1-9-17 // Some photos I took at Niagara Falls. The snow was covered with thick, sleek ice. Walking came with the risk of falling. It was a frozen wonderland at sunset. I wore two pairs of gloves because it was so bitter cold, and windy, but my fingers went numb anyway. There was mist flying into our faces from the falls. Only two other people were there besides my friends and me. Despite the conditions, or perhaps because of the conditions, I think it was worth it. This visit was beautiful, and I’m glad we went when we did.
We’re incredibly lucky to live on a planet
drenched in water, nestled in a perfect distance from our sun and wrapped with
magnetic fields keeping our atmosphere intact against harsh radiation and space
We know from recent research that life can
persist in the cruelest of environments here on Earth, which gives us hope to
finding life thriving on other worlds. While we have yet to find life outside
of Earth, we are optimistic about the possibilities, especially on other ocean
worlds right here in our solar system.
So…What’s the News?!
Two of our veteran missions are providing
tantalizing new details about icy, ocean-bearing moons of Jupiter and Saturn,
further enhancing the scientific interest of these and other “ocean worlds” in
our solar system and beyond!
scientists announce that a form of energy for life appears to exist in Saturn’s
moon Enceladus, and Hubble
researchers report additional evidence of plumes erupting from Jupiter’s moon
The Two Missions: Cassini and Hubble
spacecraft has found that hydrothermal vents in the ocean of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus
are producing hydrogen gas, which could potentially provide a chemical energy
source for life.
Cassini discovered that this little moon of
Saturn was active in 2005. The discovery that Enceladus has jets of gas and icy
particles coming out of its south polar region surprised the world. Later we
determined that plumes of material are coming from a global ocean under the icy
crust, through large cracks known as “tiger stripes.”
We have more evidence now – this time sampled
straight from the plume itself – of hydrothermal activity, and we now know the
water is chemically interacting with the rock beneath the ocean and producing
the kind of chemistry that could be used by microbes IF they happened to be
This is the culmination of 12 years of
investigations by Cassini and a capstone finding for the mission. We now know Enceladus
has nearly all the ingredients needed for life as we know it.
The Cassini spacecraft made its deepest dive
through the plume on Oct. 28, 2015. From previous flybys, Cassini determined
that nearly 98% of the gas in the plume is water and the rest is a mixture of
other molecules, including carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia.
instruments provided evidence of hydrothermal activity in the ocean. What we
really wanted to know was…Is there hydrogen being produced that microbes could
use to make energy? And that’s exactly what we found!
To be clear…we haven’t discovered microbes at
Enceladus, but vents of this type at Earth host these kinds of life. We’re
cautiously excited at the prospect that there might be something like this at
Europa is one of the four major moons of
Jupiter, about the size of our own moon but very different in appearance. It’s
a cold, icy world with a relatively smooth, bright surface crisscrossed with
dark cracks and patches of reddish material.
What makes Europa interesting is that it’s believed
to have a global ocean, underneath a thick crust of ice. In fact, it’s got
about twice as much ocean as planet Earth!
In 2014, we detected evidence of intermittent
water plumes on the surface of Europa, which is interesting because they may
provide us with easier access to subsurface liquid water without having to
drill through miles of ice.
And now, in 2016, we’ve found one particular
plume candidate that appears to be at the same location that it
was seen in 2014.
This is exciting because if we can establish that a
particular feature does repeat, then it is much more likely to be real and we
can attempt to study and understand the processes that cause it to turn on or
This plume also happens to coincide with an
area where Europa is unusually warm as compared to the surrounding terrain. The
plume candidates are about 30 to 60 miles (50 to 100 kilometers) in height and are well-positioned for
observation, being in a relatively equatorial and well-determined location.
What Does All This Mean and What’s Next?
Hubble and Cassini are inherently different
missions, but their complementary scientific discoveries, along with the synergy
between our current and planned missions, will help us in finding out whether
we are alone in the universe.
