Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jovian jellyfish and aerial plankton

Beautiful clip from Carl Sagan's Cosmos, showing hypothetical life forms in the atmosphere of a gas giant: 
Since they are adapted for a wide-open environment where buoyancy counters gravity, these imaginary aerial creatures somewhat resemble marine life in form and behavior (the "floaters" in particular look like jellyfish). This same analogy of sea to sky underlies in the term "aeroplankton"-- referring to the much tinier creatures (insects, seeds, bacteria) that drift in Earth's atmosphere-- and presumably inspired the AirPenguin

1 comment:

  1. Jack Cohen is interesting on the subject of exobiology. He's more hopeful than the Sagan clip on the predictive power of our single-world dataset; he argues that features that have evolved multiply by different routes (for instance, winged flight, complex eyes, or jointed limbs) are likely to be universals that will evolve anywhere where conditions are even approximately Earth-like.