or two Earth years) when Mars' slightly elliptical orbit brings it in relatively close proximity to the Sun. Once every three M-years on average the storms grow and... Continue Reading →

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