Sunday In Space

One of my interests beyond foreign policy is our research into space and space travel. I try to give my readers an up to date look at our progress to get beyond our little blue marble.

This first bit is for my friend Pete of https://beetleypete.com/…..what would happen if aliens showed up in the UK?

If aliens were to be discovered, however, it’s not clear what we would like to happen next. A new survey in the UK carried out by researchers from the University of Oxford sought to find out what the British public would like to happen in the event E.T. did get in touch. In what came close to the cursed 48-52 percent split that has haunted British politics for the past three years, they found that just over half (53.6 percent) of people would want us to respond to communication from aliens. 

https://www.iflscience.com/space/if-aliens-got-in-contact-this-is-how-the-british-public-would-like-earth-to-respond/amp.html

Staying with the alien contact thingy…..

The study, published last month in The Astronomical Journal, posits that intelligent extraterrestrial life could be taking its time to explore the galaxy, harnessing star systems’ movement to make star-hopping easier.

The work is a new response to a question known as the Fermi Paradox, which asks why we haven’t detected signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

The paradox was first posed by physicist Enrico Fermi, who famously asked: “Where is everybody?”

Fermi was questioning the feasibility of travel between stars, but since then, his query has come to represent doubts about the very existence of extraterrestrials.

https://www.sciencealert.com/aliens-may-have-explored-the-galaxy-and-visited-earth-already-new-study-says

We have seen a thousand movies that have some sort of space travel as the subject….but is it really possible?

Interstellar space travel. Fantasy of every five-year-old kid within us. Staple of science fiction serials. Boldly going where nobody has gone before in a really fantastic way. As we grow ever more advanced with our rockets and space probes, the question arises: could we ever hope to colonize the stars? Or, barring that far-flung dream, can we at least send space probes to alien planets, letting them tell us what they see?

The truth is that interstellar travel and exploration is technically possible. There’s no law of physics that outright forbids it. But that doesn’t necessarily make it easy, and it certainly doesn’t mean we’ll achieve it in our lifetimes, let alone this century. Interstellar space travel is a real pain in the neck. 

https://www.space.com/is-interstellar-travel-possible.html

If we venture out among the stars then we will have to live in off planet outposts among the stars……how will we deal with that?

Fifty years ago, a Princeton physicist named Gerard O’Neill asked his students to help him come up with a plan for setting up settlements in space.

Just a few years later, O’Neill published the resulting vision for freestanding space colonies as a book titled “The High Frontier” — a book that helped inspire Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ vision of having millions of people living and working in space.

Now the keepers of the “High Frontier” flame at the California-based Space Studies Institute are revisiting O’Neill’s original vision, with an eye toward updating it for the 21st century.

“The fact is, a lot has changed in the last half-century,” Edward Wright, a senior researcher at the Space Studies Institute, said today at the start of a two-day conference presented by the institute at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

https://www.geekwire.com/2019/50-years-space-settlement-experts-update-vision-off-planet-outposts/

That sums up the news I have for now……

Now for the important stuff…..daylight and someone is ready for that venture out of the house…

Image

While we are out try some music from Prince……

Random Thoughts On Space

As usual I am going to post on space news for it gets so little coverage in the Age Of Trump when we go from one crisis to another.

For decades we have been on the hunt for our ET brethren out there…SETI….other tries to find our relatives (according to some)…..but instead of finding the perfect planet for life as we know it maybe we should look elsewhere as well…..

Assuming that alien life will be similar to what evolved here on Earth could severely limit the potential for big discoveries, researchers said. 

On Friday (Aug. 2) at the first annual TESS Science Conference here at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a panel of scientists  discussed what’s next in the search for signs of life on other worlds — and just how close we might be to finding such signs. (TESS is NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, which just marked one year of planet hunting in Earth orbit.) 

https://www.space.com/alien-life-hunt-not-limited-earth-like-life.html

After reading that….I saw that a “super Earth” has been found…..

What was once considered pure fantasy in movies like “Avatar,” is now looking a little more plausible. Earlier this week, NASA announced the discovery of a possible Earth-like planet, located just 31 light years away – a hop, skip and a jump in cosmic terms – that may be able to support life.

