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Sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson at the Nov 7 Davis-Explorit Astronomy Club meeting!

This article appeared in the November 6, 2015 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

Sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson at the Nov 7 Davis-Explorit Astronomy Club meeting!

Author Kim Stanley Robinson

 

By Vinita Domier

Special to the Enterprise

 

Davis-based and world-renowned science fiction author, Kim Stanley Robinson, will be the guest speaker at the Saturday, November 7 meeting of the Davis-Explorit Astronomy Club. The author will discuss his latest book, Aurora, which chronicles the multi-generational space-journey of human settlers to a potentially habitable moon of a distant exoplanet.

 

Over his distinguished writing career, Kim Stanley Robinson has won numerous awards including the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Novel (in 1994 for Green Mars and in 1997 for Blue Mars), and the Nebula Award for Best Novel (in 1993 for Red Mars and in 2013 for 2312). He was also named ‘Hero of the Environment’ by TIME magazine in 2008.

 

Kim Stanley Robinson is the author of more than twenty books and many short stories and novellas. He is best known for his award-winning Mars trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars) dealing with terraforming Mars for future human habitation, and for the Science in the Capital series (Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below, and Sixty Days and Counting) dealing with the effects of global warming on contemporary Earth.

 

Kim Stanley Robinson’s books are well researched and based on real science. He actually went to the frozen continent in 1995 with the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program before writing his 1997 novel, Antarctica.. For his 2015 book, Aurora, he consulted with NASA scientists at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View.

 

The novel, Aurora, is about future space pioneers traveling beyond our solar system to establish a human colony on Aurora, a potentially life-sustaining Earth-like moon with an oxygen rich atmosphere of a planet revolving at a habitable distance around a Sun-like star in our galaxy. Around 2000 human settlers set out in 2545 on a nearly 12 light-years journey to Aurora in the Tau Ceti system. Even traveling at the incredible velocity of one-tenth the speed of light for most of the trip, it takes the original colonists’ seventh-generational descendants nearly 175 years to finally reach their destination.

 

The author chose the real star, Tau Ceti, in the constellation Cetus (the Whale) in the Milky Way Galaxy, as the destination star for the spacefarers, because Tau Ceti’s electromagnetic spectrum is very similar to our own Sun’s. All life on the spaceship theoretically should be able to withstand the star’s radiation, as all Earth-based living organisms have evolved to withstand our Sun’s radiation. In 2012, five exoplanets were discovered revolving around Tau Ceti, with one of them, Planet E, being in the habitable zone where water, if present, would be in liquid form. Aurora is a fictitious Earth-sized moon of this real ‘Goldilocks’ exoplanet.

 

Kim Stanley Robinson's talk and book reading will begin at 7pm on November 7, 2015, at the Explorit Science Center (3141 5th Street, Davis). Everyone is invited to the presentation indoors, followed by a star party outdoor (weather permitting). The Davis-Explorit Astronomy Club meetings are free and all ages are welcome.

 

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