Author Topic: EP477: Parallel Moons  (Read 21463 times)

eytanz

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on: January 23, 2015, 06:21:26 PM
EP477: Parallel Moons

By Mario Milosevic

Read by Bill Bowman

---

I never understood the term “new moon.” When the moon is invisible, how can it be new? “New moon” should be called “empty moon,” the opposite of full moon. I resolved to use the term when I was quite young. I figured all my friends would agree with me and we’d start a new way of talking about the moon. Only thing is, the phases of the moon don’t come up in conversation all that often, so the terminology never caught on.
Another thing I remember about the moon: I used to put my finger over it to make it disappear. Lots of kids did that There’s immense power in erasing an object big enough to have its own gravity. Kids crave that kind of power. They want to rule the world.

2a
You work at a medium-sized law firm. You get a call from some nerds. Space cadets. They want to reclassify the moon. They say it’s a planet, not a satellite. You think this has to be some kind of joke. But no. They are dead serious. They have money to pay for your legal work. Seven hundred and eighty-six dollars. And thirty-two cents. They collected it by passing a hat.
You are amused. You take the case. Why not? No point in being who you are unless you can have some fun once in a while, right? Right?

3a
Alice Creighton knew as much about Richard Mollene as anyone who ever looked at a gossip website, which made sense, since she wrote for one of the most popular. Mollene was the richest person ever, a complete recluse, a widower, and dedicated to three things above all else: stopping global warming, halting disease, and making the moon disappear. He had already accomplished the first with his innovative solar cell technology, had made real progress on the second with his universal vaccine, and now, with the pepper mill in orbit around the moon for the past twenty years, he was well on his way to achieving the third.
Alice approved of Mollene’s first two dreams, but was not in favor of the third. A lot of people said they understood Richard Mollene and his pepper mill.
Alice Creighton did not. She asked for an interview with Mollene to get more information. To her surprise, he said yes. Alice would get face time with the man who set the pepper mill grinding and seasoning the moon from lunar orbit almost twenty years ago. A lot of people said its mission was impossible. They said fine non-reflective dust, no matter how abundant, couldn’t quench the light of the moon.
But they were wrong.


Listen to this week’s Escape Pod!



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #1 on: January 27, 2015, 06:10:00 PM
I have to admit that this one didn't really gel with me. I think it was the format - the several parallel stories thing is a neat literary device, but I find that it doesn't work in audio. I had a hard time connecting to the characters or the stories.

Also, the bad science of the "aliens is stealin' our moon!" one bothered me. Why terraform a planetoid and then drag it out into the void of space where all the life you planted there is just going to freeze and die anyway? And for that matter, why steal the moon? Space is full of planetoids. Heck, if you've got that kind of technology, surely it's easier to just make your own planetoid!

The one with the lawyer, though. I really liked. Especially the jaded lawyer's growing fondness for the "nerds" and the line (paraphrased) "you seem to be becoming a nerd yourself." I enjoyed the idea that this kind of douchey cynical lawyer was gradually learning how to care about things from his nerdy clients.

Honestly, I kind of wish it had just been one story - that story - and taken it further.

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davidthygod

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Reply #2 on: January 27, 2015, 10:31:20 PM
I really wanted to like this, but I think I generally agree with ElectricPaladin.  It had a lot of possibilities, I thought it had good humor and tone, but it just felt a little unraveled and not very tight or polished.  I can get past the aliens or stealing our moon though, I liked the absurdity of it, I just think it could have been executed a little better.

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jkjones21

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Reply #3 on: January 28, 2015, 12:48:41 AM
I enjoyed this one.  I think it was trying to do something interesting in telling three parallel stories that use the moon as a symbol for the ways we tend to treat things that we take as given.  You had the first person story that highlights how we let familiar things drift away from us because they're no longer really novel (set aside the bad science, including the fact that it made no sense for people to not be more up in arms about the moon being pulled out of orbit when that should have a significant impact on Earth's tides), the second person story that shows the passion that can catch on when you're trying to reacquaint yourself with something you know intimately (and the regret that can come from essentially changing the nature of a relationship, whether for better or worse), and the third person story that demonstrates how relationships with the same thing can differ significantly from person to person (and how having something forcibly taken away when it's been such a constant imparts a real sense of longing).

In short, this piece's problems on a scientific level are far overshadowed by what it's trying to do on a metaphorical level.

