From Centauri Dreams:
Tim Folger and Les Johnson (NASA MSFC) stood last summer in front of a nuclear rocket at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Johnson’s work in advanced propulsion concepts is well known to Centauri Dreams readers, but what he was talking to Folger about in an article for National Geographic was an older technology. NERVA, once conceived as part of the propulsion package that would send astronauts to Mars, had in its day the mantle of the next logical step beyond chemical propulsion. A snip from the story:
Johnson looks wistfully at the 40,000-pound engine in front of us… “If we’re going to send people to Mars, this should be considered again,” Johnson says. “You would only need half the propellant of a conventional rocket.” NASA is now designing a conventional rocket to replace the Saturn V, which was retired in 1973, not long after the last manned moon landing. It hasn’t decided where the new rocket will go. The NERVA project ended in 1973 too, without a flight test. Since then, during the space shuttle era, humans haven’t ventured more than 400 miles from Earth.
I’m looking forward to getting back to Huntsville and seeing Les, as well as a number of other friends in the interstellar community, at the 2nd Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop, coming up this February, where it may be that NERVA will have a place in the discussion of how we go about building a system-spanning civilization. You’ll want to give Folger’s article a look for comments not only from Les but Freeman Dyson and Andreas Tziolas (from the Icarus team), as well as Elon Musk, the 100 Year Starship’s Mae Jemison, and NASA’s Mason Peck.
Image: NERVA nuclear rocket being tested. (Smithsonian Institution Photo No. 75-13750).
In fact, there are a number of issues presented here that I’ll want to get back to later, but I can’t cover the rest of the story today. I’m all but out the door for a brief but intense period of Tau Zero work that will leave me no time to keep up regular posts here or even to moderate comments. More about this later, and more about Folger’s essay as well, and please bear with me through the temporary slowdown. Things should get back to normal by mid-day Thursday.
Speaking of NERVA, though, I’ll leave you with an interesting petition Gregory Benford alerted me to with regard to the development of nuclear thermal rockets, one that calls for an effort to:
Harness the full intellectual and industrial strength of our universities, national laboratories and private enterprise to rapidly develop and deploy a nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) adaptable to both manned and un-manned space missions. A NTR (which would only operate in outer space) will jump-start our manned space exploration program by reducing inner solar system flight times from months to weeks. This is not new technology; NTRs were tested in the 1960s (President Kennedy was a guest at one test). The physics and engineering are sound. In addition to inspiring young Americans to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a working NTR will herald a speedy and economical expansion of the human presence in the cosmos.
Going significantly beyond the Moon demands advances in propulsion of the kind that nuclear thermal rockets can deliver. Getting NERVA concepts out of mothballs and updating them with modern materials are necessary steps as we push out into the Solar System.
Going to Mars does require a serious upgrade to nuclear rocket technology, but somehow I don’t think the taxpaying public will go for funding research by the government, especially in this era of deficits and flat budgets.
This kind of research will probably be taken up by the private sector, perhaps with some seed money from the government, but only if there’s an economic need to exploit the resources of the Solar System, including planetary bodies like Mars.
It would be nice for such research like NERVA could be funded for the future of Mankind, but unfortunately that’s not how the world is set up now.
One can only hope.
Given the “big bang” of exoplanet discoveries over the past decade, I predict that there is a reasonable chance a habitable planet will be found orbiting the nearest star to our sun, the Alpha Centauri system. Traveling at just five percent the speed of light, a starship could get there in 80 years.
One Earth-sized planet has already been found at Alpha Centauri, but it is a molten blob that’s far too hot for life as we know it to survive.
The eventual discovery of a nearby livable world will turbo-boost interest and ignite discussions about sending an artificially intelligent probe to investigate any hypothetical life forms there.
But no nation will be capable of paying the freight for such a mission. Building a single starship would be orders of magnitude more expensive than the Apollo moon missions. And, the science goals alone could not justify the cost/benefit of undertaking such a gigaproject. Past megaprojects, such as Apollo and the Manhattan Project, could be justified by their promise of military supremacy, energy independence, support of the high tech industry or international prestige. The almost altruistic “we boldly go for all mankind” would probably stop an interstellar mission in its tracks.
The enormous risk and cost for starship development aside, future nations would also be preoccupied with competing gigaprojects that promise shorter term and directly useful solutions — such as fusion power plants, solar power satellites, or even fabrication of a subatomic black hole. However, the discovery of an extraterrestrial civilization at Alpha Centauri could spur an international space race to directly contact them and possibly have access to far advanced alien technology. (Except that it would take far advanced technology to get there in the first place!)
Microsystem technologist Frederik Ceyssens proposes that there should be a grassroots effort to privately organize and finance an interstellar mission. This idea would likely be received with delight at Star Trek conventions everywhere.
What’s the motivation for coughing up donations for an interstellar mission? Ceyssens says the single inspiring goal would be to establish a second home planet for humanity and the rest of Earth’s life forms by the end of the millennium. Such a project might be called “Ark II.”
