(A)social being

Why NASA selecting Blue Moon to compete with SpaceX Lunar Starship for crewed Artemis landings is a big deal: blog.jatan.space/p/moon-mo…

Want to stay up to date on our grand, global return to our Moon with robots and humans? Subscribe for free to my Moon Monday newsletter, which is the only one in the world dedicated to all things lunar: blog.jatan.space/s/moon-mo… 🚀🌗

Colored vs. underlined links, or why the latter is better: thoughts.jatan.space/p/colored…

To RSS subscribers of this microblog, a reminder that I’ve decided to stop posting here. If you’d like to continue to hear from me, please point your reader to the RSS feeds of my two longform blogs:

🚀 Space Blog: blog.jatan.space/feed
☕️ Thought Brew: thoughts.jatan.space/feed

Hi everyone, I’ve decided to stop posting on this microblog. This means I won’t have direct posts on Micro.blog or Mastodon anymore, over and above my active absence on traditional socials. I’ll post only on my space blog and my personal blog Thought Brew going forward.

Why? Here’s what I told a friend on the topic:

I’m just not into shortform. It’s a trap. It gives the illusion of satisfaction and instant gratification of posting something to the whole wide Web when in reality I had more nuance to express if the interface didn’t limit me.

You can subscribe to my blogs via email or RSS. :)

I will not be publishing monthly recaps of my work anymore. If you liked those, you can simply browse and search the archives of my space blog and Thought Brew instead. And if you’d really like to receive my words in your inbox, you can subscribe to my blogs for free via email or RSS. :)

I’m excited about my two-week trip to Bengaluru next month. Lots of space buffs to meet, and some friends to spend time with again. I love the city’s literally cool weather, and look forward to devouring soft idlis and cold-pressed sugarcane juice again. If you’re around, email me to plan a meet.

Gifted myself the latest Kindle Paperwhite, and I just love so many things about it. Most of all the larger screen in only a slightly larger footprint is making a huge difference in the amount of thoughts I can absorb at once. 🤓

A side-by-side picture of the 2018 Kindle Paperwhite vs the latest 2021 model displaying text from the article "Forging a High-Technology Partnership Between the United States and India in the Age of Export Controls" at https://carnegieindia.org/2023/03/07/forging-high-technology-partnership-between-united-states-and-india-in-age-of-export-controls-pub-89209

China will launch Chang’e 6 next year to bring 2 kilograms of ancient lunar samples to Earth. These would greatly enhance our understanding of our Moon’s evolution and origin! Also, India’s new space policy is brewing thoughts about mining the Moon. Details and more in my latest Moon Monday 🚀🌗

India’s revised space policy is here, and it’s a whole new world!

ISRO shall develop a long term road-map for sustained human presence in space. Towards this, it shall identify and develop necessary technologies, infrastructure and ecosystem.

I discuss India’s push for privatization of its space industry, ISRO doubling down on advanced research & development, and the policy’s mention of mining space resources in my latest monthly Indian Space Progress report. 🚀

I also cover the recent poetic PSLV launch, India’s upcoming gravitational wave detection facility, and more! 🤓

Image: ISRO

I was so happy and satisfied to see this share of my space blog from Mukunth. He kickstarted my science writing career with my first professional article in 2018, and beat academic writing out of me. It means so much for something like this to be said by a person who is an inspiration. ☺️

VM (@1amnerd) tweets: By the way, @themoonmehta's blog/newsletter is an invaluable resource if you're interested in humankind's attempts to study and land on the moon and other planets, their attendant politics, and technological challenges: https://blog.jatan.space/about

Was reading India’s new space policy yesterday on an off-day. Why? Because work shouldn’t just be about tasks to check off but also exploratory brain sprawls afforded by leisure.

I have some thoughts on said policy to share on my upcoming monthly Indian Space Progress report this Friday.

A picture of a Kindle in my hand showing a page from the new Indian space policy (2023).

The act of standing up for something must not stop because no one else is looking.

