Universe Guide

Universe Guide Blog Articles Archive 6

2015 - A Year in Review01/01/2016 16:23

Real Space

Now 2015 is just a memory, one of many many years that has gone before since the start of the universe, known globally as the Big Bang. It was a year in which we had our first look at Pluto, the nineth planet until that it, it was downgraded to dwarf planet status. There`s already a campaign going on in getting it reinstated as a planet. It was downgraded because its path around the Sun was obstructed and not clear. If they had kept Pluto as a planet, then we`d probably have had a tenth planet in the form of Eris, an object in the kuiper belt that is roughly the same size as Pluto. Eris was the reason why Pluto status was looked at. At the time, Eris was thought to be bigger but Pluto is a touch bigger. New Horizons won`t be redirected to Eris as its too far from Pluto. The reason why such interest was shown in Pluto was because of the arrival of the New Horizons probe finally arrived and took some stunning pictures. It was the first time we`d seen a picture of the planet so clear. New Horizons isn`t the furthest object from Earth, that accolade goes to the voyager space probes which were launched some twenty-thirty years previous and are still going.

rosetta space probe complete with the lander Philae caught up with 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and did some experiments to ascertain whether we could`ve possibly hitch-hiked on a comet to Earth. The initial results was that the comet had the wrong sort of water for human amino acids causing the critics to say it was a waste of time. It could be we chose the wrong comet or comets are not sources for the right amino acids full stop. Later on there was oxygen found in the surrounding gas cloud so not total waste. ref:guardian

Britain got its second astronaut in space, this time the astronaut was sponsored by the Government rather than industry working with the Russian government to get someone up there. The first Briton up in space was Helen Sharman in the earlier nineties. Helen had won a competition to be the first British astronaut. Other "British" astronauts such as Michael Foale and Piers Sellars had to gain American nationality to get into space because it was then British Government policy not to put people into space. Major Tim Peake, an ex-test pilot lifted off just before Christmas and is to stay up for six months doing over 200 experiements.

Although not yet covered on this site is national aeronautics and space administration (n.a.s.a.)`s Dawn probe which visited Ceres, a dwarf planet. Ceres is the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Even though Ceres is a lot closer than Pluto, it took nearly eight years to get to Ceres because of the route it took to get to the planet. It took the long way round, doing a large number of solar orbits till it caught up with Vesta, another asteroid in 2011 and then Ceres in 2015. When Pluto got downgraded, Ceres got upgraded from asteroid to dwarf planet.

Fictional Space

You can`t have not noticed that the biggest film out this year was Star Wars - The Force Awakens, the first film from Disney after having brought the entertainment franchise for $4 Billion a few years ago. It was expected and was true to form to become the biggest film of the year. The fact that it was released to the paying public in December, its release period unlike Jurassic World has not finished and Star Wars has not yet been shown in China with its billion people. The Star Wars film saw the return of the main three characters from the original trilogy, the smuggler Han Solo, the farmboy turned hero Luke Skywalker and his sister, the princess also a courageous rebel alliance fighter, Princess Leia. The film also introduced us to the new heroes, the A.W.O.L. stormtrooper called Finn and the scavenger turned Jedi Rey. It was teased by Kathryn Kennedy that Han Solo might return somehow probably in flashbacks in the next film when she announced that everyone who people saw standing beside her was returning. ref:Daily Mail.

Defiance, the aliens on Earth television series was cancelled after three years. The attached MMO game will continue even though the series has come to an end. Other television series such as Doctor Who was broadcast as usual but Clara who had been the current Doctor`s companion had decided to leave after having been the longest serving companion since the series came back back in last decade.

A Sad Farewell

Veteran British actor Christopher Lee, who was more famous for appearing in Hammer Horror films passed away in June aged 93. He will be best remembered for his Count Dooku in the second two Star Wars prequel films and of playing the Wizard Saruman in both the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films of which the last of the Hobbit films came out in 2014, just over a year ago.

The only news connected to the Star Trek entertainment franchise was bad news. Leonard Nimoy, who had played Spock, the Enterprises` chief science officer had passed away at the age of 83 in February. He last played Spock in the last Star Trek film in 2013 Star Trek, Into Darkness albeit a minor role. Before that, he played Spock in the first of the rebooted films, the first of which was Star Trek XI.


Prelude to Litigation - Star Trek31/12/2015 14:21

Fans have always tried to imitate their favourite franchises with their own versions of their characters stories. I admit I did it once when I was young, I wrote my own V story which I called `Resistance`. Before Warner Bros begin legal action, I didn`t sell, it was just for fun for myself and never released, well, back then there was no internet. Well, the internet was about but hadn`t yet taken off with the Web as its become now.

A group of budding film makers launched a kickstarter project and have raised over $1 Million to produce Star Trek Prelude to Axanar and for the amount of money that been spent, it looks very good, see the picture below of Vulcan. Its also attracted well known actors such as Richard Hatch best known as Capt. Apollo and Tom Zarek in the Battlestar Galactica franchise.