“It could be our privilege to be able to lay the foundation of a something of unfathomable proportions,” Ceyssens writes.
He envisions establishing an international network of non-governmental organizations focused on private and public fundraising for interstellar exploration. The effort would be a vastly scaled up version of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature.
“Existing space advocacy organizations such as the Planetary Society or the British Interplanetary Society could play a central role in establishing the initiative, and gain increased momentum,” Ceyssens says. He proposes establishing a Noble foundation or a government wealth fund that can be fed with regular donations over, literally, an estimated 300 years it would take to have the bucks and technology to build a space ark.
ANALYSIS: Uniting the Planet for a Journey to Another Star
This slow and steady approach would avoid having a single generation make huge donations to the cause. Each consecutive generation would contribute some intellectual and material resources. A parallel can be found in the construction of the great cathedrals in late medieval Europe. An incentive might be that one of the distance descendants of each of the biggest donors is guaranteed a seat on the colonization express.
Unlike the British colonies in the great Age of Discovery, it is impractical to think of another star system as an outpost colony that can trade with Imperial Earth. There is no financial potential to investors.
Comparing an interstellar voyage to building cathederals because it could be a multi-generation project is a valid point, although it doesn’t seem to take into account advancing technology in robotics and rocket propulsion that can shorten the time needed to construct such a mission.
Actually, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if another Earth-type world was discovered at Alpha Centauri, an interstellar mission would be mounted by the end of the 21st Century by a James Cameron-type and it wouldn’t take 80 years to get there either!
Hat tip to Graham Hancock.com.
It’s been a while since I posted about Stanton T. Friedman, the most vocal proponent of the “nuts and bolts” theory of UFOs, i.e., actual spacecraft flown by an ETI (extraterrestrial intelligence). This is one of the original theories of UFO activity and was bolstered by the Roswell Incident in 1947 and kidnappings by alien entities, such as the Barney and Betty Hill incident in 1961, in which Friedman recently wrote about.
One of Friedman’s arguments for UFOs being spaceships is trace evidence being left at sights where UFOs have been witnessed, (burned plants, flattened plants, white ash left, trace radiation ,etc) to wit Friedman claims that these phenomena are evidence of nuclear energy being employed, which happens to be his stock and trade since he’s a nuclear physicist.
It’s been many years since Frieman’s been a practicing nuclear scientist, for over forty years he’s lectured on UFO activity. I don’t know if that’s been a lucerative career for him, but he’s on the road a lot. Recently he’s made a stop in Murfreesboro, Tennessee to lecture on the subject:
Evidence is overwhelming that intelligently controlled vehicles are visiting the Earth, which would lead to a cosmic Watergate if disclosed by the government, a nuclear physicist said Saturday in Murfreesboro.
Physicist Stanton T. Friedman said he has not seen an unidentified flying object but he hasn’t seen Tokyo either, even though he knows the city exists.
His beliefs are based on years of study and interviews with citizens who sighted UFOs.
Friedman, known as the Flying Saucer Physicist, made his remarks before 80 people during the Tennessee Mutual Unidentified Flying Object Network meeting at the Baymont Suites on Armory Drive. He is a former classmate of Carl Sagan.
During his lecture, Friedman outlined four conclusions:
• The evidence is overwhelming that Planet Earth is being visited by intelligently controlled extraterrestrial spacecraft. In other words, some UFOs are alien spacecraft. Most are not.
• The subject of flying saucers represents a kind of Cosmic Watergate, meaning that some few people in major governments have known since July, 1947, when two crashed saucers and several alien bodies were recovered in New Mexico, that indeed some UFOs are ET. As noted in 1950, it’s the most classified U.S. topic.
• None of the arguments made against the first two conclusions by a small group of debunkers such as Carl Sagan, Friedman’s University of Chicago classmate for three years, can stand up to careful scrutiny.
• The Flying Saucer story is the biggest story of the millennium: visits to Planet Earth by aliens and the U.S. government’s cover-up of the best data (the bodies and wreckage) for over 50 years.
The federal government is not close to disclosure about UFOs because it would have serious implications to technology and the economy. Church attendance would increase but the stock market would decrease. Fundamentalist church groups would be upset because it would be a contradiction to their doctrine.
Also, governments fear young people will feel allegiance to the world, not their own countries. Big powers would be afraid of loss of power.
UFOs are coming to Earth using energy the world doesn’t know about now, he said. Big oil companies might feel threatened if this technology were shared with mankind.
The more education a person has, the more likely they are to believe the Earth is being visited by UFOs, Friedman said.
Friedman first became interested in UFOs after reading a book in 1958. He worked for 14 years on the development of classified, advanced nuclear and space systems for GE, General Motors, Westinghouse, McDonnell Douglas and Aerojet General Nucleonics.
He gave his first lecture in 1967 and in the mid-1970s began the civilian investigation of the recovery of crashed flying saucers near Roswell, N.M.
