Jon Ramer

is creating Our Alien Earth

6

patrons
“I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote.”
                                                                      Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Who wouldn’t like to go to another planet?  Heck, how about just to the Moon?!?  In our solar system there are eight major planets, over 150 moons, five known dwarf planets, and an estimated 150 million asteroids 100 meters or more across.  Looking away from our home star, we’ve discovered more than 3,500 planets (so far) in some 2,500 solar systems, all within a couple thousand light years of the Sun.  A volume, by the way, which is far less than one percent of the total volume of our galaxy, the Milky Way.  The latest scientific estimates say there are over 200 billion stars in the Milky Way and that there could be as many as two trillion galaxies in the universe.

Sufficed to say, there are a whole lot of planets out there.  More planets, in fact, than there are grains of sand on all of the beaches on Earth.

Is your mind boggled?  It should be.

That’s what “Our Alien Earth” is about.  Boggling your mind by going to alien planets.  Going where cameras and people have not (yet!).  There are places on our home planet that are as alien to us as the surface of one of those far off grains of sand.  And each month I’m going to take you to one of them.  My plan at this time is to post 18 trips around the solar system, once a month for the next 18 months.  After that we're going to do “something wonderful.”

How am I going to do that?  Well, that’s the trick.  You'll have to keep reading to find out....

So, who wouldn’t love to zip off to one of those innumerable planets and go for a stroll?   Raise your hand if you’re willing and able!  Chances are if you’re reading this, then your hand is up right now, or you thought about raising it.   That doesn’t mean you’re a “sci fi” geek or some kind of science nerd, it means you’re human.  A completely, totally, 100% normal, human being.   It’s in the very nature of human beings to be curious, to want to go and see new things.   It’s deep in our DNA.   The urge to explore is a part of the very core of what it means to be “us.”

Our distant ancestors looked up from the tall grass and wondered what was on the other side of that hill.  Our not-so-distant ancestors looked at the horizon and thought the same thing.  We are driven onward to new experiences, new sights, new places.  Today our home planet is well-known to us.  We vacation to places we haven’t seen, even though others have, but we still go.  We drive, fly, run, walk, hike, ever moving, moving, moving.  Inevitably though, our eyes are always drawn upwards to the stars.  Someday soon we will step off this world and onto others.

The funny thing about making the trek to see an alien world is that it is both incredibly difficult and rather simple at the same time.  Visiting a planet orbiting a star in a galaxy a billion light-years away would require some kind of fantastic technology, warp drive, hyperspace, wormholes, or something we haven’t thought of.  Even if it is possible to invent and build such a marvel, achieving that technological feat is far beyond our capabilities today.   Hence, the “difficult” part of getting there.

But, as said above, there are 3,500 known alien worlds just in our cosmic neighborhood, including one orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to ours, barely four light years distant.  Four light years is about 40 trillion kilometers.  That’s pretty close on the galactic scale, but on the 21st century human scale, the story is a little different.

The Voyager 1 probe is moving away from the Sun faster than anything launched by humanity so far, traveling at a whopping 17 kilometers per second.  At that speed you can go from New York to Los Angeles in just three minutes and 43 seconds.  Yet Voyager would take 40,000 years to get to Proxima Centauri.

So, even our fastest probe will take four times longer than humanity as been civilized to get to the closest planet outside our solar system.  Kind of makes it difficult to “go for a stroll” there.  Don’t give up hope though!  Remember, eight major planets, 150 moons, five dwarf planets.  Our solar system is filled with fascinating places to visit! 



How about Pluto?  Formerly a planet, now the King of the planetoids.  A treasure trove of incredible pictures have come back from the New Horizons probe.  Scenes of frozen nitrogen plains, ice mountains, wide chasms, a possible cyro-volcano, and a moon that eclipses the Sun every six days.  Want to go hiking there?  Let’s go!

Or maybe not.  Pluto averages over 9.5 billion kilometers distance away from Earth.  The New Horizons probe was launched at the highest speed in the history of human space exploration, 58,000 kilometers per hour (NY to LA in four minutes), but it still took nine and a half years to get there, and couldn’t stop when it did.   Still a “difficult” trip.

