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  1. #1071
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Scientists gather to contemplate The Great Silence
    Paul Scott Anderson in HUMAN WORLD | SPACE | March 24, 2019

    Are we alone? If advanced alien civilizations are out there, why haven’t we heard from them? Scientists call this Fermi’s Paradox – aka The Great Silence – and they gathered in Paris last week to discuss it.


    Where are they? The Italian physicist Enrico Fermi famously posed that question in 1950, and the question is now known as the Fermi Paradox or The Great Silence. Fermi asked – if other civilizations exist on other planets in our Milky Way galaxy, and if some have spread through the galaxy as both science fiction and scientists have conjectured – why haven’t we heard from them?

    To try to help answer these questions, the METI group held another one-day workshop in Paris last week (March 18, 2019). METI stands for Messaging Extraterrestial Intelligence. The workshop brought together researchers from diverse scientific fields including astrophysics, biology, sociology, psychology and history. The workshop took place at the Paris science museum Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie.

    According to Florence Raulin Cerceau, co-chair of the workshop and a member of METI’s Board of Directors:

    Every two years, METI International organizes a one-day workshop in Paris as part of a series of workshops entitled ‘What is Life? An Extraterrestrial Perspective.’ This year, METI collaborated with the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie – a huge science museum in Paris – and the Centre Alexandre-Koyré – a research center for historical studies of science and technology – to gather renowned scientists, philosophers, and sociologists to debate the Fermi Paradox.

    This puzzle of why we haven’t detected extraterrestrial life has been discussed often, but in this workshop’s unique focus, many of the talks tackled a controversial explanation first suggested in the 1970s called the Zoo Hypothesis.

    Another question is, if extraterrestrials know our civilization is here on Earth, then why have they been so quiet? This part of the conundrum is what’s known as The Great Silence. As Douglas Vakoch, president of METI, surmised:

    Perhaps extraterrestrials are watching humans on Earth, much as we watch animals in a zoo. How can we get the galactic zookeepers to reveal themselves? If we went to a zoo and suddenly a zebra turned toward us, looked us in the eye, and started pounding out a series of prime numbers with its hoof, that would establish a radically different relationship between us and the zebra, and we would feel compelled to respond. We can do the same with extraterrestrials by transmitting powerful, intentional, information-rich radio signals to nearby stars.

    However, an actual physical meeting with a highly advanced civilization might be dangerous, as noted by Danielle Briot, an astrophysicist at the Observatoire de Paris:

    Past experience shows that any meeting of two civilizations is dangerous for both. Knowing that, civilized extraterrestrials will not try to communicate with us.

    Could we really be part of a galactic zoo? Being observed but from a distance? Or, going one step further, could we be quarantined from the rest of the galaxy? That idea was voiced by Jean-Pierre Rospars, the honorary research director at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) and co-chair of the workshop:

    It seems likely that extraterrestrials are imposing a ‘galactic quarantine’ because they realize it would be culturally disruptive for us to learn about them. Cognitive evolution on Earth shows random features while also following predictable paths. By considering the regular and random components together, we can expect the repeated, independent emergence of intelligent species in the universe, and we should expect to see more or less similar forms of intelligence everywhere, under favorable conditions. There’s no reason to think that humans have reached the highest cognitive level possible. Higher levels might evolve on Earth in the future and already be reached elsewhere.

    All of this is conjecture at this point, and depends on just how many civilizations are really out there, which is still unknown. The Drake Equation has been used to try to estimate that number, but there are still unknown variables to be accounted for. How many exoplanets can support life? How many actually do? How often does intelligent life evolve? How many civilizations are more advanced than us?

    The Drake Equation is as follows:

    N = R* x fp x ne x fl x fi x x L

    N = The number of civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy whose electromagnetic emissions are detectable.

    R = The rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life.

    fp = The fraction of those stars with planetary systems.

    ne = The number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life.

    fl = The fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears.

    fi = The fraction of life bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges.

    fc = The fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space.

    L = The length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.

    Searches like SETI have focused mainly on looking for radio or light signals. Civilizations similar to ours in development might use those technologies, but what about a civilization thousands or millions of years ahead of us? It seems likely their technology would be much more evolved was well. We would probably have very little in common with them, but perhaps also with less advanced civilizations, as noted by Roland Lehoucq, an astrophysicist at the Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique (CEA):

    The environment on an exoplanet will impose its own rules. There is no trend in biological evolution: the huge range of various morphologies observed on Earth renders any exobiological speculation improbable, at least for macroscopic ‘complex’ life.


