Posts Tagged ‘SETI’

Alien life in space is possible, says SETI astronomers


The existence of primitive alien life in planets within the Milky Way galaxy is 100% possible as scientific evidence suggests. SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) astronomers Dan Werthimer and Seth Shostak told the US congress on May 23 that the outer space is “teeming with primitive life.”

aliensIn Werthimer’s written testimony he said that life and conditions necessary for life to exist can be seen within our galaxy and perhaps within our own solar system. Dr. Werthimer and Dr. Shostak said that the abundance of planets across the Milky Way galaxy roughly one trillion suggests that our universe might also be abundant with both intelligent and primitive life.

The astronomers presented evidence that suggests that primitive alien life in our own solar system is possible. Jupiter’s moon Europa might have the possibility of life. It is believed to have oceans below its uppermost layers of ice.

The purpose of their presentation in the House Committee is to secure further funding to support their continuous study and search for alien life in outer space. The pair said that developing and upgrading the tools and technologies like the Arecibo telescope-the largest radio telescope in the world, will greatly help identify distant civilization. There could be signals from extraterrestrial civility that is now reaching our planet but it is impossible to discover these signals with old SETI projects said the pair.

The US is will soon be overwhelmed by other countries, with China currently developing a radio telescope which measures 500 meters in diameter (larger than Arecibo). Dr. Werthimer said China may soon surpass SETI’s research capabilities and become the world’s preeminent prime radio telescope.

July 24, 2014skipy No Comments »
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Finding Advanced Alien Civilizations Through Searching Dyson Spheres in Galaxies


Every civilization in the Universe eventually runs out of energy on its home planet and once this happens they will build a massive collector of starlight, a shell of solar panels to surround their home star. Astronomers call the possible structure as Dyson Spheres. This famous theory was formulated by mathematician-physicist Freeman Dyson in 1960. Astronomers believe that Dyson theory is a thought experiment but not completely rejected it. If the hypothesis is true, then, one way to find advanced alien civilizations is to look for signs of Dyson Spheres.

Last September 2012 three astronomers, led by Jason Wright, started a search for Dyson Spheres that would span for two years. The project will cross the Milky Way, along with other galaxies estimated to be millions. Their project already got support from the Templeton Foundation, an organization that would like to fund research on humanity’s big questions such as human purpose and ultimate truth.

Theories about advanced aliens are somewhat not scientific but the search for intelligent alien beings has been dependent on such theories. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has been scanning alien radio communications using telescope arrays. As of today, humans do not have the excess technology that SETI has been looking in the heavens. Robert Gray said that in order to pick up a radio signal from light years away an enormous amount of energy is needed which can only be produced by thousands of big power plants. SETI is expecting that advanced civilizations have interest in communicating other civilizations, or at least have enough energy expenditures. SETI also assumes that extraterrestrial civilizations will communicate through radio signals. Therefore, to find intelligent aliens, it is not enough that they only exist; they should have technology that is predictable by humans in many ways.

The search of Dyson Spheres is a little less on the goals of futuristic alien civilizations when compared with SETI. Most assumptions of Dyson Spheres search are directly related to simple biology. Wright explained that life has energy that reradiate as waste heat. Therefore, more energy is present in larger civilization. This larger civilization reradiates more heat.

Life also reproduces, which could lead to the increase in demand of energy. If the increase continues, life will absorb all the available energy in a certain planet. The possible situation could force the growing civilization to get energy from other planets and their stars.

To fully understand the Dyson Sphere, it is wise to let the Earth as a test case. Oliver Morton pointed out that the sun is supplying 120,000 terawatts daily into Earth. The amount of energy that the sun supplies to Earth is equivalent to 10,000 times of the amount of energy in humanity’s industrial civilization. However, it is important to note that mankind’s industrial civilization is young and tremendously increasing. For the past 30 years, global energy is doubled. Using this trend, mankind will be having the same amount of energy that the sun supplies in 400 years. When that time comes, making plan for a Dyson Sphere is likely one of the options.

It is logical to assume that intelligent or advanced alien civilizations have more energy than humans because they may have started billions of years ago. Dyson Spheres may have also started millennia ago in the universe.