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Chairman Goodchild

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Reply #4 on: January 28, 2015, 10:09:36 AM
I didn't catch on to the story's format immediately, and until about halfway thru thought I was listening to one story told thru three perspectives, and not three separate stories.  I kept wondering how the stories fit into the same narrative, or which of these stories was a prequel to the others.  

Once I did catch on, I still wasn't impressed.  The moon disappears in three increasingly literal ways: 'becoming' a planet, being darkened, and being driven out into space in a completely impossible manner.  It's not bad, it just didn't grab me.  

And I thought the ending of the lawyer story was a complete shaggy-dog ending.  Lawyer gets all fired up over changing the designation of the moon, and then when he finally overcomes the odds, wants to change it back.  Eh.  
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 11:14:46 AM by Chairman Goodchild »



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Reply #5 on: January 28, 2015, 01:29:35 PM
This story really bugged me.

I found something to annoy me for each one of the threads.

* The orbit of the comments take the moon out of the solar system in a few years? When it took Voyager 40 years to go the same distance (with significantly less mass to move)
* The best person to lead a think-tank on how to combat the aliens stealing the moon is an embezzler who spams the president?
* A single man solves global warming and eradicates disease? Same person sees his dead wife in the moon? (Have you ever seen a recognisable face in the moon?) and it bothers him enough to go to the effort of erasing the moon?
* Spreading ash over the entire surface of the moon? Care to figure out how much ash this would take? I didn't run the numbers but I think it's totally implausible. 
* Getting a lawyer to care enough about the astronomical designation of the moon to work pro-bono? I guess it could happen but it didn't fit with the personality of the lawyer as it was established IMO.
* Changing the astronomical designation of the moon from satellite to sister-planet will cause people to want to go there?

I don't know it seems to me that non of the characters was believable and all the science was off. This story had nothing I'm looking for in a science fiction story.     



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Reply #6 on: January 28, 2015, 01:57:07 PM
Felt like I was listening to an anglicized Haruki Murakami novel.



jwbjerk

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Reply #7 on: January 29, 2015, 04:06:08 AM
* Changing the astronomical designation of the moon from satellite to sister-planet will cause people to want to go there?

That was just the opinion of admittedly nutty people, the story doesn't really say that this would work.

But i'll add a couple to the list.

    * Science is at a loss to figure out what the "pepper" covering the moon is.  Aparently the spectrograph hasn't been invented in this reality.

    * Nobody has any concrete objection to hiding the moons light, in spite of the extinction-inducing havoc it would probably work on many species (like sea turtles) that sync their life-cycles to lunar cycles.

If you are going to write a science fiction story, how hard is it to get it checked by someone familiar with science?  This is the age of the internet after all. It's not like most of these gaffs were necessary for the story, nor did they seem to be purposeful.

As with intentional improper grammar, i'm happy (usually) to see a writer purposefully deviate from science fact for a dramatic purpose.  Also just like grammar or vocabulary mistakes, accidental science gaffs are distracting and annoying.

It's not that this was a horrible story, but it didn't inspire me.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 04:13:12 AM by jwbjerk »



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #8 on: January 29, 2015, 12:43:21 PM
Chiming in here with problems with the story telling device and audio format.
Also, further bad science:
  • Once the moon is gone plate tectonics will slow and eventually stop. Nobody really knows what will happen then, but things we can probably look forward to are landmass erosion (no new material being spewed up from the depths) and the Earth cooling (the moon's tidal forces help keep the planet's core molten). That is probably a global extinction event.
  • You don't need to cover the entire moon's surface in ash, only the half that faces Earth.
  • The amount of money, fuel and material involved in sending hundreds of rockets to the moon over a couple of decades will bankrupt most nations on Earth, let alone any one individual.
  • I will try and run the numbers, but my intuition (which has been known to be wrong) says that in order to change the moon's orbit enough for it to leave the solar system (forget about a few years, how about ever) you'll need so much mass that it will throw the Earth into the Sun or out of the solar system or the speed of the comets needs to be an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. Otherwise there just isn't enough force involved.
That last one bothered me so much that I'm not entirely sure what happened for a good third of the story, I was too busy thinking about it.

I did like the reclassifying storyline, and that one jives true. It can probably happen, and just might be what we need to rekindle interest in going to the Moon (X Prizes not withstanding).

Finally, I did like the general idea of the story, three different storylines telling the same story: how the moon disappeared. Each one with a different meaning, each ending the same way. The problem is it was poorly executed and not suitable for audio.
Better luck next time.