Friedman spoke to Jesse Marcell Sr., who was the intelligence officer at a nearby air base. Marcell went to the crash site with a rancher and viewed the debris field. Jesse Marcell Jr. later wrote “Roswell Legacy” about his father’s experiences and his recollection of his father bringing home part of the debris.
Friedman interviewed Barney and Betty Hill, who claimed they were abducted Sept. 19, 1961 while driving in New Hampshire. They went under hypnosis separately and told about their experiences.
He has published more than 90 UFO articles, co-authored “Crash at Corona: The Definitive Study of the Roswell Incident” and the new 2008 “Flying Saucers and Science.”
During the lecture, Friedman showed members a power point presentation about the Roswell investigation in 1947.
The meeting was broadcast worldwide on short wave.
Max Mitchell of Kingsport, the state chief MUFON investigator, said there have been 96 reports in 2009 of UFOs investigated by MUFON as of November in Tennessee.
Participant Don Odom of Lewisburg, a retired Tennessee Wildlife Resources Officer, said his most memorable sighting while driving. He stopped his truck and a 150-foot long object floated by. It was 300 to 500 feet away and had 22 porthole lights and strobe lights on the top and bottom. It was red, white and blue.
He is now a MUFON field investigator.
Alyson Burgess, director of public relations for Tennessee MUFON headquartered in Memphis, said the mission statement of MUFON emphasizes the scientific study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity.
“We here at Tennessee MUFON take the mission statement to heart by galvanizing our current membership and helping it to grow,” Burgess said. “We may be part of a scientific finding that may benefit mankind.”
The MUFON organisation generally tries to stick to the scientific method to gather evidence of UFOs and I commend them for that for that’s the only way credibility of the subject is going to be gained.
So far it hasn’t happened, mainly because entertainment types have dominated the UFO meme and a carnival atmosphere have taken over serious convention gatherings.
Someday perhaps, knowledge will be shared among the population of the planet and it will be an eye-opener.
But not today.
The LHC (Large Hadron Collider) has started to smash proton beams together:
The low-energy collisions came after researchers circulated two beams simultaneously in the LHC’s 27km-long tunnel earlier on Monday.
The LHC is smashing together beams of protons to shed light on the cosmos.
Operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern), the LHC is the world’s largest machine and will create similar conditions to those present moments after the Big Bang.
Scientists will search for signs of the Higgs boson, a sub-atomic particle that is crucial to our current understanding of physics.
Although it is predicted to exist, scientists have not yet detected it.
Researchers working on the collider have said they are delighted with the quick progress made since the machine restarted on Friday.
“It’s a great achievement to have come this far in so short a time,” said Cern’s director-general Rolf Heuer.
“But we need to keep a sense of perspective – there’s still much to do before we can start the LHC physics programme.”
This is just the warm-up phase. The LHC is at the point where last time it broke down.
Is it unscientific to cross one’s fingers at this juncture?
Well, it’s official. The northern part of Mars once harbored an ocean:
The findings come just a week after Nasa, the American space agency, announced that they had found water on the surface of the Red Planet, raising hopes of finding life on Mars.
New maps showing that the valleys cover a larger area than previously appreciated has led scientists to believe there was once a single ocean covering much of planet’s northern half.
The extent of the Martian valleys, and what they mean for the chances of life on the planet, have been hotly debated since they were first discovered by the Mariner 9 Spacecraft in 1971.
Until now the only map of the networks was drawn by hand from satellite images in the 1990s.
These led some scientists to claim that the valleys were carved not by rivers but by “groundwater sapping”, small amounts of water springing or seeping out of the ground.
But the new evidence of the sheer scale of the network suggests that that is unlikely.
Scientists now believe that the rivers fed an ocean which covered around one third of the entire surface of Mars.
Their study also suggests that, billions of years ago, much of Mars had an “arid continental climate”, complete with rainfall, similar to that found in drier countries on Earth.
The new maps have been created by computer analysis of up to date satellite pictures.
In some regions of Mars the valley networks are almost as dense as they are on Earth, according to the findings, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Planets.
Prof Wei Luo, from Northern Illinois University in America, who led the research, said that it was now “difficult to argue against” the theory that rivers caused the erosion.
He added that the best explanation for the pattern of valleys was a large ocean in the northern half of the planet.
“All the evidence gathered by analysing the valley network on the new map points to a particular climate scenario on early Mars,” said Prof Luo.
“It would have included rainfall and the existence of an ocean covering most of the northern hemisphere, or about one-third of the planet’s surface.”
Dr Tomasz Stepinski, from the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, a co-author of the study, said: “The only other global map of the valley networks was produced in the 1990s by looking at images and drawing on top of them, so it was fairly incomplete and it was not correctly registered with current datum.
“Our map was created semi-automatically, with the computer algorithm working from topographical data to extract the valley networks.
“It is more complete, and shows many more valley networks.
“The presence of more valleys indicates that it most likely rained on ancient Mars, while the global pattern showing this belt of valleys could be explained if there was a big northern ocean.”
The latest research was also funded by NASA.
