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April 2005

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Index to our previous shows

  • April 30, 2005 - Lincoln Child
  • Shows from February, 2005
  • Shows from January, 2005
  • Shows from December, 2004
  • Shows from November, 2004
  • Shows from October, 2004
  • Shows from September, 2004
  • Shows from August, 2004
  • Shows from June, 2004
  • Shows from May, 2004
  • Shows from April, 2004
  • Shows from March, 2004
  • Shows from February, 2004
  • Shows from January, 2004
  • Shows from December, 2003
  • Shows from November, 2003
  • Shows from October, 2003
  • Shows from September, 2003
  • Shows from August, 2003
  • Shows from July, 2003
  • Shows from June, 2003
  • Shows from May, 2003
  • Shows from February, 2003
  • Shows from January, 2003
  • Shows from December, 2002
  • Shows from November, 2002
  • Shows from October, 2002
  • Shows from September, 2002
  • Shows from August, 2002
  • Shows from July, 2002
  • Shows from June, 2002
  • Shows from May, 2002
  • Shows from April, 2002
  • Shows from March, 2002
  • Shows from February, 2002
  • Shows from January, 2002
  • Shows from December 2001
  • Shows from November, 2001
  • Shows from October, 2001
  • Shows from September, 2001
  • Shows from August, 2001
  • Shows from July, 2001
  • Shows from June, 2001
  • Shows from May, 2001
  • Shows from April, 2001
  • Shows from March, 2001
  • Shows from February, 2001
  • Shows from January, 2001
  • Shows from November - December, 2000
  • Shows from September - October, 2000
  • Shows from July - August, 2000

  • Lincoln Child     Listen to this show

    On Saturday - April 30th, 2005 - our guest on Hour 25 was Lincoln Child who chated with us about the books that he and co-author Douglas Preston have written.

    Lincoln Child. Lincoln Child.       Photo by Chris Pedota
    Lincoln Child.
    Photo by Chris Pedota

    Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston are one heck of a writing team. You can always count on their novels to be filled with interesting - if not down right quirky - characters, fascinating locales filled with loads of historical background, imaginatively juxtaposed plot elements and surprising plot twists.

    Their first collaborative work was the book Relic, which combined elements of the horror, mystery and thriller genres and made for an exciting story. {And it also gave you an interesting window into the day to day operations of a large Natural History Museum. For anyone like myself who loves museums, this made their book a particular pleasure.}

    They followed this with Mount Dragon, a story set in the American Southwest that mixed genetic engineering and the hunt for lost Spanish treasure. They returned to the world of Relic with Reliquary, where we discovered that all was not as it seemed at the end of Relic. In the course of this story they take you on a tour of the underground environs of New York that is as frightening as it is fascinating.

    Their subsequent books involved pirate treasure {Riptide}, lost cities of the Anasazi Indians {Thunderhead} as well as giant meteorites and mysterious happenings at the ends of the world {The Ice Limit}.

    At the time we recorded this interview they had just released The Cabinet of Curiosities in which FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast returns to solve the mystery of a serial killing that had happened over a hundred years previously. Only now the killings have started again, with all of the clues pointing to the same person who had committed the original killings.

    Don't miss any of their books. They are all most highly recommended.

    Cabinet of Curiosities

    Dateline: Mars

    NASA is releasing all of the images from the two Mars Exploration Rovers almost as soon as they arrive at JPL. The raw images for the Spirit rover can be found at the following Web Page and raw images for Opportunity can be found here. The images that have been released to the press, along with animations and explanatory text, can be found here. You can find larger versions of the images shown below at that last NASA Web Site.


    Opportunity traverse route. Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    The picture above shows the traverse route that Opportunity has followed for the last year. It is currently headed for Erebus Crater and after that will attempt to cross the much rougher Etched Terrain enroute to Victoria Crater. With any luck, sometime later this year, we will be peering over the edge of that crater while the engineers and scientists at JPL try to find a way to drive down into Victoria in search of information about the geologic history of Mars.

    Opportunity, sands of Mars. Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    For many of us the phrase "the sands of Mars" has long conjured images of an alien world where mysteries and wonders lay just beyond the next dune. And here we see those "sands of Mars" stretching off into the distance with the tracks left by Opportunity pointing back from whence we came. I'd say that this is the stuff that dreams are made of, but it's real. And way cool.