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Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #9 on: January 29, 2015, 01:16:11 PM
Ooh, I thought of another one.
Having a satellite orbit the moon and have rockets continually come and refill its store of ash is a phenomenally stupid way to go about things.
First of all, you need to get the satellite there and inject it in its orbit. Not too difficult, been done many times before. The problem is that you need a very special orbit that will cover the entire surface, and at a fairly equal pace (you can't have it go over this spot 10 times and that spot 100 times, it's a terrible waste of ash). So you need to either make some fairly difficult calculations and predict orbital trajectories, taking into account the shifting gravitational map of the moon (apparently not all gravity is created equally, see here for a map of the Moon's gravity) that will (over a few decades) degrade the satellite's orbit. Also there are various near Earth asteroids that might have some minute gravitational influence that might degrade the orbit over time. Alternatively, you can supply fuel for correction burns, but anything that you ship to the moon needs to escape Earth's steep gravity well, which costs fuel which costs money.
So, once you have your (very expensive) satellite up there, doing its thing, you want to refill it with ash. So you send up unmanned rockets. Docking a rocket heading towards the moon with a satellite orbiting the moon is a very complex affair. Mostly because of the speeds involved, the trajectories and the fact that the docking ring (or whatever) is relatively small and needs to be hit spot on. The speed of light delay from the moon the Earth is on average 1.3 seconds. That doesn't seem like much, but it means that you can't do it from here. You'll need robot brains on both the satellite and the rocket to do it for you. Highly complex hardware with highly complex software. Probably costs millions. And then, you just throw the rocket away. So every time you launch a rocket you are throwing away the fuel, the rocket and the electronics. A whole lot of money.
Alternatively, you can have the rocket come back to Earth. But that requires even more fuel. And we've been down that road before.

So, to summarize, you are sending hundreds of rockets to rendezvous with a satellite orbiting the moon and the rockets aren't coming back.
So... why not have the rockets blow their tops and just drop the ash on the moon when they get there? None of this slowly sprinkling garbage. Just launch rockets to blow up over the moon's surface and deposit tons of ash. Cheaper, faster, less complicated and less time for the public to hate you while you do it.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 01:18:10 PM by Max e^{i pi} »

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Reply #10 on: January 29, 2015, 03:00:19 PM
This story was a complete miss for me.

For a little while I was trying to figure out how these stories all tied into the same world, before I realized they didn't.

It was cute that it went with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd persons for the 3 parallel stories.  But it came across to me as a gimmick.

I'm not particularly concerned with the scientific implausibility--they didn't seem like they were trying to be scientifically plausible.  What does concern me is whether they made me care and none of the three did.  The one where the moon was being stolen was the closest to making me care but in the end I didn't really care what happened to any of the characters and the general apathy about it struck me as way off--I don't see how that's going to end in any way but a mass extinction event.  The one about the darkened moon--all the action in the story has already happened before the story starts, if some rich crazy person is covering up the moon I don't really care why exactly they're doing it, and it sounded like it was exactly what the rumors had said anyway, so wasn't much of a climax.  The legal story I felt like had the most plausible characters, but I just didn't really care if the moon got reclassified--everyone is still going to call it the moon and think of it as the moon anyway--and the lawyer character was completely superfluous, he didn't do anything that the scientists couldn't have, especially with the Pluto precedent for them to look up the procedure for handling it, my first thought was "why are you talking to a lawyer instead of finding scientists who'll support your cause?"

None of the three stories really moved me, and by intertwining them all together it just slowed the pacing of all 3 further, which only made things worse.



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Reply #11 on: January 29, 2015, 03:05:46 PM
Interesting points, Max, and a fun thought experiment.

I think the thing about this story that's important to remember is that for all the problems with the science (I'm not trying to downplay the problems; they bug me too) is that this is a spec fic story that's not getting wrapped up in fine details because it's focusing on the story's themes.  Yes, there's an inordinate amount of handwaving, but the story still has a backdrop of science fiction.  Focusing on what the story does wrong on a world-building level crowds out what it does right as a story.

The common thread among all three narratives is that the moon disappears in some way, and its disappearance moves individuals to care once again about its presence.  The variety of ways that the moon disappears (literally, semantically, and cosmetically) are interesting allegorical statements that evoke a feeling that this is more a sci-fi fairy tale, and should be treated as such.

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Reply #12 on: January 29, 2015, 05:39:42 PM
I'm with JKJones on this one. I'll handwave and be an apologist for the bad science in this one. Once I got the frame, I toggled the magical realism switch and everything in my head phased properly. I think the greatest missed opportunity with this one was to pull in three narrators. I think that would have shortened the time for listeners to understand the frame, and really added some depth.

