When science fiction attempts to get serious about how to best represent the human colonisation of the solar system, films like Ad Astra (2019) establish free enterprise as the plot devises for the story. With commercial flights to the moon, a Luna base that looks like an airport on Earth, fast food facilities, piracy, and private space laboratories…
…The future of space travel is business.
No human society is going to get off-Earth and colonise the solar system without a powerful driver propelling it. Scientific curiosity can raise billions of dollars to send robots out there to learn things, but inducement is a far greater and more effective driver known to mankind. I’m not talking about a business proposal that sends humans to Mars for a reality TV program, space-faring humans require more of a legal framework, or better, the lack of one, to get it going.
Nothing builds intricate worlds like the attention to detail given to the story’s geography. What makes a setting compelling is the effort that goes into creating elaborate planets that are logical and familiar in terms of geology, history, climate and all that encompasses the geographical nature of the fictional world.
Mez watched the Windslipper 4 disappear from the Command screens. The data streams ended abruptly with millions of zeros trailing each other homogeneously. The humans and mimicrons gasped but their horror didn’t last long. The Jovian Commission’s Fusionjet Program had already gobbled up hundreds of mimicron pilots and eighty-two human explorers. Mez guessed they had grown accustomed to the fatalities. What they weren’t used to was the price tag for this particular launch. Tacacorp, a quasi-government outfit that operated Callisto, was seeking to gain the commission’s contract and had sunk a lot of development into their Windslipper Project.
This deficiency in empathy didn’t stop Mez from feeling sadness over Natan VanWehl’s fate, a one-time colleague at the Goliath Project, a friend, and a human.
“Why do humans do this when we have mimicrons?” Mez had asked him once.
Agent Nasani felt the impact on her chest. The freefall suit could withstand a beating, but the human catapult formed by Team Artemis smashed Nasani so hard that her weightless body was sent back to the periphery.
Emmetrius wanted nothing else but to lay low and wait this out. Stranded fifty megaparsecs away from civilisation, I couldn’t understand his logic. I guess he didn’t trust me one bit, believing I would make some pointless attempt to escape his custody.
I bought a novel,Robopocalypse (2011) by Daniel H. Wilson, at an airport bookstore for a fast, time-killing read and while I wasn’t totally disappointed with it, it left me once again tackling the question about this ‘robocalypse’ that everyone is fearful about.
It’s not every night you stumble across something on the internet that is as bizarre as being officially acknowledged for helping to find an exoplanet. I enrolled with Planet Hunter years ago (around 2011), and dabbled for fun picking out images that may indicate the presence of a planet orbiting a star.
The process was both challenging and rewarding, as I learned more about the science behind exoplanetary research and had a chance to contribute to real scientific discovery. Although I haven’t been active on the platform for some time, I look back on my time with Planet Hunter fondly and am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this exciting field.
Planet Hunter is a citizen science project launched by the Zooniverse organization, which allows anyone to help discover new worlds beyond our solar system. After analyzing data from the Kepler space telescope, I found several potential transit events, which looked like they indicated the presence of a planet orbiting a distant star. I logged my findings and forgot about it.
Being officially acknowledged for contributing to the search for new planets is a unique experience for a writer, especially in science fiction, and a testament to the power of citizen science. It’s amazing to think that anyone with an internet connection can make a significant contribution to our understanding of the universe.
Scientists are anxious these days about the advent of artificial intelligence. They all seem to infer that as soon as one such cyber entity awakens, it’ll deem humanity evolutionary and intellectually inferior and will plot to exterminate its creator.
The debate over climate change is one of those strange human things. In a logical or analytic sense, there really shouldn’t be such an argument. If you see danger up ahead, you would naturally take action to avoid it, right?
Not so simple when dealing with humans.
Let’s take humanity out of the equation. Once you do, then it doesn’t matter which way the temperature goes on the Earth, or on any other planet. Planets don’t care either way. If you talk to the sun, it’s just pissed off it didn’t achieve black hole status and that it now has to wait for another ten or so billion Earth years before it gets another crack at it.
Why are punters so afraid of nuclear technology? Is it the technology? Is it the word nuclear? This is as puzzling to me as modern politics and economics.
It makes no sense. This fear.
We exist in a universe that is constantly creating and destroying. Life is spawned from all this violence, and threatened by it. Life has to combat disease, superstorms, earthquakes, meteor impacts, supernovas, and gamma-ray bursts and that is just the natural world. The human world is even deadlier.