Guest Author Diane Burton on Goldilocks Planets and MISSION TO NEW EARTH

mission to new earthI’ve known Diane as an author friend in the scifi romance world for so long now, I can’t even remember how we first met! She has a new novella out that’s on my To Be Read list!

Thank you, Veronica, for inviting me to your blog. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Goldilocks Planets

Have you heard the term “Goldilocks Planet” and wondered how planets and fairy tales are connected? Scientists use that term when referring to an Earth-like planet that could be habitable by humans. It’s not too cold, not too hot. It’s just right. That’s the simple definition.

NASA’s Kepler satellite with its massive telescope is scouting the heavens looking for that planet capable of sustaining humankind. In the last year, we’ve heard about Kepler finding such possible planets. In fact, I wrote about this topic on my blog in January 2015 when Kepler found 8 new planets.

Just last week, Kepler found one that is the closest yet. Just 4.2 light years away. Sounds close, right? Don’t pack your bags yet. Proxima b (the planet that orbits the star Proxima Centauri) is actually more than 24 trillion miles away. Still, it’s the closest Kepler has found. So far.

Why is this exciting news? Besides the scientific thrill of discovering something new? Humans have been exploring from the beginning of time. Early cavemen (and women) went beyond their immediate area looking for food to hunt or gather. We used to call Alaska the “final frontier.” Remember the words from Star Trek: Space…the final frontier?

But do we just want to explore? Might we want to live there?

Doomsday “prophets” claim Earth as we know it will end. I’m not a fan of dystopia or the apocalypse. But the thought that someday we humans may need a new home in the universe intrigues me. Like many writers, I love playing the “what if” game. What if Earth runs out of resources? What if there isn’t enough room for all of us? What would we do?

That’s the premise of my new science fiction romance novella Mission to New Earth. In the movie Interstellar, catastrophes ruined food crops, created a worse Dust Bowl than the one in the 1930s. Add overpopulation to similar catastrophes, and you can see the need to find a new home.

I’m not a harbinger of doom. My children probably won’t see that day coming and, hopefully, my grandchildren won’t either. But what if . . .

Good thing NASA and scientists around the world are looking for that Goldilocks planet.

The story:

Would you go on a one-way trip to explore a new planet? Would you do it to save humankind?

Earth’s overpopulation and dwindling resources force the United Earth Space Agency to expedite exploration of new planets for a possible new home. When new crises ensue—a giant tsunami and the threat of nuclear winter—the timeline changes. Eight years of training crammed into four. Sara Grenard and her team prepare for launch, but are they ready for the one-way trip? Will the Goldilocks planet prove just right for Earth’s inhabitants? Before time runs out.

Here are links to interesting articles about Kepler and its search for an inhabitable planet:

Excerpt from Mission to New Earth 

Marsh strode toward me with determination—so different from that easy-going swagger that caught my eye the first time I saw him four years ago at the White Sands Training Center. I never believed in love at first sight, but oh, mama. With dark-haired, dark-eyed Marsh, I fell hard. I must’ve done a great job hiding my feelings back then. He said he never knew—until a year later I pinned him on the exercise mat and kissed him. Yep, I took the initiative and planted a toe-curling smooch on his delectable lips. Not to be outdone, he kissed back. Holy smoke. If I’d known what a great kisser he was, I’d have done it sooner. He said he’d been biding his time, waiting for me to catch up. According to him, one look into my “gorgeous blue eyes” and he was a goner, too.

“We need to talk,” he said as he blasted past me toward our quarters.

What? I looked around. Where was the rest of my team? Marsh took an impatient whack at the mistletoe ball hung from a garland. Oh, boy. What had gotten into him?

Bill and Tom trailed behind Marsh with Gloria and Ana bringing up the rear. Like me, they wore forest green jumpsuits, and they did not look pleased. Glum was a better word.

The last simulation wasn’t that bad. A couple of glitches with last minute corrections. Maybe a reminder to one person or another. I thought we did well. Glitches happened. No need for concern. Or was there? What didn’t I know?

Bill hung back and waited for me to catch up. “He’s right. We need to talk without Big Brother listening.”

The last he delivered in a whisper with a wink and a nudge. I tried not to smile at his reference to George Orwell’s 1984, required reading in my elementary school. Considering all the cameras located throughout the station, Big Brother was an appropriate appellation.

“I assume Marsh has a place in mind?” I matched my stride to Bill’s, the most easy-going of our team. Bill was a guy’s guy. Best friend to everyone.

“Yeah, he does.”

Good thing. We couldn’t just take a walk outside, unless we could breathe methane. Titan was a trifle inhospitable. In preparation for our mission, the United Earth Space Agency established Saturn’s largest moon as our launch platform. Connected habitats, added before we arrived, evolved into crew quarters, conference and training rooms, and general meeting areas. We weren’t absolutely sure, but we thought our quarters were monitored—something I’d queried but received no definitive response. None of us were happy about that. But then in four days, we’d be on camera all the time. That was the second worst thing I feared about our voyage.

Mission to New Earth is available at:





Diane BurtonAbout the Author:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website:




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22 comments on “Guest Author Diane Burton on Goldilocks Planets and MISSION TO NEW EARTH

  1. Of course I would go on a one way trip to another planet… Why? The same reason I so every crazy thing I do… Just to say I did it :}

  2. In a way, my grandparents did that in the last 1800’s. They left England for the U.S. and never saw their parents again. I am not sure I could do it, not unless my family came with. And let’s face it, my expiration date is too close. lol

    • My ancestors left their homelands, too, for a new life in America–many came alone. I’d want my family to come, too. Thanks for stopping by, Pauline.

  3. Such a fascinating speculation…Is there human life or any life at all out there in the wide galaxies of space! Nice post!

    • Yes, Susan. To paraphrase a line from the movie Contact, if there wasn’t life out there, it would be a waste of space.

  4. I think humans, some of us, are inherently adventurous. We always seem to want what’s just around the bend. Or in your case, what’s hiding behind that star over there. That one. You can see it, right? Best wishes with your latest book!

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