earth is our homes

SDCC SU Panel stuff!

- Zach: “Rebecca, what can you tell us about what’s to come next on Steven Universe?”
Rebecca: “I’m really excited, well … We’ve had these incredibly huge events lately, and we’re just gonna see the fallout, this bomb, there will be HUGE consequences to everything that’s happened, and the rollercoaster has sort of rocketed forward from here on out, so these next episodes were really exciting to make.”

- A VERY intense trailer was shown of what’s to come next. I couldn’t see it, I could only hear it. The audio I transcribed below:
Pearl: “I thought you’d see it someday, but … I thought I’d be there with you.”
Steven: “You’re safe! You’re here! I’m here! We’re safe, everything’s fine.”
Connie: “But it’s not, though.”
Steven: “I just wanted to save everyone, but I couldn’t even do that. I don’t know how I’m gonna get you out of this. Are you doing okay?”
Sadie: “Well, I’m worried about Lars being in space, and I hope he’s safe and all.”
Blue or Yellow Zircon: “You RAN?! From Blue and Yellow Diamond?!!”
Greg: “I don’t know anything about Homeworld, I don’t know anything about your (intangible), you guys have to put it in the contest!”
Pearl: “There are things on Earth that are impossible for me to explain. But I want to.”
Lapis: “They’re gonna take her anger out on this planet, just like they did before. I WON’T let myself get caught up in another war.”
Peridot: “Earth is our home now! Isn’t it worth fighting for … ?”

- A new Save The Light trailer was shown, and a new Peridot was revealed in the game! Her name is ‘Squaridot’, she has square hair, limb enhancers, and a left eye gem.

- Q: “Would Rainbow Quartz be the same or different with Steven?”
Rebecca: "Rainbow Quartz 2.0 would variably be different …….. it …….. Forget I said that. That’s a very good question thank you.”

- Q: “Have we seen the full extent of Lion’s powers?”
Rebecca: “I don’t think we’ve seen the full extent of Lion’s abilities yet”, etc.

- Q: “Which Off Color do you relate the most to and why?”
Rebecca: “Rhodonite. The neurotic one.”
Zach: “Padparadscha.”
Deedee: “Padparadscha.”

- Q: “I was wondering if there was any challenges making the music for the show?”
Rebecca: “Oh of course, we don’t get any extra time to do episodes with songs in them than episodes without songs in them. I think the most challenging one was Mr. Greg.”

- Q: “While making the show (cont.), I’ve been a creator for a long time, and I just had to ask: Do you gauge if something’s gonna be really popular? Like Padparadscha immediately became an enormous meme.”
Rebecca: “I think we focus on loving what we’re making. We all love Padaparadscha, so … I suppose it wasn’t a surprise to see people loved her too. I think some of the stuff that catches on is the fun ideas we have, and that was one of those where someone at a big writer’s meeting pitched that concept of a Sapphire that sees the past and we all just loved it instantly (cont.) … and thought how sweet that would be. And I always thought of Sapphires being Zelda-esque, so I really wanted a sort of Peach to contrast her Zelda.”

- Q: “Was Lars becoming pivotal something you planned from the beginning?”
Rebecca: “I think it happened naturally, because Lars was one of the oldest characters in the show. I was drawing Lars and Sadie back in college. They’re older than Steven Universe. I think they were always gonna be very very important.”

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Reaching out into space yields benefits on Earth. Many of these have practical applications — but there’s something more than that. Call it inspiration, perhaps, what photographer Ansel Adams referred to as nature’s “endless prospect of magic and wonder." 

Our ongoing exploration of the solar system has yielded more than a few magical images. Why not keep some of them close by to inspire your own explorations? This week, we offer 10 planetary photos suitable for wallpapers on your desktop or phone. Find many more in our galleries. These images were the result of audacious expeditions into deep space; as author Edward Abbey said, "May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.”

1. Martian Selfie

This self-portrait of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the robotic geologist in the “Murray Buttes” area on lower Mount Sharp. Key features on the skyline of this panorama are the dark mesa called “M12” to the left of the rover’s mast and pale, upper Mount Sharp to the right of the mast. The top of M12 stands about 23 feet (7 meters) above the base of the sloping piles of rocks just behind Curiosity. The scene combines approximately 60 images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, camera at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. Most of the component images were taken on September 17, 2016.