“I think it’s an amazing discovery,” Lisa Kaltenegger, from the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell, said. “We have a small mission called ‘Tess’ that’s scanning the whole sky, where the brightest and closest objects are, to find planets like ours and this is the first one.”

The planet named GJ 357 d, is six times larger than Earth. It orbits a dwarf star with two other previously unknown planets.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/planet-gj357-d-potentially-habitable-super-earth-discovered/

It appears that NASA is finally getting serious about a trip and colonization of Mars…..the biggest problem other than the trip there is the habitat that will be needed to house our colonists……

If humans hope to colonize Mars someday, we’ll need to figure how to survive and grow crops on a large scale in an inhospitable environment. A new study in Nature Astronomy suggests a potential part of the solution: Build greenhouses and other structures out of an extremely light insulating material called aerogel, per NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This material, made mostly of silica and similar to Styrofoam, is nicknamed “frozen smoke” for its appearance, notes CNET. In their study, researchers mimicked the environment on Mars to show that the aerogel structures would allow in light for photosynthesis but block harmful UV radiation, all while raising temperatures beneath them to levels that would melt frozen water beneath the surface.

That, crucially, would allow habitats to be built in wide swaths of otherwise inhabitable parts of the planet. “Mars is warmer around the equator, but most of the water ice is located at higher latitudes,” says co-author Laura Kerber of NASA. “Building with silica aerogel would allow us to artificially create warm environments where there is already water ice available.” The next step is to test the concept on a larger scale in areas such as the Atacama Desert in South America and the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, reports Wired. “This regional approach to making Mars habitable is much more achievable than global atmospheric modification,” says researcher Robin Wordsworth. “Unlike the previous ideas to make Mars habitable, this is something that can be developed and tested systematically with materials and technology we already have.”

But before we build habitats……Nukes the planet…..Mars that is…

This is a private businessman that wants to nuke Mars to make it ready for humans…..Elon Musk…..

Musk believes that by hitting Mars with nuclear weapons, the planet’s polar ice caps could melt and release vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which would essentially create a greenhouse effect that raises the temperature and air pressure of the planet — like a really quick version of climate change.

Musk has shared this opinion for years, dating back to interviews with the billionaire from 2015. He even went on Stephen Colbert’s late-night talk show to discuss his idea of bombing Mars

https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-wants-to-nuke-mars-plans-t-shirts-2019-8

He should check the Outer Space Treaty before he goes off half cocked (pun intended)…..

Finally I have been a critic of Trump’s proposal for a Space Force…..but apparently some in the EU do not want to be upstaged by Trump…..

Emmanuel Macron’s race into space makes Germans nervous.

The French government is poised to lay out details on Thursday of a plan to staff up a “space high command” in Toulouse, as it expands the remit of its air force to cover orbital defense and ward off potential threats to infrastructure in space from big powers including China, Russia and India.

https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-wary-emmanuel-macron-space-force/

Now you can see why I am concerned about these space force units….they will violate treaties signed in the 1960s….let me help…..https://2009-2017.state.gov/t/isn/5181.htm

Please read the treaty and tell me that we are NOT violating it….but in case there is any confusion…..

The treaty’s key arms control provisions are in Article IV. States-parties commit not to:

  • Place in orbit around the Earth or other celestial bodies any nuclear weapons or objects carrying WMD.
  • Install WMD on celestial bodies or station WMD in outer space in any other manner.
  • Establish military bases or installations, test “any type of weapons,” or conduct military exercises on the moon and other celestial bodies.

When I post on the space stuff I reference the Outer Space Treaty a lot…..so I feel I need to dedicate a post to this document so my readers can better understand where I come from….Date TBA…..

But if space is not your thing….12,000 lies, many many golf trips costing millions each and but Obama was ruining the country…..missiles in the Sea of Japan…..Afghans walk…..playing tanker bingo……255 mass shootings in 2019……the race is on.

My day is begins.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Kill Or Be Killed!

