Universal Translator

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Sulis Star System (Life of Other Worlds, Part 4)

Life of other worlds: drawings and sketches from one space explorer's travel journal is a series focusing on various other star systems in the Milky Way Galaxy.

The Sulis Star System (Note: Planets and orbits not to scale)

The Sulis System is a yellow star system with five planets. Named after Celtic gods, life has only been found on the planet of Cernunnos. Research indicates that the asteroid field, known as The Bards and Vates, may at one time been a planet with developing microscopic life. The first three planets in the system include: 1) Nantosuelta, a Mercury-class planet 2)Ambisagrus, a planet similar to Mars, and 3) Cernunnos, with its barren moon, Damara. The first three planets are very close to the same size, only varying in temperature and crust structure. There is one ringed planet Barinthus that may have gotten its rings from the destruction of a planet where The Bards and Vates are now located. Barinthus has four moons (it is unknown if they formed recently from debris or escaped the destruction felt by other moons in the system).The gas supergiant Britannia is a failed ringed planet.   Britannia is located within a supergaint asteroid field called The Druids. The asteroids saturate the orbit of Britannia, and they have never coalesced into rings around the planet -the magnetic field of the planet seems to push many of the asteroids out of the way and they then settle back into place after it passes. Most disturbed asteroids are either flung into deep space or end up settling into the orbit of The Bards and Vates. It is believed that the The Druids were at one time actually one or more large moons that orbited Britannia, probably pulverized as the result of the recent planetary event (around 50 million years ago) that also demolished the planet that occupied the orbit of The Bards and Vates.


Little nocturnal creature that many other things seemed to like to eat. We named it the Dinner Mouse

The Vampire Bird (not really a bird) captures its prey and injects venom that completely liquefies the organs, muscles and bones of its prey, which it then sucks out.

They were fast. And they were NOT cuddly.


Britannia and The Druids

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Aten-Ra Star System (and Giza Nebula) (Life of Other Worlds, Part 3)

Life of other worlds: drawings and sketches from one space explorer's travel journal is a series focusing on various other star systems in the Milky Way Galaxy.

The Aten-Ra System is a blue star system with five planets, located near the Giza Nebula. Astronomer Dr. Piers Langland, a member of the Unified Interplanetary Exploration Taskforce (UIET), discovered the system and its neighboring nebula. The system received its name due to the fact that it was discovered the year that the Forgotten Tombs were found and unearthed in Egypt.  Sadly, it was also the year of the Bombing of the Great Pyramids of Giza by religious fundamentalists.  The International Astronomical Union approved the naming of the system after ancient Egyptian deities and the naming of the nebula after the Great Pyramids as a remembrance of the great events of that year.
Life is found on Hathor, Amun and its moon Isis, and two of the three moons of Osiris-Anubis and Horus; however, life beyond Hathor and Amun is only microscopic (it is believed to have travel beyond Hathor and Amun as result of early meteorite impacts). Ancient microfossils have been found on the dead planet of Sokar. The Sokarian fossils resemble life on the moons of Osiris and Amun. This is a system teeming with life. So far Amun is only one of two known gas giants to harbor complex life in a thin upper layer.


The first planet in the system: Hapi


Hathor (with its moon Thoth in the background)
Hathor is a relatively flat planet with few mountain ranges. Most of the planet is very dry with large desert areas. Large expanses of the surface are covered in great prairies covered in grass-like plants.  One species that covers the large spaces actually is one plant that sends out roots underground forming a large megaorganism – one plant can cover hundreds of kilometers. There are no trees as on Earth, large herbaceous plants that resemble the banana trees of Earth create dense “jungles”.  The “trees” and the megaorganism plant never occur in the same spot –it seems the two species are constantly battling for space (where the two plants meet there is always a barren “no-man’s-land” between them-it is believed that there is some kind of chemical warfare going on among the two)

Herd animal on Hathor

Large herbaceous tree (similar to a banana tree on Earth)

Large grazing creature (abt 5 meters)

A nocturnal repto-mammal that survives only on nectar of certain flowers and juices of certain fruits.
This creature was always fighting others of the species. The sound of the bony plates crashing together filled the air at every hour. The tail would be used after the head jammed into its opponent.
These little critters were found in the water, in the mud, in the sand, everywhere. And yes, even the trees --or the equivalent of trees. 