2. The Colors of Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured this high-resolution, enhanced color view of Pluto on July 14, 2015. The image combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC). Pluto’s surface sports a remarkable range of subtle colors, enhanced in this view to a rainbow of pale blues, yellows, oranges, and deep reds. Many landforms have their own distinct colors, telling a complex geological and climatological story that scientists have only just begun to decode.

3. The Day the Earth Smiled

On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, our Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn’s shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings — and, in the background, our home planet, Earth. This mosaic is special as it marks the third time our home planet was imaged from the outer solar system; the second time it was imaged by Cassini from Saturn’s orbit, the first time ever that inhabitants of Earth were made aware in advance that their photo would be taken from such a great distance.

4. Looking Back

Before leaving the Pluto system forever, New Horizons turned back to see Pluto backlit by the sun. The small world’s haze layer shows its blue color in this picture. The high-altitude haze is thought to be similar in nature to that seen at Saturn’s moon Titan. The source of both hazes likely involves sunlight-initiated chemical reactions of nitrogen and methane, leading to relatively small, soot-like particles called tholins. This image was generated by combining information from blue, red and near-infrared images to closely replicate the color a human eye would perceive.

5. Catching Its Own Tail

A huge storm churning through the atmosphere in Saturn’s northern hemisphere overtakes itself as it encircles the planet in this true-color view from Cassini. This picture, captured on February 25, 2011, was taken about 12 weeks after the storm began, and the clouds by this time had formed a tail that wrapped around the planet. The storm is a prodigious source of radio noise, which comes from lightning deep within the planet’s atmosphere.

6. The Great Red Spot

Another massive storm, this time on Jupiter, as seen in this dramatic close-up by Voyager 1 in 1979. The Great Red Spot is much larger than the entire Earth.

7. More Stormy Weather

Jupiter is still just as stormy today, as seen in this recent view from NASA’s Juno spacecraft, when it soared directly over Jupiter’s south pole on February 2, 2017, from an altitude of about 62,800 miles (101,000 kilometers) above the cloud tops. From this unique vantage point we see the terminator (where day meets night) cutting across the Jovian south polar region’s restless, marbled atmosphere with the south pole itself approximately in the center of that border. This image was processed by citizen scientist John Landino. This enhanced color version highlights the bright high clouds and numerous meandering oval storms.

8. X-Ray Vision

X-rays stream off the sun in this image showing observations from by our Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, overlaid on a picture taken by our Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The NuSTAR data, seen in green and blue, reveal solar high-energy emission. The high-energy X-rays come from gas heated to above 3 million degrees. The red channel represents ultraviolet light captured by SDO, and shows the presence of lower-temperature material in the solar atmosphere at 1 million degrees.

9. One Space Robot Photographs Another

This image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows Victoria crater, near the equator of Mars. The crater is approximately half a mile (800 meters) in diameter. It has a distinctive scalloped shape to its rim, caused by erosion and downhill movement of crater wall material. Since January 2004, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been operating in the region where Victoria crater is found. Five days before this image was taken in October 2006, Opportunity arrived at the rim of the crater after a drive of more than over 5 miles (9 kilometers). The rover can be seen in this image, as a dot at roughly the “ten o'clock” position along the rim of the crater. (You can zoom in on the full-resolution version here.)

10. Night Lights

Last, but far from least, is this remarkable new view of our home planet. Last week, we released new global maps of Earth at night, providing the clearest yet composite view of the patterns of human settlement across our planet. This composite image, one of three new full-hemisphere views, provides a view of the Americas at night from the NASA-NOAA Suomi-NPP satellite. The clouds and sun glint — added here for aesthetic effect — are derived from MODIS instrument land surface and cloud cover products.

Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Lapidot in “Raising The Barn” - From Peridot’s Side

I’ve taken a look at the Lapidot content in Raising The Barn from Lapis’ side in a separate post; now, it’s time to look at the role Peridot played in the episode.

“Lapis was very agitated when she heard you were on Homeworld.  I was bending over backwards to make her feel better.”

