I would love to own my own spaceship. Nothing ostentatious you understand, just a little runabout that would allow me and my companions to zip around our solar system and our Milky Way galaxy to see all the wondrous things that are out there. Perhaps something like the Millennium Falcon but with the addition of a luxurious shower and at least one toilet (did you know that if you happen to peruse and ponder the plans for the Millennium Falcon, one of the things you’ll find sadly lacking is any form of restroom?).

A glorious view of Jupiter (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: NASA, ESA, CSA, and the Jupiter ERS Team)

Take our own solar system, for example. I would love to take a stroll on our Moon. I’d also like to amble around the planets Mars and Pluto, meander across the asteroids Ceres and Psyche (really, it’s a thing), and saunter on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. I am, of course, assuming I’d have access to some sort of space suit, but I’d prefer it not to look like any of the current offerings because they would clash with my Hawaiian shirts. I’m thinking of something like a small backpack that would provide an individual force field to protect me and keep me warm (or cool) whilst also providing oxygen and scrubbing carbon dioxide. (When I start daydreaming, I see no reason to restrict my imagination—welcome to Max’s World where the butterflies are bigger, the flowers are more colorful, and the birds sing sweeter.)

Unfortunately, since this isn’t likely to happen anytime soon, I will have to content myself to looking at images, such as the recent beauties of Jupiter as taken by the James Webb telescope.

The reason I mention this is that my chum Jay Dowling just emailed me to point to an interesting article on TheRegister.com: By Jove! Jupiter to Make Closest Approach to Earth in 70 years Next Monday.

As an aside (I can;t help myself), the English started saying “by Jove” in the fourteenth century as a way to express the sentiment “my god” or “good god” without blaspheming their Christian God. The reason this came about is that Jove (which is another name for Jupiter) was the god of the sky and thunder, and king of the gods in ancient Roman religion and mythology (he was known as Zeus to the ancient Greeks). According to Grammarphobia.com: “The phrases ‘by Jove’ and ‘by Jupiter’ were originally Latin oaths, ‘pro Iovem’ and ‘pro Iuppiter.’ These were used quite literally—not euphemistically—by the Romans to mean something like ‘my God!’ or ‘good God!’”

But we digress… returning to the article, we learn that—at its furthest—Jupiter is around 600 million miles from Earth. On Monday 26 September 2022, however, Earth and Jupiter will be only 365 million miles apart. The article goes on to say: “The planet will be so close that viewers will be able to see at least the central band and three or four of its moons with good binoculars.”

I want these giant binoculars (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: AnalogSky.co)

This reminded me of a Cool Beans blog I wrote a couple of years ago: Giant Space Binoculars You Can 3D Print. The Drifter version of these bodacious beauties flaunts two 8-inch f/5 primary mirrors that combine ultra-wide 30x views with the light-gathering ability of a 12 to 16-inch professional telescope.

I emailed Jay saying, “I REALLY wish I had those giant 3D printed binoculars” (I’d forgotten that he had already purchased a pair, the lucky scamp). Jay replied saying, “Analog sky has rebooted their website and has two new projects in the works, not the original Swift and Drifter, these new ones are called Magic and Heart, but we’ll have to wait and see about more details.”

I just bounced over to the Analog Sky website and signed up with my email address in order to receive news and updates on these two projects. When I hear more, I will share the news. In the meantime, what say you? Are you, like me, drooling with the thought of looking at Jupiter next Monday using something like the Drifter?