The end of the reading period is fast approaching, so I thought I’d better drop a couple of hints for those who have yet to submit anything.
I’ve seen a lot of stories set on, or in orbit about, alien worlds. Like the use of the word “spaceship”, this signals to me that a story is closer to traditional science fiction than it is to the authentic and realistic hard science fiction I want for Rocket Science. Of course, that doesn’t mean that an exoplanet is completely out as a story setting, but before using one ask yourself a few questions:
We have to date discovered nearly 700 exoplanets, and you can find data about pretty much all of them online. The vast majority, of course, are not habitable, but some do orbit in the Goldilocks Zone so a human colony, or even alien life, is not entirely implausible. However… those exoplanets are light years away from Earth. Trillions of kilometres away. And at the velocities we can currently attain, many lifetimes out of reach. So how did the spacecraft in your story reach the exoplanet? How much “magical” technology or science did you have to use to get it there? The more magical the tech in your story, the less likely it will be authentic or realistic, the less likely it will be the sort of story I’m looking for to buy for Rocket Science.
There’s an excellent post on Do the Math here which gives an indication of the distances involved in interplanetary and interstellar travel. It’s definitely worth a read.