It was probably best to sticking to Star Wars fan films as Lucasfilm had been known to be supportive and not be so litigent with fan fiction. There is also the officially recognised starWars.com Fan Film Awards As any Star Trek fan will know, there`s another film coming out next year, Star Trek Beyond which is also the fiftieth anniversary year of the franchise. Could the producers be worried that some people might get confused and see Prelude to Axanar and think thats the Beyond film? I suspect Paramount and the producers of Axanar will come to some sort of friendly arrangement without any court cast coming from it after all its the fans that keep the franchises going. More info at Hollywood Reporter

Screen Shot from Prelude to Axanar


Star Wars Auditions26/12/2015 19:04

The latest film the Star Wars franchise Star Wars - The Force Awakens has just come out and is number one in most if not all markets. The next episode VIII which is due out in May 2017 is due to begin filming next month. The next film is coming out on the fortieth anniversary of the first film, Star Wars IV - A New Hope. If you got what it takes, they are currently taking casting calls so you could be the Lead Stormtrooper of Ensign Goode. ref:MovingCastingCall

If you can remember a few years back, the producers began a casting call for the new faces for the films.

Rachel who was decribed as quite young (17/18) when she lost her parents. With no other family, she was forced to make her way alone in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17 she has become street smart and strong. She is able to take care of herself using humor and guts to get by. Always a survivor, never a victim, she remains hopeful that she can move away from this harsh existence to a better life. She is always thinking of what she can do to move ahead.

Thomas has grown up without a father`s influence. Without the model of being a man, he doesn`t have the strongest sense of himself. Despite this, he is smart, capable and shows courage when it is needed. He can appreciate the absurdities in life and understands you can`t take life too seriously.

Out of the casting of thousands, it was announced that Pip Anderson and Crystal Clarke had got the roles. However when the film came out, their characters became Lead Stormtrooper and Ensign Goode. Neither of these characters are the main characters in the film which I suspect a lot of people were hoping it to be when they lined up for the auditions. The winners became minor parts in the film. Can`t remember what happened to those characters when I saw the film but neither stood out.

The lead characters went to Daisy Ridley (Rey) and John Boyega (Finn), both from London, United Kingdom and both having been in productions before. John played Moses and Daisy had played a character in Casualty. Mark Hamill got his part from open auditioning. Back when Mark got his, no one knew anything about the film, no one knew how good or bad the film was going to be.

A definate requirement for the part is that you can work in the United Kingdom as that is where like most of the films in the series was made. Star Wars II - Attack of the Clones and the following Star Wars III - Revenge of the Sith were both made in Sydney, Australia.

If you do plan to do some auditioning, just make sure you`re better than these.... (Saturday Night Live Spoof)

Saturday Night Live Spoof of <a href=/fact/stars>star</a> Wars Casting.


Episode VIII and Beyond18/12/2015 14:43

CONTAINS REAL AND POSSIBLE SPOILERS Nothing has been said yet about what will or won`t happen in Episode VIII, Episode VII has just come out in the cinemas to good review and good numbers of people watching them. What I say here will contain some spoilers What we know is that the storyline will certainly follow Finn and Rey as they continue the fight against the First Order. There`s been mention of an additional lead female character, could this be the character that Gugu Mbatha-Raw might be playing.

Whilst we know that Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker are returning, maybe Han Solo by way of back story. We know that Disney are planning on doing a Han Solo spin off movie or two in the near future but that will feature a younger actor and its joked along the lines of "When Han Solo met Chewbacca".

According to the Daily Mail, Kathleen Kennedy has said the entire cast will be returning, however can`t see that given Star Wars penchant for killing off characters in films. Additionally, a classic character will be coming back according to Cinemablend, we can only speculate who that could be, possibly Lando Calrissian?

Stars Wars Character Collage - Prequels and Originals


Earth to Major Tim, Congratulations15/12/2015 20:07

Major Tim Peake has finally arrived on the international space station after an eight hour journey from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, home to the Russian space administration, Roscosmos where all the visitors to the ISS take off. He is the first British astronaut sent up into space that was supported by the British Government. The first Briton in space Helen Sharman was financed by private donors with the support of the Russian Government. Other Britons in space such as Michael Foale and Piers Sellars had to gain American nationality to get into space with national aeronautics and space administration (n.a.s.a.) because the British Government had a policy of not providing support for Britons into space. That had recently changed and Tim Peake became the second Briton in space.

Space it should be pointed out is a multi-billion pound industry not just in the United States but also in Britain. British company Inmarsat provides and supports communications across the world through its numerous satellites. Logica I.T. Consultancy was unique amongst the major I.T. consultancy such as CapGemini and Accenture in providing Space Consultancy. They are now part of the CGI Group, a Canadian I.T. Consultancy and they carry on providing space consultancy.

Critics of space exploration say money should be spent on the ground and not wasted on space exploration. Those who do should look at N.A.S.A. site to see what inventions might not have happened had it not been for space explorations. The one that stands out the most is artificial limbs, the same limbs that help amputees get back on the ground and walking. NASA didn`t design cordless tools, they got Black and Decker to design and build the tools. 1. NASA also didn`t invent CT Scan or MRI scans but they designed the technology that would one day be used in those technologies.