    "Bat-man” depicted in Great Moon Hoax of 1835. Many people thought they existed

    Nicolas Prantzos, director of research of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), explained that:

    It appears that although radio communications provide a natural means for SETI for civilizations younger than a few millennia, older civilizations should rather develop extensive programs of interstellar colonization, because this is the only way to achieve undisputable evidence – either for or against the existence of ETI (extraterrestrial intelligence) – within their lifetime.

    For some people, these questions may sound like something out of science fiction, but Cyril Birnbaum and Brigitte David of the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, insist that they are valid:

    We are very interested in the scientific approach used in the analysis of the Fermi Paradox and the search for intelligent life in the universe. The question ‘Are we alone?’ affects us all, because it is directly related to humanity and our place in the cosmos. This is an essential question that will introduce the public to the scientific process in a show being designed at the planetarium.

    Aliens have long been a staple of science fiction, as also discussed by Lehoucq and Steyer. As one example shown, the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 depicted “bat-men” in a series of satirical newspaper articles. Many readers, however, thought this was a factual account, when it wasn’t.

    Some people will argue that aliens have already found us, i.e. the UFO phenomenon. That is a subject of intense debate all by itself, but it’s an idea worth considering, since informed conjecture related to The Great Silence and the Fermi Paradox suggests that any civilizations advanced enough to colonize the galaxy should know about us by now. While the great majority of sightings can be explained as misidentifications and hoaxes, there are some cases that have not been – such as some well-documented military reports like Nimitz in 2004 (and a related previously secret Pentagon UFO study program) – as reported by The New York Times on December 16, 2017. While there is as yet no proof that aliens are involved in any of these incidents, they are certainly of interest and should be investigated, whatever the explanation turns out to be.

    In terms of The Great Silence, there are no easy answers, at least not yet. But bringing a multi-disciplinary approach – as with the METI workshop – is an interesting way to tackle the question, and one that might lead to something even more interesting. That’s because finding extraterrestrial intelligence – or not – will require input from a wide range of scientific fields.

    Bottom line: The Great Silence – and the search for alien intelligence in general – is one of the most significant mysteries facing humanity. On March 18, 2019, a group called METI – which stands for Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence – held a one-day workshop in Paris to discuss it.
    Last edited by ilan; 03-24-2019 at 12:46 PM.
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  2. #1072
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    What’s going on with Jupiter’s Red Spot?
    EarthSky Voices in SPACE | March 25, 2019

    This giant storm has remained a nearly constant feature of Jupiter’s turbulent atmosphere for at least 300 years. How can a storm persist for so long?


    Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

    The Great Red Spot, a storm larger than the Earth and powerful enough to tear apart smaller storms that get drawn into it, is one of the most recognizable features in Jupiter’s atmosphere and the entire solar system. The counterclockwise-moving storm, an anticyclone, boasts wind speeds as high as 300 miles (483 km) per hour. This prominent feature, observed since 1830, and possibly as far back as the 1660s, has long been a source of great fascination and scientific study.

    Much about the Great Red Spot is still unknown, including exactly when and how it formed, what gives it its striking red color and why it has persisted for so much longer than other storms that have been observed in the atmosphere of Jupiter. However, astronomers think that its position in latitude, consistently observed to be 22 degrees south of Jupiter’s equator, is connected to the prominent cloud bands in Jupiter’s atmosphere.

    As a planetary astronomer who studies the atmospheres of comets, I’m normally not investigating massive storms. But I still want to know about the features seen in the atmosphere of other bodies in the solar system, including Jupiter. Studying atmospheres of all kinds deepens our understanding of how they form and work.

    Unlike Jupiter, the Earth has land masses that cause major storms to lose energy due to friction with a solid surface. Without this feature, Jupiter’s storms are more long-lasting. However, the Great Red Spot is long-lived, even by Jupiter standards. Researchers don’t quite understand why, but we do know that Jupiter’s storms that are located in cloud bands with the same direction of rotation tend to be longer lasting.


    Planets to scale. Jupiter is 5 times further from the sun than Earth.

    These colorful alternating bands, called belts (dark bands) and zones (light bands), run parallel to Jupiter’s equator. Researchers aren’t sure what causes the coloration of the bands and zones, but differences in their chemical composition, temperature and transparency of the atmosphere to light have all been suggested as contributing factors. These bands are also counter-rotating, meaning that they move in opposite directions with respect to their neighbors. The boundaries between the bands and zones are marked by strong winds called zonal jets.

