The volcano is about the size of Arizona with a volume100 times larger than that of Mauna Loa’s,Earth’s largest volcano, NASA says. “In fact, the entire chain of Hawaiian islands (from Kauai to Hawaii) would fit inside Olympus Mons!”
Brighter than Jupiter this October! And the closest Mars will be until 2035.
OK, so I admit it — I’m way behind in finishing my SF novel, Bringer of Light (you can read the prologue here).
I had hoped to get the draft done by January, then work on edits in the spring and publish it in summer.
But a little COVID happened to the world, and believe it or not I got a little sidetracked by, uh, life. And a family history project about a love triangle (kind of).
(During our two-month quasi-lockdown-not-sure-what-this-is-stuck-home-with-two-kids thing, I did get pretty good at the Mars terraforming game. Highly recommended.)
So now I’m thinking, to kickstart my writing life back into action, why not post the chapters I have so far? There are about 35 of them, tend to be short, and since I’ve been struggling with the ending, might help generate some ideas for getting to the expected final scene.
I get the attraction of people like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. They have big ideas. They’re enthusiastic, ecstatic, even. They’re great at simplifying difficult concepts and promoting tech to the lay person.
But they’re not creators. They’re “visionaries.”
Is that a bad thing? Of course not. I was in computer sales once. It was hard. Only the charismatic are good at it. But I didn’t have the knowledge and ability to make the products I was selling, let alone the power to innovate.
Sticking a chip in a person’s brain and sending thousands to the Moon or Mars sound cool. Possible, even.
But science isn’t sales. Someone might die.
We need visionaries, but scientists are more important. Maybe if they talked to each other…
The Airbus spacecraft will have to manoeuvre itself into a position to capture these samples that will be packaged inside a football-sized container.
After ingesting this container, the satellite must then prepare it for return to Earth.
This means not only shipping it across hundred of millions of km of space, but also putting the football inside a re-entry capsule that can be dropped into Earth’s atmosphere to land in an American desert.
This would be, indeed, a feat of engineering as well as a first in interplanetary exploration.
But I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an “interplanetary cargo ship.” Unless the intention is to maintain it as a permanent link between research locations (i.e., some kind of permanent orbitor stationed above the Jezero Crater) and research facilities on Earth (or the Moon, or the International Space Station).
Political will is needed in addition to the enormous funding. Semi-privatization, anyone?
By studying Mars’ green glow, the researchers can understand the structure of this layer in the planet’s atmosphere, better understand its altitude range and even observe any changes in reaction to the sun.
First time to see a “green glow” around another planet. In the case of Earth, it’s mostly caused by oxygen, but Mars’ glow is primarily CO2.
So there really ARE “Green Martians.” Just don’t turn and run!
The researchers looked at Phobos, which loses height as it interacts with Martian gravity over time. Eventually, its orbit will be too low and Mars will essentially rip it into pieces that form a ring around the planet. It’s estimated that this will happen within 50 million years.
So say goodbye to fear, but dread may stick around a while longer…
NASA tellsInversethat the payloads will need to measure no more than 100 millimeters by 100 millimeters by 50 millimeters, around the size of a bar of soap. They will also need to weigh no more than 0.4 kilograms (0.88 pounds) and be able to withstand external temperatures between minus 120 degrees Celsius (minus 184 degrees Fahrenheit) and 100 degrees (212 degrees Fahrenheit). These are the maximum limits, but smaller and lighter is preferred.
Yow, that’s wicked tiny. But small price to pay to set up a Lunar Space Base from which humanity can expand into the expanse.