Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Garth Debuts in New Spaceship Away

The latest issue of the Dan Dare-inspired comics magazine Spaceship Away is on sale now via the official web site, and as I previously mentioned over on downthetubes, features the first installment of the Frank Bellamy Garth story The Bubble Man, beautifully re-coloured by John Ridgway.

Spaceship Away Part 19 – the title’s sixth birthday issue – doesn’t feature Ex Astris (we’ll be back soon, though) but does includes articles on Frank Hampson’s Epsom College days and the creation of comic strip Nick Hazard, drawn by Ron Turner, which also features in the comic magazine (also re-coloured by John Ridgway); plus new artwork from John M. Burns and all-new original Dan Dare comic strips – Green Nemesis and The Gates of Eden, both drawn by Tim Booth.

To get the magazine delivered to your door, go straight to Spaceship Away Order Page

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Water on the Moon

The findings of an Indian space mission supports other evidence that there is water on the moon, raising hopes that a manned base could be established there within the next two decades.

Although the mission was not a complete success and was cut short, data from India’s Chandrayaan-1, launched last year, allegedly found clear evidence of water there, apparently concentrated at the poles and possibly formed by the solar wind.

The findings back up evidence of water on the moon found by two NASA probes – Deep Impact and Cassini – and the research from the three missions will be published in the journal Science on Friday.

What’s more, the Guardian and other newspapers report, water appears to still be forming, advancing the possibility that human life could be sustained there. Scientists hope that astronauts could one day not only drink the water but extract oxygen from it to breathe and hydrogen to use as fuel.

The moon has long held a fascination for Indians, not just in terms of space exploration.
Launched last year, the Chandrayaan-1 mission aimed to deliver high-resolution remote sensing of the moon in visible, near infrared (NIR), low energy X-rays and high-energy X-ray regions, preparing a three-dimensional atlas of both near and far side of the moon.

The mission was, unfortunately, cut short due to problems caused by the underestimated effects of direct solar heat and reflected lunar heat, with Indian press blaming their own scientists for not ensuring there was enough insulation inside and outside Chandrayaan-1 for its failure. Despite this, European scientists praised the mission and the water finds are a bonus for the Indian Space Research Organisation, which took a lot of flack earlier this month for its apparent shortcomings.

“It’s very satisfying,”  Dr Mylswamy Annadurai, told the Times of the water finds. “This was one of the main objectives of Chandrayaan-1, to find evidence of water on the moon.”
Carle Pieters, of Brown University on Rhode Island, and colleagues reviewed data from India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission and found spectrographic evidence of water, apparently thicker closer to the poles.

“When we say ‘water on the moon,’ we are not talking about lakes, oceans or even puddles,” Pieters said in a statement. “Water on the moon means molecules of water and hydroxyl (hydrogen and oxygen) that interact with molecules of rock and dust specifically in the top millimetres of the moon’s surface.”

Previously, infrared mapping from NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft had been used to show water all over the moon, while Roger Clark of the US Geological Survey and colleagues used a spectrometer – which breaks down light waves to analyse elements and chemicals reflecting them – from the Cassini spacecraft to identify water.

Next month, Nasa’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite or LCROSS mission will try to detect water by deliberately crashing a large spacecraft on to the moon.
Although its life was cut short, ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 was a “fantastic success”, according to Detlef Koschny, European Chandrayaan-1 project scientist. He told the Times of India Chandrayaan-1 had carried three scientific payloads of the European Space Agency (ESA).
“I think (the) Indian press should stop trying to put ISRO down,” he told the paper. “You should rather acknowledge the fantastic achievements your space agency did,” he said, listing many of the achievements.

“You sent a spacecraft to the Moon and entered a low lunar orbit — a very high challenge which is already a fantastic success.

“Secondly, all scientific instruments were commissioned and worked flawlessly. The data came down, over a distance of about 400,000 km and it was put together into images, atomic counts etc.”

Web Links
Indian Space Research Organisation
Chandrayaan Mission Page

• If you’re having an “Impact Night” event on 8th October and/or 9 the tools @ can help you. Let NASA know via  @ if you are putting on an event so we can help disseminate the information to the public. Additional Resources are available at:

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Ex Astris Hits 5000

I got one of those 'good feeling' e-mails earlier this week when MyEBook informed us that some 5000 people have now read an episode of Ex: Astris, called Homecoming on their platform. Homecoming is, as many fans of this strip know, a 10-page strip which first appeared in the British comic in Bulletproof Comics #2. This standalone story, drawn by Mike Nicoll, links with the strips we've published on ROK Comics and, taking place on a post-apocalypse Earth in 2511.

Included in this myebook is a one page article with some background on the origins of the strip, which was recently commissioned for an ongoing run in Spaceship Away for 2010.

For me, hitting 5000 readers is great news: I still don't see how myEbook intend to monetize the service but it's clearly built up a good head of steam in terms of comic fan awareness.

Several independent publishers are using the platform to promote their projects. You'll find books such as new Garth by Huw-J, The Fat Man by Thomas Cochrane, previews of Marksoia titles, and comics from Orang Utan Comics, Insomnia Publications, Unico Comics and many others.

If you want to read Ex Astris: Homecoming in print, then head over to the Bulletproof web site and order a copy of #2, an 80-page anthology which also features strips such as Slumbertown by Rik Hoskin & Thomas Crielly, Simba Khan by Paul Birch & Jon Haward, Love Hurts by David Hailwood & Stuart Giddings, Sideburns by Jim Alexander & Jon Haward and Redstitch by Lee Langford & Klaus Belarski.

 • Bulletproof Comics:

Note: the MyEbook seems to have banished since this post was first published!