Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fly Me Past the Moon...

Fascinating news came out this week that Astronomers have positively identified the first planets beyond our solar system. Three of the four planets discovered are circling a star named Fomalhault b. (I think we need a naming contest for this one) Fomalhaut b, as it is now known, is said to be 148 Trillion miles from Earth (this # reminds me of the size of our national debt) while those planets discovered are said to be distinctly un-earth like, being comprised mostly of gases.


( rendition by ESA, NASA, and L. Calcada)

Un-earth like perhaps, but still, this news stirs the imagination. Knowing there are planets outside our solar system, as opposed to speculating about them, rekindles once again in this father the fascination with what lies beyond the reaches of our current minuscule view into the vastness of the universe. I find myself again asking "how many billions of other pale blue dots are out there are at this moment circling their own bright stars?" This is a concept that can easily boggle the mind.

Sure, given the limitations of physics as we know them, even if found, never will we be able to actually visit any of these perceived worlds. And never, as imagined in early science fiction, will we be able to gently set our conical rockets down on distant rocky shores or amidst vast cityscape's previously unconceived of by our limited spheres of knowledge. Ah, but to imagine...

To consider that one day Lukas, who harbors a not uncommon fascination with rockets, and whose middle namesake (not by chance) happens to be the second person in human history to plant a foot solidly on another world, could see or even become an astronaut and be the first human to travel beyond the moon to further off worlds in our solar system, perhaps even beyond. Well, even if very far-fetched, that is just a very cool concept to this dad.

But alas, those worlds are still just speculation. And absent the positive discovery of other earth like worlds, I am left currently to wonder about these gaseous planets, identified in the affirmative. Could a different form of life exist there? Could it be sentient? Could, 148 Trillion miles away, some hydrogen based father be just as proud of a little puff of gas as I am of Lukas? Maybe. Just maybe.

Perhaps, in a vignette not unlike one of our own, after speculating themselves about life on other distant worlds, that hydrogen based Fomalhault father holds out what passes for a finger, the little puff tugs on it, and some form of carbon based material is expunged. They both laugh hysterically, while in another corner of their home, a mother gas cloud just rolls what passes for her eyes and sighs.

8 comments:

SciFi Dad said...

First, I vote for a return to bigger font sizes. K? K.

Second, I take it you're stoked for the Abrams Star Trek due out next summer? Seen the trailer from the new Bond film release yet (it's on youtube)?

James Austin said...

Hell yeah, that will be great. The Mrs. and I love a good scifi flick.

Fonts are the same size in my browser. Anyone else seeing something smaller?

morethananelectrician said...

This hydrogen based life form sees no difference in the font on your page.

James Austin said...

Thanks MTAE. Your Hydrogen based? That is one more random thing I did not know about you.

Whit said...

That's awesome. I can't wait until the aliens come back.

And yes, your font is much smaller after the photo.

Ed (zoesdad) said...

Just think--he'd have to leave now to get there by the time he was 40. Talk about a long trek into space.

James Austin said...

@Whit - They may already be here. Havn't you watched The X-files?

Odd about the fonts. Seem that some see it that way and others do not. kinda like the alien thing...

@Ed - By that time perhaps faster than light speed travel will have been discovered!

Darren said...

That's a pretty cool middle name...definitely filled with destiny.