Posts Tagged ‘Space Exploration’

And this is it.  On Friday 15 September, after 20 years in space, 13 of which spent in Saturn’s system, Cassini plunged into the gas giant’s atmosphere.  NASA made this choice to prevented it crashing into and contaminating the moons Titan or Enceladus, which could host alien microbial life.  The end was quick: as described in details in this National Geographic’s article, “the spacecraft’s thrusters failed, overwhelmed by gravity and intense atmospheric friction.  It began to tumble, lost sight of Earth, and went silent forever around 4:55 a.m. PT.  Though scientists couldn’t observe the action, they knew that one or maybe two minutes after Cassini’s signal vanished, Saturn tore the spacecraft apart.  The probe shed flaming pieces into the planet’s atmosphere, streaking through the alien sky like a crumbling meteor.”

This is the start of this morning’s entry on Steph P. Bianchini’s THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND, “So Long, Earthians.  Cassini, Over and Out.”  We may recall THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND from about a week and a half ago, referring us to a piece on Cassini on NATURE.COM (see September 7).  So returning the favor in a way, for Bianchini’s own final take (though with several more links there that can be pursued too) those interested are invited to press here.

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The caption on the picture reads:  An image created by the Cassini spacecraft on July 19, 2013, when the sun slipped behind Saturn and illuminated the planet in an eclipse, illuminating its magnificent rings all the way out to the faint E ring, which appears as a ghostly blue hue of icy particles.  And so another, extensive salute via POPULARMECHANICS.COM, “Farewell to the Greatest Space Mission of Our Time” by Jay Bennett, for which press here.  In four more days (cf. September 7) Cassini will be gone.  Quoting the article once again:  The Cassini spacecraft spent 13 years orbiting Saturn.  It revealed the planet and its rings in striking detail, found liquid around every corner, and invigorated the idea that alien life not only exists, but could be right on our doorstep.

In Saturday’s mail, but no, it wasn’t concerned with TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH which, after all, was only published at the beginning of last month.  No, this was a 6-month-plus check for stories in two Elder Signs anthologies, DARK HORIZONS and STREET MAGICK (see March 16; November 27, 4 2016, et al.), that came out in October and November last year, respectively.  The stories in these were both reprints, “Dark of the Moon” in DARK HORIZONS, of lunar exploration and . . . monsters originally published in THE CHILDREN OF CTHULHU (Del Rey, 2002), and STREET MAGICK’s “Bottles,” from CROSSINGS (Double Dragon, 2004)*, of Cold War paranoia and vampires.  And best of all, even though anthologies rarely bring in BIG bucks (the royalty having to be divided among, say, twenty or so different authors, plus editors, et al.), the check for these books is for a respectable two-figure sum.

So no need in this case to keep things anonymous — both books, in fact, were on the shelves briefly in Barnes & Noble’s brick and mortar stores (though not, alas, TOMBS, though I understand it was considered) — as has been the case for most royalties periodically received, in order to avoid embarrassment all around.  Indeed the amount here, put into edible terms, would easily have been enough for a decent dinner for two back in the days when I was courting the woman who was to become my ex-wife.  (Though perhaps it wouldn’t go quite that far now.)  That is, to cover both nourishment and love, which is not a bad deal at all.

 

*And also reprinted in THE TEARS OF ISIS.

This is encouraging news!  Charles P. Zaglanis of Elder Signs Press announced today via Facebook:  “Barnes & Noble wants multiple copies of DARK HORIZONS in all its stores chain-wide.”  Elder Signs Press, we may remember, will also be publishing my upcoming novel-in-stories, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, in spring-summer next year (cf. July 24, 15, et al.), though of course that doesn’t guarantee that B&dark-hor-5-199x300N will want it as well.  But it does give the feeling the door could be open.  And it happens the lead story in DARK HORIZONS is also one by me (cf. January 22, et al.).

Technology gone wrong.  Madmen playing with science beyond their control.  Alien creatures with malign intent. . . .  Thus saith DARK HORIZONS’ official blurb.  And as noted above, the fun begins with a tale by me, “Dark of the Moon,” of an international space expedition gone very, very wrong.  Originally published in THE CHILDREN OF CTHULHU (Del Rey, 2002), the story concerns the first manned exploration of the moon’s dark side — the side perpetually hidden from Earth — and what’s there to be found.  And perhaps more pointedly, how it was it got there in the first place.

DARK HORIZONS is scheduled for release this fall, with more to appear here as it becomes known.

This is from PENNY4NASA.ORG via SPACE ADVOCATES NEWS, posted by Curtiss Thompson, for science fiction as well as science fact fans:  the top five advances in space science currently scheduled for this year.  The fourth one, in fact, may have already happened InternationalSpaceStation(while I don’t recall seeing it, it may have appeared within a story about resupplying the International Space Station), a soft landing on a platform at sea for a SpaceX first stage which, according to this, was scheduled for January 6.  But see all for yourself by checking here (and then, if inspired, consider using whatever strikes you to build a story or poem around).




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