AstroTech 
May 24, 2014


Experience how a scifi writer researches astrotech!

I want to encourage readers who are anticipating the novel's release, and who are curious about the creative process behind ARTEMIS ETERNAL, to get more into the subjects I researched, so Iím taking an introductory astrotech course with you via The University of Edinburgh on Coursera. The professors are astrophysicists Andy Lawrence and Catherine Heymans.

IT IS FREE and laymen-friendly, meaning there are no prerequisites. Also, if you take the course on the serious track and pass, you receive a certificate of accomplishment.

Iíve just zoomed through the first lesson and quiz, and am having a good time browsing the forum.

Via the Science & Entertainment Exchange out of Hollywood, I had a stellar astrophysicist consult on the novel, just to make sure I didn't break physics. It was a little like having my own personal Coursera applied to the specific, strange situations I created in the story. Her notes to me were structured much like the video modules in the astrotech course. I spent time learning about heliospheric conditions, for instance, with a closer look at radiation challenges in space (SPE/GCR). I got to research and imagine a dream scenario for how we might process different wavelengths of light in space in the future, and what technology we would need in order to do so. That led to thinking about how that technology would impact culture, and civic and commercial space, as well as individual characters. So if you want to experience what scifi research is like, then join this course! Additionally, this course would be a great resource for scifi film and novel creators who are newer to astronomy.

Here's the link again. You can browse the course casually and guilt-free, and then decide how serious you would like to take it. I suggest trying "week one" and taking the quiz to see how you like the subject matter. I also posted a version of this comment on the course forum. See you there?

PS: If it's spring where you are, run a search to see if there are any star parties in your area. If you haven't been to one yet, they are rad!

Edit: I hear you, e-mailers, and have now added this addendum. If you would like to receive a notification when the novel drops, then join the Amazon alert list so that you can read the sample chapter once it's out. Twitter @JSto is also an option!

E = hc/λ


Update: I am so glad we did this! Note that if you missed out, the course will be constantly available, so you can take it at anytime, although you will not be able to earn a certificate for your work. However, if you click the option to watch for future offerings, then if the course is offered again, you can take it formally and earn a certificate as some of us did this go. Overall this is very accessible way to learn about the cosmos framed through the technology used to make discoveries, and it will enrich your experience with NASA missions, related news and scifi.

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