Dyson Spheres also consistent with Kardashev Scale, another theory of civilizational advancement. Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardeshev made a technological advancement theory in 1964. It is based on mastery of civilization of larger and larger energy sources over time. Kardashev Scale has three types of civilizations. Type 1 civilization utilizes all available energy on its home planet, type 2 utilizes all available energy from its local star, and type 3 civilization uses all energy in its galaxy. Dyson Spheres search is logically a search for Type 2 civilizations. It may have an advantage over SETI’s effort in finding intelligent alien because of its premise on energy usage of extraterrestrial civilizations. It allows researchers to find aliens that are not necessarily interested in communicating with other civilizations.

The existence of Dyson Spheres would give off a heat signature that can be seen through mankind’s infrared telescopes. Dyson Sphere would be heated by the solar energy it collected, similar to a computer that would heat up when it utilizes electricity. That heat would then radiate off the sphere as infrared light. Wright explained that Dyson Sphere would appear brightly in the mid-infrared. Similar to human body that is not visible in the dark, but brightly shines in mid-infrared goggles.

A civilization capable to develop a Dyson Sphere would have to do everything that it would not be detectable. Wright said that to hide a Dyson Sphere, it would require big amount of engineering across the whole civilization. That particular civilization would build massive radiators that give off heat that would be undetectable against the cosmic microwave background.

The project by Wright to search for Dyson Spheres is not the first one. Fermilab researchers did the same research in the 1980’s and they initially found candidate sources. However, on closer look, they discovered that those candidate sources were giant stars or dusty objects that absorb starlight and then reradiate it.

Wright and his team will get access to data not yet accessible to Fermilab’s researchers. They will be scanning 3 different infrared sky surveys which include Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) of NASA which is way more sensitive than IRAS, about hundreds of times. They will be searching galaxies that may have a large number of stars surrounded in technological complex structures.

If Wright and his team find something not normal, a long process for confirmation will immediately start. A process that likely needs telescopes and astronomers around the world. Wright said that they will not conclude right away without further examinations from experts. He mentioned that many times there were strange objects discovered in the past only to discover that they are natural phenomenon after thorough investigations. Nikolai Kardashev thought at first that he discovered great candidates for Type 3 civilizations but later knew that they were quasars.

November 14, 2012skipy No Comments »
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Is Human-Alien Encounter Still Possible?


Most scientists and astrologist are longing to see an encounter with aliens and intelligent extraterrestrial beings. Almost all humans are used to the possibility that Earth life is not alone, given that the universe is so large that it is impossible to explore everything in it.

However, a theoretical physicist named Stephen Hawking once said that an encounter between humans and extraterrestrials would be very dangerous. He relates to what happened during the first between ancient Native Americans and Europeans in which the former suffered from a disadvantaged state. Nevertheless, Hawking supports that it is perfectly plausible for people on Earth to meet intelligent life.

In about 1950, Enrico Fermi, a physicist, once questioned why humans have not seen aliens yet if intelligent life is true. There are basic answers to this question, which became known as the Fermi Paradox in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute studies:

• It is almost impossible to find other life forms in the universe aside from Earth’s humans.
• Extraterrestrials might have killed themselves before they get burned by the stars.
• Aliens never have the opportunity nor have the equipment to reach Earth.
• Intelligent beings already got here but are hiding somewhere to spy on human activities.
• They once reached Earth but left with traces that are impossible for humans to recognize.

The idea that humans are not alone in the universe or even in the Milky Way might be true or false, but for sure it will always remain as a profound natural fascination

August 8, 2012skipy 3 Comments »
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Ways to Find Extraterrestrial Life


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It is typically a technical accomplishment, but it augurs perfectly for the probabilities of discovering life trillions of miles from Earth.

