Thursday, February 19, 2009

18 trillion miles to see the sun

In which I indulge my inner kid who loves space stuff.

This week's Thursday News of the Absurd Will Someone Please Write This Book Inspirational Moment (TNoftheAWSPWTBIM) fascinates me.

From the AP, by Seth Borenstein, AP Science writer:

Backward green comet makes one-time only visit

Apparently, an "odd, greenish backward-flying comet is zipping by Earth this month, as it takes its only trip toward the sun from the farthest edges of the solar system."

Okay, there is so much cool about this:

First, it's the ONLY time it will EVER come past Earth.

Second, any time something in space is green, it reads like a sci-fi adventure. And then the article says the green glow comes from poisonous gas!

Third, it was discovered by a Chinese teenager. If this is the only time it's going to come close enough to Earth to be seen, how did he find it? Wait! I looked it up. It's an AWESOME story: Quanzhi Ye has been wanting to find his own comet since he saw Hale-Bopp when he was 7. Okay, one of you has to write me his book too.

Fourth, its name is Lulin. I am not joking. It's named for the Taiwan observatory where it was first photographed, but it's a perfect character name, I think.

Fifth, there is commentary in the article from one "Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near Earth Object program." That is the coolest job title I've heard this week. Plus, this comet is going to be 38 million miles away at its nearest-to-Earth point; talk about a range of influence.

Sixth, it flies backwards. Orbits in the opposite direction from most comets and its tail appears to go first.

I want a picture book, I think, about the adventures of Lulin the backwards green comet who travels 18 trillion miles to see the sun. Maybe her friends think she'll never make it. Maybe she's been saving up since she was a wee comet. Maybe you have better ideas you can share???

Also, the amazing photo above is by amateur astronomist Jack Newton, who also runs the coolest bed and breakfast in the world, and who was kind enough to give me permission to post his image here.

Now. That is a lot of material for you. Who will write me this book?


Diane T said...

No no no, not a picture book; a sci-fi epic of first contact, told from the points of view of the Earthlings (including the young discoverer of the comet, who sees a secret message) and the aliens (including the young alien making his first space journey and unsure of what to expect). That's what I'll write for you.

After I'm finished with the other two or three ideas running around in my head.

Jacqui said...

Ooh! Can it be a romance too?

Hey, this may be the first time one of you has ACTUALLY agreed to write me a book, even in theory. Slackers.

J. Thorp said...

rubbish. i believe i agreed to do the lighthouse book (in theory)!

okay, i may have wanted to collaborate. and maybe you shot me down. faked a compliment of my writing even as you suggested the book be words-free.


Amber Lough said...

It's totally a romance, duh! The alien chick and the human boy fall deeply in love, but neither can live in each other's atmosphere, and they only have one month to "be" together. They communicate solely by ham radio.

Jacqui said...

Amber, Jim and I communicate mainly by "ham" radio as well.

Yeah, I tried to make a corny sense of humor joke there, but I think it didn't work.

Thorp, I didn't shoot down the collaboration! I just gallantly refused to ride your far-better-with-words coattails for my own glory.

C.R. Evers said...

ohhhhh! coool!

Christina Farley said...

I love books about space. It's all so intriguing.

Brenda said...

The little comet left home years and years ago to go to Earth camp...and now camp is over and Lulin is headed back home to tell her little comet siblings all about it...and to give her mom & dad the green macaroni picture she did for them...

sruble said...

I think you should write that book! The comet is way cool, and you're right about gree in space = sci-fi. I wish they'd named it after Quanzhi Ye though. Now that would have been awesome (even though I do like the name they chose ... it just would have been a better story if they had named it after the kid that found it).