aliens

Harvard prof doesn’t back down from claims that alien spacecraft may be zipping past Jupiter orbit

A distinguished Harvard University professor is not backing down from his claims that a piece of extraterrestrial spacecraft technology may be flying past the orbit of Jupiter at this moment. Avi Loeb, one of the top astronomy professors in the world, boasting of decades of Ivy League professorships and hundreds of publicized works in respected astronomy publications, is remaining defiant that the space object – dubbed as “Oumuamua” – first noticed by Hawaiian astronomers in 2017 could be from another civilization. “Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that ‘Oumuamua is a lightsail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment,” Loeb and his colleague Shmuel Bialy wrote in Astrophysical Journal Letters in November, according to the Washington Post. Since making the shock claim last year, many scientists have criticized Loeb for offering, in their view, the most sensationalist theory of what the object is. “Oumuamua is not an alien spaceship, and the authors of the paper insult honest scientific inquiry to even suggest it,” Ohio State University astrophysicist Paul M. Sutter wrote in a tweet. Other scientists are more diplomatic and haven’t publicly countered Loeb’s claims, only saying that the object is likely just some sort of rock, whether it’s a piece of an asteroid or a comet. But Loeb remains stubborn on this theory, and dismisses the claims that it’s a rock, noting that it’s moving too fast for an inert rock. He told the Post that the object is long yet no more than one millimeter thick, and that it’s so light that sunlight is moving the object out of the solar system. “Many people expected once there would be this publicity, I would back down,” Loeb says. “If someone shows me evidence to the contrary, I will immediately back down.” “It changes your perception on reality, just knowing that we’re not alone,” he continued.

Things that make you go, “hmmmm”   For more, click on the text above.      🙂

NASA is heightening the search for alien life using ‘technosignatures’

If E.T. is out there, NASA thinks it has a new way to find him – tracking the time he spends on his iPhone. NASA is upping the search for whether we are alone in the universe, using new tools in an effort to find “technosignatures” that may emanate from advanced civilizations. The government space agency is hosting a workshop in Houston to utilize “technosignatures,” signs or signals it says could be evidence of a technologically advanced civilization. “Technosignatures are signs or signals, which if observed, would allow us to infer the existence of technological life elsewhere in the universe,” NASA said on its website. “The best known technosignature are radio signals, but there are many others that have not been explored fully.” Under the scope of looking for extraterrestrials, “technosignatures” have generally been limited to communication signals, but any kind of evidence, such as “radio or laser emissions, signs of massive structures or an atmosphere full of pollutants could imply intelligence,” NASA added. NASA has several tools that it uses to look for exoplanets, including its $337 million alien-planet hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, known as TESS. Earlier this month, NASA released the first images from TESS. Included in the first batch of pictures are the Large Magellanic Cloud and the bright star R Doradus, among several other planets and stars that could potentially be home to alien life. Fast radio bursts (FRBs) have recently been discovered emanating from deep space, though there is no explanation for what causes them. Most recently, unusual and “mysterious radio bursts” were detected 3 billion light years away from Earth, thanks to an artificial intelligence program at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). “Complex life may evolve into cognitive systems that can employ technology in ways that may be observable,” NASA wrote in its 2015 Astrobiology Strategy paper. “Nobody knows the probability, but we know that it is not zero.” However, it’s not clear whether we’ll ever find evidence of advanced civilizations, as put forth by the physicist Enrico Fermi with his Fermi paradox, which states “that if another intelligent life form was indeed out there, we would have met it by now.” On the other hand, astronomer Frank Drake created a formula in 1961 known as the Drake equation which theorizes that there are approximately 10,000 potentially intelligent civilizations in the galaxy, so the topic is up for much debate in the scientific community. For its part, NASA says it will keep looking for signs of alien life, even if they haven’t found anything yet. “Although we have yet to find signs of extraterrestrial life, NASA is amplifying exploring the solar system and beyond to help humanity answer whether we are alone in the universe,” NASA said on its website.

We’d be fools to ASSume that we are..  There are billions and billions and billions of solar systems throughout the universe.  To ASSume Earth is the only planet with intelligent life is preposterous.  It’s almost a mathematical impossibility.

