MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
I had a friend of mine call over the weekend and said to me that he should have listened when I said that the new movie Ad Astra was the most boring space movie I have ever seen. I posted a message on Facebook saying that when I attended that film, the guy next to me fell asleep and I could hear snoring coming from the seats above me.
The trailer was far more entertaining but all of the reviews for some reason made it sound epic. The cinematography was great and just like that we learn again how the Moon and other planetary scenery can easily be made with special effects and a few trips to the western salt flats in Utah.
Not that anyone would accuse NASA or any other space agency from fudging data or misleading the public about what is going on out in space.
NASA has announced ambitious trips to the Moon in 2024 and soon we may even hear about a trip to Mars.
But if scientists discover there was once life or there is life on the Red Planet, then what will NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green think about the news of life on Mars coming soon and the public isn’t prepared to hear it?
The agency’s Mars 2020 rover, set to launch next summer, will be the first to collect samples of Martian material to send back to Earth. But if scientists discover biosignatures of life in Mars’ crust, the findings could majorly rock astrobiology, said Green, the director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA.
The Mars 2020 rover, along with the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover, will drill into the Martian crust. The surface of the Red Planet is believed to be radioactive, so if there is life on Mars, it likely lives below ground.
But again here we are back to NASA dangling the cosmic carrot telling us they will find life soon even though it is obvious they already have found life there.
Over 40 years ago, a NASA mission may have accidentally destroyed what would have been the first discovery of organic molecules on Mars. I am of course talking about the Viking findings and how it was anathema for any scientist to report that the experiments that were taking place indicated proof of life on Mars.
The first official finding of organic molecules was in 2014, however, we have reported that as far back as 1976 NASA had kept a lid on any and all speculations about the finding of life and the Viking missions.
Gilbert Levin was the scientist who found that the Viking missions produced evidence of life On Mars. NASA immediately dismissed it. In 1996, a researcher that was actually supported by NASA said he had found fossil bacteria in a meteorite that had been blasted off the surface of Mars. The report, which was published in the journal, Science, was featured on the cover of Time magazine and was trumpeted by the White House.
Eventually, most scientists were saying “Nothing to see here” claiming that formations in the rock merely looked like alien fossils and weren’t the real deal. Dr. Richard B. Hoover, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center claimed that he had found conclusive evidence of alien life. There were diagrammed pictures distributed that purported to show fossils of bacteria found in an extremely rare class of meteorite called CI1 carbonaceous chondrites. The pictures looked like some form of alien pasta embedded in the rock of the rare meteorites.
Hoover discovered the fossils by breaking apart the CI1 meteorite, and analyzing the exposed rock with a scanning-electron microscope and a field emission electron scanning microscope, which allowed him to detect any fossil remains. What he found were fossils of micro-organisms, many of which he says are strikingly similar to those found on our own planet. After Hoover’s report in the Journal of Cosmology, NASA didn’t surprise anyone by issuing a statement saying that it will distance itself from Hoover and his work. Paul Hertz, chief scientist of NASA’s science mission directorate, issued a statement saying, among other things, that “NASA cannot stand behind or support a scientific claim unless it has been peer-reviewed or thoroughly examined by other qualified experts.
According to Hertz, NASA was unaware of the recent claims and the submission of the paper to the Journal of Cosmology or of the paper’s subsequent publication.
Back then, the skeptics again ribbed the believers of aliens telling them that even NASA doubts their own scientists.
Stigma against research into extraterrestrial life forms could be pushing some of the sharpest minds out of the field.
There is a body of thought in some scientific circles that the search for extraterrestrial intelligence or SETI research is being dismissed by stubborn scientists who believe that seeking out alien life is associated with conspiracy theories, especially after recent high-profile stories about the interstellar space rock, Oumuamua, thought by some to be a spacecraft or the newly-rewritten military guidelines for UFO sightings.
They are of the opinion that much of the rise in UFO and alien interests are based on nothing scientific and are simply a spike in interests that they believe are pseudoscience.
Part of the problem could be that universities and other organizations that fund research prefer research that accomplishes something whether or not it succeeds.
To change the perception that extraterrestrial research is pointless, NASA physicist Silvano Colombano suggests that it’s worth funding studies that could reveal things about the universe, like modeling space-time or analyzing how alien societies may develop the technology.