For decades we have been sending messages into space and hopefully watch for some reply…..so far little has returned.

First ever considered that those aliens out there may not want to talk to us or even acknowledge our existence?

But that aside….say we get a message in return saying “We are on our way”…..what then?

There have been many many movies that deal with this conundrum….one of my favorites was a Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man”…..

If and when they, ET, shows up will we have to fight? (As most SciFi movies would have us believe)

Or will we treat them as we treat most animals?

Scientists often kill animals — that’s just a grisly fact of biological research.

But it’s a bit more complicated in the theoretical future where we’ve made first contact with extraterrestrial life. At that point, science author Guy Harrison argues in a Psychology Today op-ed that biologists may have to come to terms with killing alien life in the name of scientific progress — which raises a difficult question: at what point does scientific inquiry outweigh the value of life?

Harrison suggests guidelines that future biologists may find helpful. For instance, any extraterrestrial life that shows signs of intelligence ought to be spared. In that case, we may be able to learn about the alien lifeform by using our words instead of our scalpels.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/kill-aliens-science

Could we be the lower form of life?

The larger questions of science……and now I leave them for “experts” to answer….if they can.

But the old professor will try……

When considering the prospect of alien life, humankind should prepare for the worst, according to a new study: Either we’re alone, or any aliens out there are acquisitive and resource-hungry, just like us.

These two unpalatable options are pretty much the only possibilities, according to the new study. That’s because evolution is predictable, and alien biospheres should thus produce intelligent creatures much like us, with technological prowess and an ever-increasing need for resources.

But the fact that we haven’t run across E.T. yet argues strongly for the latter possibility — that we are alone in the universe’s howling void, the study suggests.

https://www.space.com/10578-study-fear-aliens-dangerous-extraterrestrials.html

Can we possibly predict the temperament of our alien pals?

Possibly…..

Given the current state of our home planet, and indeed our species, it can seem a bit surplus to needs to speculate on whether extraterrestrials are going to one day come and eat us (or, well, you know, do anything equally unpleasant).

Nonetheless, the question of whether there’s anyone or anything ‘out there’ that might ever show up to cause trouble does seem to come around again, and again, and again. For example, it’s become a bit of a perennial topic for Stephen Hawking to mention, and he’s not alone among serious scientists in speculating on the outcome of any such encounter.

As with any effort to decode the likely thought processes or intents of entirely hypothetical lifeforms, the options are – shall we say – fairly loosely constrained. 

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/life-unbounded/how-to-predict-a-hostile-alien-invasion/

I still like the Twilight Zone episode the best…….maybe with some roasted asparagus and a nice Bordeaux.

Any thoughts on this or anything else…maybe the failing dam in the UK?

More later.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

More Alien Ammo!

The weekend and I would like to talk about something that has me concerned…..UFOs and the resurgent alien thingy…..

I am sure by now most everyone knows about the “Ancient Alien” theory that was started by von Daniken back in the 60s…..and now a whole new “interest” in the theory and they even have a “AlienCon”…….I want the “tin foil hat” concession.

The news has come out about the Pentagon and the AATIP…….a study that investigates ‘aerial” sightings…….

Every once in a while, a news item surfaces that prompts you to throw up your hands, sink back into your chair and begrudgingly welcome the impending apocalypse. The most recent item on this docket: A New York Times report confirming that between 2014 and 2015, Navy pilots reported “almost daily” sightings of unidentified flying objects lurking in the air, including one that resembled a “spinning top moving against the wind.”

Well, we had a good run, everyone! Time to pack it in.

According to the Times report, the sightings began in the summer of 2014, with Navy pilots reporting that they spotted the vessels nearly 30,000 feet in the sky while they were conducting training maneuvers between Virginia and Florida. Sometimes, they reported, the vessels reached seemingly hypersonic speeds. One of the Navy pilots even almost collided with one of the objects, which apparently (and justifiably) freaked him out so much that he issued an official incident report about it to the Navy. The sightings apparently grew so frequent that earlier this year, the Navy issued official guidelines for how to report “unexplained aerial phenomena.” To date, no official explanation exists for the sightings, though a Navy spokesperson did say that a few of them could have been unlicensed drones.