Here, we see Peridot mentioning that (both physically and metaphorically) she’s been bending over backwards to make sure that Lapis is happy.  This level of dedication to another person is something that we only ever see from Peridot in relation to Lapis; most of the time, she can be quite self-centred and even a little egotistica - rarely (if ever) putting anyone else before herself.

“Maybe it’s good that we’ll be away from everything, where nothing can change; no surprises, or developments.  She’s been through so much.  She needs consistency.”

Here, we again see Peridot putting Lapis first.  The genuine concern with which she says that Lapis has “been through so much” is a tone of voice that, again, we only ever hear Peridot speaking when she’s talking to/about Lapis (another very clear example of this being her “no-one said there was a rush” line to Lapis in Room for Ruby).  Peridot clearly cares more for Lapis than anyone else, and this is another prime example of that.

The fact that she’s saying this to Steven when Lapis is nowhere nearby (as opposed to masking her own feelings in order to put Lapis first towards the end of the episode, which we’ll get onto shortly) goes to show that she’s speaking with sincerity.

It transpires, as the episodes continues, that Pumpkin doesn’t want to leave the Earth – and, deep down, neither does Peridot.  Yet, she was willing to do this regardless in order to keep Lapis happy, which is testament to her level of dedication to Lapis.  She would have sacrificed absolutely everything in order to spend the rest of eternity in space with just Lapis and Pumpkin; that speaks volumes about the strength of her feelings for Lapis.

In the end, Steven convinces her to be honest with Lapis.  This is something that Peridot doesn’t feel able to do – not because she’s afraid of Lapis, but rather because she’s afraid of hurting her.

In the past, Peridot’s blunt honesty has hurt/deeply offended the people around her (irrespective of whether or not it was intentional) – one only has to look at how her brutal honesty offended Amethyst during Peridot’s early days with the Crystal Gems, as well as getting her punched in the face by Pearl, to name just two examples.

Peridot is acutely aware of Lapis’ past traumas, as we’ve seen many times in the past.  And because Peridot knows how easily she’s offended people in the past with her choice of words, she takes extra care when speaking around Lapis – even to the point of hiding the truth from her so that she doesn’t get upset.  Lapis means more to Peridot than absolutely anyone else, and so she goes to great lengths to make sure that she doesn’t offend her in any way at all because of that.

When Peridot finally decides to open up with Lapis, it’s not her usual brand of brutal honesty – instead, it’s much more gentle and heartfelt.

“…I think we should fight for this life we’ve built instead of tearing it up out of the ground! I think we can win.  I think you can win.  Earth is our home now… isn’t it worth fighting for?”

The fact that Peridot says “I think you can win” is incredibly interesting.  It carries a much heavier implication than simply winning the fight against the Diamonds; Peridot is most likely referring to Lapis’ past traumas and her fear of the war.  She knows how hard Lapis is going to have to fight with herself in order to get over her fear and actually defend the Earth, but this is something that Peridot wants to help her with (and something she believes Lapis can do, even if Lapis herself doesn’t believe it) – hence her caring tone of voice and her holding her hand out to Lapis.  It’s a very loving gesture.  We can also see Peridot here, like Lapis before her, referring to “life we’ve built” and “our home”, further emphasising the fact that Lapis and Peridot share their entire lives with each other.

In the end, Peridot can’t convince Lapis to stay (which is a decision that, as discussed in the Lapis counterpart to this post, was made out of pure fear – and which Lapis felt terrible for).

Peridot is left totally heartbroken.

We’ve literally never seen her get this upset over anything before, in spite of all the hardship that she’s previously been though. It just goes to show how much Lapis means to her.

This is something that is integral to the next Peridot episode (Back To The Kindergarten) and will be discussed in a separate post pertaining to that episode.

For NASA, Earth Day is Every Day!

With a fleet of spacecraft orbiting our home planet collecting data on everything from the air we breathe to natural disasters that impact our lives, Earth is always in focus. Join us as we celebrate our home with beautiful views from our unique vantage point of space.

On December 17, 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 snapped this iconic image of planet Earth. Dubbed the Blue Marble, this image was taken as Apollo 17 rocketed toward the moon. 

