Archive for the ‘alien life’ category

Nov 5, 2020

Making the First Martians: Living on the Red Planet

Posted by in categories: alien life, habitats, sustainability

There are many options for living on Mars. 3D-printed ice habitats around the poles, building underground, etc. The technology is finally here.

This is part of the reason why the surface is so cold, ranging from −143 in the polar regions during winter and 35 °C (−226 to 95 °F) near the equator during midday in the summer. But because the air is so thin, a person standing on Mars (in the summer and at noon) would experience extreme cold anywhere above their ankles.

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Oct 31, 2020

Citizen astronomers reshape asteroids from their backyard

Posted by in category: alien life

There are nearly one million catalogued asteroids, but we don’t know much about many of them. Now Unistellar and its scientific partner, the SETI Institute, can count on a network of nearly 3,000 amateurs capable of observing thousands of asteroids and providing an estimate of their size and shape. With mobile stations located in Asia, North America and Europe, the Unistellar network, the largest network of citizen astronomers, participates in cutting-edge research and has delivered its first scientific results including the 3D shape model of an asteroid and the size of another one.

“The Unistellar eVscope is more than a telescope. It’s also a tool to access a network made of citizen astronomers throughout the world who can observe together and participate in scientific campaigns,” said Franck Marchis, senior planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute and Chief Scientific Officer at Unistellar. “Today more than 150 people have already contributed to our campaigns and collected valuable scientific data from their backyard.”

In addition to the SETI Institute, Marchis’ group collaborated with Josef Hanuš and Josef Ďurech of the Institute of Astronomy at Charles University to identify potential targets of interest in the asteroid population. “After having designed and validated our data analysis pipeline in 2020, we can now routinely propose campaigns to our citizen astronomers,” said Marchis.

Oct 30, 2020

Using game-theory to look for extraterrestrial intelligence

Posted by in category: alien life

Astronomer Eamonn Kerins with the University of Manchester has developed an approach to looking for intelligent extraterrestrial beings on other planets that involves using game theory. He has written a paper describing his ideas and has uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server.

The current approach to looking for on other planets is basically two-pronged. One approach involves scanning the skies looking for signals from space that could be created by intelligent beings. The other involves scanning the sky for evidence of exoplanets that appear to be habitable. Kerins suggests that a way to meld the two approaches into a logical systematic search for is to use some of the logic inherent in game theory.

Kerins starts by noting that it seems possible that the reason scientists on Earth have not discovered signals from beings on other planets is because they are not sending any, fearing that doing so might draw the attention of unfriendly adversaries. He further suggests that if others are out there, they might be listening just as intently as we are. This leads to the SETI paradox, in which everyone is listening but no one is sending. And it also leads to the question of how such a paradox could be resolved. He notes that suggests that both parties should agree that the party with more access to information should be the one that transmits first to the other.

Oct 30, 2020

Episode 22 — The Far Future Of Our Universe (Turtles All the Way Down)

Posted by in categories: alien life, particle physics

This is the episode for anyone who has wondered about the fundamental structure of the universe and its extremely distant future — a time which is so distant that for all practical purposes, it’s almost synonymous with eternity. Black Holes, Fundamental Physics, and the meaning behind the cosmological catchphrase — Turtles All the Way Down. Please listen.

What happens when all the stars in our cosmos’ galaxies burn out; with little or no hydrogen gas left to fuel star formation; and everything pretty much turns to toast? It will presage an age of black holes where extremely low temperatures and fundamental particle decay will alleviate life as we know it. This universal endgame in an almost infinite far future may actually be a Dark Age where little or nothing can happen. And if it does, only on the longest timescales. Yale University astrophysicist Gregory Laughlin and I discuss these and other issues in this cosmological “turtles all the way down” episode of the podcast.

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Oct 25, 2020

Microbes of the Universe — Could our Solar System be rife with Pathogens?

Posted by in categories: alien life, biological, environmental, ethics, existential risks, habitats, health, space travel

In a recent study of the upper atmosphere of Venus, finding the chemical fingerprint of phosphine has led to speculation that it may be tied to airborne life high in the clouds of our sister planet [1]. We harbour similar suspicion of microbial life on Mars [2], Saturn’s moon Enceledus [3], and Europa, the icy Galilean of the Jovian system [4]. The dwarf planet Ceres of the asteroid belt could be added to that list also, with recent evidence of oceanic water [5], while more exotic variations of life may exist on Titan, which is known to be teeming with organic materials [6]. Should we be more wary of our Solar System as an environment to explore, and the potential of pathogens we may encounter?

If one rewinds 500 years, to when exploration of new worlds involved sailing the oceans, the discovery of the Americas introduced viruses which decimated the native population at that time [7]. That in itself was far from a unique event in history, of course. There have been many occurrences throughout history where travel between distant lands has resulted in the introduction of devastating plagues to one population or the other — not least the Black Death, which arrived in Europe from commercial travel with Asia in the 1300s [8]. Meanwhile, 2020 has reminded us how a novel virus can prove virtually unstoppable from spreading worldwide in a matter of months and reaching pandemic level, once introduced to our now interconnected world [9].