 
But please do not assume the Aliens are coming……

UFOs are very real, as we have recently seen — but that doesn’t mean E.T. has been violating our airspace.

“UFO” refers to any flying object an observer cannot readily identify. And pilots with the U.S. Navy saw fast-moving UFOs repeatedly off the East Coast throughout 2014 and 2015, in one case apparently nearly colliding with one of the mysterious objects, The New York Times reported earlier this week. 

Those incidents were reported to the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), whose existence the Times and Politico revealed in December 2017. (Interestingly, those 2017 stories cited Pentagon officials as saying that AATIP had been shut down in 2012.)

https://www.space.com/ufos-real-but-not-alien-spaceships.html

On the other side of this debate……UFOs are real…now time to consider aliens……

A decade ago, two scientists published a paper on “the authoritative taboo on taking UFOs seriously.” Essentially, Alexander Wendt and Raymond Duvall put the issue down to a failure to accept a scenario—say, that aliens are visiting us on the regular—that would injure our anthropocentric view. But as Tufts University international politics professor Daniel W. Drezner writes at the Washington Post, our view of UFOs is slowly changing. “Official organs of the state are now acknowledging that UFOs exist”—the US Navy issued new guidelines about sightings earlier this month—”even if they are not literally using the term. They are doing so because enough pilots are reporting UFOs and near-air collisions so as to warrant better record-keeping.”

Indeed, Navy pilots reported numerous UFOs off the US east coast in 2014 and 2015. Several pilots have now spoken out to the New York Times, describing objects hitting hypersonic speeds from sea level to 30,000 feet with “no jet engine, no exhaust plume,” then making instantaneous stops and turns. “No one in the Defense Department is saying that the objects were extraterrestrial, and experts emphasize that earthly explanations can generally be found for such incidents,” reports the Times. For Drezner, that’s an indication that authorities are still unwilling to seriously consider extraterrestrial activity, no matter how unlikely. They’ll need to do that to fully debunk Wendt and Duvall’s theory, Drezner writes. If they do, “what happens to our understanding of the universe?” (Read his full piece here.)

This just adds to the ancient alien craze……

I will allow the “experts” debate this one….I just wanted to let my readers know…..an FYI post……

But what about a new ‘religion’ as it were?

Last week, the New York Times published a viral article about reports of UFOs off the East Coast in 2014 and 2015. It included an interview with five Navy pilots who witnessed, and in some cases recorded, mysterious flying objects with “no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes” that appeared to “reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds.”

No one is quite sure what they saw, but the sightings are striking. And they’re part of a growing fascination with the possibility of intelligent alien life.

According to Diana Pasulka, a professor at the University of North Carolina and author of the new book American Cosmic, belief in UFOs and extraterrestrials is becoming a kind of religion — and it isn’t nearly as fringe as you might think.

https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/6/4/18632778/ufo-aliens-american-cosmic-diana-pasulka

This is all so 1950s…….

Have a day.

Space: No One Hears You Scream!

Another weekend and the beginning of another Summer.

This weekend I will touch on a subject that few people care anything about…..even though we are approaching the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing…most Americans could care less…..

Speaking of the Moon……VP Pence has stated that we will be back on the Moon by 2024 and this time to stay……but the plans have been leaked……

An extraordinary scoop from Ars Technica: senior space editor Eric Berger has obtained an internal NASA plan for the next 37 rocket launches to the Moon — and it includes sending human astronauts in 2024 and establishing a permanent lunar base in 2028.

In sum, the schedule for Artemis is ambitious, and the program’s goal isn’t just sending Americans back to the Moon, but moving toward a permanent presence there that could signal a new era in the exploration of the solar system.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/nasa-lunar-outpost

But the plans have been made and now the loss of the leader of Artemis…….

A NASA executive who was appointed just six weeks ago to lead the strategy for future missions to the Moon has resigned, The Hill reports.

