Changing Course~A Must Read!

ChangingCourse

 

Another hit outta the park!

No matter what genre Brey Willows turns her hand to we can count on meeting incredible characters, falling into a mind-blowing world and being swept away by a wonderful story. To say I loved this one is a bit of an understatement. I consumed it. I couldn’t put it down and I will read it again.
The characters (except for the walk-ons) are all well-drawn and memorable. Even the bad guy. Even the bad guy that was supposed to be the bad guy, but really wasn’t. (Read it, you’ll see what I mean)
The landscape was so real I could feel sand and grit and desperation.
The ending made perfect sense and was not contrived in any way. It was a great wrap-up. And would you look at that cover! Gorgeous! The romance worked perfectly too!
Loved it…loved it…loved it!

You can get a copy on November 1, 2019 at BoldStrokes Books

Thank you to NetGalley, and Bold Strokes Books for the opportunity to read the ARC, and to Brey Willows for sharing her gift once again.

Star Trails

NorthStarTrailsImage: © Sérgio Conceição

Short star trails circle the North Star, Polaris, above a gorgeous landscape on Flores Island in this long-exposure image by astrophotographer Sérgio Conceição.

Not Enough Greenhouse Gases?

Mars1

Science fiction writers have long featured terraforming, the process of creating an Earth-like or habitable environment on another planet, in their stories. Scientists themselves have proposed terraforming to enable the long-term colonization of Mars. A solution common to both groups is to release carbon dioxide gas trapped in the Martian surface to thicken the atmosphere and act as a blanket to warm the planet.

However, Mars does not retain enough carbon dioxide that could practically be put back into the atmosphere to warm Mars, according to a new NASA-sponsored study. Although the current Martian atmosphere itself consists mostly of carbon dioxide, it is far too thin and cold to support liquid water, an essential ingredient for life. On Mars, the pressure of the atmosphere is less than one percent of the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere. Any liquid water on the surface would very quickly evaporate or freeze.

Proponents of terraforming Mars propose releasing gases from a variety of sources on the Red Planet to thicken the atmosphere and increase the temperature to the point where liquid water is stable on the surface. These gases are called “greenhouse gases” for their ability to trap heat and warm the climate.

“Carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O) are the only greenhouse gases that are likely to be present on Mars in sufficient abundance to provide any significant greenhouse warming,” said Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado.

Read the rest of the reasons here why terraforming Mars isn’t possible just yet.

One Giant Step For Womankind

internationalspacestation

 

Two of NASA’s astronauts are scheduled to make history this month.

On March 29, Anne McClain and Christina Koch will leave the relative safety of the International Space Station for a spacewalk to upgrade the craft’s batteries. As well, two other women will play important roles behind the scenes for this spacewalk — Mary Lawrence and Jackie Kagey will serve as the spacewalk’s lead flight director and lead spacewalk flight controller, respectively.

A third woman, Canadian Space Agency flight controller Kristen Facciol, will support the spacewalk from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Not history making? I disagree. This is a giant step forward for all women in the sciences!

What do you think?

Solar Farts Are Dangerous!

yellow sphere illustration

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So here’s something I learned today from Popular Science…

“Our great big ball of gas and plasma continuously churns and showers the solar system with charged particles and radiation, collectively called solar wind. Solar wind is quite dangerous for human beings, and would likely cause gastrointestinal, neurological, and circulatory issues for us in addition to cancer with enough exposure. Thankfully, we’re all protected from such effects thanks to Earth’s magnetic field.”

I can imagine my boys saying something cheeky here about the Sun passing wind. Solar farts are dangerous, folks!

100 Billion Stars…Is Anyone Out There?

sky space telescope universe

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There’s a really great article at National Geographic today about the probability of life on all those other planets in Earth’s so-called ‘habitable zone’. According to astrophysicist Sara Seager, there are more planets than there are stars, and at least a quarter are Earth-size planets in their star’s so-called habitable zone, where conditions are neither too hot nor too cold for life. With a minimum of 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, that means there are at least 25 billion places where life could conceivably take hold in our galaxy alone—and our galaxy is one among trillions.

An influx of private funding has reenergized the search for life elsewhere among the stars, so it’s conceivable that we may find life as early as the next generation of planet-hunting satellites, if not this one. There’s an informative and interesting info-graphic on planet hunters within the article that’s worth a look too. Research has broadened from merely listening for radio signals to searching for optical and infrared emissions as well.

The article I’ve linked above is meaty with infographics, new research and lots of spectacular photos. If you have any interest at all in life beyond our own, you’ll find the article of interest. Check it out, I’d love to know what you think!

Dragons Are Real, Look!

dragonaurora

I can’t be the only one who missed this news, right?