Hubble will continue to observe Europa. If
you’re wondering how we might be able to get more information on the Europa
plume, the upcoming Europa Clipper mission
will be carrying
a suite of 9 instruments to investigate whether the mysterious icy moon could harbor conditions favorable for life. Europa Clipper is slated to launch in the 2020s.
This future mission will be able to study the
surface of Europa in great detail and assess the habitability of this moon.
Whether there’s life there or not is a question for this future mission to
Using a fleet of research aircraft, our Operation IceBridge images Earth’s polar ice to better understand connections between polar regions and the global climate system. IceBridge studies annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets. IceBridge bridges the gap between the ICESat missions.
Seen here is a time-lapse view of a glacier-run from the cockpit of our P-3 Orion aircraft taken during a May 8, 2017 flight over Greenland’s Southeast glaciers.
Video credit: NASA/Gerrit Everson
Take a look back at this season’s Arctic ice survey HERE.
Take a moment and think about mermaids. Think about mermaid who live in the waters of Hawaii, with eyelashes made of sea-foam and tails the color of the sun. Think about mermaids sitting on the bottom of the ocean, watching the surfers above them in fascination and pointing out the patterns and designs on the bottom of their boards like children pointing out stars.
Think about mermaids in the Mediterranean being able to ‘speak human’ but they can only speak the dead languages. Think about Mediterranean mermaids still following old trade routes that ships from thousands of years followed to get from one place to the next.
Think about mermaids from the deep sea, odd colors illuminating off of their skin and tails. Think about them with skin nearly transparent and eerie smiles of teeth like needles and claws. Think about deep sea mermaids with bioluminescent tails three times the length of man.
Think about mermaids the size of whales, their upper body seeming like that of giant. Think about these mermaids swimming in large pods and helping out the smaller mermaids, fascinated by their loose, feathery tails in contrast to their relatively short stiff ones. Think about these mermaids trying to copy the smaller mermaid’s swimming patterns with quick flicks of their tails and instead sending a large splash at a nearby boat.
Think about mermaids in the tropics, with fancy fins that seem to ripple and blow in the current, creating illusions of movement to people above. Think about mermaids with fins that look like feathers who like to jump out of the water as if they’re flying before diving back into the sea in giggles. Think about topical mermaids with tails that reflect the colors of the sky and color the ocean with colors that people never thought the ocean could turn.
Think about mermaids in rivers who slither across the floor of the water like snakes and pinch at peoples toes like crayfish. Think about these mermaids living by huge waterfalls, the ones with dams built over them having long since been abandoned in favor for some other point of the river, even if it isn’t a traditional waterfall home. Think about river mermaids meeting with river spirits and nymphs and discussing daily events while listening to motorboats jet past above them.
Think about mermaids who live in creeks made from inland glacial melt in places like Glacier. Think about them sitting contentedly under a long thin waterfall, watching as cars march across the windy road far far above. Think about them writing messages on the cliff walls with the rocks from the bottom of their creeks. Think about them with short but pliable tails that they use to flit over rapids and jump playfully over bridges surpassing their domain.
Think about mermaids who live in streams of glacial melt in places like Greenland. Think about them being able to watch the stars above them in fascination through the clear blue water. Think about them dodging through the inside of large icy glaciers, sleeping on thick sheets of ice that seem to just barely be holding onto the glacier but which their family has slept on for years. Think about them with tails so blue that they seem to glow even when they’re twenty feet underwater, a melody of pastels.
Think about mermaids in the far north, with eyelashes frosted over and lips as blue as the water around them. Think about mermaids in the far north with tails of dark blues, purples and silvers. Imagine them breaking through the ice whenever their waters freeze over and rolling around the top of it in jest, laughing as they skid and slide across the ice. Think about mermaids in the far north who speak in tongues to trolls who live in caves in cliff-faces.
Think about mermaids in the north so old they remember vikings and teach the young Old Norse, believing it to still be the language of the people in the region. Think of mermaids in the Mediterranean that remember the epics that they heard rhapsodes sing of back in the fifth century.