Two years ago a different team of scientists also suggested that Mars could once have been home to a large ocean, based on what appeared to be ancient coastlines on the surface of the planet.
Mars will likely have to wait another generation before NASA will even consider sending a manned crew to its surface.
Now Augustine Commission v2.0 suggested that NASA send instead an expedition in the 2020s to Phobos ( a Martian moon) and conduct robotic teleoperations from there to conduct reseach as a precursor to manned landings in the 2030s or ’40s.
Much is speculation on NASA’s future these days, but I suspect that the Pentagon already has a foothold on good ol’ Barsoom.
Virgin Galactic Satellite Company?
The company is working with UK space exploration company Surrey Small Satellites on plans to develop a launcher that could propel a 200kg satellite into space at roughly 10pc the cost of current technology.
Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic said: “We have the technology and the investment to put this together. We hope to develop a preliminary satellite launch vehicle ourselves, but will go to the wider market to produce something capable of carrying 200kg, which we believe is the sweet spot in the market.”
Mr Whitehorn said that the company hoped to have proposals to put to the market for the development of the satellite launch vehicle in the next four months.
Virgin Galactic has secured $100m of funding from Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments for the commercial satellite business on top of the $280m co-investment in its space tourism business announced last week. The extra investment would take Aabar’s stake in Virgin Galactic from 32pc to 38pc.
The satellite business will target the growing market for low-orbit earth observation and communication satellites.
According to Mr Whitehorn, it could also be used to start construction of server farms in space and to create mobile and broadband networks that could serve areas such as Africa that do not have good cable networks.
Although the development is in its early stages, it could provide a significant boost to the UK space industry, which according to Mr Whitehorn employs around 70,000 people and represents £2.5bn per year in net exports.
Mr Whitehorn said: “This is a hidden industry in the UK but a very important one. In terms of net exports it is bigger than the car industry.
“We hope to be able to use the development of our commercial satellite business to leverage off the tourism work we are already doing and to add real value to the UK economy.”
Was the 1908 Tunguska, Siberia explosion actually ‘Tesla Tech?‘
1908: Tesla repeated the idea of destruction by electrical waves to the newspaper on April 21st. His letter to the editor stated, “When I spoke of future warfare I meant that it should be conducted by direct application of electrical waves without the use of aerial engines or other implements of destruction.” He added: “This is not a dream. Even now wireless power plants could be constructed by which any region of the globe might be rendered uninhabitable without subjecting the population of other parts to serious danger or inconvenience.”(27)
In the period from 1900 to 1910 Tesla’s creative thrust was to establish his plan for wireless transmission of energy. Undercut by Marconi’s accomplishment, beset by financial problems, and spurned by the scientific establishment, Tesla was in a desperate situation by mid-decade. The strain became too great by 1906-1907 and, according to Tesla biographers, he suffered an emotional collapse.(28),(29)In order to make a final effort to have his grand scheme recognized, he may have tried one high power test of his transmitter to show off its destructive potential. This would have been in 1908.
The Tunguska event took place on the morning of June 30th, 1908. An explosion estimated to be equivalent to 10-15 megatons of TNT flattened 500,000 acres of pine forest near the Stony Tunguska River in central Siberia. Whole herds of reindeer were destroyed. Several nomadic villages were reported to have vanished. The explosion was heard over a radius of 620 miles. When an expedition was made to the area in 1927 to find evidence of the meteorite presumed to have caused the blast, no impact crater was found. When the ground was drilled for pieces of nickel, iron, or stone, the main constituents of meteorites, none were found down to a depth of 118 feet.
Several explanations have been given for the Tunguska event. The officially accepted version is that a 100,000 ton fragment of Encke’s Comet, composed mainly of dust and ice, entered the atmosphere at 62,000 mph, heated up, and exploded over the earth’s surface creating a fireball and shock wave but no crater. Alternative explanations of the disaster include a renegade mini-black hole or an alien space ship crashing into the earth with the resulting release of energy.
Associating Tesla with the Tunguska event comes close to putting the inventor’s power transmission idea in the same speculative category as ancient astronauts. However, historical facts point to the possibility that this event was caused by a test firing of Tesla’s energy weapon.
In 1907 and 1908, Tesla wrote about the destructive effects of his energy transmitter. His Wardenclyffe facility was much larger than the Colorado Springs device that destroyed the power station’s generator. Then, in 1915, he stated bluntly:
It is perfectly practical to transmit electrical energy without wires and produce destructive effects at a distance. I have already constructed a wireless transmitter which makes this possible. … But when unavoidable [it] may be used to destroy property and life. The art is already so far developed that the great destructive effects can be produced at any point on the globe, defined beforehand with great accuracy (emphasis added).(30) Nikola Tesla, 1915
He seems to confess to such a test having taken place before 1915, and, though the evidence is circumstantial, Tesla had the motive and the means to cause the Tunguska event. His transmitter could generate energy levels and frequencies capable of releasing the destructive force of 10 megatons, or more, of TNT. And the overlooked genius was desperate.