On the way to the moon or from the surface of Mars, our spacecraft have photographed the beauty of Earth from many vantage points. In this image, the most powerful telescope orbiting Mars captured this view of Earth and its moon, showing continent-size detail on the planet and the relative size of the moon. The image combines two separate exposures taken on November 20, 2016, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. 

In this image taken on July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on our Cassini spacecraft captured Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame.

Our Suomi-NPP satellite also observed the Earth at night. Earth’s “night lights” often have a gee-whiz curiosity for the public , but have also served as a tool for fundamental research for nearly 25 years. They have provided a broad, beautiful picture, showing how humans have shaped the planet and lit up the darkness. 

You can be mesmerized by the constant swirls in these visualizations of ocean currents. The swirling flows of tens of thousands of ocean currents were captured using the largest computations of their kind ever undertaken, using high-end computing resources at our Ames Research Center. 

We’ve all seen iconic photographs of Earth shot by astronauts. But even satellites and robotic spacecraft often get in on the act. The above image, called “Pale Blue Dot,” was taken Voyager 1 in February 1990 from a distance of 4 billion miles.

Our satellites do more than take pretty pictures of Earth. They do everything from measure rainfall to observe weather patterns. The ten satellites in the Global Precipitation Measurement Constellation have provided unprecedented information about rain and snow fall across the entire Earth. This visualization shows the constellation in action, taking precipitation measurements underneath the satellite orbits. 

In an homage to Apollo 17′s “Blue Marble” image, Suomi-NPP, a joint NASA-NOAA Earth-observing satellite, made this composite image, by making a number of swaths of Earth’s surface on January 4, 2012. 

What’s your favorite aspect of planet Earth? These kids have their own ideas. You can even “adopt” parts of the planet. Which one of the 64,000 locations will you get? 

Our home planet is constantly changing, which is why our fleet of Earth-observing satellites continuously monitor the globe, recording every moment of what they see. Luckily for us, many of the views are not only deeply informative but also awe-inspiring. 

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

lapis is probably going to leave

@thelightwithinthedark said:

I want to ask you something. From the lines that was said on the trailer for the new season five episodes of Steven Universe. Lapis said “Their gonna take their anger out on this planet just like they did before.” “I won’t let myself get caught up in another war.” What is your take on this and could this give us more of Lapis’ arc? Also I want know on what do you want Lapis to go through so she can have character development? I’m really worried for her and I love her so much. Your very logical.

i think lapis is leaving the barn. it’s been foreshadowed for a very long time, and this was never a mutually happy thing. it was her and the crystal gems trying to coexist, and it mainly worked because they were always avoiding a core issue: they’re determined to defend earth. lapis is not.

why don’t you put that corn in a mirror for thousands of years and then see how it feels about the table? (laughs) it would really… hate the table!

the ‘table’ is earth. and that… never changed. remember, this was long after steven tried to show her the beauty of earth, by way of uh… leaf. and cities.

of course that wasn’t going to be enough.

lapis tried to be positive, because it’s steven, and he’s her friend! she wants him to see her best, and she knows he’s the reason the other crystal gems let an old enemy live on earth, despite trying to kill humans (and their boy).

connie: you almost drowned me when you tried to steal the world’s water

lapis: …i almost drowned a lot of people.

she feels guilty for some of her actions, but after her breakdown, she’s gone back to avoiding all these things. she doesn’t really want to address bad blood with these people when she has nowhere else to go.

that’s why people often remark that she seems ‘out of character’ when talking to steven - she’s actively trying to be the beach summer fun buddy.

life on earth is really confusing… it took me a long time to get used to it. i’m still getting used to it.

but things aren’t so peachy. there are too many reasons she hates the earth, too many tensions between her and the crystal gems, too many things lapis avoids talking about (connie, steven, jasper, greg, the crystal gems as a whole)… it was only a matter of time before the fragile truce was challenged. 

the other CGs don’t have much nice to say about her either.

steven: visiting peridot and lapis will be so much fun!

amethyst: …yeah, cause when i think fun, i think lapis.

pearl was nothing short of scornful of lapis in ocean gem. that never really changed. she’s only tolerating her, even in gem harvest. lapis feels the same, judging by their history, and the malice in her voice when saying peridot should be ‘the pearl’ when pretending to be crystal gems. 

