A voyage to the stars – or rather to a nearby planet or asteroid – accomplished in a matter of days, rather than months. It may sound like science fiction but astronaut and engineer Franklin Chang Diaz will try to persuade us all that his plasma rocket engine, now in prototype stage, will soon turn it into reality.

We also delve into another world hovering between fiction and reality: Hong Kong writer Po Wah Lam leads us to a time and place when all that mattered were small insects, grasshoppers and locusts.

And distinguished historian Bruce Cumings urges us to remove our blinkers when we look at the Pacific coast of United States and the countries it faces across the vast expanse of the ocean.

The Pacific launches a more successful plasma-fuelled rocket than the Atlantic, better able to catch those crickets. Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

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55 minutes

Last on

Sun 21 Nov 2010 09:05 GMT

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