Tag Archives: comets

Comets and Book Clubs

IMG_9503We are landing on a comet tonight! This is a momentous event. After ten years of chasing, using gravity assist, the Philae Lander, a robotic spacecraft, will catch up to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, or 67P, and anchor itself there for hopefully a year long ride.

The Rosetta project, led by the European Space Agency with contributions from NASA and others, will be studying this comet in order to better understand the composition of comets, thought to bring water to primitive Earth, and possibly life itself. Eventually it will be within 180 million km of the sun and expelling water and gases because of intense heat.New Image of Comet ISON

Find more at: CNN.com: Rosetta Landing or www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta

This is the ESA’s official website, where you can find the latest news, images and animations on the spacecraft and its lander .

touching-crystal-thumb-1Why does this intrigue me? My sixth novel, Touching Crystal deals with the impact of a comet against Alysia’s moon, Thanos, and the resulting consequences to my world of Alysia.

Science will now explain what was once mystical, a harbinger or omen for humans. Although it took ten years to get close enough to land, the idea that we can interface with a moving comet offers hope that we may be able to divert any future threats to Earth from this type of cosmic threat.

Although, we certainly didn’t see the meteor that crashed into Russia last year and took us by surprise. We were too busy staring at a passing asteroid.

NeuromancerI am currently reading Snow Crash, as it is a selection of my Powell’s Book Club and we meet tonight. It is a Hugo winner classic from 1992 and is very different. Think William Gibson and his Hugo winning book, Neuromancer, which created the sub genre of Cyber-punk in the early 1990s and you have an idea of the story.Snow Crash

The Powell’s book club is a rowdy group of fifteen to twenty-five or so science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts who have been meeting for over ten years at the world famous bookstore of Powell’s in Beaverton. They are awesomely intelligent about science fiction and not shy about offering opinions.

Makes for lively discussions, so I need to be prepared.

Abyss Beyond DreamsI also plan on reading The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter Hamilton, and will report on that new offering in the next week or two.

someones_clone_front-cover_v2_finalBut first, I have my proof for Someone’s Clone in my hot hands and expect a November 20 publication date. Until then, I’ll be working feverishly to put the final touches on it and conquer the format and download monster.

Check out Amazon for this exciting new adventure, one of my best to date. A murder, a mystery, time travel, romance, aliens…this one has it all…so stay tuned.


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Comets, Asteroids, Meteors, Oh My!


Whew! A Miss.

2012 DA14 flew close to Earth, but missed us. (17,200 miles out)

The irony is that while the world gazed at this 160 foot asteroid and carefully tracked it, a 55 foot 10,000 lb. meteor crashed into Russia injuring over a thousand people and causing 33 million in damages. It entered the atmosphere traveling over 40,000 miles per hour and residents of Chelyabinski, Russia heard an explosion and felt a shock wave as it blew up and bits plowed into nearby mountains and lake.

Russian MeteorSURPRISE!

Odds of both events happening on the same day? 100 million to one.

And a wake up call.

How did we miss it?

It supposedly came in on Earth’s blind sunlit side and the smaller meteors are hard to see. There are so many, that tracking all the smaller ones is hard. Still a lot of damage happened, and if it had been New York…

We are closely watching a much larger asteroid (would fill the Rose Bowl) by the cuddly name of Apophis–the Egyptian name of the God of death and destruction.

And why that name, you ask?

Because in 2029 it will fly very close to Earth and if that trajectory goes through a “keyhole” then when it comes back around April 13 2036, it will hit in the Pacific Ocean near Santa Monica and impact the whole west coast of America (See Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s interesting talk on Utube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaW4Ol3_M1o

Why does this interest me now?Origin of a comet Because I just finished writing Touching Crystal, book #6

It involves a comet coming in from deep space and colliding with one of Alysia’s moons, changing its orbit and changing the climate.

Climate change and comets. Yowza! (genesis of a comet at right)

Hot topics right now…but I don’t expect it to be published until the end of the year. (If I’m lucky)

And here’s two other comets headed our way.


Right now if an Apophis size asteroid headed toward us, would we be able to alter its path or blow it up? You know, save the world. We better figure that out if we haven’t already.

But…There’s was a launch on March 2004 called Rosetta that expects to follow and possibly land on a comet now headed to the sun. http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=13  If we can do this, then we will learn a lot more about comets and the origins of the universe.

Still…exciting stuff.

And while I’m on a science discovery, I found this website that shows what real near faster than light travel would look like if looking out your spaceship window. Like Captain Braden Steele in Past the Event Horizon.


Enjoy the week. If you can get any sleep, that is.

p.s. Don’t forget the free copy of Space Magic will be randomly drawn from all comments left between last week and March 4th. Right now your odds are excellent to win.

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