Mark Sirangelo was hired in April as special assistant to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. It’s a sudden departure that looks especially odd considering the White House’s focus on getting Americans back to the Moon — but Congress’s refusal to grant extra funds is forcing NASA to re-evaluate the ambitious plans.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/nasa-executive-moon-mission-sirangelo-quit

Now let’s expand our vision beyond our proposed Moon Base…….how about our other objective….Mars?

The building blocks of life….water has been discovered on Mars……

Scientists think they’ve stumbled on a new cache of water ice on Mars — and not just any ice but a layered mix of ice and sand representing the last traces of long-lost polar ice caps.

That’s according to new research based on data gathered by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the Red Planet since 2006 and has just marked its 60,000th trip around Mars. On board the spacecraft is a radar instrument that can see about 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) below the planet’s surface — and in that data, scientists see lots and lots of ice.

“We didn’t expect to find this much water ice here,” lead author Stefano Nerozzi, a doctoral student in geology at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, said in a statement released by the American Geophysical Union, which published the new research. “That likely makes it the third largest water reservoir on Mars after the polar ice caps.”

https://www.space.com/ancient-water-icecaps-discovered-on-mars.html

Once we set up our “settlement” on Mars the mutations will begin……

Scientists have set their sights on getting humans to Mars — and maybe even terraforming the Red Planet. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s goal is to send humans to Mars by 2024, and NASA plans to launch astronauts there after the Moon.

But despite the resources being funneled into technology to transport us to the Red Planet, we don’t yet understand the evolutionary implications the move will have on the human body. In a new interview with Inverse, evolutionary biologist and Rice University professor Scott Solomon thinks it’s worth asking what will happen to Mars colonists in the long term — as mutations start to cascade through the gene pool.

https://futurism.com/mars-colonists-mutation-evolution

The Moon and Mars have taken up so much of the scientific research but what about our other “neighbor”….Venus?

Did life exist on Venus in the distant past?

While today Venus is a very inhospitable place with surface temperatures hot enough to melt lead, geological evidence, supported by computer model simulations, indicate it may have been much cooler billions of years ago and had an ocean, and so have been very similar to Earth.

It is not only the temperature and highly corrosive atmosphere of the present day Venus that makes it different from the Earth. Venus also rotates very slowly, taking 243 Earth days to complete a Venusian day. However, billions of years in the past it may have spun faster, which would have helped make the planet more habitable.

https://m.phys.org/news/2019-05-possibility-life-venus.html

From the distant past into the distant future…..when our Sun starts to die it will take the Earth with it….maybe not……

In about five billion years, the Sun will begin to die, rapidly expanding and incinerating the Earth in its death throes. That’s not for a while, but any humans left will need to plan well in advance if they want to escape cosmic obliteration.

Humanity’s best bet is migrating to another planet, according to an essay by Glasgow space engineer Matteo Ceriotti in The Conversation. But with enough planning, he argues, it could be possible to push Earth’s orbit around the Sun to a safe distance where the explosion won’t reach us.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/space-engineer-earth-orbit-escape-sun

A short trip around the world of space exploration…..space is our future……

Humans Have Reached The Pinnacle

It is Sunday and as usual I will try to be anything but a analyst for the next couple of days….. ut that does not mean that stupid is any less prevalent…..

Humans fell out of the trees then we walked up-right then weapons were made then fire was used we then set about creating civilizations and now we humans may have hit our zenith and started the downward spiral…..

I have made light of those Ancient Alien people for spread psuedo-science………one of the most outrageous claims, in my opinion, is that little grey dudes are breeding with us humans…

Now a Oxford professor has joined the land of the whack-a-doodles……

An Oxford University academic says aliens are breeding with humans to produce a hyrid species capable of saving the planet from major disasters like climate change and nuclear war.

Young-hae Chi, an instructor in Korean at Oxford’s Oriental Institute, said the primary aim of the aliens was to ensure their own survival, but in doing so could protect the human race.

