Alien planet to make or break scientist’s career


Discovery of an unusual extrasolar planet has raised hopes of a vindicating disgraced scientist’s life work. It also increases the likelihood that the same scientist will be disgraced before the entire the scientific community. The conjunction of a hostile planet, a volatile scientist, and controversial theories of alien life has created a distractingly unscientific stir.

The newly discovered exoplanet orbits an insignificant star on the desolate galactic fringe. It’s claim to fame and current attention is being the most toxic inhospitable world ever discovered. Scientists have been shocked to detect that much of the planet’s surface is covered by a highly poisonous mix of Oxygen and Hydrogen in a liquid form called H2O. Increasing the hellishness of the place, is the possibility that these “oceans of poison” contain shocking amounts of the compound NaCL – often described as one of the most toxic substances in the universe. Even uncovered parts of the planet are often pelted by droplets of H2O mixture which is abundant in the toxic atmosphere.

The unusually high percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere led some scientist to label this planet as “highly inflammable.” A layer of poisonous ozone in the upper atmosphere also blocks out life giving Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Finally the planet’s orbit around its parent star (as the system’s 3rd planet) sits firmly within the “inhospitable zone” making it too hot to support Life as we know it.

The existence of such nightmarish planet is central to xenobiologist Dr.Zjdyed’s famous 3 radical claims:

  1. H2O dominate planetary environments exists
  2. Such planets will support ecosystems leading to the evolution of intelligent life.
  3. Life forms on such planets would be carbon based and therefore profoundly alien.

Many agree that the pursuit of these theories destroyed Dr.zjdyed’s promising career. Repeated costly failures to replicate such conditions have not made Dr.Zjdyed renounce these theories. A persistence that saw Dr.Zjdyed steadily lose access to research funding as well as standing in academia. It culminated in a shocking public out burst and consequent retreat into seclusion.

News of the newly discovered exo-planet has brought out the reclusive scientist back into the fray. This time insisting that faint modulation of electromagnetic waves emanating from the planet are created by “primitive carbon based life forms”. The Dr.Zjdyed has forcefully insisted that exploration of the poison planet is essential to a radical evolution in scientific thinking. The wider scientific community is not so sure. It is deeply divided about diverting resources to investigate a remote and toxic world.

Those opposing sending probes have cited significant financial which fall into two areas:

  1. The cost of reaching such an isolated and desolate part of the galaxy,
  2. The expensive shielding required to survive on the planet.

Pro exploration lobby insists that the poison planet presents a rare opportunity to explore a radically alien planetary environment. They point out that research into new shielding technology for the probes will more than offset the costs. Dr.Zjdyed’s past antics have forced his dwindling circle of backers to cloak themselves in sensible sounding policies. Whether these will work out in the doctor’s favour will be revealed in a few orbital cycles. The vindication or the final disapproval of Dr.Zjdyed’s theories will take a lot longer.

Translator’s note:

Some aspects of electrochemical communication is a liquid methane environment cannot be fully translated into sound/text based communication. This translation is for one directional information purposes only.

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