comic | episodes & e-books | store | about | forum 




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 127 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ... 13  Next
A* Episode 11 
Author Message
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
Posts: 4256
    
Jeo wrote:
Quote:
Thanks to WendtWerks for adding A* to their webcomics links archive. :) Links from readers' sites are like gold to webcomics--GOLD I TELL YOU! =D


Wow, that was surreal! I mostly use that page as bookmarks for myself and to help friends looking for new webcomics to read... Never thought I'd see it mentioned anywhere else =D

I only recently discovered smbhax, but I love the story and the art (same for Sketchy, and I really like the silent story of the Princess and the Giant). Your comments are always fascinating and educational too :) My day doesn't begin until I've read smbhax!

Thanks for the mention!
-Joe

Heehee! Your page's URL came up in my site stat's weekly referrals section a few days ago. :) Thank YOU for the link--and the kind words! :)


Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:12 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
Posts: 4256
    
Added 2 new A* pages:
Spaceship stuff happened today! Or space *plane* stuff, anyway. I happened across this article saying that the Air Force's top secret X-37B "space plane" had landed successfully at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California after 220 days in orbit, doing they won't say what, except that it's "space shuttle kinds of activities," which really could mean anything since the Air Force ran top-secret Space Shuttle missions for years from that same base (more on that below).

Speaking of space shuttle activities, the unmanned X-37 was originally a NASA project (under the name "X-37A"; with the Air Force, since 2004, it's "B"), and in fact it looks a lot like a miniature Space Shuttle; with a 14 ft wingspan it's about 1/5th the size of the Shuttle, and only 5% as heavy. In fact, under NASA, where it started out in design phases in 1999, it was intended to go up in the Space Shuttle's cargo hold, but the Air Force has redesigned it as "B" for launch in disposable rockets. Here's the little thing back on April 13th, being prepared for loading into the Atlas V launch rocket (not as powerful as the old Saturn V's I was talking about yesterday) that would fire it into orbit nine days later:

Image
image by USAF (source)

Looks like it's got a booster module on the back there; you can see a guy behind it at the bottom for scale. According to this spaceflightnow.com article, the X-37 unfurls solar panels (the Air Force's X-37 fact sheet says they're "Gallium Arsenide Solar Cells with lithium-Ion batteries") to power itself in orbit, rather than relying on battery power like the Shuttle, and that gives it a long mission life--the Shuttle only stays up for a week or so, but this first X-37B mission was over seven months! And it wasn't all that secret; amateur spacewatchers even claim to have spotted it cruising around up there (not-very-detailed purported video of it!). Here's a diagram of the X-37 on space.com.

Here it is posing cheekily on the runway; I think this might have been before its final heat tiling / painting:

Image
photo by USAF (source)

Those angled tail fins are called "ruddervators." :P

That spaceflightnow.com article mentions some interesting stuff about the history of the Air Force's attempts to get a reusable space vehicle. They were involved with the Space Shuttle's earliest conceptual designs in 1971, and up until 1992, they even launched Space Shuttles from Vandenberg on top secret polar orbit missions with classified payloads. :o That stopped after the Challenger shuttle disaster, and wouldn't you know it, the X-37 shifted from NASA to the Air Force after the Columbia shuttle disaster.

But the Air Force's space plane endeavors go way back to the beginnings of the Space Race even. In the late 50's through early 60's they were working on the X-20 Dyna-Soar (for "Dynamic Soarer," since it was to be capable of return flights, unlike the single-use rockets otherwise in use at the time)

Image
NASA photo of an X-20 mockup (source)

but the project was canceled before construction started, due to problems over finding a launch rocket for it, and because the Air Force was unable to explain why they needed such an expensive reusable space vehicle (presumably they've come up with some more convincing arguments in the succeeding decades!). (And their attempt at a manned space station, the Manned Orbital Laboratory, was also canceled in the '60's for similar reasons.) But lessons learned in the X-20's development were put to use later for the Space Shuttle.

Apparently the Air Force is pretty happy with the X-37B, though, since even before its successful landing from orbit, they'd already ordered a second one, scheduled to start test flights in 2011. So if you ever spot a tiny space ship tailing you in your rear-view mirror (or maybe through your sunroof, rather), it very well could be one of these little X-37Bs!


Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:16 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
Posts: 4256
    
Oh yeah, and I originally drew Mar's left hand backwards for page 56:

Image

I guess he's already got enough problems without two right hands. :P


Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:32 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
Posts: 4256
    
Added 2 new A* pages:
Finishing up Rocket Week here in A* news blurghing, I came across the Soviet/Russian Soyuz family of rockets, the workhorses of that successful space program, which have been around since the good old days, and that explains why they look so darn cool: that retro-hip Soviet space style! I'm totally not kidding; just check out the flared thrusters on these babies (these are all by NASA, taken at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan):

Image
image by NASA (source)

Image
image by NASA (source)

Image
image by NASA (source)

Image
image by NASA (source)

I love how the rocket nozzles are that bright Soviet red. :) The Soyuz ("Union") line has been around since '66, derived from the earlier Vostok ("East") line, which launched for instance the Luna probes starting in 1958; I've posted this before, but I'm doing it again just to finish off the Soviet space style point: the Luna 2--first craft to the surface of the Moon (1959) was just so awesome-looking:

Image
image by NASA (source)

It's the Pac-Man of space probes, I tell ya!


Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:47 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
Posts: 4256
    
Added 3 new A* pages:
So how big is big? I actually did some math for this, because I wanted to make sure the threatened impact was threatening enough. The non-relativistic formula for impact energy (how big the kaboom will be--for speeds of 14% light and above you apparently need to use a more complicated formula) is

kinetic energy (joules) = 0.5 x mass (in kilograms) x velocity (in meters per second) squared

Proctor told us the speed of the approaching ship: 10% light speed, ie 30,000,000 m/s. Then he says the ship is 10x the size of a "Galaxy-class freighter." How the heck big are those? Well, I thought I'd see how it would go if we say one of those is about the size of a modern supercarrier, or roughly 100,000 tons, which is roughly 100,000,000 kg. What a nice round number to work with! So this ship is ten times that, *but* if we figure it's burned up its fuel accelerating to that speed, and its fuel took up say 90% of its mass, then it's down to 10% of its starting mass, which is then the 100 million kg figure we already had. Man estimating is cool.

0.5 x 100,000,000 kg x (30,000,000 m/s)^2 = 45,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules

So the impact energy would be 4.5e^22 joules, which is a lot. To put it in numbers that might correspond to something I can understand, according to this table, it's equivalent to about 22 million conventional thermonuclear warheads, or two Shoemaker-Levy impacts; Shoemaker-Levy was the comet that broke apart and hit Jupiter in 1994; it was going "only" 60,000 m/s, but consisted of dozens of fragments, some as large as 2 km across, and Wikipedia says the largest of its impacts was equal to 600 times the world's nuclear arsenal, and created a dark spot in Jupiter's atmosphere twice as wide as Earth--and there were at least several other similarly sized impacts from other chunks, some of which are seen here (the biggest one was "G"):

Image
image by NASA (source)

So two Shoemaker-Levy's--although still only about 1/10,000th of the energy necessary to boil off all of Earth's oceans and atmosphere--should be pretty dangerous to an inhabited planet, one would think, and that's about what Paralt 27-2 is facing here. :o


Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:41 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
Posts: 4256
    
Added 2 new A* pages:
A couple unused storyboards--these were preliminary ideas for yesterday's pages 61 and 62, respectively:

Image

And there's this unrelated thing I drew over the weekend:

Image

(That's being kept in the A* episode 11 gallery, for lack of a better place to put it. :P)


Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:21 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
Posts: 4256
    
Added 4 new A* pages:
Okay, I think I figured out who Mar looks like. A certain bloomin' penguin

Image

perhaps?

~~~~~~~~~

Space news! The private space transport company SpaceX successfully launched and landed their SpaceX Dragon capsule; it went up from Cape Canaveral on their "Falcon 9" rocket, took two spins around Earth, and made a soft splash landing in the Pacific, west of Mexico. So it's nice to see that private industry has caught up with where NASA was about 60 years ago. ;) The "Dragon" was unmanned for this test launch, but the plan is that it will ferry people/supplies up to the International Space Station once the US's Space Shuttle program ends in 2011: the next flight will be a fly-by of the ISS, then an actual mission carrying cargo and crew to the station; SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract "to provide 12 spacecraft with cargo capacity of at least 20 tonnes to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) through 2016."

Another company, Orbital Space Corporation, has a $1.9 billion contract for eight launches--from Virginia, rather than Florida--of its Taurus II rocket, also starting in 2011.

So, go private space industry, I guess! And where's my darn flying car?

