Tag Archives: alien life

Stephen Hawking’s Mission to Find Alien Life Detects Mystery Signals

Stephen Hawking's Mission to Find Alien Life Detects Mystery Signals

     LONDON: A mission to explore intelligent alien life in the universe has recorded some mysterious signals coming from a galaxy three billion light years away, according to an Indian-origin scientist working on the ambitious project co-founded by Stephen Hawking.
The Economic Times
9-2-17

[…]

“We really have no idea about where they come from,” Gajjar, one of the scientists from the University of California Berkeley Research Centre, told The Daily Telegraph.

He noted: “If some form of life would like to produce a signal that is detectable to another civilisation this could be a way to do it ….

Read more »

Read More

Finding Extraterrestrial Life By Their Leftovers

Finding Extraterrestrial Life By Their Leftovers

     When the famous 15th-century inventor and scientist Leonardo da Vinci examined petrified shells with borings in them long ago, he had a remarkable insight. The strange fossilized formations, he determined, were likely left behind by ancient organisms.
By Elizabeth Howell
Seeker
7-12-17

Half a millennium later, this perspective is potentially useful in our search for alien life, argues a new paper that appears in Earth-Science Reviews, whose findings were recently presented at the European Astrobiology Network Association congress in the Netherlands.

[…]

In this latest study, Baucon and his colleagues attempt to explain the best way to find extra-terrestrial traces. One method could be looking for “meandering” trails and burrows, which is an efficient way for microorganisms to look for food. …

Read more »

Read More

Sorry, UFO Fans – NASA Says No Aliens … Yet

Sorry, UFO Fans – NASA Says No Aliens ... Yet

Conspiracy theorists believe that NASA has been in cahoots with the little green men for decades – and yesterday the wilder parts of the internet went (even more) nuts.

     A video supposedly posted by hacktivist collective Anonymous claimed NASA was ‘on the brink’ of revealing contact with aliens.

But NASA has stepped in to say that they’re not going to be doing a press conference with the little green men any time soon.

By Rob WaughRob Waugh
Metro.co.uk
6-27-17

Dr Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator, NASA Science Mission Directorate, said, ‘Contrary to some reports, there’s no pending announcement from NASA regarding extraterrestrial life.’

Read more »

Read More

‘Evidence of Alien Life’ To Be Released By NASA? | VIDEO

'Evidence of Alien Life' To Be Released By NASA?

     HUMANS are about to discover alien life, Nasa believes – according to the latest video from hacktivist group Anonymous.

The hackers published YouTube clip which claims a Nasa scientist

By Laura Burnip
The Sun
6-25-17

made the announcement at the last meeting of the US Science, Space and Technology committee.

It comes after Nasa’s Kepler space observatory discovered 219 “potential new worlds” in other solar systems.

Read more »

Read More

Alien Life on Saturn’s Moon, Enceladus? NASA Releases New Data | VIDEO

Alien Life on Saturn's Moon, Enceladus? NASA Releases New Data
Illustration of the interior of Saturn’s moon Enceladus showing a global liquid water ocean between its rocky core and icy crust. Thickness of layers shown here is not to scale. We once thought oceans made our planet unique, but we’re now coming to realize that ‘ocean worlds’ are all around us. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

     Two veteran NASA missions are providing new details about icy, ocean-bearing moons of Jupiter and Saturn, further heightening the scientific interest of these and other “ocean worlds” in our solar
By NASA
4-13-17

system and beyond. The findings are presented in papers published Thursday by researchers with NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn and Hubble Space Telescope.

In the papers, Cassini scientists announce that a form of chemical energy that life can feed on appears to exist on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and Hubble researchers report additional evidence of plumes erupting from Jupiter’s moon Europa.

“This is the closest we’ve come, so far, to identifying a place with some of the ingredients needed for a habitable environment,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington. ”These results demonstrate the interconnected nature of NASA’s science missions that are getting us closer to answering whether we are indeed alone or not.”

The paper from researchers with the Cassini mission, published in the journal Science, indicates hydrogen gas, which could potentially provide a chemical energy source for life, is pouring into the subsurface ocean of Enceladus from hydrothermal activity on the seafloor.

