Tiny Bodies

Asteroids, comets, meteor showers are as intriguing to the media as[insert irrelevant celebrity name here]. And I feel I have a duty to share these with you, even though the only comets and asteroids that matter are the ones that might hit earth.

Mysterious Plumes on Mars Baffle Scientists, Are Probably Haboobs

I say it’s a dust storm, or a “haboob.” If any of you have read Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, the dust storms are a semi-important deus ex machina near the end. I had no idea that Mars could produce such a thing (p.s. I’m being cheeky, I don’t think it can without terraforming, right?) but I’m surprised no one has made this reference.

‘Extremely Unexpected’: Mysterious Plumes on Mars Baffle Scientists – NBC News.com.

Should Scientists Be Actively Working to Contact Aliens?

I think we should. But this, perhaps, gets us into that more-interesting discussion of whether or not that even exist, a la Fermi’s Paradox. Just today, as I was discussing this article, a friend mentioned “The Great Filter” (which I’d somehow never heard of) and so I’m totally confused about what to believe.

“There have been a few small and unlikely-to-work efforts to beam messages out there in the past, including NASA sending the Beatles song “Across the Universe” into the cosmos in 2008. NASA’s Voyager probe recently left the solar system with a “golden record” created by Carl Sagan and a message, and the space agency’s New Horizons probe will also have greetings on it by the time it exits the solar system.”

Scientists debate whether to beam messages to aliens into space – The Denver Post.

Could There Ever Be Sentient Plants?

Courtesy of Thoughts from a Vacuum Cleaner

Imagine my shock when, rather than moral indignation and outrage over the slightly controversial notion that plants have a right to life, the same way humans do, it was met with nary a sound. We’re living in a world that doesn’t even recognize the feelings of animals, so this was probably seen as a joke… being taken to its final, absurd and hilarious, conclusion. So what does this have to do with my space blog? Personally, I love the idea of living plants. It makes me want to re-read Day of the Triffids. It sends me searching for more science fiction, and real science, on the subject of the sentient plant. But anyway, just try to find time in the craziness of your week to imagine what sentient plants would behave like. Here. On an alien world. Let’s consider what sort of societies they might establish. Governments, rules, moralities. Ok… That’s your writing/thinking assignment for the week.

Michael Pollan: How Smart Are Plants? : The New Yorker.

Five Planets Once Believed To Be in Our Solar System


But alas, these amazing fantasies were but a dream. I especially love the thought that planets would just go on infinitely beyond Pluto. If only it were so damn cold out that’a way! Wouldn’t it be fabulous if there were a counter earth on the direct opposite side of our orbit? That would, sadly, probably be our best hope for finding life in the solar system. I suppose Voyager, Galileo, and the hundreds of other space vessels we’ve sent out there debunked that long ago. It’s heart-breaking. Childhood’s end, if ever I saw it.

5 Awesome Planets We Used to Think Were in Our Solar System | Cracked.com.