Story on Mars Continues #Mars #book #sciencefiction #series #amwriting #scifi

Join colony on Mars - Kate Rauner

Coming soon!

The Mars colony has survived for generations, settling into a comfortable existence that depends on an Artificial Intelligence and its many robots. Life is good enough, though Zeker discovers a dark and dangerous corner of the colony. He came to the Tower guilds to pursue his dream, but that seems farther out of reach than ever. Maybe his neuroplasticity treatments failed him.

I’ve been distracted from blogging as I scramble to

Join Mars Colony - Kate Rauner

People didn’t like the helmet – how’s this?

finish my latest On Mars novel, but I’m receiving beta readers’ comments now and plan to swing into a final edit shortly. Subscribe now and I’ll let you know when Storm on Mars is available and send a coupon for a free download of the ebook edition. BTW – what do you think of the draft cover and title? Please let me know in the comments below.

In the meantime, catch up with the Mars colony. The books are available on Amazon, Apple iBooks, B&N, Kobo, and your favorite online store:

Glory on Mars – Emma joins the first twelve settlers in a struggle to Join Mars colony - Kate Raunersurvive.
Born on Mars – Jake’s born into a failing colony, but new arrivals bring hope and danger.
Hermit on Mars – Sig’s life is falling apart, but maybe he can save his mother and the breakaway prospectors she’s joined.
Water on Mars – Bliss thinks it’s the best time to be Marsborn, even if her new boss is crazy and threats from Mars and Earth surround her.

Let’s keep in touch. Subscribe today and you’ll receive an occasional short story along with book offers.

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Water on Mars Chap 1 #Mars #scifi #book #free

“The significance of our lives and our fragile realm derives from our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning.” Carl Sagan

Prologue

water-cs-cover-aug-2016-sizedSettlers arrived on Mars generations ago, sent by rivals on Earth. Kamp Kans was the first colony, established by visionaries from Europe’s Low Countries near the volcanoes of the Tharsis Bulge. Half a planet away, Fenghuang District was sent by a Sino-African cartel to the lowlands of Utopia Planatia. Neither Earther group could bear the vast expense of interplanetary missions for long, so the few dozen colonists joined together in a struggle to survive on their own. But survival of the Earth-borns wasn’t enough. If humans were to make the hostile planet their home, the colony had to grow.

Iron and copper was found near Kamp, and water and air were relatively plentiful at District. When prospectors discovered technology metals in the Tartarus Mountains, midway between the settlements, the settlers could finally fabricate more equipment, including squads of robots to work on Mars’ surface. From their new Cerberus Base, roboticists constructed a transit corridor to unite Kamp and District and, spaced along the route, they built burgs that each specialized in a vital technology. Now, no disaster at any one habitat could destroy the colony.

Finally feeling secure, the settlers had planned for everything except what happened.

Chapter One: Kamp Kans

Bliss stopped in the archway. The transit corridor was behind her and the largest city on Mars was in front, home to half the settlers on the planet, six hundred eighty-one people. She stepped through the arch. Now there were six hundred eighty-two. It looked like all of them were swarming through the plaza.

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Inspiration for how to design an underground colony – a shopping mall inside a Las Vegas casino – this is much nicer than Kamp on Mars

Apprehension tinged Bliss’s excitement. Kamp’s plaza was a standard colony bay, a hundred paces long, but at home there were only twenty-four settlers. In front of Bliss was a whirl of people like a human sand storm reverberating with sound. A man erupted from the throng and headed straight towards her at a gallop.

“Hey, you!” A woman in crisp khaki coveralls ran after him.

Bliss jumped back only to bump into someone behind her. She spun around, apologizing.

Whomp.

“Hello, little lady.” Bliss had a glimpse of a scraggily beard and a grin full of teeth as the man grabbed her elbow to steady her, then disappeared down the corridor.

“So, you’re in league with that miscreant.” The khaki woman planted herself in front of Bliss, fists on hips. She interrupted Bliss’s confused stammer to point straight at her chest.

Bliss looked down to find a small bolt of fabric in her arms. The grinning man had slammed it against her and her hands reflexively clutched the short roll.

She held the fabric out, trying to explain.

“I’ve never seen you before.” The woman’s eyes narrowed but she made no move to take the roll.

“Give the girl a break.” A circle of people had formed around them and another man pushed through. “I was watching. That Basic dumped it on her.”

“If this is yours, please take it.” Bliss held the fabric out. “I don’t know anyone here. I’ve only just arrived from Hibes.”

“You nederlanders need to get smart in a hurry.” The khaki woman took the roll. “You’re in Kamp now.”

Individuals disappeared back into the crowd.

Bliss slid through the horde to stand with her back against the plaza’s central pond. Her heartbeat slowed as she regained her equilibrium.

