Tag Archives: ET

We’re Still Not Saying It’s Aliens, But … | VIDEO

We’re Still Not Saying It’s Aliens, But ...

     KIC 8462852 probably sounds like a string of random letters and numbers to you but I’m willing to bet if you’ve watched this channel long enough, you’ve heard it before. It’s the name of a star, also
By Seeker
8-1-17

known as Tabby’s Star, and it set the internet ablaze a couple years back when it dimmed in ways nobody could really explain, unless you pinned it on aliens building massive structures to power their civilization.

However, since then we haven’t seen the star’s light fade, and so public interest in it did. But in April of 2017, light levels started dropping again, giving astronomers new clues to come up with new ideas. Are any more compelling than a giant energy-harvesting megastructure built by aliens? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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Exomoons May Support Life

Life Outside Our Solar System Might Exist on Exomoons

     The discovery of an exomoon could be years away, but researchers are already theorizing the conditions under which liquid water might be found on their surfaces.
By Elizabeth Howell
www.seeker.com
3-27-17

As some scientists search for habitable planets outside our solar system, other researchers are tackling a similar question for the moons of these planets. So-called exomoons have yet to be found outside our solar system, and a detection could be a decade away – or more.

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UFOs in the Mainstream Media: Washington Post Science Writer Reveals Her Unfamiliarity with the Facts

UFOs in the Mainstream Media: Washington Post Science Writer Reveals Her Unfamiliarity with the Facts

     Regarding WAPO science writer Sarah Kaplan’s recent review of scientific commentary on the UFO phenomenon, she seems oblivious to a basic maxim: There is a distinct and fundamental difference between merely having an opinion, and having an informed opinion, on any given topic. This holds true for scientists and laypersons alike. Because very, very few scientists have actually studied the UFO phenomenon before holding forth, their pronouncements about it must be viewed for what they really are: Pontification with little or no data to support their dismissive assessments.

By Robert Hastings
The UFO Chronicles
8-8-17

Granted, while Kaplan mentions the investigative efforts of astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek—whose initial skepticism about UFOs was eventually discarded, after he analyzed a number of genuinely inexplicable sighting reports compiled by the U.S. Air Force during the 1960s—she devotes most of her article to touting the demonstrably uninformed utterances of UFO skeptics such as physicist Enrico Fermi and SETI specialist Jill Tartar.

Perhaps most telling, Kaplan completely ignores (or is unaware of) the published remarks of the late Dr. James McDonald, one of only a handful of physicists who actually engaged in UFO research, who wrote,

“From time to time in the history of science, situations have arisen in which a problem of ultimately enormous importance went begging for adequate attention simply because that problem appeared to involve phenomena so far outside the current bounds of scientific knowledge that it was not even regarded as a legitimate subject of serious scientific concern. That is precisely the situation in which the UFO problem now lies. One of the principal results of my own recent intensive study of the UFO enigma is this: I have become convinced that the scientific community, not only in this country but throughout the world, has been casually ignoring as nonsense a matter of extraordinary scientific importance.”1

—Dr. James E. McDonald
Senior Physicist, Institute of Atmospheric Physics
Professor of Meteorology, University of Arizona

McDonald was especially unhappy with the initial skepticism exhibited by Dr. Hynek during his tenure as scientific consultant to the USAF’s chief UFO project, Blue Book. After personally reviewing a large quantity of UFO reports held by the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, McDonald wrote, “…There are hundreds of good cases in the Air Force files that should have led to top-level scientific scrutiny of [UFOs] years ago, yet these cases have been swept under the rug in a most disturbing way by Project Blue Book investigators and their consultants.”2

Despite, or perhaps because of, the Air Force’s ongoing attempts to suppress the frequently high-quality data on UFOs it collected, McDonald began to investigate the phenomenon on his own time and at his own expense, while ignoring the very real risk to his scientific reputation.

