Pioneer 10 blasted into space from Cape Canaveral on March 2nd 1972 on top of an Atlas-Centaur rocket. Its primary mission was to photograph Jupiter but in early 1973 it became the first spacecraft to traverse the asteroid belt. Imaging of Jupiter began late 1973 and the closest approach was 132,252 km in December 1973.

There were two very unique aspects of this mission. This would be the first manmade object to leave our solar system and travel forever towards the stars and secondly a gold plaque – see picture below – was bolted to the spacecraft.762px-Pioneer10-plaque_tilt

The plaque depicts a man and woman and  shows the silhouette of the Pioneer craft. Further, there is information on our location in the galaxy and data depicting scientific values of key parameters on Earth. Back then I wondered if this plaque would ever be seen again and the grains of a story formed in my mind. But it would be 45 years before I wrote  and published the scifi trilogy – Quest of the Dicepterons!


‘Pioneer 10 spacecraft sends last signal – after more than 30 years, it appears that the venerable Pioneer 10 spacecraft has sent its last signal to Earth. Pioneer’s last, very weak signal was received on 23rd January 2003. NASA engineers report that Pioneer 10’s radioisotope power source has decayed and it may not have enough power to send further transmissions to Earth.’

‘And now,’ continued the NASA spokesman, ‘Pioneer 10 is the most distant manmade object at over 16 billion kilometres from Earth. Pioneer 10 will now continue to coast silently as a ghost ship through deep space into interstellar space heading generally for the red star Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull – a mere 68 light years away.’ 


Pioneer 10 is today [29/12/2017] approximately 17.8 billion kilometres from Earth in the direction of Taurus and the star Beta Tau. It is not now the most distant manmade object as it has been overtaken by Voyager 1 at 17.9 billion kilometres.

The location of Pioneer 10 is estimated by extrapolation of its last known signal in 2003, so it may not be where NASA thinks it is!

What if something caused it to change course by 90 degrees and accelerate to rendezvous with Cloud Planet 132 years later. Perhaps you might propose how this could happen or if you want to find out read – Quest of the Dicepterons.    

                     IMAGINE LIFE ELSEWHERE?                         






Our sun is one of over 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy and there are more than 100 billion galaxies in the universe which was formed about 4.5 billion years ago.

 Life on Earth has existed for many hundreds of millions of years and in our humanoid form, for only the last 10,000.

It is the author’s belief that considering the vastness of space and the sheer numbers of stars, it is highly probable we are not alone and that parallel or very different life forms have evolved elsewhere. Within our solar system they will certainly be far more primitive than us but as we move out to the stars the chances of life comparable or more advanced increase.

Our nearest star is Proximo Centuari about 5 light years away and at 8.3 light years distant is Lalande 21185 in the constellation Ursa Major. This latter star has two confirmed planets in orbit which are gas giants like Jupiter.


During the last five years, the number of identified stars with planets has grown dramatically. The latest count [25/12/17] is 3572 exoplanets with 53 earth-like worlds.

The most exciting find recently is Trappist-1, a dwarf red star 39 light years away. A huddle of seven worlds, all close in size to Earth, and perhaps warm enough for water and the life it can sustain, has been spotted around this faint star in the constellation of Aquarius.

Surely now it is only a matter of time before we find the perfect ‘Earth-like’ candidate and identify the all important chemical building blocks for life?


But what if something finds us first? Or maybe it already has and we are unaware of it?!

In other galaxies, where conditions could be very different from the Milky Way, who knows what kind of beings may have evolved and what level of intelligence they have achieved?


Watch my trailer and see what inspired me to write a scifi trilogy about life elsewhere in the Universe.

Follow the link below to find out more, perhaps read the start of my stories and maybe get your own copies which are available in e-book and paperback.







During the past 20 posts I have tried to take you, the reader, through a technical journey of feasibility of space travel to the stars. I believe this will be possible by the mid 22nd century and that the necessary technologies will have been developed by then.

But why go to the stars? The simple answer is because they are there! Mankind has always strived to conquer the four corners of the Earth, has visited the Moon and will in the next few decades land on Mars.