The presence of ample hydrogen in the moon’s ocean means that microbes – if any exist there – could use it to obtain energy by combining the hydrogen with carbon dioxide dissolved in the water. This chemical reaction, known as “methanogenesis” because it produces methane as a byproduct, is at the root of the tree of life on Earth, and could even have been critical to the origin of life on our planet.

Life as we know it requires three primary ingredients: liquid water; a source of energy for metabolism; and the right chemical ingredients, primarily carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. With this finding, Cassini has shown that Enceladus – a small, icy moon a billion miles farther from the sun than Earth – has nearly all of these ingredients for habitability. Cassini has not yet shown phosphorus and sulfur are present in the ocean, but scientists suspect them to be, since the rocky core of Enceladus is thought to be chemically similar to meteorites that contain the two elements.

“Confirmation that the chemical energy for life exists within the ocean of a small moon of Saturn is an important milestone in our search for habitable worlds beyond Earth,” said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

The Cassini spacecraft detected the hydrogen in the plume of gas and icy material spraying from Enceladus during its last, and deepest, dive through the plume on Oct. 28, 2015. Cassini also sampled the plume’s composition during flybys earlier in the mission. From these observations scientists have determined that nearly 98 percent of the gas in the plume is water, about 1 percent is hydrogen and the rest is a mixture of other molecules including carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia.

The measurement was made using Cassini’s Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) instrument, which sniffs gases to determine their composition. INMS was designed to sample the upper atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan. After Cassini’s surprising discovery of a towering plume of icy spray in 2005, emanating from hot cracks near the south pole, scientists turned its detectors toward the small moon.

Cassini wasn’t designed to detect signs of life in the Enceladus plume – indeed, scientists didn’t know the plume existed until after the spacecraft arrived at Saturn.

“Although we can’t detect life, we’ve found that there’s a food source there for it. It would be like a candy store for microbes,” said Hunter Waite, lead author of the Cassini study.

The new findings are an independent line of evidence that hydrothermal activity is taking place in the Enceladus ocean. Previous results, published in March 2015, suggested hot water is interacting with rock beneath the sea; the new findings support that conclusion and add that the rock appears to be reacting chemically to produce the hydrogen.

The paper detailing new Hubble Space Telescope findings, published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, reports on observations of Europa from 2016 in which a probable plume of material was seen erupting from the moon’s surface at the same location where Hubble saw evidence of a plume in 2014. These images bolster evidence that the Europa plumes could be a real phenomenon, flaring up intermittently in the same region on the moon’s surface.

The newly imaged plume rises about 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Europa’s surface, while the one observed in 2014 was estimated to be about 30 miles (50 kilometers) high. Both correspond to the location of an unusually warm region that contains features that appear to be cracks in the moon’s icy crust, seen in the late 1990s by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. Researchers speculate that, like Enceladus, this could be evidence of water erupting from the moon’s interior.

“The plumes on Enceladus are associated with hotter regions, so after Hubble imaged this new plume-like feature on Europa, we looked at that location on the Galileo thermal map. We discovered that Europa’s plume candidate is sitting right on the thermal anomaly,” said William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. Sparks led the Hubble plume studies in both 2014 and 2016.

The researchers say if the plumes and the warm spot are linked, it could mean water being vented from beneath the moon’s icy crust is warming the surrounding surface. Another idea is that water ejected by the plume falls onto the surface as a fine mist, changing the structure of the surface grains and allowing them to retain heat longer than the surrounding landscape.

For both the 2014 and 2016 observations, the team used Hubble’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) to spot the plumes in ultraviolet light. As Europa passes in front of Jupiter, any atmospheric features around the edge of the moon block some of Jupiter’s light, allowing STIS to see the features in silhouette. Sparks and his team are continuing to use Hubble to monitor Europa for additional examples of plume candidates and hope to determine the frequency with which they appear.

NASA’s future exploration of ocean worlds is enabled by Hubble’s monitoring of Europa’s putative plume activity and Cassini’s long-term investigation of the Enceladus plume. In particular, both investigations are laying the groundwork for NASA’s Europa Clipper mission, which is planned for launch in the 2020s.

