The year was 2019. Earth was as you know it.
Emergent technologies coincided with political and religious dogma. Rockets sailed into deep space as people killed each other senselessly.
There was bickering as usual, over politicians, over money, over about everything there was to bicker about.
Things hadnt changed. It seemed like they never would.
In the summer of 2019 a new era of space based observation was put in place. On August 15, 2019, NASA's James-Webb telescope was successfully launched
into an orbit around the Sun, similar to the orbit of the SOHO satellites.
The James-Webb telescope was a marvelous piece of artwork, it wasnt just a machine. Large gold plated hexagonal mirrors; it dwarfed the size of the
The hope was that it would be powerful enough in the sense of light collecting, that combined with near infrared imaging, we would be able to take a
great new step in regard to our search for Earth-like planets.
Humanity was not fully prepared for what would transpire within a year's time.
The researchers at NASA commenced full systems operation of the behemoth telescope in October of 2019. All systems were deemed nominal and it appeared
to be ready for the true test.
It did not disappoint.
Over 100 nearby planetary targets, planets that had been previously catalogued thanks to the Kepler project, were observed.
Data streamed in like a monsoon and scientists privy to the initial data, around the world, were in absolute awe.
They methodically combed through the data of each planet. Precise measurements of atmospheric composition were established within days.
Nitrogen rich atmospheres, atmospheres with mostly CO2 likes Mars, methane signatures, even an atmosphere that was almost entirely ozone.
The findings were creating a buzz in the scientific community, and indeed the entire world, once the first findings were publically released in
December of 2019.
In early 2020, NASA took on its next observational target for the James-Webb to turn its gaze toward.
The system designated as TRAPPIST-1.
The system created a stir in popular culture years prior because the system was not only identified as having 7 rocky planets that were close in size
to Earth, but there was also speculation that at least one of the planets could be within what is known as the "habitable zone" of its host star.
This was exciting news to NASA and onlooking scientists. They knew the star system was different than our solar system, as the host star is much
cooler, smaller, and dimmer than our Sun. The reason why researchers believed one or more of the orbiting planets could be habitable is because these
seven planets all orbit much closer to their host star, a red dwarf, than ours. In fact, all seven planets orbit TRAPPIST-1 closer than Mercury does
to our Sun.
The idea of multiple planets orbiting their star within a week's time seemed mind bending to many, but the Universe has a way of making us raise an
The first week of data gathering and analysis by NASA and by other groups was beyond expectation.
They discovered that not one, but two planets, TRAPPIST E and TRAPPIST F, were of extreme interest; moreso than any planet previously observed.
TRAPPIST E was described to be likely similar to equatorial climates on Earth. The analysis showed what appeared to be an estimated 29 degrees celcius
average temperature, as well as an atmospheric pressure of roughly .83 atm (83% the atmospheric pressure at sea level on Earth) on the surface.
The atmosphere, they said, was composed mainly of Nitrogen, Oxygen, and water vapor. This was exciting news, as these compounds are no stranger to
Earth, as they make up the vast majority of Earth's atmosphere. The presence of oxygen in the atmosphere was especially inspiring, as it indicated
that not only could humans potentially go there and survive without oxygen supplementation, it also indicated a possibility of life.
The presence of water vapor in such high quantities also showed researchers the likelihood of an oceanic presence.
TRAPPIST F was deemed by the media talking heads as "a second Earth".
The planet is nearly the same diameter as Earth, and showed signs of nearly identical atmospheric conditions to Earth's.
A crisp 23 degree celcius average temp. Mainly nitrogen, with slightly lower average amounts of oxygen, methane, CO2, and water vapor, with an
estimated atmospheric pressure of just slightly under 1 Earth atmosphere.
People around the world were abuzz with excitement about the findings. Could these planets be a place for people to go some day? What's more, was life
It didn't take long for the whole world to stop dead in its tracks, mouth agape, like a helpless turtle swept up in the rip current.
Six months after the findings of TRAPPIST E and F were publically announced, in July of 2020, the world came to a standstill.
I still remember that day, in all its profundity. I think everyone will remember July 2, 2020. There really are no words to describe the feeling I
had, the "vibe" as some call it. Hundreds of millions of us, watching television.
It didnt matter what time of day it was or where you were. Night, day, at work, or having a pint at the pub with friends. Everyone was watching and
At approximately 7:00 EST, virtually every news station, including a smattering of other stations, were tuned into the same conference.
It was a small auditorium it seemed, but it was packed with journalists from around the world, as well as a number of world leaders and well known
businessmen, Elon Musk being one of them.
You could see Musk grinning ear to ear. He knew already.
A stately gentleman walked down an aisle toward the podium. He was escorted by six heavily armed guards, wearing full body armor, wielding rifles, as
journalists murmered excitedly. It was absolutely surreal.
What in God's name was this about, so many thought.
The stately gentleman casually waved off the guards with a smile as he approached the podium.
"Hello everyone. I do hope you are well today. My name is Seth Shostak and I am the Senior Astronomer for the SETI institute."
As soon as he said this, my face, my actual face went numb. I felt this unbelievable sensation of awe, as I put two and two together. The head of
SETI, a world wide broadcast announcement, armed guards, the TRAPPIST findings six months prior. Some people at the bar I was at still hadn't figured
it out, what was about to wash over them, a historical info tsunami, the likes of which no one had ever seen before.
I almost cried. A profound sense of excitement, joy, and fear enveloped me.
Mr. Shostak, as calm as ever, continued.
"Before I continue, to some of our viewers, I have been told to offer this advice before I proceed. You may want to take a seat if you are standing
and watching this."
Mr. Shostak looked down at his notes, and cleared his throat.
"At approximately 10:00 Greenwhich mean time, on June 27th, 2020, our instruments picked up a transmission in the radio frequency band of very
significant interest to us."
At this point, everyone was silent at the bar, and I presume around the world. They now knew what was coming.
"Our scientists and researchers around the world, including NASA, were given the raw data to analyze and confirm the analysis we provided them" said
edit on 25-2-2018 by CreationBro because: (no reason given)