The woman called her nederlander. She didn’t understand exactly what had happened, but that was no reason to tag her as stupid. Stupid because she came from a burg, one of the small habitats strung along the colony’s transit corridor.

She plucked at her own shapeless coveralls. She’d scrubbed the smell of Hibes’ fish farm from them, but the fabric was worn thin in places and patched in others. Maybe she was a nederlander, but she had the same Basic Education as anyone on Mars. She had her new adult-qualification badge and an internship. And she planned to find a permanent job. She’d be a real Kamper soon, part of the colorful crowd surging through the plaza.

If she’d somehow made a mistake this sol, she’d apologize to the khaki woman. But later. Bliss had been traveling twenty-four and a half hours a sol for five sols, stopping at transit stations only to grab a meal and switch to a taxi with a charged battery.

I won’t look for that woman now, she thought. It made sense to follow her original plan tonight and her enthusiasm returned with the decision.

Bliss wanted excitement in her life and her arrival proved this was no boring little burg like Hibes. This was the much-expanded home of twenty-eight Earth-borns who’d arrived on Mars eight generations ago. Named in honor of an old robotic mission by Dutch visionaries who launched the colony, it was Kamp Kans – Opportunity Site. The first habitat was once called a nederzetting, she reminder herself. It was an honorable term. But she was a Kamper now.

She squared her shoulders and tipped her chin up proudly, defying any doubts.

Bliss had planned this move for as long as she could remember, all through Basic Education. Now she was here.

***

Another view of a lovely casino shopping mall - settlers won't have it so nice

Another view of a lovely casino shopping mall – but Kamp is built of stone fabricated from the orange Mars sands

It was supper time and Kampers streamed by, headed through an archway that must lead to the cafeteria. Bliss smiled tentatively, but people hurried by without a sideways glance. When she did catch someone’s eye, they nodded back pleasantly enough. Most were dressed in khaki coveralls, clean even at the end of the sol, but there were frequent splashes of colorful shirts and bandanas. Kamp was a prosperous city and people had more than Basic goods.

Bliss leaned against a central pond built of waist-high stone and saw it didn’t simply house fish. Instead of aerators, a fountain burbled over decoratively stacked rocks at each end. Its sides were gleaming white, contrasting beautifully with the floor of massive stone fabricated from Martian sand in splotches of beige, brown, and orange. Fabricated walls curved to a barrel-vaulted ceiling that seemed higher than her home plaza, though she knew the bays were standard construction. It must be the colors and sounds that made Kamp’s plaza feel so big.

Bliss crossed the plaza with a light step, her pale auburn braid bouncing against her backpack. She was a city girl now, on her own for the first time, and she planned to enjoy every sol. She started by browsing kiosks selling Extras. It was like visiting every burg on Mars, only better. There were dates from Planitia Hamlet, apples from Olympus, and fabrics woven from Amenthes’ bioreactor outputs.

“Bliss!”

She spun around, startled at the sound of her name.

“Beeb, who’s calling me?”

“That is Nia calling you.” The colony’s Artificial Intelligence responded through her ear gel. “Her kiosk is to your right.”

Oh, yeah, Nia lived in Kamp now. She’d raised a family in Hibes and was an aunt to Bliss – her children were Bliss’s kinderen cousins. Last jaar Nia returned to Kamp, her childhood home, when her last boy adult-qualified. Only my parents, Bliss thought, want to spend their whole life in Hibes, smelling of fish guts and mealworm bedding.

She spotted the short, energetic woman and waved.

Nia kept ties with Hibes and bought their mealworms to sell, spiced using a recipe Bliss’s parents had developed. Bliss breathed in the familiar smell as she approached a sample bowl on Nia’s counter and reached for a worm. She had to admit, they were delicious, and reached for another.

“None of that, girl,” Nia said sharply. A tight pony tail emphasized her wide face and stern expression. “Your mother told me you’ve got a position in Kamp, so you can buy a bag like everyone else.”

Bliss gripped her pack’s shoulder straps with both hands to keep them from wandering back to the worms. A man waiting at the counter chuckled.

Nia handed the man a bag of freshly fried worms, reached into a tub behind the counter, and dumped a handful into a pan.

“Don’t be telling your mother they aren’t fresh,” she said as Bliss leaned forward and frowned at the pan. “I freeze them before cooking. Kampers don’t like to see their mealworms writhing when they hit the heat.

“When do you start your job?” Nia asked.

“In a couple sols.”

“I could use some help. Want a job in the kiosk until then?”

“Oh, no,” Bliss said. “I came early so I can look around.”

Nia harrumphed with a parental sort of disapproval. But Bliss clamped her lips together tightly, refusing to be swayed.

“Which job did you get?” Nia asked without looking up from her pan.

“Building a public park. The first one on Mars.”