My favorite section was the second person with the lawyer. I found that one entirely plausible and poignant. It also reminded me of one of my favorite Pluto jokes.



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jwbjerk

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Reply #13 on: January 29, 2015, 06:24:16 PM
Once the moon is gone plate tectonics will slow and eventually stop. Nobody really knows what will happen then, but things we can probably look forward to are landmass erosion (no new material being spewed up from the depths) and the Earth cooling (the moon's tidal forces help keep the planet's core molten). That is probably a global extinction event.

If tectonics slowed down, all the land and mountains eroding could eventually be a problem -- eons from now.  In the meantime we'd probably enjoy fewer earthquakes and volcanos, and have plenty of time to figure out ocean-based cities, or adapt in other ways.

As for cooling, the warmth we enjoy for all practical purposes all comes from the sun. Only those creatures that live on ocean vents would go extinct if the core cooled.


I will try and run the numbers, but my intuition (which has been known to be wrong) says that in order to change the moon's orbit enough for it to leave the solar system (forget about a few years, how about ever) you'll need so much mass that it will throw the Earth into the Sun or out of the solar system or the speed of the comets needs to be an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. Otherwise there just isn't enough force involved.

It's all a matter of how fast the moon is supposed to leave-- at least from the earth.  It is gradually leaving earth's orbit as it is-- so you really don't have to destroy the earth to get it to leave faster, as long as you are still willing to wait for an astronomically long bit of time.  I don't know but i expect it wouldn't work as described.

But really if you have the power to radically redirect and accelerate comets, why not directly place those engines on the moon?
Form from a purely literary standpoint, why use comets?  There's no metaphorical or allegorical or emotional resonance for me in it.  It's the inclusion of these kind of science-y details, and getting it wrong makes it hard for me to see this as something other than sci-fi.




I think the greatest missed opportunity with this one was to pull in three narrators. I think that would have shortened the time for listeners to understand the frame, and really added some depth.
I think that certainly would have improved the experience.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 06:32:26 PM by jwbjerk »



albionmoonlight

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Reply #14 on: January 29, 2015, 06:30:49 PM
I share the author's longing for a time when humanity cared enough to dream to go to space.  The story where aliens stole the moon and we decided not to even try to stop them because it would be too expensive was depressingly realistic.  I am sure that if you had told people in 1969 where humanity's space program would be in 2015, they would not have believed you.  I'm sad that, as a species, we stuck our toe in the cosmic ocean 40 years ago and decided, "meh, let's just stay on Earth and play with iPhones instead."



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Reply #15 on: January 29, 2015, 06:32:38 PM
As for cooling, the warmth we enjoy for all practical purposes all comes from the sun. Only those creatures that live on ocean vents would go extinct if the core cooled.

If the core cooled, we would lose our magnetic field, which would lead to a distressing increase in solar radiation.



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #16 on: January 29, 2015, 08:07:17 PM
Well, I looked stuff up and did some math, and long story short: I don't have a definitive number, but my intuition was correct.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Also, I double checked the Moon and plate tectonics thing.
I was mostly wrong about that. The Moon was instrumental during the forming of the Earth in helping to deposit the metals more evenly, but not so important for that now.
But axis tilt, that's an interesting thing. Apparently without the Moon's influence our axis (relative to the planetary plane) would constantly flip from 0 to 90 degrees causing wacky weather and all sorts of problems for the biosphere.
The Moon is moving away from the Earth now, at about 3 cm a year. But at this rate the Sun will go super giant and swallow the Earth before the MOon escapes.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 08:10:03 AM by Max e^{i pi} »

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Thunderscreech

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Reply #17 on: January 29, 2015, 10:06:36 PM
I am sure that if you had told people in 1969 where humanity's space program would be in 2015
You mean private industry is building a new generation of reusable spacecraft and one company is run by a billionaire who has decided to use his money to get humanity to Mars so he can retire there?  SpaceX has said they will get to Mars one way or another (they're building the engines for their 'BFR' now even while they get true reusability in their boosters nailed down) and aren't waiting for Congress to wave its hand towards NASA.  That's why NASA has vaguely defined ideas about maybe visiting Mars in the 2030s/2040s while Musk has hinted at very specific inside plans to get there earlier. 

