Saturday, April 26, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
NASA's Kepler Space Telescope Discovers
Earth-size Planet in Habitable Zone
NASA announced today that its Kepler Space Telescope has discovered an Earth-size planet in a habitable zone around a distant star. The newly discovered planet, Kepler-186f is about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. From a habitable sense, the planet is right in the sweet spot for life as we understand it. The orbit of Kepler-186f is about 130 days compared to our 365, but its star is a red dwarf and about half the size and mass of our sun. In the habitable zone, there is a strong potential to find water in a liquid form and not ice or evaporating is gas once its expelled from under ground.
Now, the size of Kepler-186f is also very important. This planet is approximately 10% bigger than the Earth. That means two things. First, a mild difference in gravity for humans (if we ever reach it) and second, there's a better chance of this planet being a rock like planet and not a gaseous one.
We are still a long way away from observing this planet better. even with our newly planned space telescopes, but finding a planet that meets these two important criteria is something to celebrate! We could be looking at our first real opportunity to encounter life on a distant world and not just microbes. Scientists and science fiction fans are already excited and like me, cannot wait to see what we're going to uncover next.
For more information on this discovery, check out the post on NASA's website. NASA Discovery of Earth-like World.
Monday, April 14, 2014
The Epherium Chronicles: Embrace
Beginning April 15, 2014 until April 21, a book blast on some fantastic blogs will be conducted featuring Embrace, the first book in my science fiction series, The Epherium Chronicles. Even cooler than having my book associated with these great blogs is the blast is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card. Be sure to check out each blog this week and get signed up to win, but be sure to spend time and check out the blogs. You never know when you might find a favorite to follow or, if they're an author, an new book to read.
Here is the list of blogs hosting the blast:
Finally, I want to put out a special thanks to Kathy from Bookblasttours.com for her help in coordinating this blast. She did an astounding job.
Monday, April 7, 2014
Review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Despite my normal wait until the second weekend to see a highly anticipated film, I braved the crowds and took my family to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Now I don't want to give too many spoilers and I'm sure many of you have already read about most of the important points of the movie, but I have to say one word. "Wow!" Yep, that about sums of this film. It was incredible and yes, there was some good acting there too...:)
Besides the action and the mystery behind who is The Winter Soldier, the real meat of the story focuses on Steve Roger's adjustment to living in the 21st century. From his catch up list to his simple down-to-earth approach to solving problems made this story really appealing to me. I also loved the banter between him and Black Widow. Dating still seems to be a hardship.
But it is his 1940's mindset that makes Steve Rogers so special, especially with dealing with the problems surrounding S.H.I.E.L.D. It takes a man out of his element and out of time to see what's really going on, to recognize danger for what it is. Even Nick Fury didn't see it and almost didn't realize the full extent until Steve calls him on it.
Now, the movie is loaded with action and Captain America's interaction with The Winter Soldier is awesome. The ending was great, but what I expected and it left good lead-ins to Avengers 2 and the third Captain America movie. Yes, there is a Captain America 3 coming. It's slated for May 6, 2016. As always with the new Marvel movies, stay for the credits. If you don't understand what you're seeing, leave a comment on this post and I can fill you in.
The other important tie-in from this movie is what will happen with Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Uprising them includes the current threads around Deadlok, Centipede, and the Clairvoyant. All of these look to be directly related to what Captain America discovers with S.H.I.E.L.D. and explains why Colonel Fury was off the grid for a few weeks. The next few episodes will be very interesting indeed.
Friday, April 4, 2014
NASA Discovers More Water On Distant Moons
Back in December 2013, the Hubble telescope capture water vapor venting from Europa, a moon around Jupiter we already know is covered in ice. The water is expelled around its south pole as gravimetric pressures force cracks in the region and suspected hidden lakes under its frozen surface expel water vapor.
Just a few days ago, NASA's Cassini spacecraft and Deep Space Network discovered that Enceladus, a small moon orbiting Saturn, harbors a large liquid water ocean miles beneath its frozen surface.
Now what could this mean? Could there be life there? It's possible we could discover alien microbes living in the ocean on Enceladus and evidence based on the type of water vapor detected by Cassini supports that. The other benefit of the discovery is the potential for humanity to use these moons as targets for colonization. The temperatures there are still quite, cold, but with water present, life can be sustained and oxygen generated for potential domed environments.
Now how did Cassini detect this? Well, the Cassini spacecraft passed by Enceladus 19 times and measure trajectory of the moon and using a signal back to the Deep Space Network monitored variances in the gravity field were recorded. Based the data, NASA has determine that the large ocean is roughly six miles deep and about 19 to 25 miles below the surface.
Here is a link to NASA's news release: NASA SPACE ASSETS DETECT OCEAN INSIDE SATURN MOON
So what does this mean for us science fiction fans? Well it gives even more creative ways to use our solar system or mirrors of it in other solar systems or galaxies. I myself have begun to wonder if we should start work on the next The Thing horror movie based on an ice planet. These moons could be a treasure of ideas for alien life in movies and literature. Europa Report was a good example of a using the frozen ice on the moon of Jupiter. I've already woven some of the underground water concept into my series, The Epherium Chronicles, as a basis for terraforming. Space has offered us so many possibilities beyond just what we see, but what we can imagine. What's your next great adventure? Even if you don't want to watch a movie or read a book, go online and look up some of the spectacular images we've taken of the worlds still in in our solar system. Thinking about what we could accomplish out there has enough adventure to last billions of lifetimes. We just to have to take the step to enjoy it.
Big Bang Theory Teams Up With Lucasfilm
for Star Wars Episode
Big Bang Theory has teamed up with a special effects group from Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic to recreate the planet Dagobah for an upcoming episode for the comedy series to be aired May 1, just a few days before Star Wars Day on May 4th.
The episode called The Proton Transmogrification will guest star Bob Newhart as Professor Proton and will include a scene of him wielding a lightsaber. It will be a great follow up previous Star Wars themed episodes, including the one with cameos from James Earl Jones and Carrie Fisher.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
International Differences for
Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
One of the fun differences for the new Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier movie and its global release, will be the use of a different "catch-up" list for Captain America. Here is Steve Roger's list in the US version:
You can see the I Love Lucy TV show, Rocky, Star Wars crossed out (perhaps seen), Star Trek, and even disco. He's a little late to meet Steve Jobs, but somebody please get him an iPad.
Look at the UK version:
It has the TV show Sherlock from the BBC, The Beatles, the World Cup finals, and you can see that Star Wars isn't crossed out yet.
Australian fans get AC/DC, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, and Steve Irwin. The French will see the 1998 World Cup, and The Fifth Element. Korean fans get Ji Sung Park, Oldboy, and Dance Dance Revolution.
It's kind of exciting to see Marvel and movie producers put different twists on the story that strike home with fans from different regions around the world. Kind of makes Steve Rogers, Captain America, seem to be a true hero the world can relate to.