Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta extraterrestrial. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta extraterrestrial. Mostrar todas las entradas

sábado, 10 de enero de 2015


   The office was located in a very tall building somewhere in the middle of a big city. Two walls were made of glass and many parts of the city could be seen from it. Inside the room there was only a large table, capable of seating a dozen people. When the door opened, late at night, each seat was rapidly occupied by a person. Each one was identified by a small tag in front of them, on the table, with their name and position written on it. They waited a while until a woman in black came in and sat down in one corner: in front of her, she had a small table with a laptop, a remote control and the light switch.

When everyone stopped talking or arranging their belongings, the woman turned off the lights and turned on a projector with the help of the remote. The machine started making noises until it formed an image on one of the walls. Only one of the twelve scientists reunited there had to move in order to appreciate the image: a simple shot of space done by an orbiting observatory, highlighting a specific star, which bore the name Scorpius II written in read, just below the circle highlighting the star.

 The scientist that had moved to see the image stood up and looked closely to the image. The light flickered a bit but the man didn’t stop watching. It was as if the image, the name, the information clustered in one single slide was just too much not to take a moment to process it and, even, to accept it as it was.

As you know, the probe known as New Horizons has detected a signal coming from space. The transmission was sent back to Earth from the Oort cloud, where the probe now is. The source signal was also detected on Earth, days after. After some days of evaluation, we can assure the signal came from there…

He pointed to the name “Scorpius II”, glowing in the darkness of the room. The scientists didn’t say a word. Most of them had some idea of the announcement and those who didn’t, highly suspected the reasons why they were summoned to a secret office that had only be used once in the past, some ten years ago.

Any idea what the message says?
We should get there later but what I can say now it’s that the message is only half of the story we have come here to discuss.

He nodded to the woman seating in the corner, just as she pointed the remote once more to the projector. The image changed instantly, to another picture of space, this time portraying something like a stain against the black of empty space. The picture also bore the name “Scorpius II” but the magnitude of approach was highly augmented in this one. It was apparently a portrait of the vicinity of a star located far away.

This second picture, which is currently being processed to get a much better resolution, shows something rather alarming, specially considering the message we just showed you.

The various eyes in the room tried to analyze the picture rapidly but the scientist standing up gave answers to their questions faster that they could ask them.

It shows that Scorpius II has gone supernova. The star, previously analyzed, just exploded and probably affected all the system it illuminated. The various projects profiling worlds capable of sustaining life had found a super Earth orbiting Scorpius II. We don’t really know if there was something in there but we are sure it was destroyed due to the massive explosion.

The man then sat down. The woman in the corner stopped typing and turned off the projector and turned on the lights of the room. The scientists looked more confused that overwhelmed, which should have been the ideal state of mind, at least for the one leading the conversation.

Finally, someone else spoke. A young woman:

What I guess you are suggesting is that message somehow has to do with the supernova forming in Scorpius.
That’s correct.

Another scientist, a tall black man, looked confused:

Has there been any further analysis of the situation in Scorpius?
Yes. According to previous reports of the system, we can be sure that Scorpius wasn’t ready to become a supernova. It hadn’t reached that degree of maturity. It was a rather young star.

Now this had the effect he wanted on his audience. Every single person had their eyes widely opened and had suddenly chosen a better way to seat, as if their current position had not been the ideal one to receive such news.

Do you know or not what the message is about?

This was asked by a skinny and very white man, he could practically be called “albino”. He had turned slightly pink because of the recent news and because he really wanted an answer to his question.

We think we do.
What’s that suppose to mean? Do you or don’t you know?

The presiding scientist stood up again and started to pace. After a couple of rounds along the wall, he started talking.

The meaning of the message was what took longer to decipher. Actually, I was handled the last report on it as I entered the building. I read it on the lobby and, to be honest, it made me feel kind of sick.

Now everyone was truly worried. The sun was shining brightly outside and even birds could be heard. It was very strange that the world went on as usual as a small group of people talked about something as significant as what they were discussing.

We believe, and there’s no real way to be sure, that the message is a warning of some kind. We have to be mindful that the message was sent thousands of years ago, due to the distance of Scorpius. We know, because of the analysis, that the signal was actually given more power. If got to us faster than it should. Maybe it wasn’t sent thousands of years ago but hundreds and that makes a difference.

