5 Essential Things To Do In Space

From the October 2007 Scientific American:

To a child of the Space Age, books about the solar system from before 1957 are vaguely horrifying. How little people knew. They had no idea of the great volcanoes and canyons of Mars, which make Mount Everest look like a worn hillock and the Grand Canyon like a roadside ditch. They speculated that Venus beneath its clouds was a lush, misty jungle, or maybe a dry, barren desert, or a seltzer water ocean, or a giant tar pit—almost everything, it seems, but what it really is: an epic volcanic wasteland, the scene of a Noah’s flood in molten rock. Pictures of Saturn were just sad: two fuzzy rings where today we see hundreds of thousands of fine ringlets. The giant planet’s moons were gnats, rather than gnarled landscapes of methane lakes and dusty geysers.

All in all, the planets seemed like pretty small places back then, little more than smudges of light. At the same time, Earth seemed a lot larger than it does now. No one had ever seen our planet as a planet: a blue marble on black velvet, coated with a fragile veneer of water and air. No one knew that the moon was born in an impact or that the dinosaurs died in one. No one fully appreciated that humanity was becoming a geologic force in its own right, capable of changing the environment on a global scale. Whatever else the Space Age has done, it has enriched our view of the natural world and given us a perspective that we now take for granted.

Since Sputnik, planetary exploration has gone through several waxing and waning phases. The 1980s, for instance, might as well have been the dark side of the moon. The present looks brighter: dozens of probes from the world’s space programs have fanned out across the solar system, from Mercury to Pluto. But budget cuts, cost overruns and inconsistency of purpose have cast long shadows over NASA. At the very least the agency is going through its most unsettled period of transition since Nixon shot down the Apollo moon missions 35 years ago.

“NASA continues to wrestle with its own identity,” says Anthony Janetos of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a member of a National Research Council (NRC) panel that scrutinized NASA’s Earth observation program. “Is it about exploring space? Is it about human exploration, is it about science, is it about exploring the outer universe, is it about exploring the solar system, is it about the space shuttle and station, is it about understanding this planet?”

In principle, the upheaval should be a happy occasion. Not only are robotic probes flying hither and yon, the human space program is no longer drifting like a spent rocket booster. President George W. Bush set out a clear and compelling goal in 2004—namely, to plant boots in lunar and Martian soil. Though controversial, the vision gave NASA something to shoot for. The trouble is that it quickly turned into an unfunded mandate, forcing the agency to breach the “firewall” that had traditionally (if imperfectly) shielded the science and human spaceflight programs from each other’s cost overruns.

“I presume it is not news to you that NASA doesn’t have enough money to do all the things it’s being asked to do,” says Bill Claybaugh, director of NASA’s Studies and Analysis Division. Cash doesn’t exactly flow like liquid hydrogen at space agencies in other countries, either.

NRC panels periodically take a step back and ask whether the world’s planetary exploration programs are on track. The list of goals that follows synthesizes their priorities.

1 Monitor Earth’s Climate
Amid all the excitement of buggying around Mars and peeling back the veil of Titan, people sometimes take the mundane yet urgent task of looking after our own planet for granted. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have really let it slide. In 2005 Janetos’s NRC panel argued that the “system of environmental satellites is at risk of collapse.” The situation then deteriorated further. NASA shifted $600 million over five years from Earth science to the shuttle and space station. Meanwhile the construction of the next-generation National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System ran seriously over budget and had to be downsized, stripping out instruments crucial to assessing global warming, such as those that measure incoming solar radiation and outgoing infrared radiation.

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Original Article

13 responses

  1. I don’t really believe that Bu$hco was being altruistic about funding NASA for interplanetary travel, but that the monies are truly earmarked for weapon technology and their placement in Earth orbit.

    The Chinese proved that high tech weaponry can be disabled with low-cost lasers that blind the “eyes” of the systems. So much for your tax dollars.

    I do believe the way to go is private enterprise investing in resource development and possibly giving “seed money” to individual groups who hope to set up mining operations on near-Earth asteroids and move them away from Earth. And making themselves rich in the process.

    Yeah, I know about the arguments concerning resource development, but human greed is a huge motivator and has been since the walled city-state and surrounding farms feeding them has been a way of life for 6000 years.


    For me, this is critical.

    I think and I believe, once life is discovered elsewhere, whether in our own solar system or beyond, how we view ourselves and the role of religion will change.

    Humanity will be forced to accept that we are not omnipotent.

  3. Agreed. Even discovery of alien microbes would be profound.

  4. Chris, religion gave us our first concept of extraterrestrial life!

    Read Genesis I, particularly verse 26. Job I, verses 6 and 7. Ezekiel 28. There are others that I can’t think of right now. What influenced Daniken and ilk in their theories?

    Before scripture, man was concerned primarily with killing his dinner and each other. (Guess that hasn’t changed much!) He invented various characters to explain nature’s happenings, and put them up in the sky to explain the stars. But to tell those people of that age there were actual BEINGS like them out there, (not gods, beings like them) would have bought you a place on top of a pile of burning sticks… to appease some god for making you crazy!