This diligence paid off and, by 1968, McDonald was widely regarded—although not among his still-dubious peers—as one of the world’s leading scientific experts on UFOs. Consequently, he was invited to address the United States Congress on the subject, during hearings held that year. McDonald’s full statement before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics, presented on July 29th, may be found in the U.S. Congressional Record, as well as on the Internet.3

While acknowledging that the overwhelming majority of UFO sightings undoubtedly had prosaic explanations, and that a great many questions about the phenomenon remained unanswered, McDonald succinctly summarized his conclusions regarding the most credible of the unexplained cases: “My own present opinion, based on two years of careful study, is that UFOs are probably extraterrestrial devices engaged in something that might very tentatively be termed ‘surveillance.’” 4

Although this was merely an opinion, it was after all an informed opinion on UFOs, something very few other scientists could offer, then or now. Many of McDonald’s published papers, private research notes, and personal letters relating to his investigations of the UFO phenomenon are now accessible at the University of Arizona, providing insight into the cautious reasoning underlying his dramatic conclusions.

While most scientists (and science writers) are quick to dismiss as impossible the idea that UFOs are alien spacecraft, very few of them will ever make the effort to learn whether any evidence exists to suggest otherwise. Instead, they merely continue to assert that, as an idea, it simply does not work.

This self-created impasse was mentioned by McDonald in his oral statement to Congress: “We have tended to ignore [the UFO phenomenon] because we didn’t think it made sense. It definitely defies any explanation, and hence the situation has evolved where we can’t get going because we aren’t already going. The scientific community as a whole won’t take this problem seriously because it doesn’t have scientific data. They want instrumental data. Why don’t they have instrumental data? Because the scientists don’t take it seriously enough to get the scientific data. It is like the 20-year-old who can’t get a job because he lacks experience, and he lacks experience because he hasn’t had a job. In the same way you find the scientist wishing you would give him good hard meter readings and magnetometer traces, and so on. But we don’t have [those data] yet because the collective body of scientists, including myself, have ignored UFOs.” 5

In other words, most scientists reject outright the validity of UFO research, refuse to engage in it, and deliberately ignore the intriguing data compiled by a handful of their more inquisitive, less-biased peers. If this were not enough, despite their profound unfamiliarity with the subject, many of these same intransigent individuals preach about UFOs in the most shameless and presumptuous manner. If they were to apply this same “methodology” to their own research, their colleagues might justifiably consider their conduct incompetent, if not fraudulent. Nevertheless, it is rare to hear a scientist speak knowledgeably about the UFO phenomenon and rarer still to find one who has actually studied it.

1. McDonald, Dr. James E. “Prepared Statement before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics”, July 29, 1968

2. [Tucson, AZ] Daily Citizen, March 1, 1967

3. http://files.ncas.org/ufosymposium/mcdonald.html

4. McDonald, Dr. James E. “Prepared Statement before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics”, July 29, 1968

5. McDonald, Dr. James E. “Oral Statement before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics”, July 29, 1968


Robert’s newly revised book, UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites, is now available on Amazon.

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Finding Proof of Space Aliens, What Happens Next?

Finding Proof of Space Aliens, What Happens Next?

Protocols for responding to the discovery of extraterrestrial
intelligence have been created, but they might not be followed.

     First came the suggestion that an “alien megastructure” had been observed around KIC 8462852, a.k.a. Tabby’s Star. Months later, people were talking about a signal seen by a Russian telescope that some thought was transmitted from the environs of a stellar cousin of
By Seth Shostak
NBC News
8-1-17

the sun. And not long after that, the Cyclopean Arecibo antenna in Puerto Rico reported weird signals that seemed to come from the dwarf star Ross 128, a scant 11 light-years away.

[…]

These three claims purporting to show the existence of aliens haven’t panned out. But what happens if some future claim does? What preparations are in place to deal with the discovery of a radio signal or a laser flash that would prove beyond doubt that we have cosmic compeers? Does the government have a plan? Does anyone?

