Hard Science Fiction by Brandon Q. Morris
Surprising candidates for extraterrestrial life Life

Surprising candidates for extraterrestrial life

When astronomers look for places outside Earth where life might exist, they often first check the habitable zone of star systems. After all, the Milky Way alone is home to 100 to 400 billion stars and at least that many planets. Habitable means that water should exist there in liquid form. Water, as far as we know, is the elixir of life. It has made life on Earth possible and is essential for the continuation of all living systems on the planet. This explains why scientists are constantly searching for evidence of water on other solid bodies in the…
Brandon Q. Morris on the Internet and in social media Book

Brandon Q. Morris on the Internet and in social media

When I published my first book years ago, the plan was clear: there would also be a website for the book, plus maybe a newsletter, and a Facebook page probably had to be there, too. Well, the world has changed. I prefer to be where my readers are - and that means you can now find me on many other platforms as well. But after all, it would be boring if you read and saw the same thing everywhere. So it's time for a little overview: Where can you find what from Brandon Q. Morris and how often? Website:…
Water oceans in the crust of icy planets Life

Water oceans in the crust of icy planets

A pressure 200,000 to 400,000 times that of Earth's atmosphere, plus temperatures around 1500 Kelvin - these sound like uncomfortable conditions. They prevail where, in water-ice planets of the size of Neptune, the ice merges into the rocky core. Does liquid water exist under these conditions, and if so, how does it interact with the planet's rocky seafloor? New experiments show that on water-ice planets between the size of our Earth and up to six times that size, water selectively leaches magnesium from typical rock minerals. An international team of researchers led by Taehyun Kim of Yonsei University in Seoul,…
The first millisecond of the universe: How big bang matter drips out of the tap Astrophysics

The first millisecond of the universe: How big bang matter drips out of the tap

The beginning of the universe is notoriously difficult to investigate. Anyone who has read my book "The Disruption" (coming soon in English) knows the problem. This is not so much because it happened so long ago. Whereas 13.8 billion years are also a long time. It is more difficult for scientists because they have not yet fully understood the physics of the great beginning. Under the extreme, today hardly in the experiment to be imitated conditions at that time still completely different, superordinate laws applied, which we must still find out slowly. There are already some suggestions. And there…
The first spiral galaxy Astrophysics

The first spiral galaxy

Well, it may not have been the first spiral galaxy researchers have now discovered in data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), but it was the oldest and most distant (which is synonymous in astronomy) to date. We observed it at a time when the universe was only 1.4 billion years old. Today it is almost ten times as old. The discovery of a galaxy with a spiral structure at such an early date is an important clue to solving the classic questions of astronomy: "How and when did spiral galaxies form?" "I was excited because I had never…
Watching a star being born Astrophysics

Watching a star being born

Starforge is the name of a simulation program developed by an international team of researchers that enables the most realistic and highest-resolution 3D simulation of star formation to date. The result is a visually stunning, mathematically driven marvel that allows viewers to float around a colorful cloud of gas in 3D space as they watch sparkling stars form. STARFORGE (Star Formation in Gaseous Environments) simulates an entire gas cloud for the first time, with masses 100 times greater than previously possible. It is also the first simulation to simultaneously model star formation, evolution, and dynamics, taking into account feedbacks…
What is hard science fiction, anyway? Astrophysics

What is hard science fiction, anyway?

Brandon Q. Morris writes hard science fiction. But what does that actually mean? I like to explain it this way: What happens in my books could happen in reality. There are no laws of physics that would prevent it. You could also call it "realistic" science fiction, although the fiction remains, of course. In the end, it is a story that I tell. Apart from the degree of hardness (more on that below), hard science fiction also tends to depict the conflict between the hero and the environment (in the form of the universe and its manifold phenomena) instead of…
The noise of interstellar space Astrophysics

The noise of interstellar space

The vacuum between the stars is not empty. The interstellar medium consists of dust and gas, which in turn can be in atomic, molecular and ionized form. Its density varies widely. Interestingly, it is greatest in cool, dense regions where matter is mainly in molecular form and one could count up to 1 million molecules per cubic centimeter. In hot, diffuse regions, on the other hand, matter is mainly ionized and one finds only a single ion per 10,000 cubic centimeters. Compared to, say, the capabilities of a vacuum chamber constructed by humans, with still ten billion particles per…