Let’s go closer in.  How about Neptune?  It’s a gas giant so there’s no surface to walk on, but it has lots of moons.  One of them named Triton has geysers that shoot columns of liquid nitrogen and dust eight kilometers up into the sky!  Wouldn’t that be a sight to behold!  Voyager 2 took 12 years to get there.

Closer still, what about Saturn?  It’s moon Titan has weather, rain clouds, river deltas, and lakes of liquid ethane.  There’s probably even an ethane “waterfall” or two.  The moon Enceladus has active geysers that continuously spew water ice into space.   Imagine seeing a geyser spray beneath a sky filled with rings!  The Cassini probe took over seven years to get there.

Jupiter?   Europa has a vast pole-to-pole ocean and a skin of floating ice floes. Io has massive volcanoes that blast molten sulfur five hundred kilometers into the sky.  Callisto has forests of mysterious ice pillars.  All sights that would be incredible to witness.  A six-year jaunt for the Galileo probe.

Okay then, let’s go to Mars.  A massive canyon five times larger than the Grand Canyon, a volcano two and half times taller than Mt Everest, dust storms, tornadoes, ancient sea beds.  Amazing!  Mars’ orbit brings it to a mere 55 millions kilometers away from Earth, barely a third of the distance from the Earth to the Sun.  That should be easy, right?  Humanity launched the first probe towards the Red Planet in 1962, since then there have been 44 attempted missions.  Twenty-six of them have failed.

Right.  Let’s just pop on up to the Moon then, shall we?  Our closest neighbor. Only 384,000 kilometers away.  Three days flight time for the Apollo missions. Lava tubes, massive craters, seas of rock.  Heck, we’ve even already been there!  And we left, 45 years ago.  And haven’t been back since.

Unfortunately, for those of us with a burning itch to see things remote, the prospects for getting to another planet are all pretty difficult.

Or are they?

There is something that unites planets 55 million kilometers away, 23 trillion miles away, or a billion light-years away.  That something is science.  Physics and chemistry are the same everywhere.  Gravity works the same throughout the universe, rocks fall, stars shine, ice melts, gases vaporize and swirl about.  It happens the same way in every corner of our cosmos.  So, the mechanics of how a geyser works are the same, whether the geyser is on Earth or Enceladus.  Dunes form when wind blows sand around, whether the wind and sand are on Earth or Mars.

Everywhere.  The Same.



Which makes geological features appear similar on far separate worlds.   In other words, there are places on Earth that look just like those remote places around our solar system.  There are chasms, and volcanoes, and eclipses, and river deltas, and geysers, and volcanoes, and ice floes, and pillars, and canyons, and craters, Earth has all these wondrous sights - and more.  And getting to those places is actually pretty simple.  For some of us, it’s just opening the back door and walking outside, for others, the matter of a few hours travel.  Not years, but mere hours.  That’s pretty simple compared to going somewhere four light-years distant.

You want to know what it feels like to walk the surface of an alien world?  Then walk amongst the same geology.  What do the pillars of Callisto look like from the surface?  Just like the pillars of Cappadocia in the moonlight.  You can almost feel Jupiter’s baleful glare above you when you look out across the exotic landscape.  I know, it’s how I felt when I was there.  A magical “deja vu” sensation that tingled from my head to my toes, making the hair on my neck and arms stand up and my heart pound in awe.  And I want you to feel just the way I did.

I want to take you on a journey unlike any other artistic endeavor you’ve ever been on.  I want to take you to those exotic locales, show you what it looks like on Earth, then open your imagination to show you what the same geology looks like on Mars and Europa and Titan and everywhere else.  We’ll talk about the science behind what makes those locations special, why they are the same, and why they are different.  But most importantly, I’m going to show you what those exotic, other-worldly locations look like though the eyes of an artist.

Why should you go on this journey with me?  Who am I?

I’m Jon Ramer, a pretty well-traveled retired military officer who happens to be an avid photographer and a space artist, which is someone who specializes in painting images of stars, galaxies, moons, and yes, other planets.  There is a guild of like-minded artists who paint the same kind of things I do, aptly called the International Association of Astronomical Artists, or IAAA for short.  Not only am I a Fellow member of that wonderfully imaginative group, I also have the honor of being their elected President.



