Explorations – of all Sorts

Yesterday’s Facebook Launch Party for Explorations: Through the Wormhole was good fun, which everyone seemed to enjoy. This has obviously helped the anthology to reach the giddy heights of no. 3 in the Amazon best sellers for anthologies – it is currently sitting at no. 7 on the UK list – a nice reward for all who worked so hard to publish this very interesting anthology.

The link to the Amazon UK version is on the sidebar – just click on the cover.

Woodbridge Press have set up a website for the science fiction news and articles – scifiexplorations – they are planning a series of explorations anthologies. The next one, Explorations: First Contact is already in preparation.

As with all parties, it’s useful to bring a contribution along. Mine was what I call a doodle –

Faster then Light Methods

Well, I had to put the wormholes box in yellow as it was the star of the show. But one interesting thing jumped out at me from this ‘doodling’. The green ones are where serious scientific progress has recently been made. Of the three items, two of them were lead by British inventors (Alcubierre Drive by Alcubierre and Em-Drive by Robert Shawyer).

News broke a few days ago that there are serious plans to test the Em-Drive in space. See here for the news.  A peer-reviewed paper on Em-drive is due to be published in December. If it works, and it is still a big if, it means astronauts can go to Mars in 10 weeks.

It would certainly drastically reduce the impact of radiation and bone-wasting problems. But if they land on Mars, astronauts will continue to be impacted by both as Mars has not magnetic field to deflect solar radiation and the gravity is much weaker.

Another possibility could exist. Some time ago, NASA indicated that Callisto, a moon of Jupiter, does not have the radiation problem Mars has. It is protected by the magnetic field of Jupiter, which means people can live on its surface without the fear of cancer etc. Gravity would still be a problem, but there are ways to mitigate it.

This brings us to the other big news of the week – Juno – or rather the first close-up pictures it has sent back of Jupiter. See here for more details.

1024

This is a picture of Jupiter’s North Pole, which is bluer than scientists had believed. It is also going to be interesting from a fluid mechanics point of view. Apparently, Saturn has a stable ‘hexagonal’ configuration of vortices, but Jupiter looks rather chaotic in comparison. My guess is that there is some  interesting research going to happen here.

In the meantime, work is going on to design and make laser propelled micro-spacecraft that can be flown to nearby star systems such as Proxima Centauri to explore their planets. This propulsion method will allow the satellites to reach the stars in decades rather than centuries!

And let’s not forget the more down to Earth ‘stuff’ like the Skylon space plane (which uses liquid hydrogen and oxygen as fuel) and the proposed space elevator off Japan.

Just what does all this mean for science fiction?

Quite simply – A REWRITE.

 

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