M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

Children of Pella — to post or not to post?

September 14, 2020
MThomas

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.

Sound like a good weekly post?

Giant asteroid flying by Earth next week looks like it’s wearing a face mask

April 24, 2020
MThomas

On April 29, an asteroid estimated to be 1.2 miles wide will fly by Earth, but it’s not on a destructive path. And new images of the asteroid make it appear as though it’s wearing a face mask.

😷

— Read on edition.cnn.com/2020/04/23/world/asteroid-1998-or2-face-mask-scn-trnd/index.html

New mini-moon! — well, at least until we kick it out of orbit

February 28, 2020
MThomas

960x0

He added that the mini-moon appears to have been orbiting our planet since it was first captured by Earth’s gravity three years ago. Early observations also suggest it is small enough to fit in just about any garage or shed, with an estimated diameter between 2 and 3.5 meters (about 6 – 11 feet).

The photo obviously doesn’t match the actual size of this “mini-moon” but you get the idea.

There was another one a few years ago, by the way. It stayed a few months and then got booted out of orbit.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2020/02/26/earth-has-captured-a-second-tiny-mini-moon/#52d80f1d58cd

What’s more valuable than gold? This rock

December 27, 2019
MThomas

If you find a big rock in your backyard, and you can’t break it open with normal tools, guess what?

The researchers argue that the Maryborough meteorite is much rarer than gold. It’s one of only 17 meteorites ever recorded in the Australian state of Victoria, and it’s the second largest chondritic mass, after a huge 55-kilogram specimen identified in 2003.

This next bit is more interesting to me:

“Other rare meteorites contain organic molecules such as amino acids; the building blocks of life.”

Hmmm… 🤔 Sounds like a storyline…

flip.it/PjaS-D

The exciting world of regolith oxygen extraction

October 25, 2019
MThomas

Future moon settlers might benefit from oxygen extraction from lunar regolith as it can be used to create breathable air as well as a source for fuel. In addition, the newly found extraction method might also be useful for Mars colonization.

Regolith covers the Moon and Mars (and presumably many other potentially habitable rocky bodies).

Of course, the composition of regolith on the Moon differs from that of Mars.

But if the new method can extract sufficient quantities of both oxygen and hydrogen, there should be ample amounts for both human usage and rocket fuel.

(Yawn.) “Dry” science? Sure. But think of the (fictional) possibilities!

https://www.universal-sci.com/headlines/2019/10/17/scientists-discovered-how-to-extract-oxygen-from-the-moons-soil

Factories…In…Space…

October 13, 2019
MThomas

 

 “Once you’ve exploited the solar system, there’s nowhere left to go.”

Frankly, the idea that we puny humans could ever even begin to damage the solar system is laughable.

What would be more worrisome is who – or what – would be doing the work. Why hire people if you could make robots to do the work for you?

https://futurism.com/billionaires-dead-serious-space-factories?fbclid=IwAR1lizqBfz9yQ4zwcdPlHqr4DnWKvf_Me6exwewJ3sPrb2UTksz65YQM_eI

No, the “golden asteroid” will NOT make you rich

June 27, 2019
MThomas

5d132fb1dda4c8de408b45d9

I wrote about this a couple of days ago (based on an article from two weeks prior), but it’s interesting to see random websites suddenly jumping on the “we’ll all get rich!” asteroid mining band wagon. Hey, everybody, let’s copy-paste stuff and not use our brains!

A new article by rt.com even includes two click-bait links to “how gold was formed” that have nothing whatsoever to do with NASA’s probe to (16) Psyche. Of course, we shouldn’t expect any less from an obvious Russian “news” distributor. But in the interests of calling out the bad reporting in this and similar “news” articles spread online recently, let’s give this a hearty smack-down.

Continue Reading

Full Metal Asteroid! Um. Maybe.

June 24, 2019
MThomas

Psyche

“Final planning stages” usually translates into “we have no idea when, if ever, this thing will work.”

Psyche!

Yes, actually.

Let’s hope NASA doesn’t resort to this:

FullMetal-bail

techcrunch.com/2019/06/11/nasa-moves-to-final-planning-stages-for-mission-to-explore-16-psyches-full-metal-asteroid/

The Moon is a Shining Ball of…uh…Nickel?

June 11, 2019
MThomas

deep-structure-mass-moon-crater-1200x630

“Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground…”

Uh. OK. That’s a LOT of metal. Nickel and iron? Ancient asteroid impact? 300 kilometers deep?

Sounds like a “golden” mining opportunity…

…even enough to totally justify “the Moon is a part of Mars“?

https://futurism.com/the-byte/deep-structure-mass-moon-crater?fbclid=IwAR194QoShlhP8Cxo0bZZJOndG2ylWBHOQxcFA1AdzxtKfl6oxnU7RWZRIZQ

Bennu’s Intergalactical Glitterspray Show!

March 27, 2019
MThomas

asteroidmoons

OK, not actually glitterspray. Lots of tiny moons. Micromoons?

Exploding out of Bennu, which is an asteroid circling way out near Pluto right now, but will intersect Earth’s orbit in September 2060. And in 2135. And in 2175. And maybe soon again after that.

Doomsayers, prepare yourselves!

(Cumulative 1 in 2700 chance it’ll hit Earth by then. Too bad Bruce Willis won’t be around to save us.)

www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/03/nasa-bennu-osiris-rex-asteroid/585256/

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