Oct 072015

Will explorers and settlers on Mars supplant any native life that may already exist there? Image courtesy NASA.

NASA’s announcement last week of clinching evidence that liquid water exists on Mars may doom any chance of building a colony on the Red Planet. It’s not the liquid water that hides in Martian sublayers and at times  escapes to the surface or near surface of the planet that’s the problem. It’s what may be in the water.

Martian microbes that may have found a way to survive in that water could pose an ethical and biological roadblock to people from Earth planning to settle permanently on our neighboring planet. If the Martians are there, no matter how small, and we do decide to permanently colonize the planet, there’s a good chance one of us, the native population or the settlement, is not going to survive.

Scientists have been striving to find life somewhere off Earth, and last week’s news raised hopes that conditions on Mars, despite its environmental extremes, could allow microbial life forms to survive. Yet in nearly the same breath that they expressed increased hope of finding life on Mars, NASA scientists also stressed the importance native water could have for astronauts who set foot on Mars.

Martian water  “may be an important resource for future human explorers and inhabitants of Mars, and decrease the cost and increase the resilience of human activity on the Red Planet,” said discovery team member Mary Beth Wilhelm of NASA’s Ames Research Center during Monday’s news conference. But will human explorers find a way to share that water with Martian microbes?

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Feb 272015
Living in California, Working 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 more »

Jul 272014
Why Build a Scientifically Accurate World with a Soulless Society?

Why are there a number of how-to books on building worlds in Science Fiction, but none, at least that I know of, about shaping the societies that inhabit them? Thankfully, there are authors who include the societal element of the story they’re writing, be the societies alien or human. But there were a couple of more »

Jun 152014
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 »

Casting Call for Sci-Fi Audio Drama

 Posted by at 9:58 am on September 25, 2013  Writing sci-fi  No Responses »
Sep 252013
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 »

Hiring Asteroid Miners

 Posted by at 12:17 pm on May 5, 2013  Moon exploration  No Responses »
May 052013
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 »

Aug 262012
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 »

Aug 172012
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 »

Aug 012012
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

 Posted by at 10:27 am on May 14, 2012  Space news  No Responses »
May 142012
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 »