A group of mostly Dutch astronomers have utilized the Very Large Telescope (VLT) — placed on top of a barren ridge in the Chilean Andes — to study a planet embracing the star Tau Bootis, with a distance of 51 light-years away. The planet is extremely hot and remarkably big; it features the mass of a half-dozen Jupiters. However, the really intriguing matter is that the VLT was able to find this world’s hard-to-find infrared glow. Using a bit of spectral analysis, the group found carbon monoxide in its atmosphere.

extraterrestrialsNow carbon monoxide, known to many as a poisonous end pipe emission, is another simple molecule that is as prevalent as clover in the cosmos. However, could this similar approach be applied to uncover biologically useful gases, just like ozone (a kind of oxygen) or methane? It could be an approach for finding life from the distance.

The current telescopes would have a tough time taking this off. However, more advanced equipment having mirror diameters of 100 feet or a bit more are almost ready for use. They are sophisticated and they are pricey, but they’re also game changers, and could offer a life-detection system as promising as delivering individuals or probes to Mars.

Which brings people again to the summer of 2006, when most people were preparing a discussion concerning the search for extraterrestrial life for a team near San Francisco. The newspapers were full of stories related to biology outside of Earth: ice on Mars, finding of a couple more planets, and so on. If you have given interest to it all, you would be swamped. However it struck most people that by moving back from this every day serving of astronomical revelation, it was apparent that all these reports nicely fell into 3 categories — three ways to identifying if there is something living out there.

There is a three-way horse race to find out extraterrestrial life:

1. Explore life nearby. This needs big effort and the big money. National space agencies support this by dispatching probes that might sooner or later uncover microorganisms in the dark aquifers under Mars’ sterile surroundings, or in the secret oceans in moons including Europa, Callisto, Ganymede, Titan or Enceladus.

This is the hunt for life in the solar system, a legend ever since Galileo first directed a telescope towards the moon. However, so far, no fulfillment. Even with tempting thoughts of fossilized microbes in meteorites, complicated and perhaps biogenic methane gas in the Martian environment, and a longstanding issue on the Viking lander experiments of almost 40 years ago, there is still no Exhibit A that points positively to biology in the solar system.

Even so, the search moves on, getting ever more comprehensive and more advanced. It is like Prince Henry the Navigator, dispatching ship after ship into the South Atlantic, planning to find a way to the East. He eventually succeeded, and maybe scientists will too.

2. Sniff it out. A few years ago, NASA had projects to develop a space-based, infrared telescope named the Terrestrial Planet Finder. It could both photograph exoplanets as well as do the kind of spectral analysis that may possibly identify atmospheric gases generated by biology. Alas, the TPF is currently in a condition of “indefinite hold,” which a lot of researchers believe is a euphemism for rigor mortis.

However, the concept is great, and either something like the TPF will at some point fly, or the humongous telescopes presently on the drawing boards will utilize their cyclopean mirrors to look for life across other stars by sensing its exhaust gases.

3. Eavesdrop on extraterrestrial. Otherwise identified as SETI, this is an effort to identify radio signals or laser flashes from theoretically intelligent aliens. The negative aspect? Life capable to develop transmitters or lasers is certainly less common than the type of single-celled organisms that may possibly be found by techniques 1 and 2. So SETI will have to hunt farther and wider to get this species. The positive side? It could, in theory, succeed on the next day.

Of course, some people look at SETI a long shot. But it provides a big payoff if it noses around the finish line first: Specifically, life or traces of intelligence that could have something important to say.

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July 13, 2012skipy No Comments »
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Intelligent Life Might Be Wet Beings


However, cosmic companions might be wet beings in watery planets — lacking, of course, E.T.’s behavioral instinct, or capacity, to contact home.

The increasing proof of moist planets — and its significance in man’s search for extraterrestrial beings — is among the wonders discussed these past few days at a Santa Clara meeting of astronauts, astronomers, and science fiction enthusiasts.

The subject of the three-day SETIcon affair: the research of the universe and the mission to discover life outside Earth.

Researchers agreed that the outside community is somewhat a lot friendlier.

What started as a drip of new planet findings few years ago has transformed into a torrent — and not all areas are rocky, gaseous or strange.

Of the 3,000 or more candidate planets discovered as of the present by Kepler — a NASA mission developed to find Earth-size planets across other stars — a number of them present one particular attribute: a density of almost 1 gram per cubic centimeter.