garnet has sympathy for malachite, but even that was with the careful neutrality of “yikes. those two are really bad for each other”. alexandrite agrees, suggesting “you two should spend some time apart”.

you ran? from blue and yellow diamond?!

the benefit of pretending everything’s fine was that lapis was left alone, without having to face more severe consequences, and for the crystal gems, that this very powerful gem didn’t give them any trouble

but... with the diamonds setting their sights on earth, that peace is in question.

they’re gonna take their anger out on this planet just like they did before. i won’t let myself get caught up in another war.

lapis looks out for lapis - that’s always been part of her. she cares for her friends, but she’s also determined to live. despite her guilt, she can be calculating, vicious and desperate to keep the status quos that benefit her. when that is no longer possible, she adapts, lashes out… or flees. 

in other words… the crystal gems will fight for earth. lapis doesn’t want to.

i think acknowledging this is good. lapis’ challenge should involve facing consequences and figuring out what’s right for her now. because this isn’t it.

peridot: earth is our home now! isn’t that worth fighting for?

peridot wants to believe she will stay, but… judging by the lighting, their eye-contact and the angles, we already have lapis’ answer:

3

Mon-El Appreciation Week: Day 1 ♡ the moment you fell in love with Mon-El  → Survivors (2x04)

This is Earth, our amazing home. The only planet in the solar system with the ability to harbor life (that we know of).

This is the distance between our awesome planet and the moon. 

Doesn’t look that far does it? How about if I told you that you could fit EVERY planet in our solar system neatly in that distance. 

Speaking of the other planets in our solar system, this is them & this is where our amazing planet resides.

The moon’s our cute little companion. This is the United States compared to it.

The planets in the solar system are so cool. This is what North America looks like in comparison to Jupiter. 

Speaking of Jupiter and the moon, this is what it would look like if Jupiter was in the place of the moon. (The white dot is our moon). 

Earth compared to Saturn (well 6 Earths…)

Ever wonder about what Earth would look like if it had rings like Saturn? Well wonder no more.. 

Amazing right? Want to see something cooler? Here is the Earth compared to our Sun. 

Here’s what we look like from the moon

And from Mars

From Saturn 

From Neptune…

Here is what the Sun looks like from Mars

Remember what Carl Sagan said? There are more stars in space than grains of sand on every beach in the Earth. 

That’s a lot right? That only means there are stars way larger than our Sun..like this one for example: 

And there are stars bigger than that….

Stars are huge, but the galaxy is even bigger. If you shrunk the Sun down to the size of a white blood cell, the Milky Way Galaxy would be the size of the United States. 

This is where the Earth is in our huge galaxy 

You know all the stars we see in the sky? These are the ones we only ever see (this isn’t our galaxy but its very similar)

The Milky Way is so big that the last time the Earth was in this exact position in the galaxy, the dinosaurs were here

Even though our galaxy is huge, there are galaxies that are even bigger…

This picture from Hubble shows thousands of thousands of thousands of galaxies that each have their own stars with their own planets…

Here is one of the galaxies in that picture. It is 10 BILLION light years away. When we look at it, we are looking 10 BILLION YEARS BACK IN TIME

And just to keep this in mind, this is a very small portion of the sky that was believed to be empty…

Everything is relative. 

Next time you’re stressed out or worried about something, stop and take a step back. Look up at the sky and think about all of the things that are out there. All the stars being born, the stars dying, galaxies colliding. 

We live in such an amazing universe, and we are only an extremely tiny part of it. 

Credit- pictures from: Buzzfeed on Facebook

Black Marble: NASA View Illuminates Earth at Night

When the sun goes down, the lights on Earth shine bright. A new look using our satellite data captures the lights coming from our neighborhoods, vehicles, buildings, factories, fishing vessels and other human activity brightening the night.

Our scientists have just released the first new global map of Earth at night since 2012. This nighttime view of our home planet, dubbed the Black Marble, provides researchers with a unique perspective of human activities around the globe.

By studying Earth at night, researchers can investigate how and why cities expand, monitor light intensity to estimate energy use and economic activity, and aid in disaster response in near-real time.

