9-28-18 Why haven’t we heard from aliens? Because we’ve barely started looking
The search for alien life has found nothing so far. But the part of the galaxy we’ve searched is equivalent to just a bathtub of water in the world’s oceans. Where is everybody? With billions of stars in our galaxy, many of which are thought to harbour habitable planets, surely there should be signs of life. Yet after decades of searching, we’ve found nothing. The mystery of this great silence is known as Fermi’s paradox, after physicist Enrico Fermi. Some have used it to argue that the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) is doomed. But a new mathematical analysis of SETI activity by Jason Wright at Pennsylvania State University and his colleagues shows this is far from the case. The team claim that the basic assumption of Fermi’s paradox – that there’s nobody out there – is false. In fact, we’ve barely begun looking. Wright’s team analysed the many variables involved in SETI – what to look for, where to look, how often and for how long – and ended up with an eight-dimensional model. They then devised an equation that computes the fraction of the galaxy searched so far. “It lets you build the haystack, then calculate how much of it you’ve looked at,” says Wright. They claim that the volume of our galaxy searched so far is roughly equivalent to a bathtub of water in the world’s oceans. “You don’t have to do a calculation to say we’ve only just started,” says Duncan Forgan at the University of St Andrews, UK, who is a member of the UK SETI network. “But they’ve done a nice job of showing the huge scale of the problem mathematically.”
7-1-16 Impossible vanishing stars could be signs of advanced alien life
Impossible vanishing stars could be signs of advanced alien life
Finding extraterrestrial civilisations with technology far beyond our own could be as simple as catching stars or galaxies in a disappearing act. It’s a cosmic game of hide-and-seek. A team of astronomers say that the next search for advanced extraterrestrial civilisations should look for stars – or even galaxies – that have vanished without a trace, as anything so unexplainable could only be due to life far more intelligent than us. (Webmaster's comment: Blaming space aliens seems to be the simplest explanation for everything. But we've never gotten any real evidence of their existence. Scientists should keep this bullshit on the back burner until they come up with some evidence. All they do is create a lot of public suspicion of the real results that good scientists produce.)
4-20-16 To find ET, look at who’s (maybe) looking at us
To find ET, look at who’s (maybe) looking at us
Eighty-two known stars within 3,500 light-years of Earth could host advanced civilizations that can see Earth cross in front of the sun. Within 3,500 light-years of Earth, there are 82 known stars that might host curious extraterrestrials who could detect Earth’s shadow, the researchers report in the April Astrobiology. The stars, roughly similar to or a bit cooler than the sun, encircle the solar system in nearly the same plane as Earth’s orbit — a narrow band that’s home to the 12 zodiac constellations. And these are just the stars that astronomers know about. Heller and Pudritz calculate that there could be 300,000 stars hosting 30,000 rocky habitable worlds in this sliver of the galaxy. Since there’s a chance that the inhabitants of those worlds know about us, they might already be trying to get in touch, the researchers suggest. Even if we have no interest in an interstellar palaver, they say, we can’t hide from aliens that might see Earth silhouetted against the sun. (Webmaster's comment: Since sending messages back and forth will take hundreds and even thousands of years why bother. Sending a message for which we would not get a reply back until 200 years in the future makes little sense.)
4-20-16 Humans have pondered aliens since medieval times
Humans have pondered aliens since medieval times
Wonder about civilizations on other worlds goes back centuries. So far, real aliens from other worlds have refused to show their faces on the real-world Earth — or even telephone, text or tweet. As the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi so quotably inquired during a discussion about aliens more than six decades ago, “Where is everybody?” Scientific inquiry into the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence still often begins by pondering Fermi’s paradox: The universe is vast and old, so advanced civilizations should have matured enough by now to send emissaries to Earth. Yet none have. Fermi suspected that it wasn’t feasible or that aliens didn’t think visiting Earth was worth the trouble. Others concluded that they simply don’t exist. Recent investigations indicate that harsh environments may snuff out nascent life long before it evolves the intelligence necessary for sending messages or traveling through space. (Webmaster's comment: The Milky Way is 12 Billion years old and an advanced civilization with interstellar travel would populate the Milky Way in less than 4 Million years (simple population mathematics). Giving 4 Billion years for intelligent life to first develop which leaves 8 Billion years for civilizations to spread, that's 2,000 times the time needed. Where are they indeed?)
4-19-16 New telescopes will search for signs of life on distant planets
New telescopes will search for signs of life on distant planets
Atmosphere of a world in another solar system might reveal hints of alien biological activity. A suite of current and future telescopes (Spitzer, TESS, Hubble, James Webb and WFIRST-AFTA) could identify remote habitable worlds and peer into the newfound atmospheres for hints of alien biology. Our galaxy is teeming with planets. Over the last 25 years, astronomers have cataloged about 2,000 worlds in 1,300 systems scattered around our stellar neighborhood. While most of these exoplanets look nothing like Earth (and in some cases, like nothing that orbits our sun), the bonanza of alien worlds implies a tantalizing possibility: There is a lot of real estate out there suitable for life. On Earth, life alters the atmosphere. If plants and critters weren’t around to keep churning out oxygen and methane, those gases would quickly vanish. Water, carbon dioxide, methane, oxygen and ozone are examples of “biosignatures,” key markers of a planet crawling with life as we know it. Setting aside questions about how recognizable alien life might be, detecting biosignatures in the atmosphere of an exoplanet would give astronomers the first strong clue that we are not alone.