He first made the claims in a lecture in 2012 when he cited an “abduction researcher” from the US who believes the hybrids are already walking among us, the Oxford Student newspaper reported.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/oxford-university-professor-says-aliens-are-already-breeding-with-humans-on-earth-a4128116.html

And more on his claim……

https://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/an-oxford-professor-has-the-wildest-claim-about-climate-change-weve-ever-heard/

Did I mention that he, the professor, thinks that aliens are invisible?

In an interview with The Oxford Student, Chi shared some of the highlights from the book — including his belief that, because these invisible extraterrestrials live among us, they have a stake in avoiding planetary destruction due to climate change.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/oxford-invisible-aliens-breeding-humans

Just what makes a professor at a prestigious university like Oxford drink the “ancient alien” kool-aid?

This will do nothing to tamp down the alien ancestor conspiracy…….did I mention he says these aliens are invisible?

Time to move on as MoMo tells me that there is something “doing” in the back 40……probably that damn squirrel that is irritating the crap out of her.  IT had better stay sharp or his days are numbered.

May The Fourth Be With You–2019

Saturday….MoMo has hunted down a mole, dug it up and is now playing with it….

Apparently it just pissed her off….now she is just pissed at me for spoiling her fun……

Onward……

Since today is May the Fourth I feel compelled to post on space and a galaxy far far away ………..it is only a matter of time until we discover life on another planet….


Extraterrestrial life, that familiar science-fiction trope, that kitschy fantasy, that CGI nightmare, has become a matter of serious discussion, a “risk factor”, a “scenario”.

How has ET gone from sci-fi fairytale to a serious scientific endeavour modelled by macroeconomists, funded by fiscal conservatives and discussed by theologians?

Because, following a string of remarkable discoveries over the past two decades, the idea of alien life is not as far-fetched as it used to seem.

Discovery now seems inevitable and possibly imminent.

https://theconversation.com/why-the-idea-of-alien-life-now-seems-inevitable-and-possibly-imminent-115643

This seems to be the consensus among planet scientists…..they are trying desperately to find that life and to justify the money spent in that pursuit.

Of course we could all just sit back and buy into the “Ancient Alien” BS….for me I prefer a more scientific approach than some silly leap of faith from a bunch of deluded and washed up pundits.

Then there is Mars……I read a piece about human life on Mars after colonization…..

A city on Mars could provide the first-ever truly blank slate to organize a new kind of economy.

While attempts to re-organize the means of production are as old as humankind itself, these experiments have always been limited to some extent by the economic systems that came before. People can only change so much so fast. Space exploration, and the establishment of new colonies, may be humanity’s first shot at creating an economy from the ground up. Its first settlers could opt for pure socialism — where all ownership was shared — just as easily as they could establish a city that enshrines property rights so much there are no other laws at all. The dusty red surface, in other words, will provide us with what could be the first history-free moment to start anew.

“To an economist, this is perhaps the most exciting thing about space settlement!” Matt Weinzierl, a professor at Harvard Business School who has written about the economics of space, tells Inverse. With Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk possibly on the verge of opening up space to society, a prospect that has venture capitalists excited, this developing area of research has started to grapple with how economics may shift as humans explore beyond Earth.

https://www.inverse.com/article/55060-a-mars-colony-could-be-humanity-s-best-shot-at-a-purely-designed-economy

That is an ambitious and glowing prospect for a Mars colony…….and then it may not happen as quickly as some have predicted…..

An independent report concluded that NASA has no chance of sending humans to Mars by 2033, with the earliest such a mission could be flown being the late 2030s.

The report, while completed prior to the March 26 speech where Vice President Mike Pence directed NASA to return humans to the moon by 2024, does offer insights into how much a lunar return might cost and how it fits into long-term plans to send humans to Mars.

NASA contracted with the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) to prepare the report, which Congress directed NASA to perform in the 2017 NASA authorization act. That bill called specifically for a technical and financial assessment of “a Mars human space flight mission to be launched in 2033.”

https://www.space.com/human-mars-mission-is-not-feasible.html

It is possible that a Mars colony will have to wait awhile longer.

There is my round-up from a galaxy far far away……

May the Fourth be with you!

By The Way….MoMo is now onto a new adventure.

Have a good day and see you later….chuq