A very tanned and old man coughed before standing up and staring down at the city. Everyone saw him to this and there was a reason why: he was the oldest scientist invited and was still one of the most important astrophysicists in the world. His genius was renowned and, when his pupils saw him worry, it meant something was really hard to solve or was something to be really scared about.

It didn’t happen often, but there he was, with a very stern face, looking at the park below.

Have you sent the information to various agencies? – He asked.
Yes. At least one group in each continent has seen it. We have kept it secret too. We believe it’s dangerous to inform it to the politicians, at least for the time being.
Scorpius… What does the message say?

The leading scientist in the room sighed. Suddenly his face looked fifty years older, as if time had just realized he existed and had caught up with him.

It’s a warning about something or someone. We have concluded someone other than the inhabitants of the Scorpius planet are responsible for the implosion of the star and that they knew it. They sent the signal preventing others from the unknown danger. The signal is still travelling, though they’re all probably dead.

Now everyone seemed even more worried. What made them uneasy was the fact they weren’t able to do something to prevent or act against what had happened in Scorpius. For all they knew, whatever happened there could happen to the Sun any day.

We are waiting for another report on the event, including more information about the signal, the planet that had been detecting near Scorpius II, the star and whatever else New Horizons and James Webb can provide. When we have it, we will inform the IAU of everything and it will be them who inform everyone else.

When he stopped talking, everyone moved in their seats. But not because of what he had said, but because the sunlight had suddenly being blocked. They got scared for a moment but realized the city was in full celebration because of its birthday, and many large hot air balloons were doing rounds all over town. Sunlight came back and the scientist left, worried all the same.

Somewhere deep in space, the remnants of Scorpius floated slowly, forever denying the existence of life in that corner of the universe.

martes, 23 de diciembre de 2014


   Aslana was reclined on her chair, barely looking at all the screens she had in front of her. She had been commissioned with surveying a barren part of the Cosmos no one really cared about. Neither did she, but it was her job and she complied. After the first hour, however, she had bored herself to death by watching the screens with practically nothing showing.

 That had not been the idea she had had when in college, trying to decide what to do next. Antares space station was hiring but becoming an actual astronaut also interested her. People saw them as adventurers and explorers and she wanted that, to feel that she was doing something special.

 She decided to become an astronaut and went to Star City, near Moscow, to become one. With at least fifty others, she trained hard for a whole year but at the end of the process only ten were finally chosen. It had been decided they were the only ones fit for space travel. Aslana was not chosen. Her performance on skill and intelligence tests was formidable but the physical demand of the career had proven a bit too much for her.

 However, her tutors had recommended her to the Science Academy of Moscow, who were about to open a new observatory orbiting Triton, near Neptune. The observatory was located, funny enough, on Space Station Antares. So she had wasted a whole year of her life to do almost exactly what she had thought of doing when coming out of college.

 And now, there was Aslana, sitting on her chair, legs up on the dashboard, looking at Triton through one of the many windows in the space station. Antares was home to about five hundred people and its builders were already trying to get the permission to build another wing to it and get five hundred more to come and live almost at the edge of the solar system.

 Aslana enjoyed it sometimes, and other times she hated it. She loved space and she hated people there. They got to be so annoying, judgemental and hypocritical. Well, there were some people that were very kind and lovable too but they weren't a vast majority.

 Suddenly, an alarm made Aslana fall from her chair. The sound had come from the dashboard, which she hadn't been looking. To be honest, she had fallen asleep for a couple of minutes, tired and bored at the same time.

 She sat down again, combed her hair with her fingers and started tapping and clicking and writing. The signal seemed to come from a quadrant of empty space. Of course, it was not actually empty but nothing really big seemed to be there. Yet, the alarm had been set off.

 She ran all the tests, to know if the signal was actually foreign in origin or a Earth signal bouncing between the stars. After a half hour, she could certify that the pulse, the call if you will, was from deep space. No human had traveled there. There was a science base in Haumea and that was it. That was the farthest place humans had gone from home. But this signal was from deep space and, somehow, it had reached Antares.

 Aslana aligned every dish available towards the quadrant from which the message was coming. The pulse got weak at some point and then strong again. It was like the people, if that word could be used, were having problems keeping up the strength of the pulse.

 When the woman activated the audio machine, she let a loud squeak come out from her mouth. The sound was awful, it was like if a thousand bees and wasps had suddenly entered the station. She screamed because of the volume, which was unusually high. She thought that, for sure, someone in the station might have been woken up by the sound.

