Astroengine is Now Vibrating at a New Resonance: Upgrade to WordPress Version 2.6.1

Not a huge announcement this one. Not even news worthy. Just upgraded Astroengine to WordPress 2.6.1.

The only reason I mention it is because it took me three minutes to backup the database, all the files, switch off the plugins, display the “site under maintenance” page, upload all the new files, unpack them, install them, fire up all the plugins and verify the whole lot is ticking along as it should. I used to put aside a couple of hours to do an upgrade, catering for all unforeseen eventualities, sometimes crashing the whole site and bugging the WordPress forums for advice. But not today! WordPress 2.6 has a crispy-neat automatic upgrade function that does everything (and more), ensuring I had a trouble-free upgrade. It was like having a little electrician rewiring the house in record time with no fuss over getting paid.

Superb, thanks Keith Dsouza for developing the WordPress Automatic Upgrade! It made very happy.

Anyhow, that’s me for the night, I’m off to see the huge lightning storm outside…

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Carnival of Space Week 67 – Next Generation (Discovery)

The Apollo missions: A wasted opportunity? (NASA)

The Apollo missions: A wasted opportunity? (NASA)

David Chandler, veteran science journalist working at MIT, hosts this week’s superb Carnival over at Discovery Space: Next Generation. We have discussions about what should have been done with the Apollo missions, the recent Cassini observations of the moon Enceladus to my musings about the Higgs boson and all the fun we’ll have when the LHC goes online next month.

Go and check out Next Generation with David Chandler and enjoy the 67th week of the Carnival…

An Interview with Buzz Aldrin. What Would You Ask Him?

Beginning at the “Fly Me to the Moon” premier in Hollywood last week (which I attended and met the great man himself!), this video interview shows a relaxed Buzz answering some questions from the public on the New York streets. A nice (and rare) insight to the life of a 60’s astronaut…

Go to ScienCentral for the interview

Video Source: ScienCentral

Astroengine Data Gathering

Astroengine needs your input

Astroengine needs your input has been in operation for a few years now, but since I began doing some serious space writing in late 2007 the site underwent a major facelift and became what you see today: A space science news blog. As time goes on I will be increasing the frequency at which I update Astroengine – it might be a lot of writing but it will be worth it. During my time researching space articles for Astroengine and my science writing for the Universe Today, I try to find as much original stuff as possible, but often settle of interesting news that is already out there. This is where you can help. If you have anything you would like me to write about, feel free to drop me a line. I recently did this for a regular Astroengine reader who wanted something written about the Higgs boson, a topic I hadn’t thought about addressing. The article was then Dugg like crazy, killing the server more than once! So if you have an idea and want to have a chance at overwhelming Astroengine with traffic, contact me with your idea and I’ll see what can be done.

So, after eight months of space news, I’d like to get your feedback about how Astroengine is shaping up and how you think it could be improved. After all, Astroengine is driven by you, so your views are very important…
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Want to Keep Up with Astroengine Articles? Why not Sign Up for Regular Email Updates…

As grows, I’ve noticed a lot of returning visitors. I update the site daily with new research from various institutions, popular space science news and stories that wouldn’t normally see the light of day on the Internet. With the help of, sends out daily emails (one per day) so you can have any updates delivered directly to your inbox. If you want to sign up (at no cost and free of spam), click on the following link and follow the instructions.

I’ll look forward to seeing you soon!

Sign me up for the daily email from

Alternatively, subscribe to’s RSS feed

Thank you for stopping by!

Ian (Astroengine editor)

Do Hadrons Feel Pain?

Catchy slogan at the protest (BBSpot)

Or else... what? (BBSpot)

Hold on, I’ve just found out some worrying news from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). This mammoth experiment goes online in one month and two days and I don’t think we’ve fully grasped what this machine is going to do.

It will kill hadrons, by their millions.

I know, I felt the same way. What kind of deprived mind would think up such a plan? There we are being told by the physicists that colliding hadrons at high energies will somehow benefit mankind. We are also being told by the doomsayers that the LHC will create a micro black hole, killing us all. But so far there has been little thought for the tiny elemental particles caught in the middle of all this. Do you think they want to be accelerated to the point where they resemble a wave more than a particle? No. Do you think they want to be bashed at high speed, splattering their innards around the inside of a detector chamber? No.

Please, spare a thought for all those innocent quarks, they don’t have a voice…

(Oh dear, here we go again…)
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Carnival of Space Week 66 – A Mars Odyssey

Banner from A Mars Odyssey website

Banner from A Mars Odyssey website

This week’s Carnival is being held over at A Mars Odyssey, where Nancy Houser does an awesome job of chronicling all the great entries from this week’s collection from the space blogosphere. I have a special fondness for this week’s CoS as I love the detailed approach Nancy has taken, each entry lovingly read, understood and reported on. A joy to read!
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Astroengine Goes to Hollywood: “Fly Me to the Moon” Premier

Legendary astronaut and second man on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin. A really nice chap (© Ian O'Neill &

Legendary astronaut and second man on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin. A really nice chap (© Ian O'Neill &

In a very fortunate chain of events, I was asked by Fraser to go to the Directors Guild of America on Sunset Blvd. (LA) for the “Fly Me to the Moon” movie premier. I can’t review the film as yet (we have to wait until the film opens on August 15th for that), but I can give a run-down of who was at the premier and what the new animated feature is all about. Personally, I had a great day, fulfilling my dream of meeting legendary ex-astronaut Buzz Aldrin and legendary British actor Tim Curry…
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Channel 4 Report About LHC Safety (ft. Walter Wagner!)

Working on the LHC (CERN)

Working on the LHC (CERN)

The LHC is set to go online in around two months time and the scientific world waits in anticipation for the first results. However, there are a few who are more concerned than excited for the LHC experiments. On Tuesday night, I was kindly asked to join the LHC debate with the prominent LHC critic, Walter Wagner on Captain Jack’s show Paranormal Radio. To be honest, I really enjoyed the open platform provided for me to ask Walter some questions about his forthcoming lawsuit against the US partners funding CERN. Mr Wagner is far from being a fantasist or “crank” (as I’ve seen unkindly written in some of the media), but his views are more in the realms of speculation, rather than being based on the actual physics predicted to come out of the LHC.

Today, science reporter David Fuller with the UK news channel ITN contacted me to say that he had covered Walter’s story in a news item for Channel 4. He put together a very balanced report that should allay any fears that micro black holes or strangelets could be produced by this awesome experiment in the search for the Higgs boson…
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Carnival of Space Week 65 – 21st Century Waves

21st Century Waves banner

21st Century Waves banner

Another week and the space bloggers have been busy! For the 65th instalment of the great Carnival of Space, Dr. Bruce Cordell is our host over at the superb blog 21st Century Waves. Once again, there’s a cosmically rich mix of stellar goodness on show. From, I submitted the popular “New Exotic Particle May Explain Milky Way Gamma-Ray Phenomenon.”

So get to 21st Century Waves to read the full spectrum of CoS #65…