Enceladus What Tell Ya Us? #NASA #poetry #poem #saturn

Enceladus in Saturn’s E-ring

Wrenched by Saturn’s gravity,
By tides within its core,
And radioactive isotopes
Releasing heat galore.

Oceans are revealed,
by geysers
Blasting through the cold.
jets from the southern pole.

A water ocean circulates
Beneath an icy shell
That blocks the solar photons.
Here living things could dwell.

Consider near-bacteria,
Imagine pseudo-fish.
Supporting life like this.

What may have surfed its boiling plumes?
What from the depths might rise?
Earth may have
solar system kin,
On Saturn’s rings, they ride.

I re-worked this poem for a poetry open mic today in Silver City, my wonderful, small, rural, artsy New Mexico town.


How to Explore a Planet? You Need to be Airborne! #poem #poetry #NASA #MAR2020 #drone

NASA concept - helicopter on Mars

NASA concept of a helicopter on Mars

About to leave for Mars.
No, it cannot fly through space.
It hitchhikes for the ride.
Once its rover host
Touches down
And backs off quite a ways,
Will relay orders from the Earth,
To test it makes the grade.
Can solar cells keep it charged,
And keep it warm at night?
Can it rise three meters high
On a ninety second flight?
Then we’ll have a helicopter
On another world.
As thrilling
A capability
As any that I’ve heard.

Kate Rauner

It may seem like a small step, but Mars’ atmosphere is like flying 100,000 ft above Earth’s surface, about three times the height of commercial airplanes. Many outlets cover this element of the Mars 2020 mission, including Reuters

Breathtaking Insight or Idle Speculation? Are we inside The Matrix? #poem #poetry #science #computer #game

Bela Lugosi

Bella Lugosi makes a fine Mad Scientist – who maybe created our simulation in the first original universe – if there was one

Extraordinary evidence
Makes extraordinary claims.
Extraordinary people
Will sometimes do the same.

A big enough memory
In a big enough machine
Perhaps could simulate
The universe I’ve seen.

Ancient Greek philosophers
Knew nothing of our chips and RAM,
Yet said that if I cannot see,
I cannot know
I am.

Until someone can falsify,
Propose a test to tell,
The question is philosophy,
A summer dream’s intel.
A slice of heaven, pinch of hell,
Rhapsodizing as I tell
How to ride a bit-byte swell
From deep inside my techno-well.
Logging off.

Kate Rauner

Thanks to skeptoid, one of my favorite sites. They don’t usually venture into philosophy, but when they do, it’s fun.

It’s Not That I Can’t, I Don’t Need To – memory in modern times #poetry #poem #memory #moderntimes

Hearing is not listening,
Seeing’s not perceiving.
To watch is not to memorize
The data you’re receiving.

Why remember if you can
Google what you need?
A password’s all you must retain,
What’s needed to succeed.

Kate Rauner

Thanks to theatlantic.com for why I can’t remember anything. This has been happening to me ever since my first calendar watch made it impossible to recall the date. I feel so much better now – I think.

Science Studies Poetry – compare this to what you like in a poem #poem #poetry #science

What makes a poem pleasing to its readers? It’s about time science took another crack at this question.

Researchers from New York University and the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics… found that vividness was the best predictor of aesthetic appeal. smithsonian

Sad or scary poems lacking vivid imagery scored worst. Perhaps the next step is to see if similar traits make a song or story pleasing.

Silurian Hypothesis – Industrial Civilization Long Before Us #science #poem #poetry #research #paleontology #civilization

Doctor Who Silurians

Silurians found by Doctor Who. Promotional material to illustrate the subject in question is fair use, or so says Wikipedia.

Deep within our history,
Four hundred million years ago,
One of the greatest dyings cleared
The Earth for them to grow.

Boney fish with moving jaws
Dodged scorpions in the shallow seas,
Hardly social it would seem,
Yet something walked the land near these.

Abundant layers, weirdly thick,
In sandstones
do imply
Industry spewed pollution slicks.

Suggestion of dead ocean zones,
Through turbation
Imply farming on
a scale vast.
That’s civilization evidence.

Not to mention oddly high
Concentrations to be found
Of antimony, lead, and chrome,
Rare earths, and gold within the ground.

Sudden population booms
Of crinoids and certain trilobites,
Indicator species these,
Increased to
impressive heights.

Shape of lipids well preserved
In geo-chemistry,
Not mono-chiral indicates
They were made

Until the late Devonian,
When life in deep oceans died,
Anoxia that changed the seas
Sent glaciers south to crush their lives.

No, there are no real facts
once industrialized,
But to think of traces
they could have left
May help us search the starry skies.

by Kate Rauner

Silurian fossils

Silurian fossils, but, no, that’s not a Silurian coin. It’s just there to indicate size.

Thanks to theatlantic for their story on this study published in the International Journal of Astrobiology: could we tell if an advanced civilization existed on Earth long before humans, even before mammals?

Such conjecture may help us ponder extraterrestrials. As the authors say, While much idle speculation and late night chatter has been devoted to this question, we are unaware of previous serious treatments of the problem of detectability of prior terrestrial industrial civilizations in the geologic past.” Download the pdf for yourself.

Wormhole’s Shadow Might Be Detectable, Fascinating and Confusing #poem #poetry #physics #wormhole #space

ship thru a wormhole

Wormhole travel, though maybe only for a microscopic ship

Wormholes are hypothetical,
So hypothetically,
They may leave traces in the sky
That telescopes could see.

Where space-time is so warped,
might trace a ring,
While others falling through the pipe,
Leave dark where light had been.

Not my own reflector
To search for wormhole tubes,
But radio astronomy
Linked across the globe.

Confirming wormholes would confuse
What we know of gravity,
But since that force still puzzles us
They’d mesh abstractedly.

Kate Rauner

Thanks to livescience for pointing out this possibility. For some reason my poetic creativity has been on vacation for a few weeks – hope it’s back now.