The Way I See It
Rebecca Styn's column this week is out of this world.
While I generally try to focus on issues that directly impact our community, I'd like to talk about a few things that are a little more, well, out of this world – which, in essence, could directly impact (not meteor-ally of course) any one of you. So I present to you: TWISI: In Outer Space!
One of NASA's satellites – the Kepler satellite – is keeping an eye on more than 150,000 stars in hopes of identifying Earth-like planets that could be habitable.
And recently, they discovered a trio of them.
The planets, currently labeled as Kepler-62e, Kepler-62f, and Kepler-69c, don't sound too special by name, but there's more than meets the eye here. Literally.
Comparatively speaking, our vast world – the third largest planet in the solar system – is tiny in comparison. All three planets range from 40 to 70 percent larger than the Earth, and if you were standing on one of them, a star in the sky would look bigger than our sun does.
I know what you're probably wondering, but the goal of this mission wasn't to find alien life forms. And it would also take a different mission to investigate the atmosphere of one of these distance planets to find out whether there's carbon dioxide, water, and oxygen within their atmosphere. But it's a start.
And in the midst of all the chaos and destruction us earthly creatures are experiencing here, scientists might have a good thing going with these discoveries. In light of all of these findings, Earth is sadly looking less special every minute. Perhaps we should start taking care of it better – or look to live elsewhere.
Life on Mars!
Speaking of… what if I told you in less than 10 years you could actually be living on another planet? No lie. A Dutch company called Mars One began looking this past week for volunteer astronauts to fly to Mars. This open call, announced by the company's CEO Bas Lansdorp – whose name in my opinion sounds a bit alien-like and perfect for such an endeavor – stated that in 2022, volunteers would be shuttled off to the red planet, and would land seven months later.
Naturally, there are a few requirements.
First, applicants must be between 18-40 years of age and in good physical condition. I realize the next stipulation is going to come as a shock – but you must have good survival skills.
Interesting to me, however, is the group is also requesting applicants have "good people skills" and a "reasonable grasp" of the English language? Are they anticipating other outgoing folks that only speak English to be currently residing in outer space? Or is this just to keep all outgoing folks chatting in the same tongue?
The team – comprised of young, in-shape, outgoing, English-speaking folks – will be trained for seven years before the flight, and various parts of the mission will be streamed on the Internet to be seen by upwards of 4 million viewers. And there is of course an application fee (not listed), but admission, err, application fees will go towards the estimated $6 billion required to fund the mission. Yep, $6 billion.
As for when you would return to Earth? Well… never.
While they can get you there, there currently is no technology that would enable a return trip home, so there'll be no turning the boat around once the ship sets sail. Sorry, Dorothy and Toto – your mission is accomplished and Kansas shall be but a distant memory.
So, Erie denizens, if that whole brain gain thing just isn't for you, or you're tired of corrupt officials ruining school districts, or don't want to worry about our tiring economy and the ultimate loss of one of our biggest manufacturers, or don't care what happens to our beloved Bayfront…
Mars awaits you.
Love? Hate? Agree? Disagree? I want to hear from you, and you can contact me at rStyn@ErieReader.com and follow me on Twitter @rStyn.