Many of my readers have asked me for my thoughts on ispace’s failed Moon landing last week. In my latest Moon Monday, I discuss its successes and failures, how ispace is forging ahead with another Moon mission and did a great job with their public communications, and how it all relates to the upcoming armada of private robotic Moon landers part of NASA’s CLPS program 🚀🌗

Aside: Quoting my favorite moment from the mission:

The Hakuto-R spacecraft captured this view of our Moon and Earth from lunar orbit. The dark shadow on Earth is of the Moon from the April 20 solar eclipse!

Image: ispace

If I start a new blog+newsletter where I publish semi-raw notes with higher frequency on space as well as non-space topics, would you subscribe?

They won’t be as polished as my longform blogs but would be more thoughtful than microblog & social media posts. Would a daily email bother you?

Bloggers: It doesn’t matter what you write about on your blog, or that only a few people read it, as long as you write.

Also bloggers: But your blog should never be on Substack, Medium, or the likes.

Bloggers still: Why does no one blog? It’s so sad.


A note about Substack Notes

The distinction to remember about posts on Substack Notes is that it isn’t a traditional social network, that is, by default it doesn’t expose people’s “notes” to the whole network via some algorithm. The product does two things instead:

  1. The “Subscribed” section only shows notes of people readers have explicitly subscribed to. So subscribers of your Substack blog+newsletter will see your posts in that section.
  2. The “Home” section shows notes from the “Subscribed” section as well as posts that people you follow have re-shared or commented on. So your second degree connections, via your readers, could see your notes there.

It’s essentially centered more around organic growth than an implicitly algorithmic one, and to better engage people who have already subscribed to your Substack rather than explicitly get new ones. Note how there are no hashtags, and how you don’t currently see the likes on a note influencing their position in the Timeline. And yet people, bloggers and journalists most of all, are assuming that Substack Notes is exactly like Twitter.

I’m still figuring out if I like Substack Notes or not but it’s best not to be prejudiced.

You’re better than ChatGPT 😅

This is what a friend told me after I helped her write a formal email to some important people in her profession.

Firstly, imagine living in a world where that statement is a compliment. That time has come. Second, I guess it’s nice to know that my profession as a writer and editor is not yet under threat by AI. 🥲

My monthly Indian Space Progress reports now have more than 4,000 readers spread across the space community and the world. 🚀

Indian Space Progress is absolutely free to access by everyone, and I never display ads. If you find it valuable, you can sponsor it as an individual or an organization. 🇮🇳

I’ll be attending this public lecture tomorrow on future telescopes on the Moon at TIFR, Mumbai. If you’re around, and interested to talk space & science, would be nice to chat after the event. Email me.

Poster headings read: Prof. Joseph Silk, Institut d'astrophysique de Paris, Johns Hopkins University | 28th April 2023, Friday, 5pm Homi Bhabha Auditorium, TIFR | Topic: FARSIDE Telescopes on the Moon

You know what? I’m not active on any major social media and yet I’m tired of the constant news and posts about it everywhere on the Web. How is submitting our minds to one faceless, narcissism-rewarding algorithm after another not a decidedly collectively stupid thing to do?

I’m stoked to share that Epsilon3 is continuing their sponsorship of my Moon Monday newsletter for another year! 🚀🌗

I’m grateful to Max and Laura for their persistent support since the early months of this one-of-a-kind community resource. :)

NASA’s road to putting humans on the Moon goes through SpaceX Starship. So on this week’s Moon Monday, I write about what last week’s ”successful liftoff but failed overall launch” of Starship Super Heavy implies for NASA’s Artemis program, and why it matters to get it right more than the when. 🚀🌗

Venus and the crescent Moon are looking so beautiful together tonight. 🤩

Science mode is ON for South Korea’s KPLO spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon! Its instruments are returning valuable scientific data. I cover its details and more global lunar exploration updates in my latest Moon Monday. 🛰️

PS: KPLO captured this spectacular view of the Tsiolkovskiy crater.

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