4-18-16 Will we know extraterrestrial life when we see it?
Will we know extraterrestrial life when we see it?
Recognizing life on other worlds requires wiggle room in the definition of what it means to be alive. A Martian microbe, envisioned by planetary geologist Kathie Thomas-Keprta, would need a tough outer wall to withstand the elements and magnetic crystals to help it navigate. But recognizing life on different worlds isn’t likely to be this simple, especially if the recipe for life elsewhere doesn’t use familiar ingredients. There may even be things alive on Earth that have been overlooked because they don’t fit standard definitions of life, some scientists suspect. Astrobiologists need some ground rules — with some built-in wiggle room — for when they can confidently declare, “It’s alive!”
4-15-16 A new strategy for hunting aliens
A new strategy for hunting aliens
For 50 years, astronomers looking for signs of alien life have zeroed in on Earth-like planets that orbit large sun-like stars. But now a team from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is taking a novel approach: focusing on red dwarfs, the dimmest and oldest stars in the galaxy. Over the next two years, SETI will turn a group of 42 radio antennae in California toward 20,000 of these relatively small, cold stars, listening for radio signals that could reveal the existence of life. Red dwarfs have been largely discounted by alien-hunters, who assumed that planets orbiting them would not have the right conditions to support life. Any planets in a red dwarf’s “habitable zone,” the region where temperatures are right to sustain water, would likely be so close to the star that they would be “tidally locked.” That means half the planet would constantly face the star, rendering it scorching hot, while the other half remained perpetually dark and frozen. But if a planet orbiting a red dwarf has oceans and an atmosphere, new research suggests, heat from the star could be more evenly distributed. Since red stars been around for billions of years longer than other stars, astronomers say that life on their planets is more likely to have had enough time to evolve into intelligent species. As SETI’s Seth Shostak tells The Washington Post, “this may be one case where being older may actually be better.”
4-12-16 Billionaire pledges $100m to send spaceship
Billionaire pledges $100m to send spaceship
Yuri Milner has backed a plan to research sending tiny, laser-powered spacecraft to the nearest star at 20 per cent of the speed of light. Today, billionaire Yuri Milner, along with physicist Stephen Hawking, announced the largest ever investment in interstellar travel: a $100 million fund to research and prototype a spacecraft capable of reaching the nearest star in just 20 years. Forget starships, though. These “wafersats” would be small enough to fit in your hand, weighing just a few grams. Milner and his scientific advisory team believe recent developments in lasers and nanotechnology should make it possible to send thousands of these probes to Alpha Centauri, where they could beam back pictures and scientific data on any planets in orbit. The plan involves launching spacecraft that are little more than a silicon wafer 10 centimetres across, comparable to the guts of a smartphone. These probes will use metre-wide lightsails of reflective material to capture the momentum from colliding photons and propel themselves along. Sails powered by sunlight are in the works, but these only produce a small amount of thrust. That’s why, back on Earth, a 100 gigawatt laser will shoot into the sky and dump enormous amounts of energy into this sail, accelerating the craft to 20 per cent of light speed – enough to coast the 4 light years to Alpha Centauri in 20 years. (Webmaster's comment: The super-rich have found another way to waste their fortune. Rather than helping people solve real problems like global warming and global ignorance, they go on ego trips costing 100 million. If it even works half the people now alive will be dead before we hear back from this space junk.)
4-12-16 Hawking backs interstellar travel project
Hawking backs interstellar travel project
Stephen Hawking is backing a project to send tiny spacecraft to another star system within a generation. They would travel trillions of miles; far further than any previous craft. A $100m (£70m) research programme to develop the computer chip-sized "starships" was launched by the billionaire Yuri Milner, supported by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The concept is to reduce the size of the spacecraft to about the size of a chip used in electronic devices. The idea is to launch a thousand of these mini-spacecraft into the Earth's orbit. Each would have a solar sail. This is like a sail on a boat - but it is pushed along by light rather than the wind. A giant laser on Earth would give each one a powerful push, sending them on their way to reaching 20% of the speed of light.
3-31-16 Lasers could hide Earth from aliens – or tell them we’re here
Lasers could hide Earth from aliens – or tell them we’re here
Shining lasers into space could hide us from unfriendly cosmic neighbours – or help us draw their attention. If the aliens are doing this too, we may have already spotted them. Shining a laser into space could cloak the Earth from prying alien eyes – or broadcast our presence. That’s the idea put forward in a new study by a pair of astronomers, who claim that if the aliens have had the same idea, we might already be able to find them. (Webmaster's comment: Unequivocally Paranoid Nuts!)
