Lunar South Pole

Human activity on the Moon will increase dramatically in the next decade. This article provides a concise view why.

A subplot in the forthcoming book, Water, involves a cousin on Earth who’s dad gets an assignment at the south pole of the Moon, studying ice cores for a new mine.

Mars model

This is interesting. A group of researchers developed an agent-based model of a Martian colony “to explore the psychological, social, technological, economic, and logistical factors that would influence the long-term viability of a human Martian settlement.”

They found that the minimum number of individuals needed to create a colony with a stable population was much smaller than one might anticipate: 22.

The population of Dawn, in my books, is around 5000. I’ve worried that this might be too small for self-sufficiency. The fact that this model suggests 22 individuals are enough for population stability (albeit with regular shipments from Earth) suggests otherwise.

The personality categorization used in the model is necessarily blunt. People are, of course, more complicated than what can be modeled in an agent-based system like this one. However, based on the characters I’ve written in Generation Mars, I think that if one were to attempt to categorize the population of Dawn in a similar way, it would lean heavily in the direction the model suggests as most likely to survive: agreeable, social, with a creative approach to life.

Let’s talk covers (2)

Second (we’re still talking covers, remember?), I’m thrilled to share the cover of my forthcoming Generation Mars book, Water. Once again, Luis Peres has outdone himself.

This time we have a mashup (overture, if you will) of the interior illustrations, creating a perfect concept piece that draws the reader in by teasing multiple events in the story.

It’s a great cover! Want to read the book? Release date announcement coming soon.

Let’s talk covers

First, I’ve been so busy finalizing the next book that I missed this announcement in early August. Shelter is a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards Best Book Cover contest in the Children/Young Adult category. Kudos to Luis Peres for hitting it out of the park with this grand and cinematic vision of a human family facing the challenges of living on Mars.

More about coming lunar activity

Here’s part II of Greg Autry‘s series on cislunar activity.

From the article: “Orbital real estate is extremely limited and – in the absence of any coordination or law preventing occupation of those desirable orbits – the rules of First Mover Advantage must apply.”

In particular, Earth-Moon Lagrange points 1 and 2 are going to be in high demand. NASA’s Lunar Gateway architecture will stake a not-so-subtle claim on L2.

I’ve already written the scenes in my next book that involve lunar landing. But, I have to say, the idea of a space elevator from L1 to near the Moon’s south pole is almost too good to ignore. I might have to revisit those scenes.

Science catching up to fiction

In the manuscript for the next Generation Mars book, I mention that a couple was able to conceive through recent technological developments. Well, here’s science catching up to fiction before the fiction is even published. The tech is called in-vitro gametogenesis, or IVG. It’s not ready for use in humans yet. But when it is, the possibilities are staggering.


Cislunar activity is about to explode

Greg Autry is writing a series of articles for Forbes on the coming era of cislunar activity. Here’s the first.

From the article:
“Walking the floor of the International Astronautical Conference in Paris last fall, I couldn’t help but feel that the Moon will soon be a very busy and very international destination. 2019 saw a lunar landing attempt by a private Israeli team and Japan’s ispace tried it last month. Both nations promise to return to the Moon soon. Meanwhile, China’s governmental program has had a series of lunar successes including placing a lander and rover on far side of the Moon. There will be landers, rovers, hoppers, and human habitats scattered across the lunar surface by the end of the decade. This activity will require a lot of orbital infrastructure.”

Particularly interesting is the discussion of the Moon’s gravitational anomalies due to its uneven density. This makes most low lunar orbits (LLO) unstable.

Tory Bruno on rocket science

Ever wondered why rockets have multiple stages? Or why some missions have long coast phases and multiple burns? Tory Bruno, CEO of United Launch Alliance has the answers!

From the article: “There is no single, best rocket. Different rockets do different things. As it turns out, the design of a rocket flows directly from the mission the rocket is intended to do, and there are many different missions.”