Our future is space, this planet won`t be able to support us forever, our resources are dwindling, the population is ever-increasing and isn`t looking at slowing down any time soon. The critics will argue why mess up somewhere else when we can`t look after ourselves. The way we`re going, we`re probably going to end up like Coruscant the city planet in the Star Wars entertainment franchise. If we survive into billion years into the future somehow, the planet will become inhospitable and we`d have to get off it, either to Mars or further afield, maybe to an extrasolar planet (exoplanet) somewhere out there. By then, we may have broken Einsteins Law that says the speed of light is the absolute speed limit. If we did manage to get to light speed, it would still take four years to get to the nearest star Rigil Kentaurus, better known as Alpha Centauri.

Picture from the european space agency website with copyright E.S.A./Stephane Corvaja

A picture of Major Tim Peake taken at a press conference before his take off into space.


First Star Trek Beyond Trailer14/12/2015 22:49

There are two main space franchises, the biggest is Star Wars whose seventh movie episode is out at the end of the week. The second and oldest is Star Trek whose next movie is out next year to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the series. To coincide with the release of Star Wars - The Force Awakens, Paramount has released the trailer to their next movie, Star Trek Beyond which is out next year. The thinking is that a lot of those people who watch star Wars also watch Star Trek and would be interested in seeing the advert. The trailer in the trailers section of the Star Wars film.

In the previous rebooted films, the films have been centred around our Solar System as the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701A find their feet but the new one will feature planets far away on their five year mission to find new and wonderful life. The lead antagonist is played by Idris Elba, who if you have read articles on the internet is the new James Bond even though Daniel Craig has not yet given up the role yet.

Star Trek Beyond Trailer


Independence Day : Resurgence Trailer Released14/12/2015 22:26

As predictable as night follows day, there was always going to be a sequel to the 1996 movie smash, Independence Day and no, its not called Thanksgiving Day or something like that. Its set twenty years later and the Aliens have finally decided to return and make our lives hell again, of course for our entertainment. Most of the original cast is coming back, the most notable not coming back is Capt. Steven Hiller played by Will Smith because the producers couldn`t afford him so its been said.

Jeff Goldblum returns as the Meteorological scientist David Levinson and so is his dad and the President but not the president any more though. Replacing Will Smith is Liam Hemworth a new pilot hero. Expect more patriotism and more action if either of those is your thing.

Independence Day - Resurgence Trailer


Christmas with Star Trek13/12/2015 20:51

With the release of Star Wars - The Force Awakens just less than a week away, Star Trek has become slightly forgotten. Although that will change soon, when the new Star Wars film comes out, the trailer for Star Trek Beyond will be released alongside it as a massive coup for Paramount. Although Disney who now own the star Wars rights won`t care either way. To get everyone in the mood for Christmas and Star Trek, someone has put together a cool mock singalong by The Next Generation crew featuring Captain Jean-Luc Picard amongst others and it looks really good. SIt back, click on the picture below and enjoy.

Christmas with Captain Jean-Luc Picard Make it So...


Is Peter Jackson going to Direct a Doctor Who Episode?01/12/2015 09:57

Well, it certainly seems like it is from what is being said on the Internet. In a send-up of himself, Peter Jackson is seen cleaning his Academy Awards whilst The Doctor runs around manic in the background with a Dalek in the background. Therefore having a major hollywood director directing an episode of Doctor Who would be a major coup for the entertainment franchise. Its unlikely that they will produce a film Version of the series any time soon given how long movies can take. Peter Jackson cut his teeth and came to the worlds attention by making the Lord of the Rings trilogy into three cinematic movies. He had made previous films but it was the Rings films that brought him to the worlds attention.

In 2013, he had a bit part in a short comedic part as part of the Doctor Who celebrations which probably got the rumours started. The short clip below also got rumours as to whether The Silmarillion might be made into a television series or a film. Christopher Tolkein who worked on the Silmarillion didn`t like the movie adaptations so it remains to be seen whether the production company can gain the rights to the book.

Peter Jackson and the Doctor send up


John Lewis, the Man on the Moon07/11/2015 16:37

Every year adverts come on our television to persuade to part with our money for presents. This year is no exception however, one particular advert by John Lewis has an astronomical feel to it. The story in the advert is of a little girl who spots a man on the the Moon when she looks through her telescope. She endeavours to try to reach out to the man evenutally sending up a christmas present to him. The advert has been had fun poked at and used by a rival corporation to advertise their telescopes.

One advert has the man on the moon replaced by Father Jack from Father Ted screaming as he does in the television series. Another advert has the little girl spotting the Nazis on the moon, reminiscent of the film Iron Sky where the Nazis retreated to after the second World War. Age UK also used the advert to highlight the plight of lonely people this Christmas as a serious side. The best one is by The Poke who spoofed the advert with a Star Wars take on the advert with Darth Vader replacing the man on the moon and its hilarious which you must watch until the end.

Star Wars Spoof of the John Lewis Man on the Moon Advert


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