The data on Earth at night comes from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, jointly managed by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

VIIRS captures visible and infrared light, allowing researchers to glimpse the Earth as it looks to astronauts peering out of the International Space Station. The new map is a composite of data collected in 2016, and it took several months of processing to filter out clouds, moonlight, airglow, and other interfering features to create the global image. In the coming months our scientists will release daily nighttime lights data at even finer resolutions for the first time.

The East Coast sparkles with population hubs, suburbs circling cities and major roadways. The I-95 corridor includes the most densely populated region of the United States – the stretch from Washington, DC to Boston.

To get images like these from the satellite data, our scientists had to filter out moonlight, aerosols and other sources of extraneous light – the goal is to eventually be able to detect the lights from a single building or fishing boat.

Daytime satellite images, like this one from Landsat 8, can show us the forests, deserts, mountains, waterways and built-up cities. Add a nighttime view, and scientists can study when and how people are using these limited resources – like the lights tracing the Nile River leading to the metropolis of Cairo, Egypt.

Lights aren’t confined to land. With the global nighttime view, the ocean is dotted with fishing fleets, including boats that try to attract their catch with bright lights.

What lights illuminate your neighborhood? Download a high-resolution version of the Black Marble HERE, and find out more about our new night lights data HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

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(AUDIO ONLY!) SDCC Trailer for Season 5.

Transcript:
Pearl: I always thought you’d see it someday, but I thought I’d be there with you.
Steven: You’re safe! You’re here! I’m here, we’re safe, everything’s fine. 
Connie: Home’s not though. 
Steven: I just wanted to save everyone. But I couldn’t even do that. 
Steven: I don’t know how I’m gonna get you out of this.
Steven : Are you doing okay?
Sadie: Well, I worry about Lars being in space. And I hope he’s safe and all. 
Connie?: You RAN?! From BLUE AND YELLOW DIAMOND?
Greg: I don’t know anything about Homeworld, I don’t know anything about [inaudible]. You guys have to put it into context!
Pearl: There are things that are… Impossible for me to explain, but I want to. 
Lapis: They’re going to take their anger out on this planet just like they did before. 
Lapis: I won’t let myself get caught up in another war. 
[Nobody talks, but Lars’s battle theme plays to probably something serious.]
Peridot: Earth is our home now. Isn’t it worth fighting for? [She says this while Lars’s death theme plays]

Story 42: The Invasion

— * —

So, a lot of people really liked the post I made recently about the kickass Ambassador Thorn fucking some aliens up.  (Thanks!)  But I figured I would post this one that I did back in 2009, because it’s simultaneously similar and completely opposite.  Enjoy.

— * —

Special Ambassador Harrington stepped onto the alien spacecraft for the first time since its arrival in the solar system, his suit telemetry telling the Secret Service agents about the nervousness that his face denied. They had stationed themselves in the hall ahead of him, angular black metal walls towering above the enormous men.

After consulting on an encrypted channel, the Secret Service agents reported that the atmosphere on the ship had been adjusted to match that of Earth - both in pressure and composition. The President’s own advisors had suggested that Harrington remove his helmet in this situation as a sign of trust, but when it came right down to it he didn’t trust them, not at all. Still, he knew the importance of diplomacy… sighing, he released the helmet and pulled it off. The air smelled somehow metallic, but not bad. Nodding to the Secret Service agents, Special Ambassador Harrington walked into the “conference room” to face the nightmare beings.

The creatures would have been right at home as horror movie special effects, all tentacles and eyes. They had a layer of mucus over them, and barbed spines along some parts. They were green. The anthropologists had assured the President that they were emotionally and morally similar to humans, although that seemed little comfort without knowing which humans - Mother Theresa, or Hitler? Harrington noticed that they didn’t seem to be wearing any kind of space suit - his advisors had said they were incompatible with Earth’s atmosphere.

