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  • 26 Apr 2021 5:01 PM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    This is the first of a continuing series of columns featuring the ideas of the writers and editors of SDWEG.  If you have ideas or techniques or interesting stories for our members, send your column along to rilakin@gmail.com.  —Webmaster

    by Bob Boze

    My coauthor and editing partner Robyn Bennett (pen name, Casey Fae Hewson) and I (Bob Boze) live 6,600 miles apart. I speak American English; she speaks British English. So, how does that benefit our readers or the writers we edit for?

    To start with, when we’re not visiting one another, our primary means of communication is writing. Aside from passing our or someone else’s manuscript back and forth daily, we’ve been known to send 60 to 80 emails in one day. This usually happens when we’re in the planning stage and batting around ideas for our next book.

    Five years ago, we started working together by helping Robyn with the description for her next book. Immediately, we noticed how much we thought alike. Not only thought alike but wrote alike.

    That means when we’re writing and our minds are in sync, we complement one another, our transitions fit like puzzle pieces, and our writing and proofing of each other's work blends and flows. As we write, we each see the picture the other was painting, and we add to it. We feel the emotion, the smile, the hair raising on our arms, or the shivers the idea originator intended.

    Aha, you say. Life is easy when you’re both in sync, but how about if one of you jumps out of sync?

    Here again, our partnership works well; it sends up a red flag when we’re proofing each other’s work or someone else’s, and it gets tagged: "I don't understand… I can't see what is being said… how does this fit in… ?”    

    You, the reader, never get to see any of this, hopefully. But, for Robyn and I, we pride ourselves on painting pictures and feelings in everything we write: every sentence, every paragraph, every chapter. They all have to add to the picture, make you see what we’re seeing, feel what we’re feeling, or paint a new image or feeling in your mind.

    In our minds, or maybe in each other's minds, would be a better way to put it; we want to be sure you see what we see. Feel with we feel. We want to pull the emotions to the surface that put you in our place, make you go where we want you to go.

    It’s here that our intelligent readers (that would be all of you) will say, "Wait, if you two think and write so much alike, what makes you think we’re going to see the same picture?”

    Good question!

    It’s not always the same picture or feeling for us. Sometimes it's really close or totally different. But when it is, our sixth sense kicks in, and we'll question it. “This is what I’m seeing… feeling… you made me smile… is that what you intended?”

    You see, we’re both romantics. We’re both dreamers. We’re both observers. But our backgrounds are different enough that our emotions, images, and feelings aren't always the same. And, let's not forget the language. Yip, we both speak and write in English, but our word usage varies all over the place.

    Am I forgetting something? Ah yes, sense of humor! Yip, definitely different.

    All this is well and good, but what does it mean for you? Why would you care?

    First, because two views are better than one, and, we think, you get the best of both. When we differ, it always seems to be on the important stuff, the things you’ll care about.

    Second, we apply the things I’ve mentioned to whatever we’re editing.

    Here’s also where our thinking alike comes back into play.

    The nit-picky stuff gets recognized as just that and settled quite easily. But we both recognize when it’s something important to the story that it’s worth agonizing and fighting over. We don't fight since it's hard to do via email, but email helps because it forces us to explain in writing what we think is wrong and why.

    When that happens, we try to delicately and subtly point out what might not be quite right with the person’s writing or direction or where it may have gone off track. We offer up suggestions to pull it back. Sometimes we don’t agree with each other’s suggestions, and that's where we either decide to discuss the point a little bit more, or one of us graciously concedes, but never at the cost of losing the reader. This, too, adds to our editing skills because we’re used to carefully explaining why something should be changed and being sensitive to feelings.

    Here again, if we can’t agree on something, it gets rewritten until we’re both happy with it. We’ve even been known to change the storyline or a subplot. Why? Because if it's not working for one of us, it's likely not going to work for the readers; maybe not all of them but enough to warrant taking a different approach.

    So thinking alike is great; so is thinking differently. It’s when those differences break the surface of the generally calm sea that we try and work through it as best we can; all the time thinking about how it affects the story and how the reader will feel; whether it’s your reader or ours.

    ***


    Bob Boze lives in the South Bay area of San Diego, and his partner, Robyn Bennett, lives in Blenheim on New Zealand’s South Island. Both are published romance and non-fiction authors, editors, workshop presenters, speakers, bloggers, and members of the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild. Together they have over fifteen published works, several short stories and are collaborating on several more novels, short stories, articles, and other works.

    Bob and Robyn also offer a variety of writer and business services through their business website, Writing Allsorts. To learn more about them, their published works, and the services they offer, go to https://writingallsorts.com/   

    ***


    Their latest published work is Route 66, now available on Amazon.com


  • 24 Apr 2021 11:43 AM | Rick Lakin, Webmaster (Administrator)

    Courtesy Pipette.com

    April 21, 2021

    Perseverance: The New Mars Rover



     By Pipette.com Team





    In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued its rapid spread across the world, science did not rest: not for finding vaccines and treatments, and not for exploring the Universe. Specifically, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Admiration) continued with its long-anticipated return to Mars with the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission.

