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Welcome to Matthew S. Rotundo's home page. Matt is an award-winning writer of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Read more about him here.

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Satellite Offices
The Rotundo World Tour


ConStellation 8
Lincoln, NE
April 28-30

MileHiCon 49
Denver, CO
October 27-29

Watch this space for updates!

Archive for August 4th, 2012

Launch Pad 2012 Debriefing

Launch Date: 22 July 2012

Launch Site: University of Wyoming campus, Laramie, Wyoming

Objective: Learn as much about astronomy as possible in one week.  Apply said lessons to our writing.


Captain and Crew

Front row, kneeling/crouching, left to right:

Geoffrey “Magnetic Fields” Landis
Christian “Shuttle Pilot #1” Ready
Mike “Dungeon Master” Brotherton
Jim “Secretary of Education” Verley


Standing, second row:

Doug “Indie” Farren
Mary “Shall We Dance?” Turzillo
Nova Ren “Altitude Lover” Suma
Farah “Rosebud” Mendlesohn
Ellen “Clouds” Datlow

Third row:

Jodi Lynn “Snacks” Nye
Christie “Bad Influence” Yant
Tiffany “Hokie” Trent
Robin “Ruby Slippers” Wasserman
Linda “Audioslave” Nagata
Sandra “Sarah” McDonald

Back row:

Robin Christian “Hollywood” Peters
Matt “Dark Matter” Rotundo
Merrie “Gin and Tonic” Haskell
Matt “Antimatter” Kressel
Jake “Willie Mosconi” Kerr
Michael “Shuttle Pilot #2” Kurland

Photo by Glen “Utilikilt” Lehmitz

Nicknames courtesy of yours truly (except for Antimatter and Dark Matter, which callsigns were bestowed upon Matt Kressel and I).

Mission Highlights, aka Awesomely Cool Stuff, in no particular order:

Visiting WIRO, the Wyoming Infrared Observatory, and gazing into its 2.3 meter primary mirror.

Visual aid (photo by yours truly)

Seeing the Andromeda Galaxy through night vision goggles, low in the northern sky.  Said goggles had to be repeatedly pried from my hands.


Getting the inside scoop on the Spirit and Opportunity missions from Geoffrey Landis.

Getting a story idea during a Geoffrey Landis lecture on terraformation.

Figuring out the division-by-zero fallacy on the chalkboard all by myself.

Extrasolar planets, detection of.

Learning that spiral arms of galaxies are actually stationary shock waves that initiate star formation.  Whoa.

Jim Verley’s lectures on education and misconceptions.  Fantastic stuff.

Guest lecturer Ruben Gamboa’s presentation on amateur astronomy.  Where are my binoculars?

Mike Brotherton’s basement.  Must be seen to be believed.

A 3-mile hike through a place called Vedauwoo.  Nothing to do with astronomy, but quite pretty.  See?

Scenic beauty (photo by yours truly)
More scenic beauty (photo by yours truly)

Good food, libations, meaningful conversations, and general frivolity at various Laramie establishments, including a sports bar improbably named The Library.

Da Gang at Da Library (photo by Jody Lyn Nye)

Splashdown: 29 July 2012

Results: Brain bursting with new information.  Tremendous fun attained.  Missing my new friends.

Mission accomplished.