We in the IAAA believe that space is humanity’s ultimate destiny, and, like the artists of the past, we paint to inspire people to want to go and see the incredible sights just “over the horizon.”  We paint things where no camera has gone, using our imaginations and, of course, science.  The IAAA conducts workshops all over the world to study the strange geological wonders our planet has in order to paint more realistic images of what wonders other worlds also have.  I’ve been to many of those workshops and my military travels have taken me to even more unique places around our globe.  My camera was always with me - as was my imagination.  Now I want to show you the amazing sights I’ve seen.

So that’s who I am and who the IAAA is.  The important question now is, how do we get to all these incredible places?  There are all sorts of vessels of the imagination that we can board to go hiking around the universe.  Warp drive starships, beat-up freighters that can hyperspace .5 past light speed, FTL drive jumping warhorses, a blue box that travels in time and space.  So many choices!  How do we pick?  Well, I’m a space artist, so I think we should go with the classic spaceship imagined by the father of space art, Chesley Bonestell.  Nothing finer than a sleek silver teardrop with fins!  Our vessel is the Silver Dream, and we’re going to “Buck Rogers” all over the solar system in a sweet little silver buggy.



The goal of “Our Alien Earth” is to inspire you, thrill you, fascinate you, maybe even educate you.  But most of all, it’s to take you to all the fantastic places you want to go.

Sound interesting?  Want to come along?  Well then, let’s go....

How do you get to join in on this amazing journey?  Like any other trip, you just buy a ticket, or in the case of a Patreon page, just subscribe!  The price of a ticket - one dollar.  Yes, you read that right, one dollar!   Imagine that, for a mere $1 a month you get to travel to alien worlds!  And here’s the kicker, when we finally get tired of jaunting around the solar system, taking pictures, playing with rocks, and doing all the other fun things you do on such a cool trip, all of our travels will be gathered together and published in a book.  Not only that, but the book will have SIX extra trips not posted on this site!  Something you can pick up, look at, read, re-read, and enjoy for years to come, your very own solar system vacation photo album.  Cool, right?!?

Or at least that’s the plan.  Books aren’t cheap to produce, especially not slick, color paged, hardback books.  So, while we are indeed going on this trip around our Sun’s neighborhood, we need lots of folks to come with us to make the photo album at the end happen.  That’s where you come in.   Subscribe! Then talk to all your friends, family, classmates, workmates, heck, even strangers on the street!  Get them to come along with us!  What’s a dollar a month?  That’s less than a magazine you read once and throw away, less than a cup of coffee from the mega-chain store on every street corner in the world, less than the candy bar that you really don’t need anyway.  One dollar!  One dollar and you get to go to a far-off planet.  What a deal!  So what are you waiting for?  Subscribe!

To whet your curiosity, part of our first trip is free for you to read in the Posts section.  Hop on board the Silver Dream, your destination awaits....

Tiers
Economy class ticket
$1 or more per month
You’ll get subscriber access to this Patreon page and will be able to download a pdf file of each place we go featuring all the photos and art of this destination. When we publish the book of our travels, there will be a first-in-line spot for you - at a special patron’s discount price!  All for just one dollar....


Business class ticket
$2 or more per month
Of course you can subscribe for more than a dollar if you want.  Chuck an extra buck into the spaceship’s fuel tank and in addition to the economy ticket rewards you’ll get to see what it looks like to stand on the surface of every exotic place we go through the wonder of virtual reality - and the imagination of master space artist Mark Garlick!  (www.markgarlick.com)  Mark will be creating a VR surround shot of every place we visit that you can see via your Samsung gear or FaceBook 360.  I've experienced his work, and "mind-bogglingly amazing" just isn't good enough to describe it!  So, if you want to see those remote things in person, get a business class ticket....  
First class ticket
$5 or more per month
If you believe that space is humanity’s ultimate destiny like the IAAA does, and feel like showing your support at $5 a month,  in addition to the economy and business class rewards,  your name will go into the “Our Alien Earth” book as a special supporter.
Private suite ticket
$10 or more per month
If your soul is as generous as it is adventurous and you subscribe with $10 a month pledge, when we get “Our Alien Earth” published you will get an autographed copy! 
Goals
100% complete
Let's go to another planet! Every month I plan to take you on a fantastic trip somewhere in the solar system.  Are you ready to go?
1 of 1
“I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote.”
                                                                      Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Who wouldn’t like to go to another planet?  Heck, how about just to the Moon?!?  In our solar system there are eight major planets, over 150 moons, five known dwarf planets, and an estimated 150 million asteroids 100 meters or more across.  Looking away from our home star, we’ve discovered more than 3,500 planets (so far) in some 2,500 solar systems, all within a couple thousand light years of the Sun.  A volume, by the way, which is far less than one percent of the total volume of our galaxy, the Milky Way.  The latest scientific estimates say there are over 200 billion stars in the Milky Way and that there could be as many as two trillion galaxies in the universe.

