Tag Archives | Space

Are Aliens Communicating With Us Via The Stars?

TIME on the possibility that we are oblivious to extraterrestrial messages shining right down onto us:

Lucianne Walkowicz wants to conduct a search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), not by doing anything so conventional as listening for radio transmissions or watching for flashes of laser light. Instead, she wants to see if ET’s are somehow manipulating the light coming from their stars so that they wink at us.

“Our premise,” she says, “is that up until now, we’ve had a preconceived idea of what a SETI signal would look like.” It would basically be the sort of signal we know how to create, since searching for a signal from some entirely unknown technology would be difficult.

If aliens were so advanced that they could cause their star to appear to flicker, however, it wouldn’t matter how they did it, and it would be easy enough to see with existing technology. In fact, says Walkowicz, “our premise was, ‘what if we’ve already detected a signal but missed it because of our preconceptions.’”

So she and her co-investigators proposed to look through a potential trove of signals: the archives from the Kepler mission, which has been scanning space since 2009 for stars that are winking because of orbiting planets passing in front of them.

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SpaceX Founder Hopes To Send 80,000 People To Mars This Decade

A one-way ticket to Mars would cost a mere half million dollars, quite enticing if you’re wealthy but your daily existence on Earth is barren and meaningless. Space.com writes:

Elon Musk, the billionaire founder and CEO of the private spaceflight company SpaceX, wants to help establish a Mars colony of up to 80,000 people by ferrying explorers to the Red Planet for perhaps $500,000 a trip. Musk figures the colony program — which he wants to be a collaboration between government and private enterprise — would end up costing about $36 billion.

“At Mars, you can start a self-sustaining civilization and grow it into something really big,” Musk told an audience at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on Friday. In Musk’s vision, the ambitious Mars settlement program would start with a pioneering group of fewer than 10 people, who would journey to the Red Planet aboard a huge reusable rocket.

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Painter Creates Cosmic Paintings in Minutes

Artist Brandon McConnell creates some pretty stupendous outer space images with a few cans of spray paint, some pages ripped from a magazine, a blow torch and a handful of other tools you'd find at a local hardware store. The finished paintings are reminiscent of the covers of sci-fi paperbacks from the 1950. Nice stuff, and with a little bit of practice you could probably do the same.
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A Science In Search Of A Subject

"Water's Early Journey in a Solar System" (Artist Rendition)

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Ever wondered if we are not alone in the universe?

As this truly nerdgasmic crash-course by Robert A. Freitas Jr speculates, the scope for alien life could be positively astronomical.  Via xenology.info:

Xenology is the study of all aspects of life, intelligence, and civilization indigenous to environments other than Earth. Over the last three decades xenology has advanced rapidly on many fronts. Biochemists have studied the origin of life on this planet, knowing that if they can duplicate the major early steps of “abiogenesis” in the laboratory then the evolution of alien life is a very likely – maybe inevitable – event. NASA biologists have spent much time developing sophisticated life detection instruments such as the miniature biochemical automated test laboratories carried to Mars by Viking in 1976. There is growing interest in SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, in which radio scientists look for powerful transmissions or leakage radiation from advanced extraterrestrial supercivilizations.

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A Hotel On The Moon?

If there’s going to be a hotel on the Moon, does it have to be a Hilton? From BBC Future:

It is more than half a century since the idea of a Hilton hotel on the Moon was first mooted . Ever since, the plan has resurfaced periodically, making Matt Novak wonder if we are now any closer or whether there was ever a plan at all.

In 1958 the Boulevard Room at the swanky Conrad Hilton Hotel in downtown Chicago offered delicious steaks, a lavish stage show, and a curious peek at the future.

At the front of the grand hall was what was billed as the “largest hotel ice rink in the country”, on which troops of tutu-wearing girls danced for the crowds of diners. It was here, in the summer heat of August that black-tie wearing customers were given the first teaser of a legend that survives to this day: Hilton Hotels was going to the Moon.

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Humans Will Live On Mars In 2023

Guess how they'll get there? Via a reality television event that will fund the whole project. Seriously, that's what the promoters are claiming and the story has spread far and wide. From the official Mars One site:
Mars One’s mission objective Mars One plans to establish the first human settlement on Mars by April 2023. The first crew of four astronauts emigrate to their new planet from Earth, a journey that takes seven months. A new team will join the settlement every two years. By 2033 there will be over twenty people living, working and flourishing on Mars, their new home. The vision of Mars One A manned mission to Mars is one of the most exciting, inspiring and ambitious adventures that mankind can take on. We see this as a journey that belongs to us all, and it is for this reason that we will make every step one that we take together. This will also be our way to finance the mission: the mission to Mars will be the biggest media event ever! The entire world will be able to watch and help with decisions as the teams of settlers are selected, follow their extensive training and preparation...
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James Cameron & Google’s Eric Schmidt Plan To Mine Space

RCW 86Space: The final frontier. Hollywood and Silicon Valley superheroes Cameron and Schmidt plan to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before… Emma Rowley reports for the Telegraph:

Power players including Eric Schmidt, the Google chairman, and James Cameron, the film director, are planning to mine the final frontier: space.

They are among the backers of a new venture that will reach for the riches lying elsewhere in the solar system. Planetary Resources will be a “space exploration company to expand Earth’s resource base” according to scant information released ahead of the start-up’s launch in Seattle on Tuesday.

“The company will overlay two critical sectors – space exploration and natural resources – to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP,” was the bold claim. “This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources’.”

Mr Schmidt and the internet giant’s co-founder Larry Page are listed alongside Mr Cameron, the director of Titanic and Avatar, among the venture’s investors and advisers.

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U.S. National Reconnaissance Office Launches New Spy Satellite

National Reconnaissance Office“NROL” is the designation for a series of classified satellites operated by the United States National Reconnaissance Office. As Ryan Gallagher reports on Slate:

Last week, a new U.S. spy satellite was launched into orbit as part of a secretive military program enabling the surveillance of Earth from space.

A live webcast showing the Delta IV rocket blast into the sky from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday was blacked out just three minutes after liftoff due to the sensitive nature of the mission, dubbed “NROL-25.”

An official at the Vandenberg base told the Los Angeles Times that the NROL-25 was part of a “national security payload,” which could mean it is to be used for any number of purposes, possibly including domestic surveillance. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007 that U.S. intelligence agencies, in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, had approved the use of spy satellites for domestic purposes, such as for monitoring border security.

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Outer Space Is Closer Than You Think

1971japanspaceencyclopedia03 Sometimes strange and wondrous things are closer than we realize. For instance, did you know that space is only an hour's drive away, if you somehow drove your car straight upwards? Perhaps someday you will. Via kottke.org:
Space always seems so far away and much of it actually is. But space is actually quite close to where we are all sitting right now. The Kármán line, the commonly accepted boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and space, is only 62 miles above sea level. A distance of 62 miles can covered by a car on the interstate in less than an hour. Stable Earth orbits are achievable at only 100 miles above the Earth, with the ISS and Space Shuttles usually orbiting at a height of ~200 miles.
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