    Opportunity, tracks in the sand plus a crater. Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    And while enroute to Erebus, Opportunity pauses briefly to study a small crater.

    Opportunity takes a picture of itself. Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    Here is a self-portrait of Opportunity. Notice how clean it appears, almost as if it has just come off the showroom floor. Who would guess that it has spent more than a year trekking across the Martian surface?


    Spirit takes a picture of itself.  Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL

    Now here's a self-portrait of Spirit and it is so covered by red dust that there's no question about where it's been or what it's been doing. {Just compare this picture to the one of Opportunity and you'll see what I mean.}

    Spirit, an image of distant hills.  Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL

    As it drives up into the Columbia Hills, Spirit has been getting some spectacular images of the surrounding plains and more distant mountains. Wouldn't you just love to be there in person?

    Spirit, dust devil.  Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    Spirit, another dust devil.  Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL

    The two pictures above show dust devils blowing across the plains below the Columbia Hills. The most amazing thing about these pictures is that the engineers couldn't aim the camera at those dust devils, they just had to shutter off a series of pictures and hope that they would get something interesting.

    But what's even more amazing is that they managed to get a series of short movies showing those dust devils whirling across the Martian surface. Click here to go to the JPL Web page where you'll be able to view those movies.

    Listen to this show


    Click here to listen to the entire show. {1:43:07}


    Now out in paperback, their newest book featuring FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast. It's a great read. Highly recommended.
    • Click here for the show's intro music.{0:41}
    • Click here for the show's opening and our introduction of Lincoln Child. {31:30}
    • Click here for our interview with Lincoln Child. {1:09:30}
    • Click here for the show's closing.{1:26}

    • Click here for our current show.
    • Click here for links to all of our previous Shows that you can listen to on the Hour 25 Web Site.
    If you enjoyed this show and would like to know when other interviews are uploaded to the Hour 25 Web Site, then send an email to me at wwjames@earthlink.net and I will add your name to the free Hour 25 Newsletter mailing list. That way you'll get a brief notice in your email every time a new show gets uploaded to the web.

    Links for more information relating to this week's show

    Lincoln Child - along with Douglas Preston
  • More information about Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston and their books can be found at their Official Web Site.
  • You can find other interviews with Lincoln and Douglas here, here and here.

    GQ Lupi and its planetary companion .  Image Credit: University of Jena/ESO
    The star GQ Lupi {A} and its planetary companion {b} in an image taken in June 2004 by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Paranal, Chile.
    Image Credit: University of Jena/ESO

    Space News
  • Here's the official press release from the European Southern Observatory announcing the imaging of the planet - or perhaps small brown dwarf - that is circling GQ Lupi. Click here for more information about the picture of the planet circling the star GQ Lupi or here.
  • The press release from Cornell University announcing the detection of infrared light coming from the planet circling HD 209458 can be found here and a NASA release on this subject can be found here. Information about the star HD 209458 can be found here or here. The planet circling this star orbits at such a small distance that its atmosphere is literally boiling off into space. This NASA web page will tell you about the observations that led astronomers to this conclusion. Information about the star TrES-1 can be found here and notes about the discovery of that star's planetary companion can be found here along with animations of the planet's orbit.
  • Here's the NASA press release concerning the discovery of an asteroid belt circling another star and here's the link to the Spitzer Space Telescope which made this discovery.
  • You can learn more about Mike Griffin, the new NASA Administrator, by reading this NASA press release.
  • Information about the Voyager Mission to the Outer Planets - and beyond - may be found at the Projects NASA web site. The data from the Voyager Mission can be accessed through this National Space Science Data Center web page. Additional information about the Voyager Project can be found at this web page published by the Planetary Society.

    Extrasolar Planets
  • Click here to view a web page containing information on the various Extrasolar Planetary Systems that have been discovered. {That page also has links to other sources of information concerning the search for other planetary systems.}
  • You can learn more about a program to discover Extrasolar Planets by going to the California & Carnegie Planet Search web site.
  • Click here to learn more about another observing program that is discovering Extrasolar Planets.
  • The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia is a fantastic source of information about the planets outside our Solar System. It is highly recommended.
  • The Extrasolar Art Gallery has many artists' conceptions for these newly discovered planets along with much other information.
  • The Planetary Society maintains a web page about Extrasolar Planets that is a good source of additional information.

