Living in California, Working on Mars

New software, wearable tech puts virtual explorers on Mars.

New software, wearable tech puts virtual explorers on Mars.

It’s not everyday I get to talk with someone who works on Mars.

So when I scored an assignment for The Atlantic magazine’s website (Jet Lag is Worse on Mars) on how Martian explorers will adjust to a longer Martian day, my first call was to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I was able to get an interview with Jennifer Trosper, deputy project manager for NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity, who has worked on Mars rovers since the Pathfinder landed in the ’90s with its small auxiliary rover Sojourner. (See more)

Author’s page for novel, audio drama

LDMSfrontcoverthumbnailRead excerpts and hear clips of Tom Chmielewski’s novel Lunar Dust, Martian Sands and his audio drama Shalbatana Solstice on the Martian Sands Bookstore page. Purchase from this page or access Amazon storefront of full range of science fiction titles.

A long road to dual release of sci-fi drama, novel

A long road to dual release of sci-fi drama, novel

Just finished recording and editing the science fiction audio drama Shalbatana Solstice, a prequel I wrote for my novel Lunar Dust, Martian Sands. I plan to release both in July. Both stories deal with people trying to make a life on a lonely planet, and make the world their own. No zombies, no aliens – more »

Chinese Worm the Latest Turn in Cyber-War

Chinese Worm the Latest Turn in Cyber-War

The plot is chilling. A cyber-mercenary gang known as “Icefog” operating out of China unleashes its insidious worm “Dagger Three” to infiltrate computers of foreign governments and their defense contractors, steal vital secrets, then leaves in an electronic mist before anyone is the wiser. Sounds like a job for James Bond, though maybe he’s too more »

Casting Call for Sci-Fi Audio Drama

Casting Call for Sci-Fi Audio Drama

I have faced many delays with this project, but now that I have the funding, I’m moving ahead with the production of a short sci-fi audio drama, Shalbatana Solstice. I hope to record before the end of the year. If scheduling works out, sometime in October. Shalbatana is a short story prequel to my novel, Lunar more »

One-Way to Mars: Is it the only way?

One-Way to Mars: Is it the only way?

No, but maybe sending colonists first is the better way If you want to go to Mars, you only have a few days left to apply. But if you want a round trip ticket, you’re going to have to wait a while longer. The plan of the Mars One Foundation to send would-be colonists to more »

Hiring Asteroid Miners

Hiring Asteroid Miners

Astrogeologists still have to wait to leave Earth Recently, I received an email from Planetary Resources with the subject line, “Now hiring asteroid miners.” About time, it seemed to me. The e-mail said the company was looking for college students for co-op positions, and I thought of forwarding it to my niece studying geology at more »

Reflections from a July morning on a Florida beach, 1969

Reflections from a July morning on a Florida beach, 1969

We didn’t sleep much that night on the beach, my brother, my cousin and I – and several thousand other people. We kept staring across Indian River at that gleaming needle of white on the Atlantic shoreline of the Kennedy Space Center, a rocket bathed in the brilliant glare of searchlights that surrounded the launch more »

If we find life on Mars, is Mars off limits?

If we find life on Mars, is Mars off limits?

When Curiosity shakes off all the dust from landing and completes all its system checks, it will begin its one-year trek (by the Martian calendar) up Mount Sharp, with one of its aims to discover if Mars was ever habitable for primitive life. What if it was? Wow! Great, what a find! What if the more »

Crowdfunding novel and audio drama

Crowdfunding novel and audio drama

This has been a long time coming, but finally I’ve launched a Kickstarterr funding campaign to publish my novel, Lunar Dust, Martian Sands, and its audio short-story prequel, Shalbatana Solstice. I’ve been leading up to this for a while. In fact, for the novel, it’s been years. I believe now the timing is right, both more »

Commercial dreams of space

Commercial dreams of space

There is a new space race. It’s hard to tell who the leaders are as this new race is in its early stages. The entrants are still jockeying for position and getting used to the track. But the rest of this decade could be the beginning of an exciting time off Earth. Some politicians and more »

Tripping fantastic in hard sci-fi

Tripping fantastic in hard sci-fi

Hard sci-fi has a reputation for being almost exclusively about science and tech, with people only thrown in for context. I don’t buy it, and I don’t buy stories which take that approach. Unfortunately it’s a reputation reinforced by some authors who do embrace that idea and fill their stories with techno-overdrive. These authors meticulously more »