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Red Desert - Point of No Return by [Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli]

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Red Desert - Point of No Return Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 43 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Beautiful, introspecting, intense science fiction. In the end, the real planet to be explored is us." - WIRED.it

"An engaging, credible, suspenseful narrative." - Tom's Hardware Italy

"Any of the events in this novella could be happening in space right now, and that's whatmakes this story so interesting." - Readers' Favorite

"A well-written tale, which goes far beyond the commonplace storylines one usual finds in SF books about Mars." - The Kindle Book Review

From the Author


What do you have to know before exploring Mars?
 
Here is a short list of terms you will encounter while reading the book, whose meaning could be a bit obscure to you.
Of course if you are a scientist, a space exploration enthusiast or even a spaceexploration professional you'll know all of them, but if you are just a common reader with no particular science education, this list might come in handy.
After the definition of each term you can find something related to Mars or the story of "Red Desert", which would possibly make the list interesting even if you are an expert.
 
Aeolian turbines (or wind turbines). These are devices that convert kinetic energies from the wind into electrical power. Since Mars is quite a windy planet, such devices might be useful to produce renewable energy. The drawback is that the Martian atmosphere is thin, just 1% of Earth one, so this can be a limit to the amount of energy converted even with very strong winds.
Station Alpha has got two huge Aeolian turbines.

Airlock.This is a device that allow people and object to pass between two environments with a different air pressure. It includes a chamber with two airtight doors and an air pump able to equalise the pressure inside the chamber to the one of the other environments connected to it by means of an airtight door, so that it can be opened.
An airlock must be used on Mars, for instance, to exit or entering the habitat where the colonisers are living (Station Alpha).
You need to wear a Mars suit for exiting the station!

Airtight door.This a door that, when closed, is hermetically sealed so that air cannot pass through it.
Doors at Station Alpha are controlled by the AI, but who controls the AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI). This is the human-like intelligence exhibited by machines or software.
Station Alpha has got its on AI, same applies to the Isis, the spacecraft which brought the colonisers to Mars, to the helmet unit and to the on-board computer of the rovers.
The AI is a software acting like a human intelligence, but it is programmed my humans, who might alter it!

Augmented reality. This is a technology which enhances one's current perception of reality, by adding to it computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics, etc. The user sees these additional elements before their eyes just like they are part of reality.
Augmented reality is implemented in the helmet unit of the Mars suit, assisting the astronauts during their extravehicular activities on the planet surface.

Carbon dioxide. This is a gas also called carbonic anhydride and is a natural occurring chemical compound composed by two oxygen atoms and one carbon atom. Carbon dioxide is typically produced by the combustion of coal or hydrocarbons, the fermentation of organic matter and the respiration of all living beings. 
This gas is the main component of Mars's atmosphere. It is also available in the planet in its solid state, called dry ice, which you can found in the polar areas together with water ice.
Carbon dioxide is a poisonous gas, too. Too much of it in the air can kill a person; therefore carbon dioxide filters are used in the rovers. The problem is when they are exhausted.
Anna's rover has got enough oxygen and carbon dioxide filters for fifty hours only. What is going to happen next?

Dust storm. A dust storm is a meteorological phenomenon during which a strong wind blows small particles of sand or dirt from a dry surface, transports them to another place where they are deposited. In general it is also called sand storm, but the term dust storm is more suitable when talking about Mars, where the atmosphere is so thin that it can lift only tiny particles.
Dust storms are very frequent on the Red Planet. They can partly block the solar radiation for long periods and preventing the orbiters to have a clear sight on the surface of the planet.
Anna will encounter a dust storm at the beginning of her journey, which will help her disappear into the desert.
 
Extravehicular activity (EVA). It's an activity done by an astronaut when going outside a spacecraft beyond Earth's atmosphere. That means the astronaut must wear a spacesuit and is completely reliant on it for environmental support. It is also called spacewalk.
Since the Martian atmosphere cannot sustain human life, a walk on the surface of Mars can also be considered a kind of EVA, even when you are not getting out from avehicle (e.g. you are in a pressurised building).
Every time you exit Station Alpha or a pressurised rover you are basically doing an extravehicular activity.
 
Habitat (or Hab). It's a modular, pressurised building on the surface of a planet whose atmosphere is unable to sustain human life, which is completely self-sufficient and separated by the outside.
Station Alpha is a habitat on Mars.
 
Johnson Space Center (JSC). This centre, whose complete name is Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, is a NASA complex for human spaceflight training, research and flight control, located in Houston, Texas. This is the place where US and international astronauts are trained.
The crew of Isis mission was trained at the centre, which in the story also includes a dedicated building for Mars mannedexploration called Ares Building.
 
Launch window. It is the optimal period during which a mission should be launched so that the spacecraft can take advantage of the gravitational forces to travel toward its destination in the shortest possible time.
The launch window for Mars occurs approximately every two Earth years.
 
Lunae Planum. It is a large region mostly located in the northern hemisphere of Mars. Though it can appear as a flatland, it also includes many impact craters and dry river beds caused by water in early history of the Red Planet, which interrupt the plains and highlands. In its southern border it meets Valles Marineris, the most complex canyon of the Solar System.
Station Alpha is located in Lunae Planum.
 
Mars's gravity. The surface gravity (g) of an astronomical object is the gravitational acceleration experienced at its surface. Earth's gravity is indicated as 1 g. Since Mars is smaller than Earth so is its gravity, which is 0.38 g, i.e. 38% of Earth's gravity.
Mars colonisers feel just a little more that one third of their actual weight.
 
Ophir Chasma. It is a large canyon included in Valles Marineris. Ophir Chasma is located in the northern part of it, south of Lunae Planum.
This is where Anna is apparently heading for.
 
Ophir Planum. It is another large, flat region of Mars, connected both to Lunae Planum and Valles Marineris.
One of the habs for Hera mission (the previous failed Mars mission) is located there.
 
Photovoltaic panel (or solar panel). It is a set of solar photovoltaic modules electrically connected. Each module includes an assembly of solar cells. A solar panel can produce electricity from the solar radiation.
Station Alpha is equipped with a photovoltaic system, including many panels, which is the main power supply source for the habitat. A photovoltaic panel is also installed on the roof of the pressurised rovers.
 
Regolith. It is a layer of material, including dust, soil, broken rock and the like, covering solid rock. It is present in all terrestrial planets and moons.
Mars is covered by regolith including sand, dust, rocks and boulders.
 
Valles Marineris. It is a huge canyon system running approximately along Mars's equator. It is the most complex canyon of the Solar System. There are various theories about its origins, one of which says that it was shaped by carbon dioxide escaping the deep rock layers.
This is the place that Anna dreamt to visit when she was a child.
 
Now you are ready to start the exploration. Put on your suit, lock your helmet, and get on the rover with Anna. 
Mars is waiting for you!

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00L979374
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli; 1st edition (June 24, 2014)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ June 24, 2014
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 2239 KB
  • Simultaneous device usage ‏ : ‎ Unlimited
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 114 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 43 ratings

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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
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Linda Acaster
2.0 out of 5 stars Writing Good; Not a Novel. Felt Cheated.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 23, 2021
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TinTiger
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Recommend Red Desert.🐯🐯🐯🐯🐯
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2016
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Sara L.
5.0 out of 5 stars A breathtaking adventure to the unknown
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 7, 2015
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Carroll Grabham
5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of intrigue in this hard scifi thriller.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 28, 2020
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Henry
4.0 out of 5 stars Good start but not really a full book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 5, 2015
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