Middle Grade Sci-Fi Research

While working on my MG Sci-Fi I have been doing some research about living in space, the history of space travel, and expected technology. I may not be able to travel through space, but I want my characters journey to have some authenticity to it. Today I will share some of my favourite finds so far.

Hands down favourite resource is Chris Hadfield’s youtube channel. Specifically I love his ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life in Space‘ playlist. Not only is Chris Hadfield a Canadian astronaut, but he was the first Canadian to command the International Space Station (ISS). While he was on ISS he had his son help him manage his social media including a twitter account with amazing pictures of earth from space. He got people interested in space in a way that I have never seen.

A great video reference for the history of the Apollo space missions is the mini series by Tom Hanks called From the Earth to the Moon. While it is not as relevant to what I am writing now, the information in that series has shaped more than a few pieces of my book. Before watching this series I don’t think I realized how much scientific training the astronauts underwent before each mission. I knew they had to learn to wear the gear and operate the technology. But I didn’t know they trained with a geologist to increase the chance of the samples they brought back to Earth being useful, for example.

Before I started the rough draft of this novel I spent some time in the children’s section of my local library reading non-fiction books about space, astronauts etc.  I found getting the information I needed at an age appropriate level helped set the tone for the facts I ended up using in the novel. I read a number of books, on a variety of topics. No single book jumped out as the ultimate source, but that was likely because I was looking for a broad base on the topic, not an in depth knowledge of a very specific subset.

Finally I did a lot of reading about creating gravity in space. This post on the Cornell University website was a great place to start. Once I had the basic concept I was able to do some reading about the math involved. This helped a lot when creating the space ship my characters live on. While I am writing science fiction, it is not a heavy science book. I have tried to keep what science I am using true, but for ease of story it is simplified.

Would you travel through space if you had the opportunity? Are you doing any research right now?

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