#AsteroidDay giveaway…

It had to be June 30th. This date has loomed on the radar for more than one reason. It’s a day that will last bizarrely but officially one whole second longer than your typical 24 hour day – making it, for me at least, an abnormally attractive outlier in the ultimate mundane sequence that is ‘the everyday’.

In that extra second, the Earth will hurtle about 29.8 Km around the Sun. Whoosh. We may not achieve quite as much in that extra second yet anything is possible, to quote a phrase from Monkey… “once upon a moment.”

If you do even a cursory search you will soon find notes of interest about this date in history… June 30th, 1954, saw a total eclipse of the Sun for viewers in England. The next one will not occur until 2090.

Also, this date provides a poignant footnote in the history of space exploration. On this day back in 1971, three Russian cosmonauts were found dead after their space capsule had made what first appeared to be a successful return to Earth.

And finally, June 30th is apparently Mike Tyson’s birthday. Tyson has a brief cameo in my debut novel, Monkey Steals Plum … but before my grasshopper brain gets further distracted, permit me to touch upon why this year’s June 30th most intrigues me. It is because it has been dubbed “global” #AsteroidDay

An already expansive, and expanding, international group of scientists, Space junkies and future gazers, interested citizens of Earth and, of course, currency-chasing investors, are all drawing attention to the asteroid work ongoing around the world. It is varied research and innovation, spanning multiple interests and industries. And it is a booming area of work – one estimate being cited suggests there were about 100 companies in 2011 doing some aspect of work on asteroids whereas, about five years on, we are now looking at perhaps as much as 700 such companies. If factual, this is an exploding area not just a growing one…

Some of this asteroid interest might look like a piranha-style feeding frenzy of red-blooded, green-eyed bandits chasing dollar bills. But there is genuine work being done across the key fields of science, tech and engineering to solve problems like asteroid collisions with Earth and/or the seemingly endless and harmful mining of Earth’s resources…

So the #AsteroidDay posse are mostly drawing attention to the realistic likelihood that history will repeat itself – hopefully not with the annual regularity of June 30ths. That said, an ‘irregular June 30th’ type asteroid collision can happen again…

Again? If you have not heard about “Tunguska, 1908” here’s a short video (5′) headlined with one scientist’s chilling summary of this devastating asteroid impact: “A thousand times more powerful than Hiroshima”…hmm.

Asteroid mining is another ‘present day’ phenomenon – one that proved personally intriguing for the past few years. Indeed it provided Monkey‘s Chinese protagonist – a kind of ‘outlier billionaire’ – with his key business, and obsessional, interest in the book. In drafting Monkey… I never looked into asteroid mining-as-Sci-Fi. The research process taught me that asteroid mining is evidently an ongoing – and possible – concern for many industries. To echo Chris Lewicki, president and chief engineer of an asteroid mining company called Planetary Resources: “I would encourage people to realize that it’s happening right now.”

The naysayers may still believe this is 100% Sci-Fi. The doom-and-gloomers may be blinkered by a single-point focus that is, perhaps largely, driven by fear (‘asteroid impact to end humankind on Earth soon’). Yet there is at least one other way to consider this state of play: Earth’s lands, oceans and Ozone layer can not be forever exhausted for resources. If there are alternative, viable, increasingly possible options to mine precious resources from an apparently limitless supply of asteroids, well, that is a fast approaching future I embrace.

So it had to be June 30th. The date marks the final freebie for my debut novel, Monkey Steals Plum. It’s the third time I’ve run a giveaway and it feels right since my focus is rapidly, wholeheartedly, shifting to the drafting process of book two in this (debut) trilogy. Like any author, I would like more readers so please read and/or spread the word… as I’ve written about in a previous post, it’s a long road and there’s no turning back – particularly when you’re flying solo, doing everything yourself. I appreciate the feedback and frank reviews on the book so far, so if you have not yet considered Monkey Steals Plum, I hope 30th June gives you an opportunity to grab the debut…

Read, reflect, review and – please – recommend!

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P.s. Don’t forget, if you do not have a Kindle you can download the FREE Reader App from the same web page as the book, and read on any computer or mobile device.



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