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    Thread: SciFi Questions! Manned Explorations on Alien Planet with Life??

    1. #1
      Sleeping Dragon juroara's Avatar
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      SciFi Questions! Manned Explorations on Alien Planet with Life??

      Selfish thread alert! I need help with my sci-fi comic...(please?)

      Basically its about mankind finally getting the chance to explore an alien planet filled with life, within this century. Like star trek and others, the mode of transportation from earth to this alien planet is basically magical, because lets face it, the closest planetary system is how many light years away?

      But....I don't want my story to be pure fantasy, I want it to be sci-fi. A good science fiction is hypothetical.

      I want to make sure that I have a good understanding of what are the realistic challenges for mankind exploring an alien planet filled with life. But I have no idea where I can really begin researching that for my comic!

      Let's say for example - that this planet has an atmosphere similar to earth, oxygen and all that. In other movies I've seen the characters will say something "its safe to take our helmets off!". But does that make sense to you? Wouldn't there by a real threat of inhaling alien viruses and microbial life? Doesn't that threat have to be addressed before they can take off their helmets?

      In the movie pandora, the human soldiers ran around in the jungle with very little protection. Sure they had a helmet/mask, but large parts of their skin was exposed to the jungle. Here on earth, just walking barefoot in the jungle exposes you to all sorts of parasites. Wouldn't it be even more dangerous on an alien planet to expose even the smallest portion of skin? I guess the pandoran excuse is they've been researching for years.

      As I imagine, when humans explore an alien planet they'll need to be protected head to toe from microbial intrusion. And it might be a nice idea to not contaminate the planet with our own bacteria?

      Considering that, what about pee or poop? So imagine you have your human astronauts, trekking through that alien jungle. Its been hours, and someone's gotta go. Is it safe for that astronaut to drop their pants, go behind and alien bush and drop in a can? Or, again, would a naasa scientist advice against that becuase that literally exposes them? Just use your diaper and be a man?

      Or, am I being too paranoid and its really not that big of a deal? I mean, trees have viruses but I'm not worried I'm gonna catch it. I'm not a tree so it doesn't affect me! Maybe that logic works on alien planets too???

      Anyways, I'm not asking for the solutions to these problems - that's the scifi anything goes part!! I just want the real science part - what are the real challenges and dangers of exploring an alien jungle compared to an earth jungle??




      Btw, you space nerds should totally watch the anime Space Brothers. Props to the author! Its a realistic story of japanese astronauts set in our life times. Its made me enthusiastic about manned missions again!

    2. #2
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      It is really hard to compare life on earth with other planets, since we never really seen them. It is possible life might have evolved on an entirely different path on other planets, and we might be totally immune to most of the diseases there. All animals have a common ancestry, and so some common traits, the traits being closer with how distance the ancestors are. So even though we might be different from other animals, if a trait that is shared among us is targeted by a virus, the virus could transfer between different animals.

      However life on another planet could have totally different traits, and we might be so different that nothing there can hurt us. Of course it could work the other way as well. Maybe something that is entirely harmless to everything on that planet, causes some strange reaction in humans and it becomes deadly. Assuming the people value their life, being careful probably is a good idea.

      I suppose it depends on the setting, and how many times they have explored other planets with life. If in that setting this is their first time exploring life, I would except them to be insanely cautious. However, if life is common they might be better at detecting threats and so they let their guard down a little more than they should.
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      My favourite sci-fi is usually were there is just enough hard science involved to feel believable and a nice bit of intertwined fiction to keep it interesting. The ratio between science and fiction is what usually breaks the book for me.
      I think that no matter what method of transport you use, it's likely that your space trip will cost billions if not trillions, so I wouldn't consider it standard to take off your helmet on an alien world.
      I enjoy when writers make up new inventions to aid the world they create, so you could think of something like air filter implants in the lungs of your astronauts to give them a reason to take off their helmets.