Something that mostly laid in the mud (note that air is breathed in through hole on top of body) 


The Moons of Osiris, looking toward Sokar and the Giza Nebula

Amun and its moon Isis


Many incredible life forms live in the thin stable habitable zone on a gas giant. The food chain of the planet includes large balloon-like carnivores, such as the Cloud Tiger, who consume the smaller and plentiful Kites. Kites themselves consume spores from the many forms of fungus and algae present in the zone.

Cloud Tiger (genus Aethercetus) captures Kites in a basket it swings through the air. The basket contracts tightly around the Kites and then digests them. The creature floats freely through the habitable zone of the gas giant, regulating its buoyancy to keep itself at the correct altitude. The "tiger" stripes are thought to resemble swarms of Kites causing other Kites to fly toward the Cloud Tiger, thus luring them to their death as lunch for the great floating beast.
Cloud Tiger
There was this creature we called Macy (after the large balloon figures in the Macy's parade). We believed it to be a member of the genus Aethercetus; if so, it is the largest member. It trawled for food with a large "basket" at the bottom. The "bubbles" on the side were young.
There was a carnivorous creature (genus Aethercetus) analogous to the Orcas on Earth. It hunted other members of the Aethercetus genus. We called it the Sky Orca. It seemed to prefer to eat Cloud Tigers. It used the sharp pendulum to ram the Cloud Tigers and deflate them; then released a dissolving agent to melt certain nutritious parts of its prey, which it sucked up through a tube.  It did this very quickly as it slowly descended due to the extra weight.  Before reaching the point of no return, it jettisoned the carcass of the Cloud Tiger and floated slowly up to a higher altitude.

Sky Orca

Creature we called Macy (after the large balloon figures in the Macy's parade)


Sokar and the Giza Nebula

The Giza Nebula

Residing near the Aten-Ra System, the nebula fills the night skies of all the planets of the system.  A defining feature of the nebula is its bright monochromatic redness, caused by the abundance of hydrogen.  The three bright white dwarfs ( each one named after one of the three pyramids in Giza) are the three brightest points in the nebula.  Some believe the vivid red-purple colour of Sokar is due to the capture of nebula hydrogen by the planet.  An odd section of the Giza Nebula is separated from the main body and has a bright blue-white cast (see Hathor photo).  Scientists believe that the high temperature of this region is caused by the fact that the hydrogen is being consumed in some unknown type of reaction.  Some believe that the reaction might someday consume the entire nebula; others believe that  it is a localized reaction.  It has been put forth by some that the proximity of the "Blue Cloud" to the planetary system invites the question that the reaction is caused by abandoned alien technology. The establishment of a permanent space station (Langland Station UIET) in orbit around Hathor will study the Giza Nebula and its relationship with the Aten-Ra System.

Next in the series :  The Sulis Star System

Sunday, 1 November 2015

The Halloween Song

(Inspired by "The Christmas Song", words and music by Mel Torme' and Robert Wells)
"The Halloween Song", words by T.F. Clardy

Bodies roasting on a funeral pyre,

Jack Frost hacking off your nose,

Ghouls dancing round a wild bonfire,

And folks costumed from head to toes,

Every-body knows 

a pinch of cyanide will do someone in...

but we all know that that's a sin.

Although it's been said with many howls

and a bitter wail,

Happy Halloween,

Scary Halloween,

Happy Halloween to you!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Odin Star System (Life of Other Worlds, Part 2)

Life of other worlds: drawings and sketches from one space explorer's travel journal is a series focusing on various other star systems in the Milky Way Galaxy.