[…]

… Back in 1989, when a now-defunct NASA program to search for extraterrestrial intelligence was gaining steam, protocols were drafted to spell out best practices in case the search proved successful. These were later updated and streamlined by the International Academy of Astronautics SETI Permanent Committee. (Click here to see the revised protocols.)

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If They Aliens Discover Us Before We Discover Them (Redux)

Talking the walk …

     Don’t know about you, but I’m loving those mystery lights on Ceres as NASA’s surveillance probe, Dawn, bears down on the biggest chunk of real estate in the asteroid belt. And not because of the prospects for discovering alien activity – they’re remote, at best – but because of the opportunity to witness, again, the ritual disconnect that characterizes institutional science whenever The Great Taboo legitimately insinuates itself into a news cycle.

Let’s go back a few years when, after half a century of logging zilch in the Great ET Radio Signal Experiment, SETI pioneer Jill Tarter proposed


By Billy Cox
De Void
6-24-15

a new name for their endeavors, the Search for Extraterrestrial Technology (SETT). This was a tacit grudging concession that maybe radio astronomers had been working with a flawed model. In 2011, the International Journal of Astrobiology published a paper by astrophysicists Martin Elvis and Duncan Forgan proposing an even more specific tack, that maybe Earthlings ought to consider scanning the asteroid belt for evidence of ET “macro-engineering projects.” Translation: mining operations. Made sense. After all, they noted, asteroids are repositories for raw material like gold, platinum and silver, the kind of stuff you’d likely need to repair or refuel extended planetary missions.

And, as Forgan would hypothesize two years later in the IJA, ET wouldn’t even have to bend the known laws of physics to reach the rocky debris zone between Jupiter and Mars, no matter which part of the Milky Way he/she/it came from. Upon crunching the numbers, Forgan and a mathematician hypothesized that robotic technologies could have mapped this galaxy well below light speeds, in about 10 million years. On the cosmic scale of time, that’s no big deal.

So here’s what’s going on. In 2007, NASA hurls an unmanned vehicle toward the asteroid belt to look for clues to the formation of our solar system. Destination: “dwarf planets” Vesta and Ceres. Dawn enters a 14-month mapping orbit over Vesta in 2011, then moves on toward the bigger prize. In February, as it closes to within 29,000 miles of Ceres, Dawn’s cameras detect something totally off the charts – lights on the surface. Their luminosity doesn’t appear to be significantly affected by different sun angles. Two months and 25,000 miles closer, their intensity is still unblinking. Planetary scientists are stumped; at the Jet Propulsion Lab’s website, PR flacks do a very savvy thing by letting visitors vote on the most likely suspects: “volcano,” “geyser,” “salt deposit,” “ice,” “rock,” and “other.” Wonder what “other” could be. Hmm. Anyway, we’ll get an even better peek by summer’s end, when Dawn dips to within 900 miles of the surface.

No matter what those lights are all about, this sort of suspense is cool. Talk about a teaching opportunity for schools.

Now let’s review some of NASA’s recent headline-grabbing statements. In 2014, given our ongoing exoplanet transiting searches and the impending exploration of more local worlds like Europa, space agency scientists predicted Earthlings will discover ET life within 20 years. That forecast was reiterated just last week at the Astrobiology Science Conference in Chicago. In fact, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate (there’s a mouthful) and former astronaut John Grunsfeld suggested that ET civilizations might already have detected us, the same way we’re locating and confirming the existence of deep-space planets. Quote:

“We put atmospheric signatures that guarantee someone with a large telescope 20 light years away could detect us. If there is life out there, intelligent life, they’ll know we’re here.”

Left unsaid, what none in that sheltered crowd wants to contemplate: And if they discover us before we discover them, maybe they’re already a lot closer than we think. But of course, there was no room in Chicago for a discussion of UFOs. That would be a little too declasse, like farting in church. Oh, and just to make sure nobody got terribly excited, coverage of last week’s Windy City pow-wow also included a canned statement from NASA chief scientist Ellen Stefan. In April, during a discussion about Mars, she drew distinctions between the discovery of biological life and some other silly alternative like, well, the 2011 peer-reviewed paper’s “targeted asteroid mining” scenario. “We are not talking about little green men,” she insisted. “We are talking about little microbes.”

