Eureka – Maybe #Mars #searchforlife #poem #poetry #NASA

Big Joe, part of Viking's research on Mars

Big Joe, a Martian rock Viking One studied

Earth first touched planet Mars
On the Golden Plain,
When forty years ago
The search for life began.

Where barren outflow channels
From the Tharsis ridge
May once have carried water,
Where something might have lived.

Viking One took images,
Surveyed the dunes nearby
And analyzed geology
Beneath the pinkish sky.

Its tests for life seemed negative,
But we don’t understand
Why something used the nutrients
Dripped on a bit of sand.

We’ve learned so much in forty years,
We found Martian organics,
Maybe Viking did discover

by Kate Rauner

It’s possible we have seen life processes on Mars. Thanks to for covering Gilbert V. Levin’s and Patricia Ann Straat’s paper “The Case for Extant Life on Mars and Its Possible Detection by the Viking Labeled Release Experiment.”

In which they reconsider the results of the Viking LR experiment in light of recent findings on Mars and recent proposals for inorganic substances that may mimic the observed metabolism-like processes. They argue that none of the proposed abiotic substances sufficiently explains the Viking results, and that Martian microbes should still be considered as the best explanation of the results. In Astrobiology, October 2016, 16(10): 798-810. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2015.1464

Not proven – but – wow.

My books include science fiction stories of the first colony on Mars and collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.


Why is the Night Sky Dark? #star #science #mystery #astronomy

hubble_probes_the_early_universeThere are billions of stars in every direction. Even more than we used to think – photons aimed straight at us from every point in the sky. As NASA puts it,

the trouble with an infinite universe is that no matter where you look in the night sky, you should see a star. Stars should overlap each other in the sky like tree trunks in the middle of a very thick forest. But, if this were the case, the sky would be blazing with light.

This is the famous Olber Paradox. Though articulated in the 1800s for an infinite steady-state universe, it still offers a puzzle today. The universe may not be infinite, but it’s very very big with very very many stars. Why do I see so much dark sky between stars?

Because the universe is expanding, the light that reaches us is subject to a phenomenon called “redshift…” the wavelengths of light [stars] emit appear to stretch out. Go far enough, and the light will redshift below the level discernible by the human eye, and eventually telescopes.

Some of this radiation shows up as background light, a faint diffuse glow of light that appears to have no source. The rest, however, disappears before it ever reaches us.

Thanks to for the explanation. Try to remember this for when some little kid asks.

When Living in the Physical World #poem #poetry #carlsagan #skeptic

If you’re only skeptical,confused-stars-falling-md
If you always doubt,
Ideas never make it through.
Where’s the joy of something new?

But if you are gullible
You’ll fill your head with trash.
If proposals all are equal
You’re thoughts are so much treacle.

You needn’t choose between
A crotchety coot or a dupe.
When living in the real world,
Both extremes are absurd.

There is a way that does it
In a balance most exquisite –

Scrutinize hypotheses,
Stay open to the novelties.
by Kate Rauner

I was reminded of Carl Sagan’s fine advice at Brainpickings. Sagan’s original article seems to have been taken down, but the fine quote here is worth reading.

R&R 3 coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.


Carlsbad Cavern National Park #findyourpark #cave #travel #nature

Snapshots don't convey the scale - you've got to go.

Snapshots don’t convey the scale – you’ve got to go.

Here’s my advice. Visit Carlsbad Cavern after peak season and arrive as the Visitors’ Center opens. No guided tour for your first descent. Take the footpath that corkscrews down through the natural entrance. Let your steps rouse cave swallows lingering on their perches. Feel the depth.

Imagine ancient Native Americans setting fires every so often as they climbed, passing wood down from the surface to enter a holy place. Or the first Anglo cowboy, sliding across wet rocks, the feeble light from his candle unable to breach the darkness above.

Walk among immense slabs. Did any humans hear the cavern-features-300x225echoing thunder when they fell from the ceiling or walls? Surely that was the voice of gods.

Without the crowds – up to 5,000 visitors on a peak day – you’ll have passageways to yourself and share the big rooms with the brothers and sisters of your soul.

cavern-feature-2-225x300Down and down. On and on. Straws and curtains, stalactites and stalagmites, columns and domes, calcite lilies and cavern pearls – tinted sepia in the artfully positioned lights – decorate a gloom that, in the cavern’s natural state, is impossibly black.

