Sunday, October 7, 2007

Zero Gravity Life - Part 2

One of the most interesting environments ever proposed is an open atmosphere with no gravity, such as appeared in Niven's The Integral Trees and the wonderful Airspheres of Ian M. Banks Culture universe. Having painted flying creatures for such a world in this work, I thought I would take another crack.

Here is a sketch of the external features of a small [50 to 100 cm] quadrilaterally symmetrical life form. A social creature, it travels in flocks across the vast web like tangles of forest that drift in the air currents. It hunts for small creatures that live within the tangled stems, dipping its long snout into the leaves to nip out morsels.

Quadrilateral symmetry gives 360 degree vision, vital in a world where predators can attack from any direction or orientation. Motion is achieved by undulating four equidistant fins in the manner of a trigger fish or cuttlefish, and with four control axis, they are quite nimble as they dip and dive for food. Four jaws and a mouth like a sea urchin support slicing teeth that grasp prey like a set of needle nose pliers and shred it to smaller pieces to swallow. The paired orifices behind the eyes are for respiration .

From this sketch I will develop some kind of basic skeleton for the muscles to be bound to, and the internal organs.

Criticisms welcome.