Does Life Imitate Art or What? – Cidney Swanson

Does Life Imitate Art or What?

Apparently it does. At least, NASA is hoping to take a page from an important bit of the SAVING MARS story. isee3_traj

If you’re my age or even a bit younger, you probably remember when Halley’s Comet last came to call. At the time, there was a mania for sending a craft into the tail of the comet to find out what we could of its composition. The US, rather than missing out, chose to divert an existing satellite (used to observe solar phenomenon) into the tail of both Halley’s and the Giacobini-Zinner Comet. However, the scientist who “stole” the satellite promised to try to return it in the future.

Fast forward thirty-one years to the present day. Apparently, the sun and the earth and the satellite formerly grabbing comet data are now in positions such that the satellite can be returned to its original task.


No one working in the space industry today knows how to talk to the aged satellite. Even the hardware required has been dumped in favor of upgraded equipment.
Sound familiar?

I was so tickled to hear about this, and of course I am hoping they can pull an Ethan Jaarda and get that satellite back where they’d like it to go! Check out the article here (especially the diagram showing the orbital maneuvers necessary to get the equipment out to the comets!)

Anybody else have a “life imitates art” moment to share? I’d love to hear it!

5 Replies to “Does Life Imitate Art or What?”

  1. you shouldn’t be surprised. Good scifi writers always lead the way for true science. Scientist for the most part don’t have creative minds like a writer does.

  2. Now that you mentioned the Saving Mars series, wonder when the last book will be released?
    Can’t wait to read the last one!

    You will just have to write another similar series so we can buy some more of your books!

    Please let us know.


  3. How funny you should mention this… 🙂 I was just reading that part of
    your series last week, and I thought about the ISEE probe.

    There’s an excellent “life imitates art” example involving Arthur C. Clarke…
    I’ll look it up for you.

  4. Here we are!

    From Wikipedia on Saturn’s moons in fiction:

    “In Arthur C. Clarke’s novel 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), astronaut Dave Bowman finds an enigmatic alien monolith waiting for him on the surface of Iapetus (referred to as “Japetus” throughout). Iapetus’s two tone coloration is caused by a vast white ellipse on the moon’s surface, with the monolith appearing as a black dot in its exact center. When the Voyager space probes arrived at Iapetus thirteen years later, they discovered that there was indeed a black region within the moon’s brighter hemisphere. Clarke reports that Carl Sagan, who was on the Voyager imaging team, sent him a photo, with the note “Thinking of you …”.[1] Because of difficulties achieving a convincing model of Saturn’s rings, the sequels and film version of 2001: A Space Odyssey relocated the monolith to an orbit around Jupiter.”

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