 And that reminded her. She should report what was going on immediately. The machines were all recording the event but she needed to send a message to Earth, for them to check the message out. Very large telescopes had been built on the Moon, capable to trace the message more accurately that what little potential the Antares station had.

 - Moon base Tycho, this is Aslana Tromaterova. I'm in charge of the observatory for the night. I have    detected a pulse coming from this space. I'm sending the coordinates encrypted in this message.          Please check. I'm monitoring the event. All tests have been done. Waiting for instructions.

 She sent the message, which would take several hours to reach the Moon. Meanwhile, she started playing with her audio machine to clean up the noise she was hearing. Aslana moved every knob, button and switch and listened carefully. After a while, she thought she had heard something, like a mumbling. She did her best to clean the sound with the computer, but, of course, the distance had disrupted the signal and it wasn't coming clean.

 Then Aslana remembered a class she had received at Star City, when an old german professor had taught the everyone how to clean sound and video feeds coming or going from space stations. He said it would help tremendously on occasions of distress or emergency. One thing he had said was that sometimes video could help clean sound waves. The sound could be translated by a screen and then cleaned properly.

 So Aslana did just that. One of the many screens helped her accomplish something she thought would have been impossible due to the circumstances. After two hours on it, she had finally cleaned the pulse. And the woman was very nervous, unsettled.

 She had not thought of the signal to be dual, to be sound and video at the same time. But it was. Aslana realized she was the first person in History to see the face of an extraterrestrial, a being from another planet. They were different, true, but she could see humanity in them, in their eyes and behavior.

 There was some data being sent on the video feed too. It was on some other language but she could conclude, from the video and some of the statistics, very similar to human ones, that they were on a ship. And that this ship, was in deep trouble. Some of the creatures seemed to be controlling a fire and others ran in several directions.

 Then something happened that almost made her fall from the chair again: the creatures spoke towards the camera, probably asking for help. And Aslana cried, realizing they would die there in the middle of nowhere, only been heard by one human woman so far away.

 The woman cleaned her face and decided to do something useless: send a message. Judging from the distance between her and the quadrant they were calling from, Aslana knew all of them were already dead, probably for many years, maybe even hundreds of years. They had died alone, horribly. So she wanted to honor them by sending a message. She thought her words carefully and then sent the message, which she later sent towards Earth with all the data relating to the event.

 It was important to her to do this. She had been alone half her life and, with this gesture, useless maybe but sincere, she wanted to tell anyone hearing that they would never be alone, not while there were others around caring for their well being.

 When her shift ended, she spoke briefly with her boss and told him she was very tired but that all the data had been sent to Earth and was saved in the station's main hard drive. The boss granted her her wish and, as she laid down in bed, she realized she still had a life in front of her and that she could do whatever she wanted with it.

 - My name is Aslana. You will never know me and I will never know you. But I wanted you to know    you have a friend now and I hope I have one or many too. I'm a human and is probable you won't        understand what I'm saying. But I trust someday you will. And when you do, I want you to know        that we,  I, will always be here for you. We are now bound to each other and I will try my best to        keep this  promise. Sorry for your loss.

miércoles, 3 de diciembre de 2014

The day of discoveries

Sandra Kazan had been working for years just to get a vague answer, a response that may give hope to future humans. She was 24 years old when she entered SETI as an intern and now she had the responsibility to process data from every single home computer that helped SETI process their information.

She was now almost forty and felt her life had amounted to nothing. Every single day looking at screens with numbers and numbers and, at the end of the day, they meant nothing. Her outlet was her teaching, the only place where she felt she was of use. When the classes where over, she felt useless, bored.

The woman went to her mother's home for the holidays. Seeing her mom felt great and weird at the same time. She had always wanted Sandra to be more an active scientist and not just a teacher. It wasn't that she disapproved of her but she felt her daughter was made of a stronger material. She had even encouraged her, years before, to submit her application to NASA in order to become an astronaut. She said it would make her very proud if her daughter became one of the few black women in space, as she would represent all the efforts made by her ascendants.

But that didn't happen. Sandra was captivated by the search for extraterrestrial life and that was her passion. Although going to space was a dream, she would rather be the one that announced the discovery of life in other planets to the rest of the world.

In her mother's home, she stayed in a small room. It wasn't the room of her childhood but the only other room in the small apartment. Her father had died five years ago, so her mom had bought a new place with her savings and money her husband had left.