Indeed when the first astronauts returned from the Moon in the 60s, they had to undergo weeks of quarantine as a precaution against introducing a lunar pathogen to Earth [10]. We now know the Moon to be a sterile world, but this should not give us a false sense of security when visiting and returning from other worlds, which are far more likely to harbour microbial life. It is quite plausible to consider that any microbes which have evolved to survive in the harsh environments on other worlds could multiply out of control if introduced to a more fertile environment on Earth. The likelihood of any such foreign microbes being capable of becoming infectious pathogens to our species is difficult to measure, but one could still cause problems regardless, by undermining Earth’s ecosystem in competing with native microbial life as a runaway invasive species.

Fortunately, due to the vast distances involved in inter-planetary travel, returning astronauts would likely show symptoms of infection from any dangerous pathogen long before reaching home, as such a journey would be expected to take many months, even with more advanced propulsion technology than we use in space travel today. That is not to say they could not inadvertently return with microbial life on board — or even on the exterior of craft: Earth’s tardigrades, for example, have proven quite durable in journeys into outer space [11].

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Oct 20, 2020

University Chancellor Predicts “Higher Forms of Life” on Europa

Posted by in category: alien life

Big Tentacle

Grady believes creatures could be living in glacial oceans underneath a hard shell of ice that’s up to 15 miles thick on Jupiter’s frigid moon.

Scientists have long suspected the existence of these deep subsurface oceans on Europa — and maybe even life. In fact, NASA announced in August that it’s completing the final designs for a Europa-bound spacecraft called Europa Clipper, which will look for signs of life.

Oct 15, 2020

If Aliens Contact Us, We Won’t Understand

Posted by in category: alien life

2016 gave us a fair number of false SETI detections. But lets imagine that this year it’s the year.

Maybe it’s first detected at a radio telescope in Russia, or perhaps an optical telescope in California. But in 2017, somewhere someone picks up a signal. Skeptical astronomers alert their colleagues, yet sure enough, they’re reading it out in telescopes around the world. It’s too specific or too weird to be a known natural phenomenon, and it repeats itself with suspiciously high fidelity over some interval. Cautiously, but excitedly, the news gets out. We’ve received a message from the stars.

It’s worth wondering: what would happen next?

Oct 15, 2020

Life on the Moon? Maybe long ago

Posted by in category: alien life

Today, the Moon is about as inhospitable to life as it gets. The little water that’s there is trapped in ice or rock. It’s otherwise dry and airless, fluctuating in temperature by hundreds of degrees anywhere the sun shines. But long ago? That’s an entirely different story.

New research published in Astrobiology suggests that the Moon may have been shockingly habitable in the past during at least two periods — shortly after the Moon formed, and when volcanic activity was at its highest.

The key to it all is heat and lots of energy. The Moon formed after a collision between Earth and a proto-planet astronomers call Theia. And just after the smash up, there was lots of water vapor — enough that the Moon could’ve had a fairly substantial atmosphere and pools of water on the ground. Volcanic activity was also high, which could have replenished the atmosphere with water vapor from deep in the interior.

Oct 11, 2020

LIFE BEYOND II: The Museum of Alien Life (4K)

Posted by in category: alien life

Wow, 😳 this video is excellent. Unleash your imagination and think about a Museum of Alien Life 👾👽

« What if there was a museum that contained every type of life form in the universe? This experience takes you on a tour through the possible forms alien life might take, from the eerily familiar to the utterly exotic, ranging from the inside of the Earth to the most hostile corners of the universe.

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Oct 8, 2020

SpaceX’s Starman cruising space in a Tesla makes a close approach to Mars

Posted by in categories: alien life, Elon Musk, sustainability, transportation

Yes, it is True! A Tesla car is cruising space! The founder of SpaceX Elon Musk wanted to launch a ‘silly’ payload for SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket debut flight because a rocket’s first flight has potential to fail. Typically, aerospace companies launch massive concrete blocks as mass simulators during risky rocket flights. As the dreamer that Musk is, he opted to launch something that would inspire the public to dream big and look at the stars — his flashy midnight cherry Tesla Roadster. The electric vehicle became the crazy payload for the rocket’s launch.

On February 6, 2018, SpaceX conducted Falcon Heavy’s debut flight; It lifted-off from historic launch Pad 39A at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The successful test turned Falcon Heavy into the most powerful rocket in operation, it produced about five million pounds of thrust (22MN). During the mission, SpaceX shared Live footage as the Tesla Roadster was placed into orbit. It was a very inspiring to watch an actual car orbiting around Earth with, a mannequin dressed as an astronaut, positioned in the Tesla driver’s seat; while the radio played “Life on Mars” by David Bowie (video below). After the awe-inspiring launch, Musk wholeheartedly said — “Life cannot just be about solving one sad problem after another. There need to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity. That is why we did it. We did for you.”

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