Saturday, June 29, 2019

Sailors of the Second Sun, by David L. Clements

★★★☆☆ Average

(Hard SF) A space probe flies by a nearby brown dwarf, but the AI keeps sending pictures of the same area, wasting the mission. (3,695 words; Time: 12m)

"Sailors of the Second Sun," by (edited by Trevor Quachri), appeared in issue 07-08|19, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2019.354 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: It’s a nice scientific problem: why does the AI think this region of the planet merits so much attention?

Con: I found it too hard to believe that a journalist would just happen to know how to operate the software for this mission or that the scientists working on it would be willing to work with her.

The science wasn’t very well researched. The WISE mission ruled out brown dwarf stars much colder than this one within ten light-years of Sol. Brown dwarfs that do burn deuterium are much hotter than this one, and they run out after just a hundred million years or so. Also, regular stars actually outnumber brown dwarfs by about six to one.

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