    The fact we have any intelligent appreciation for the existence of extraterrestrial life is on account of scripture, or influenced by it. The rightful interpretation of scripture is what is called for.

    We are, therefore they are. All of this talk of SEARCHING for outside life is laughable to any knowledgeable Christian. He or she KNOWS they exist, because the Word says they do.

  5. UH,

    There are those of us who believe the early wall carvings found in Egypt and in Mayan caves that depicted religious figures with halos were actually aliens wearing space suits.

    They were accepted to be religious as there was no concept for “ETs” or aliens at that time.

  6. Ancient Native American petroglyphs also depict creatures with halos/helmets around their heads. Powerful spirits/demons they were described as.

    The world is full of such paintings, which would lead to the logical conclusion of alien intelligence.

    Or people from the future studying ancient ancestors.

    Which isn’t so far-fetched anymore according to Günter Nimtz and Alfons Stahlhofen of the University of Koblenz, Germany. These two guys claimed to have sent photons faster than the speed of light through quantum tunneling.

    And anything that supposedly travels faster than the speed of light has time travel implications.


  7. Also check this out, retrocausality and an experiment to prove it exists.


    The Aboriginal People of Australia and the Japanese claim to be the descendents of people from the future. A friend of mine once said that most of the Japanese people at one time before contact with the West had only 28 teeth, not 32.

    Of course I can’t independently prove that, but I find it intriguing nonetheless.

  8. Günter Nimtz and Alfons Stahlhofen of the University of Koblenz, Germany, have been exploring a phenomenon in quantum optics called photon tunnelling, which occurs when a particle slips across an apparently uncrossable barrier. The pair say they have now tunnelled photons “instantaneously” across a barrier of various sizes, from a few millimetres up to a metre. Their conclusion is that the photons traverse the barrier much faster than the speed of light.

    Maybe, this barrier is the slip into subspace?

    Quantum physics says subspace is a fact. Remember, warp drive doesn’t move a ship through space faster than light – it’s a ship surrounded by an antimatter field that is traveling faster than light.

    Without the antimatter field, there’s no warp drive.

    I always see this as similar to the invisible ‘lift’ that surrounds the wing of a jet when it rotates and climbs into the air. It’s not the engine that’s propelling the jet upward, it’s the aerodynamic lift surrounding the surface of the wing that allows the bird to climb.

  9. Remember, also, that the ancients used hallucinogenic drugs to enable them to “see” the spirit world, and interact with it. The rock paintings done here in Saskatchewan, near St. Victor, were done by Indians that used drugs to help them see the spirit world. Flying shapes are noticeable in their work. I think all of us are familiar in some way with what can happen when you’re high on some kind of dope!

    Maybe we are looking for something that simply isn’t there, too. Perhaps, the paintings ARE records of spirit (angel) sightings, after all. In my mind, angels, being life forms from outer space, qualify as extraterrestrials just as much as any other being. I see no conflict there. What, because angels are associated with Christianity and scripture, they can’t be considered as ET’s?

    People that are associated with voodoo in Central America, speak of having to be drugged in order to communicate with the spirits. This is how they are “possessed”. Also, it is a known fact even in Christianity that (evil) spirits find it easier to take over a human being if their mind is dulled by drugs. In Christian teaching, a spirit can only take over a body if it is allowed or empowered to. Willpower comes into play, here. Drugs typically lower a person’s inhibitions, and would make them easy prey for a supernatural entity.

    I know for fact that angels, bad and good, exist. I have close friends that have been involved in exorcisms, and the things that went on cannot be explained naturally. I have had my own brushes with angels, some not very pleasant. It’s a part of the work I’m in, to have these encounters. Most people are not aware they’re around, but they are! They influence us more than you think!

    In my world, guys, the strange and paranormal are simply facts of life. No mystery at all!

  10. I couldn’t find any updates from the retrocausality experiment to see if it worked or not. I wonder if the detector was set up to detect the signal before it was sent! That’s what I would do.

    Quantum tunneling and entanglement are known phenomenon and can be proven in a lab. To do it on a macro scale is beyond our present science. But in a thousand years, who knows?

    The theory of traveling to the past is an old one and I find it fascinating because of so many legends and myths around the world about humanoid beings, gods and demi-gods in human form is just too coincidental and close together in shared lore that one has to believe that the past was visited by people from the future, not aliens from another planet(s).

    I think aliens are out there, just not human in shape and form.

    I know UH knows this Original Trek episode. Kirk and Spock beam down to a planet, it’s sun about to go nova. They find the planet to have had a civilization, but it’s abandoned. They enter a building like a library and there’s a librarian (android). The robot has no idea that they’re “aliens” and Kirk and Spock are sent back to different eras of the planet’s past. Later they surmise that’s how the planet’s inhabitants evacuated their world, by traveling back in their world’s time using the “Atava-chron”. The library is a huge time-machine!