“That’s Vance’s project, isn’t it? You’ll be working in a surface suit. Did you know that?”

“Of course.” The project sounded grand, though Bliss didn’t know much more than what she’d told Nia. The intern posting was vague. She hadn’t told her parents it required surface-qualification, though of course her father looked it up. With her mother, he tried to talk her out of taking the job, saying risks on the surface were too great for a recreational park, for anything non-essential.

She said goodbye to Nia without buying any mealworms and slipped back into the crowd.

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Join Bliss in her lava tube

Despite being a Kamper, Nia had fit in with Bliss’s parents at Hibes – practical like they were and always working. Bliss understood why there was little time for play. There were as many tasks vital to survival in a little burg as in a city. Life support had to be maintained with human hands – all those pumps and compressors and fans. Ignoring a rattle or leak could lead to a system failure. Mars was a deadly planet and technology kept them alive.

Beyond life support, wastes had to be recycled, clothes cleaned, food cooked – and then the fish and mealworms tended. While Bliss was growing up there were only eight adults in Hibes with their gaggle of children, so she learned to work hard, even if she couldn’t resist sneaking off sometimes to play games or view entertainments. She’d always felt guilty when her mother tracked her down in some corner, but she also knew there was more to life than raising fish and children.

Of course, one thing her parents never did was go out on the planet’s surface. Each burg had a squad of robots to construct new bays and harvest air and water from the scant supply in Martian sand dunes. Not a large squad like the one constructing bays for Kamp, just three bots controlled by the colony’s AI. But when they needed human maintenance, specialists came to Hibes.

A surface requirement added a thrill to the intern posting. Bliss was glad her parents had argued with her, because that gave her a reason to dig in her heels. Being contrary had advantages. It ensured she applied for the position, guaranteed she’d accept it, and made it easy to push any of her own misgivings aside.

People go out on the surface all the time, she’d told her parents with exaggerated patience. It’s perfectly safe.

###

Water on Mars coming in late November 2016two ways to ensure you don’t miss the release. Subscribe to my Reader’s Club or sign up with Smashwords. Don’t miss out! An in the meantime, catch up with the first three On Mars books.

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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
Cryptobiotics.

by Kate Rauner

It’s possible we have seen life processes on Mars. Thanks to phys.org 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.

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Mysterious Ways – flash fiction #scifi #fantasy #podcast goes live on Friday Sept 2nd

Strange women walking on mars

From NASA’a Curiosity – but is it just a rock? a digital artifact?

Listen to Mysterious Ways on the Sept 2nd podcast of 600 Second Saga starting at 6pm CST.

I’m happy to say my short short-story about an angel visiting Mars will be podcast next week. It’s exciting for me to hear one of my stories read aloud, and it’s perfect for your trip to work or a break during the day. Listen in and try some of the other stories, too.

Thanks to Mariah Avix at 600 Second Saga: Tales of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Choose your favorite way to listen:

New to 600 Second Saga? How to listen to podcasts

The 600 Second Saga team appreciates sharing, reviewing, and rating the podcast – this helps to reach more people. Please consider giving us a rating in iTunes.

Mariah is now accepting flash fiction submissions for future podcasts – let your favorite author know or (authors!) submit one of your own pieces.

4 Books on Mars white background (500x500)Read one of my books today at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major on-line retailers. Books 1 and 2 of the On Mars series are available with books 3 and 4 coming in fall 2016. Catch up now.

Receive any of my books free – click here to find out how.

Boots on Mars! Soon, But Soon Enough? #Mars #explore #science #NASA #tech

mars-human-exploration-art-dust-storm-astronauts-full(500x335)The next twenty years promise excitement for Mars lovers. Will Mars One get beyond selling tee-shirts and running bench experiments? Will the Mars Society continue their simulation missions in the Utah Desert and the Canadian Arctic? Will SpaceX send a rocket that can land like Buck Rogers on the Red Planet a mere three years from now? Etcetera, because these aren’t the only organizations with an eye on Mars.

Non-profits, private companies, and countries new to space may seem like long-shots, though they sure sound serious. Several governments are sending robotic craft to Mars, but NASA has a long history.

So what about NASA?

NASA and Lockheed Martin, together with several international partners and private industries, would like to conduct a comprehensive exploration to the hostile planet… Mars Base Camp [will be a] massive central space station made up of two Orions with two science laboratories.”

By 2028, an international crew will orbit Mars in an environment we have a lot of experience with – a space station – controlling remote rovers in real-time on the planet and its two moons. Scientists will be trained to become astronauts, rather than the other way around, so – as with most of the organizations I mentioned above – the military flavor will be gone.

