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Apparently there are planets orbiting binary star systems.  In the past we’ve found single planets orbiting two stars, but it was thought that more than one planet would see the gravitational forces throwing them either into the stars, out of the system, or into each other.  Kepler-47, in the constellation of Cygnus, has two planets – and one of them is in the habitable zone, where liquid water can exist.

It’s probably a gas giant, but Prof William Welsh, from San Diego State University, said:

“Kepler-47c is not likely to harbour life, but if it had large moons, those would be very interesting worlds.”

Now I’m wondering what a day would be like on one of those moons.  Imagine, you are on a moon, orbiting a planet, orbiting two suns.  What would you see and experience as the day progressed?  Obviously you can’t answer that properly without knowing the lengths of the orbits involved.  My astrophysics is not good enough to figure it out even knowing the orbits.

On the other hand, is it important?  How many books have you read in which the protagonist noticed what phase the moon was in?  (Apart from books about werewolves, they don’t count!)  Unless the fact that there are two suns is central to the plot, why should it matter?  The occasional comment about the suns rising or the planet setting, and that should be enough.

Artemis Junior is the name of the latest “small step” in the direction of a permanent lunar base.  It’s a new lunar rover designed by scientists at NASA and currently being tested in a Hawaiian volcano.

The rover is designed to prospect for water, ice, and other fun and useful things.  Water is one of the things that would make a lunar base possible – we need it to drink, to split apart to make oxygen, to make hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel, and more.   And on the moon, there isn’t much hope of a quick resupply when stocks get low.

Previous lunar missions have shown that there is probably water around the poles, so that is where Artemis will probably be sent once the design is perfected.

I for one am interested in the volume of stories that you could come up with for a lunar base – there’s sabotage, of course, and aliens, but also psychological dramas about low numbers of people trapped in a confined space together for long periods of time, and the possibility of some disaster befalling Earth or the team’s contact with it, leaving them stranded and the last hope for all mankind.

What other ideas can you think of?

The Author

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something martial artist who runs two Brownie packs and works full time. She somehow still finds time to write.

Her favourite genres are near-future and alternate world science fiction and fantasy.

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