Think about jellyfish mermaids with trailing tentacles instead of tails. Think about them with large umbrella-shaped bells wrapped around their waists like skirts. Think about these mermaids using their tentacles to jokingly sting each other, but never going towards a fish-mermaid in fear of stinging them. Think about jellyfish mermaids with bioluminescent bells and skin with patterns and designs unique to each one of them.
Think about mermaids who live in lava. Because, you know, why not? Think about them with tails of liquid precious metals. Mermaids with tails of liquid gold, nickel, diamonds, and obsidian; their tails not having a definite form and bits and pieces of them flying out into the lava. Think about their tails solidifying as soon as they make contact with water, pulling them down to the bottom of the ocean where they’re forced to live until they die. Think about them daring each other to flip their tails out into the air, seeing who can stay out of the lava the longest and not have their tails solidify.
Think about space mermaids. Think about mermaids who live in the seas of Titan, living in a sea of methane and ethane while watching the thick orange clouds circle above their heads. Think about mermaids on Enceladus, living deep in the interior next to the warm water. Think about adventurous mermaids swimming up into the cooler waters to try to see the ice fountains on the planet’s icy surface, most of them being sucked out and launched into space.
Think about mermaids on Europa. Think about them living in the ocean between the icy surface and the rocky interior. Think about the mermaids grabbing rocks from the interior and scratching long lines across the surface so as to play games and replicate the linear fractures on the surface. Think about these mermaids who live in the deep black darkness of the ocean, but swim up to the thinner parts of the ice sheet of the planet to watch the stars and galaxies light up around them when they aren’t facing Jupiter. Think about these mermaids having different constellations that they point out to others, different myths based off of them and how they arrived in the sky.
Summery: Modern-Day(AU) Bucky and you are former exes. He moved on but you couldn’t. Since you both are still friends, he asks you for a favor. You reluctantly agree, not thinking of the future consequences you’ll have to face. You just hope everything will go fine with your two best friends, Steve and Natasha by your side.
Steve x Reader Summary: Soulmate AU in which Steve overestimates the powers of the super soldier serum and comes to a startling realization
Prompt: You can choose to take the pain of your soulmate away (from this post)
Word Count: 2163 Warnings: none
Soulmates were a thing of the past.
Although it had been common throughout the early 1900s to be born with the small cursive words on your wrist, after the second world war more and more children were born without them. Many blamed it on the plethora of chemical and nuclear weapons, others on the traumatizing pain it had caused throughout the war, but nobody knew for sure why they had disappeared.
That’s why it had been such a big deal when you’d been born with a mark. Your grandparents, old enough to have their own, were ecstatic. Your parents, on the other hand, had urged you to keep it hidden away from the public. It was unusual in their day and age and they feared the attention it might bring.
So for much of your childhood you listened intently to your grandfather’s stories of soulmates in his time, eyes wide and a large grin plastered on your face despite having to keep your own mark a secret.
However, the excitement soon disappeared as you grew older.
Grandma explained that during the war the only way to know if your soulmate was alive and well was to feel for their pain. When your soulmate was hurt a numbness would spread across your own body, alerting you and allowing you to choose whether or not to take that pain away. When you failed to feel that numbness even through your teenage years, you knew what it meant. You might have been lucky to be born with a soulmate, but you sure as hell weren’t lucky enough to meet them.
The supersoldier serum pumping through Steve’s veins did many things. He could run faster, think harder, jump higher and most important of all, he could heal quicker. It was a significant advantage he had over the rest of the Avengers. Even with a bullet in his side Steve would push forwards, the pain all but forgotten and his enhanced body already racing to repair itself.
What Steve didn’t realize was that his pain wasn’t just being forgotten – it was being taken away.
On the other side of Manhattan, another person was willingly taking the pain as their own. Every bullet wound, every slash of a knife she felt so he wouldn’t. She wouldn’t let him. He was her soulmate and after believing he was gone for so many years, she would do anything to protect him.
So Steve continued on fighting, completely unaware that the girl he’d thought was left in the past was in fact alive and well only a few kilometers away.