The Asteroid Hunters

It’s highly unlikely that a gigantic space rock will crash through our atmosphere and destroy civilization as we know it. But it’s not impossible either. Which is why a small but growing community of scientists and astronomers are scrambling to spot and destroy dangerous asteroids long before they hit us.

The Next Giant Leap

“You are reading this because you have no idea what NASA is doing. And NASA, tongue-tied by jargon, can’t figure out how to tell you. But the agency is engaged in work that can be more enduring and far-reaching than anything else this country is paying for.”

We're Coming For Them

A study in building spaceships.

"Mostly, the spaceship builders did not come out of their trailers or houses, though our local guides claimed they didn't mind the occasional tour. They were so serious they could not see that others might laugh. Some of their grounds looked measured and neat; some were spilling over or scraped to dust. Most were single, a few married, some widowed or divorced. The married ones interested us most—what sorts of agreements had they come to? were the ships built for two?"

The Urashima Effect

In deep space, a physicist tries to cope with his isolation.

"He read several classic novels and philosophical texts to pass the next few days and exercised on the stringy, wiry contraption collapsed into one wall. The long hibernation had melted the muscle from him and congealed the quick currents of his mind, but he had to be alert, intelligent, and at his peak physical condition when he arrived. He was supposed to be disciplined. He was not supposed to replay his wife’s voice over and over, with longing and anxiousness. So he selected his parents’ recordings."

They All Looked Like Nails

A genetic engineer concocts a plan to transform a Galilean moon.

"Jonas is the conductor of a symphony, and must be familiar with each part, every section. He must keep them working in tandem, so he flits from group to group, giving encouragement. Visitors to the University wonder at the man skidding on the marble floors, running from A to E wing and back again. He reviews twenty sequences a day, though he is pleased to find few errors. His team works late. He works later. The key genes are reserved for his eyes alone, and when he sits back to watch the simulations play out he pictures the Watchmaker."