Archive for the ‘Extra Terrestrial Intelligence’ Category
Historic Potentially Earth-Like World Proxima B
The historic discovery of potentially Earth- like world Proxima-b was announced 24 August 2016. Orbiting Proxima Centauri, a Red Dwarf star in the habitable zone and the nearest star to our own Sun Proxima-b marks not only the closest alien planet ever found but also with the potential to be habitable.
This artist’s impression shows what the sky might look like on Proxima Centauri b if the planet has a surface. The exoplanet orbits the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, currently the closest star to the solar system at 4.2 light-years. The other two members of the Alpha Centauri triple, Alpha Centauri A and B, would appear in the sky, too.
ESO / M. Kornmesser
If this proves to be the case, then there is no shortage of time for some form of life to originate based on the fact that red dwarf stars such as Proxima Centauri burn for trillions of years.
From the point of view of the average Earth-based visitor stopping by for a summer vacation, Proxima-b runs the risk of being a rather boring holiday resort. The sun-tan would be awesome, not so much so the destruction of the biological cells exposed to the intensely dodgy UV radiation that is present. Combined with the prospect of heavy duty sun-screen to protect from the sun’s constant bombardment of energy flares bouncing around the planetary surface probably wouldn’t be classed as entirely awesome either. On top of which the Proxima Centauri flares would also banish any hope of using mobile phones, tablets, X-boxes or any other such devices thanks to its electronics-disabling qualities. so no ET calling home and definitely no Skype!
Although it is a tidally locked planet– roasting hot on its star- facing side, freezing cold on the other, there is also enough wind around in the atmosphere to circulate the heat, balancing out the extreme temperatures that would otherwise exist. None-the-less a visit to the the planetary darkside, where it is bathed in perpetual night could prove to be the safest, and possibly the only option.
Unfortunately astronomers are choosing to be particularly pessimistic about this little world following the initial euphoria and have currently decided it is probably a dead, airless rock that will never harbour life due to it’s close proximity sun (20x nearer than Earth to the Sun) creating a risk of it boiling off the water and thereby stripping away the planet’s atmosphere. Researchers its oxygen will be gone in about 10 million years. Life on Earth took billions of years to develop.
Young M dwarf stars can unleash dangerous flares, (“planet-frying radiation”) that strip off atmosphere-forming oxygen spelling doom for closely orbiting planets. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / S. Wiessinger
Image: NASA Goddard/Conceptual Image Lab
However hope lives eternal. Theoretically it is possible life could advance to endure the high levels of radiation, by altering the worst of Proxima Centauri’s emissions into inoffensive visible light. We know this is plausible, because due to a process known as biofluorescence this —has already happened on many occasions on Earth.
Ultimately It is expected that the 2018 launch of The James Webb Space Telescope, will provide answers to the critical question of whether there is any chance at all that Proxima b is capable of supporting life.
Proxima b – Habitable ‘Ocean Planet’??
Another possibility is the Proxima b could be an ocean world whose entire surface consists of a liquid ocean. This may bear a similarity to the Jupiter and Saturn moons that are icy worlds with subsurface oceans.
On the other hand the more optimistic researchers suggest that Proxima b may in fact be habitable after all. So don’t put the suitcases back in the attic just yet intrepid cosmic holiday makers! If Proxima b had in reality formed further out from it’s sun than its current position this would also offer a high possibility of there being water. This idea is based on the outer realms of planetary systems being more likely to form ice. If it then moved inwards for a up closer and more personal relationship with its sun then this ice could melt and form seas. Maybe 😉
Proxima b – A Desert World??
But it still seems most likely, according to Victoria Meadows (University of Washington), that this exoplanet is a desert world since the radiation bombarding it would almost certainly have evaporated the majority of the water. This process could have collected the oxygen and hydrogen in the water and created an atmosphere rich in oxygen. Then again it could a 2nd Venus with an atmosphere rich in Carbon Dioxide, or even another Uranus or Neptune.
The Other Closest Habitable-Zone Worlds
If all else fails cosmic holiday makers may wish to try some of the nearby, potentially habitable exoplanet worlds, for size….: Kapteyn b (13 light-years away) and Wolf 1061 c (14 light-years). Both planets are just over half again as wide as Earth, with minimum masses of 4 to 5 Earths, and both are in their stars’ habitable zones. Wolf 1061 c does not look at all hopeful in terms of habitability. But Kapteyn b looks good. It’s about 3½ times farther from its sun than Proxima b is from its sun so potentially it could be far enough out of reach of its sun’s rather violent output to provide a half decent holiday resort!
Howling New Moonshine….
Spirit of the FireWolves…
Howling new moonshine tumbling and stealing across the contrasting volcanic world of Io’s Fire wolves. Half hidden in the new moon shadows they gathered in moon dark silhouettes amongst the volcanic mountain ranges, calling the song of the stars, drawing on the fiery heart of the pack to call home the Fire wolves of Io, adorned in the mighty colours of the volcanic fire breed. The “Watcher at the Window” gazed in alluring fascination at the mountains peaks of Io bejewelled in the spectacular rainbow arrays of black and gold, catching too the starlight dancing in the gold-fire eyes of the Fire wolves of Io, bathed in the new moon darkness gliding around craters and dark plains.
Inexorable – Stealing Away the Last of the Sunlight
Monochrome Moon Wolves
Monochrome moon wolves! A subtle, relentless shadow crept across the face of an alien sun sending a soft, fiery glow sliding across the abandoned landing unit tips where only the moon wolves resided and the wild vegetation flourished growing rapidly in the cracks and crevices of the deserted buildings, long since abandoned by their alien civilizations. The abandoned shuttle port and its overgrown, unused space crafts roamed only by the glowing moon wolves sliding subtly amongst the empty shells, food in plentiful supply around the crumbling, rusted hulls and skeleton cruisers.
Inexorably the eclipse light silenced them, cooling the air as the light faded into eerie, unnatural night, changing the atmosphere into something apocalyptic and alien to the moon wolves drawn back to the higher ground on the rooftop. Gradually stealing away the last of the sunlight till only the corona remained – a glowing fire burning flames and solar flares bursting across the darkened skies… The moon wolves watched with heads thrown high to the solar winds as darkness descended and the world feel silent. The eerie howl of the wolf song echoed on… and on through the monochrome eclipse light.
Martian Sunset…But Not As You Know It!
“Welcome to Mars! The home of beautiful red sunsets and romantic pink-hued views of Earth in an exotic Martian dusk…lazy summer evenings in Gale Crater relaxing in your rose-tinted deck chairs on the red Sands of Mars, sun hats glowing softly in cooling evening sun… watching the first glimmers of rising stars in the interstellar regions between the neighbouring gas giant Jupiter red oxide beaches of Mars… the distant howls of the Black wolves of Mars shimmering golden-red shades in the setting sun….all the ingredients of the perfect intergalactic holiday ”
But wait! Action replay!! This web page no longer exists! NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has just blown the whole intergalactic holiday guide to Mars straight out of the water!
“Welcome to Mars! The home of serene blue-hued sunsets and softly blue-tinged skies!! … What! What! Stunning blue sunsets on Mars!!! the distant howls of the Black wolves of Mars shimmering cool blue shades of azure light in the setting sun on the towering foothills of Mount Sharp….all the ingredients of the perfect intergalactic holiday …” REALLY?!!
Apparently so. Curiosity doesn’t tell ‘porkies’ and along with the images it kindly sent back to Earth it also saw fit to send a tweet too, so it must be true!
@Curiosity Rover “Let us go you and I…”
But WHY??!!! Are Curiosity and NASA finally losing it? Blue skies on Mars my Icewolfie paw!!! Hmm…well according to Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University – the Curiosity science-team member who planned the observations, maybe not…the theory goes like this….
“When the blue light scatters off the dust, it stays closer to the direction of the Sun than light of other colours does. The rest of the sky is yellow to orange, as yellow and red light scatter all over the sky instead of being absorbed or staying close to the Sun.
Just as colours are made more dramatic in sunsets on Earth, Martian sunsets make the blue near the sun’s part of the sky much more prominent, while normal daylight makes the rusty colour of the dust more prominent.”
So! What should have looked like this……
….apparently looks like this! Welll…maybe this is slightly exaggerated but hey! You get the general picture yes? ;}
The Curiosity rover gathered enough evidence from around where it landed in Gale Crater (August 2012) to give firm grounds for believing that billions of years in Mars’ past a lake and stream system existed with the potential for habitation.
Today, 3 years later in 2015, Curiosity is hard at work in the centre of Gale Crater checking out Mt. Sharp which soars 3.4 miles (5.5 km) into the alien skies of Mars. Its numerous layers of rock (Mt Sharp that is not Curiosity ) contain the key to historic environmental situation variants that have occurred on Mars across the centuries. The purpose of Curiosity’s mission here is to discover how Mars developed from a comparatively temperate and moist world somewhere back in the dim and distant past to the cold, arid desert wilderness world it has transformed into in the present times.
Needless to say mission scientists are yet to discover what any self-respecting intergalactic tourist to the Red Planet is fully aware of, from long nights spent lounging in the BLUE Martian sunsets in their favourite deck chair – the presence of “The Black Wolves of Mars,” howling lyrically long into the alien nights!
Press Trust of India/Washington – The Indian Express
The Eye Of The Needle
(The Watcher At The Window)
The stars glowed strangely bright in a clear, black sky; their soft touch turning to cosmic fire, the Star-born of Europa a ghostly trace gazing remotely into the night; the silence of eternity echoing off rare and segregated structures, night darkened and towering into the galactic moon-rise.