“If there are plumes on Europa, as we now strongly suspect, with the Europa Clipper we will be ready for them,” said Jim Green, Director of Planetary Science, at NASA Headquarters.

Hubble’s identification of a site which appears to have persistent, intermittent plume activity provides a tempting target for the Europa mission to investigate with its powerful suite of science instruments. In addition, some of Sparks’ co-authors on the Hubble Europa studies are preparing a powerful ultraviolet camera to fly on Europa Clipper that will make similar measurements to Hubble’s, but from thousands of times closer. And several members of the Cassini INMS team are developing an exquisitely sensitive, next-generation version of their instrument for flight on Europa Clipper.

Read more »

Read More

Alien Life – 7 Best Places in the Universe To Search

Alien Life – 7 Best Places in the Universe To Search

     In 1899, Nicola Tesla claimed he had tuned in radio broadcasts from the planet Mars, history’s first reported SETI signal. For most of the century-plus since, techniques have changed but the relentless focus among those seeking life beyond Earth has remained the same:
By Corey S. Powell
www.nbcnews.com
3-30-17

Mars, Mars, Mars. That fixation inspired two Viking landers, four rovers, 14 orbiters, and endless hopeful NASA news conferences, yet the evidence for Martian life remains a big round zero.

Meanwhile, other discoveries have been opening scientists’ eyes to a broader universe of possibilities. Data from the Galileo and Cassini probes showed that liquid water is wildly abundant inside our solar system’s icy moons. The Kepler space telescope has rapidly expanded the number of known planets, now 2,950 and counting. And as they have peeped deeper into the 200-billion-plus stars of the Milky Way, astronomers have started to realize that true ET signals might not look anything like signals at all.

This list reflects the latest thinking about where extraterrestrials might be hiding — a rich assortment of ocean moons, alien planets, and distant stars where something very odd, and possibly artificial, seems to be going on.

Read more »

Read More

Lifeforms Possible On Newly Discovered Planets, Says Michio Kaku | VIDEO

Artist's Conception of TRAPPIST-1 Planetary System

     NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets around a star about 40 light years away from Earth. All seven could have water, which is key to life like ours, and three of them fall in the habitable zone.
CBS News
2-23-17

Michio Kaku, CBS News science and futurist contributor and physics professor at the City University of New York, joins “CBS This Morning” with more on this new discovery.

Read more »

Read More

Alien Life? NASA Announces 7 Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star



Alien Life? NASA Announces 7 Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star
This illustration shows the possible surface of TRAPPIST-1f, one of the newly discovered planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. Scientists using the Spitzer Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes have discovered that there are seven Earth-size planets in the system.

     NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.
By NASA
2-22-17

The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

“This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”

Seven Earth-sized planets have been observed by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope around a tiny, nearby, ultra-cool dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1. Three of these planets are firmly in the habitable zone. Credits: NASA

At about 40 light-years (235 trillion miles) from Earth, the system of planets is relatively close to us, in the constellation Aquarius. Because they are located outside of our solar system, these planets are scientifically known as exoplanets.

This exoplanet system is called TRAPPIST-1, named for The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile. In May 2016, researchers using TRAPPIST announced they had discovered three planets in the system. Assisted by several ground-based telescopes, including the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, Spitzer confirmed the existence of two of these planets and discovered five additional ones, increasing the number of known planets in the system to seven.

The new results were published Wednesday in the journal Nature, and announced at a news briefing at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Using Spitzer data, the team precisely measured the sizes of the seven planets and developed first estimates of the masses of six of them, allowing their density to be estimated.

Based on their densities, all of the TRAPPIST-1 planets are likely to be rocky. Further observations will not only help determine whether they are rich in water, but also possibly reveal whether any could have liquid water on their surfaces. The mass of the seventh and farthest exoplanet has not yet been estimated – scientists believe it could be an icy, “snowball-like” world, but further observations are needed.