~~~~~~~~~

In other private space / science news, private lasers are getting more dangerous. Watch out, Falcon 9! :o


Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:26 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
Posts: 4256
    
Added 2 new A* pages:
I wanted to do a sketch of Selenis so I don't get rusty drawing her while all this Proctor & Mar action is going on, and it ended up being this

Image

the full size version of which could be used as a super-high-contrast 1080p A* desktop, if you want to have a really hard time seeing anything else on your computer. :o

~~~~~~~~~~

Did you know I'd forgotten to draw Selenis' little forearm thruster pod on one page in episode 10? D'you know which one it was (and just weren't telling me?? :P)? Okay okay, it was page 147, the little rascal...which I have now subtly edited so that either she *does* have the forearm pod, or...just a really fat forearm. Anything is possible!


Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:21 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
Posts: 4256
    
Added 2 new A* pages:
Remember how I have that art show at Caffè Fiore in Ballard through the end of the year? Well it's been a month since the opening party, and that means its time for another one, since the art world seems to operate on a monthly basis, regardless of whether or not your show is running multiple months. So I'll be chillin' there tomor--er eh tonight, that being Saturday the 11th, from 7 to 9 pm. There might even be free chips or something! (Last month there was free crackers and cheese, cookies, and wine! It was quite the blowout. They may be repeating that output, I really have no idea! :o)

So drop by and say hi if you've got nothing better to do with yourself on a Saturday night--apparently I don't! :P (Oh wait I do have to come back home and draw my Sunday Princess and the Giant comic, I guess. :ppp)

This entry needs more pictures... Eh well I made a banner-sized thingy out of that desktop I made yesterday:

Image

For some reason this reminds me that I actually couldn't get to bed last night because far-flung A* plot points were invading my head. I guess that's how a lot of my story ideas come along, actually: unexpectedly and at times when I'm supposed to be doing something else. It's pretty good stuff, too! Like, a whole 'nother layer of corruption and deceit, a major switcheroo for the main character... Man I wonder what episode number that's gonna be around. Eh... 16-ish? Hm probably at least a few more. Sheez I got a lotta episodes to do!


Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:27 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
Posts: 4256
    
Added 2 new A* pages:
Couldn't seem to improve that last one with grays, so you get it naked and unshaded. I tend to think it's a good sign when that happens, but who knows, maybe it just means I'm bad at shading. :P

And if you're wondering why Proctor looks 80 years old, well, we aren't all at our perkiest during the multiple G-forces of a rocket launch. I won't try to make excuses for the hair net, though.

~~~~~~~~~

Over the weekend I got a bit of inspiration to update the comedic webcomic series of mine, "One Off," for the first time in over seven months. :o I have three new strips for it, which I'll be rolling out through Wednesday. This preview of the second one, which isn't quite up yet, will lead you to the comic if you shoudst click upon it:

Image

~~~~~~~~~

OH MAN I almost forgot to mention the nifty YouTube link trick I accidentally came across today!

Instead of sending someone a YouTube video link in the usual format, ie

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZWmrfgj0MZI

(that's Massive Attack's "Unfinished Sympathy" video by the way), do it like this

http://youtube.com/v/ZWmrfgj0MZI

and it will come up full-frame in their browser window, without YouTube's logo and comments and all that UI around it.

- Doesn't work with videos that have embedding disabled.
- The "view full screen" button isn't available.
- Doesn't autoplay (which may or may not be good).


Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:54 am
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 127 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ... 13  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.
Modified from the "Hestia" theme designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin.