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    Earlier today, the InSight lander arrived safely on the surface of Mars.

    A robotic lander designed to explore what lies underneath the surface of the red planet, InSight looks to offer us our first real look at the interior of this tiny, distant rock. It may sound like an odd task, but it’s one of the first real steps we need to take before we fling ourselves across the vacuum to such a world; we need to know what’s inside. Liquid water, rare minerals, subterranean life… whatever it is we’re looking for under there at any one moment, it’s a critical part of the reason we’d even go to another heavenly body. We need water for fuel and air (split into hydrogen and oxygen), minerals to compliment those we’ve got in small doses here on Earth (like those used for high end electronics), and we’re looking for life simply because we need to ask where we come from (and if there’s anything else out there). It’s a blend of economics and curiosity, a compromise of the little questions and the big ones.

    While those three items I listed are without a doubt some of the most important ones to speak of with regards to justifying a trip there, it’s also a good idea to note that the first two of those reasons listed (water & minerals) would be gateways to further trips and colonization. Water and the elemental components it can be broken down into via electrolysis are necessary for any space-based society to live without a constant supply from Earth or an Earth-congruous atmosphere, and rare minerals would go a long way towards allowing us to establish a manufacturing centre; a necessity if we’re looking to build anything useful while we’re there, or even effect proper repairs without that constant help from home. They’re two very important sources of supplies that would allow us to become independent in human-supporting areas, and the only way we can establish a colony which would survive without the constant shipping of everything needed from Earth. Things cost money, and many of the biggest costs in space have to do with shipping; if you can find the things you need nearby and mine them instead, you save a lot of money in transport costs.

    So, while it may not seem to be the most exciting mission at a first glance, InSight will offer us some important insight into the interior of Mars; something we may be able to use in order to cut costs and make colonization (for scientific or other purposes) more viable. It’s a first step that we need to take before actually sending people there, and being that a manned mission to Mars is currently a goal for many space-faring companies it’s one that is probably long overdue.

    Now that it’s officially on the surface, I’m a little excited to see what it finds – especially after watching National Geographic’s Mars series up ’til now. An aquifer of liquid water would kick ass, but anything that tells us more about what the planet was like or is like now would be a welcome consolation prize.

    Don’t you think?

  • Blog

    A Little Bit of the Usual…

    …can be quite a good tonic for the soul.

    Sitting at my computer yesterday, I was treated to just that. A good friend I acquired back in my Vita Lounge game coverage days showed up for a little chat and some gaming; namely a bit of Pokemon: Let’s Go. Though I didn’t have the cash for it, he bought it for me (what a friend!) and we dove into a few hours of laughs and trading tips. It was a big dose of nostalgia for me in the most welcome ways, and seems to be just what I needed after all this time cooped up at the keyboard.

    Though I’ve been absent from the video game coverage business for nearly a year now, and haven’t played my Switch much as of late (aside from a bout of Fortnite mid-year), I’m proud to say that I slipped back into the old gaming routine like it was second nature. Partly because it used to be, and most definitely a big part because of Tyler. Chatting with him about dumb shit while I tried to catch up to him in both Pokemon count and game progress was a good way to vent and let go of some of the stress I’ve been carrying regarding my writing. It really took me back to the good ol’ days when we were just two dudes working on kicking the ass of games and having a good time doing it. Familiar, but in the best way.

    And so now, sitting here a few hours later and about to boot up Pokemon for more catch up (or maybe to get a little ahead), I can’t help but feel thankful for everything about last night. Even a little bit of friendship and familiarity can go a long way when you’ve got your head in something, and since I was just offered a huge dose I think I can say this with first hand knowledge; do something familiar and fun with a friend, ’cause it might be just what you (maybe both of you) need.

    It was for me. 🙂

  • Blog

    Trends & Ends

    Hey readers! If you haven’t guessed by my minimal Twitter and website activity over the past two weeks, I’ve been quite busy away from the internet. Halloween, some personal days (including my birthday), and a bunch of writing and planning have eaten away at my time like some sort of nutrient-starved parasite. I’ve also been nursing the edge of a cold I get annually, mostly due to the quick trend towards winter-like temperatures making the air dryer than the Antarctic tundra. Really, it’s been a hell of a ride over my absence; right from the good to the bad.

    So, while I’m not in the most productive or exuberant mood at the moment, and I haven’t been as of late, I’m now here to tell you for sure that we’re getting towards one of those times for me. As the nights get longer, my mood somehow always swings to the creative and active. Others may feel more alive in the summer months, but I tend to be the best version of me during the winter ones. Hell, I even lose weight while others are going into fat-packing hibernation mode. It’s an odd way to be, but I rather like it; the heat and the light of summer are just not for me.

    So, as things now tend towards productivity and energy, and the wheels keep turning, I feel like it’s going to be a good time over the next season or so worth of time. Book one (codename: OWOW) was completed in just a few intense months earlier this year, and if things keep going I’m fairly confident I can add a second title to the “to be published” pile by the start of spring.

    That said, I’m really hoping that spring will actually consist of re-starting the pile as I’m pushing towards having the first picked up by then, but I know that’s not so much up to me as it is up to someone else enjoying what I’ve laid down. If there’s one thing I’ve seen in regards to finding a publisher, it’s that it’s more down to finding someone who likes your writing than anything else; many famous titles were rejected multiple (read; dozens, or even hundreds of) times before getting published, and I’m sure mine will be the same unless I get lucky with a like-minded editor. I believe what I can offer the reader is good – better than good, actually. That doesn’t make it an instant publish though, because not everyone likes the same things… even in the same genre or realm.

    So, as I keep at it, I’m now beginning to shift into high-gear season. Who knows what’ll actually come of it, but I’m hoping.

    Always hoping.