Science marches on – or in this case, it is running in place while others in the scientific community are no longer playing dumb when confronted with questions about space anomalies.
Quantum mechanics is the steppingstone between ourselves and the Universe, between what we want and making it actually happen in the natural.
Perhaps the most renowned of its mysteries is the fact that the outcome of a quantum experiment can change depending on whether or not we choose to measure some property of the particles involved.
When this “observer effect” was first noticed by the early pioneers of quantum theory, they were deeply troubled. It seemed to undermine the basic assumption behind all science: that there is an objective world out there, irrespective of us. If the way the world behaves depends on how or if we look at it, what can “reality” really mean?
It does not exactly determine “what is real”. But it might affect the chance that each of the possible actualities permitted by quantum mechanics is the one we do in fact observe, in a way that quantum theory itself cannot predict.
All things that we see in front of us can be interpreted by different people. The various extraterrestrial anomalies we see are in the eyes of the beholder – they can indicate that there is life out in space or it can be said that there is nothing and that we are alone, which can be for some a bit dubious and frightening.
Of course, it can be said that finding out we are not alone can be dubious and frightening.
This may be why when the evidence is observed it sends a message and a clue and whatever is left of it can be dismissed by science.
Until recently, scientists searching for signals from intelligent aliens have had to scan the heavens blindly. But now that’s starting to change, as scientists are targeting newly discovered planets like Saturn and Jupiter and they have also tracked many signals from beyond the solar system.
Such signals are likely to be narrow in frequency, as known astrophysical phenomena such as black holes and exploding stars tend to release radio waves across a wider range of frequencies.
These signals will also probably show a gradual drift in frequency over time, which would be expected because of the Doppler effect caused by the relative motion between the planet broadcasting a signal and us here on Earth.
They have acknowledged that they have had some “hits” but the recent signals have been researched and were analyzed by the Cassini space probe as it passed over Saturn last year.
The ones that are passing through are estimated to have traveled billions of light-years to get here – some of them were sent even before the Earth existed, which would indicate that perhaps many of these signals are being sent from dead civilizations meaning they are ghosts signals or perhaps they are coming from places that are a lot closer than we realize.
We know that the space between stars is vast, and light takes thousands of years to travel between them. In the time it takes an alien message to reach us, they may have been destroyed by a plague or a meteor impact. They could have destroyed themselves through war or environmental devastation. The message we receive could be the last cosmic breath of a dead civilization.
Basically, signals from long past affecting us in the present. This creates a causality conundrum and it can be left for the physicists to determine whether or not we are receiving cosmic messages in quantum bottles.
The problem of “who observes whom” is crucial. Although it seems a little far-fetched to say that reality only exists while observed, the stars are the reality we see in the night sky that may or may not be there at present.
A physicist who’s on the hunt for extraterrestrial life says there’s a chance that an ancient alien civilization has been spying on Earth for millions of years.
That’s not to say that he’s suggesting they walk among us, but physicist and independent SETI researcher James Benford suggests that aliens could have visited a rock orbiting the Sun in a path similar to that or Earth, according to Live Science.
This means that there is the realm of possibility that alien tech is sitting on one of those so-called co-orbitals, waiting to be uncovered.
Every so often, roughly twice every billion years, another star will venture within a light-year of Earth, per Live Science. Since Earth is a couple of billion years old, Benford argues in research published this month in The Astronomical Journal that it’s technically possible that an advanced civilization could have come close enough to launch an expedition to our solar system.
While there are often those who claim that intelligent life in space would have to arrive from millions of light-years away, some scientists are admitting that there are places relatively close by where these extraterrestrial entities can hide their space ships or perhaps many their artifacts.
There could be a co-orbital probe around the sun where aliens could keep a close watch on us from a distance—they can position their probe in such a way to keep us from seeing it as the rays are too bright for the naked eye.
Many people have over the years sent me photos of objects near the Sun that they propose are possible candidates for Planet X and yet it does not occur to them that what they have captured is quite possibly a probe that is hovering around the Sun.
There have been stories of black cubes and large circular objects that appear to be taking plasma from the sun. If these are truly probes then they are much bigger than the Earth.
Another place where extraterrestrial intelligence can hide their artifacts in the Jovian system is the area of space between Jupiter and Saturn.
The Jovian system is literally a solar system in miniature with 63 moons – four of these moons are nearly earth size.
