Friday, August 12, 2005

Moonbase Alpha - rethink

Well, our (Edd and I) Moonbase Alpha project got rejected - AGAIN! It's not what you know, it's who you know in this business. And we don't know anybody! Sheesh!

Anyway, we've decided to have a rethink and perhaps rework the script into a tighter, more exciting, self-contained movie format. We had a lengthy brainstorming session and came up with some good ideas, so it's time for me to get busy!

I'll keep you posted...

Update (28th August 2005):

Sorry, still haven't started! I've been a bit sidetracked recently. I have been pottering about with the notion of doing an update of another sci-fi classic. I think it has great relevance to today's violent society, so I'll keep you posted on that one. Probably.


Clue: It's a TV serial from the 50s that was made into a movie in the 60s and was written by 'the grandfather of British science fiction'. I also paid a hefty homage to it in Mercury Rapids: The Mountains of Tomorrow.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

The largest spacecraft ever sent to Mars blasts off from Cape Canaveral today. The Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter's mission is to study the history of water on the Martian surface and also to find possible landing sites for future missions.

A side-mission is to discover, if possible, the fate of the ill-fated Beagle 2 probe that slammed into the Red Planet in 2003. If the imaging systems on MRO are so good that a lost probe can be found, then I hope that it will be used to photograph areas of interest to us 'nutty' people, such as the Cydonia Face, the D&M Pyramid and other areas that suggest that there may have once been intelligent life on Mars.

The Cydonia Face

The D&M Pyramid

Launch scrubbed until 12th August due to a fuel sensor problem... Having a lot of fuel sensor problems lately, aren't they?

The probe was launched today (12th August) and will arrive at Mars in seven months.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Welcome Home Discovery

Thank goodness the space shuttle Discovery has returned safely to the Earth.

Unfortunately, STS-114 could be the last ever space shuttle mission. Atlantis was due to be used on the next flight, and indeed the Space Transportation System was supposed to be phased out in 2010, but with the Columbia tragedy and the problems during this mission, where astronaut Steve Robinson had to make an unprecedented EVA to remove protruding gap fillers from beneath the nose of the shuttle.

If the shuttle fleet is decommissioned, I hope that NASA have a worthy succesor in store. Surely reliance upon the Russian Soyuz system is unacceptable to the proud American public!

Sunday, August 07, 2005


I just watched the Robert Zemeckis movie, Contact, again(!) and never has a movie filled me with such a sense of awe concerning the nature of the universe and ourselves as human beings.

Jodie Foster's closing speech always brings tears to my eyes:

I had an experience I can’t prove, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real. I was part of something wonderful, something that changed me forever; a vision of the Universe that tells us undeniably how tiny, and insignificant, and how rare and precious we all are. A vision that tells us we belong to something that is greater than ourselves. That we are not, that none of us are alone. I wish I could share that. I wish that everyone, if even for one moment, could feel that awe, and humility, and the hope, but... that continues to be my wish.

A truly wonderful movie based on a great book, although I actually think the movie is better at bringing across that sense of wonder of the great unknown than Sagan's novel. But that's just me...

Saturday, August 06, 2005


A while back, I discovered the wonders of Google Maps, an amazing online resource with which you can explore the surface of our planet through satellite imagery and/or local maps.

Then I found out about Google Moon, with which you can explore the lunar landscape, albeit not with as much resolution as its earthly sibling.

Then I installed GoogleEarth, an absolutely fantastic program that allows you to glide over the world, with the landscape terrain-mapped in 3D, and visit places you could only dream about.

Now I have learned that Google has reserved domain names for the other planets of our solar system! I can't wait for Google Mars! Will it be possible to fly through the huge Mariner Valley, glide around Olympus Mons or even get a close-up of the Cydonia Face?

C'mon Google bods! get your fingers out! :)

Friday, August 05, 2005

NatGeo - Paranormal? - UFOs

I just watched the National Geographic programme, Paranormal?. This episode was about the UFO phenomenon and I was looking forward to it as the other programmes in the series (about stuff like lake monsters, ghosts etc.) had been very good and pretty much impartial, giving both sides of the relevant arguments.

Unfortunately, the episode about UFOs was just taking the p**s, in my opinion. They did nothing but debunk everything from the Mexican Eclipse UFOs (saying they were Venus) to the recent Mexican airforce IR sighting (saying it was distant oil platforms) to a UFO video near Mt Popecatepetl (saying it was a bird) [in fact Mexican sightings featured almost the entire programme!] to abductions (saying that they were nothing more than sleep paralysis and/or hypnotic suggestion).

It was a truly diabolical programme.

I'm in agony.... :(

After feeling better yesterday, my lower back has gone through something of a relapse and I'm suffering today (tunes up violin and casts about for sympathy... heh heh). Too late to cancel my son's dental appointment now, though. I'll just have to grit my teeth and get on with it.

Ah well...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The joys of parenthood

I put my back out the other day doing the shopping. It's only just getting better and tomorrow, I've got to drag my son up to the hospital for a dental appointment first thing in the morning.

Ah the joys of being a lone parent! :)

Moonbase Alpha

I recently sent of my proposal for a rejuvenation of the beloved '70s TV series, Space: 1999 to a top London agent. I'm not building up my hopes, but I have my fingers, toes and eyes crossed!

You can read my script and other stuff at my Moonbase Alpha page.

Mercury Rapids: The Mountains of Tomorrow

At long last the final chapter of the Mercury Rapids trilogy is available to buy!
Published by iUniverse, Mercury Rapids: The Mountains of Tomorrow can be purchased from all good online retailers or through my own website ( )

The countdown has begun and Earth is in jeopardy once more!

Bill Lewis is once again flung into events beyond his control when he learns that the evil, reptilian aliens known as the Others have begun construction of a devastating weapon on the Moon.

Can the combined forces of Earth's secret UFO agencies defeat them as they did once before? What part will Bill Lewis play in this terrifying 'war of the worlds'? And why do the enigmatic Greys continue to probe his mind?

Mercury Rapids: The Mountains of Tomorrow explosively concludes the trilogy that began with Mercury Rapids and continued with Mercury Rapids: The Thoth Imperative.