Sufficed to say, there are a whole lot of planets out there.  More planets, in fact, than there are grains of sand on all of the beaches on Earth.

Is your mind boggled?  It should be.

That’s what “Our Alien Earth” is about.  Boggling your mind by going to alien planets.  Going where cameras and people have not (yet!).  There are places on our home planet that are as alien to us as the surface of one of those far off grains of sand.  And each month I’m going to take you to one of them.  My plan at this time is to post 18 trips around the solar system, once a month for the next 18 months.  After that we're going to do “something wonderful.”

How am I going to do that?  Well, that’s the trick.  You'll have to keep reading to find out....

So, who wouldn’t love to zip off to one of those innumerable planets and go for a stroll?   Raise your hand if you’re willing and able!  Chances are if you’re reading this, then your hand is up right now, or you thought about raising it.   That doesn’t mean you’re a “sci fi” geek or some kind of science nerd, it means you’re human.  A completely, totally, 100% normal, human being.   It’s in the very nature of human beings to be curious, to want to go and see new things.   It’s deep in our DNA.   The urge to explore is a part of the very core of what it means to be “us.”

Our distant ancestors looked up from the tall grass and wondered what was on the other side of that hill.  Our not-so-distant ancestors looked at the horizon and thought the same thing.  We are driven onward to new experiences, new sights, new places.  Today our home planet is well-known to us.  We vacation to places we haven’t seen, even though others have, but we still go.  We drive, fly, run, walk, hike, ever moving, moving, moving.  Inevitably though, our eyes are always drawn upwards to the stars.  Someday soon we will step off this world and onto others.

The funny thing about making the trek to see an alien world is that it is both incredibly difficult and rather simple at the same time.  Visiting a planet orbiting a star in a galaxy a billion light-years away would require some kind of fantastic technology, warp drive, hyperspace, wormholes, or something we haven’t thought of.  Even if it is possible to invent and build such a marvel, achieving that technological feat is far beyond our capabilities today.   Hence, the “difficult” part of getting there.

But, as said above, there are 3,500 known alien worlds just in our cosmic neighborhood, including one orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to ours, barely four light years distant.  Four light years is about 40 trillion kilometers.  That’s pretty close on the galactic scale, but on the 21st century human scale, the story is a little different.

The Voyager 1 probe is moving away from the Sun faster than anything launched by humanity so far, traveling at a whopping 17 kilometers per second.  At that speed you can go from New York to Los Angeles in just three minutes and 43 seconds.  Yet Voyager would take 40,000 years to get to Proxima Centauri.

So, even our fastest probe will take four times longer than humanity as been civilized to get to the closest planet outside our solar system.  Kind of makes it difficult to “go for a stroll” there.  Don’t give up hope though!  Remember, eight major planets, 150 moons, five dwarf planets.  Our solar system is filled with fascinating places to visit! 



How about Pluto?  Formerly a planet, now the King of the planetoids.  A treasure trove of incredible pictures have come back from the New Horizons probe.  Scenes of frozen nitrogen plains, ice mountains, wide chasms, a possible cyro-volcano, and a moon that eclipses the Sun every six days.  Want to go hiking there?  Let’s go!

Or maybe not.  Pluto averages over 9.5 billion kilometers distance away from Earth.  The New Horizons probe was launched at the highest speed in the history of human space exploration, 58,000 kilometers per hour (NY to LA in four minutes), but it still took nine and a half years to get there, and couldn’t stop when it did.   Still a “difficult” trip.

