Where it starts
December 5, 2013
I visualize interstellar travel enabling us to view a relatively new planetary system that has a planet that will eventually be like Earth. We can therefore see where we came from. What I expect is that it will have a partially reduced atmosphere (Evidence shows Earth had more than 10% of its nitrogen as ammonia at 3.2 Gy BP) and what we will see is how life got underway. We need a system that is at least 0.5 Gy old, and less than 1 Gy. The closest possibility is around Epsilon Eridani.)
Another interesting sight would be an earlier system. There is very limited evidence from zircons to suggest that Earth and Mars had very early crust. From a personal point of view, I would love to find evidence that there was no magma ocean. Unfortunately I doubt any of this will be found in my lifetime.
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.