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Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Life Bearing World Discovered

by Aaron Davies

The interplanetary Khardesser Satellite has recently confirmed the existence of two new life-bearing worlds orbiting a medium sized star in the outskirts of the Viathan arm of the Milky Way galaxy.  While one seems only to have deep ocean proto-life, the second is a fascinating study and marks just the 23rd world found with technological life.  It's still too early to say how technologically advanced the life there is, but traces of iridium flashes in the planets outer atmosphere suggest a large network of artificial satellites orbiting the young world so they've at least reached the start of a spacefaring age.

Here, the new world is seen with it's relatively
enormous moon.

The dominant technological species on the planet seems to be far more linguistically diverse than in any species we've studied so far, alternately calling their planet tierra, terre, earth, aarde or 地球.  At least three dozen other local names have been identified and there may yet be more.  Intercepted radio transmissions suggest an unprecedented level of cultural diversity, perhaps due to the planet's unique geology.  The planet has a relatively low amount of vulcanism but extraordinarily active plate tectonics such that vast swaths of dry surface are constantly expanding and contracting amid vast oceans of liquid water.

While it's distance from the more populous regions of the galaxy diminish it's viability as a vacation option, some of the features of the new world might make it worth a visit.  It sits so close to it's star that only generation 7x star cruisers or above will be able to handle the stellar radiation so make sure you're properly equipped before planning your journey.  But if you're able to make it, you'll be in for some of the most spectacular auroras and star sets in the known galaxy.  The world also has a moon that is enormous in comparison to the planet itself and is at present perfectly stationed in orbit to allow for a full eclipse of the parent star several times per planetary orbit (about 208 galactic standard days).

The world itself is small but because of it's proximity to the star (ViaDR101-64a if you want to find it on your map) nearly the entire surface is habitable.  It's relative density is such that it has about the same amount of gravity as Oribon-3 or the Pharthen moons.  It has a dense and extremely flammable atmosphere (so no using nuclear propulsion in your landing vessel!) that creates star sets comparable to those seen on Thiadees before its atmosphere was lost.  The star sets will be most impressive, of course, if you are from a species with a red shifted optical spectrum.  And don't worry about the timing; the planet rotates fully every 4.3 galactic standard hours!

Many of you might be wondering how a planet so close to its star could manage to hold viable life long enough to reach the technological epoch and if so, you're not the only ones scratching your heads.  Many of the galaxies leading scientists are hard at work answering that very question.  We know that the planet has a massive magnetosphere that likely protects the surface from stellar radiation (and provides breath-taking auroras that you'll never forget!) and the existence of several gas giants in the outer orbits of the system likely lessen the likelihood of large-body impacts.  That being said, the heat on the planet's surface and the volatility of an atmosphere with such radical (and constant) temperature fluctuations still seem prohibitive to the orderly development of life.  We can only speculate at this point, but with so much surface water this planet probably sees it's fair share of massive and destructive storms.

If you decide to take a trip out there, bring your climate controlled suits, as the average surface temperature is a balmy 311 degrees (galactic scale).  And if you're wondering how life survives at such high temperatures, don't worry, you're not alone!  Several new scientific expeditions are already on their way to answer this question and many more.  In fact, so little is known about this world that you can likely get partial reimbursement for your vacation if you agree to collect a few samples and anally probe some of the local species.

Early indications are that the life forms are DNA based (another mystery given the proximity to the star) and likely have extremely short life spans.  The atmosphere is mostly made up of Nitrogen and Oxygen so Orhtinians and Vorticules should be able to breath there without assistance, but given the likely abundance of microbial life, a ventilator is highly recommended, regardless of how up to date your vascular nanobots are.

Along the way, be sure to look for the beautiful ring system around the system's 7th planet (and look for the bright ice-moon close to that planet for the system's other life-bearing world).  If you're coming from the center of the galaxy, you'll also pass through some gorgeous nebulae along the way.  Don't forget to take plenty of pictures and remember, you're as ugly to the locals as they are to you!

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