There are billions of stars, millions of planets, but there is only one man, Terrance McDoogal. Welcome to LIU Atlas.
About this creation
LIU Atlas - Demitto
The Ludgonian Industrial Union's galaxy contains billions of stars and billions of planets. Unfortunately, most residents of the LIU could only name a handful of these worlds. In order to improve astronomy grades across the LIU, TV2 has started a new program called LIU Atlas. Follow our host, Terrance McDoogal, as he takes you on a tour across the LIU and some of its more obscure worlds.
Note: This episode is presented in full screen. The corresponding dialogue is underneath each photo.
Doog: “Welcome to another episode of LIU Atlas. I'm your host, Terrance "Doog" McDoogal. Today, we are here on the icy moon of Demitto. Demitto orbits close to its parent planet, the gas giant Demitten. The tidal flexing associated with this close orbit has heated Demitto's interior and created a planet wide subterranean sea. These pressures and heated water occasionally cause great geysers to erupt from Demitto's surface, as seen here."
Doog: "The exterior of Demitto is frozen solid, and it forms a nearly impenetrable shell over Demitto's ocean. This small base, known as the Breach Point, rests on the narrowest part of this shell. It is the only building on Demitto's surface. I'm headed inside to meet my guide."
Doog: "Today, I joined with xeno-biologist Hermes Henderson. How's it going Hermes?"
Hermes: "Things are great Doog."
Doog: "Where are we?"
Hermes: "Well Doog, we are here at the Breach point. It's our one and only access point to the subterranean sea."
Doog: "Ah, I see."
Hermes: "I can't help but to notice that you keep staring at my hook. It's OK, I'm used to it. Most people are curious how I got it. Let's just say I had an unfortunate laser accident."
Doog: "Huh? Oh no, it's not that. I was just trying to remember, is it the hook on the right hand that means you're gay or is it the left hand?
Hermes: "I think you're thinking of ears Doog. But no, I'm straight as an arrow."
Doog: "Whew, OK. I guess we can get back to the episode now."
Doog: "So how do you keep the opening from freezing back up?"
Hermes: "Well, one thing we do is keep the room temperature above freezing, this stops surface ice from forming. If you look over there, you'll see our heated pipe system that keeps the deeper parts of the opening from freezing."
Doog: "I see. So what's next?"
Hermes: "I think it's time to make our descent into the sea."
Doog: "I call shotgun. I'm not riding in the back seat of this submarine. I'm the host after all."
Hermes: "Oh no Doog. We're not taking the sub. If you really want to see Demitto, you have to see it in person."
Doog: "Well folks, I've suited up and we're just about ready to descend. I've talked Hermes into bringing the sub for my camera crew, but I've agreed to brave the waters in this rebreather suit."
Doog: "Wow Hermes. How is this possible? There's life down here!"
Hermes: "Yes Doog. Demitto's sea is full of life. It sports some of the most biodiversity we've ever seen."
Doog: "But how is it possible? I'm no expert, but doesn't life need sunlight?"
Hermes: "Haha. I'm afraid not. All of the species here utilize chemosynthesis instead of photosynthesis."
Hermes: "Chemosynthesis. They're chemotrophs. I see by your blank stare that means nothing to you. In laymen's terms, these creatures obtain energy by oxidizing various electron donors in their environment, such as ammonia, iron, sulfur, and hydrogen."
Doog: blink blink "Uh, yeah. Try it again like you're talking to a three year old."
Hermes: "Hmm. Let's see. The plants get energy, or food, by inhaling water. This water is loaded with minerals. The plants steal electrons, I mean energy from the minerals by using various enzymes."
Doog: "Try it again like I'm a one year old...better yet, let's just move on. What about these larger animals?"
Hermes: "The larger, more complex animals get their energy by eating the chemotrophic plants."
Doog: "They look dangerous..."
Hermes: "No, not at all. They don't eat organic materials like ourselves."
Doog: "But they do eat metal suits that are keeping us alive...right?"
Hermes: "Uh, yeah. I guess that's true. Let's get out of here."
Hermes: "The tidal forces that keep this sea warm also create huge rifts in the crust. To descend to these even deeper parts of the sea, we'll need to get aboard the LIU Deep Sea Exploration Sub."
Hermes: "These Subs have shields like a space fighter. Instead of stopping laser blasts, these shields help alleviate the extreme pressures and temperature drops in the deepest parts of Demitto."
Doog: "How did you get this thing down here? It's much bigger than the Breach Point."
Hermes: "Good question. It was lowered in pieces and assembled below the ice."
Hermes: "Let's get inside. We have a long journey."
Doog: "Even with a quick sub, the descent to the deepest part of Demitto takes us several hours. The little light that makes it through the ice never reaches these depths. It is dark and very cold."
Doog: "What's this?"
Hermes: "Over several years, we have constructed a huge science station to monitor the life in these depths. Once our sub gets into the airlock, we'll drain the water and enter the station."
Doog: "Wait did you say 'monitor life'? There's life down here?"
