We have landed another rover on Mars.
With the rover Curiosity, our human race is stretching out and exploring the solar system using robotic machines to pave the way.
Kinda makes sense, doesn’t it?
It’s smart to check out the terrain with robots before sending live bodies to such a harsh environment. We’re “curious” to see if there’s anything there that might welcome us in a good, or bad way.
And news is coming in that we are finding more and more planets using the “wobble” or doppler effect. The numbers keep going up. Last time I heard it was over 800.
How many are habitable? Lots aren’t, but one in the Gliese solar system 581g is said to be in the “goldilocks” zone. Check out this link.
The Gliese solar system is 20 light years away with a dimmer star that is 30% of our sun’s mass. Closer than Earth is to our sun, the supposed surface temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit. I say supposed because a Swiss group of scientist are now saying they can’t find the planet and dispute its existence. The original group is disputing their dispute findings. So the battle rages on.
Kepler 22b has come on the scene. Found December 2012, it is 2.4 times Earth’s width with a surface temperature of 72 degrees and is 600 light years away, orbiting a sun much like ours. Looks like it can sustain water, too. The Kepler planetary hunting Mission as of November 2012 has found over 2300 planet candidates. The numbers are climbing. This space telescope measures a sun’s brightness and how much it dims when a planetary body transits it. The scientists can estimate the size by how much it dims.
So, in my novel Past the Event Horizon, soon to come out, my ship discovers an Earth like planet and explores it, looking for the aliens that sent the probe. It’s also a lot about what it takes to get there in a space ship.
Trying to land on Mars, we are learning a lot of what is out there and how difficult space travel can be for humans. A great trilogy to read if you are interested in Mars and the process of making Mars a habitable planet is Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy. It’s got a great story line and lots of science facts. Be prepared to wade through geek details, though. For some, that is a plus.
The first is Red Mars. This is the first colony and the struggles they have on an inhospitable planet. Right away the environmentalists and the terra form advocates face off to battle for the future of Mars. The terrain supports little life and you have to wear a space helmet.
Bringing water and completing the terra forming process is the storyline of the last in the trilogy, Blue Mars. All three contain interesting politics, romance and great science detail. All three are good sized volumes, so make sure you can order out and have the laundry done.
If you have, then he has a new novel that just came out in May 2012 called 2312.
A safe landing…a great day….what more might we find on the planet Mars?