But ultimately we may have to find another habitable planet. Look at the damage we are doing to our own ‘home’ because we are not taking the environmental issues seriously. Look at the population explosion and the many factions on this planet that are focussed on its destruction. I fear for the future of our world during the next couple of centuries. hs-2009-25-e-web

But the big question is still – is there life elsewhere? – And I am utterly convinced there is. I am sure we will soon discover evidence in our own solar system of relatively simple life-forms that existed [on Mars] or may exist now in the sub-surface oceans of Titan, Saturn’s moon. But what about life as we see it all around us? There could be a billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way galaxy and there are billions of galaxies in the Universe. I have shown how the building blocks for life have been formed in the furnaces of dying stars and then flung to all parts of the cosmos during Supernovae.

In pure numbers terms, life must have evolved elsewhere – but what would it look like? If there had not been an asteroid collision 66 million years ago on Earth then this blog might be being written by a highly intelligent dinosaur! 

In our humanoid form we have evolved over the last 200,000 years but look what we have done in the last 200 years and where we might be in a further couple of centuries. But our timescale is minute compared to the age of the Universe – what if, somewhere, intelligent ‘life’ has evolved for millions or even hundreds of millions of years? How sophisticated might that be! Ghostscript 24 bit color image dump Ghostscript 24 bit color image dump

I have imagined how life, similar to our own, might have evolved at a nearby star. I have also ‘imagined the unimaginable’ – what if something has evolved for hundreds of millions of years – what might that be capable of? This is the basis for my trilogy – Quest of the Dicepterons – and the first two volumes – The Blue People of Cloud Planet and Disaster Earth set the scene for an amazing journey of discovery. Volume 3 – The Quanoxy Zeric Galaxy is currently being written.                                                                           


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In the last post I hope I explained how all the elements and building blocks for life came from the death throes of exploding stars. But having produced these ingredients and flung them far and wide throughout the cosmos, we are still a long way from producing life.

The key basic elements for life [as we know it] are hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon. These give us a protective  atmosphere around a planet, water – the key medium in which life first started and the more complex amino acids and proteins that are in every life form.

But although these elements were carried to billions of planets in billions of galaxies, life could only form if a very special set of circumstances were met.

The first of these is the position of the planet within the solar system of a particular star – the habitable zone.

habitable zone


Basically this is defined as a range of distance from the star where water can exist on the surface of a planet, or below the surface, in one or more of its forms – ice, liquid water, water vapour or steam. But crucially the planet must be able to hold on to this water for the millions of years necessary for life to form and evolve.

Our solar system gives us a good example of the habitable zone which stretches from the orbits of Venus to that of Mars. Outside of these orbits is Mercury which is so near the Sun that water cannot remain on its surface because of its high temperatures. Outside of Mars orbit we have planets that are either gas giants e.g. Jupiter or cold rocky planets far from a recognised habitable area.

Situated in the most perfect position with respect to its star is Earth where temperature, the presence of an atmosphere and an abundance of liquid water have resulted in the most amazing diversity of life.

ku-mediumBut being in the right position i.e. in the habitable zone, does not guarantee life or sustained life. The planet must be able to hold on to its life making elements and protect itself against solar radiation.

The best examples of this are Earth and Mars, both within the habitable zone but one is bristling with life whereas the other is a dusty rocky planet. However, about 4 billion years ago Mars had extensive water on its surface and a reasonable atmosphere and life may have formed in a primitive way. I hope the current Mars rover will find incontrovertible proof of this.


So what happened? In simple terms, Earth held onto its water and atmosphere whereas Mars did not. Earth’s iron core generates a magnetosphere which deflects the damaging solar radiation [see previous post]. However Mars has no protective shell and the result of the continuous solar bombardment was to slowly strip away the atmosphere and then the liquid water. Now there are small amounts of ice at the poles and below the surface and very little atmosphere. If life did form on Mars the evidence will be below the surface.

There may be life outside the habitable zone in our Solar System. Saturn’s moon, Titan has an atmosphere and oceans below the surface. So it has water and there is every chance that life may have formed and evolved below the surface.


So “is there life elsewhere?” – You bet there is!

Why not take a journey with Olivia Medici and Scott Parker to the star Seren and learn how I envisage that life may have evolved elsewhere. Be prepared to discover the unimaginable!                                                                                


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