    Space News - Mars
  • For more information about the Mars Exploration Rovers be sure to check out the MER Web Site at JPL or this Mars Rover site at Cornell University.
  • To learn more about the Mars Express mission you can go to this ESA Mars Express Web Site, this Mars Express Web Page from JPL, this NSSDC Mars Express Web Page, or this Web Page from Mars News.Com.
  • For more information about the Exploration of Mars be sure to go to the JPL Mars Exploration Site, the Center for Mars Exploration at NASA Ames, or the Mars Missions Web Site at the Planetary Society.
  • Information about the data returned by previous Mars missions can be found at this Mars Web Page at the NSSDC.
  • Information about the Phoenix Mission to Mars can be found at this Press Release from the University of Arizona. You can view a 3D picture of the Mars Phoenix spacecraft here.
  • For more Mars news be sure to check out the Mars News.Com Web Site.
  • Percival Lowell did much to shape our ideas about Mars in the early years of the 20th Century. You can learn more about his work by reading this on-line copy of his 1895 book Mars.

    Space News - The Cassini Mission to Saturn
  • Much information about the Cassini mission can be found at the Project's Official Web Site at JPL.
  • JPL is constantly releasing pictures from Cassini. You can find them by going to this JPL Web Page.
  • Additional information about the Cassini mission can be found at this ESA Web Site.

    For On-Going Updates on Space News
  • Links relating to the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia can be found here.
  • The Reusable Launch & Space Vehicle News Web Site Web Page that is part of the Hobby Space Web Site is a really good place to watch for news about, well... Reusable Launch Vehicles and related subjects. I check it out just about every day and often find news there that doesn't show up anywhere else. Give it a look. {And while you're there be sure to check out some of the site's other pages. Wow! Is there a lot of information there.}
  • The Space Today Web Site is a great place to find space news from all over the 'net.
  • The Spaceflight Now Web Site carries real time information about current space missions and presents a lot of space and astronomy news. This is the place I go to when I want up to the minute information about current space missions. Do I need to say more?
  • The NASA Watch Web Site is another great place for getting information about current space missions. Check there also for news about other 'goings on' within NASA. Highly recommended.

    ISS News
  • The Florida Today Web Site has a very interesting report about the causes of the ISS budget problems and their impact on the space program. It makes very interesting reading.
  • Click here to view the press kits for various ISS missions.
  • Check out the NASA International Space Station Web Page or the Boeing Web Page to learn more about this project.
  • A great source of news about Russian space activities, including their work on the ISS, can be found at the Russian Space Web.
  • Do you wonder where the Space Station is right now? You can use your browser to view real time maps showing the location of the ISS by going to this link at the NASA Space Link Web Site or here at the Johnson Spacecraft Center. Please note that your browser must support Java to make use of this satellite tracking software.
  • You can find out when the ISS - or many other spacecraft - can be seen from your location by going to this NASA Web Page. Please note; your browser must support Java for this application to work.

    Space Related Organizations
    If you are interested in learning more about current space activities there are many local and national organizations you might want to know about. Joining these organizations and taking part in their activities is a good way to stay abreast of things going on in space as well as a way to show your support for those activities. Listed below are some of those organizations.
  • The Organization for the Advancement of Space Industrialization and Settlement has long been place for persons living in the Los Angeles area to gather and discuss the promise of space. Be sure to check out their Web Site for information about their meetings and other activities.
  • The Orange County Space Society is another Los Angeles area organization that provides a focal point for persons who are interested in space developments to get together and share their ideas. They have created a number of displays explaining the history and importance of space exploration that have appeared at various public events. Be sure to check their Web Site for information about their meetings and other events.
  • The National Space Society has a long history of being an advocate for a vigorous space program and provides much information to its members through their magazine and Web Site.
  • The Space Frontier Foundation is a strong advocate for a non-governmental space program and serves as a focal point for much activity in that arena. Their annual conference in Los Angeles during the Fall is a great way to find out what is happening in the non-government space arena.
  • The Space Access Society is focused on reducing the cost of going into space by promoting non-governmental launch vehicle programs. Their annual conference in the spring is a major source of information on non-traditional launch vehicle activities.
  • The Planetary Society is focused on the exploration of the Solar System and has a wealth of information for its members and others.

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