I’ve speculated a couple of times on the possibilities of life on other planets (Life Everywhere and Water, Ceres and Life for example). Now we have more information to add to the growing likelihood that life is likely to be found anywhere that the right conditions exist, no matter how remote they may seem.
Recent discussion suggests that microbial life may exist in the dark clouds within the Venusian atmosphere, while other research shows yet more evidence that Mars may also have, at least at one time, been hospitable to life.
Planning for new missions to both worlds is currently underway and may finally confirm these speculations in the not too distant future. If it does, it will be a great day for the world and especially the exobiologists trying to determine the course that life may take outside the realms of our small planet.
Hopefully this will happen soon, and I stand firmly behind my “prediction” that we will find life everywhere. The nature of chemistry seems to naturally move in the direction of life-supporting compounds, making and almost inevitably to life itself. Just imagine–the entire galaxy or even universe as one giant breeding ground for living organisms in all their myriad forms.
Just what might we find out there…? (Cue Twilight Zone music…)
Researchers at MIT have developed techniques for creating 3d graphene materials that are incredibly strong and lightweight. With tested strengths as much as ten times higher than steel while having only 5% of the weight (density).
The materials make use of structures called “gyroids”–a kind of sponge-like arrangement–to create three-dimensional structures with potential applications for building components for vehicles and other machinery.
Graphene has been known as a high tensile material for quite a while, but only in single-atom thick sheets that have limited practical uses. This new development could make it’s adoption far more widespread. It also may avoid some of the flaws caused by imperfections that naturally occur in such thin sheets.
The exciting thing here though is the potential for use in rocket and spacecraft design. When it comes to launching anything into space, the limit is always a case of the mass (weight) versus the thrust available. Simply put, the lighter the object you’re lifting, the easier it is to launch. So materials such as this could revolutionize space systems.
More than that though, the gyroid structure can be applied to other materials too, enabling the creation of lighter weight versions of things like actual steel, concrete, and others. With the world’s resources limited, it is only sensible to be as efficient as we can wherever possible.
We seem to be on the threshold of a whole new world of materials science where we can control and build materials down to atomic (and smaller?) levels–an exciting time for engineers everywhere as well as those of us who dream of seeing humans spread to other worlds.
I’ve been a little quiet for a while and as usual I’ve suspended my advertising posts for the holiday season. Like many people I get tired of the incessant over-commercialization of this time of year and don’t want to be part of it.
The past year has been a mixed one for me. I had more surgery, but that healed well and it looked like things might be stabilizing, but more recently the wound has re-opened again. Although it’s slight, it’s still stressful and worrying.
From a writing perspective, this has been a tough year. I’ve released several new short-stories, but mostly I’ve been grinding away at my novel, which has taken a lot more work than I hoped it would to get ready for publication. But it’s very close now, and should be released early in 2017. After that it’s straight to work on the sequel, which has been sitting in the wings for some time now.
Along with writing, I’ve been experimenting with open-source software for graphics production and have been very pleased with the results. The capabilities of both Blender and Gimp have been a very pleasant surprise and can easily rival products costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars. They both have a learning curve of course, but all software does. For the money saved, the effort is well worth it.
All in all this year has been good in many respects, and I’m just happy to be in a position to carry on developing my writing projects. That for me is the most important thing. There will be a lot happening in 2017, that’s for certain and I’m looking forward to it!
Thanks t my readers and fellow indie authors for your support this year. Best wishes and I hope everyone can enjoy a new year full of happiness!
Today, I’m pleased to announce the release of my latest S.F. novelette, Fenton Treeby Is Missing. This one came about under unusual circumstances. Free copy to the first person who guesses where the name Fenton Treeby comes from! It was fun to write and I hope it’s equally fun to read. Here are the cover and back-cover description.
ISB Agent Steve Boardman is assigned to the case, but it’s his first week back on the job after recovering from severe PTSD. To make matters worse, his assigned partner, Lynna, is as busy trying to prove he’s crazy as she is looking for a way to pin the disappearance on the Pan-Asians.
Boardman has another theory. One that might be Continue reading
I live in a small city called Sudbury in Northern Ontario, Canada. How that came about is a bit of tale in itself, but not the subject of this post. Needless to say it’s often seen as an eccentric choice by many when they hear about it. (“You’re moving to where?” Said the immigration officer at Pearson Airport in Toronto.)
Sudbury is what a lot of people would call a “working town.” The main industry here and the reason the town exists is mining. In the past they mined gold and diamonds, but the real mineral power houses have always been nickel and copper–produced here for well over a century. On the west side of town stands a giant Canadian Nickel as testament to the wealth hard-rock mining has brought to the area and many areas and streets around town are named after mining and mining companies. Even Edison got in on the act and moved to Sudbury as a prospector in 1901, discovering the key Falconbridge ore deposit.
The legacy of such endeavors isn’t always Continue reading
When I’m writing a story I build up a collection of images that act as references for what’s in my head. Much of the time these are things I find on the web, but as I write science-fiction sometimes I just can’t quite find anything that looks right. Or sometimes I want to work through how something might work if it were real.
When that happens I often build the object in 3D. This allows me to get more of a feel for the object in question and can help solidify my ideas and furnish me with details I otherwise might not think of. Many times very little of this detail makes it into the actual writing–it’s really background for myself. But sometimes these designs see the light of day in my book covers, such as the Three Lives Of Mary cover and the additional “character image” of Ben.
With Ben I had something very deliberate in mind Continue reading
David M. Kelly
Copyright © 2016 by David M. Kelly
Mary gasped as her legs were ripped from under her and she slammed face down into the ground. Several tendril-like vines wrapped around her arms and legs and she instinctively pulled against them. Thorn-like bristles clawed at her burnished skin as the vines coiled tighter around her, despite her struggles.
She rotated her head one hundred and eighty degrees and simultaneously reversed the movement restrictions on her joints. She was now effectively lying on her back, which she hoped would give her a better idea of what was happening.
She was only forty-three minutes into her ground survey of ST2398-5 and had seen nothing unexpected—just the ever-present vegetation they’d detected from orbit. Plant life wasn’t unusual on planets inside a Continue reading
Today, I’d like to reveal the cover and description for my forthcoming short-story Three Lives Of Mary. Click the image to see a bigger view.
While investigating the surface of a rare, potentially habitable planet, Mary encounters a strange plant-animal hybrid that threatens to destroy her despite her near invulnerable Continue reading
Recently I’ve been researching and world building for an upcoming novel and came up against an interesting problem. If you’re writing science fiction that’s set in a galaxy “far, far away” then you can just make up any setup you want, but my novels are intended to be more realistic than that and so I need to reference real star data.
If it was just a case of setting the story on another planet around another star, this also wouldn’t be too much of an issue. There are numerous very good star charts and Continue reading
A little while ago I set myself the challenge to only use open-source tools for all my graphics work. The reasons for this were varied. Some tools that I’ve used in the past such as 3DS Max are simply way beyond my reach, while some others (Adobe’s Creative Cloud)–while not completely unaffordable– are still expensive and have numerous usability issues (over-riding Windows settings for someone with visual impairments being the most insulting). Plus I don’t like the endless Pay-To-Play syndrome where you’re treated as nothing but a cash-cow to be regularly “milked”.
The replacements I chose were Gimp for image processing and Blender for 3D Modelling/Rendering. I’ve been working on them over the last few weeks to try out their features, stability and overall functionality.
The best proof of any software is in the results you can achieve Continue reading