The rangers say hundreds of thousands of individual features have been broken off and carried away by tourist-in-cavern-300x225souvenir hunters, perhaps starting when the last Ice Age receded but mostly since the 1800s. But the cavern is so enormous, its ceiling so high and walls so steep, that vastly more features were beyond greedy reach and remain untouched.

They say strings of adjectives betray a writer’s poor grasp of language. So be it. I am overwhelmed.

Vast. Magnificent. Spectacular. Humbling. Breathtaking. Inspiring. Mystical. Endless.


Cavern Bats #poem #poetry #nature #findyourpark #bats

Statue in Carlsbad Visitors' Center

Statue in Carlsbad Visitors’ Center

Rising from the cavern,
As swirling clouds,
As living smoke,
Spiraling up from the pit
Come the bats.

Tourists watch, still and silent.
Bats make no sound,
No chirp nor chatter,
No flap of wings
Comes with the bats.

No group can be silent for long.
Someone coughs,
A baby cries.
Still the bats come.

Feet shuffle
As a few people leave
Beneath the stream of wings.
A cricket trills its evening song.
Still the bats come.

Distant city lights glow,
On a plain beyond the cliffs.
People trickle away
Until less than half remain.
Still the bats come.

I no longer see them
Circling in the pit,
Only their silhouettes
Against the evening sky.
Still the bats come.

Stars begin to shine
High overhead.
The Summer Triangle,
The Northern Cross.
Still the bats come.

Darker now.
Too dark for my eyes
To see a bat against the sky.
I rise. I leave for that city’s glow.
Still the bats come.

By Kate Rauner

R&R 3 coversCarlsbad Cavern National Park and the bats’ nightly flight from its enormous natural entrance. All my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Hermit on Mars #scifi #books #Mars #colonization

Excuse me for crowing, but…

Yee ha! You can download my latest Mars colony story today.1-hermit-ebook-cover-29sep2016

I go the independent route, and there’s a lot of interactive work to get a book published. My rural internet connection isn’t up to it. I spent a day in town – thanks to the public library and Silver City’s coffee shops for their WiFi. That lets me spend hours in concentrated effort, wander around and get a snack, go back to work, and at the end of the day have the book launched.

Every book seems to present me with new errors to make, so inevitably I have to make corrections to the file and re-upload. More than once I’m sorry to say, so when it’s done I feel great.🙂

Now I get a writing break – my husband and I are going to Carlsbad Caverns. Quite appropriate after writing a story about the Hermit’s cavern on Mars. Then on to Book 4 – which is already drafted! Watch for it with my quarterly Readers’ Club email.

Hermit on Mars is available as an ebook today at Smashwords, Amazon, and will be on Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo and other major online retailers soon thereafter. The paperback is available on Create Space today and should turn up on Amazon next week.

The colony on Mars is thriving but Sig’s life is falling apart, both in the robotics lab and with his partner. An urgent call from his mother – who lives in the Hermit’s cavern, beyond the safety of the colony – seems like a fine chance to escape for a while. Sig yearns to recapture the freedom of his youth, but with freedom comes danger.

I think (hope?) I’m getting better with each book, but find out for yourself. Download a free digital copy from Smashwords using coupon code NB87T before December 31st, or get any of my ebooks for FREE in exchange for an honest review.

Each story in the On Mars series stands alone, so you can easily start with Book 3. But take a look atGlory w caption Book 1 – Glory on Mars. Here’s some of what real readers are saying on Amazon about Glory:

  • Science is most definitely there in all its glorious, taken for granted style. It is so flawlessly interwoven with the narrative… leaving the author free to tell a tale about life, love, strife and sacrifice.
  • What makes this story so enjoyable is its solid grounding in reality.
  • I love that I was able to sit down and read an engaging story… the true dangers of extraterrestrial exploration but of the fragility of human life.
  • Emma and her colleagues find that life on Mars requires all of their intelligence, ingenuity, and courage if they are to survive.
  • A page turning, problem-solving story.
  • Characters were rich and dynamic. It was interesting reading about their environment and adaptations. I hope there is a sequel, I will definitely check it out.
  • If you loved the movie “The Martian” then this story is a great follow-up.
  • Outstanding science fiction novel, I give this book a strong five stars.

Thanks to all my followers and visitors – I appreciate you stopping by to share my little efforts.

Grass #haiku #nature #poem #poetry #autumn #writing

Seeds like banners raisedseeds-1-300x225
Flap against my fingertips
On an autumn stroll


Clouds of purple seedsseeds-3-225x300
Each drop drizzles through my hands
Soon to sleep in snow