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