Aliens might live within 33,000 light-years of Earth, but why haven’t we found them?

Where is everybody? That question was first posed by physicist Enrico Fermi in 1950 and has now become known as the Fermi Paradox, the contradiction between the lack of any evidence that Earth has been visited by intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations and the high probability that one or multiple civilizations exist, due to a number of factors. While some studies claim humans are alone in the universe, a new study suggests that we have barely dipped our toes in the proverbial water when it comes to looking for intelligent life in space. The new study, published in The Astronomical Journal, states that previous searches for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) are but a fraction of what is eventually possible. “[Jill] Tarter et al. and others have argued strongly to the contrary: bright and obvious radio beacons might be quite common in the sky, but we would not know it yet because our search completeness to date is so low, akin to having searched a drinking glass’ worth of seawater for evidence of fish in all of Earth’s oceans,” the study’s authors write, summarizing the paper. Jill Tarter is the former director of the Center for SETI Research and an American astronomer who describes herself as the “chief cheerleader for SETI.” The Fermi paradox includes several factors as to why humans have not yet found any evidence of extraterrestrial life: There are billions of stars in the galaxy similar to our Sun; many of these stars have Earth-like planets; and some of these civilizations may have developed interstellar travel, something that is being discussed now by experts, including theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku. The researchers have developed a mathematical model of what they are calling a “Cosmic Haystack,” a haystack that is nearly 33,000 light-years in diameter, with Earth at the center. “Although this model haystack has many qualitative differences from the Tarter et al. haystack, we conclude that the fraction of it searched to date is also very small: similar to the ratio of the volume of a large hot tub or small swimming pool to that of the Earth’s oceans,” the summary adds. As part of the mathematical model, the researchers added eight dimensions to look for aliens, including inputs such as signal transmission frequency, bandwidth, power, location, repetition, polarization and modulation. The formula reads as “6.4 × 10^116 m5Hz2 s/W,” according to MIT Technology Review. So far, humans have searched just 0.00000000000000058 percent of the “cosmic haystack,” a minuscule amount, leaving almost infinite potential that intelligent life still exists, even if it has yet to be found. “This is about a bathtub of water in all of Earth’s oceans,” the study’s co-author, Shubham Kanodia said in a NASA workshop last month, according to Insider. “Or about a five-centimeter-by-five-centimeter patch of land on all of Earth’s surface area.”

New radio telescope picks up mysterious signal from space

A new radio telescope in Canada is doing its job picking up mysterious signals from deep space known as “fast radio bursts” (FRBs). The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) in British Columbia detected the first-ever FRB at frequencies below 700 MHz on July 25, a signal named FRB 180725A. As you might guess, FRBs are milliseconds-long bursts of radio emissions that come from some unknown source across the universe. They’re one of the newer cosmic mysteries around, having been first detected only about a decade ago. Possible explanations include bursts from magnetars, exploding black holes, and yes, highly advanced alien civilizations. CHIME has been operating for less than a year and is designed to gather data on FRBs and other unanswered questions in astrophysics. The detection of FRB 180725A is very preliminary at this point. It was announced in an online “Astronomer’s Telegram” post intended to encourage other astronomers “to search for repeated bursts at all wavelengths.” The announcement also notes that additional FRBs have been found in the past week at frequencies as low as 400 MHz and early indications suggest they aren’t coming from known sources on Earth. So far only one FRB has been observed repeating and researchers say whatever is sending that signal across the universe is stupendously powerful. It’s early days for both the study of FRBs and this FRB in particular. CHIME and other observatories will be keeping an ear to the sky for more clues to help solve the mystery.