The nature of the Tunguska event, also, is consistent with what would happen during the sudden release of wireless power. No fiery object was reported in the skies at that time by professional or amateur astronomers as would be expected when a 200,000,000 pound object enters the atmosphere at tens of thousands miles an hour. Also, the first reporters, from the town of Tomsk, to reach the area judged the stories about a body falling from the sky was the result of the imagination of an impressionable people. He noted there was considerable noise coming from the explosion, but no stones fell. The absence of an impact crater can be explained by there having been no material body to impact. An explosion caused by broadcast power would not leave a crater.
This sounds amazingly like HAARP tech also.
Are the two related?
Nuclear Energy Redux
We can make a case for improving living standards through space exploration, but only if we take the necessary next steps. Today, our launch technologies are essentially half a century old, with only minor improvements along the way. In our attempt to bootstrap a spacefaring civilization, we need to be thinking long-term and improving our ways of getting out of Earth’s gravity well. On this score, Genta is a proponent of nuclear energy, believing it alone will allow our emergence as a true spacefaring species. Here he speaks from his perspective as a deeply practical mechanical engineer:
The use of nuclear energy for space propulsion in Earth orbit and beyond is just a matter of political will and only marginally of technology: sure, technological advances are required, but after more than 50 years of theoretical studies the ideas are clear and what are still needed are just details. Nuclear-thermal propulsion was demonstrated on the ground in the 1970s and could be used by now for deep-space propulsion. It is true that the performance of such systems can be improved well beyond those demonstrated up to now, but what we have could allow anyway a large improvement if compared with chemical propulsion.
But transitioning to next generation technologies — or catching up in terms of a developing but unused capability — is a demanding process. More on this:
What we really need is to have nuclear powered spacecraft for interplanetary missions, even if their performance were only marginally better than those of chemical propulsion: we need to gain experience in building and operating nuclear systems in space and to make people used to this technology. Performance of nuclear thermal propulsion will improve in due course, but if we wait to start until improved systems are available, everything will be delayed indefinitely.
Anyone advocating nuclear propulsion in today’s climate of opinion is sure to have a fight on his hands, but Genta believes the time for this fight is propitious. We’re already seeing signs that in the power industry, nuclear options are making a comeback in terms of public acceptance — the phrase ‘nuclear renaissance’ is in the air in some quarters, indicating that we may be ready to move past the era of kneejerk rejection of the nuclear idea. Funding remains a problem, but we come back again to having to sell our future in space one mission at a time, a laborious task but an essential one.
The space option is a long-term perspective, which will naturally be implemented in due time. Perhaps it is hard to accept that progress toward space must be done step by step, but trying shortcuts may be dangerous. In a situation of scarce funds a hard competition between missions and technologies should be avoided. The efforts should be concentrated in areas that may prove to be enabling technologies, even if this may result in postponing some important scientific results.
There is no more important enabling technology than one that would get us to low-Earth orbit cheaply. Genta noted the space elevator concept in his talk but expressed concerns about the size of the investment needed to build it. In any case, a space elevator raises its own safety concerns. He sees nuclear technology as an achievable solution to the low-Earth orbit problem that should not be put off in hopes of a vastly more expensive future solution. Political will is a tricky thing to summon, but making a sustained, long-term case for space as a key player in our economic future may help overcome the obstacle.
Paul makes an excellent case for the use of nuclear power and uses Genta’s paper to great effect, and I totally agree with the meme 100%.
Without utilizing nuclear energy of some sort, mankind will never make it off its’ planet in numbers large enough to colonize the Solar System, let alone interstellar space.
Somehow, I’m not too optimistic about our prospects lately.
Long before the quasar problem arose, though, Edwin Hubble himself was moved to suggest that inflation might not have taken place in the “early” Universe. He thought that new observational data was necessary in order to decide whether it was definitive. In 1947, he was waiting for the new 200-inch telescope at Mt. Palomar to be built:
“It seems likely that redshift may not be due to an expanding Universe, and much of the speculations on the structure of the universe may require re-examination… We may predict with confidence that the 200-inch will tell us whether the red-shifts must be accepted as evidence of a rapidly expanding Universe, or attributed to some new principle of nature.” (Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Vol. 59, No. 349).
Unfortunately, nothing definitive has resulted from astronomers working with the Hale telescope or the many space-borne telescopes that have been launched since then. Instead, redshift and inflation have become something of a dogma among the astronomical community and new, ever more arcane mathematical excursions have been added to the mix, as was discussed in part one.
Halton Arp was the lone voice among a crowd of scientists who conformed to the standard Big Bang model when he began to publish papers that did not demonstrate that inflation—or the Big Bang hypothesis—was valid. As Edwin Hubble predicted, Arp’s research using the 200-inch Hale reflector demonstrated “some new principle of nature.”