NASA’s pioneers will return home to Earth and new crews will replace them. Eventually, once we’re convinced there’s no Martian life we could damage, people will set foot on the planet. If we still want to by then, I suppose. Our vision of life on Mars will be clearer by then and, even with advanced technology, it will be a hard life.

NASA won’t land soon enough for many private groups that want to colonize the planet now. There are crews in training today who expect to live and die on Mars.

How I wish I could see a hundred years into the future.

Can’t wait? All my books, including the On Mars series, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, 4 Books on Mars white background (500x500)and other major online retailers, including Smashwords for all digital formats and Create Space for paperbacks. On Mars books 1 and 2 are available now, with books 3 and 4 due out this fall. Read one today.

Check out:

http://www.mars-one.com/

http://www.marssociety.org/

http://www.nasa.gov/content/nasas-journey-to-mars

Thanks to scienceworldreport.com for the quote above.

Mars’ Lost Chance #Mars #science #space #solarsystem #poem #poetry #planet

Mars_Crustal_Magnetism_MGS

Fractured remnants of Mars’ magnetic field mapped by NASA

A shallow sea that shimmered
Beneath a sky of blue,
As promising a planet
As any that Life knew.

A passing asteroid
Sheared off it’s northern pole,
Set Mars on a course
To barren, dry, and cold.

It ruined north-south symmetry,
The planet’s never healed.
Destroyed surface protection
By its magnetic field.

Solar winds bombarded,
Air slowly was devoured
By protons and electrons
At a million miles an hour.

Mars clutched at its air with gravity,
But that was not enough.
Its magnetosphere was shattered
And its molten core rebuffed.

A friendly little planet
That could have been a home
To our cosmic brethren
Has left us on our own.

By Kate Rauner

Thanks to planetary.org’s emily lakdawalla

Physics & Biology Helped Us Evolve #science #cancer #NASA #Earth #Mars @MarsOneProject

Sixteen cells working together as a species of algae

Sixteen cells working together as a species of algae

For three billion years, life on Earth consisted of single celled organisms. That was so soon after the planet cooled, it leads some scientists to believe life may be common in the universe. Then 800 million years ago, multicellular life burst on the scene and rapidly evolved. Since it took so long to make the multicellular leap, some scientists believe this sort of advanced life may be rare.

Individual cells started grouping up. They collaborated, differentiated, grew in size and ability. Some sacrificed themselves for the good of the many. Compared to the long, dull years of single-celled living, the resulting diversification barely took any time at all. Before long the world was full of trilobites and anenomes, then fish, ferns, pterodactyls, tyrannosaurs, bees, whales, cacti, kangaroos, not to mention us.

Biology: why did life change? How?

A single gene, called RB, studied in a sixteen-cell species of green algae may explain cells banding together into more complex creatures – and may also explain why some cancers grow in us today. Thanks to mutations in the gene, RB can cause cells to clump together into altruistic colonies, or cells in us to selfishly run wild.

Ironically, cancer may be the price we pay for existing at all.

But complex life needed more than variations of RB to evolve.

Physics: life needed Earth to change
RB may have launched complex creatures more than once before our ancestors lasted long enough to evolve.

Scientists think that until 500 million years ago, life on Earth fell victim to high-energy blasts from the sun, [the early sun produced a lot more cell-killing gamma, ultraviolet and x-rays than it does today.] The atmosphere then was too thin to fully protect our single-celled ancestors, whose DNA would have been damaged by such powerful rays. That kept them from becoming more complex.

As the early Earth cooled, heavy metals sunk to the center. Still very hot but now under extreme pressure, the inner core solidified and spun inside the still-molten outer core.

Bingo! A strong magnetic field was generated, deflecting radiation and protecting the atmosphere from being stripped away. Combined with an aging, more-sedate sun, cells were no longer regularly smashed back to their simplest forms.

The details are hard to pin down and studies will continue. “The origin of life remains one of most challenging themes in science.” And, I might add, one of the most fascinating.

Poor dead Mars
The failure to form a proper dynamo of solid inner core and molten outer core may help explain why Mars lost its early atmosphere and has essentially no magnetic field. Perhaps the planet was just too small to manage the trick – Mars is only half the diameter of Earth. The combination makes Mars a hostile planet for life. Whether life ever started there is unknown, and the chance life persists if it did once gain a toehold is unlikely, but NASA and others are working to find out.

Colonize Mars with scifi
The combination also makes Mars a difficult place for us to consider GLORY Ebook 300 dpi (200x300)colonizing, but from NASA to Mars One, people are ready to go. For now, you can only travel to Mars in your imagination – or in mine! Check out my scifi On Mars series at Amazon or your favorite on-line retailer. Tragedy and despair follow the first colonists to Mars, but exploration, optimism, and love await them too. With a clue to survival from a cat! Read today. Or, as we say on Mars, tosol.

Thanks to Washington Post here and here for stories and quotations.