“They can… breathe… in this air?” Harrington was asking one of the agents, but a device in front of the aliens replied in a monotone.
“We change ourselves. We adapt ourselves.”
Recovering like a true professional, the Special Ambassador smiled.
“So good to talk to you! On behalf of the United Americas, I want to say it is an honor to meet you.”
“We are pleased to meet you. Our home was destroyed long ago. We have traveled far hoping to find a new world. We are tired. Earth would be ideal.”
Harrington shivered involuntarily. They wanted the Earth.
“You said you can adapt yourself, can’t you live on any planet?”
“Some. It is very difficult. Some are easy. Earth is ideal.”
Cold sweat was running down his spine. These things, on Earth. Where would they live? Would they be taking over? Kicking humans out, maybe even killing them?
“Where… would your people expect to stay on Earth?”
“We are tired. We have lived too long. We have traveled long. We have not found other ideal planets. Our people will stay here. Orbit Earth. We are tired. Earth is ideal for repopulation. Continuing the species. Our children would stay on Earth. In homes. In schools.”
Harrington was at a loss. He smiled weakly, flipping through mental cue cards in a desperate search for the appropriate response. What do you say when hideous tentacled monsters from a distant planet announce they want to send their… spawn… to reproduce on your planet?

“We can provide technology. We can provide for our people. Your people. Our children. Food and power are easy to provide.”
With the odd syntax and emotionless translator it was hard to tell, but Harrington suddenly felt like this was less of an invasion, and more of a plea for sanctuary. They almost seemed to be begging. He looked at them again, trying to find some basis to gauge their motives off of and failing. If nothing else, they at least didn’t seem to be hostile. Harrington relaxed somewhat, but still found himself at a loss for words.
“We are tired. Soon we will be too tired. Our home was destroyed. If Earth is not home for our children destruction will be finished. We have traveled too far. We have lived too long. We will not find more ideal planets.”

He wanted to say something. Could he do this, invite an alien species onto Earth? He subvocalized a message to the President, to be transmitted along with the live feed. Two simple words, PLEASE ADVISE, that carried a slightly different meaning: I’m in way over my head here.
“Look. Our first child. We change ourselves. We adapt ourselves. We adapt our children for you.” Tentacles extended, holding a tiny infant. The child could have almost passed for human - fingers a bit too long, green skin, but still close enough to trigger the biological empathy inside Special Ambassador Harrington… he had always loved kids. Before he even knew what he was doing, without having received a reply from the President, Harrington lifted the child into his arms.

The sneaky bastards have a secret weapon, he thought as the infant burbled and clumsily grabbed at his nose. We’ve already lost this battle. Harrington smiled at the alien invaders. “She’s beautiful.”

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Earth is the ultimate ocean planet (that we know of), but it turns out that our solar system has water in some surprising places, with five ocean-bearing moons and potentially several more worlds with their own oceans. 

1. The Original “Alien Ocean”

Our Galileo spacecraft (1989-2003) detected the first evidence of an ocean beyond Earth under the ice of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa.

2. Lost Oceans

There are signs that Mars and Venus once had oceans, but something catastrophic may have wiped them out. Earth’s natural force field – our magnetosphere – acts like shield against the erosive force of the solar wind.

3. Earth, the Original Ocean World

The search for life beyond Earth relies, in large part, on understanding our home planet. Among the newest Earth ocean explorers us the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, or CYGNSS–a constellation of microsatellites that will make detailed measurements of wind speeds over Earth’s oceans to help understand hurricanes. The spacecraft have moved into their science operations phase.

4. Sister Ships

It’s fitting the first mission to explore an alien ocean is named in honor of fast-sailing clipper ships of old. Our Europa Clipper spacecraft will seek signs of habitability on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

5. Game Changer

Scientists expected Saturn’s moon Enceladus to be a tiny, solid chunk of ice and rock. But, not long after arriving at Saturn, our Cassini spacecraft made a series of incremental discoveries, eventually confirming that a global subsurface ocean is venting into space, with signs of hydrothermal activity.

6. Why Ocean Worlds Matter

“The question of whether or not life exists beyond Earth, the question of whether or not biology works beyond our home planet, is one of humanity’s oldest and yet unanswered questions. And for the first time in the history of humanity, we have the tools and technology and capability to potentially answer this question. And, we know where to go to find it. Jupiter’s ocean world Europa.” - Kevin Hand, NASA Astrobiologist

7. More Alien Oceans

Scientists think Jupiter’s giant moons Ganymede and Callisto also hide oceans beneath their surfaces. Elsewhere in the solar system, scientists hope to look for hidden oceans on far-flung worlds from Ceres in the main asteroid belt to Pluto in the Kuiper Belt.

