A cigar from another star

In Rendezvous with Rama (by Arthur C. Clarke), a mysterious object is discovered passing through the Solar System.  The object has a strange shape — it’s a giant cylinder.  It was discovered by the Spaceguard survey, designed to find objects that might impact Earth (so-called near-Earth objects).  Spoiler alert: the cylinder is a spaceship sent…

The chaotic teenage Solar System

At a Solar System party, in a room full of planets, the asteroid belt is full of angst. And it should be. It’s out of place. It’s wearing a clown outfit but it’s not a costume party. What makes the asteroid belt so different? Well, for one, it’s not just one object like each individual…