We still haven't found extraforgostnic life

I imagine you’re all pretty disappointed, professor?”
“Well, of course, Mister Wussman. We were sure this system would have life present, even intelligent life.”
“Why was that, Doctor Fielgud? Did you detect electromagnetic communications or something?”
“Of course not. Any electromagnetic communications would be completely drowned out by the radiation from the system’s star. ‘Listening’ for electromagnetic radiation is futile; no way would we ever hear another intelligence’s electromagnetic communication, and even if we did it would appear to be random noise.”
“Why would it appear to be random noise?”
“How would we decode it? We can’t even decode our own prehistoric writings from the arthrolothic age without some sort of clue. Were it not for the bugatti stone, we never would have been able to interpret the Argostnic’s writings.”
The reporter shifted in her chair a little, if it could indeed be called a chair. “But doctor, why is it that astronomers had such high hopes for finding life in this stellar system?”
“Well, Mister Wussman, you must realize that finding any kind of extraforgostnic life, even bacteria, would be forgost shattering? We haven’t found life anywhere but here on forgost. Not even single cells, not even the most primitive. But this was so promising.”
“Again, professor, why was this system so special?”
Professor Wussman’s uthropids wiggled in annoyance, and he was immediately embarrassed by his uncharacteristic show of emotion. The doctor was proud of his aloofness. “It has four planets, three of them in the ‘Goldilocks’ zone, and all of them have many sizeable satellites, most suitable for life as we know it. There is water and methane on many of them.”
“What about planetoids? Moon-sized objects without planets to orbit?”
“Life can’t form on a planetoid. You need tidal forces to stir the chemicals, or life simply can’t form.”
“I read your paper, sir, as much of it as I could understand, but isn’t one of the planetoids a double planetoid? Wouldn’t the tidal forces be great enough there?”
“Yes, the third orbit around the star has a double planetoid, and theoretically the tidal forces would be great enough for life to form. Unfortunately, they’re far too close to the star to support life; the gamma radiation is far too great. It would be like the entire planetoid being made of uranium and trapped in a gaint X-Ray machine. Plus, its atmosphere is very high in oxygen, most likely from stellar radiation breaking the water into hydrogen and oxygen. And oxygen is a deadly poison. Nothing could live there.”
“So this system is tapped out?”
“Yes, we’ve examined every single satellite of the three planets and come up empty. But we’re looking at other stellar systems with bodies large enough to be called ‘planets’ with inhabitable satellites, and we’re sure to find life.”
“So you’re convinced that forgost isn’t the only planetary satellite that has life?”
“I’m certain of it. As large as the galaxy is, it’s a mathematical certainty that we’ll find life somewhere. We just have to keep looking.”
“What do you think intelligent extraforgostnic life would be like, Doctor Fielgud?”
“It’s not likely they would be anything like us. Forget the science fiction shows that have many alien species having sex with each other and even reproducing, with all of them having four walking appendages, four grasping appendages, and four electromagnetic sensors.”
“The show Wiersman’s Planet has an intelligent bipedal species; original, but it doesn’t seem very realistic. Do you think any extraforgostnic aliens could be bipedal?”
“Not flarging likely! For all we know, intelligent alien life could be bipedal, but that would be incredibly unlikely—walking on only two appendages and still being able to think of anything but falling down would be pretty unbelievable.”
“Well, thank you for the interview, Doctor Fielgud, it was good of you to come today.”
“Thank you, Mister Wussman.”
Wussman turned to the electromagnetic recognizer. “And now a word from our sponsor...”


The Pirate
Watch your language, young man!

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