Three fun science fiction novels available this weekend

The first three books in the Demeter series are available this weekend at Amazon for Kindle readers for less than a dollar.  The novels follow the progress of young William Ryder from self-conscious Earthling to strategist to save the dwarf planet, Demeter.  Life isn’t all serious though, he has to cope with his crazy sister Debbie and Cynthia Flores along the way.  Enjoy a fun weekend of reading, Doc

Winds so strong they can destroy development of a galaxy

Black Hole Winds Quench Star Formation in Entire Galaxies

Aloha – Last week I touched on an article about solar sails; this wouldn’t be a situation where I’d want a solar sail space ship.

The Milky Way has a relatively dormant Black Hole at it’s center.  However, other Black Holes can be millions or even billions of times larger and more brilliant than our own Sun.  (Hard for me to imagine the impact on the retina.)  Some of these Black Holes, “known as active galactic nuclei, voraciously devour their surroundings, potentially creating black hole winds.”

The pressure from these phenomenon are so powerful they can flatten matter and push it out in winds gusting at well over 200 million miles per hour.  Ergo, not where I want to be with my sailing spaceship.  (Let’s see, that would make a trip to our Sun in about 25 minutes.)

If you’d like to read the article it is at

http://news.yahoo.com/black-hole-winds-quench-star-formation-entire-galaxies-183105298.html

Best wishes,

Doc

Living on Europa

What Would It Be Like to Live on Jupiter's Moon Europa?

Aloha – Yup, Europa not Europe.  There is a fun twist on this in the Demeter series.  The protagonist and friends are kidnapped or conscripted thinking they are going to the other side of the pond, or Europe from the U.S.  The surprise for them is that instead of a year in Europe, they are going to Demeter, whose Capital is the city tower, Europe.  “Read the fine print.”

Europa on the other hand is a moon of Jupiter.  There has been a fun series being put out by space.com about what it would be like to live on various moons and planets in the Solar System.  This week, the choice is Europa.  They recommend living on the side of the moon that faces the planet offering both a fantastic view and protection from a serious radiation problem.  However, it is bitter cold, with almost no gravity, and therefore no atmosphere.  There is a reasonable amount of sight seeing available, and with .14 Earth normal gravity, everywhere would be a hop, skip and a jump away.  The moon also harbors a massive ocean, but drilling down to it through the ice and rock might be problematic.

If you’d like to read the story it is available at

http://news.yahoo.com/live-jupiters-moon-europa-190331912.html;_ylt=AwrTWfyoHBJV43YA1gTQtDMD

Doc

Art? Science Fiction? Science Friction? End of the World?

In 2012 the Large Hadron Collider found the game-changing Higgs — here's the next big mystery it could solve

Aloha – Angels and Demons was the first book, published in 2000 by Dan Brown.  This was followed by The Divinchi Code.  When Angels and Demons was made into a movie one of the early plot points was the particle accelerator or Hadron Collider.  The real device has received a Nobel Prize for discovering the God Particle or Higgs Boson.  The accelerator smashes particles and generates heat 100,000 times hotter than the Sun.  Some have feared that the activity might actually destroy the Earth.

After two years of maintenance, scientists are ready to turn on the switch once again.  This time they are after dark matter.  What is it?  How does it work?  It makes up a large portion of our Universe so it would be nice to know what it is.  Of course if the collision destroys the Earth we probably won’t notice.  We should be gone in the blink of an eye.

We’ll see… or not,

Doc

Xeno-biologists versus Creationists

NASA scientist says this is where we'll likely find alien life first

Aloha – Xeno-biologists versus Creationist?  Perhaps it is because I love science fiction and that ‘what might me’ that I really don’t feel that discovering life outside of Earth’s boundaries would shake my religious convictions.  I have found the recent discussions of possibly discovering microbes or even tiny shrimp in such places as Ceres or Enceladus within our Solar System intriguing.  I had given up hope of finding Heinlein’s intelligent Dragons on Venus, or Burroughs men of Mars.  In recent years I have been convinced by the progress of Martian probes and the discovery that Mars once had a large sea that there may have been life and even a civilization on Mars.  But moving out the the rings of Saturn and the Asteroid Belt I did not have any expectations of finding life.  My own version of the goldilocks range did not anticipate that life could exist that far from the sun without some form of artificial support.

