Today I am sharing a Q&A with Daniel Suarez, author of the new science-fiction novel, Delta-v.
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Q: What inspired Delta-v?
A: Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I was fascinated by space exploration. I caught every Shuttle launch on TV, inhaled science fiction, and imagined that thousands of people would be living and working in space by 2020.
And yet, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landings, we still haven’t expanded human presence in the solar system. In fact, no human being has traveled farther than 400 miles from Earth since 1973.
What happened? Many would say that the cost of space exploration proved too great, but given the existential risks of asteroid strikes, pandemics, climate change, overpopulation, nuclear war, and more, the cost of not venturing off-world could be extinction.
So much popular science fiction is set in the period well after humanity has established itself in the cosmos, but that future is by no means certain. We need to build it. My goal with Delta-v was to bridge the chasm between our present and the sci-fi future in space that so many of us imagine.
Fortunately, through my past novels, I’ve become acquainted with space entrepreneurs here in California and scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech, as well as at NASA headquarters in D.C.. These experts helped me understand the economic and technological challenges we must overcome to finally become a space-faring civilization.
Crucially, I learned there is nothing preventing us from establishing ourselves in deep space except the will to do it—as we did with the Apollo missions. We need only revise our fiscal and political priorities. More sobering, I also learned that the window to expand into space will not remain open forever. Any number of calamities here on Earth could permanently prevent us from making this leap. So we cannot wait any longer.
Embarking human industry and society into space will be necessary if we hope to offer a promising future to coming generations. I wrote Delta-v to inspire the spirit of adventure and exploration for this vital quest. Continue reading