Let’s go closer in.  How about Neptune?  It’s a gas giant so there’s no surface to walk on, but it has lots of moons.  One of them named Triton has geysers that shoot columns of liquid nitrogen and dust eight kilometers up into the sky!  Wouldn’t that be a sight to behold!  Voyager 2 took 12 years to get there.

Closer still, what about Saturn?  It’s moon Titan has weather, rain clouds, river deltas, and lakes of liquid ethane.  There’s probably even an ethane “waterfall” or two.  The moon Enceladus has active geysers that continuously spew water ice into space.   Imagine seeing a geyser spray beneath a sky filled with rings!  The Cassini probe took over seven years to get there.

Jupiter?   Europa has a vast pole-to-pole ocean and a skin of floating ice floes. Io has massive volcanoes that blast molten sulfur five hundred kilometers into the sky.  Callisto has forests of mysterious ice pillars.  All sights that would be incredible to witness.  A six-year jaunt for the Galileo probe.

Okay then, let’s go to Mars.  A massive canyon five times larger than the Grand Canyon, a volcano two and half times taller than Mt Everest, dust storms, tornadoes, ancient sea beds.  Amazing!  Mars’ orbit brings it to a mere 55 millions kilometers away from Earth, barely a third of the distance from the Earth to the Sun.  That should be easy, right?  Humanity launched the first probe towards the Red Planet in 1962, since then there have been 44 attempted missions.  Twenty-six of them have failed.

Right.  Let’s just pop on up to the Moon then, shall we?  Our closest neighbor. Only 384,000 kilometers away.  Three days flight time for the Apollo missions. Lava tubes, massive craters, seas of rock.  Heck, we’ve even already been there!  And we left, 45 years ago.  And haven’t been back since.

Unfortunately, for those of us with a burning itch to see things remote, the prospects for getting to another planet are all pretty difficult.

Or are they?

There is something that unites planets 55 million kilometers away, 23 trillion miles away, or a billion light-years away.  That something is science.  Physics and chemistry are the same everywhere.  Gravity works the same throughout the universe, rocks fall, stars shine, ice melts, gases vaporize and swirl about.  It happens the same way in every corner of our cosmos.  So, the mechanics of how a geyser works are the same, whether the geyser is on Earth or Enceladus.  Dunes form when wind blows sand around, whether the wind and sand are on Earth or Mars.

Everywhere.  The Same.



Which makes geological features appear similar on far separate worlds.   In other words, there are places on Earth that look just like those remote places around our solar system.  There are chasms, and volcanoes, and eclipses, and river deltas, and geysers, and volcanoes, and ice floes, and pillars, and canyons, and craters, Earth has all these wondrous sights - and more.  And getting to those places is actually pretty simple.  For some of us, it’s just opening the back door and walking outside, for others, the matter of a few hours travel.  Not years, but mere hours.  That’s pretty simple compared to going somewhere four light-years distant.

You want to know what it feels like to walk the surface of an alien world?  Then walk amongst the same geology.  What do the pillars of Callisto look like from the surface?  Just like the pillars of Cappadocia in the moonlight.  You can almost feel Jupiter’s baleful glare above you when you look out across the exotic landscape.  I know, it’s how I felt when I was there.  A magical “deja vu” sensation that tingled from my head to my toes, making the hair on my neck and arms stand up and my heart pound in awe.  And I want you to feel just the way I did.

I want to take you on a journey unlike any other artistic endeavor you’ve ever been on.  I want to take you to those exotic locales, show you what it looks like on Earth, then open your imagination to show you what the same geology looks like on Mars and Europa and Titan and everywhere else.  We’ll talk about the science behind what makes those locations special, why they are the same, and why they are different.  But most importantly, I’m going to show you what those exotic, other-worldly locations look like though the eyes of an artist.

Why should you go on this journey with me?  Who am I?

I’m Jon Ramer, a pretty well-traveled retired military officer who happens to be an avid photographer and a space artist, which is someone who specializes in painting images of stars, galaxies, moons, and yes, other planets.  There is a guild of like-minded artists who paint the same kind of things I do, aptly called the International Association of Astronomical Artists, or IAAA for short.  Not only am I a Fellow member of that wonderfully imaginative group, I also have the honor of being their elected President.



