As many of you probably already know, the asteroid Apophis is doing a flyby tonight–staying a safe 9,000,000 miles away this time around. This led to a discussion William Kendall and I had about a possible new reality show: Survivor: Apophis Asteroid. It would be hosted by that legendary asteroid killer, Harry Stamper (also known as Bruce Willis), and the contestants would consist of past and present reality stars and members of the US Congress. What do you think? Ratings winner or not?
Apophis’ appearance in our galactic neighborhood is timely, given that today’s post, a bit of motherly bragging rights on my part, features the prologue of my son Collin’s upcoming sci-fi novel, E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event). Take a look–he also designed the poster art–and tell me how great it is! (And yes, he does need to correct the release date on the poster!)
10:25 PM PST
INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
The space station moved slowly south in orbit to its destination over South America. The American astronaut looked through the window at the Earth towards the vicinity of northern Brazil.
I never knew how beautiful the Amazon jungle looks from space, he thought as the Russian astronaut floated through the tube towards him.
“Admiring the view?” the Russian astronaut asked.
“Yeah. When I’m back on terra firma, I’m going to ask my girlfriend to consider Rio for our next vacation,” the American astronaut said.
“Maybe you ought to consider St. Petersberg. It has much history and great romantic atmosphere for any couple.” The pride in the Russian’s voice was clear.
“Maddie’s an environmentalist—she wants to see the Amazon with her own eyes and feel the ground with her bare feet,” the American chuckled. “She’s never experienced Brazilian mud.”
“Or piranhas, I’ll bet.”
That made the American laugh aloud. “A buddy of mine from college spent a summer there. He went out into the river—nobody told him about the damn things until he was surrounded by them. His traveling companions were up on the bank, yelling to him to not move. He said he stood there for half an hour thinking, ‘Don’t gurgle, blood.’”
The Russian laughed, too. “You really should visit St. Petersburg. No flesh-eating fish there.”
The sound of the thrusters stopping interrupted the conversation and prompted the men to look around the compartment. “We must be approaching our destination,” the Russian astronaut concluded.
The Japanese astronaut floated to a series of computers in an adjoining module near the observation module. “We should be rotating the station via inertia from the thrusters to point you to Centaurus,” he said.
“What’s happening in Centaurus, anyway?” the American astronaut asked.
A female astronaut floated down to the other astronauts in the lower part of the station. “Dr. Carson has some evidence from a observatory that shows some unusual activity coming from Centaurus.” she said.
“What kind of unusual activity?” the Russian astronaut asked.
“He didn’t say, but that’s why he asked us to move the station. Hubble is also being realigned along with Spitzer and Chandra.”
“Sounds like this is something big, to move three telescopes and a space station.”
The Japanese astronaut peered around the computer monitors to speak to the other three astronauts. “I spend more time in front of the computers than I do actually observing the universe.” he said.
A blinding flash of light suddenly erupted from the direction in which they were looking, drenching the area inside the space station near the observation module in a brilliant white light. The American and Russian astronauts covered their eyes to shield them from the light. The flash only lasted only sixteen seconds and illuminated the earth from eastern Australia, Western Africa, the southern United States, and all of Central and South America. The Swedish and Israeli astronauts rushed to the observation module.
“What just happened?” the Israeli astronaut asked.
“I think we’ve witnessed a supernova,” the Japanese astronaut responded. “Where it originated is what concerns me.”