We spent 40 years trapped in LEO because a generation was taught that NASA was the only way to do anything instead of being a valuable component in a bigger human space program.  Now NASA is working together with companies like SpaceX that are less interested in feeding at the federal trough than they are in doing things for the sake of getting them done and going places.

Side note for science fiction lovers: You may have heard that SpaceX has an floating autonomous spaceport ship for their first stage boosters to land on, right?  Did you know that it's named "Just Read the Instructions" after one of the autonomous starships in the Culture series by Iaine M. Banks?  Also, they're building a west-coast based autonomous spaceport ship named "Of Course I Still Love You" (same origin).

The State Of The Space has been pretty dismal for a while, but it just got a LOT better.



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Reply #18 on: January 30, 2015, 10:27:41 AM
I share the author's longing for a time when humanity cared enough to dream to go to space.  The story where aliens stole the moon and we decided not to even try to stop them because it would be too expensive was depressingly realistic.  I am sure that if you had told people in 1969 where humanity's space program would be in 2015, they would not have believed you.  I'm sad that, as a species, we stuck our toe in the cosmic ocean 40 years ago and decided, "meh, let's just stay on Earth and play with iPhones instead."



This is not as sexy as going to the moon, perhaps.  I would argue that in the long term, this is the more important project.  The ISS is a giant modular space station that dwarfs everything that came before it in size and capability.  It is a village in space, and it has been a huge turning point in developing technology for a manned space exploration, and it will continue to do so in the future.  

And then there's two Mars rovers, and a very robust Mars program.  No other nation on Earth has a program like this.  Or the DAWN asteroid mission, New Horizons, the James Webb Space telescope...


We spent 40 years trapped in LEO because a generation was taught that NASA was the only way to do anything instead of being a valuable component in a bigger human space program.  Now NASA is working together with companies like SpaceX that are less interested in feeding at the federal trough than they are in doing things for the sake of getting them done and going places.

The State Of The Space has been pretty dismal for a while, but it just got a LOT better.

Companies like SpaceX and Orbital Sciences are very exciting, and I completely agree with you on that.  It's also important to realize that without a NASA and without an ISS, there wouldn't BE a SpaceX.  SpaceX only exists at all not only because there's a giant space station for it to go to, but that NASA outright gave SpaceX $400 million and then gave them a $2 billion dollar contract for a launch vehicle that SpaceX probably couldn't have built if it didn't get the contract.  

And SpaceX wouldn't be building a manned version of the Dragon capsule if it hadn't, once again, landed the NASA contract to build it in the first place.  Not to argue with you, but just saying...
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 10:43:34 AM by Chairman Goodchild »



Max e^{i pi}

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Reply #19 on: January 30, 2015, 10:42:36 AM
I see that there seems to be some confusion between bad science and science fiction.
I have no problem with science fiction handwaving. Give me a warp drive or portable wormhole generator any day. But I will not accept bad science where the author was too lazy to actually read the entire article, not just the headline.
If you say "they moved the planets using a reactionless, non-inertial drive capable of moving entire planets" (Fleet Of Worlds) I will hands down believe you and totally flow with the story.
But if you say "this is based on actual science that I read on Buzzfeed" (17 Science Things You Didn't Know) then I will expect the science to almost work. To be grounded in reality.
There is a world of difference (several worlds, actually) between science fiction (zero point modules) and bad science (F***ing magnets how do they work? Must be magic").
Science fiction is making a way for things to work, to fit with the story (hyperspace, blinky handheld medical cure-alls). Bad science is taking scientific principles that we know and understand today and just ignoring it.
When I see a story where the science is fanciful and made up, I totally flow with it, because that's what science fiction is all about. But if the story starts off from a plausible point of entry and then just handwaves away actual science that we know and understand today I get upset. It means that the author either hasn't bothered to do the research (allow me to introduce you to the internet) or has such a low opinion of their readers that it's just insulting.
The multiple infractions in that department, compounded with the odd method of storytelling is what made this story a miss for me.

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Reply #20 on: January 30, 2015, 12:06:57 PM
Did anyone see the movie "Another Earth"? This story reminded me strongly of that movie--a truly fantastic SF-flavored element is used to explore human relationships with each other, and with the world around us. So in "Another Earth", you've got a whole 'nother planet Earth wandering near our own Earth (which should, but doesn't, create much of the same astronomical problems as this story should have, but doesn't), and this is the backdrop for exploring the road-not-taken, the idea that someone's life could be radically different if she had made different choices.

I'm with Jkjones and Fenrix on this one--once I realized what the story was driving at, I had no problems accepting the pepper mill around the moon, or the aliens slowly stealing the whole thing away.