The Odin Star System (NOTE: Planet and orbits not to scale)

The Odin System is a yellow star system consisting of six planets. Balder and Njord are the only planets with life forms.  Dr. Dag Stassen discovered the system during the exploration mission of the European Space Agency Interplanetary Space Probe in the early 21st century.  The ESA gave it names according to mythological Norse gods and goddesses.

The first four planets are rocky.  The last two planets are gas giants; Thor being a super gas giant.  Between the two gas giants there is a large asteroid field called The Valkyries, which contains some of the largest asteroids ever recorded.  The gas giants, Thor and Loki, seem to keep the asteroids in check and corralled into their orbit around the star Odin.  Without Thor and Loki, the asteroids would cause havoc within the system.  However, it is believed that the gravitational pull of the collective asteroid belt and Loki prevented Thor from being pulled further into the system, thus keeping the inner planets safe. (Note: Planets and their orbits are not to scale.)


The first planet is Frigg, named after the wife of Odin and goddess of married love.  It is geologically inactive with a high surface temperature.



The second planet in the Odin System is called Hel, named after the Norse goddess of death. Hel is a turbulent geologically active planet which lives up to its name.



The third planet Balder is an Earth-sized world with a similar gravity and atmosphere.  It is named after the Norse god who was the son of Odin and the favourite of the gods.  It has one moon named Hoder. Balder is a geologically active planet with a continuous rocky, mountainous terrain.  Unlike Earth, Balder contains most of its water underground.  Caves are a common geological form. Water on Balder has a very high mineral content and is very saline.  Most of the large creatures on Balder exhibit qualities of both reptiles and mammals on Earth.  Plant life consists mostly of lichen-like and moss-like plants.  Vines are the dominant plant, covering rock spires and mountain ranges, sometimes reaching several meters in diameter.

A repto-mammal that hangs from cliffs and lures in small flying nectar-sucking creatures - its mouth resembles a certain flower and oozes oil that smells like the nectar. 

One of the exobiologists on the team stated that this was not a dinosaur. I beg to differ.


An actual flying snake, well it was really more of a clumsy glider, flapping and gliding from one cliff to the other. The landscape was littered with high jutting cliffs, making this creature quite at home


The chilly water world of Njord

The fourth planet Njord is a chilled water world. It is named after the Norse god of ships and the sea.  It has one moon, Aegir.

Njord is 82% water.  Its planetary climate resembles that of the Northern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans on Earth.  Most of the dry land consists of large mountainous archipelagos near its equator.  The equatorial ocean is more shallow and warmer than the deep, usually frozen, polar ocean.

Aquatic life on Njord is extremely diverse.  The largest numbers of species resemble the fish of Earth.  There are no mammal-like creatures anywhere on the planet.  Most of the scientists that have explored Njord say that it resembles Earth during its Devonian Era, though much colder.

One of the surprises of Njord is the existence of several large shark-like creatures.  The largest carnivore creature on the planet, the Fury Fish (Pistrix furiosus) make the Earth's sharks seem tame in comparison.  After the death of several explorers, a planet-wide caution is in place to anyone near a body of water that is connected to the open ocean.

the Fury Fish (Pistrix furiosus
Pistris piscatus - Distant cousin to the Fury Fish, this creature takes a gulp of water into its "blowhole", and then pulls itself through shallows (and sometimes on to shore) using its arm-like fins in order to capture trapped prey. 

Pistrix tenoris -- Related to the Fury Fish, this slow relation uses baleen to sieve the waters of the ocean world of Njord.


Thor, named after the Norse god of thunder and the sky, is a gas super giant.  It has two rocky moons, Fjorgynn and Sif.  The moons are warm desert worlds even though they are in the planetary cold zone.  As a gas supergiant, Thor radiates heat, passing it along to its moons.  Due to the distance from the inner planets and solar winds, Thor’s heat has little effect upon the smaller planets of the system.


 Loki is the last planet of the system.  It is named after the Norse god of mischief.
It is a gas giant, with one moon named Sigyn.


Next in the series : The Aten-Ra Star System