One of the more interesting images that substantiates the need for a revised cosmology is NGC 4319 and its companion quasar, Markarian 205. Arp called attention to the fact that the lower redshift galaxy is physically connected to the higher redshift quasar. A filament between the two objects violates the measured distances because no such connection should be possible. After all, NGC 4319 (from redshift calculations) is said to be about 600 million light-years from Earth, while Markarian 205 is around a billion light-years away.
If these objects are physically connected they must reside locally with each other at the same distance from Earth. The discrepancy in their redshifts has to be from some other factor not related to their distances—there must be something intrinsic to their makeup that leads to the deviation.
So the big question remains; “If these objects are physically attached, why are their red-shifts different, if red-shifts are indicative of distances?”
Is the paradigm of how our Universe works wrong?
Shades of the aether.
The mysterious UFO hovering over Arizona Monday has been identified. It isn’t a weather balloon and it doesn’t carry aliens.
The object was actually a massive 4,000-pound research balloon released from a NASA organization used to measure gamma ray emissions in high altitudes, according to Bill Stepp of the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas. The balloon was launched Sunday morning at about 7:30 a.m. from Fort Sumter, N.M., and was grounded at about 9 p.m. Monday just south of Kingman, Ariz.
Stepp said the balloon usually floats at an altitude of 130,000 feet, so on a clear day it can be seen for about 170 miles. He said the balloon has raised concern from Albuquerque to Phoenix.
This just goes to show that not all UFOs are balloons, but some balloons can be UFOs!
This was pretty obvious that this was a balloon though, no ambiguity here.
But this one isn’t quite so unambiguous:
CO, May 13, 2009 – Triangle looking object. bright light on each of the three points.
Just about to get into the car heading to work. I saw a bright light that appeared to be a planet or bright star.
I don’t ever recall seeing a planet in this location so took a quick photo. The sun had not come up yet.
Image: This witness photo was cropped and enlarged in an attempt to show the triangular-shaped object. MUFON photo.
The photo shows a light in the sky but upon zooming in a triangle shaped object can easily be seen.
There is a bright light on each of the three points of the triangle.
At first I did not think it was a UFO and still don’t but it’s very unusual looking.
I did not lose sight of it, I had to go to work and figured I had not photographed anything important until I looked at it later.
In addition I saw another object and photographed it. I have no idea what it is but it appears to be moving.
Photographs over the decades haven’t been considered good enough proof concerning unknown aerial phenomenon.
How is it different than the Arizona balloon photo though? Other than the fact it was obviously a balloon, what makes any other photo of an anomaly “false” if we can’t identify what an object is?
Thunderbolts and rocky, wet planets:
A recent ESO (European Southern Observatory) press release announced that the “lightest exoplanet” ever discovered is orbiting a nearby red dwarf star. The planet has less than twice the mass of the Earth, and its “year” is about three days long. It is, “very likely, a rocky planet.”
Another planet in the same system orbits within the star’s “habitable zone” and “could even be covered by a large and deep ocean.”
Let’s back away from the philosophical chasm over which these speculations are suspended and check what’s anchoring the cantilevered assumptions that support them. What astronomers observed were variations in the spectrum of the light from the star. The rocks and oceans and habitable zones extend from assumptions about how gravity organizes matter. Gravity extends from assumptions about mass. Mass, it turns out, is simply not anchored.
Astronomy is founded on a sensory bias: we see motion. With a few comparison tools—a ruler and a clock—we can measure position and distance and can directly calculate velocity and acceleration. Sight is our only “astronomical” sense. All others are “local,” terrestrial: for example, we sense force with muscles and measure it with hands-on comparison tools such as springs and balances. Hence, the physics of early astronomy—of Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Kepler—was kinematics, motion without muscle.
I’m not a physicist, so I can’t comment on the Thunderbolts post other than say that “matter is plasma” is true because plasma has been called the “fourth state” of matter because super-high temperatures required; after solid, liquid and gas.
So is matter a condition of plasma/electromagnetism?
I don’t know, but conditions like the Hutchison Effect could possibly be explained this way.
Adam Crowl at Crowlspace dug up something about a paper Carl Sagan wrote in 1963 concerning advanced interstellar civilizations visiting each other in person in Bussard ramjets. Needless to say that the mainstream of the day took umbrage to it.
Unfortunately bussard ramjets turned out to be a better braking system than a constant acceleration one, but Adam adds a twist onto the idea:
A lot of arguing over interstellar travel, alien life and the Fermi Paradox has happened since then. Can we conclude anything from all the arguments? One positive thing is that interstellar travel can be achieved at relativistic speeds even if interstellar ramjets can’t be made to work. All sorts of beamed-energy designs mean that it’s an unreasonable objection to visits by aliens to claim interstellar travel is impossible. It’s not.
But could it be made even easier than we imagine? One technology that would enable easy interstellar travel – in so far as packing a closed-loop environment or a lot of frozen meals is “easy” – would be total annihilation drives. Frank Tipler’s current formulation of the Omega Point Theory requires the invention of macroscopic sphaleron generating… somethings to annihilate matter and in one version he proposes the conversion of baryons into lots of neutrinos. This would allow the drive to be operated without melting down the local topography with terawatts of gamma-rays – in otherwords it could launch from the surface of a planet, even your own backyard.