Jupiter’s other moons are much smaller, and most are probably asteroids that were captured by the giant planet’s strong gravitational field. With so many natural satellites, the Jovian system nearly represents a miniature solar system. In fact, many astronomers believe that if Jupiter had been about 80 times more massive, it would have become the second star in orbit around the Sun. If this had happened, the large Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter would probably have been classified as planets.
With a system that big it is hard to tell what may be hiding in Jupiter’s shadow.
Scientists can only speculate that large asteroids or even comets could be caught in its shadow and could pose a hidden menace for Earth: With stark enough changes to their orbits, the space rocks could crash into Earth or its neighbors.
There is also that possibility that there could be hidden the dark void of space an armada of ships or probes that are being guided or piloted by extraterrestrial intelligence.
To date, the Jovian system has been visited by a total of eight spacecraft. Pioneer 10 was the first to explore this previously uncharted territory in 1973. It was followed by Pioneer 11 about a year later. These spacecraft provided us with our first close-up views of the planet and discovered its magnetic field and radiation belts. They gathered valuable information about some of the moons and paved the way for future missions.
However the system is immense and it is difficult to find hidden ships or even space rocks that could come in contact with earth or neighboring planets.
As the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter hides many asteroids and comets in its shadow. Some of these, such as its moons, are gravitationally bound to the planet. Others follow a similar orbit as Jupiter itself, circling the Sun.
Tucked in the shadow of Jupiter, many of these objects are difficult to see from Earth.
A handful of planets and comets have been identified as Jupiter co-orbitals over the last few years. The planet has also attracted a group of bodies called the Trojan asteroids, which orbit immediately in front of and behind Jupiter, and the orbits of which are unlikely to change.
The more we explore; who knows what we can discover, who knows we could accidentally find an alien armada waiting and watching for the right moment to arrive and finally show us that they exist. Granted, they may have had a long journey before hiding in the Jovian system but this could give them the cover they need to send various probes to earth and to other planets or perhaps the Moon.
Loeb States that if any signs of extraterrestrial life, biological or mechanical, ever smacked into the Moon, there’s a good chance that they’re still sitting there, waiting to be discovered. He says that future lunar missions could be crucial for the field of astrobiology. With a lunar research station, or at least regular missions, Loeb argues that we would have a real shot at detecting evidence of faraway alien civilizations and what they may have left behind on the lunar surface.
With no atmosphere or geological activity to destroy ancient artifacts, anything that crashed into the Moon would still be there, waiting to be found.
Loeb calls the moon fishing net for extraterrestrial artifacts.
The lack of a lunar atmosphere guarantees that these messengers would reach the lunar surface without burning up. In addition, the geological inactivity of the moon implies that the record deposited on its surface will be preserved and not mixed with the deep lunar interior. Serving as a natural mailbox, the lunar surface collected all impacting objects during the past few billions of years. Most of this “mail” comes from within the solar system.
But the solar system also intercepts objects from interstellar space, ranging from dust particles to free-floating planets and stars. A detection of the first interstellar object, Oumuamua, with a size on the order of 100 meters was reported in 2017. This year, Oumuamua’s cousin was tentatively discovered in the form of a meter-size meteor from outside the solar system that burned up in Earth’s atmosphere in 2014. And most recently, yet another interstellar visitor may have been identified.
In case some interstellar impactors carry the building blocks of extraterrestrial life, one could extract these biomarkers by analyzing lunar surface samples.
NASA recently announced the Artemis lunar exploration program, consolidating its plans to land humans on the moon by 2024 and establish a sustainable base there by 2028.
The opportunity to discover signs of extraterrestrial life provides a new scientific incentive for a sustainable base on the lunar surface. The Moon is well known for its romantic appeal, but astrobiology offers a twist on this notion.
Finding the building blocks for life on the Moon would be a great find since most of the rocks that were brought back from the moon were tainted by terrestrial contact.
Evolutionary biology suggests life has progressed from one reality, to two dimensions to three dimensions, and there’s no scientific reason to think that the evolution of life stops there. From planet to planet and from system to system, life has found a way and life that has died off leaves behind signs that can be detected with many of the innovations we have now.
Advanced civilizations would certainly have changed the algorithms so that instead of being trapped in the linear dimensions we find ourselves in, their consciousness moves through the multiverse and beyond.