Sustaining life outside of Earth
When you look upon the stars, have you wondered who they are? Senior presenters Jason Painter and Clairee Schneider enlightened their audience at the Loras Planetarium last Friday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m.
The round room darkened as the show began, the projector in the center of the room illuminating the ceiling with a realistic representation of a starry night’s sky. Painter told the stories of constellations such as Callisto, known as the constellation Ursa Major, or the big bear; Caster and Pollox, or the Gemini twins; and Orion the Hunter’s infamous Orion’s Belt.
“I like the (constellation) story of Perseus the most,” Painter said. “He is a (favored) son of Zeus … However, Perseus chooses to remain human over being a god because he believes that man is greater than the gods … (It) shows how strong and powerful the will of man can be, even in the face of true despair and death.”
Schneider followed Painter’s constellation stories with a PowerPoint presentation over the possibility of life on other planets, specifically Jupiter’s moon, Europa.
“It is believed that there is liquid water beneath the icy surface,” Schneider said. “Liquid water is one of the qualities a planet must have to contain life.”
Schneider also mentioned Kepler-186F, one of the planets discovered by the Kepler telescope.
“It is one of the most likely planets to have life (because) it is within the habitable zone of its own solar system and the galaxy, 490 light-years away,” she explained. “It’s only 10 percent larger than Earth, which demonstrates the ideal size for life to exist.”