Planetary impacts

When you trip… and fall… and graze you knee… remember…


You just collided with a planet. And survived, walking away with just a scratch.

How many interstellar objects can say the same? In fact, this might be your life’s biggest achievement. Dwell on that.

I don’t mean to brag…. but personally, I can claim this particular achievement award more than once. I like to live dangerously.



Below average real estate

The Solar System is… pretty boring. In quite a boring part of the galaxy. In quite a boring part of the universe. Not to us obviously, since we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t exactly the way it was…

But it is also likely the reason we haven’t been visited by aliens.

Why go to earth… when you can go to HD131399AB  which orbits a trinary star system…


Each orbit takes 550 years… and the planet spin is so slow each day and night cycle is about a hundred years or so…

Located about a hop, skip and a jump from earth… at a distance of about 340 light years  the constellation Centaurus (named after Chiron, the centaur, who was accidentally killed by Hercules with a poisoned arrow) HD131399AB is thought to be about 16 million years old, making it one of the youngest exoplanets discovered to date.

With a temperature of 850 kelvins (about 1,070 F or 580 C) and weighing in at an estimated four Jupiters, it is also one of the coldest and least massive directly-imaged exoplanets.

I know where I would go.

Dark side of the moon

The solar system began to form about… 4.6 billion years ago. Give or take a couple of million…


Our moon was potentially ‘habitable’ for about 500 million years after its formation… about 3.5 billion years ago. During its ‘brief’ tenure as a satellite capable of supporting life it had enough water to maintain an atmosphere (of about 1% of earths current atmosphere) which would have been enough for pools of water to form. The volcanic action also helped replenish the atmosphere.

Perhaps most importantly is that there is evidence to suggest that the Moon had a magnetic field which would have protected it from solar and cosmic radiation.

It is unlikely that life would have gotten past the single cell organism phase in that ‘brief’ window, but still, there was potential there.

Perhaps instead of a tidal locked hunk of rock we should consider the moon more like a giant microbial graveyard circling round the earth… a testament that life in the universe is harsh and unforgiving, a portent of things to come.

Bach for extraterrestrials


I would vote for Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again. We would be bragging, of course, but it is surely excusable to put the best possible face on at the beginning of such an acquaintance. We can tell the harder truths later

– Lewis Thomas,  physician, poet, etymologist, essayist (maybe I should just say polymath, seems easier than an exhaustive list)

[Jo] I’d probably also vote for Bach. If I pretend anyone really cared what I thought I mean (which I sometimes do, because… well… I sometimes like to believe I matter). Although maybe we should rather be advertising ourselves with something more apt (and less likely to invite investigation) like Rammstein (I thought we should stick with a teutonic theme) Nothing says leave me alone like flamer throwers and angry German vocals.

Then there is the school of thought that maybe we really shouldn’t be advertising ourselves at all… but then again subtly is not really our strong suit…. and lets be honest… its a little late to take back all the radio traffic we’ve already beamed into space anyway.

Its a little like stuffing your pockets with sausage and marching off into the middle of the African savannah… at night… and singing kumbaya (my lord) as loudly as you can… and seeing what will happen.

(pretty sure this is mostly deemed ‘ill advised’)

(probably because its more likely you’ll fall down a ravine than come in contact with an apex predator… but still… the chance is not zero)