Confession

Most of the science in Tomorrow News Network is based on factual science.  Time dilation in “The Orion War”: based on fact.  The planet Cancriph in “The Medusa Effect”: based on a real planet named 55 Cancri f.  The hyper intelligent dinosaurs in “Dinosaurs vs. Astronauts”: that’s loosely based on fact (emphasis on loosely).  But I have a confession to make.  Some of the science in Tomorrow News Network is totally made up.

Take a look at the most recent story, “Who Invented Time Travel?”  There’s some serious technobabble in there, but very little of it is real.  Here are some examples.

  • Fermionic condenser: as far as I know, there is no such thing.  If there were, though, we’d probably use it to make fermionic condensate, which is a real thing.
  • Iota particles: Again, as far as I know this is not a real thing.  Since the word iota means something very small, I’d guess iota particles are very small even for subatomic particles.
  • Sigma oscillation experiment: I have no clue what this is.  It just sounds cool.

So I made stuff up.  Some people would say that means Tomorrow News Network isn’t science fiction and I’m not a science fiction writer.  They’d demand more real science in their fiction, complete with detailed equations and Feynman diagrams.  To those people, I’m sorry.  I’m not a scientist.  I’m a science enthusiast and occasional science journalist.  I know a little more about science than the general public, but I’m no expert.

So how much science do you expect to find in your science fiction?  Does it bother you when science fiction writers make stuff up?

Obama and the Space Program

President Barack Obama has begun his second term.  Good luck to him.  He has a lot of problems to deal with.  But my primary interest and concern is science and space exploration.  Some would dismiss these things as expenses we can’t afford right now; I would point out that space has many untapped natural resources that could rejuvenate the global economy.  So what is the future of American space exploration?

The President’s second inaugural speech made no mention of the space program.  Other than a few words on renewable energy and the importance of teachers, he made no references to science at all.  Still, I have hope that in the next four years and in the decades that follow, American space exploration will grow rapidly.  In his first term, Mr. Obama changed the focus of US space exploration from government run organizations like NASA to private companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic.  It was a surprising, free market solution that should have pleased Republicans.

Though NASA’s role in space exploration has diminished, they are not irrelevant yet.  Their latest Mars rover, Curiosity, has been a huge success, providing soil sample analyses in unprecedented detail, giving us new clues about whether or not Mars could support life.  There are also rumors that, following the President’s reelection, NASA might announce new plans to send humans to the Moon.  Click here for more on that.

So President Obama has officially begun his second term, and he still has to deal with a Republican controlled House of Representatives.  I expect things will continue to be messy in Washington, and at times I’ll probably do a face-palm and feel embarrassed for my country.  But I remain excited for the future of space exploration.  How about you?