      What is most important is that your comic doesn't annoy readers, unless the characters are meant to be intentionally irrational. If you have to revert to crew members doing dumb things to make your comic trilling then you're doing something wrong.
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      What bothers me about alien life forms is that they always look human. Picture this scenario: A being evolves, thousands of light years away from Earth, has no common dna strands, and as a species, grows in a completely different environment than we do, so what do they look like? Humans with pointy ears. Humans with wrinkly foreheads. Humans that are blue. Humans that have weird faces.

      Even when sci fi writers try to make them unique, they are STILL humanoid.

      We aren't guaranteed that alien life would be pedal at all, or carbon based, or that they communicate with spoken tongue, that they have the same social norms that we do, that they even have a solid form to begin with, or that they are even three dimensional! I want to see aliens depicted in a way that doesn't scream "Just like humans."
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      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

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      Quote Originally Posted by sloth View Post
      What bothers me about alien life forms is that they always look human. Picture this scenario: A being evolves, thousands of light years away from Earth, has no common dna strands, and as a species, grows in a completely different environment than we do, so what do they look like? Humans with pointy ears. Humans with wrinkly foreheads. Humans that are blue. Humans that have weird faces.

      Even when sci fi writers try to make them unique, they are STILL humanoid.

      We aren't guaranteed that alien life would be pedal at all, or carbon based, or that they communicate with spoken tongue, that they have the same social norms that we do, that they even have a solid form to begin with, or that they are even three dimensional! I want to see aliens depicted in a way that doesn't scream "Just like humans."
      I understand of course where you are coming from - buut - it is actually not that irrational to assume quite similar beings on other planets.
      An example would be for example the independent evolutionary "invention" of the camera-eye - even with the same cristallines for light detection.
      Which were taken from different sources - like bacteria.
      For example squids and us - itīs called evolutionary convergence.

      Itīs assumable that planets bound to suns do have light as a primary source of information as well and itīs being used.
      In addition to that - we will have the same elements from the periodic table everywhere in (our) universe.

      "Where ever you go with your spaceship, and you open the hatch - somebody will be looking back at you with eyes."

      And it goes further - much further in some opinions - like flight, legs..
      Maybe not 5 fingers..

      See this great video for where I got this from.
      Itīs a series, which I can very much recommend:




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      All the luck and inspiration juroara!
      I love science fiction - maybe Iīll think of some stuff I read concerning biological isolation methods..

      smile.gif

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      Sleeping Dragon juroara's Avatar
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      thanks for the feedback guys!

      And I think part of the reason why so many sci-fi aliens are humanoid is mostly for technical reasons - they needed an alien they could fit on those human actors! As for as evolution goes, I think there will be both intelligent aliens that are humanoid and plenty that aren't.

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      John Scalzi has very nice and creative aliens in his books - not humanoid, most of them - but very charming!
      Mainly in his "Old Manīs War" cycle - including the related "The Last Colony" and "Zoeīs Tale", a young adult book I love.

      Ian M. Banks was great with his "Culture" series maybe the best galactic/intergalactic "space-opera" I read.

      I also like Vernor Vinge.

      The latter describes for example a spider-like race on a planet which has extreme climate - winters over years - and social adaptations to that.
      These spiders are around 20th century technical standard - "normal" ones perfectly nice and friendly - except the fanatics/military/moral conservatives - the usual - but itīs quite hard for humans to overcome their reactions towards them: "A Deepness in the Sky".

      One other book of his, has dog-like creatures, which are group-minded over a pack - so they loose intelligence, when they are singled out: "Fire Upon The Deep" etc., etc. and so on.

      I didnīt describe this all well enough to elicit the desire to read these authors now, Iīm afraid - out of memory - itīs been a while..
      Does maybe anybody know these authors?
      Really worth a look!
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      Yes creative aliens rock! Morphing body parts, large gastropods, different wave length vision or multiple limbs are only small deviations from reality. You can pretty much make it as big as you want, I love reading books where authors really try to make fantastically diverse worlds.
      I don't recall the name of the book, but an idea which really caught my interest in it was a world where the primary sentient race utilized various other species by linking into their neural structure, so any of them could expand their consciousness into all the life around them.
      The books of Peter f Hamilton have some pretty interesting ideas in them too, like a huge consciousness created by a race which opens up inconspicuous wormholes between worlds for the race to travel between and live a life of pure experience. Or the idea of consciousness programmed into the vacuum fluctuations of a blackhole.