Early in February of this year (2019 in case you’re reading this in the future), NASA captured a stunning image of a dragon aurora over Iceland. NASA said, “The aurora was caused by a hole in the sun’s corona that expelled charged particles into a solar wind that followed a changing interplanetary magnetic field to Earth’s magnetosphere.”

The aurora is pretty cool, but even more remarkable than you’d think because it appeared during a time of low sunspot activity, according to NASA, which means the sun is not emitting as many charged particles as it normally does.

The writer in me wants to believe this is just another sign that dragons are real.

Listening For Life

sky space telescope universe

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Back in February 2011, NASA’s Kepler Mission announced it had found 54 planets orbiting stars in so-called “habitable zones” in our galaxy. After the planets were found, NASA alerted the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) of their locations. The institute’s scientists started listening to those planets. SETI chief Jill Tarter has been quoted as saying the Institute is not listening for the kind of sound you hear with your ears. “What we’re doing is using sensors that are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation,” she says.

Electromagnetic radiation is just another name for energy that travels in wave form. Radio signals are also a form of wave energy. So when SETI “listens” to the cosmos, the institute is actually receiving electromagnetic radiation. Jon Jenkins, co-investigator for data analysis for the Kepler Mission, translates that electromagnetic radiation into sound. His actual job is measuring light from specific stars as a way to find nearby planets.

“When I started looking at these light curves,” he says, “I thought, ‘What if we played one of these through a sound card and it said, “Hello, Earthlings?” Unfortunately, Jenkins says, they haven’t heard that yet.

Jenkins made one recording by transforming wave energy — light from a star — into sound. Apparently, what has scientists puzzled is why the intensity of the pulsations change over time. One possibility put forward is that alien civilizations are modulating their own star’s brightness as a way to send signals across galaxies

Astronomers at the Parkes Observatory in Australia observed the brightest fast radio burst known to science on March of this year (2018). The signal was detected first on March 1st, then again on March 9th and 11th, with the March 9th signal breaking the record for strongest known deep space radio signal. All three have a powerful, localized origin. Scientists detected a “rapid fire” burst coming from a separate radio source within the past year. Could this strange pattern of radio bursts be attempts at intergalactic communication?

 

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Could E.T be trying to say hello?

And Now, From Science Weekly

NOTE: THIS IS NOT A REAL NEWS INTERVIEW.

THIS IS A FICTIONAL INTERVIEW GIVEN FOR MY NOVEL-IN-PROGRESS INFINITE WORLDS.

NOT A REAL INTERVIEW

 

Good morning, I’m Sybil Sanderson.

We here at ‘Science Weekly’ are pleased to report a new development in the world of space. A shake-up has been reported in the Canadian government that may have an impact on that country’s contribution to space exploration.

Minister of Space, Jonathon Erikson died last week after being shot in his bed. His body was discovered by his wife. His post has been filled by his Deputy Minister, Anika Lavalle, who was only recently promoted to the deputy position from advisor. Investigators are still trying to piece together the evidence that may lead to an arrest of Minister Erikson’s murderer. It is with great curiosity that we turn our attention now to the newly minted Minister Lavalle. Who is she? How did a virtual unknown rise to such an important position? We were able to ask these questions, and more, of the Minister herself in a brief interview granted just this morning.

Thank you for taking the time to speak to us today, Minister Lavalle.

 

My pleasure.

 

You must have an enormous amount of work waiting for you, so I’ll get right to it. How does one go from an advisory position to Deputy Minister of Space?

 

In my former position, I apparently caught the attention of our Prime Minister Cohen. He asked that I advise him on various occasions, after which he appointed Deputy Minister of Space. It’s a great honor.

 

I can imagine. Has the mandate of the Ministry of Space changed at all since your promotion?

 

Yes, it has, Sybil. The Prime Minister has tasked my office with establishing the preliminary steps to building a research station on the Moon. Then we’ll work to meet the criteria that will allow us to build a multi-national research station there. While no country can claim the planet, only politics stands in the way of working together. That said, it is our wish that Canada take a larger role in exploring space. Research, asteroid mining and launching exploratory craft from the Moon is all a part of that plan.

 

Will Canada still play a technological support role on the International Space Station?

 

Yes, we will. The Government of Canada wants to expand our role in exploring space, not reduce it. We want to be a leader out among the stars. We are putting plans into place that will enable many more Canadian citizens to be a bigger part of that. We expect to see more job creation come from this new mandate, as well as current contract extensions. Residual economic developments are expected to boost the overall health of our economy as well. Obviously, I can’t go into a great number of details, though.

 

It will be fascinating to see how it all unfolds. Thank you for sharing a small part of your vision with us, Minister Lavalle.

 

Thank you for having me, Sybil.

 

So, there you have it, folks, Canada gets a new Minister of Space, and a new purpose out among the stars! Stayed tuned for Ryan Rutledge’s report on the repairs to the Hadron Collider…