8. Cold Faithful(s)?

Thanks to our Cassini orbiter we know the tiny moon Enceladus is venting its ocean into space in a towering, beautiful plume. The Hubble Space Telescope also has seen tantalizing hints of plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Plumes are useful because they provide samples of ocean chemistry for oceans that could be miles below the surface and difficult for spacecraft to reach. It’s like they’re giving out free samples!

9. Titanic Seas and Ocean

Saturn’s moon Titan not only has liquid hydrocarbon seas on its surface. It also shows signs of a global, subsurface saltwater ocean–making the giant moon a place to possibly look for life as we know it and life as we don’t know it … yet.

10. Oceans Beyond

Several of the thousands of planets discovered beyond our solar system orbit their stars in zones where liquid surface water is possible–including Proxima-b, a rocky planet orbiting the star nearest to our own.

BONUS: Adopt a bit of YOUR Ocean World

We invite everyone to help us celebrate Earth Day 2017 by virtually adopting a piece of Earth as seen from space. Your personalized adoption certificate will feature data from our Earth-observing satellites for a randomly assigned location, much of it ocean (it is 70 percent of the Earth’s surface after all!). Print it and share it, then explore other locations with our interactive map and get even more Earth science data from NASA’s Worldview website.

Visit go.nasa.gov/adopt to adopt your piece of the planet today!

Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.

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Les Amis + the Solar System

Enjolras is Sol, the Sun, trapping the planets in his gravity; the body that provides them both daylight and warmth. But it’s dangerous–a star determines the fates of its planets, and a light that burns so fiercely can’t burn forever.

Grantaire is Mercury, the smallest planet and nearest to the Sun, named for the god of messengers. When facing Sol, the planet warms, reaching over 400 degrees Celsius. When turned away, the already-barren surface becomes cold and dark; dropping below -170. Though it is so close to us on Earth, much about it remains a mystery.

Jehan is Venus, the hottest planet, named for the goddess of love and beauty. It is unique in its movements, rotating in the opposite direction of the other planets. The brightest object in our sky apart from the Sun, poets and songwriters alike, for centuries, have been calling Venus the ‘morning star’ and ‘evening star’.  

Feuilly is Earth, the ideal planet, and our home. Earth is favoured by Sol, being the only planet in the narrow range of distances from the star that allows life to exist. It’s not the biggest planet, nor the warmest, nor the one with the largest moon, but its averageness itself made it perfect.

Bahorel is Mars, named for the god of war for of its reddish glow. Though on first glance Mars seems unforgiving and cold, with a closer look, it was found to be the most conductive to life. The names of the rovers landed on it seem to reflect the essence of the planet itself–’Spirit’ and ‘Opportunity’.

Courfeyrac is Jupiter, the largest planet, nearly a star in its own right for the number of moons it has trapped in its orbit due to its immense gravity. It was named for the god of thunder, fittingly so–the storm in the massive red spot on its surface has been raging for centuries. 

Combeferre is Saturn, often considered the solar system’s ‘jewel’ for the rings that made it a source of scientific fascination since its discovery. The strength of its gravitational influence is bested only by that of Jupiter and the Sun. It was (most aptly) named for the god of agriculture and liberation. 

Bossuet is Uranus, named for the god of the sky, and the planet that expanded the celestial horizons of humankind–the first to have been discovered with a telescope, while the previous five were known since antiquity (though first mistaken for a comet). The planet orbits perpendicular to the rest, most likely due to a collision with a planet that knocked it on its side. 

Joly is Neptune, named for the god of the sea for its vivid blue colour. It is often mentioned in the same vein as Uranus due to their shared characteristics (similarities in size, colour, composition) and is like the former in that it was discovered. Its discovery was special–a collaborative effort in which the planet was mathematically predicted before it was seen.

Marius is Pluto, a dwarf planet named for the god of the underworld, whose true planetary status is still debated by many. In any case, it orbits Sol like all the rest, though on a different plane. Pluto has a moon, Charon, who we may see as Cosette–the two objects are tidally locked, the same face permanently turned toward each other.