We in the IAAA believe that space is humanity’s ultimate destiny, and, like the artists of the past, we paint to inspire people to want to go and see the incredible sights just “over the horizon.”  We paint things where no camera has gone, using our imaginations and, of course, science.  The IAAA conducts workshops all over the world to study the strange geological wonders our planet has in order to paint more realistic images of what wonders other worlds also have.  I’ve been to many of those workshops and my military travels have taken me to even more unique places around our globe.  My camera was always with me - as was my imagination.  Now I want to show you the amazing sights I’ve seen.

So that’s who I am and who the IAAA is.  The important question now is, how do we get to all these incredible places?  There are all sorts of vessels of the imagination that we can board to go hiking around the universe.  Warp drive starships, beat-up freighters that can hyperspace .5 past light speed, FTL drive jumping warhorses, a blue box that travels in time and space.  So many choices!  How do we pick?  Well, I’m a space artist, so I think we should go with the classic spaceship imagined by the father of space art, Chesley Bonestell.  Nothing finer than a sleek silver teardrop with fins!  Our vessel is the Silver Dream, and we’re going to “Buck Rogers” all over the solar system in a sweet little silver buggy.



The goal of “Our Alien Earth” is to inspire you, thrill you, fascinate you, maybe even educate you.  But most of all, it’s to take you to all the fantastic places you want to go.

Sound interesting?  Want to come along?  Well then, let’s go....

How do you get to join in on this amazing journey?  Like any other trip, you just buy a ticket, or in the case of a Patreon page, just subscribe!  The price of a ticket - one dollar.  Yes, you read that right, one dollar!   Imagine that, for a mere $1 a month you get to travel to alien worlds!  And here’s the kicker, when we finally get tired of jaunting around the solar system, taking pictures, playing with rocks, and doing all the other fun things you do on such a cool trip, all of our travels will be gathered together and published in a book.  Not only that, but the book will have SIX extra trips not posted on this site!  Something you can pick up, look at, read, re-read, and enjoy for years to come, your very own solar system vacation photo album.  Cool, right?!?

Or at least that’s the plan.  Books aren’t cheap to produce, especially not slick, color paged, hardback books.  So, while we are indeed going on this trip around our Sun’s neighborhood, we need lots of folks to come with us to make the photo album at the end happen.  That’s where you come in.   Subscribe! Then talk to all your friends, family, classmates, workmates, heck, even strangers on the street!  Get them to come along with us!  What’s a dollar a month?  That’s less than a magazine you read once and throw away, less than a cup of coffee from the mega-chain store on every street corner in the world, less than the candy bar that you really don’t need anyway.  One dollar!  One dollar and you get to go to a far-off planet.  What a deal!  So what are you waiting for?  Subscribe!

To whet your curiosity, part of our first trip is free for you to read in the Posts section.  Hop on board the Silver Dream, your destination awaits....

Recent posts by Jon Ramer

Tiers
Economy class ticket
$1 or more per month
You’ll get subscriber access to this Patreon page and will be able to download a pdf file of each place we go featuring all the photos and art of this destination. When we publish the book of our travels, there will be a first-in-line spot for you - at a special patron’s discount price!  All for just one dollar....


Business class ticket
$2 or more per month
Of course you can subscribe for more than a dollar if you want.  Chuck an extra buck into the spaceship’s fuel tank and in addition to the economy ticket rewards you’ll get to see what it looks like to stand on the surface of every exotic place we go through the wonder of virtual reality - and the imagination of master space artist Mark Garlick!  (www.markgarlick.com)  Mark will be creating a VR surround shot of every place we visit that you can see via your Samsung gear or FaceBook 360.  I've experienced his work, and "mind-bogglingly amazing" just isn't good enough to describe it!  So, if you want to see those remote things in person, get a business class ticket....  
First class ticket
$5 or more per month
If you believe that space is humanity’s ultimate destiny like the IAAA does, and feel like showing your support at $5 a month,  in addition to the economy and business class rewards,  your name will go into the “Our Alien Earth” book as a special supporter.
Private suite ticket
$10 or more per month
If your soul is as generous as it is adventurous and you subscribe with $10 a month pledge, when we get “Our Alien Earth” published you will get an autographed copy!