Shelter receives Five Star review from Readers’ Favorite

“Douglas D. Meredith created this series as an introduction to hard science fiction for children. Shelter will engage children in wanting to know more about science, planets, and space, and should appeal to a variety of ages. The vocabulary isn’t dumbed down but explained in a manner that makes even the more difficult concepts easy to understand. The attention to detail is precise. Meredith weaves in an undercurrent of longing for earthly things such as wanting to play on the surface, sit and look at the sky, feel the grass, and climb trees. Humor is derived from the way the sisters interact. They may have been born on Mars but they still behave like ordinary kids, such as Ori being excited about working in the crop domes or the two trying to sneak out with a soccer ball to play on the surface. Their relationship is at the heart of the adventure as their love for their family drives them forward and pushes them to be courageous. The illustrations are in black and white which pairs well with the hard science fiction genre and portrays vivid images of the landscape of Mars. This is a great resource for children as it is informative and humorous, with likable characters and an adventure that will spark interest in the genre and a desire to learn about science. Notes are featured after the adventure and include coronal mass ejections, radiation, and gene editing.”

Readers’ Favorite Five Star Press Release – Shelter

Celestial movement

I’ve been meaning to write a short piece about something I noticed while watching the recent lunar eclipse, but I wanted to wait until the furor of eclipse pics died down.

Where I live, the eclipse was already under way when the Moon rose. I also have a small mountain between me and the eastern horizon, so there was a pretty big bite missing by the time I saw it. I pointed my little telescope at it, and the family took turns at the eyepiece. Every so often, I would tilt the telescope farther up to compensate for the Moon’s movement across the sky as we rotated beneath it.

Continue reading “Celestial movement”

Ingenuity problems

NASA lost contact with Ingenuity on May 3. The little copter is having problems recharging its batteries due to dust accumulation and the short days of winter. NASA instructed Perseverance to stop all science activities and spend a full day listening. 24 hours later, Ingenuity had built up enough charge to reestablish communications.
 

Phobos transit

Well, this is cool.

Perseverance captured color video of Phobos as it transits the Sun, and it is wild. Look at lumpy Phobos! Look at the sunspots!

If you watch carefully, you’ll note that the Sun is moving up in the frame even as Phobos moves down. This is true: Phobos has such a short orbital period (7 hours and 39 minutes) that it moves west to east across the sky.

Existential risk

I’ve been reading about existential risk lately. This article is not immediately relevant to Mars or our future there. But it also kinda is.

The Tanis fossil site, in North Dakota, appears to be showing us creatures directly killed by the Chicxulub asteroid impact. The picture of that leg is reminder that “geologic time” includes now, just as it did for these organisms on a day that changed the world, 66 million years ago.

From the article:
“We’ve got so many details with this site that tell us what happened moment by moment, it’s almost like watching it play out in the movies. You look at the rock column, you look at the fossils there, and it brings you back to that day,” says Robert DePalma, the University of Manchester, UK, graduate student who leads the Tanis dig.

Marsquakes

The lack of a magnetoshpere on Mars plays a key role in the latest book, Shelter.

The magnetic field around planets like Earth is the result of a geodynamo around the molten core. Because Mars has no magnetosphere, it has long been thought that very little happens in its interior. This study suggests that there is active movement of magma inside Mars after all.

From the article:
“Knowing that the Martian mantle is still active is crucial to our understanding of how Mars evolved as a planet,” says geophysicist Hrvoje Tkalčić of the Australian National University in Australia… “The marsquakes indirectly help us understand whether convection is occurring inside of the planet’s interior, and if this convection is happening, which it looks like it is based off our findings, then there must be another mechanism at play that is preventing a magnetic field from developing on Mars,” Tkalčić says.