It is completely shocking to me that seven years have gone by since starting to write Life, Unbounded at Scientific American. Even more shocking is the tally of pieces: we've just hit 350 (plus this one).
By way of a modest celebration I thought I'd reflect on just a few of those writings. The slightly surprising thing about it all is the range of topics that have bubbled up over the years. We've had the reconnaissance of exoplanetary systems using direct images, galactic flybys, black holes everywhere, billion year old seawater, and the eight-limbed aliens that are octopuses. And that's just the start, we've also dealt with exomoons, the failure of Phobos, where you might leave a message in the solar system (I like the Pluto option), and whether complex life owes its existence to ancient parasites.
Sifting through this many pieces to find the best ones is pretty challenging, but I thought I'd list a few here that I particularly enjoyed writing and that (sometimes) seemed to also resonate with readers. Not exactly a 'best of', but certainly a set of material worth a revisit.
An unusual question raises an intriguing idea.
Over the years humans have deployed spacecraft into some wild, wacky, and extremely clever orbital configurations to better study the cosmos.
Everyone needs a little light relief sometimes, including the Nobel winning economist and writer/blogger extraordinaire Paul Krugman
The awesomeness is never greater than when we contemplate all that we don't know.
Hands up if you think about the Moon in black and white?
The mutations that allow a system to jump across to a new part of the landscape of possibilities.
Good metaphors are incredibly useful, bad ones a painful detour, but usually the intent is noble.
If we live in a multiverse, then Where Is Everybody Else?
This week a major geochemistry conference heard an argument for life on Earth having originated on Mars, but does this hold up to scrutiny?
We should not necessarily hold our breath for other Earth-like planets, but we should expect an astonishing diversity of equivalent places.
Interstellar travel may present some unforseen problems in this short fiction
Human colonization of space would be terrifyingly hard, and that's the best thing about it