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U=(N/T)M*G: Ground

Lot of stuff happening here on Earth. We’ve got all eyes on every corner of out little mud ball and it’s a pretty mixed bag of news. New variants and new launches to the ISS. Tardigrades and Bezos in space. Hell, we’ve even got Disney cycling back to their evil empire ways.

So I’m gonna change pace a little and direct your eyes, or thoughts anyway, over to the ground game of two other planets. Yep. Our neighbors, Mars and Venus. Sure, their parties are a little more subdued than ours currently, but they’re still partying.

Well, I say subdued, but the discovery of recent volcanic activity on Mars is a big deal. Granted, it was 50,000 years ago, give or take, but that’s barely the blink of an eye in geologic terms. The suggestion of a core warm enough to have volcanic activity is probably the impetus needed to get humanity to scope out our little cool neighbor in person as soon as possible. Hot gas is what a lot of extremophile microbes love and we might get a change to discover evidence of them.

Now, our other neighbor, lovely little Venus, has some awesome volcanic activity going on as well. More importantly though is the recent evidence of plate tectonics. Yeah, the thing that happens with a hot planetary core. Couple that with both the discovery of phosphine and the recent news of Venus’ atmosphere thinning due to the Sun’s activity cycles, and we’re already planning a visit.

I know the whole reason for visiting these planets is to find life, or the former existence of it, because if something could survive in these places, humans might also be able to.

However, the idea occurs to me that it doesn’t really matter if we find life or its remnants on our neighbors or not. Humans are an incredibly adaptive species. All we need is the drive to build Venusian cloud cities or our little geo-domes on Mars. Maybe some floating biomes on Titan’s pitch black lakes, or great cavernous metropolises under Europa’s ice. I’m sure that once we start out into the stars we’ll find the life we’ve been looking for. Maybe we’ll come across some distant twilight world and give them the spark to reach the stars themselves with the stories of how we just went out, everything else be damned, and just started.

T.A. Creech

Science in the pursuit of Fiction.

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