Stofan could’ve said “intelligent life.” But she went for the gag line instead. Knowing full well how much everybody loves microbes.

Hey, no one wants to look like an idiot as we approach the biggest discovery of all time, wherever that may be. The solution to the Ceres lights will likely fall far short of little green men. But the language we employ as we draw closer to the inevitability doesn’t inspire much confidence; it suggests we’re deeply conflicted in our enthusiasm for confirming The Other. Or at least the people at the top of NASA appear to be. Fortunately, we can console ourselves with the knowledge that science and politics never mix.

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The Never-Ending Search for UFOs and Extraterrestrial Intelligence

The Never-Ending Search for UFOs and Extraterrestrial Intelligence

     Back in 1950, during a lunch break at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, several scientists were trading wisecracks about a recent spate of UFO reports when Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi offered an observation that has echoed through the decades. Given the number of places where life could exist in the vast universe, and
By Sarah Kaplan
The Washington Post
8-4-17

the length of time it has had to evolve, the skies ought to be teeming with beings from advanced, space-faring civilizations — but nothing incontrovertible has shown up. You have to wonder, as Fermi did, “Where is everybody?”

His colleagues chuckled, but the “Fermi paradox” perfectly frames the profound absurdity of the search for life beyond Earth. Humans have beamed beacons into space, robotically visited every world in the solar system and discovered thousands of planets circling stars far from our own. Yet all we’ve encountered is a chilly void.

Still, the possibility that something is out there calls to us.

Three new books approach the mystery from distinctly different perspectives: the unlikely believer in UFOs, the visionary dedicated to rigorous investigation and the cadre of scientists who still plug away at the problem, probing the universe for an answer.

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Future Space Colony on Titan?

NASA's Cassini spacecraft, Saturn, and Titan

Instead of just sending humans on a one-shot mission to look for life on the surface, a new paper envisions a future outpost on Titan that could generate power for years.

     NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are focused on getting astronauts to Mars and even one day establishing a colony on the Red Planet — but what if their attention is better directed elsewhere? A new paper in the Journal of Astrobiology & Outreach suggests that humans should
By Elizabeth Howell
www.seeker.com
7-17-17

instead establish a colony on Titan, a soupy orange moon of Saturn that has been likened to an early Earth, and which may harbor signs of “life not as we know it.”

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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. …

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The Search for Alien Artifacts

The Search for Extraterrestrial Artifacts

     The first workshop of the new German SETI initiative recently convened in the southern town of Freiburg, with experts in fields ranging from social science to satellite imaging on hand to discuss how to advance the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life.
By Dirk Schulze-Makuch
airspacemag.com 7-13-17

Michael Schetsche from the University of Freiburg started things off with a talk on the possible consequences of first contact with an extraterrestrial species, and how we might prepare for such an encounter. A symposium held at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. three years ago had a similar theme, but Schetsche’s talk focused more on contact with artificial intelligence or machine-based life.

Other talks had to do with SETA, the search for extraterrestrial artifacts, which will be one subject of future research by the German research network. Hakan Kayal from the University of Würzburg outlined today’s technical state of the art in detecting and identifying objects in space ….

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Strange Signals Coming From a Star, 11 Light Years Away

Strange Signals Coming From a Star 11 Light Years Away

     Astronomers say they have detected “strange signals” coming from the direction of a small, dim star located about 11 light-years from Earth.
By David Mosher
Business Insider
7-15-17

Researchers picked up the mysterious signals on May 12 using the Arecibo Observatory, a huge radio telescope built inside of a Puerto Rican sinkhole.

The radio signals appear to be coming from Ross 128, a red dwarf star that’s not yet known to have any planets and is about 2,800 times dimmer than the Sun.

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