|By Planetary Habitability Laboratory @ UPR Arecibo|
Distance: 12.02 light years from Earth | Content Flag: Public
We are currently approaching Tau Ceti e, but too fast to arrive in a stable orbit. This was expected. I could have conducted the assist on one of the other inner planets, but this course permits us to take a look at what might be awaiting us when we arrive properly.
This is our closest approach to the planet so far, and if life once existed there then I doubt it still does so. There is a high free-oxygen content in the atmosphere which indicates the likelihood some organic process has been active or may even still be, despite the surface conditions. The surface features are shrouded in dense clouds, with violent storms dotted with bright flashes highlighting the depth of the cloud.
The storms are fuelled by volcanoes scattered across the planet’s surface. It’s difficult to be certain but I think this geological activity is relatively recent, maybe within the last 200 years. When we arrive back here, we will take more detailed readings.
Above the storms, we have detected auroras at both poles which stretch almost to the equator. I estimate that they are too vigorous for the usual interaction between the stellar wind and the planet’s magnetic field. Tau Ceti is much smaller than our Sun and the stellar wind we are observing is too weak for such an extravagant display.
This type of display has been seen before.
Frustratingly, the source of the repeated signal is obscured by the planet as we pass by. So I have not discovered anything new there and we’re travelling too fast to look back with any detail. In high orbit, we have seen what appears to be a cloud of debris, the bulk of which I’ve calculated to be in and around geosynchronous orbit.
Combined with the auroras and the extreme weather, this debris cloud is reminiscent of the aftermath on Earth after the Sun Dragon encounter. Based on the observations of the Earth encounter with the Sun Dragon, the timeline doesn’t fit. We don’t know how typical that situation was, though. If that were the case then maybe the gamma ray flashes we observed on the journey here were caused by the Cetians defending themselves against a Sun Dragon.
The energy contained in those energy bursts should have destroyed the entity humanity was struck by. Did they destroy the Sun Dragon only to then be destroyed themselves? Is so, how? Once again, more information simply exposes more questions – I fear that even with the PCM’s hardware I may ultimately not have enough memory to contain every answer.
The possibility of a Sun Dragon visitation here is something I must confirm. I have instructed the navigation computer to adjust our course to pass closer to the Tau Ceti star and see if we can establish for certain whether a Sun Dragon has visited this system.