3-31-16 Lasers could 'cloak Earth from aliens'
Lasers could 'cloak Earth from aliens'
We should shine lasers into space if we want to hide our presence from aliens, two US-based astronomers suggest. The beams could compensate for the dip in light the Earth creates when it passes in front of the Sun, as viewed from far-off worlds, they contend. (Webmaster's comment: Unequivocally Paranoid Nuts!)
2-5-16 Why aliens aren’t saying hello
Why aliens aren’t saying hello
For decades, astronomers have searched in vain for signals from extraterrestrial life, and now planetary scientists in Australia suggest there’s a good reason why aliens are so hard to find: They didn’t last long enough to develop intelligence. Most theoretically inhabitable planets have unstable environments, the researchers say; like Mars and Venus, planets can have an early temperate period but then be transformed into frozen wastelands with thin atmospheres or blistering worlds with boiling oceans. The microbial life that arises on these worlds almost always becomes extinct. “The universe is probably filled with habitable planets, so many scientists think it should be teeming with aliens,” author Aditya Chopra, an astrobiologist at Australian National University, tells CBSNews.com. “But early life is fragile, so we believe it rarely evolves quickly enough to survive.” Since intelligent life appears to require billions of years of evolution on a planet with an unusually stable environment, he theorizes, it may be extremely rare—and perhaps even unique to Earth.
7-20-15 Prof Stephen Hawking backs venture to listen for aliens
Prof Stephen Hawking backs venture to listen for aliens
Prof Stephen Hawking has launched a new effort to answer the question of whether there is life elsewhere in space. Speaking at the launch, Prof Hawking said: "Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps, intelligent life may be watching these lights of ours, aware of what they mean. Or do our lights wander a lifeless cosmos - unseen beacons, announcing that here, on one rock, the Universe discovered its existence. Either way, there is no bigger question. It's time to commit to finding the answer - to search for life beyond Earth. We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know." Those behind the initiative claim it to be the biggest scientific search ever undertaken for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth. They plan to cover 10 times more of the sky than previous programmes and scan five times more of the radio spectrum, 100 times faster. (Webmaster comment: Our best telescopes couldn't even get a clear picture of Pluto yet it is only 1/20,000 of a light year away. It's just a blurry white and gray object about one inch in diameter. How would we expect intelligent life 100 light years away to see our lights of 100 years ago? We wouldn't be able to see the lights of 1915 New York City on Pluto with our best telescopes, even today.)
7-20-15 $100m project uses world’s best radio telescopes to find aliens
$100m project uses world’s best radio telescopes to find aliens
A Russian billionaire has teamed up with a host of famous names, including Stephen Hawking, to listen for aliens in the million nearest star systems. Breakthrough Listen will look for signals that could be alien-made, whether they are messages deliberately sent into space or the alien equivalent of leaked TV broadcasts. Breakthrough Listen will focus on the million nearest star systems, the core and plane of the Milky Way, and the hundred nearest galaxies. The search will be 100 to 1000 times more efficient than ever tried before. The funding buys the team time on two of the world’s largest radio telescopes. They will scan frequency ranges between 500 MHz and 15 GHz, roughly five times wider than previous searches. More computing power will also be thrown at analysing the data, which will allow the team to look for a signal across a wide range of frequencies simultaneously. The radio telescopes will also give greater sensitivity. If there are aircraft radars somewhere in the next few hundred stars we could pick that up. (Webmaster's comment: And suppose we find a signal from a star system 100 light years away. And we send them a signal and, assuming they are even listening, they send one back. Two hundred years from now we get an answer. What then? Our great-great-grandchildren invite them to visit or ask if we can visit them? 2,000 years from now they get here or we get there. We won't care. We will be long dead. And so will be at least 20 generations of human beings.)
7-31-15 Giant old galaxies, not Milky Ways, are best for life to thrive
Giant old galaxies, not Milky Ways, are best for life to thrive
Looking at how quickly stars form can nail down the galaxies that should be best for life – and our own doesn't come out on top. The cosmos may have good and bad neighborhoods. Life is most likely to evolve in giant elliptical galaxies whereas dwarf galaxies are thought to be the least hospitable – with the spiral Milky Way falling somewhere in between. The idea that the universe might have more and less hospitable regions is speculative, especially since we have yet to find any instances of alien life. But “habitable zones” – where water should be stable and Earth-like creatures have a fighting chance of surviving – have been proposed for alien solar systems and regions within galaxies. (Webmaster's comment: Alien Life "must be there somewhere" supporters are getting desperate. Having not found any evidence of intelligent life in our galaxy - the Milky Way - so far, they want to speculate about other galaxies. Other galaxies are many millions of light years away. Radio signal strength from those galaxies would have to be stronger than an exploding sun to reach us. We would be wasting our time and money looking for intelligent signals from them. It would take us 9 years just to talk back and forth to our closest star and we already know there is no intelligent life there. Trying to talk to someone millions of light years away is NUTS! What are we to do, blow up our sun to send a message? Get a life guys.)