Hermes: "Well of course. Life always finds a way."
Hermes: "Welcome to Observation Deck #1. As you can see, there is indeed life at these depths."
Doog: "What are they?"
Hermes: "They're Demitton Drone Crabs. They live near hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. The vents provide heat, and, more importantly, food. These crabs collect and store minerals from the vents."
Doog: "Store? They don't eat it?"
Hermes: "Oh no. They don't eat. They are drones Doog. They collect food for their master."
Hermes: "Let's head to Observation Deck #2, and I'll show you."
Doog: "Holy...Kaadu. What is that?"
Hermes: "That, my friend, is the master. We call it, the Demitton Worm."
Doog: "So it's like the queen?"
Hermes: "It could be labeled as such, but the worm has no sex. It creates the drones through budding."
Hermes: "When its children collect enough minerals, they make the ultimate sacrifice. They give themselves up as food."
Doog: "You mean the Worm eats its own young?"
Hermes: "Precisely. The Worm eats its drone, recovering the materials used to create it. It also absorbs the minerals acquired by the drone for a net energy gain."
Doog: "You should have called it the Demitton Baby Eater Worm. Seriously, this thing kind of freaks me out."
Hermes: "People often fear unfamiliar things, but this worm is truly amazing. We've found that these worms have a lifespan of millions of years. As strange as their method seems, it's working. Plus, this worm has an even more amazing, and more profitable, characteristic."
Doog: "Finally, I was wondering what paid for all of this."
Hermes: "Come on Doog! We have to venture deeper into the facility to see our industry. Try to keep up!"
Doog: "You'd think with all this amazing technology you'd be able to install some freakin elevators. Wait for me!"
Doog: "Is this what I think it is?"
Hermes: "To be honest, no one really knows what you're thinking Doog. But, yes, this is the rear of the Demitton Worm. We excavated the earth around it and sealed it into the facility."
Hermes: "Originally, we just wanted a safe way to study the worm's biology, but we found something even more amazing, the worm's waste product."
Doog: "Worm poo?"
Hermes: "Yes Doog. The worm, like other chemotrophs, consume large amounts of minerals. The materials that are not used are bound together into a crystalline structure and removed from the body."
Doog: blink blink
Hermes: "The worm poops crystals."
Doog: "Ahh. I see. Gross."
Hermes: "Not at all! They're just crystals. Beautiful, perfect crystals. We've never seen anything like it in nature. The crystalline structure is more advanced than anything we could make in the lab. Even if we could recreate it, it would cost millions of credits. We have a free, renewable source right here."
Doog: "What are they used for?"
Hermes: "They're not much use in their current state. We use powerful laser cutters to shape them into more useful forms. As a side note, be sure not to put your hand under the laser. I learned the hard way."
Hermes: "The machine shapes the crystals into perfect gems. The gems are used as crystal oscillators. They resonate at a very, very precise frequency. Oh, I forgot who I was talking to. The pretty stones vibrate real accurately. They are used to keep time in electrical devices."
Doog: Blink blink
Hermes: "Sorry, I don't know how to break it down any easier than that."
Doog: "What? Oh no, I was just dozing off. Honestly, I stopped paying attention after the whole stairs thing."
Doog: "Well folks, Demitto is a beautiful, diverse place. See ya next time!"
Note: Forget Quartz watches, buy a LIU Demitto Crystal Watch.
This will be a great model for our HS Astrobiology summer research students to present their findings (both online and their actual research). Should also make preparing their lab reports/powerpoints more enticing ;=))
There are some very creative use of parts in this, as usual. I'm guessing the thermal vents idea is from real life (in case you-by some random happening of chance-haven't heard of the real thermal vents)? Anyway, another amazing episode! I really liked the big sub and then the shot of the mini - great visual story telling (what else is new?!).
Another awesome episode of Atlas! Nice Dr. Malcolm reference in there too. You're constantly cranking out strange new planets I wonder when the LIU will run out of ideas? (hopefully never). Can't wait to see where you take us next! Actually... can't remember... have you done a "desert" planet yet? Gonna have to go through the Atlas and see... Great work man! ~ Chris.
Quoting Stephen Abbott
My only question is, if the Demitto sea lacks the presence of life, how could Doog and the audience see anything?
I think you mean the presence of light instead of life. I actually take that into account and gave all the subs a ton of bright lights. All the lighting seen is meant to be artificial, but you are correct in pointing out I forgot to add lights in some scenes.
Thanks alot for all the reviews.
Top-notch work, as always. Love the creative genius of coming up with unique ecosystems and life environments. My only question is, if the Demitto sea lacks the presence of life, how could Doog and the audience see anything? Eh, oh well, that's just my annoying unnecessary critiques coming in. No, no . . . I love it all :D I'm gonna get my grandma a new watch for her birthday . . . but what should I tell her when she asks what its components are made of? Hmmmm...
I like how you've taken marine biology from earth and twisted it into your own form of unique other-worldliness. I really like all of the color in this one, it just seemed to fit in just right. Great work (as usual)!