Now that the possibility of finding some form of life is distinctly possible in many of these worlds I’m not sure how I feel about it.  It seems unlikely still that we will find intelligent life as we think of such things.  So the idea of civilizations meeting and becoming friends and developing synergies through their association; or annihilating one another just because of fear of each other is not my concern.  What is the impact of finding microbes within an ocean of a Moon of Saturn?

  • By figuratively dissecting such life forms we would likely get a better understanding of the building blocks of life and become that much closer to gods who create life and life forms.  Hmmmm…. sudden visions of Jurassic Park come to mind;
  • As careful as we try to be will such microbe(s) be brought back to Earth and impact our eco-system in some way?
    • Turn teenagers into zombies
    • Infect and wipe out dogs (maybe not such a bad idea)
    • Infect and wipe out rabbits (not so good, what did a rabbit ever do to you?)
    • Get into the waters and spread like many of the waterway infestations we battle today, wiping out species or all ocean life
    • Actually be intelligent life forms that, once they escape, quickly multiply and attach themselves to people’s spinal cords and take over the minds of people (much like the Internet)
    • Something else neither I nor earlier famous science fiction writers have come up with yet

Okay, I”m not that worried about it.  But it certainly should be interesting to find out over the next few decades.  Some answers I did not expect to learn before my great-great grandchildren die of old age may be revealed before I die… if I live long enough.

An interesting story on this is available at

http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-scientist-says-where-well-221242641.html

Best wishes,

Doc

Dog Stars

Aloha – Okay the only relation ship this has to do with astronomy and/or the Demeter series is the character who Debbie’s character is modeled after has done it again.  I like animals, I really do, but I do not keep dogs, and I certainly don’t keep them in the house.  So how did I wind up with three dogs in my backyard.

The Debbie muse, who is much more like Debbie than any other human on the planet somehow convinced us to allow her to keep not one, but three dogs in our backyard this weekend (started early).  She lives in an apartment and had agreed to watch a close friend’s companion animal this week.  Her apartment complex allows companion animals reluctantly, and it was as a big favor they allowed her to watch the dog last time meaning two dogs.  So her “friend” and I use the term loosely not only brought her dog, but apparently got a second dog.  NO WAY ARE THREE DOGS STAYING IN THE APARTMENT.  So, Doc, can we keep these three sweet dogs at your house this weekend?

“No.”

“Mrs. Doc?  Pretty please.”

“Yes.”

And so our saga begins.  So far in an hour the dogs have destroyed a gate and even made Mrs. Doc unhappy.  Will we survive?  The howling began 59 minutes ago.  Please Lord, kidnap me and take me to Demeter.  I’ll even go the the ice fields.”

Hope your week is going better than mine.

Doc

Sailing away

blackstone-headlines-hrem54-hdframe6568.jpg

Aloha – Although not a new concept, solar sails are making headway in the commercial zone.  The story is featured on the link below.  The strength of solar sails is that they continue to accelerate.  One of the weaknesses is that it takes a long time to build any speed.

In the Demeter series, the PerSians augment their power systems with an elaborate system of solar sails.  A good way to pick up speed, and in the PerSian’s case reload their weapons is to fly near a star.  Of course, if you wind up trying to attack a planet that is far removed from a star (Demeter is a light year from the nearest star, then mounting a good attack with solar winds powered craft becomes problematic; because once they stop they have no reasonable way to regain speed.

Meanwhile, back in the world of reality, it looks like headway is being made in the development of this technology.

Doc

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-solar-sailing-could-impact-the-future-of-space-exploration/?ftag=YHF4eb9d17