Greenbelt, MD – Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC—the largest publisher of science fiction in the world—and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, are excited to announce a special public speaking engagement for local high schools and universities with Goddard scientist Dr. John Panek and William Forstchen, the New York Times bestselling author of One Second After and the new release PILLAR TO THE SKY (February 11, 2014), on Wednesday, Feb. 19th, from 10:00-11:30 AM at Goddard’s Visitor Center.
Forstchen will be signing copies of PILLAR TO THE SKY after the presentation, and attendees will be invited to tour the center’s breathtaking “Science on a Sphere” room, which is a mesmerizing visualization system developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that uses computers and video projectors to display animated data of objects in the solar system on the outside of a suspended, 6-foot diameter, white sphere.
The event celebrates the partnership forged between Tor and NASA in releasing the new book, which is the first title in a thrilling new series of “NASA-Inspired Works of Fiction” that are intended to not only educate, but also encourage young adults to examine the rewarding careers that science and technology have to offer. With the enormous popularity of science fiction—countless people who work in the fields of science and technology credit science fiction as a significant inspiration for their career choice—the ultimate goal of the series is to raise awareness and inspire the study of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), while educating the general public on the significant role NASA plays in everyday lives.
In PILLAR TO THE SKY, Forstchen rises to the challenge of creating answers to the very real problems of the 21st century—dwindling oil supplies, increasingly dangerous pollution levels—by building a space elevator that will give us nearly limitless access to space. Using a fast-paced storyline replete with action, adventure, danger, and intrigue, PILLAR TO THE SKY is a remarkable combination of exhilarating thriller and cutting-edge science that vividly illustrates the endless opportunities that a space elevator could create, as well as highlighting some of the invaluable projects NASA is working on.
PILLAR TO THE SKY deftly explores some of the benefits a space elevator could provide, including:
- Limitless and pollution-free energy
- A means to “export” dangerous pollutants and hazardous materials out of our environment
- Low gravity environments that offer a return to mobility for the elderly and handicapped
- Tourism and recreation
About the Author William R. Forstchen, Ph.D., is a professor of history at Montreat College in North Carolina. He received his doctorate from Purdue University and his areas of specialization include the history of technology. In addition to One Second After, Forstchen is co-author—along with Newt Gingrich—of a New York Times bestselling series of Civil War novels, including Grant Comes East and Day of Retreat. He currently resides in North Carolina.
About the Expert John Panek, Ph.D. is an Aerospace Engineer in the Mission Systems Engineering Branch at the Goddard Space Flight Center, currently working on the TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) mission. At NASA since 2000, Dr. Panek focuses primarily on space flight mission design and has participated in the formulation of over 40 mission and instrument concepts. Previously he helped design and build cryogenic instruments (XRS, EXACT) at GSFC, JPL, and Fermilab. Dr. Panek holds a Ph.D. from Florida State University and an M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He lives in Bowie, MD, with his wife and two children.
About the Goddard Space Flight Center NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation's largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe. Named for American rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the center was established in 1959 as NASA's first space flight complex. Goddard and its several facilities are critical in carrying out NASA's missions of space exploration and scientific discovery.
About the Book From William Forstchen, the New York Times bestselling author of One Second After, comes Pillar to the Sky, a towering epic to rank with Douglas Preston’s Blasphemy and Michael Crichton’s Prey...
Pandemic drought, skyrocketing oil prices, dwindling energy supplies and wars of water scarcity threaten the planet. Only four people can prevent global chaos.
Gary Morgan—a brilliant, renegade scientist is pilloried by the scientific community for his belief in a space elevator: a pillar to the sky, which he believes will make space flight fast, simple and affordable.
Eva Morgan—a brilliant and beautiful scientist of Ukranian descent, she has had a lifelong obsession to build a pillar to the sky, a vertiginous tower which would mine the power of the sun and supply humanity with cheap, limitless energy forever.
Erich Rothenberg—the ancient but revered rocket-scientist who labored with von Braun to create the first rockets and continued on to build those of today. A legend, he has mentored Gary and Eva for two decades, nurturing and encouraging their transcendent vision.
Franklin Smith—the eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire who will champion their cause, wage war with Congress and government bureaucracy and most important, finance their herculean undertaking.
The Goddard Space Flight Center—the novel’s pre-eminent hero, it’s enormous army of scientists, engineers and astronauts will design, machine, and build the space elevator. They will fight endless battles and overcome countless obstacles every step of the way.
This journey to the stars will not be easy—a tumultuous struggle filled with violence and heroism, love and death, spellbinding beauty and heartbreaking betrayal. The stakes could not be higher. Humanity's salvation will hang in the balance.
Tor Books | February 2014 | Hardcover | 400 pages