“The seven wonders of TRAPPIST-1 are the first Earth-size planets that have been found orbiting this kind of star,” said Michael Gillon, lead author of the paper and the principal investigator of the TRAPPIST exoplanet survey at the University of Liege, Belgium. “It is also the best target yet for studying the atmospheres of potentially habitable, Earth-size worlds.”

TRAPPIST-1 planets
This artist’s concept shows what each of the TRAPPIST-1 planets may look like, based on available data about their sizes, masses and orbital distances.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In contrast to our sun, the TRAPPIST-1 star – classified as an ultra-cool dwarf – is so cool that liquid water could survive on planets orbiting very close to it, closer than is possible on planets in our solar system. All seven of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary orbits are closer to their host star than Mercury is to our sun. The planets also are very close to each other. If a person was standing on one of the planet’s surface, they could gaze up and potentially see geological features or clouds of neighboring worlds, which would sometimes appear larger than the moon in Earth’s sky.

The planets may also be tidally locked to their star, which means the same side of the planet is always facing the star, therefore each side is either perpetual day or night. This could mean they have weather patterns totally unlike those on Earth, such as strong winds blowing from the day side to the night side, and extreme temperature changes.

Spitzer, an infrared telescope that trails Earth as it orbits the sun, was well-suited for studying TRAPPIST-1 because the star glows brightest in infrared light, whose wavelengths are longer than the eye can see. In the fall of 2016, Spitzer observed TRAPPIST-1 nearly continuously for 500 hours. Spitzer is uniquely positioned in its orbit to observe enough crossing – transits – of the planets in front of the host star to reveal the complex architecture of the system. Engineers optimized Spitzer’s ability to observe transiting planets during Spitzer’s “warm mission,” which began after the spacecraft’s coolant ran out as planned after the first five years of operations.

“This is the most exciting result I have seen in the 14 years of Spitzer operations,” said Sean Carey, manager of NASA’s Spitzer Science Center at Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena, California. “Spitzer will follow up in the fall to further refine our understanding of these planets so that the James Webb Space Telescope can follow up. More observations of the system are sure to reveal more secrets.”

Following up on the Spitzer discovery, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has initiated the screening of four of the planets, including the three inside the habitable zone. These observations aim at assessing the presence of puffy, hydrogen-dominated atmospheres, typical for gaseous worlds like Neptune, around these planets.

This 360-degree panorama depicts the surface of a newly detected planet, TRAPPIST 1-d, part of a seven planet system some 40 light years away. Explore this artist’s rendering of an alien world by moving the view using your mouse or your mobile device. Credits: NASA

In May 2016, the Hubble team observed the two innermost planets, and found no evidence for such puffy atmospheres. This strengthened the case that the planets closest to the star are rocky in nature.

“The TRAPPIST-1 system provides one of the best opportunities in the next decade to study the atmospheres around Earth-size planets,” said Nikole Lewis, co-leader of the Hubble study and astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope also is studying the TRAPPIST-1 system, making measurements of the star’s minuscule changes in brightness due to transiting planets. Operating as the K2 mission, the spacecraft’s observations will allow astronomers to refine the properties of the known planets, as well as search for additional planets in the system. The K2 observations conclude in early March and will be made available on the public archive.

Spitzer, Hubble, and Kepler will help astronomers plan for follow-up studies using NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, launching in 2018. With much greater sensitivity, Webb will be able to detect the chemical fingerprints of water, methane, oxygen, ozone, and other components of a planet’s atmosphere. Webb also will analyze planets’ temperatures and surface pressures – key factors in assessing their habitability.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center, at Caltech, in Pasadena, California. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at Caltech/IPAC. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

Read more »

Read More

Dwarf Planet Ceres May Host Alien Life



Dwarf Planet Ceres May Host Alien Life

     Organic molecules, the substance that serves as the basis for life, were discovered on the dwarf planet Ceres. Using infrared mapping technology, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft spotted the molecules in a 400-square-mile area, near the Ernutet crater.
By sputniknews.com
2-17-17

The study team reports that the material likely developed on the dwarf planet, instead of arriving through other objects like asteroids or comets.

…”It joins Mars and several satellites of the giant planets in the list of locations in the solar system that may harbor life.”

Read more »

Read More