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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Halloween in Space

Halloween in Space

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, October 31, 2019/Categories: video, space science, art and design, adventure , humor

                                 Annual Halloween and pumpkin carving contest, 10-30-2019 (credit: JPL)

The scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at CalTech had some fun re-imagining what Halloween would be like for space aliens or on a distant exoplanet. Once a year they join in a highly competitive pumpkin carving contest at the university to receive an award. Some of this year's carvings included a pumpkin gently landing on the Moon as well as a Nemo-inspired pumpkin explored the ocean on Jupiter's moon Europa. The engineers go 'all out' during the annual competition which also happens on JPL's birthday when the Lab was founded on October 31, 1936. JPL and CalTech have long been known for their 'out of the box' thinking, like using a bouncing balloon to land a rover on Mars, and these pumpkin ideas follow that tradition.

Graphic artists at JPL also crafted posters designed from discoveries made by JPL/CalTech of two distant solar systems. The new posters show some truly terrifying exoplanets. One of the posters is of a Slasher Planet, with an atmosphere of flying silicates (key component in sand and glass) with winds blowing at over 5,400 mph. Winds like this would create perpetual storms of flying glass. The second poster, Zombie Worlds, features three exo-planets orbiting a dead star, the pulsar PSR B1257+12. Located ~2000 light-years from Earth, the collapsed star produces dual jets of intense radiation. They would have killed any alien life forms that might have evolved on the exoplanets before the star collapsed into a pulsar.


    Exoplanet HD-189733b "Slasher Planet"  &  Exoplanet PSRB-1257+12 "Zombie Worlds  (credit: JPL)  

These are a couple of recent discoveries for what might be called a Galaxy of Horrors. Who ever said that 'out of the box' scientists couldn't have a little fun on All Hallows' Day?



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