Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The fate of stars

How about this one? WD1202-04 is a white dwarf, what's left of a dead star. It has a brown dwarf orbiting so close together that eventually they will hit each other and explode.

To make things even more interesting, when the white dwarf was a red giant, the brown dwarf was inside it. Which should have torn it apart, but nope. It survived, likely barely (unlike any planets in the system).

Weird, eh? We keep finding all kinds of different stars and planets out there, and few of them seem to follow what we thought were the rules...

Monday, June 26, 2017

How many planets?

Eight? Nine? Ten? Eleven?

Arguments about the status of Pluto aside (and some people are obviously arguing that if Pluto counts so does Eris, even Ceres), new research indicates there may not only be one planet-sized object in the outer system.

The "presence" of the new planet may be revealed by alterations in the orbital plane of Kuiper Belt objects. If it exists, it's about the same size as Mars.


Friday, June 23, 2017

The Lights of Sand Island

Yes, two in one week.

I'm taking players to Duluth, Minnesota, for The Lights of Sand Island, a one-off adventure for the vs. Ghosts line (vs. M engine). It's designed to be easy for convention play and similar.

It's also based off of a real life shipwreck - highlighting how dangerous Lake Superior can be even today, and much more so before ships routinely carried radar...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Space Junk

It's a huge problem - in 2013, NASA was tracking 500,000 pieces of debris. The big fear is what's known as "Kessler syndrome" - a chain reaction of satellite destruction that could interdict us from large parts of Earth's orbit.

A smaller issue is that people have, yes, been hit by space debris. Lottie Williams, for example, was hit by part of a propellant tank in 1997 (she was uninjured).

Part of the solution is that we now care a lot more about what happens to obsolete and defunct satellites. GEO satellites, for example, are obliged to carry enough fuel to move them to an out of the way "graveyard" orbit. Other satellites are designed to de-orbit - to burn up intentionally in the atmosphere.

But in the long term, we need to do something about the hazards to navigation. The most common concept is a "space janitor" - a robot satellite that is designed to collect pieces of space junk.

Emilien Fabicher has an interesting - and exciting - proposal. His robot would use a strong magnetic beam to chase down defunct satellites and alter their orbit, either sending them into the atmosphere or into a better parking orbit.

The magnetic beam would grab satellites at a range of 10 to 15 meters and then shift their orbit.

We science fiction fans have a word for this.

It's called a tractor beam.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fallen Dark Cover Reveal!

And...here it is!


Woot!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Release!

Well, technically it was posted on Saturday, but I didn't want to do this over crappy hotel wi-fi (I managed to draw a room that appeared to have no decent LOS with the receiver).

The release is the first of the Dark Hold Goblin Adventures, designed to be used with the main setting book (You might be able to use it without, but I'd recommend getting both). It's a classic dungeon crawl that should take most groups 1-2 sessions to complete.

The PDF is available through RPGNow.

The print book can be purchased from Rebel Minis own site here.

And for a little optional extra, the titular Cerebeast can be found in miniature form. (Yes, the mini came first).

Monday, June 19, 2017

Back!

Safely back to Virginia. Very, very tired, so no real post tonight - just letting everyone know I'm home.