Invasion from Planet X

A science mash-up that will haunt your dreams

Rogue Planet Confirmed Orbiting Around ‘Eye of Sauron’ - wired.com

Rogue Planet Confirmed Orbiting Around ‘Eye of Sauron’ – wired.com

Here’s the message I took away from a recent appearance by Neil Degrasse Tyson on Joe Rogan’s podcast:

They’re out there. They’re alive. And we can’t see them.

Tyson was talking about rogue planets that have broken free of orbits around stars and may be teeming with extremophile life.

According to space.com astronomers believe they have identified the first such rogue planet in a far-off solar system. But it has been theorized that there may be more rogue planets in the universe than main sequence stars like our sun.

Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson took Pluto from us, but gave us terrifying, dark rogue planets.

Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson took Pluto from us, but gave us terrifying, dark rogue planets.

Now, think about the extremophile species living in the harshest conditions on our own planet – in active volcanic craters and at the deepest depths of our oceans. The ocean-borne ones originate so deep down that they’ve evolved and live where sunlight can’t reach them. The chemical lovers often don’t need oxygen. They live on chemical energy, getting their heat gradient (a primary factor for life) from volcanic activity on/near Earth’s surface or from vents in the bottom of ocean trenches. It’s not sunlight that’s necessary for life – as we tend to think – simply energy.

Here’s where it goes from fascinating to terrifying. Let’s say for the sake of scaring the daylights out of ourselves that our Earth was slingshotted out of the sun’s orbit (it has happened elsewhere) and all solar-dependent life on the surface died off. There’s still enough energy in Earth’s hot core to support life in many forms. Any rogue planet could be carrying this kind of life.

And we wouldn’t see it coming. Why? Because the lights aren’t on and there’s no sun shining on it to make it show up – until it was close enough to the sun to glow. Don’t think that’s a problem? Ever seen Neptune? Me neither!

So, if you needed one more thing to keep you awake at night, congratulations. You now have rogue planets to add to the list.

You’re welcome.

Now, here’s the cheese on this Brain Burger.

3 benefits of dark, rogue planets teeming with strange life:

  1. The overexposure of their shallow lifeforms will give us hundreds of new reality TV shows.
  2. A non-disgusting alternative to Tofurkey.
  3. Like a good Mafia hitman, we’ll never see it coming.
Chris Everheart is author of the YA thriller
Categories: Science, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Invasion from Planet X

  1. I attended the Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate on March 10 at the American Museum of Natural History, and the seubjct was Pluto and planet definition. At this point, it seems Tyson is moving away from certainty that Pluto is a comet to a less definitive position that recognizes we may not yet have enough data to define the term planet. He admitted that planetary science is in its infancy, and coming up with a definition without more knowledge of this and other solar systems might be premature.

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