This Is Not Rocket Science

Hello! My name is Richard Donaldson, I am a Sophomore Journalism student at Eastern Illinois University, and this is This Is Not Rocket Science.


Old webcam picture of me is old.

I’ve always been fascinated by a particular quote from author Arthur C. Clarke: “Two possibilities exist; either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” I first heard that when I was a little kid, and it has driven into me a fascination with space travel that has never really left. Nearly every major research paper, speech, and project I’ve ever given in any class has been related to the subject, so it seems only fitting that, one trick horse that I am, that this blog is on the subject too.

This Is Not Rocket Science is my attempt to take all of the absurd things I’m fascinated by in our local solar system and far beyond and talk about them in a way that articulates exactly why I find all of these so fascinating – from the latest discoveries by traveling satellites to the economic factors halting a manned mission to Mars.

For example: Kepler-62f – the “waterworld.” This article on explains what exactly it is about this planet that is currently making so many scientists excited – the “glint” of light that could potentially be the reflection of an ocean on this far away planet (nearly 1,200 light-years away). That potential reflection, combined with Kepler-62f orbiting in the “habitable zone” of its star (meaning it is the correct distance away for the planet to be not too hot, not too cold – like our planet from the sun, or Goldilocks and her picky taste in soup), is yet another potential case of a world other than our own that could support intelligent life.

And then there is also this: two hours ago, as of the time of this post, three astronauts were launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Russia to the International Space Station. These astronauts came from Denmark, Russia, and Khazkhstan, and join astronauts from NASA, Roscosmos (the Russian equivalent of NASA), and JAXA (Japan). This is another step in Expeditions 44 and 45 – a year long stint in space designed to test the affects of long term zero gravity on the human body.

These are large picture things and small picture things. And yet, they are both preparing for the answer to the same question; which of Clarke’s two possibilities are true?

This Is Not Rocket Science is attempting to do the same.



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