Once you’re in space what else is liable to impede one’s progress? Interstellar matter. So turn a problem into a virtue and Bussard scoop the lot into one’s mass annihilator. Thus a ravening proton-storm becomes one’s neutrino-beam to the stars. The Galaxy is yours.
Except… well there is the travel-time issue.
The time travel in this case is Einstein’s Special Relativity Theory that points out the faster an object approaches the speed of light, an observer on the object would notice that time slows down relative to the outside environment. Adam has the formulas to prove it.
As far as I’m concerned, if interstellar travel is possible in the future, so could alien civilizations have visited us in the past and possibly now.
The Fermi Paradox is over-rated.
Battlestar Galactica as an Jungian archetype?
…are we a race of people that has roots are out there, somewhere beyond the milkyway on worlds unknown, of a time long forgotten, of a people long dead? Wouldn’t our children say the same if suddenly the earth were destroyed and only a few of us made it out there, only to settle on another world, to begin anew?
I’m not gullible and I don’t take science fiction shows and add them to my reality. But I do always and often wonder where all ideas and stories begin, and the ideology behind BSG is as old as humanity itself. So, why tell the same tale over and over again in different incarnations if not to serve a purpose? What purpose would that be? To help us to remember, perhaps?
The author makes a point; who, or what, are we?
In the first psychology class I took in college 25 years ago, the professor stressed that human beings are greater than the sum of their parts.
Are we digging up images from our past and just giving them modern clothes to wear?
Cold fusion isn’t an archetype, I think.
But that doesn’t stop the ever present pursuit for it:
A U.S. Navy researcher announced today that her lab has produced “significant” new results that indicate cold fusion-like reactions.
If the work by analytical chemist Pamela Mosier-Boss and her colleagues is confirmed, it could open the door to a cheap, near-limitless reservoir of energy.
That’s a big if, however.
Today’s announcement at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society comes in the same location – Salt Lake City – as one of science’s most infamous episodes, the announcement 20 years ago by chemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann that they had produced cold fusion.
Unlike nuclear energy reactors and bombs, which split atoms, the atoms in stars such as the sun fuse together to produce spectacular amounts of energy, so much so that we are warmed by a stellar furnace 93 million miles away.
Devising a fusion-based source of energy on Earth has long been a “clean-energy” holy grail of physicists.
Present day research into fusion is high-tech intense and requires a lot of energy to maintain, often more goes in than it generates. That’s why we don’t have fusion reactors dotting the country-side and along sources of water yet; it’s too inefficient.
But, if a sustainable fusion reaction can be produced without all of the supermagnets required, less energy could be put in and more energy can be produced.
Time will tell I guess.
Hat tip to The Anomalist
More on Project Aurora, from Great Britain:
One of the key themes to emerge from these papers is the curious Aurora spyplane saga. This is linked with a little-known set of colour photographs, apparently taken in the Scottish highlands, which appear to show a large diamond-shaped UFO shadowed by military jets.
From the late 1980s the British press was buzzing with rumours about a stealthy, cutting-edge aircraft that some experts believed was an advanced US ‘black project’. Codenamed Aurora, the spy plane was said to be capable of hypersonic speed. Alleged sightings frequently made headlines in UFO magazines and in aviation weeklies such as Janes’ Defence. But the US Defence Department always denied such a project existed and two decades have passed without any real evidence that it ever did.
The Eurozone nations decided last year to start disclosing information on investigated UFO sightings from the late 1940s on through to the 1980s. This has produced a wealth of documents (largely redacted) and corresponding photographs.
Except the good ol’ US of A naturally, which still remains ominously silent on all things ‘UFO-ish.’
Project Aurora was a 1980s military effort obviously and if such a thing exists (existed?), the United States Pentagon/DARPA most certainly has something even better than that now-a-days and is keeping its cards close to the vest.
You wouldn’t want a potential rival know what you have in your hand/arsenal, would you?
Hat tip to The Daily Grail
“U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed a funding boost for NASA that provides more support for Earth sciences missions and aviation, while keeping the agency’s three space shuttles on target for a 2010 retirement.
NASA would receive $18.7 billion for the 2010 fiscal year under the budget proposal released by the White House on Thursday. That would be an increase from the $17.2 billion NASA received in 2008 and represents an overall boost of more than $2.4 billion for the space agency when coupled with the additional $1 billion it received in the recent economic stimulus bill.
The budget calls on NASA to complete International Space Station construction, as well as continue its Earth science missions and aviation research. Yet it also remains fixed to former President George W. Bush’s plan to retire the space shuttle fleet by 2010 and replace them with the new Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, which would fly astronauts to the space station and return them to the moon by 2020.
The outline does make room for an extra shuttle flight beyond the nine currently remaining on NASA’s schedule, but only if it is deemed safe and can be flown before the end of 2010.
