Incoming Asteroid, Waverider and the Stone Circle
by Duncan Lunan - 12:50 on 23 November 2013
My book “Incoming Asteroid! What Could We Do about It?” has now been published by Springer. The book has taken eleven years to complete and seeks to answer the question posed by Bill Ramsay, ‘If we knew there was going to be an impact in ten years’ time, what could we do about it?’ It has input from (among others) John Braithwaite, Chris O’Kane, Gordon Ross, Jay Tate, Nigel Holloway, David Asher, Colin McInnes, Max Vasile and Arthur Hodkin, and is illustrated by all the Scottish space artists: Ed Buckley, Tom Campbell, Sydney Jordan, Andy Paterson, Gavin Roberts and Gordon Ross. While I was dealing with the proofs there was a lot of uncertainty about the publication date, which kept jumping between the end of October/end of November/end of December/next year, but in fact it was early November. Even now Amazon is still saying it won’t be out till November 30th, and I’ve tried unsuccessfully to correct that, but in another week it won’t matter.
Springer must like the book and its predecessor “The Stones and the Stars” because they’ve already offered me a contract for another, working title “Waverider, a Spacecraft in Waiting”. Waverider was designed by the late Prof. Terence Nonweiler in 1957 as the man-carrying vehicle for the British space programme cancelled by Harold Macmillan, and he always intended it for peaceful uses. The US Air Force has lately been testing a Waverider warhead on the X-51 hypersonic cruise missile, and in November 2010 Time magazine described Waverider as the 4th best US invention of the year, so it seems to be time to reclaim the territory on both counts.
“The Stones and the Stars, Building Scotland’s Newest Megalith” is the story of the Sighthill stone circle from its inception in 1978 to the middle of last year. Just as it was published Glasgow City Council declared that it would be removed to make way for redevelopment of the hill, and there has been a big public campaign of protest for the last year. The partial eradication of the hill seems unavoidable, but as a result of the protests the architects handling the first phase of redevelopment have been tasked with removing and re-erecting the stones. Removal is now likely to be in the first half of 2014. A promising site for re-erection has now been found and if the City Council approves it, the plan is to conduct astronomical observations at the site over the following three years before the stones are raised again.
There has been big support for saving the stones from the Druid and Pagan communities, who held a farewell ritual for the present site at this year’s summer solstice. There will probably be another, smaller one at midwinter sunset on December 22nd this year, and further plans for that will be announced shortly.
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