Doug Cook


Doug Cook is retired from a thirty-four year career as a petroleum geophysicist. He is now dedicated to writing, astronomy, and climate change awareness. Doug participated in ten years of deep-water submersible studies on chemosynthetic communities of life in the Gulf of Mexico . These extremophile organisms relate to Doug’s passion for astrogeology and exobiology. He is a member American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), Chair AAPG Astrogeology Committee, Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), Vice President Colorado Springs Astronomical Society, member of the Planetary Society, National Space Society, Explore Mars, and Adjunct Astronomy Professor PPCC. He has two daughters and lives in Colorado with his wife Elizabeth.

Smashwords Interview

How and when did you become interested in space?
I grew up during the Cold War and the Space Race. I remember my parents talking about the Soviet Sputnik. I watched Alan Shepard’s launch on a small black and white TV. It was set on a rolling cart in the gymnasium. I watched sitting on the floor with our whole Fairplain East Elementary School. Similarly, we watched JFK’s “We choose to go to the Moon” speech under the threat of the Cuban Missile Crisis. We ran duck and cover drills, naively thinking that this would protect us from global thermonuclear war. To a seven year old, it sounded exciting.
The space race marched on. Back in the school gym, we watched John Glenn’s first US orbital flight followed by the other Mercury launches. I watched the Apollo lunar landing and Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon, transfixed by our new 25” color TV hi-fi stereo console.
Somewhere in a box in our basement, I have a picture of Oceanus Procellarum on the Moon taken while the Apollo 12 crew was out on their first EVA. I took the slide photo with my telescope and an SLR camera body at prime focus. Geeky!
My Apollo enthusiasm did not wane with subsequent missions as it did with the rest of America. Senator William Proxmire got the entire Apollo program and the mighty Saturn V cancelled past the Apollo 17 mission. In 1974 as a freshman at the University of Michigan, the great Werner von Braun, the father of the Saturn V, and Carl Sagan, the father of the Voyager program and the Mars Viking landers, stoked my enthusiasm with their lectures—free and open to the student population.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The actual inspiration for The Aquila Mission can be traced to a dream I had in the early morning hours in May 2015 when we were having a family reunion weekend in Bahrain. My family was back in the US for the previous year and I was going down a rabbit hole focusing more on astrogeology than my exploration geophysicist job as I was approaching retirement. I awoke from a vivid dream at 2 AM and started drawing orbit diagrams for the asteroid and comet rendezvous scenario on hotel stationery.
The idea stuck with me and I began research in earnest. I have presented the Aquila Mission concept to the AAPG Astrogeology Committee, the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society, and to the New Worlds Space Settlement Symposium. I have floated it on YouTube and Twitter. However, the story was still needing legs. How could I experience the Aquila Mission vicariously? The mission idea has spurred me on to write this book. It is non-fiction, describing the technology for mission elements, and uses fictional characters to bring it to life and highlight some of the human physiology and psychology issues facing astronauts in deep space. I owe my inspiration for embarking on this writing project to my favorite science fiction authors Ian Douglas, Andy Weir, and Joe Vasicek.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Doug Cook online


The Second World
The Second World is a hard sci-fi book series that describes in technological detail how humans will explore and colonize worlds beyond Earth. The Aquila Mission, set in 2023, sends a crew to explore asteroid Bennu and comet 125P to prove that we’re ready to take the next step to have human boots on Mars. Shiva, a dwarf planet, has been knocked out of the Kuiper Belt and is headed toward the inner solar system. It has a one-in-fifty chance to collide with Earth in 2079. Humanity cannot afford to gamble with extinction. Arcadia Mars develops the SpaceX Starship (Colossus) to bring the first colonists to Mars as humanity’s second world in 2035. In The Shiva Encounter, we advance to 2044. The Vishnu ship, hope for human, survival will impact Shiva soon with a 10 gigaton nuclear device. The outcome could deliver salvation or turn the remains of Shiva into a graver threat. Colony ships from Earth are now launched almost faster than the Martian infrastructure can assimilate them. Survival is a constant struggle. In 2054, The Colossus Expansion develops the Colossus into a huge interplanetary ship taking us to Callisto and Titan and beyond. The stars are in our sights.
Arcadia Mars
Price: Free!


The Shiva Encounter
Series: The Second World. Price: Free! Words: 90,910. Language: English. Published: February 15, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(5.00 from 1 review)
The dwarf planet, Shiva, could impact the Earth in the year 2079. Colonizing Mars is now a reality. Colony ships from Earth are now launched almost faster than the Arcadia Colony infrastructure can assimilate them. Survival is a constant struggle. Just as art, architecture, and interplanetary economy are blossoming on Mars, the Shiva threat now encompasses the red planet.
Arcadia Mars
Series: The Second World. Price: Free! Words: 86,730. Language: English. Published: May 26, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
(5.00 from 1 review)
Arcadia Mars, sequel to The Aquila Mission, is a must-read for space buffs and sci-fi fans alike. Coby Brewster, Ellie Accardi, Vik Ivanov, and Abby Denton—are chosen lead a crew of twenty-one people to Mars to prepare for the arrival of Colossus colony fleets. Even on Mars, a human utopia seems an impossible task. Time is running out and survival uncertain, an unstable psychopath is among them.
The Aquila Mission
Series: The Second World. Price: Free! Words: 121,080. Language: English. Published: April 23, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Space Science
(5.00 from 1 review)
The crew starts to wonder whether they’ll ever make it back to Earth. Their only hope is to trust in, rely on, and love one another. The Aquila Mission is both a thrilling story of man’s first journey beyond the Earth-Moon system and a carefully researched proposal for such a mission in the real world. Rigorously scientific and emotionally stirring all at once. An adventure in hard sci-fi.