“The $18.7 billion budget proposal for 2010 is fiscally responsible and reflects the administration’s desire for a robust and innovative agency aligned with the president’s goals of advancing our nation’s scientific, educational, economic and security interests,” said Acting NASA Administrator Chris Scolese in a statement. “This budget ensures NASA maintains its global leadership in Earth and space research, and it advances global climate change studies, funds a robust program of human and robotic space exploration, allows us to realize the full potential of the International Space Station, advances development of new space transportation systems, and renews our commitment to aeronautics.”
There goes the opinion that Mr. Obama will gut the space program. He proved a lot of folks wrong. Myself included.
The budget isn’t set in stone though. Congress has yet to approve the bill.
From the Cult of SETI:
“In the 1970s, a small group of Canadian astronomers thought they had a method for finding planets around other stars. Their intention was not to see the planets directly, but to measure the planets’ effect on their host stars; the wobble that their host stars would have as a consequence of the planets existence. The Canadians built the requisite technology, a very sophisticated spectrometer, and looked at a half dozen stars. They didn’t find any planets. However, had they not given up so quickly, had they had a certain amount of persistence and looked at more candidate stellar systems, they would have been the first to find planets orbiting other stars. As it happens, that honor went to a couple of Swiss astronomers in 1995. It’s been 13 years since the first planet around an ordinary star was found. 51Peg was that planet, and it caused a sensation. Since then there have been over 300 planets found. That’s a lot of planet pleasure.
As those of you who are familiar with this field are aware, many of these planets are very large and very close to their suns. They are so-called hot Jupiters. They have other unfortunate properties that suggest that while there are a lot of worlds out there, many of them hardly seem like the kind of worlds with a chance for life. But that situation is changing as the data continue to come in.
There is a strong tendency for planets we find to be very close to their stars, but that’s the result of an obvious selection effect. The planets that are close to their stars are the easiest to detect.”
This is an interview with Tori Hoehler by Seth Shostak, SETI scientist and UFO debunker.
Read the mainstream version of finding ETL/ETI and form your own conclusions.
Hey, I enjoy these interviews!
And why is SETI called a “cult” by certain people?
Because it is based on a belief that is yet to be proven, i.e., that the Universe has other intelligent species and that they’ll communicate by radio waves.
Anyone who thinks that alien life would communicate by other means, or that they already might be investigating Earth, are immediately and rabidly attacked as delusional, and thusly, heretics:
PH: But while the SETI people are telling the UFO people, “you don’t have any evidence,” the UFO people are telling the SETI people, “you have even less evidence than we do.”
SS: Yes, that’s quite right, but we don’t claim that we’ve found them. That’s a big difference. They do claim that they’re here.
PH: Don’t you think that the tremendous ridicule that surrounds the UFO subject really prevents academics from looking into it?
SS: There may be something to that. It may apply to 90 percent of scientists. But scientists are well aware of many instances in which something that was very radical turned out to be true. It happens over and over again in science; that’s the way science makes the big steps. So I don’t think they would all be scared off by the fact that it’s considered radical or non-mainstream. Continental drift was not very popular at the beginning, but it gained adherents rather quickly. As soon as you have a trickle of evidence, that trickle turns into a torrent, and then what was radical yesterday is today mainstream. Now I don’t see that happening with the UFO phenomenon. ( link )
And of course, competing for private funds is there also as the interviewer points out.
I don’t know, I think the whole thing amusing and good theater! Wouldn’t it be ironic that both groups could be right in their own way?
With quantum entanglement and our increasing prowess in long range sensing/viewing technology, couldn’t we be spied upon/visited by non-corporeal entities?
Truth is always stranger than assumptions/theories/fiction. 8)
Other posts comparing SETI with religions:
As the time ticks down to the end of one of America’s most reviled regimes, (Carter’s Administration is thrown in with this bunch, but I can’t see why when compared to Bu$hco’s) , the US is ready to inaugurate its first African-American President, a true novelty given the nation’s history, but probably inevitable none-the-less.
History is my profession (more like a hobby) by training, so I’m interested in the symbolism that pervades the incoming Obama Administration and how it might relate to future of the US.
Symbolism? What? How could the future President Obama be related to esoteric symbolism in any way, much less the relationship thereof?
According to Chris Knowles of The Secret Sun , Obama’s “election” might actually have been preordained as a reincarnation of the “Osiris Cult” and is full of Masonic “Phoenix Rising” symbolism.
Crazy? Maybe. Knowles isn’t the only one to point out the obvious. Check this out at Red Ice Creations. Change? The Velvet Glove instead of The Mailed Fist maybe.
Not to mention the Inauguration is taking place after The Martyred Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nationally recognised birthday. Osiris/Christ Resurrection and Phoenix Rising symbolism here folks? Sweet syncronicity!
Even if one doesn’t believe in esoteric relationships, syncronicity and symbolism, it doesn’t matter one bit if you’re just one of the masses.
Because the people who are actually pulling the strings of finance, politics, religious institutions and yes, science, surely do!