    The Great Red Spot is confined by an eastward jet to its north and a westward jet to its south, confining the storm to a constant latitude. However, the Great Red Spot has undergone considerable changes in longitude over time, and recent evidence suggests that its rate of westward longitudinal motion is increasing.

    Like the Great Red Spot, the bands have undergone little change in latitude over the time during which they have been observed. Researchers don’t entirely understand the banded structure, but we do have evidence suggesting that the light colored zones are regions of rising material, and the dark belts are regions of material sinking into the atmosphere.

    On Earth, there is a well-defined boundary between the atmosphere and the surface of the planet, which is largely covered by liquid water. However, there are no known large oceans of water under Jupiter’s clouds. Based on what researchers do know, the atmosphere smoothly transitions to a liquid hydrogen interior within the planet. There may be a solid core to Jupiter, but it is most likely buried very deep under a thick layer of liquid metallic hydrogen, a form of hydrogen that acts as an electrical conductor.

    What else do we know about the Great Red Spot that is changing dramatically? Its size, shape and color. An analysis of historical and recently obtained data on the Great Red Spot has shown that it is shrinking and becoming both rounder and taller, and its color has also varied over time. What is driving these changes, and what do they mean for the future of the Great Red Spot? Researchers aren’t sure.

    However, NASA’s Juno spacecraft, currently orbiting Jupiter, is gathering more data on the cloud bands and the Great Red Spot. These new data will likely provide insights into many of the features in Jupiter’s atmosphere.

    Donna Pierce, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Mississippi State University

    Bottom line: Why is Jupiter’s Great Red Spot so long-lived?
    ________________________________________________

    Planets are scaled to size in the image above, but the distances between planets are not to scale. - ilan
    Last edited by ilan; Yesterday at 12:38 PM.
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  3. #1073
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    MT Tech professor claims UFOs are time machines from future
    John Emeigh, 4XLF | March 23, 2019


    BUTTE – Many people believe UFOs visit Earth from other planets far, far away. A Montana Tech professor believes UFOs are much closer to home.

    “The phenomenon may be our own distant descendants coming back through time to study us in their own evolutionary past,” said Michael P. Masters.

    Masters writes about this theory in his newly released book, “Identified Flying Objects.” With a doctorate in anthropology from Ohio State University, Masters uses science to explain why people who report close encounters with aliens always describe them the same way.

    “The extra-tempestrial are ubiquitously reported as being bipedal, upright-walking, five fingers on each hand and foot, bi-lateral symmetry that they have two eyes, a mouth a nose, they can communicate with us in our own languages,” said Masters.

    Masters understands this study may be considered fringe science, but he defends the research in the book.

    “I stand by the product. I’m happy to talk about it with anyone. It’s written for my academic peers as much as it is for anyone in the UFO community,” he said.

    Here’s the point in the story where the journalist makes a flippant comment about little green men to show he doesn’t take it that seriously, but the U.S. Defense Department spent $22 million investigating the UFO phenomenon, and that’s why Dr. Masters believes it’s time scientists take a serious approach to the study of this phenomenon.

    “The hope is we can begin a new dialogue, get past some of the stigma and not have to defend this as science because it is very scientific as well,” said Masters.

    Masters has been on several radio and television programs here and abroad to discuss his book. He will appear on the national radio show Coast to Coast next week.
    _______________________________

    I've included the book description to flesh out the piece. If Master's intent was to foster discussion of the UFO phenomenon, his "theory" will definitely do it. - ilan

    Could “UFOs” and “Aliens” simply be us, but from the future? This provocative new book cautiously examines the premise that extraterrestrials may instead be our distant human descendants, using the anthropological tool of time travel to visit and study us in their own hominin evolutionary past. Dr. Michael P. Masters, a professor of biological anthropology specializing in human evolutionary anatomy, archaeology, and biomedicine, explores how the persistence of long-term biological and cultural trends in human evolution may ultimately result in us becoming the ones piloting these disc-shaped craft, which are likely the very devices that allow our future progeny to venture backward across the landscape of time. Moreover, these extratempestrials are ubiquitously described as bipedal, large-brained, hairless, human-like beings, who communicate with us in our own languages, and who possess technology advanced beyond, but clearly built upon, our own. These accounts, coupled with a thorough understanding of the past and modern human condition, point to the continuation of established biological and cultural trends here on Earth, long into the distant human future.
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