     

    The Mission

    Why did NASA launch another rover to Mars? Scientists wanted to know if there were signs of ancient life on the Red Planet. Its previous rovers had performed their tasks with the technology of their time. It became paramount to put a more sophisticated rover on Mars, one with the potential to collect samples from the planet and return them to Earth. This has never been done before.

    The Perseverance rover is tasked to look for microscopic life evidence from the distant past, since the geology of the world indicates it was much warmer and wetter many millions of years ago. The perfect location target for landing the rover is that of Jezero Crater on Mars. Future missions will put the samples Perseverance collects into an orbiter to take back to Earth. There, scientists will study the samples with equipment that cannot, at this time, be used robotically on Mars.

     

    Why Jezero Crater?

    Scientists chose Jezero Crater on Mars as the perfect landing location for Perseverance. Why is that? This crater is positioned along the western side of Isidis Planitia, which is a crater caused by an impact on Mars in ancient times.

    So, what’s so special about this one of many impact craters on the planet? Jezero Crater was once a river delta. That fact implies that the significant water present eons ago could have provided a habitable zone at least for microbial life.

     

    The Launch

    Borne aloft in a perfect launch by United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket, on July 30, 2020 from Florida’s Cape Canaveral, the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission began its journey toward our neighbor planet, Mars. The upper stage of the Atlas V’s Centaur put the craft into orbit around Earth. Then the spacecraft separated from Centaur and set course for Mars.

     

    What Is Perseverance Carrying?

    Perseverance is a sophisticated, 2.633-pound rover carrying seven instruments to analyze Mars geology and potential astrobiology. Also included is the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which will attempt a test flight after a period of a couple of months. This helicopter will give data to scientists on how to explore Mars from the air.

    Perseverance also bears several cameras, the caching system to collect and store samples, and a special generator to keep it warm and provide it electricity during its travels in Jezero Crater.

    Perseverance houses a number of instruments required for the delicate analysis of Mars geology and chemistry. It is absolutely essential to have these sophisticated devices to ascertain the makeup of the rocks, what minerals and compounds they contained, and whether any bear organic molecules. That would lend to potential evidence for past Martian life, as organic molecules contain carbon, which is a fundamental element for life on Earth.

    One fascinating thing on board the new rover is MOXIE, or the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment. The goal of MOXIE is to try to make oxygen from the quite thin Martian air, which is mainly comprised of carbon dioxide. This in turn could help future human Mars missions in the goal to make oxygen for habitable research stations and other goals.

    Perseverance also comes equipped with RIMFAX, the Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment. This is the first ground-penetrating radar that has ever been used on the Martian surface. Scientists can use RIMFAX to study anything of interest below ground, including the possibility of water ice.

     

    The Landing

    The world watched in tense anticipation as Perseverance began its descent to the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021. Touchdown was confirmed by mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, at 12:55 PM Pacific time.

    Wild exuberance made its way around the globe. This was a triumph of technology and determination, and amidst the backdrop of the pandemic, it shone a ray of hope among dark times.

    The landing process itself provided invaluable data about the Martian atmosphere. This can be used to aid future missions, including those with humans, to navigate their safe path to the surface of Mars.

    On March 5, 2021, Perseverance took its first test drive, rolling into a busy future for the rover.

     

    The Ultimate Goals

    In addition to finding evidence of ancient life on Mars, researchers want to find out how to make it possible for humans to travel there and eventually research there in person. Human missions to Mars require extraordinary planning; we have never set foot on worlds beyond our Earth and Moon.

    Additionally, it takes seven months at our rockets’ current top speed to reach Mars. This will require significant consideration to the health and safety of the crew that travel there. Every facet of every mission to Mars will help bring us closer to potentially inhabiting the Red Planet, and make possible missions farther into our Solar System and beyond.

    Humanity’s very nature is that of exploration and discovery. By exploring the other planets, we learn more about Earth’s own development. We also learn more about our place in the Universe. As we have sought distant horizons, we have endured many challenges. But if there is one certainty: if we keep striving, we can persevere.

     

    Sources:

    Perseverance Mars Rover https://www.nasa.gov/perseverance

    ULA Launce: Atlas V Mars 2020 https://www.ulalaunch.com/missions/archived-launched/atlas-v-mars-2020

    Mars 2020 Mission Perseverance Rover: MOXIE https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/spacecraft/instruments/moxie/

    NASA Science Mars Exploration Program: NASA, ULA Launch Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission to Red Planet https://mars.nasa.gov/news/8724/nasa-ula-launch-mars-2020-perseverance-rover-mission-to-red-planet/

    NASA Press Release: Touchdown! NASA's Mars Perseverance Rover Safely Lands on Red Planet https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/touchdown-nasas-mars-perseverance-rover-safely-lands-on-red-planet

    NASA Press Release: NASA’s Perseverance Drives on Mars’ Terrain for First Time https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-s-perseverance-drives-on-mars-terrain-for-first-time

    NASA Science Mars Exploration Program: Perseverance Rover’s Landing Site: Jezero Crater https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/mission/science/landing-site/




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