Wednesday, April 23, 2008

One last batch of Floaters

I've just about run my other blog - Worlds of Possibility - down to nothing now. It was becoming too much of a hassle to run two blogs simultaneously so I decided to move all of the more interesting posts over to here and delete the rest. After all, this is a fairly broad appeal blog covering a wide range of topics that I personally find interesting. We have everything here from urban vinyl collectibles to discussions about Eurovision, folk music, dog turds, dinosaurs and crap music, curious facts, fabulous art and design, unusual wildlife and alternative names for boobies. So, here's (almost) the last post to be moved across before I lock the door and switch off the lights on my other blog. It's a final fling about Floaters.

Here are some more depictions of life in the atmosphere of a gas giant planet (Carl Sagan has a lot to answer for). The first is by long-time space artist supremo David A Hardy. The picture depicts a group of Floaters and what appears to be one of those ubiquitous freaking Skywhales as it chomps on airborne plankton. The second is the cover for a book -artist unknown. The third is by Adolf Schaller.

These other pictures were found by a friend of mine when searching for my (aliens) blog. By a simple typo, he found the Aliens: Worlds of Possibilities travelling exhibition that was developed by the Pacific Science Centre in Seattle in conjunction with SETI and the US National Science Foundation. The exhibition features three animatronic aliens - the Phineas Palindrome (a creature that 'swims' in a dense gravity and looks the same from the front and the back - hence the name) and the Gusty Traveller - a Floater of sorts.

The third alien - the Hairy Sandwalker - is not a Skywhale or a Floater but, as the name implies, a desert creature. I have no information about this model nor how and why it was designed but it is interesting to speculate based solely upon what I can see.

I presume that it's a predator because it has forward-facing (presumably) binocular vision and what look to be powerful running legs. The rotund body could be fatty tissue for storing water (like a camel's hump(s)) and the feet look to be splayed and toughened, also like a camel's. Finally, there's the fur. Fur may seem illogical for a desert dwelling animal but it can be effective in shielding the skin from the sun and for warmth - Desert temperatures can drop below zero at night. It made me wonder what kind of creature it evolved from. The curious 'grabber' resembles a similar structure found on the Burgess Shale Opabinia species (previously described here). So maybe it had similar ancestors?

Finally, a picture of my own floating alien beastie, last seen back in this post, but now shown in scale with some other Earth species.

3 comments:

Stevyn Colgan said...

I'm prepared for the Oo-er missus type comments this time! 'A batch of floaters?' Oh how I set myself up at times.

Anonymous said...

Ooooooh! Missus!

Stevyn Colgan said...

See?