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Cosmic Surprise #996

Nadya Johnson

Joined January 2009

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Artist's Description

Behind you! Look behind you!

Remo said, “What’s he going on about?”

Moto said, “No idea. I wouldn’t worry, though. No chance of any life-forms whatsoever, on a planet orbiting a quasar!”

(Part of a series: the robots explore the cosmos)

Some surprises are worse than others, in the wild regions of the galaxy!

Do exo-planets really orbit quasars? Yes! And the first such planets ever discovered, are on the list. The first extrasolar planets discovered were a pair of rocky objects orbiting a pulsar in the constellation of Virgo, 980 light-years from the Earth. Pulsars emit huge amounts of radiation, more than enough to fry any human or Terrestrial life-form on the surface of such worlds, so these planets (PSR B1257+12B and PSR B1257+12C) are the last places anyone would look for living things.

Then too, scientists did not expect to find life in the vicinity of “black smokers” (volcanic vents in the deepest regions of our oceans where light does not exist, and temperatures are 700 Fahrenheit). Yet eco-systems do exist there, thanks to a unique bacteria which forms the basis of the food chain. The bacteria harness energy not from photosynthesis (impossible without the light) but by metabolizing large amounts of sulfur ~ something formerly regarded as poisonous to living things. So although unlikely, the vote’s still out!

Photoshop Creation
Robots and spaceships are from toys

Artwork Comments

  • Peter Stratton
  • Carol and Mike Werner
  • kalaryder
  • Keith Reesor
  • © Kira Bodensted
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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