Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Everyday Hero - Tommie Candour



The thing the readers of I Choose Mars #ichoosemars seem to like most about the main character, Tommie Candour, is that she is an ordinary person. She is not a "hero type." She strives to be good at her job, but she's not "the best" or a world renowned anything. She is clumsy, scrawny, and immature - and has a foul mouth. But, when it matters most, she pulls it together to do the right and Noble thing... And becomes one of those every day heroes we read about in the paper or see in the news and remember for all time. Maybe not their names, but what they did. That's Tommie. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mangalyaan, MAVEN's Indian Cousin

India is about to become a space exploration contender. Within two days of the Mars Orbital Insertion (MOI) of NASA's MAVEN, the Indian spacecraft Mangalyaan intends to join the fun.


The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Mars Orbital Mission, is India's first attempt to send a spacecraft to Mars. The intent is to demonstrate the ISRO's ability to plan, execute, manage, and handle contingencies associated with a deep space mission. The spacecraft Mangalyaan (Hindi for Mars-carft) will prove the ISRO's ability to develop and utilize deep space communications, navigation, and a mission-capable spacecraft.

Beyond proof of technology, Mangalyaan will have work to do that compliments that of MAVEN's. Outfitted with a high resolution color camera, thermal infrared spectrometers, a methane sensor, and atmospheric analysis instruments, Mangalyaan will collect and transmit data that will help scientists understand the composition of the Martian atmosphere and determine how and why Mars is losing surface water.

Space enthusiasts are looking forward to welcoming India and the ISRO to the space exploration club and wish them great success.

Mars Orbital Mission (MOM) updates and information are available on the ISRO's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/isromom.

More information about the mission and the Mangalyaan spacecraft is available on the ISRO's Mars Website: http://www.isro.org/mars/home.aspx.




Correction to last week's post:  MAVEN obviously isn't "coming in for a landing," as the spacecraft should not ever touch down. The phrase should have been, "coming in for an orbiting" or some such. ~ed.

Monday, August 18, 2014

MAVEN to Mars


September is going to be very exciting for Mars enthusiasts. The MAVEN spacecraft will be arriving at the red planet around September 22nd. #maven2mars. MAVEN, short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, will be orbiting Mars to study the planet's upper atmosphere.

MAVEN's elliptical orbit will allow instruments provided by the Goddard Space Flight Center to collect atmospheric data as close as 93 miles (150 km) above the Martian surface. Occasional deep dives are scheduled, bringing the orbiting spacecraft as close as 78 miles (125 km). MAVEN will also collect data on solar flare and magnetosphere activity, allowing scientists to study the impact of these forces of nature on Mars' remaining atmosphere.

MAVEN won't be going it alone. The Curiosity rover will transmit its lower atmospheric measurements to the spacecraft, allowing MAVEN to compare its own collected information to Curiosity's. MAVEN will crunch the data into intelligible bits to send to scientists on Earth for study and interpretation.

Scientists hope to use MAVEN's collected data to determine how the once thick and moist atmosphere of the planet's past was lost.

More information about this exciting project, and some stellar lithographs and images, can be found at NASA's MAVEN Website: http://mars.nasa.gov/maven/.




- BONUS FUN STUFF -

NASA has some fun Mars stuff for kids of all ages here on its JPL - Mars website: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/participate/.  I downloaded the "NASA Be a Martian" app for iPhone - they support Android and Windows Phone, too!

If you're really into Mars, you can give the planet a makeover at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) site: http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/education/k-12/project-spectra/martian-makeover-interactive/. This is a beautiful, interactive Website that lets you play with the planet and make changes to it.

For those who love to design and build things, NASA is interested in your 3D projects, be they plastic, paper, or whatever!  http://mars.nasa.gov/mars-makers/#mars-maker-challenges.

And, of course, there is a fun and plausible science fiction novel about a crew of people who landed on Mars to build a habitat, written by me!  I Choose Mars is available in paperback and ebook: http://www.ichoosemars.com.



Friday, August 08, 2014

When online Help is mentioned twice in reviews ...


As many of you know, I am a technical writer. (nerd) Hush. So, when I came across an app that had its Help file mentioned not once, but twice in the first 15 reviews, I had to check it out. 


Yes, admittedly, my curiosity about the Help made my decision about which app to download. But, hey, it has a high rating, too!

Of course, I checked out the Help file first thing. What I found was well-written and in a very friendly voice. Concise, descriptive enough, and accurate - pretty much everything a Help file should be!


For the folks who often ask me how to "break in" to technical writing: Learn to write like this. 


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Mars Habitable Zone

The setting of "I Choose Mars" is the Martian Habitable Zone. 



PBS did a special on it not long ago: http://www.pbs.org/lifebeyondearth/alone/mars.html

It is an area recently explored by the Opportunity rover comprising a basin and hills. The importance of a basin is the shelter the surrounding hills provide when the winds get nasty. Water is believed to be close under the surface. 

If you go to Goigle Mars and search for Eagle Mountsin, you can see the area. 

If I had to live on Mars, this would be the place. Oh , and the Opportunity river plays a major part in the book, I Choose Mars!

Http://www.ichoosemars.com




Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Book release

I am excited and happy to announce that I Choose Mars is now available to readers in both paperback and ebook formats. 

I started the story during the 2012 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), let it sit for a while, rewrote parts of it a few times, had it professionally edited, rewrote a bunch more, and then refined it. 

Then came the hard part. Advertising, building an audience. Formatting. Proofing. Phew!

Now, I have one book signing scheduled and I am going to hit all of the indie bookstores in the area to see whether they will carry it. This could be fun!

I have learned so much already; I wonder what this next phase brings. 

http://sandraurias.com

#ichoosemars