You like me – you really like me!

smiley simpleI just received a message from WordPress that this blog’s received 1,000 likes. Thanks to all my friends, followers, and visitors. You guys keep me going. Please, download a free book of my scifi or poetry as my thank you and keep me writing – post an honest review (on Amazon if possible)

Spring Melt #Haiku #poem #poetry #spring

Spring time melts the snow
Icy threads weave through dark pine
Braiding white with black

By Kate Rauner

snow melt (300x225)







My recent trip through National Parks in the American Southwest has inspired several haiku. This poem and image are from Sequoia.

Mars Inspiration on Earth #NationalPark #nature #travel #usa #scifi #amwritingscifi

That's me

That’s me

I just returned from a week traveling to National Park sites across the American southwest. There are amazing public lands for hiking and camping – and it’s a great way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Parks.

I was especially inspired by the Mojave Preserve’s huge cliffs of tuff – volcanic ash compressed into rock. The way it weathers is awesome.

The pale pocked cliffs make me think about Mars – in particular, the colony in my On Mars series. Colonists live in habitats of stone, 3-D printed from sand and meters thick to shield them from cosmic radiation inside a bubble of earthly environment.

Maybe it’s time for a habitat to be carved into the actual rock of Mars. I think I’ll do that in the third book in my series:

Misfits from the Martian colony live in the Tartarus Mountains of

Volcanic tuff - on Earth? or Mars?

Volcanic tuff – on Earth? or Mars?

Elysium, in a cavern dug by a legendary Hermit. The Hermit has always provided life support, but something’s gone wrong, and it’s up to a roboticist in the midst of a mid-life crisis to save the day (sol as they say on Mars.)

I don’t know if the eastern Elysium Plain is buried under hundreds of meters of tuff – maybe someday (some sol) we’ll find out. Until then, subscribe to my occasional emails to track my writing progress and receive special offers and a piece of flash fiction, too.

Scifi colonists may not survive on the real planet Mars

Scifi colonists may not survive on the real planet Mars

Travel with my colonists, and find out if their fellow humans are a bigger danger than the hostile planet.

The On Mars series is available from Amazon and all the major online retailers. Visit your favorite site or check here.

Cliff Dwelling #haiku #poem #poetry #NewMexicoTrue

Ancient eyes have watched
Hands long gone build up stone walls
Where children once laughed.

By Kate Rauner

I’ve been traveling National Park sites in the American Southwest – which inspires haiku. It’s the national park system’s 100th anniversary, but anytime is a good time to visit.

Gila Cliff Dwellings

Gila Cliff Dwellings

True North – whatever that means #science #space #climate #northpole

Wandering magnetic North Pole

Wandering magnetic North Pole

To find the North Pole, you travel north, right?

It depends on which North Pole you’re after.

Earth turns around an axis like a giant spinning top. The places where that invisible axis intersects with the planet’s surface are the north and south rotational poles. Due to Earth’s wobble on its axis, these spots drift in roughly decade-long cycles… [and are] completely separate [from] the planet’s magnetic poles, which also reverse periodically over the course of millions of years… the geographic north and south poles [are] the long-term averages of those rotational positions.

Now, as global warming melts ice and pumping drains aquifers, Earth’s distribution of mass is changing—and so are the rotational poles. Earth’s northern pole is drifting rapidly eastward.

Well, “rapidly” in geologic terms.

The change isn’t fast enough for the average person to notice – you don’t need to replace your maps and globes today – though you could write a poem about it. For science, understanding what’s happening could lead to “more accurate predictions of changes in climate in the future.”

It all reminds me of the old joke-question asking if all the people in China jumped at the same time, could they change the Earth’s spin? Instead the joke should be, if all the people in China (and everywhere else) burn fossil fuels at the same time, can they change the Earth’s spin? Now the answer is “yes” and it’s not nearly as funny.

Thanks to

Cliff Dwelling #haiku #poem #poetry #NewMexicoTrue

Ancient eyes had watched
Hands long gone build up stone walls
Where children once laughed.

by Kate Rauner

Gila Cliff Dwellings not far from my home

Gila Cliff Dwellings not far from my home – the caves have been used for thousands of years but the constructed rooms were only used from about 1276 to 1287 CE

Mars Odyssey 15th Birthday #NASA #science #space #Mars

Not what Odyssey found on Mars - those must be tattoos on the princess - no way they'd stay in place as she moves

Not what Odyssey found on Mars – those must be tattoos on the princess – no way they’d stay in place as she moves

Odyssey launched on April 7 fifteen years ago. It was NASA’s 2001 space odyssey, named for the classic scifi novel, and became the longest-lived Mars spacecraft in history. It still has fuel for several more years.

There was a lot we wanted Odyssey to accomplish: study geology and radiation, and hunt for water. Water is important to humanity’s future on Mars, and understanding the planet’s radiation environment is vital to keeping explorers and (maybe?) colonists alive. Geology may determine where the first human explorers touch down. Odyssey became a relay station for surface craft that followed it, so it’s part of many missions.

We know so much more about Mars than before Odyssey, even if there are

Scifi colonists may not survive on the real planet Mars

Scifi colonists may not survive on the real planet Mars

still plenty of mysteries. Mars has become a real place rather than a backdrop for fantasy and serious efforts are underway to send people to Mars – to explore, to learn, and perhaps to colonize. But not to rescue scantily clad princesses. Today we need black holes or warp drive to reach such space creatures.

Happy Birthday Odyssey.

Thanks to