In the early hours of the 12th of July, 1979, Skylab crashed in Western Australia, scattering debris across the desert, and the eastern goldfields.
The San Francisco Examiner offered $10,000 US Dollars for the first piece of debris brought to its offices. A teenager from Esperance delivered his find to the newspaper, and claimed the prizemoney.
In a bizarre twist the Shire of Esperance fined the US $400 for littering. The government didn't pay up but a radio show host raised the money from listeners and paid the fine for NASA. The incident inspired me to write The Biocide Conspiracy.
In the novel, the International Space Station crashes on a remote sheep station on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert, not unlike Minilya where I was governess to three sisters, Jane, Emily and Catherine.
Australia is a huge continent and home to some of the most geographically and remote communities in the world. School of the Air is one of the means by which children in remote communities can access school.
Like my former pupils, Beth, one of the teenagers who finds the minus eighty degree freezer from the International Space Station, is home-schooled.
The time I spent working in the outback was an eye- opener, as it was for Mo, the apprentice jackeroo who witnessed the station's fiery descent.