Last week DC Comics released images of various giveaways that it would be releasing in June to help get fans into stores and to buy their latest release under the new 52 banner (and the first post-Convergence.) Among tour posters for Black Canary’s music and paper masks for popular heroes was a fake postcard featuring Starfire in Key West. There is a bit of a back story behind the postcard as Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti both have said that they like the city as well, and the fact that it is known for its overall acceptance is something which might draw her to visit there (also Key Lime Pie.)
While the story of her travel to such a place in our solar system is a nice idea, it does raise the idea of where an alien might actually want to visit. Starfire can survive in outer space unaided, and thus there are really not that many places where she could not travel. That having been said, what features in our solar system might be truly unique to see and to take a picture in front of? The idea requires some speculation of course, as what we know of other planets is still pretty obscure, but with the supposition that there is a group of advanced humanoids elsewhere in the universe, there would have to be some basic assumptions. The first is that they come from a planet which has lots of water, and a lot of land. Such land would be broken down into all the same identifiable features that we have on Earth, and so much of the surface of the Earth would be pretty normal looking. Even if particular vistas looked amazing, it would be similar to locations on their own world. So too does the prevalence of gas giant planets seem to be common enough in other solar systems, at least from what we have seen. So while Jupiter is a marvel to look at, it probably would not be particularly different than other gas giants in others solar systems. With the normality of other astronomical and terrain features being pretty common place, what might an alien find different or interesting about the solar system? Here are a few suggestions.
When first discovered through a telescope, the rings of Saturn were visible, at least that there were there, if not of what they actually were. Since the improvement of telescopes it has become evident that Saturn has something special, and those are its rings. As exploration has continued of the solar system, it has been discovered that other planets also have rings, but none of them compare to Saturn. It is theorized that Saturn rings were formed as an icy moon was either pulled apart by tidal forces or by it being pulverized in one way or another. And so while rings on planets are common enough, such spectacular ones perhaps are not.
Mercury’s Weird Terrain
Mercury is fairly devoid of any real interesting features except for one. Most of its surface is pock-marked by impact craters, and Mercury therefore ends up looking much like the moon. Its lack of atmosphere has meant that meteors and asteroids which impact it are not broken up before impact, but rather strike with full force. One such asteroid long ago struck the surface and created a giant crater, but it is not the crater itself which is of note but rather what can be found at its antipode. The shock waves of the impact traveled through the planet’s surface and converged at the same time on the other side of the planet, creating what scientists refer to only as “weird terrain”, lacking any other explanation for it or for its creation.
A Solar Eclipse
The Earth has its share of wonders, but its large canyons, vast deserts and imposing mountain ranges would be fairly common on other planets which are are both tectonically active and which have an abundance of water. What would be of note to those on Earth is perhaps not its own features, but that of another. Most scientists agree that the moon is necessary for life on Earth, or at least life as we know it. Among other reasons the moon helps the Earth maintain its tilted rotation relative to the sun, which allows the Earth to have seasons. It would thus be a relatively safe assumptions that another planet that had life would have a moon, but our moon is special for a different reason. Although dwarved by our sun, the moon is the same times smaller as it is in distance from the sun relative to the Earth, which under the proper conditions gives us solar or lunar eclipses. While other suns and moons might have the conditions for complete or partial eclipses, our solar system with its near perfect match would be something to see for aliens.
The Great Barrier Reef
There are a lot of special animals around the world, and a lot that put on some pretty amazing shows. Whatever animal life would look like on other planets though, it would be safe to assume that most of them would have some kind of a counterpart. It would thus be possible to ungulates migrating, or some kind of silk creating creature to have its beautiful webs. What might not be so normal is the Great Barrier Reef, and other structures built by coral. Coral is the remainder of what was once a living animal, as the rock like body is left after the animal has died. Other offspring build directly onto the former and although small, over time the creatures evolve into giant structures. Although coral reefs are found through the world, there is none more impressive that the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. As a landscape feature, it might be the most unique thing which the Earth has to offer, especially if coral is something which only exists on Earth.