We humans are a strange people, actually we are the only people. Apart from the lizard men. Or the mole people. Or accountants. Anyway, as strange people among strange peoples, we are the strangest. Possibly even stranger.
Say, if one were to flip to the very front of the proverbial photo album of humanity, one would find the picture of a cute young species, eyes full of potential, nose freshly picked. Flip through a few pages and you would see that, while typical sentient species were receiving first place in the school planetary invasion fair, we were still there with finger firmly up nostril, whining about phoning home. Indeed only once the average intelligent race had reached enslaver of an entire galaxy did we even bother remodelling our world from flat to round, several billion years late.
Sure the Earth offers an annual free cruise around the sun and we have done quite well mooching off her all this time, but quite frankly she’ll soon be asking us if we have ever even had a true relationship with a fellow self-aware race. Thus, while inventing the latte was a good start, and the red sports car better, there is nothing quite like inhabiting another planet to show that we are still a youthful species and talented where it counts.
Therefore we shall examine the varied living options extraterrestrial life offers, before probing them and stuffing them in a tank full of green slime, as a good article should.
As modern archaeology has uncovered, all ancient civilisations were comprised of skeletons that lived underground. However that never prevented them from gazing to the stars and dreaming of infinite worlds where peoples as diverse as white-haired middle-aged couples and grey-haired middle-aged couples could gather to walk around duck filled lakes, free from the cares of earthly existence.
Thales is widely credited as the first person to consider extraterrestrial life as a viable retirement option as, having just invented something for beard-wearing Starbucks workers to do, he set about devising the “water as first principle,” that all extraterrestrial living options must begin by a body of water for maximum liveability. Indeed, Thales also proposed that the infinite living options of the universe were composed of the four same elements in different proportions; air, water, self-righteousness and distance from minorities, later adapted by atomists to much smaller elements such as “adorable floral curtains” and “long walks on the beach.”
Unfortunately, realising that in a geocentric universe he would still be drawn back to the Earth to receive useless birthday gifts from in-laws, Thales concluded that true extraterrestrial life was nigh on improbable and thus did the only other thing an elderly man could do, cursing the youth by inventing the high school geometry question and covering his lawn in ugly plastic flamingos.
Of course Hindu thinkers probably charted such an idea earlier and more efficiently, however Western history has tended to get these mixed these up with the menu from the local take-away. While the Talmud also states there are over 18,000 separate living options, being the Talmud, this was probably in reference to the ability of Jewish grandmothers to track you down and make you feel guilty in any world.
During the Middle Ages extraterrestrial life fell back out of favour in Europe, as Pope Clement VIII stated on multiple occasions that “...one sin filled world was quite enough for Jesus to save, and he probably doesn’t want to go through the whole cross thing again just because some people want resort style bungalows, thank you very much.”
In a 16th century dialogue Giordano Bruno affirmed that the Earth was simply one of an infinite number of worlds that may be inhabited by people unable to operate an electronic device without being twice shown how to by a 9 year old. For this belief he would be charged with heresy, vehicular heresy and heresy across state lines, though Giordano had good lawyers and was able to plea-bargain these charges down to garden variety sodomy. However he would still be executed, and in the manner most befitting a contributor to lifestyle villages; dying while trying to make small talk over a barbecue.
The later development of the Copernican system and the telescope allowed scientists to observe that most other worlds received vastly more sunlight than Scotland and thus could indeed support a vibrant ecosystem of beach umbrellas, thongs and possibly intelligent life, provided that it had not already been overrun by British tourists.
In response to CCCP plans of the late 50s to contaminate Western water with fluoride, hair oil and cars that travel more than a mile a gallon, thereby dissolving upstanding family values, US President Kennedy (who himself accidently eroded a significant portion of these in the backrooms of the Whitehouse) initiated global programs to send probes to various moons and planets and collect the smooth un-eroded lunar values found there. Later probes would also scan, map and even have a picnic brunch on these worlds to determine if they could support a colony free of music that wasn’t written over 40 years ago as a contingency if the Trotskyite plans were ever successful. As you can see from the Disney Channel, though, the replacement moon values work just fine.
However, before you proceed to the various extraterrestrial living options now open to tenancy, please note that residents are asked to meet a few strata regulations;
- Keeping the speed of light below 300,000m/s after 10pm.
- Maintaining time in a purely forward and linear trajectory.
- No cats or singularities on the premises. They both leave horrible messes on the couch.
Mars has always resided within the habitable zone, and tried to follow the elliptical and narrow path as best it could, eternally apologetic for that intricate alluvial system it had done when it was a young and vibrant planet, the one that it thought said “peace” in Mandarin. Indeed, Mars represents the most honest and traditional choice for extraterrestrial life, close enough for the easy transit of ironed goods, yet far enough to allow for quiet disapproval of any significant other earth-bound offspring may have.
In geological terms, Mars has won the Local Star System Mountain Growers Prize with Mount Erebus several billion years running, a tremendous feat while bringing up two moons unfortunately born as meteoroids. Indeed, for those more intrepid travellers it is possible to undertake years of high altitude training and strict fasting needed to buy the “I climbed Mount Erebus” shirt for half price during the post Christmas sales.
Mars also has two icecaps that have a significant hydrological effect on the surface, particularly visible around the alluvial plains, though that long distance meteorite class it has been recieving recently has given it the toned cryosphere of a much younger planet. Furthermore, in 2008 the Phoenix lander calculated that beneath these polar regions lies enough liquid water to both host any grandchildren for the weekend and shower them in spoils and sugared foodstuffs.
