News from Brandon Q. Morris
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Is someone waiting on the Ice Moon?

Russian billionaire Nikolai Shostakovitch makes an offer to the former crew of the spaceship ILSE. He will finance a return voyage to the icy moon Enceladus. The offer is too good to refuse—the expedition would give them the unique opportunity to recover the body of their doctor, Dimitri Marchenko. Everyone on board knows that their benefactor acts out of purely personal motivations... but the true interests of the tycoon and the dangers that he conjures up are beyond anyone's imagination.

Would you take the chance and go on another dangerous two year voyage? The book is now available here:

I wish you much fun while reading it.

Many people asked for an Audible version of Enceladus. Good news for them: It's now available!

If everything goes according to plan, the next installments of the ice moon saga will be avaible every six weeks in audio.

What can you expect next? The books have been so well received (they went into the top 200 of the Kindle charts) that I'm making sure you can get your next dose asap. This means, "The Hole" will be the first in late March, then we'll have "Silent Sun" and the Proxima trilogy. In each book, you'll meet some known characters even if they are stand-alone books.

The Hole pre-order page:

Kind regards from my nightly desk!

Brandon Q. Morris

A sapphire- or ruby-like planet?
55 Cancri e, HD219134 b, and WASP-47 e are three rocky planets – and they have something else in common: they might belong to a new class of super-Earths, according to arguments laid out by scientists from the University of Zurich and the University of Cambridge in a new paper. The astronomers looked at how planets are formed in protoplanetary disks. If they are formed, like the Earth, at a reasonable distance from their central star, then heavy elements, such as iron, magnesium, and silicon, condense.
If, however, the protoplanet has an orbit that is very close to its host star (HD219134 b, for example, needs only three days to complete one revolution), then the protoplanetary disk is much hotter there. Iron or silicon would remain in a gaseous state, while lighter elements, such as calcium or aluminum, would condense. Therefore, such planets might not have an iron core and thus might also not form a magnetic field. Continue reading →
A signal for extraterrestrial civilizations?

Would it be possible to alert extraterrestrial civilizations to our presence in the universe? Yes, says a feasibility study that was carried out by MIT doctoral candidate, James Clark, and was published in The Astrophysical Journal. Clark combined two already available technologies: a strong laser with an output power of 1 or 2 MW, similar to, for example, the U.S. Air Force’s Airborne Laser, and a large telescope with 30-meter (100-feet) or 45-meter (150-feet) optics, like those already in construction.  Continue reading →

Return to Enceladus
“Farout” is a pink dwarf planet
It is approximately 500 kilometers big (roughly the size of Saturn’s moon Enceladus), has a surface that appears to be pink from a distance (typical for an ice-rich object), and takes about 1000 years to make one orbit around the Sun. That’s all astronomers know about the dwarf planet nicknamed “Farout,” whose discovery was recently announced. The object’s actual designation is 2018 VG18; it got its nickname because it was discovered so far out from the Earth. Continue reading →
Dark matter + dark energy = fluid with negative mass?
Physicists introduced the concept of dark matter after they determined that, among other things, galaxies didn’t have enough mass to explain their rotation. Dark energy with its strange properties is needed to explain, for example, the evolution of the universe during its early childhood when it must have experienced a sudden, tremendous growth spurt. Both concepts are incorporated into the current model of the universe called Lambda-CDM. This model, however, has a small disadvantage: it says nothing about what dark matter and dark energy are made from. Experimental physicists haven’t gotten any closer to an answer to this question in recent years. New physics would be needed, but everything that experiments have so far yielded has been a confirmation of our current physical knowledge. Continue reading →
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