Always Looking for a Good Book or New Author? Here Ya Go! #amreading #books

Kate Rauner, scifi author

Have you worn out your book bundle site, or maybe you’re on the hunt for your next good read?

Check out Awesome Gang. There’s even an interview with… me! Click here now, then cruise today’s selections on the “home” tab, or sign up for the free newsletter. Search by genre or author name – try me, Kate Rauner šŸ˜‰ and find a whole lot more too, in all genres.

Awesome Gang’s a new kid on the block – been around about a year. It’s founder, Ben Fox says:

As a reader I am incredibly frustrated with online book discovery. Goodreads does almost nothing to help authors meet readers or readers find amazing books (what are they doing with that huge team!!!). At the same time, Amazon sells books the same way they sell toothpaste (hint – it isn’t very exciting). I love wandering around bookstores and letting random books capture my attention. Nothing will ever replace the ā€œbookstore experienceā€, but I want to reimagine book discovery online with a lot more serendipity and delight. Ben Fox

Launch into Space – No Rocket Needed #Rocket #space #spacecraft

Rockets aren’t the only way into space. How about running a payload around and around in an accelerator, building up speed, and then releasing it. Yes, throw a satellite into space. SpinLaunch had a successful flight, and there’s even video from the test vehicle:

I’ll let them tell it:

On Friday, April 22nd, we conducted Flight Test #8 where the engineering team tested our first optical camera payload in our Suborbital Accelerator. Check out this exclusive onboard footage that shows the perspective of the 3-meter flight test vehicle being launched into the atmosphere at more than a thousand miles per hour. Flying with the digital camera system onboard marks an important step towards integrating complex payloads into SpinLaunch flight test vehicles… an innovative new space technology company that has created an alternative method for putting 200 kilogram class satellites into low earth orbit. https://www.spinlaunch.com

Check it out! I have no idea how much electrical power this takes or whether companies will line up to use the service, but it looks like a less polluting and less risky way to launch a satellite. I’m just gonna sit here with my eyes wide and my jaw slack. Go to their web page for more cool images and info: https://www.spinlaunch.com/

Weed Grows in Lunar Soil (with some help) #NASA #botany #space

Fifty years ago, astronauts brought lunar regolith back to Earth. Now, University of Florida scientists have grown plants in tiny samples.

Arabidopsis thaliana, the species used for the study – though those were ground up for analysis before flowering like this one pictured. Generally considered a weed (it is found along the shoulders of roads and in disturbed land) it is often used in studies.

It was clear that the plants were not as robust as the control group plants growing in volcanic ash, and the plants were growing differently depending on which type of sample they were in. The plants grew more slowly and had stunted roots; additionally, some had stunted leaves and sported reddish pigmentation… the plants were indeed under stress and had reacted the way researchers have seen Arabidopsis respond to growth in other harsh environments, such as when soil has too much salt or heavy metals.  NASA

Plants will grow in various sterile materials, or with no solid substrate at all, given proper nutrients and light, so my first thought was… now we see that lunar regolith is not poisonous. Good to know. But it wasn’t totally inert, either.

Will astronauts, or maybe colonists, grow food hydroponically? Aeroponically? Will the pumps, pipes, and valves needed for such systems be too much to transport and maintain compared to beds of local regolith? Even after whatever treatments may be needed to prepare the alien soil? Will bioreactors brewing microbes make more sense? I suspect all these possibilities will be tried at some point, but I can’t predict what method will win. Maybe bulk calories will come from those bioreactors, with herbs and flowers that brighten a hard life in space sitting on every table. What plants would you want in your colony?

I started my Martian farmers with treated regolith, spiked by composting and recycling everything organic they could get their hands on, but I have an advantage over NASA. I create science fiction. Join my colony on Mars – what do you think?

Travel to Mars in these science fiction adventures and plant your boots on the Red Planet. Five full length books begin with the first explorers and continue through generations. Find stories readers call spectacular, believable, and one of the best Mars stories.

  • Glory on Mars – Roboticist Emma Winter must discover the truth before the Red Planet kills the first settlers.
  • Born on Mars – Jake didn’t ask to be born into a failing habitat on Mars. When new colonists land half a world away, can he save his friends and family?
  • Hermit on Mars – Sig will save ungrateful Martian miners if it kills him.
  • Water on Mars – Scoundrels on Mars and Earth drag Bliss into their deadly schemes.
  • Storm on Mars – Zeker must find a way back into the colony, but can a psychopath save humanity’s foothold on Mars?

Click now and start your journey today.

Can a Rediscovered Technology End Famine? Old NASA Studies to the Rescue

In the 1960s and 1970s, NASA investigated ways to grow food for astronauts on long flights. They recycled air and out-performed any plants you ever heard of: 10,000 times more food per area than soybeans. These studies were filed and forgotten for years. Now they’re being rediscovered at a critical point in history.

Hydrogenotrophs, a type of bacteria, live in hot springs, hydrothermal vents, and probably some species are in your gut now. Through a type of fermentation (a process you enjoy if you drink beer or wine, or eat bread or cheese) these little guys brew carbohydrates, proteins, and oils. Build the right sort of bioreactors, use renewable energy sources, and you can grow food for humans (and for livestock too, if you insist.)

Okay, the product looks like flour. The most obvious thing to make as a final output seems to be breads. Get fancy and you could use 3D printers for different textures, maybe add colors or flavorings or herbs. Private companies are pursuing the possibilities, so a lot of details are proprietary, but it sounds promising enough to make my heart go pitter-pat.

Today, we humans are in trouble. Pandemic effects have supply chains in a mess that refuses to unwind, Russia’s war against Ukraine has wrecked the flow of fuels and food staples: along with interruptions of crude oil and natural gas, shortages of wheat and cooking oils could spread global famine. High protein bread sounds real good to me.

Local power from solar or wind would reduce reliance on fuels shipped across the world and replace long distance grids subject to terrorist attack. Multi-story structures to house the bioreactors limits the footprint needed, but if land is more available than building materials, spreading out is an option.

We stand on the cusp of a new era. Today’s disasters will deliver a future different from what we imaged only a couple years ago. Will fragile global supply chains be forever localized? Will the basics of survival exist inside every country’s borders? Will we stop decimating rain forests to grow palm oil plantations? Will farming and raising livestock change forever?

Like cresting the top of the first rise in a roller coaster… here we go.