#GloryOnMars #OnMars Chapter Four: Journey

I’ve finished the draft of my new novel about colonizing Mars. Let me know what you think – I’m still making changes.

If you missed the story’s beginning, start reading here.


Exercising in space – NASA Photo ISS021-E-028204.

The journey soon became monotonous. Emma knew she wasn’t the only one to think so, because the Earth Scan sphere, which continued to float at the habitat ceiling, shrunk and glowed a sedate orange.

Emma expected a lot of things would set her teeth on edge. There was the constant hum of life support’s pumps and compressors, more noticeable than the HVAC systems in earthly office buildings. There was vibration, a tremor always present, that she noticed whenever she touched fingertips against a surface. There was the repetitive sound of the flexion machine; since MEX scheduled each of them for two hours of exercise every day, the machine was in use half the time she was awake. At least the ship provided good headphones and they were trained to not sing out loud with their music. But mostly cabin fever would develop because she was sealed in a can with three other human beings.

Duties were part of her individualized plan and she regularly inspected life support equipment on the upper deck – tightening fittings, torquing bolts, and recording pressures. The hum was louder on the upper deck so sometimes she’d pull on her headphones, curl in a ball above the hatch, and mediate as she floated along the aisle to the air intake.

Meditation helped manage isolation. Every afternoon the crew meditated together, which was supposed to build a community bond. Emma would open an eye to peek at the others. James preferred to place himself, cross-legged, upside down in relation to everyone else. He often had a sly smile on his face as he floated in classic lotus position, a novice achieving the yogic levitation that eluded adepts on Earth. Continue reading

Which Came First? #dinosaurs #poetry #poem #science #biology #nature

Feathered dinosaurs may have looked like this

Feathered dinosaurs may have looked like this

Classic conundrums
Can be solved;
Ancestors laid eggs
Before chickens evolved.
And long before
Any bird flew,
Feathers evolved
More than we knew.
Lovely plumage,
Not just fluffy bits,
Completely covered
Long-shafted feathers
That never saw flight,
Spread wide in display,
Were a wondrous sight.

By Kate Rauner

Thanks for a wonderful new fossil discussed at National Geographic. Archaeopteryx may be the best known, but is only one of many species of feathered dinosaurs and early birds; a vibrant evolutionary bush of life. Some early birds had enough feathers on their legs to be considered as “four winged”, and there is evidence of feather colors. “Of course, like any evolutionary story, this one could be falsified or complicated by the next cool discovery.”