Friday, 12 October 2012

SF? - Cosmic Ray Enigmas

Cosmic rays are energetic particles, originating in outer space.
For an SF blog let me begin by saying that cosmic rays are real. They were discovered around a century ago and yet we still know little about them. We know that they originate in deep space, possibly from black holes, and that they crash into the Earth's upper atmosphere but very few actually get down to sea level. We know that they represent 15% of the total radiation we humans experience at sea level but rises rapidly for those who live at high altitude such as Denver and Mexico City. Airline crews could experience much higher levels of exposure and they may have health effects.
It is believed that cosmic rays can cause power surges. A Quantas aircraft dropped hundreds of metres injuring many although eventually landing safely, and Voyager 2 malfunctioned two years ago as a result of cosmic radiation.


Cosmic rays change life
Solar winds blow them at us
Invisible death?

©David L Atkinson October 2012

I am trying to do two things at once. I am writing my 5th Steele novel and planning a first SF story. Not a sensible thing to be doing for the male of the species. The story for my SF book would currently be described as 'soft' SF that is, based on future social aspects of life. What I really would prefer to write is the 'hard' variety which involves possible future technologies, hence the interest in 'real science'. Cosmic rays may well be the way forward.
Wouldn't it be cool if we could harness the energy from Cosmic rays and halt the need to dig up the Earth and destroy the ozone layer burning those products?
How about using cosmic rays to destroy cancerous cells?
Perhaps we need to build a cosmic ray converter to drive our vehicles!
All sorts of ideas spring to mind and demand exploration and as my friend Caleb Pirtle III asserts - many developments begin in the minds of SF writers.
Here I am blathering away as if I have already written the book and it may not happen! However, the research I have carried out in the last week or so seems to be bringing it closer.

God Bless