And the science keeps on coming…

Of course the big news story for today is the fly-by of Pluto…

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…and they’re already getting more information about it. First off, they have confirmed that it is bigger that Eris, which makes Pluto the biggest Kuiper Belt object we know about. Also it has a thin atmosphere of nitrogen around it that goes out much farther than expected. I’ll be particularly interested in the ice and rock make-up. Just how much ice is evaporated each time it closes in on the Sun in its highly eccentric orbit? And difference does that make to the ice and rock formations? How different is it from Triton, which is supposed to be a captured moon with similar ice and rock features? All questions that we will have to patiently wait for answers. But one thing is for sure… it should be an inspiration for more science fiction stories.

In other news, there’s two new letters have been added to the DNA alphabet of four – G, C, A and T. They are P and Z and have been artificially made. See here for more details. What this could mean is that we can design creatures that could not exist on Earth. Frankenstein and his ilk may have to move over to give way to some extreme DNA based exotica… certainly a fruitful area for new ideas in science fiction.

Finally comes the news that we are heading for a mini ice age, much like the one that occurred between 1645 and 1715. See here for more details. It’ll give us humans a little bit of breathing space as far as global warming is concerned, but the rise in temperatures will outstrip this mini ice age. But this discovery does go to back up what I have been saying about global warming. We do not know all the factors that could affect global warming, yet. I reckon governments are waiting to find out more about the such factors as the Sun and volcanic eruption frequency, before they make a move. Now here’s the thing… the government that gets the answers first is likely to use that information for its national advantage. There are several ways this could be done, any of which would make a good basis for a science fiction story.

With all this science coming in now, and more on the horizon, why oh why aren’t there more science fiction books exploring the impact of these things?

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5 thoughts on “And the science keeps on coming…

  1. Insightful post! I agree that the latest advancements in science will in all likelihood be weaponized or monetized by a world power, and perhaps not the ones that we are expecting. I’ll be following future posts for more.

    1. Welcome to my blog wizendturnip… I’m just wondering how the governments can make money out of the recently discovered pentaquark… or use it as a weapon… any ideas?

      1. Good question, and certainly one that I’m not truly qualified to answer. Needless to say, that it helps to unravel a bit more of the cat’s cradle that is quantum physics. Even if the pentaquark is not innately game changing, it will allow physicists to better understand strong interactions, which could lead to any number of advancements. Our current understanding is limited, but the more we know about the laws of physics, the more we can use or bend them, and that might lead to something that could be used to affect change.

  2. I’m sure there will be; I think this exploration of Pluto and what we have already learnt just from the photos will spur people on to write about the outer edges of the solar system. The public perception before this encounter was that it could be little more than a ball of ice. Now we see that it looks very different from what we expected, who knows?

    As for climate change, I don’t think your optimistic view of why there has been so much inaction is accurate – I hope you are right, but I think there is something more malevolent going on centred on the mudslinging of the denialist movement. This upcoming LIA (if indeed we do notice much of a difference) will most likely entrench people even further into dithering.

    1. Hello MG Mason… I sure hope you’re right about more stories for the outer edge of the Solar System… there’s a surprising amount of different environmental issues that writers can pick up on… and some of them are really weird!
      Regarding climate change… whilst nobody can predict the future with total confidence, I would guess something’s going to happen in to 2025-2030 timeframe. There’s stuff already being developed in the future technology pipeline. Fingers crossed it matures in time!

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