Things that make ya’ go, “hmmmm..”     🙂

Aliens are real, but humans will probably kill them all, new paper says

If you’ve ever looked up into the unfathomable night sky and wondered, “Are we alone?” then you are not alone. About 70 years ago, physicist Enrico Fermi looked up into the sky and asked a similar question: “Where is everybody?” There are hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone, Fermi reckoned, and many of them are billions of years older than our sun. Even if a small fraction of these stars have planets around them that proved habitable for life (scientists now think as many as 60 billion exoplanets could fit the bill), that would leave billions of possible worlds where advanced civilizations could have already bloomed, grown and — eventually — begun exploring the stars. So, why haven’t Earthlings heard a peep from these worlds? Where iseverybody? Today, this question is better known as the Fermi paradox. Researchers have floated many possible answers over the years, ranging from “The aliens are all hiding underwater,” to “They all died,” to “Actually, weare the aliens, and we rode a comet to Earth a few billion years ago.” Now, Alexander Berezin, a theoretical physicist at the National Research University of Electronic Technology in Russia, has proposed a new answer to Fermi’s paradox — but he doesn’t think you’re going to like it. Because, if Berezin’s hypothesis is correct, it could mean a future for humanity that’s “even worse than extinction.” “What if,” Berezin wrote in a new paper posted March 27 to the preprint journal arxiv.org,”the first life that reaches interstellar travel capability necessarily eradicates all competition to fuel its own expansion?” In other words, could humanity’s quest to discover intelligent life be directly responsible for obliterating that life outright? What if we are, unwittingly, the universe’s bad guys? In the paper, Berezin called this answer to Fermi’s paradox the “first in, last out” solution. Understanding it requires narrowing down the parameters of what makes “intelligent life” in the first place, Berezin wrote. For starters, it doesn’t really matter what alien life looks like; it could be a biological organism like humans, a superintelligent AI or even some sort of planet-size hive mind, he said. But it does matter how this life behaves, Berezin wrote. To be considered relevant to Fermi’s paradox, the extraterrestrial life we seek has to be able to grow, reproduce and somehow be detectable by humans. That means our theoretical aliens have to be capable of interstellar travel, or at least of transmitting messages through interstellar space. (This is assuming humans don’t reach the alien planet first.) Here’s the catch: For a civilization to reach a point where it could effectively communicate across solar systems, it’d have to be on a path of unrestricted growth and expansion, Berezin wrote. And to walk this path, you’d have to step on a lot of lesser life-forms. “I am not suggesting that a highly developed civilization would consciously wipe out other lifeforms,” Berezin wrote. “Most likely, they simply won’t notice, the same way a construction crew demolishes an anthill to build real estate because they lack incentive to protect it.” For example, a rogue AI’s unrestricted drive for growth could lead it to populate the entire galaxy with clones of itself, “turning every solar system into a supercomputer,” Berezin said. Looking for a motive in the AI’s hostile takeover is useless, Berezin said — “all that matters is that it can [do it].” The bad news for humans isn’t that we might have to face off against a power-crazed race of intelligent beings. The bad news is, we might be that race. “We are the first to arrive at the [interstellar] stage,” Berezin speculated, “and, most likely, will be the last to leave.” Stopping humans from accidentally obliterating all rival life-forms would require a total culture shift spurred by “forces far stronger than the free will of individuals,” Berezin wrote. Given our species’ impressive talent for expansion, however, such forces could be hard to muster. Then again, this is all just a theory. The paper has yet to be peer-reviewed by fellow scientists, and even Berezin is rooting against his own conclusions. “I certainly hope I am wrong,” Berezin wrote. “The only way to find out is to continue exploring the universe and searching for alien life.”

And to continue investing in both civilian (i.e. NASA) and military (i.e. U.S. Air Force Space Command, and the U.S. Army’s Space & Missile Defense Command or SMDC), so that we are prepared  for the day, God forbid, one of these theories turns out to be right.  Just sayin..  Thanks to Brandon Specktor over at livescience.com for that thought-provoking piece.  Things that make ya go, “hmmm”…      🙂

New report reveals even more freaky details about the UFO that shocked the US Navy