    Perhaps, just perhaps, the very nature of retrocausality, quantum tunneling and entanglement makes them impracticle for use as an interstellar “drive”, but is ideal for remote viewing or even travel to past eras. Imagine a future era where mankind is remaking the Solar System and an irreversable accident happens, Earth and the Solar Colonies are about to be destroyed, or the Sun starts to go nova early because of a mistake. Traveling to different times in Earth’s past would be the only escape!

    Ever wonder why OOPArts are found in rock strata millions of years old that shouldn’t be there? Or footprints along side of dinasaur tracks? Flying vehicles carved on the Pyramids? Steel spheres in 2.5 billion year old rock? Vimanas? Crystal Skulls? Nazca Lines?

    I can go all day!

  11. I’ll bet you can’t! 😆 You’re probably in bed as I write!

    My particular denomination goes with a literal interpretation of scripture. Therefore, the dating of organic and mineral fossils by current methods, must be wrong. In fact, I have read that many secular scientists are wary of it’s accuracy. In a world as perforated by extraneous doses of radioactive fallout as ours, relying on radiometric means of analysis would be folly, yet this is what they are trying to sell us.

    There is mention in scripture about an advanced civilization pre-extant to ours, living on Earth. It was destroyed in a great flood. Darwinists, in attempting to explain the presence of fossils prefer the meteorite theory, and the foil guys nuclear bombardment, but however you look at it, the fossils we are finding (the ones not secreted away for fear they will debunk the theory of evolution) are not as old as we might think, and the relative sophistication of the OOPARTS could still be an indication of the previous civilization as mentioned in scripture.

    As for time travel, I think if it were possible at all, there would not be a world here now. Man does not now, or ever will, by analysis of his previous history, possess the ability to harness any kind of moral or intellectual restraint and stamina that would be required to manage this or any space/time continuum. With alternate time lines intersecting and bisecting all over the place, supreme chaos would result from irresponsible and simply bone-head attempts to alter or influence the past, present and future. The future where man would supposedly have advanced to the required status to effectively manage said continuum would not be enabled at all, we’d be extinct by our own hand long before that happened.

    The footprints are understood quite easily from the creationist viewpoint. I won’t need to explain that one, it’s self-evident.

    I can appreciate the romance attached to all of this, after all, I was a great fan of Daniken and sci-fi long before I received the baptism. There is also a great sense of loneliness attached to the realization that we are merely products of chance, and if we are somehow threatened by superior ET life forms or by our own hand, it is a sobering thought indeed to think we are alone and left to our own devices. By this scenario, we would be but a fleeting synapse on the universal stage, and would probably never be missed at best… at worst, never acknowledged as having existed at all! Anonymity, even futility bar none!

    I would suggest to anyone aspiring for greatness to be assigned to our race in the annals of the universal hive mind, that they take the high and direct road through the acknowledgement of their sovereignty as creations of God, rather than side-stepping through the rock-strewn and murky primordial cosmic crap game of chance as being the reason for our tenuous existence, by that scenario!

    C’mon, guys… you mean to say you’ve never aspired to be royalty?

  12. Yup, I was in bed sleeping. Us ol’ jarheads need our beauty sleep! 😉

    You sell out mankind far too short my friend, we are capable of greatness comparable to demi-gods. Or more often than not we are no better than the other creatures that live here.

    You have found life’s answers and meanings through Christianity my friend, I respect that. Most of my friends and family are Christians, so I understand what you are saying. I myself have felt “God’s hand” or an epiphany, I don’t know which. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be explained by the laws of physics yet, as all things must be governed by.

    But I feel Christianity hasn’t answered all of my questions. I have certain beliefs that parallel the Hindus, and archaelogical evidence supports their view more than the others. And I can’t believe all dating techniques that are used are all flawed, the laws of physics and probabilities say everything is at least 50% correct. Even God must follow his own rules when he’s in this Universe!

    We will never truly know all of the answers it looks like, unless we put faith in something I guess. But in the end, I don’t think God, gods, Vishnu, Buddha, Christ, computer simulation, post-Singularity project, Nirvana, quantum physics/mechanics are any different from each other. They are One and the Same.

  13. God has often ‘bent’ the rules, Marine. He can do that – He made them! Physics is a creation, too. God is not bound by His creation. He is bound by one, and one thing only… His character. Love. He cannot coerce anyone to submit to Him.

    A 50% accuracy rate isn’t good enough for this cowboy. Would you pay full price for a car with no engine, Marine? So much more for ‘facts’ that may effect your very life and existence here on Earth. My friend, you deserve the truth, and science, though well-meaning in most cases, isn’t equipped to give you that.

    Yes, that’s my opinion. And true, like Vger, we will need to step out of our comfort zone to really evolve. It’s like that with faith. I’ve learned that I need to learn so much more. I’m not perfect, and anyone that knows me knows that. You don’t have to be perfect to have faith, and faith is the requirement for salvation.

    Your faith lies with the created, not the Creator. You are a very thoughtful and intelligent man, my friend. Like Kirk, when challenged by Sarek to undertake a difficult mission, you will find a way. I know your kind… you won’t be denied!


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