I'm going to cheat just as much as Swirsky did and quote the Launch Pad website:
Launch Pad is a free, NASA-funded workshop for established writers held in beautiful high-altitude Laramie, Wyoming. Launch Pad aims to provide a “crash course” for the attendees in modern astronomy science through guest lectures, and observation through the University of Wyoming’s professional telescopes.There are twelve students at this year's Launch Pad, and if I'm paying sufficient attention to Rachel's posts the students include: Carrie Vaughn, Kelly Barnhill, Marjorie Liu, and, in Rachel's words
The other class members have an impressive array of backgrounds. We’ve got people who write non-fiction articles, non-fiction books for kids, fantasy novels, erotica novels, Buffy the Vampire novels, hard-science fiction short stories and novels, non-fiction about science fiction, who write movies and tv and video games (including the man who wrote the dialogue for Spore… oooh, shiny), comic books, graphic novels, who fact check for magazines, who edit anthologies and novels and articles, who publish anthologies and novels and articles, and teach writing or teach science, who try to launch commercial projects to the moon… lots of variety, although the preponderance of us have written science fiction or fantasy at some point.
What Rachel is writing about is the science of what she's learning. It's kind of the cliff notes version of actually going to Launch Pad (not as awesome as reading the book, but you get a general sense of what just happened).
If you don't read Jeff's blog on a regular basis (and you should), you'll want to check out the Launch Pad tag on the posts, and that'll keep you up to date. Take this recent post from Swirsky on stuff in our solar system. Interesting as hell. This is why you want to be following her posts over this next week. It's smart stuff taught by really smart people and reported by a smart person. Smart all around.
Check it out. It's probably the coolest thing I'm going read this week.