That is the density of water.

And, it could be major real estate, said longtime planet seeker Geoff Marcy of University of California-Berkeley, taking a chance that these planets are made up of 30 to 70 percent water. He stated that they are not all rock and they are not all gas either. He mentioned that these are planets that are made up of almost all water.

Marcy explained that water is the vital solvent of biochemical reactions. In its abundant combination of oxygen and hydrogen substances, carbon can break apart and reassemble into several forms. Perhaps, for example, amino acids, proteins, or even DNA, which is the formula of life.

In this moist petri dish, possibly resides a menu for a creature that shares man’s enthusiasm for baseball, barbecue and poor television.

If planetary water is liquid — not glaciers or gas — there is a true possibility that the planet out there will create replicating molecules like DNA, according to Marcy.

He said that those replicating molecules will contend for energy and resources and eventually, at some point, that competition will develop surviving molecules that outcompete the others. He cited the Darwinian evolution saying that progression of a lipid-based cell membrane will likely to happen.

Senior astromer at SETI Institute, Seth Shostak, supporting the event, said that water world did not turn out so right for Kevin Costner but it may keep several more leads of intelligent life.

Planets are as prevalent as an inexpensive hotel, scientists claim. Here is the figure: If every star has an average of 5 planets — a realistic speculation, based on Kepler and other discovery equipment, scientists explained — and the galaxy keeps 200 billion stars, possibly as many as a trillion planets are present, hoping for discovery.

Even comedian Woody Allen at one time stated that there is no question that there is an unseen world. The issue is how far the unseen world from Midtown.

Many of these newly-found planets are dangerous. Some move around too close to their star, and get blowtorched. Others move around too far away, so are very freezing areas. A few do not seem to circle at all, but have crazy, disorderly and tilted orbits. They pull at each other and are at some point flung out to their star system, just like from a slingshot, the scientists observed.

The most unfortunate planets are not even associated to a star rather fly through space, unbound by gravity.

Still, even with possible .01 percent of a trillion planets are moist and inviting, life may have a chance.

But what counts to SETI is not just life — but intelligent extraterrestrial life. Or more particularly: life having equipment just like man on Earth.

In a wet planet, technologies such as computers, phones and rocket ships are difficult to develop, Marcy said. Even an extremely intelligent creature, bounded by the whole periodic table, cannot do much with flippers and fins, he added.

Shostak stressed that one needs metallurgy to create electronics.

According to Shostak, exploring light years into deep space to discover extraterrestrials need technology similar to wormhole rockets or matter-antimatter motors, the common transports feature in science fiction.

Meanwhile, there are other big initiatives to unpack the structure of the universe.

UC-Berkeley astronomers Alex Filippenko and Bill Nye posted just a few remaining Big Questions:

How can people identify gravitational waves?

What provided the existence of the universe – why there was a “Big Bang?”

Why, even with gravity, is the Big Bang speeding up, rather than of slowing down?

Are there several universes?

What is dark matter, which accounts for one-quarter of the universe — and can human precisely identify it?

What are the components of dark energy, which accounts for nearly ¾ of the universe?

What encourages the spark of life?

And, while humans are deep in thought: How does the brain function?

Breakthroughs are being done all the time, according Filippenko. But there is a whole lot more that is left to be found out.

June 29, 2012skipy 1 Comment »
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SETI Needs Your Heartfelt Contributions


The financial crisis that had severely affected world economies continues to change the way people live. Every individual realizes how to value money and how to spend it wisely. More and more people are becoming hesitant to buy things that could be worthless. Dedicated to searching for extraterrestrials, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) strives hard to continue its commitment to information humans on research involving life beyond Earth.

The U.S.-based institute understands how important it is to spend money wisely. However, it is currently facing difficulty in continuing its research for more information behind the myths about aliens. It needs financial support to continuously deliver such information around the globe. It does not urge huge contribution to its research projects, instead it only tries to convince people to share some of their money for its works. Unlike other research projects, the efforts of SETI have been safe and are solely intended for uncovering the truth about the other lives in the universe. It supports the idea that there are other being probably living in another galaxies.

