James D. Livingston

The evolution of life

Matt Damon in "The Martian"

Pluto's surface as seen by New Horizons

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket

Size comprison of the Earth, the moon, and Pluto (lower left)

Aerial view of Spaceship Two crash in Mohave Desert

Close-up of nucleus of comet 67P taken by ESA spacecraft Rosetta

Wernher Von Braun & engines of Saturn V

Steven Swanson (left) and Russian colleagues

Yutu, Chinese rover, on the moon

Comet ISON and its green tail

International Space Station, where NASA will continue to support the astronauts during the shutdown

Artist's version of Mars One colony (Bryan Versteeg)

Kepler Space Telescope (artist's version)

Pluto - the Former Ninth Planet

Virgin Galactic space plane over New Mexico's Spaceport America

Saturn - Lord of the Rings

Arizona's Meteor Crater

Radar view of the surface of Venus as seen by Magellan orbiter

Use of Terra, a spin-off of CheMin (instrument on Curiosity), in King Tut's tomb

Streambed found on Mars by Curiosity (compared to dry streambed on Earth)

Self-portrait of the rover Curiosity on Mars.


Flying By Pluto

July 21, 2015

Tags: Pluto, Kuiper belt, New Horizons, NASA, Alan Stern, Alice Bowman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Charon

Published in The Patriot Ledger July 25, 2015

I called it “poor little Pluto” in an earlier column, but Pluto was very big in the news last week when NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by it after traveling more than 9 years and more than 3 billion miles through space. It was a tremendous success for the New Horizons team led by Principal Investigator Alan Stern and Mission Operations Manager Alice Bowman, known to the team as MOM. (more…)

Big Year for Dwarf Planets

February 9, 2015

Tags: Dawn, Ceres, New Horizons, Pluto, dwarf planets, asteroid, planet

Published in The Patriot Ledger January 24, 2015

2015 will be a big year for dwarf planets. Two spaceships launched by NASA several years ago will soon be giving us our first close look at Ceres and at Pluto, giving us better photos and more scientific data on each of these dwarf planets than we have had before. But what are dwarf planets? When I was a boy, Pluto was one of the nine planets and Ceres was an asteroid. (more…)

Poor Little Pluto

July 9, 2013

Tags: Pluto, Hayden Planetarium, definition of planet, Clyde Tombaugh, International Astronomical Union, New Horizons, Eris

Published in The Patriot Ledger April 13, 2013:

My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. That was never literally true in my case, but when I was young, that mnemonic helped us remember the sequence of the planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. What do we do now that Pluto is no longer officially a planet? Does my mother just serve us Nachos, or perhaps Nothing? (more…)

Selected Works

A brief sequel to Arsenic and Clam Chowder, in which Mary Alice travels north on the Klondike Gold Rush
A sensational murder trial set in 1890s New York
Popular Science
The first review of the many and varied forms of magnetic levitation written for a general audience.
A entertaining treatment of the history, legends, science, and technology of magnets for a general audience.
Historical Biography
The dramatic life story of an early feminist and abolitionist who was both witty and wise.
Undergraduate Textbook
A lively introduction to the electrical, optical, and magnetic properties of solids.

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