Fascinated the “Observer” watched avidly through the “window of the universe” – the rift in time and space that had appeared inexplicably on the tail of the meteorite aftermath on that cool winter’s night… Defying all natural laws it hovered gently before the watchful eyes of the Observer, stretching the full length of the laboratory and set against the backdrop of the slowly turning satellite receivers monitoring the night sky; veiled in dark shadows, playing steadily amongst the emissions of a hazy, glowing spring moon…
Soundless void, the voice of eternity dancing in the eyes of the universal Ice-wolves of Europa. Echoing separation of endless night sky calls. Resonances of eternal silence blending with the haunting night, the incomprehensibility of a star-filled void shrouding the alien structure – “the Eye of the Needle.”
Motionless in the arching structure that was the interplanetary gateway – the Eye of the Needle…untouchable… Enigmatic moon-wolf, daughter of the Europan Star Streams caught in thrall to the infinite and devastating loneliness of frozen ice cavern, looking out across acidic seas under the skies of another world.
Sequestered in the murmuring extra-terrestrial solar winds; her only whispering companion on a deadly world of isolated beauty. Rainbow rings slanting across startlingly bright moon, catching a mesmerising, multiplexed dreamscape; another-worldly dimensional-diffusion of light-induced mysteries in the genesis of worlds. The nemesis of space.
Astral-lunar wolf shivering in countless galactic mysteries, indistinct now as she regarded the startling acid seas, distant eyes lost in faraway fantasies, dreaming in the other worldly touch of outlandish lapping oceans glittering in bright astral-beams, reflecting off the golden waters of a world at the end of time. The first quarter moon a cool shimmering globe, still as a space-stone from a distant and unfamiliar world. Locked in the crystallised ice-rock dreams, she gazed out at airless, quarantined moons from the gulf of a thousand worlds.
For a moment it seemed that the interstellar Ice-wolf now walking in direct line towards the Observer turned startling azure eyes, burning fiercely with the power of the stars, directly upon her enthralled viewer; surely seeing the “Watcher at the Window” as certainly as she herself was seen. Drawing a sharp breath, hardly daring to release a further one, the Observer froze, captured by the absolute, undeniable alienness that infiltrated so completely the astral eyes of the Star Born of Europa, before remembering they were separated by the boundaries of time and space…
Solar winds shivering through silky strands slanting stealthily across the still, outlandish brilliance of acrid, acid seas, carrying on intergalactic winds the state song of the universe; sliding unseen through the timeless structure that was the Eye of the Needle at the end of the universe – an astronomical mirror of cosmic space under the unfathomable night sky of an exotic, stellar world.
Achingly lonely and compellingly beautiful, poised aloofly before the acidic seas of another world, she was growing faint now and hazy, even to the watchful scrutiny of her observer, drawn inexorably back into the misty timeline-dimensions from whence she had appeared, azure eyes glowing with the wisdom of the universe and the ancient heartache of a cosmic eternity. Otherworldly lunar light slid silently as a star wolf navigating the paths of the celestial moon tracks, boundless tears in a soundless pool of acid seas. Rainbowed riches that alternatively danced and shattered to the heart bleed of the universe. Universal star song. The dance music of the stars.
“If we could look into each other’s hearts, and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance and care.” – Marvin J Ashton
(“The Eye of the Needle” – © Europa’s Icewolf 2014)
The Gemstones of Mars
Precious gems are not exactly what you would expect to find on Mars. The “Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars,” CRISM, for short, is a nifty device that has already found indications of water on Mars; a pretty cool move in itself, using a technique known by the fancy title of “reflectance spectroscopy” which allows it to "see" minerals on the Martian surface.
Not satisfied with just being a smart Imaging Spectrometer it goes one step further and on occasion becomes super-smart and really shows off detecting gemstone. The pretty picture below is a Martian crater’s central peak, the vari-coloured area representing minerals, whilst the pretty pink areas represent concentrated hydrated silica better what is known on Earth as Opal.
CRISM Finds Opal in a Martian Crater: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL
Opal is a really cool discovery. One reason is that opal often has high water content. And on Earth opals often contain preserved fossils and other signs of biology consequently it could potentially preserve the history of life on Mars. Martian Opal is also more valuable than the most precious diamond shining brightly in the sol light of Earth. Collect a handful and you could be an incredibly rich Earth dweller!
Opal is the birthstone for October, so what better place to go for your birthday treat than Opal hunting on Mars? Who knows how many of these precious and beautiful gemstones are lying in wait for you birthday babes in the Craters of Mars just waiting for you budding October opal babes to flash your geologists hammer to expose these glimmering gemstone treasures in the shimmering Martian sun.
Read more about CRISM on a new web site dedicated to the instrument and its discoveries on Mars.