We often argue about scientific accuracy here, and that's obviously part of the fun of science fiction, and the unique challenge of the SF writer. But I also think sometimes we skirt the boundaries of the tired old "hard" SF vs "soft" SF distinctions and forget the SF umbrella is actually quite large these days. All these things coexist together within the same tradition, which is, like our own species, always adapting.

Just like "Another Earth", "Parallel Moons" isn't really trying to be *astronomy-based* SF (I don't think anyone here is stupid enough to write a whole SF story about the moon and not consider something basic like tides, if they were trying to write accurate astronomy)--it's *sociological* and *linguistic* SF, examining how human systems and understanding get pushed and pulled and reshaped in response to a change (which is both environmental and linguistic).

It's less important that the moon is physically being yanked away; this is a story about the moon being renamed and reclassified, and how that might change the way we see it. I'd wager all of us here are old enough to have lived through the reclassification of Pluto. I can't be the only one who felt a weird sense of loss when that happened, a sort of mental reorganization of my mental universe as well as the real one. That's what this story is about. And yes, that's science fictional, whether or not it's your favorite kind of SF.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 12:23:18 PM by Varda »

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albionmoonlight

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Reply #21 on: January 30, 2015, 03:17:46 PM
You mean private industry is building a new generation of reusable spacecraft and one company is run by a billionaire who has decided to use his money to get humanity to Mars so he can retire there?  SpaceX has said they will get to Mars one way or another (they're building the engines for their 'BFR' now even while they get true reusability in their boosters nailed down) and aren't waiting for Congress to wave its hand towards NASA.  That's why NASA has vaguely defined ideas about maybe visiting Mars in the 2030s/2040s while Musk has hinted at very specific inside plans to get there earlier. 

We spent 40 years trapped in LEO because a generation was taught that NASA was the only way to do anything instead of being a valuable component in a bigger human space program.  Now NASA is working together with companies like SpaceX that are less interested in feeding at the federal trough than they are in doing things for the sake of getting them done and going places.

Side note for science fiction lovers: You may have heard that SpaceX has an floating autonomous spaceport ship for their first stage boosters to land on, right?  Did you know that it's named "Just Read the Instructions" after one of the autonomous starships in the Culture series by Iaine M. Banks?  Also, they're building a west-coast based autonomous spaceport ship named "Of Course I Still Love You" (same origin).

The State Of The Space has been pretty dismal for a while, but it just got a LOT better.




This is not as sexy as going to the moon, perhaps.  I would argue that in the long term, this is the more important project.  The ISS is a giant modular space station that dwarfs everything that came before it in size and capability.  It is a village in space, and it has been a huge turning point in developing technology for a manned space exploration, and it will continue to do so in the future.  

And then there's two Mars rovers, and a very robust Mars program.  No other nation on Earth has a program like this.  Or the DAWN asteroid mission, New Horizons, the James Webb Space telescope...

Companies like SpaceX and Orbital Sciences are very exciting, and I completely agree with you on that.  It's also important to realize that without a NASA and without an ISS, there wouldn't BE a SpaceX.  SpaceX only exists at all not only because there's a giant space station for it to go to, but that NASA outright gave SpaceX $400 million and then gave them a $2 billion dollar contract for a launch vehicle that SpaceX probably couldn't have built if it didn't get the contract.  

And SpaceX wouldn't be building a manned version of the Dragon capsule if it hadn't, once again, landed the NASA contract to build it in the first place.  Not to argue with you, but just saying...


Here's hoping y'all are right.  There are a lot of possibilities out there, and public/private synergy might be the best way to finally break out of our decades-long "It's too hard/expensive/boring to go to space" rut.



albionmoonlight

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Reply #22 on: January 30, 2015, 03:20:22 PM
For those looking for a good SF series that does a great job of paying attention to the known science while also introducing some cool unknown science, look at the Expanse Series by James S.A. Corey.  You can read about cool alien technology while also having the sense that the author(s) took some basic physics classes (or at least consulted with someone who did).



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #23 on: January 30, 2015, 07:15:45 PM
I don't like corporations. I don't trust them in space.

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Fenrix

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Reply #24 on: January 30, 2015, 07:23:31 PM
I don't like corporations. I don't trust them in space.

You can totally trust corporations in space. These guys have your best interest at heart: http://www.weylandindustries.com/




I don't trust either corporations or governments, but I distrust them a lot less when they have to balance each other.


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