Atmospherically Mars tends to be fairly unstable, often experiencing planet wide dust storms, particularly on Mondays or after being asked by another damn probe where they keep the water. These storms clear up as often as they form, allowing the Martian surface to apply more rouge, swallow vast quantities of caramel-swirl solar radiation and bake some unfortunate robotic landers for the neighbourhood planetoids. Of course this only makes the staple of all human conversation “How’s the weather been?” even more pointless, and brings the day closer when everyone who says that can be stuffed head first into a crater.
All good business know that a calm man is a dangerous man, more dangerous than the man swinging an alligator, though less so than one swinging a crocodile. As you see, it is always the meditating old kung-fu master with the most kickass moves. All good doctors in turn know that there is nothing more calming than the sea-side, except possibly the sea-side swinging a crocodile. So what were to happen if someone were to extend the sea-side to cover an entire moon, and throw in a ski trip just for good measure?
That is probably what the universe was thinking when it created Europa, the place so calming it makes the meditatingest master look more stressed than Santa’s reindeer flying over Sarah Palin’s house.
A liquid ocean flows just underneath Europa's cool, self-assured surface, ready to adapt to the latest trends and issues, while beneath lies a strong metallic core of ethics and concern for the environment, manifested in the dark lineae on its surface that only take the colour of fair trade latte. While the slight, almost pure oxygen atmosphere of Europa could indeed support the existence of organic, or at least free range, material.
The constant gravitational pull from parent planet Jupiter has formed numerous rustic hydrological vents beneath the ocean, second only in dinner-party conversation terms to adopted vents from Africa. While these vent both sulfides and praise for scarf wearing film-makers, it is not clear whether this indicates the presence of any genuine anaerobic culture or eukaryotic sophistication. Despite this, Europa offers not only a water frontage, a water backage but even a water-water-everywhere–nor-any-drop-to-drink-age (as it is, afterall, not bottled).
This unique structure makes Europa one of the smoothest objects in the solar system, right after contemporary jazz, while its albedo – the measure of how much something sounds like a classy Italian suit – is 0.64, making it the perfect location for the professional couple with absolutely no time for children but plenty for German expressionism not of the socks and sandals type.
If life is a box of chocolates, then extraterrestrial life is also a box of chocolates. In space. And, as in any true box of cocoa based goods, there will be that single, melt-in-your-mouth, double-fudge, triple-bypass candy, wrapped so tightly it seems to disapprove of your mind even passing over the idea of consuming it. That candy is Titan.
Titan is viewed as comparable to a youthful Earth, although at a much more conservative temperature and with a vastly stiffer upper crust. Currently the only moon with a developed atmosphere, Titan has been petitioning the universe for a thicker one to keep the very last of those door to door meteors out.
While its ammonia/water "magma" has made it perfect for growing expansive lawns to never be stepped on, Titan also features the only truly stable bodies of liquid outside of Earth. Vast pools of hydrocarbons are tended to dutifully by teams of brown ethane clouds that generally spend their off time over the barren dark terrain, smoking and hidden from higher orbiting bodies. Unfortunately these pools are entirely incapable of supporting life, therefore making them only suitable for family fishing trips.
Other geological features include cryovolcanos, which release cold condemnation of government tax policy, and a remarkably flat surface with exceedingly shallow gradients, such that reaching the highest point on Titan requires relatively little effort and a decent trust fund.
Many have proposed that deep down below the crusty surface of Titan flows a sea of care for biotic life, though in 2007, the deepest the Cassini probe could drill was discovering an admission to smoking something as a proto-planet.
Asteroids have been described as the caravans of the universe, used by ancient proto-bacteria for travel to dismal sea-side worlds for the weekend, while entertaining themselves by boasting about their daughter cell’s latest binary fission, how their friends were slowly fried by cosmic rays just to spite them, and maybe, just maybe, starting a functioning ecosystem if Bill’s cytoplasm wasn’t playing up that night.
Indeed we recognise that it is the dream of all new retirees to follow in their theoretical ancestors' flagella-steps, hitch up a rock, travel inordinate distances to places with no atmosphere far from any human contact and eat things burnt to ash over superheated rocks. The younger among us may also enjoy the authentic family vacation, whereby you will be orbit around the same red giant for several million years in a crowded asteroid belt, unable to reach escape velocity and out of sight of anything that may be spied or even eyed. Therefore we have established several parks throughout the solar system, all within floating distance of several hundred million rocks that look vaguely like something.
Be warned that asteroids tend to have very large blind-spots and are prone to disregarding Newtonian physics, with just enough warning to build a poor romantic sub-plot. This minor issue, like decency laws, only applies in sight of another planet or vessel however.
Of course, being an asteroid, you could just threaten to impact on a large population centre and extort world governments for piles and piles of money. Though this would likely result in your Asteroid Owners Club licence being revoked and block you from assistance when Pikeys inevitably siphon off your minerals for a quick dollar.
All our extraterrestial living options are set in over 13.7 billion verdant years of The Universe (fig.1), which itself is within walking distance of all matter currently in existence, except for the complementary parking.
If you would like any further information regarding extraterrestrial life or would like a guided tour, please drive to your nearest abandoned rural road at night and someone should be in attendence to pick you up.
Alternatively you can address any concerns to us in writing, preferably on a correctly stamped cornfield. We don't actually know what it says but we do appreciate the effort.