Saturday, April 24, 2010

Twenty Year Mission ...

... and proceeding.

The awesome, unfinished voyage of the Hubble Space Telescope began with an epic blunder. The brilliant recovery that followed, and subsequent maintenance, upgrade, and repair missions, have made the Hubble a major contributor to human spaceflight. And that is entirely apart from its enormous contributions to our understanding of the Universe.

Like most people I mainly know the Hubble for its contributions to eye candy: those delicate traceries, spills of jewels, and titanic cosmic thunderclouds that fill our monitor screens and coffee table books. They are merely incidental to its real work, but they they are the starship viewports of our imagination.

Much more modestly, Rocketpunk Manifesto turns three years old tomorrow. This makes my 181th post here, and according to Google Analytics I have had about 25,000 'unique' visitors. Thank you all for dropping by, and a really major thank you to my commenters, who provide most of the value of this blog. Sometimes I'm actually afraid to read the comments in the morning, because it is like wandering into a seminar room on one cup of coffee.

Most of you have found your way here in the last year. My posting had languished after the customary promising start, until I decided about a year ago to put more consistent effort into keeping the blog up. A good many of you probably got here via Atomic Rockets, or its Twitter/Facebook feeds - a fact I note with some interest on my tech industry blog, TecTrends Monitor.

One thing that has pleased me from the early days of this blog is its international readership, with more than 40 percent of you living outside the United States. Canada is in second place, though lately the UK is giving it a run. One curious oddity: about 5 percent of my total readership comes from Calgary. I have no idea why.

Currently my largest readership outside the Anglosphere is, appropriately enough, from the other great spacefaring nation of our age, Russia. Taking my chances with Google Translate, Добро пожаловать!

I will be (cautiously) adding a few social media bells & whistles, after seeing how useful those tools have been over at Atomic Rockets. (And as usual, the image on Winch's Twitter feed page is tres cool.)

But fear not, my emphasis will remain the sort of long form blogging I have been doing here, and with the same general focus: Plausible space futures, and the branch of Romance that deals with them, with occasional excursions into history, fantasy, or whatever strikes me as relevant and interesting.

Use the comment thread to say what you'd like to see discussed here, or simply to say hello!

The image of the Hubble on orbit has long been the logo of my static website, The Observatory.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing all these interesting articles. I found you a couple weeks ago from an Atomic Rockets link and since then I've read almost everything here. I look forwards to another three years.

Anonymous said...

oh, and another thing: I'd love to see more about space elevators

Carla said...

Congratulations on your anniversary, Rick!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the anniversary. I've been lurking around for the past year and enjoy the posts as well as the discussions. Thanks to everyone involved, and please keep it up!


Anita said...

Congrats on your anniversary. Most blogs poop out in couple of years. Yours keeps getting better.

Hubble's picture of the Pillars of Creation is right up there with the Apollo 8 pic of Earthrise over the austere surface of the Moon. One of those rare moments when things really do change. If you have any imagination you can't think about our place in the cosmos in quite the same way again.

Anonymous said...

"One curious oddity: about 5 percent of my total readership comes from Calgary. I have no idea why."

Work. Home. Coffee shop. Pub. Internet addiction.


Rodney said...

Congratulations on three years! You’ve provided a great deal of information and given me ideas to think about with my own attempts at fiction. Good job!

Also congrats to Hubble and its team! Here’s to many more years and many more amazing images of our universe.

Mr. Blue said...

The Hubble Deep Field is probably my favorite. Amazing what is out there.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes things just work out in an unexpected manner...both this blog and the Hubble Space Telescope! Congratulations to both of you.


Anonymous said...

Hi from Italy! Really good blog, I found it via Atomic Rocket. Keep up the good work!

UmbralRaptor said...

Congratulations to both of you. For what it's worth, I'm one of the people who discovered this site via the Atomic Rocket twitter feed.

Stevo Darkly said...

Happy third anniversary! I too recently found this blog via Winchell Chung's Atomic Rocket site. I only wish I'd found it three years sooner.

Rick said...

Welcome to new commenters, and thanks to everyone for generous remarks!

Here is a piece I wrote about space elevators back in the early days of this blog. I am not a fan, because space traffic has to be truly enormous to justify a 40,000 km railroad bridge to space.

Yes, the Pillars of Creation are sort of the temple gate of astronomy images, a place for Mysteries in the original sense of the word. The deep images have their own subtle awe.

Oh hell, pretty much all of it is awesome.

Buzz Ryan said...

Congratulations on this milestone! I discovered you blog when I was looking up things like steampunk, divepunk, spacepunk, rocketpunk... et. al.

I love this blog and the work you put into it! Thank you!

Jean-Remy said...

A few issues here and there and I have a huge backlog of posts to sort through.

Before I start answering the others I'll say happy anniversary to this wonderful and obviously thriving blog. Good job Rick and thanks!

VonMalcolm said...

It's official; this is my favorite site on the net (even though it sometimes makes me feel like the village idiot!). This is amazing to me because RPM doesn't have 1: Scantily clad women, 2: Sports, 3: Music, 4: Cutting edge graphics, 5: Bells and whistles of any kind!

The RPM (nice acronym) is just people's imaginations playing with future possibilities: I love it.

Jean-Remy said...

"(even though it sometimes makes me feel like the village idiot!)"

It makes me feel like the village idiot and I studied quantum mechanics and aerospace engineering at college levels. Them be some fright'ningly scary smart folks thar.

Rick said...

I never even noticed 'RPM' till you mentioned it here!

This site will remain pretty much bells & whistles free, and 'multimedia' free. Multimedia is evil, graphics on steroids, hoovering up bandwidth and delivering only pseudo cool distraction in return.

My, are we feeling grumpy today. While I'm at it, death to quick cutting. If I'm gonna spend $10 and two hours, I want to actually SEE the cool stuff, not just glimpse it in passing.


But mostly, a huge thanks to this community. Quite apart from the head exploding aspect of the comment threads, I have been able to do some dangerous stuff here and get away with it. When I put up my Starship Troopers post, Winch of Atomic Rockets emailed me and suggested wearing fire resistant gear. Thanks to all of you I've never needed any here, not even come close.