Feeding Martians & Earthlings Alike

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So it turns out that The Martian might have been onto something all along. Yes, the movie with Matt Damon.

Scientists have now proven that not only can potatoes be grown on Mars, which could be of enormous value when we colonize the red planet. Not only will our first generation of Martians benefit from this research, but so might the hundreds of thousands of Earthinglings suffering from chronic malnutrition and starvation.

No, it won’t solve all our food-related woes, but it’s a step.

Read the article here on Futurism

Universe, Star System or Galaxy?

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In my ‘Infinite Worlds’ series, (which starts with ‘If It’s Easy’) a previously unknown planet is discovered in an alternate universe. The scientists who discover this world call it Terra Geminus. Without giving too much away, the initial expedition finds the planet is not only colonized but already named New Olympus! Confusing? Not really. It’s common for one group of people to call a landmark one thing, and another group refer to that same landmark by a completely different name.

I knew sooner or later, I’d have to decide where in the skies my imagined planet of Terra Geminus resided. I already knew the planet would not be in our skies…but where? Did I focus on its immediate galaxy? Was it in a solar system?

Before I drove myself even further nutty, I knew it was time to buckle down and learn the differences before I made a mistake there was no coming back from. So, here’s what I learned.

A star system is a large number of stars and accompanying bodies with a perceptible structure. (Sounds a lot like a galaxy to me)

Our solar system is a collection of eight planets and their moons, comets, asteroids, gases and star dust in orbit around the sun.

A galaxy is a system of millions of stars, gas and dust, all held together by gravitational forces.

A universe is all existing matter and space as a whole containing vast, uncountable numbers of galaxies.

So then my question changed. Did I want to focus on only the planet or the larger galaxy it belonged to?

My overall plan is to tell the stories of other characters on other worlds, all of whom will be in the same galaxy, and will all have some degree of interconnectedness.

(Think of knots in a web. Connected, but still on different points within the web)

I knew then, that I had to name the galaxy as well.

Just as Earth is but one body in our Milky Way galaxy, so too will Terra Geminus/New Olympus be just one planet of many in the Claudisius galaxy. There are other worlds, stars, comets and gas balls in the Claudisius galaxy of course. There are scientists, dreamers, cartographers, xenobiologists and explorers as well, all roaming about and having adventures.

If it’s Easy’ introduces us to two of those explorers, and ‘Infinite Worlds’ shares more of their story with us, and allows us to go with them on the adventure of a lifetime as they race to save an expedition to Terra Geminus. Like our own lives, small grains on a large planet, in a larger galaxy in a vast universe.

After all, we can’t possibly be the only life among the stars.

What If The Matrix Was Right?

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Recently, a bbc.com article reported a theory that our universe, and everything in it, could be part of a grand simulation. More than a few brilliant minds seem to agree that it’s completely possible.

This brought to mind the episode of The Simpsons where Lisa experiments with a tooth in cola for a school science project. After being shocked by Bart, Lisa touches the tooth and the spark creates life forms that eventually hail Lisa as a god.

But there’s a big stretch between Lisa Simpson’s science experiment and our own universe, isn’t there?

Apparently not as much as we might think.

Some cosmologists claim our universe is too well designed to be mere chance, that the smallest alterations in the constants of nature would be enough to prevent life in our universe. Alan Guth, of M.I.T has suggested we might be an experiment of a super intelligent life form, similar to a colony of microorganisms bred in a lab. He says there’s nothing to rule out a manufactured universe in an artificially created ‘Big Bang’. So we’d still be real, created by something else.

Not too far from the creation theory/myth.

But Elon Musk, and others, have suggested that we may all be simulated beings and all of our experiences, right down to your morning coffee, are strings of information in a gigantic computer somewhere. It’s really not too hard to believe. We already run all sorts of simulations, from traffic accidents, to emergency management, weather patterns, flock and herd migrations to simulations that tell us how planets might form and human societies that make choices based on rules. So if we can simulate all of those…why could we not be simulations ourselves? Who’s to say some other race older than ourselves hasn’t reached this point long ago, and humanity is their experiment?

Others attest that our universe is one of many, all lying side by side. Some believe that these universes don’t lie in an orderly fashion, but lie in a tangled heap with universes and realms crossing over into each other like a messy ball of twine in your junk drawer.

Whether we are an experiment or only one of many worlds, it’s awfully arrogant to think we are the only ones out here.

We can’t be alone. We cannot be the only race of intelligent beings all alone in a vast, non-random Universe. There’s just too much evidence against it.

 

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