The Science and politics of The Hive:
When I wrote The Hive, I wanted the story of an alien invasion to have real scientific elements to it as well as political elements. For example, I needed an Earth antagonist so I cast China in that role. China, despite their claims of becoming a more open and market driven society, have continued a policy of human rights abuse, massive military expenditures, and repeated violations of treaties banning biological and chemical weapons. This being the case, I cast China�s Communist Party as a source of conflict in trying to form an international alliance to defeat an alien invasion.
The International Moon Base: This is a reality in 2018 due to a new �Space Race.� Once China lands on the moon in 2013, they claim large portions of it in violation of the 1967 Treaty of Outer Space, trigging a race to the Moon with Russia and the United States as the main partners building an International base.
The Lunar Far Side Telescope that provides photographic evidence of the invaders far beyond the orbit of Pluto uses mirror segments to form an optical surface 30 meters across or just under 100 feet in diameter. If this seems to stretch credibility, it shouldn�t as a telescope using an effective aperture of 16 meters is under construction right here on Earth. Certainly the Moon�s one-sixth gravity would make a 30 meter instrument practical.
The Hive: are a collective insect intelligence that evolved slowly on their home world. On Earth, insects are small due to their lack of lungs or means of oxygenating their blood through small openings. However, during the Carboniferous period (about 300 million years ago) the Earth had a much higher oxygen level then today with spiders averaging three feet across, seven foot long centipedes, dragonflies as big as Condors and scorpions over eight feet long. On the world of The Hive, insects have evolved more efficient means of oxygenating their blood so seven foot tall Hive soldiers would be possible.
The propulsion systems of the Earth�s defense fleet: I wanted to use a means of propulsion that could get out to the gas giants and the asteroid belt in weeks or months as opposed to years. Certainly by 2018-2019, nothing like a practical fusion drive would have been developed, so, instead I drew on technology from the 1950s and the 1960s. Surprisingly, fifty years ago, we were on the verge of building fast interplanetary spacecraft using nuclear power. The ships of the alliance, as well as China are all nuclear powered, using a system known as NERVA, that shot hydrogen fuel into the core of a hot reactor to produce thrust. This propulsion system produced far more thrust then chemical rockets and could run many times longer, building up to some very high velocities and making a journey to Mars or Jupiter a practical trip for a manned crew. (see web site)
The second propulsion system is Orion, which uses nuclear bombs that are exploded behind a large hemispherical plate to push a spacecraft along. This system was developed and tested up until the early 1960s. It could have worked and could have gotten an entire colony to Mars in a matter of weeks. (see web site)
The Hive, use fusion power for their ships like Daedalus, conceived of in the 1970s, using a fusion reactor to fuse Tritium isotope into a helium isotope and providing enough energy to push a spacecraft up to twenty five percent of the speed of light. The Hive, of course have a huge advantage in size and speed of their ships but this is not such a major factor within the confines of our solar system.
The Hive have been spreading for over 10,000 years but have just reached the star 61 Virginis, about 26 light-years from Earth. This is an interesting star. It is about 90 percent the size of our sun, rich in heavy elements, stable and slightly more orange then our own star. This would seem to be a perfect candidate for an Earth-like planet. However, the planet that does orbit this star has already been conquered by The Hive and our sun, is the next target star on their way to expansion across the Orion Arm of the galaxy.
Particle Beam Cannon: This weapon of the Earth defense fleet had been in development in the USSR in the mid to late 1980s. As far as I know, the Russian scientists were pretty far along on a working prototype as was the United States, This was all driven by what was about to become a very costly escalation in the arms race, into outer space. It was our collective good fortune (The US and the USSR) that Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union and cooler heads prevailed. However, once a technology has been developed, it is not all that difficult to resurrect it as the Earth alliance had done here.
Want to know more? Well, you�ll have to read the book, but I thought a little scientific background would be helpful here.
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