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      As long as the aliens are hot blue chicks, it is accurate, in accordance with Star Trek TOS law.
      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

    11. #11
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      I have read "The Reality Dysfunction" by Hamilton - but honestly canīt remember much of it..
      Something with possession and two fractions of humanity..?

      By the way - juroara - if your avatar and signature are drawn by you - I look forward to seeing more of it!
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    12. #12
      Sleeping Dragon juroara's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by dutchraptor View Post
      Yes creative aliens rock! Morphing body parts, large gastropods, different wave length vision or multiple limbs are only small deviations from reality. You can pretty much make it as big as you want, I love reading books where authors really try to make fantastically diverse worlds.
      I don't recall the name of the book, but an idea which really caught my interest in it was a world where the primary sentient race utilized various other species by linking into their neural structure, so any of them could expand their consciousness into all the life around them.
      The books of Peter f Hamilton have some pretty interesting ideas in them too, like a huge consciousness created by a race which opens up inconspicuous wormholes between worlds for the race to travel between and live a life of pure experience. Or the idea of consciousness programmed into the vacuum fluctuations of a blackhole.
      That book sounds like pandora! Or maybe pandora just stole it, not surprising for hollywood. I like imagining different wave length seeing, or different ways of hearing, smelling, tasting. We don't even have to get alien, theres so many living examples on earth. Its just fun to use aliens to exemplify those different sensory organs.

    13. #13
      Sleeping Dragon juroara's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by StephL View Post
      I have read "The Reality Dysfunction" by Hamilton - but honestly canīt remember much of it..
      Something with possession and two fractions of humanity..?

      By the way - juroara - if your avatar and signature are drawn by you - I look forward to seeing more of it!
      Yep, those are my paintings! Thanks Steph! A graphic novel is a whole new realm for me, but I'm having fun with the challenge

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      Quote Originally Posted by StephL View Post
      I have read "The Reality Dysfunction" by Hamilton - but honestly canīt remember much of it..
      Something with possession and two fractions of humanity..?
      Ahh that was one of his lesser works in my opinion. Two of his works that really stand out, are the Commonwealth saga and the Void trilogy.
      The commonwealth saga portrays a beautiful diverse future and has a masterly crafted storyline, a truly great source of inspiration for lucid dreams. In terms of story telling this is his best work and I certainly recommend you read it.
      The void trilogy though...wow...it is almost divine. An almost brilliant storyline accompanied with the highest possible level of lucid dreaming inspiration. It's literally a book saturated with amazing fantasy images, exotic futuristic ideas and a wonderfully diverse range of quirky character who confluence to form a wonderful story.
      I can honestly say no book has ever sparked my love for lucid dreaming more.
      [Rant over]
      Quote Originally Posted by juroara View Post
      That book sounds like pandora! Or maybe pandora just stole it, not surprising for hollywood. I like imagining different wave length seeing, or different ways of hearing, smelling, tasting. We don't even have to get alien, theres so many living examples on earth. Its just fun to use aliens to exemplify those different sensory organs.
      Nope it's something else. Though pandora was a wonderful idea too. I totally agree, life on earth is so amazing. Something simple like the leaf on a tree is so diverse, sometimes we forget how intricate life on earth can be.

      Btw your art is great, would love to see some examples of your work. It looks like you have a suitable art style for a graphic novel.
      Last edited by dutchraptor; 11-08-2013 at 10:37 PM.
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      Ah - thanks dutchraptor - Iīll take a look!
      Also going to take a look, if there is a book-thread for - well - non-on-topic-things..
      Been derailing a thread of shadowofwindīs a bit in that vein - if I canīt find something - Iīll open one!

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