Tag Archives: real life

One-way trip to space? Mars One

I saw this link on CNN today about a group of candidates that are being whittled down from the last 100 applicants, to 24, so that they can go to Mars in six teams of four, to attempt colonisation.


Mars  Having set Hope’s Daughter and The Rainbow Maker’s Tale in space, I’m always interested in these types of projects, that show how people are still looking at ways of making living elsewhere in space a reality. But, if you take a read of this article – spending seven months on a space shuttle, with the likelihood of being able to survive for just 64 days when you reach the planet – would you consider doing this?

(Image taken from the Explore Mars page at http://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/explore/mars/background/ )

Just Finished…A Stolen Life (Memoir)

A stolen life In general, I don’t read memoirs or biographies. On the odd occasion that I do, I find that I really enjoy them, mainly for the depth of insight that you get into someone’s life. For someone who makes up fictional characters, to delve into someone’s life in such detail, especially when they are a famous person who you might have built up a picture of who they are in your mind, it is particularly fascinating.

The Blurb:

On 10 June 1991, eleven-year-old Jaycee Dugard was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in Tahoe, California. It was the last her family and friends saw of her for over eighteen years. On 26 August 2009, Dugard, her daughters, and Phillip Craig Garrido appeared in the office of her kidnapper’s parole officer in California. Their unusual behaviour sparked an investigation that led to the positive identification of Jaycee Lee Dugard, living in a tent behind Garrido’s home. During her time in captivity, at the age of fourteen and seventeen, she gave birth to two daughters, both fathered by Garrido. Dugard’s memoir covers the period from the time of her abduction in 1991 up until the present. In her stark, compelling narrative, Jaycee opens up about what she experienced, including how she feels now and the struggle to re-build her life after eighteen years in captivity. Garrido and his wife Nancy have since pleaded guilty to their crimes.
My Thoughts:
   I came across this book at a friend’s house – as I’ve said before, it is not something I would have looked at in my normal book searches. I picked it up, just to scan the blurb and when I did, I remembered the young girl on the front from when she was found after eighteen years of captivity and appeared on the news all over the world. After flicking through the first couple of chapters when I was there, I had to take it home with me to finish – partly for the story of the author’s life, and partly because the writing was in itself, intriguing.
   As you might expect, in some ways there is an almost child-like feel to the events recounted in the book: Jaycee was kept out of school from age eleven, educating herself where she could with internet access and the odd few books she was given. There is an immaturity to her understanding of feelings in the chapters that cover her early time in captivity and I don’t mean that in a negative way; just that her ‘normal’ emotional development was stopped where it was at age eleven – the absence of her mother and sister are the strongest emotional bonds she holds to, even as she gets to an age when most people are moving into close relationships with partners. Her range of experience of the world – for someone living through the time period she did – also shows just how limiting life became for her.
   Most of the chapters close with a short piece entitled ‘Reflection’ where you get the author’s thoughts on what she experienced at the time and how she dealt with it at the time. There is a more developed, reflective adult voice in these pieces, perhaps a result of the counselling and support she and her family received when she came home. One of the biggest questions I think you ask with a story such as Jaycee Dugard’s is ‘how does someone actually survive something like this happening to them?’ The final part of the book cover this really well and talk about the media, the psychological support and how she put her family back together to move on and reclaim her life.
   One thing that struck me repeatedly as I read A Stolen Life was that we were a similar age. At every stage of life that she describes in her memoir, I would have been doing very different things to her – things that a twelve year old, a fifteen year old and a twenty-six year old should be doing – not the life that these disturbing people forced upon her. Imagine everything in your childhood from age eleven being taken away – coming out the other end at nearly thirty…it’s impossible to really get your head around. Teenage years, your first job, finishing school – maybe university… All that time was taken, in exchange for a strange, warped half-life.
   This is a book that makes you marvel at human nature: the highs it can take in hope, real love and family; and the lows of evil and selfish monsters. The most amazing thing in reading this, was that I found the author’s pragmatism and hope to be the main enduring elements of the book. She did not shy away from telling the most difficult truths, but the real Jaycee exists in every page – after eighteen years of captivity, where she literally had her life taken away from her, she held it all inside her, ready to reclaim it when she got the opportunity. I don’t think I’ve come across a stronger person in a book before – fact or fiction.

Can I predict the future?

Erm…well, no…not exactly

But I did smile to myself when a friend sent me this link yesterday – everything seemed a little familiar…

Space arks to be our future in space…?

1952 Space Station Concept

1952 Space Station Concept

In my mind, Space Station Hope was of the ‘spinning wheel’ variety (look it up on Wikipedia, they have some great images). On Hope the inner part of the circle forms the ‘ground’ drawing you down, just as gravity does on Earth; with the mirrored ceiling/sky being on the outside edge of the circle (if you believe what you’re told – not everyone does, you know?)

The idea with this type of space station is, that at a given size, the rotating wheel generates a gravitational field, similar to Earth allowing you to walk, instead of float around. The design is only mentioned a couple of times in the first two books: when Cassie gets out of the Family Quarter and genuinely sees the outside view of the stars for the first time through the crystal ceiling of the ‘wheel’ structure; Balik also mentions it in a ‘blink and you’ll miss it moment’ in RMT, when he talks about his calculations on the size of the station having to be so much larger than they are told it is, for the formulas generating a gravitational field to work. The conflict between the calculation showing the station having to be much larger than they are told, with the information that the Family Quarter is the biggest of the three inhabited zones, is one of Balik’s big clues that all is not well in the state of Hope 🙂

What do you think about this – we will end up living in space in the next 100 years?