Wednesday, January 11, 2006


New Worlds Atlas

I'm in the midst of researching the Space Opera, which is slowly taking shape in my head (I just worked out on Monday what kind of FTL drive the good ship Further will have, which also helped resolve that pesky gravity problem; thanks Breakthrough Physics Propulsion Program!). Said research is a strange mix of physics texts, technology nonfiction titles, and other people's space opera novels. I've also done an inordinate amount of googling, which is always turning up interesting stuff, lots of which is thanks to NASA (cf. the above referenced BPPP). Most recent discovery? The New Worlds Atlas. It requires Shockwave to run, but it's worth downloading the plug-in if you don't already have it. It's a navigable map of the near galaxy, highlighting all stars with known planets, complete with not-to-scale planetary diagrams and all sorts of nifty astronomical information. This is proving endlessly helpful in working out the mission parameters of R.J. Stone's Wayfarer One (and, by extension, the destination for the starwisp Sojourner A97). The current front-runner is Gliese-876, which has three known planets in some pretty eccentric orbits and configurations.

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