UFO sightings are a dime a dozen these days, and they have been for a while, but back in December the New York Times released the results of an investigation into the US military’s monitoring of UFO claims and came up with something totally wild. It was a video released by the Pentagon that shows US Navy pilots tracking the movements of a totally unexplainable aircraft. Now, a local news team from Las Vegas has obtained a military report that offers even more details on the sighting, and the story is somehow becoming even more bizarre than it already was. The report (PDF here) explains in great details how a US Navy aircraft carrier played a strange game of hide and seek with multiple Anomalous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs) that demonstrated flight characteristics that should be downright impossible to pull off. The sightings began on November 10, 2004, and lasted for several days. The objects would appear on the carrier’s radar systems for short periods, seeming to hover still, and then fly off at high speeds. Confused by exactly what was going on, the crew decided to investigate. When the object appeared again a few days later a pair of F/A-18Fs was directed to check out the strange signals. The result is the now famous video showing the “Tic-Tac” shaped UFO cruising along at incredibly high speeds and making rapid changes in altitude. In the new report, the object is described as “solid white, smooth, with no edges,” and being “uniformly colored with no nacelles, pylons, or wings.” The report says the object was estimated to be about 46 feet long. By comparison, the F/A-18 fighters that were trailing it measure around 56 feet in length, meaning that whatever it was that the Navy spotted could feasibly hold one or more human-sized individuals. The pilot said they never felt as though the object was a threat, but the report notes that the AAV seemed to react to the presence of the jets, “demonstrating an advanced acceleration, aerodynamic, and propulsion capability.” Throughout the several days of seeing the object come and go, the Navy says it may have demonstrated the ability to “cloak” and disappear to the human eye. Its rapid descent from 60,000 feet to just 50 feet before disappearing also made officials consider the possibility that it was capable of operating underwater, effortlessly moving from the air to the sea at will. It’s all pretty freaky.

Agreed..

Next year, scientists will send messages to search for aliens

For the last half-century or so, astronomers around the world have been scanning the cosmos with massive radio telescopes in hopes of finding some sign of intelligent life. This network of alien-hunters comprises the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), but despite all their efforts, the interstellar radio waves have remained quiet. One might even say too quiet. Depending on who you ask, first contact with an extraterrestrial civilization might happen any day now. Seth Shostak, director of the SETI Institute, has famously predicted that we’ll hear from ET within the next two decades. Others, such as the Cornell University astronomer Yervant Terzian are less optimistic — his probabilistic calculations place first contact in about 1,500 years, assuming there’s anyone left on Earth to receive the call. But many SETI astronomers aren’t content with only scanning the airwaves for signs of ET. Instead, they think we should also be actively reaching out to the cosmos on behalf of planet Earth. These astronomers occupy a controversial niche within the SETI community known as Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligences, or METI. At the forefront of this group is Douglas Vakoch, president of METI International, a research group dedicated to designing and sending messages intended for extraterrestrial recipients. Vakoch and his colleagues at METI International are fighting an uphill battle. Aside from all the technical problems that come with trying to contact aliens, many SETI astronomers think it’s a bad idea. The METI opposition group, which includes scientists like Stephen Hawking, argues that since we have no idea what ET might be like, sending a message into the cosmos comes with a huge existential risk. If the aliens happen to be friendly, no problem. But if they’re hostile, that means we’re essentially sending out a beacon that says “ATTACK HERE.” A lot of ink has been spilled over whether or not actively attempting to make contact with extraterrestrials is advisable. But despite the arguments to the contrary, Vakoch said he’s not worried. “One of the reasons people are so afraid of METI is that it seems riskier to do something than to do nothing,” Vakoch told me over email. “When we try to evaluate the risks and benefits of an unknown situation where we have little or no actual data, we fall back on the most vivid images that come to mind. But just because the first images of alien contact that come to mind are horrific, that doesn’t mean they’re realistic.” By 2018, METI International hopes to begin sending messages into space. This immediately presents a host of problems, such as: how do you design a message for a species that is totally unfamiliar with any language on Earth? Over the last 50 years, a number of solutions to this problem have been proposed, ranging from full-fledged mathematical languages to rudimentary chatbots, music, or pictograms. For the most part, SETI scientists are in agreement that the message will have to be strongly rooted in mathematics and physics, since these are likely to be the only two types of knowledge we have in common with the ET.

Perhaps…perhaps not.  Regardless, it’s definitely risky….