Friday, 22 May 2015

Mysteries In Space

Poul Anderson, Starfarers (New York, 1999).

In both the Technic History and the Hoka series (see also here), there is a planet so massive that its core survives its sun going supernova. In Starfarers also, a supernova-surviving planetary core is discovered, although this one is neither coated with supermetals nor inhabited. The mysteries surrounding the third core are:

Why does it display "'...rifts, grabens, highlands...'" (p. 264) instead of a smooth surface?

Did it acquire its atmosphere and ice from outgassing, from cometary impacts, from the supernova cloud or from some other process?

For me, another mystery comes when a Tahirian tells Captain Nansen:

"'Most of us would have kept knowledge of the black hole from you, for fear of what reckless things you may do.'" (p. 265)

And Nansen reflects, "Inevitable that that incident became known..." (ibid.)

What black hole and what incident? I am rereading the book very carefully but the text is so dense and information-packed that I have obviously missed something.

Addendum, 22 May: The black hole was introduced on p. 254.

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