Communion Of Dreams

Waiting for it.

They say Isaac will be paying us a visit.

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I’ve previously talked about the Drake Equation, and how new information from a host of sources is changing the calculus of expectation — expectation of what is waiting for us out in the universe.

Well, via Wired and BoingBoing, there’s a new fun graphical tool now available to explore the Drake Equation. Check it out:

Drake equation: How many alien civilizations exist?

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From Chapter 4 of Communion of Dreams:

“But in any event, as Arthur Bailey said this morning ‘where are they?’ Where are the aliens? That’s what’s bothering me.”

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They say Isaac will be paying us a visit.

I’m in a somewhat weird headspace right now. Maybe that’s the reason for it. We’re suffering such a drought that it seems almost surreal that there may be rain this weekend. And not just a little rain: current forecast models say between two and six inches, most of it in about a 24 hour period. That won’t break the drought, but it would cause flash floods.

Like I said, surreal.

Similarly, I’ve been thinking — and thinking hard — about the Kickstarter for St. Cybi’s Well. But all my thoughts seem to be random, chaotic. Nothing will quite ‘gel’, to use another reference from Communion of Dreams.

But when it does, I think there will be a flood.

Jim Downey

Futures, near and far.

First, a reminder: Sunday, Father’s Day, will be a Kindle promotional day for both Communion of Dreams and Her Final Year. Both books will be free to download in the Kindle edition, and I would invite everyone to please do so! We’ve had some new reviews up of both books, and the word continues to spread about them.

Second, Phil Plait has an excellent (though too short) item up on the BBC site about prospects for human colonization of the Moon. Correctly, I think, he explains the likely reason that this will eventually happen, and why it’ll be essential for our future in space:

A critical aspect of this is being able to mine asteroidal material and process it, which Nasa and its contractors are studying. One line of thinking is that mined metals can be used to build structures in space that would be very difficult and pricey to construct on Earth and launch. Examples abound, including big spacecraft to use for crewed exploration of the planets, giant telescopes in orbit, space stations, and more. While the cost of the International Space Station (ISS) is estimated to be $100bn, much of that was simply getting previously-built components into space in the first place. If you already have those pieces in space, the cost is far less.

Smelting material in the near-weightless environment of an asteroid is one thing, but creating complex components of spacecraft is another. Manufacturing is likely to be easier in gravity, and the Moon is a perfect compromise for this.

Getting the materials to the Moon is not hard from an asteroid mining operation. And once built, getting even massive components off the Moon’s surface is far, far easier than it would be from Earth due to lower gravity and lack of air (it took a tremendous Saturn V rocket full of fuel to get to the Moon, but only the tiny Apollo ascent module to get back off). Building vehicles and other space-based structures on the Moon is vastly easier and less expensive than it would be here on Earth. From there, the rest of the solar system is an easy trip.

In Communion of Dreams I have references to Lunar colonies, and in St. Cybi’s Well, the prequel I am currently working on, the first colony is in the process of being built (as I’ve mentioned recently).

What I haven’t mentioned here much is another book which would also be a prequel to Communion of Dreams, set sometime in the 2030s, which would take place largely in such a colony. I don’t have a title for that book, and my thoughts on it are still very sketchy, but I think that it would be a really interesting one to write for exactly the reasons that Plait outlines. I don’t want to give too much else away about that (or commit myself to something I may decide to completely change later), but I am really interested in some of the artistic possibilities which working in a 1/6th Earth-normal gravity field would present.

Anyway, TGIF and all that. Remember to share the news of CoD and HFY being free this coming Sunday.

Jim Downey