Zennor strode through the doorway into the Command Center and found Algon at the Astrogator’s post. He slowed his steps as he approached her. But his concern for her was momentarily startled away when he saw all the active screens; panels dancing with energy pulses. “What’s all this?”
It was the morning of May 3rd, 1975. Upon returning from a routine flight from Zihuatanejo to Mexico City, twenty-three-year-old pilot, Carlos de Santos, prepared his Piper PA-24 plane and was soon in the skies, heading for the Benito Juárez International Airport.
The office of the Minister of War was spartan and utilitarian, as was befitting a high level Bruish bureaucrat. Though they felt no need for any kind of decoration, visiting dignitaries of other species were more comfortable when there was at least a wall pick. Since they could care less either way, there were some picks. All the wall displays were neutral nature scenes from their home world: a jungle moon orbiting a gas supergiant in a binary star system, with one spectral “M” red giant and one “F” type main sequence. Though the scenes were as varied as jungles could be, there were no depictions of animals. The few furnishings in the barren, sad, cold, space, were cold metal and near unbreakable glass.
Astronomy tells us that planets orbit stars, stars hang out in clusters and these clusters orbit the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy, and the galaxy is zooming away from some center, some big bang. These same astronomers say that, at times, planets are kicked out of their family systems to travel the dark alone. What if some of these outcasts formed their own system? These dark systems would be near impossible to detect with our current tech, but we couldn’t travel there anyway…
The body is an extraordinary and complicated system that automatically detects, and responds to, dramatic environmental changes around it, particularly in an environment of weightlessness. The entire body is involved in the complex and rapid response to micro- or zero gravity, and space science is just beginning to form a picture of what is happening inside the body under these conditions. When an astronaut goes into space, as will be the case during an eventual mission to Mars, his or her body will immediately begin to experience a multitude of changes, causing the astronaut to feel and look slightly different. The crew would succumb to massive bone and muscle loss as a direct result of long-term exposure to micro- or zero gravity, and would suffer cell damage from ionizing cosmic radiation, potential permanent vision problems, and psychological and sociological deterioration due to isolation. Nonetheless, past space flight experiences from crews in the United States and the former Soviet Union have demonstrated that humans can survive space flights of several months, or even up to a year in duration. This study identifies the psychological and physiological aspects of a manned mission to Mars and will recommend countermeasures and prevention strategies designed to combat many of the problems associated with long-term exposures in space. The International Space Station (ISS), moreover, has an enormously vital role in assessing the health dangers of sending humans to Mars. Thus, a recommendation to place a crew on the ISS to simulate a flight to Mars is addressed.
Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars, let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars in other words, let's reach our true destiny. A take on Frank Sinatra's hit. But, that movie "Interstellar" points out some very real possibilities that could play out in reality sooner than we think. When Tsiolokovsky, the pioneering Russian scientist, remarked that Earth is the cradle of mankind but one cannot live in the cradle forever he understood the vital importance that man must seek out new life forms and to literally go where no man has go before. Now, as the summer winds of the worlds discontent fast approach aided by the prolific findings of Stephen Hawking about the fate of mankind we really need to put our house in order and look to the stars if we have any hope of saving the human race. And, we better do it quick. Mankind has always wondered could there actually be a better world out there? We'd have better hope so.
For uncounted minutes Parke looked down at the Captain’s chair from which he personally accessed the Core. And he knew he was postponing the private interface for myriad reasons, but primarily because he wouldn’t be able to unknow once he knew. Was that one of the reasons that previous captains had stopped interfacing? To remain unknowing? To be ignorant purposely? Because to know would mean taking action, rather than going on as they had been. He shook his head slowly, a gleam of tears in his eyes for his father, because it negated everything that a captain should be to refuse to understand, to refuse the responsibility of knowledge, even if it was unpalatable.
Europa is one of the most fascinating places in the Solar System, and is considered to be at or near the top of the list of worlds to search for possible evidence of life. Beneath its outer ice crust lies a deep and dark salty ocean, thought to be quite to Earth's own oceans. Could that ocean be inhabited, even if just by microbes? Scientists want to know, and now a new proposal calls for a joint orbiter/lander mission between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency), to try to answer that question.
The Earth Gets An Oil Change
Think about this. WHAT DOES THE SKY LOOK LIKE from a habitable planet near the center of the galaxy?
Just recently, an exo-planetary system called TRAPPIST-1, with seven known planets close in size to Earth, was announced by astronomers. Some of those planets are in the star's habitable zone, meaning that they could potentially be habitable for some kind of life. Then, another Earth-sized world was found orbiting the star GJ 1132b, and may have water and methane in its atmosphere. Now, another similar planet has been found orbiting another nearby star. It is also close in size to Earth and resides in the star's habitable zone. According to scientists, it is another prime candidate in the search for alien life and may even be the best one yet.
For those who are hoping to find evidence of life somewhere else in the Solar System, there was some exciting news this week. Two moons, Europa and Enceladus, were already thought to be among the best places to search, since both have liquid water oceans beneath their outer icy shells. And now, new data from the Cassini spacecraft and the Hubble Space Telescope has increased the potential for some form of living organisms to be found.
Since the dawn of man, mankind has always looked up to the heavens and pondered that ageless question whether we are alone or are there other life forms some where out there in the Universe. From the first time man noticed those shining stars above we have become fascinated by what is really out there.