Verdant Skies was partly inspired by data on the Yellowstone Caldera, the buried supervolcano in the Wyoming-Idaho-Montana area which, ifwhen it erupts, could create an ecological disaster akin to the process which accelerated the end of the Dinosaurs.
Now University of Utah seismologists have discovered even more detail about the caldera, including a magna pocket below the known pocket and five times larger. No, it doesn’t make the threat of an eruption more imminent; but it does mean that an eruption could be much, much worse than previously assumed. See more at the link.
Occasionally people who know I’ve done some writing would ask me if I’d consider writing this kind of story, why don’t I write that kind of story, etc… you know, the ones that tend to be very epic, very popular, often made into movies, and get talked about incessantly. And in many cases, I’ve had a very good reason for my not wanting to write those kinds of stories.
The trigger has been pulled: Verdant Skies is now a printed book, available now at Createspace and at Amazon.com.
This is my first book to see print (if you don’t count the occasional PDF that someone has printed here or there)… and it was worth enough work to make everything as perfect as possible, that the text didn’t just get re-proofed, it earned a third revision. So, it’s not only a “first time in paperback” edition, but it’s new and improved, to-boot!
If you’re one of those people who want your fiction printed—or you know someone else who does—now’s the time to check out this great novel. If it looks good, let me know… that, and sales, will dictate whether I’ll continue this trend with Verdant Pioneers, the sequel to Verdant Skies, and with any of my other books.
Interstellar opens in theaters this week. Its premise is that the Earth is becoming a global dustbowl, making it impossible to support the human race; so a band of astronauts heads out and through a wormhole to find another planet for human colonization. (A non-spoiler-y review of the movie precedes this post.)
Would this be the best solution for human survival? Not necessarily. Physicists Gerard O’Neill and Tom Heppenheimer worked out a more practical solution four decades ago: Build artificial habitats and put them into orbit around the Earth or Sun. This idea was described in O’Neill’s book The High Frontier and Heppenheimer’s book Colonies in Space, and it’s the idea I used as the premise of my novel Verdant Skies. Continue reading
I love this habitat design, and this shot. It’s very similar in design to what I specified for the satellite Verdant (in Verdant Skies), with the exception that Verdant was longer than it was in diameter; this is more a drum, where Verdant was a cylinder.
The hubs feature balcony levels, which, in Verdant Skies, rotated independently so as to provide either 1G simulated gravity equal to the main interior, or varying degrees of lower gravity, right down to a full counter-rotation to create 0 gravity, for medical or research uses. It also features the “sun column,” the axis that bridges both sides of the hab and provides heat and light to the interior.
Edit: Turns out the creator, Brian Versteeg, has named this the Kalpana One Space Settlement. He provides additional renders and great detail on it at Gizmodo.