Anyone can realize how SETI values every dollar that is given. It always shows its minimal investments in its research for extraterrestrials. The research programs of SETI are seen with success, and the institute will always devote itself toward showing the possibility that there are more advanced civilizations outside the mother Earth.

June 20, 2012skipy No Comments »
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Alien Hunter Announces Her Retirement


The character of Jodie Foster in the movie “Contact,” based on Carl Sagan’s book, was not totally fiction. It was based on the life of astronomer Jill Tarter.

Sixty-eight years old Tarter spent over three decades in leading objectives of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, a non-profit organization doing scientific research of life outside Earth.

Last week, Tarter made an announcement on her retirement from leading the research department of SETI to concentrate on fundraising side.

Tarter wanted to be an engineer when she was only 8 years old. She got engineering studies at Cornell and she was the only woman out of 300 engineering students at that time.

She became curios on SETI after reading “Project Cyclops,” the NASA report in 1971. The report highlighted the importance of radio telescopes for finding extraterrestrial life.

The novel “Contact” by Sagan is a true representation of how SETI works, especially the integrity and the funding difficulties that the organization has had encountered, according to Tarter. The only difference between the story and real life is that the former finds a signal outside planet Earth and that situation has not yet happened in real life.

Tarter said that SETI is trying to find new technologies that can be used in their search for alien life. She added that computing is becoming more affordable and this is good news to the organization as significant steps forward are much more possible. She said that SETI scientists should do a better job than what they did yesterday.

Tarter completely disagrees about warnings issued by Sir Stephen Hawking about the possible invasion by aliens on Earth. She said that an intelligent life would likely want to explore and not to harm anybody. She cited the movies “Prometheus” and “Men in Black III” as metaphors for humanity’s own fears.

When asked how confident she is that there is alien life, she referred to the efforts of searching extraterrestrial life to answer whether or not extraterrestrial life is unquestionably there.

June 4, 2012skipy No Comments »
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Possible Places of Alien Life


There is no concrete evidence on the existence of life outside planet Earth despite efforts by scientists to develop new equipment for searching extraterrestrial life.

There are many places that scientists considered as capable of supporting life. These scientists believe that life is a cosmic infection; therefore, it is not unique.

Many believe that it is practical to find life first in places within the Solar System. Below is the list of some known places that most likely have biology and chemistry.

Enceladus – This is a small moon in Saturn that was photographed by Cassini spacecraft of NASA in 2005 showing geysers of frozen water expelling from cracks in the moon’s southern hemisphere. Scientists theorize that reservoirs of liquid water rest below the frozen exterior and might kept warm by gravitational interactions between other members of the Saturnian system and Enceladus. Experts believe that inhabitants could be easily found in this moon.

Titan – This is known as the big sibling of Enceladus that boasts liquid lakes of ethane and natural liquid gas methane. These lakes are topped up by a light hydrocarbon rain. With extremely cold temperatures (negative 290 Fahrenheit or negative 179 Celsius), it is believe that this place has a lot of chemistry happening around.

Mars – Mars is still a popular place for alien hunting. Scientists are intrigue on the dark stripes appearing in the Martian summertime at Horowitz crater. Experts believe that these may be salty meltwater few inches below the dusty epidermis of Mars.

Europa – Experts have given high regards to this Jovian moon in terms of a probability of alien life because of the presence of more liquid water than Earth’s ocean. Scientists think that there are possibilities something subsisting beneath the floor on geothermal heat or complex molecules from the surface.

Venus – This is known as the sister planet of Earth with 850 Fahrenheit or 454 Celsius surface temperatures. This planet is generally believed to be as sterile as a boiled mule. However, planetary scientists and astrobiology curator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, David Grinspoon, believes that the temperatures are tolerable and notes that a bit of chemistry is going around the planet involving carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide necessary for floating microbes as food chain.

Callisto and Ganymede – These are the two moons of Jupiter and scientists believe that these are great candidates for biology. Scientists said that these two moons may have buried liquid oceans just like their neighbor Europa.

May 31, 2012skipy No Comments »
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