The first day, they behave like strangers. The truth was that Sandra didn't visit her mother as much and, now that her brother had left the country for work, she had the task of checking on her mother's needs and the state of her life. She was an older woman, but she was strong still and much more active than others. She loved dancing so she visited a senior center often to dance with various partners that always enjoyed her presence.

Sadly for Sandra, she had not inherited that from her mother, that candor, her charm. She had always been more private, trying to keep things serious and grounded. She was like her father, a man that rarely laughed or encouraged jokes. But Sandra would have loved to be more like her mother, a bit careless but ultimately happy.

Days after getting home, the two women had a fight. The mother had reminded her daughter of her short lived marriage and Sandra just exploded, yelling and telling her mother not to mess with things she didn't know about.
It was no use to try to talk as there was no real confidence. Her parents had not raised her to trust them but to respect them, so she had no need or urge to explain anything to her mother.

She had married Matt Jackson around the time she turned thirty. At first, everything was perfect, ideal even. They got a house and she left her job at SETI. She was dedicated to make it work so she only kept her work as a teacher as it had flexible hours.

But things turned bad fast. Matt was violent and absent frequently. He never hit Sandra but could be even more violent with his mouth, saying what he said. It hurt bad. And then he left for work and acted as if nothing had happened. He was a scientist too and traveled often to Europe and Asia for conferences. He was a respected man in the community.

Just after the first year of marriage, he was selected to go to space, with a team of other scientist to test theories and make experiments in zero gravity. The Soyuz craft that transported him to the ISS exploded over Asia. She was officially a widow and was handed a flag and given money. But the truth was Sandra was relieved. She had never loved him for real and feared him every time he was close. She wasn't happy but not sad either.

It was still a hard subject to deal with, however. And she knew her mother blamed her for the bad relationship and for not being able to give her the grandson that her brother finally gave her. Sandra never remarried and was not interested in men any more, at least not as husbands.

On Christmas day, she tried to make it up to her mother by doing all the cooking. She loved to cook as it relaxed her, so she did some turkey with a delicious gravy and a meat pie, and two desserts and even a tasty lemonade. She also made corn bread, her mother's favorite, hoping to mend things after their argument.

It appeared to have worked as they enjoyed a very nice meal for the two of them. She gave her mother presents she had brought with her like clothes and a music CD she knew she would love. Her mother thanked her and told her she was happy to have her around for such a sensible time for her. Sandra's father had died days after Christmas day, so her mother was very sensitive.

The following week, they visited the cemetery, put flowers on Sandra's father grave and went into the church for mass. It had been years since Sandra had entered a church and she felt a bit guilty as she had been raised a catholic but faith had never really been something she had. It didn't mattered is she believed in God or not, the concept of faith for her was hard as she was rather blunt with her decisions and opinions.

Suddenly her phone rang and she had to excuse herself in order to answer the call outside the church. something amazing had happened at SETI and she was asked to come back and process some information to confirm a possible signal they had detected.

Sandra waited outside for her mother. When the woman got out, she told her the news but the older woman didn't really understand what was going on. On the way home, Sandra explained what her work was about and how urgent it was for them to decipher the data. But her mother was more sad than interested in her reasons for leaving.

As Sandra packed, she realized her mother had faded a bit, as a plant that begins to lose color, life. She asked her how she felt and the woman answered she was "fine". Sandra told her mom how sorry she was to leave but that it was necessary, as they needed her. The mother then told her she needed her too, as she felt alone and sad after visiting her husband's grave. She felt she had been left alone in the world and now she had nothing.

Of course, Sandra felt guilty and decided to take her mother home with her, at least for the remainder of the holidays. It took a lot of convincing but the older woman finally accepted. They got there that same night and Sandra drove directly to work. She settled her mother in her office with a big sofa, blankets and a TV, as she worked in a desk nearby, in silence.

When she saw her daughter's dedication, the mother realized she had never really known her daughter and that maybe it was time to really get to know each other.

In the morning, the woman was woken up by Sandra's cheering. She was really happy, throwing papers around and cheering loudly. Some people had already arrived and she finally explained she had gotten through the data and that the announcement could be made.

The woman was present when her daughter announced, on national television, the discovery of an extraterrestrial signal that repeated itself, like a beacon. They had proved it wasn't from a natural source and that it seemed almost like a call of some sorts.

But the mother didn't really understood all of that. She shed a tear because, after years of years of her own neglect, she realized her daughter was a brilliant woman, capable and exemplary. And Sandra saw her tears and smiled.