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Space is huge and empty. With current technology, we need about three to six months only to reach Mars, our neighbour. We will never be able to travel to the stars. Never? Well – it depends on how we try to do it. Imagine a space ship small like a needle. With current technology, we could propel such a low mass »ship« to etxtraordinary speeds, reaching a quarter of the speed of light and thereby reducing the travel time to the nearest stars to about 20 years.

Actually, scientists are discussing this concept in the Starshot project. And that‘s also the idea behind »Proxima Rising«, but with a twist. I don‘t want to introduce spoilers here so I avoid any details. But you can now check by yourself. From today, Proxima Rising is available from Amazon, both as an e-book and a printed book. You can order it here:

As usual, it comes with a bonus. This time I‘m introducing you to exoplanets: How are they discovered, and what kinds of space objects can we expect?

You may already know one of the protagonists. I hope it‘s someone you got to like in my previous books. Who was your favourite hero so far, by the way? I always love to hear from you. About two thirds of my books are set in he same universe so you‘ll always recognize someone in the cast, and what happened in the earlier books might influence what‘s coming next. If you ask yourself what to read next, consider this order: Enceladus, Titan, Io, Return to Enceladus, The Hole, Silent Sun, The Rift, Proxima Rising. Or start Proxima Rising right after the first four books. Proxima Centauri is so far away that it won‘t influence what‘s happening in the solar system.

Before I let you go read, I need to ask you one favour. The most important thing for an author are reviews. Humans tend to comment only when they are disappointed which skews the general impression for any product. Therefore it‘s even more important to add your opinion. To make it easier, here are eight links you can just follow by clicking through from your e-mail:

Enceladus Mission:
Titan Probe:
Io Encounter:
Return to Enceladus:
The Hole:
Silent Sun:
The Rift:
Proxima Rising:

I thank you very much.

Sincerely yours
Brandon Q. Morris

Fly to Mars with NASA
Right now, not only can you send a postcard into space, but you can also send your name to Mars – on board NASA’s Mars 2020 rover. All you need to need is enter your name and e-mail address at Your name will then be etched onto a microchip that is mounted on the rover. Your name will be arranged on a line that is 75 micrometers high. This will allow NASA to etch a million names on the chip. 2 million names flew along with the Insight probe. As a reward you’ll get a virtual boarding pass for the flight. Continue reading →
Gas hydrate layer keeps Pluto warm

In 2015, the dwarf planet, Pluto, received its first visitor from Earth. NASA’s New Horizons probe sent back spectacular images that showed, among other things, the “heart” of Pluto – a region named Tombaugh Regio consisting of, among other things, the unusually light-colored Sputnik Planitia. This is a plain that is up to one to nine kilometers deep, covers approximately the surface area of Texas, and is coated with nitrogen ice. From its existence, researchers could already assume a few things – among other things, there is probably a liquid ocean under Pluto’s surface, like the kind that also exists on the moons Enceladus and Europa. However, for Pluto, which orbits far into the outer reaches of the Solar System, it is hard to imagine that this ocean didn’t freeze solid a long time ago. For the oceans on moons, for example, it is assumed that the gravity of the giant planets that they are orbiting produces enough heat to keep them in a liquid state. Pluto doesn’t have a heating mechanism like that.  Continue reading →

Did you miss one?
The Rift: Buy for $3.99
Silent Sun: Buy for $3.99
The Hole: Buy for $3.99
The Enceladus Mission: Buy for $2.99
The Titan Probe: Buy for $3.99
The Io Encounter: Buy for $3.99
Return to Enceladus: Buy for $3.99
Three exocomets around Beta pictoris
NASA’s satellite TESS is actually supposed to be searching for exoplanets. To do this, TESS records light curves of stars, that is, the change in brightness of a star over time. If something happens in a certain rhythm in these light curves, then there must be something there covering the star repeatedly – something like a planet. Or maybe a comet! TESS has apparently just discovered three of these in orbit around the nearby star Beta Pictoris. Sebastian Zieba, a graduate student on a team led by Konstanze Zwintz at the Institute for Astrophysics and Particle Physics at the University of Innsbruck, discovered the signal of the exocomets when he analyzed the TESS light curve from Beta Pictoris in March of this year. “The data showed a significant decrease in the intensity of the star’s light. These fluctuations due to the darkening by an object in the star’s orbit can clearly be associated with a comet,” says Zieba, explaining the discovery published in the international journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. Continue reading →
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