Connect with us

Space

How To Tell The World You’ve Discovered An Alien Civilisation

Published

on

After countless fictional scenarios of humans making contact with alien civilisations, you’d think we’d be prepared for actually discovering one. But finding intelligent life beyond the Earth is clearly likely to be one of the most shattering moments in the history of our species.

So if you’ve just discovered an alien civilisation, how should you go about breaking the news? This is a momentous task, and I have been involved in developing some guidelines for the scientists who are involved in searching for extraterrestrial life. The research is due to be published in the journal Acta Astronautica.
With the millions of dollars currently being invested in initiatives such the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), some would argue it is only a matter of time before we do come across intelligent life.
I’m personally not convinced, but pessimism isn’t enough to abandon a search. The scientific method requires us to test our hypotheses with observation and experiment – regardless of our initial prejudices.
If we ever do find signs of intelligent life, I don’t expect it to be a message from an alien civilisation or a landing party.
It will probably be something a little more prosaic, such as signs of artificial pollution in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. It may even take the form of enormous structures built in space to collect energy and provide habitats.
I showed in some work a few years ago that we would be able to see such megastructures in exoplanet transit data, such as that gathered by the Kepler Space Telescope.
True enough, Kepler did see weird objects such as Tabby’s Star, KIC 8426582, with features similar to those predicted would come from artificial structures. But like most astronomers, I’m still a sceptic – a swarm of comets around Tabby’s Star producing incredible changes in brightness is still the more sensible interpretation.
What’s really encouraging about this, though, is that it shows SETI can be done “on the cheap”, taking advantage of publicly available astronomical data to search for aliens. For a pessimist like me, this seems like a much more appropriate strategy.
The flurry of internet activity surrounding Tabby’s star – blogs, tweets, news stories and the Kickstarter campaign to encourage the public to support further observations – demonstrate how different the world has become since SETI began around 60 years ago.

Super-connected world

If evidence of extraterrestrial life ever came to us from the stars, what should the discoverers do next? This is something astrobiologists have pondered for decades.
In 1989, a committee of SETI scientists even drew up a set of post-detection protocols to guide scientists through the steps after discovery.
These steps include getting your colleagues to verify the discovery, and notifying “relevant national authorities” (precisely who this means is unclear to me), followed by the scientific community and then the public via a press release.
However, this set of guidelines was written before the age of the internet. Back then, we got our news via the paper or the TV screen. Even 24-hour news was in its infancy.
Nowadays, the news world is a fragmented sphere of articles placed on our devices and in our feeds via a variety of social media tools, shared by our friends and family. Data flows extremely rapidly, and easily gets amplified and distorted.
That is why my colleague Alexander Scholz and I decided to take another look at the issue, asking how the SETI post-detection protocols should change to reflect our super-connected world.
We quickly realised that scientists need guidance before starting the experiment, let alone after making a detection. It is now common practice for new scientific projects to set up a blog about their work, and this will be essential for SETI.
The blog should include a clear description of what a certain project will do, and what the criteria are for a successful detection, a false positive and no detection. This would help journalists and the public alike to avoid misinterpreting the results.
The individuals involved need to be credible communicators of their work, so maintaining good digital presence in the early stages is very helpful. We also recommend they update their security settings to protect against nefarious individuals broadcasting their personal information – which is sadly a real risk these days.
If a team is lucky enough to make even an unconfirmed, tentative detection, they must be sure to have nothing to hide. Leaks are unavoidable, and alarmingly rapid. Nobody wants an “aliens found” story that turns out to be false. The best way to do this is to publish data immediately.
If it’s very clear that the detection is unconfirmed, and natural or man-made causes can’t be ruled out, then there is no room for conspiracy theorists to wail about the scientists’ collusion with the men in black (an accusation flung at me more than once). It also gives other scientists the chance to check the work, and verify the detection.
Of course, we’ve all seen some of the comments on YouTube or other media sites – there are numpties everywhere, and there is seemingly no stopping good scientific discussion being twisted into inexplicable diatribes and vile hate speech. Therefore, the most important piece of advice for scientists is to be involved in the conversation.
If a publicised detection turns out to be false, the team should immediately make a public statement making it clear that no aliens have been discovered and why. They should even publish a paper retracting it if they have to.
But whoever discovers intelligent life should also prepare for it to swallow up the rest of their life – there isn’t going to be time for much else. Their new job will instead be to help humanity come to terms with its new identity, as just one of multiple intelligent civilisations in the universe.
Duncan Forgan, Research Fellow, University of St Andrews

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Continue Reading

Space

Vatican Knows More About UFOs Than Intelligence Agencies

Published

on

By

Are you still sure that intelligence agencies and scientists know more about extraterrestrial civilizations than anyone else? In fact, science centers, the CIA, and individuals like Elon Musk and Bill Gates know less about UFOs and alien visitations than the Pope. You may be surprised to learn that the Vatican has its own space exploration program.

The Vatican Observatory is an astronomical research and educational institution supported by the Holy See. Originally based in the Roman College of Rome, the Observatory is now headquartered in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, and operates a telescope at the Mount Graham International Observatory in the United States.

Indirect confirmation that the Vatican is “in the know” are the statements of Pope Francis and his predecessor about extraterrestrial life.

Cultists have repeatedly pointed out that people will soon get acquainted with extraterrestrial intelligence, learn more about extraterrestrial civilizations. And there is no doubt that the Vatican takes extraterrestrials more than seriously. For example, the possibility of converting them to Catholicism has been announced.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t know how to answer that,” the Pope replied, explaining that while scientific knowledge has so far ruled out the possibility of other thinking beings in the universe, “until America was discovered, we thought it didn’t exist, and instead it did,” Pope Francis said.

“But in any case, I think we should stick to what scientists tell us, still aware that the Creator is infinitely greater than our knowledge.”

Francis said the one thing he is sure of in the universe and the world we live in is that it is “not the result of chance or chaos,” but rather of divine intelligence.

Yes, the Vatican’s research power pales in comparison to NASA’s latest technological advances, but the facts speak for themselves.

Until the 19th century, this religious organization was known for opening astronomical observatories and scientific schools where young and able scientists were trained in the technique of observing space.

The Vatican Observatory, which still exists today, is one of the oldest and most authoritative on a planetary scale.

But that’s not all. It turns out that the Vatican also has a space program that, according to experts, is not much inferior to the program of the same NASA.

The Vatican has quite modern and powerful telescopes and other observation equipment. The largest telescope observes the universe in the infrared range and significantly exceeds the capabilities of analogues.

And another interesting fact to ponder. While the Vatican conducts space research, more and more people on Earth begin to believe in the reality of extraterrestrial life.

According to statistics, in 1990 this number was estimated at 27% of the world’s population. In 2000 it increased to 33%. Now it is approaching the 65% mark. Thus, the Vatican’s awareness of extraterrestrial life can be seen as a “fire of knowledge”.

Jesuit Father Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, said Christians should consider alien life as an “extraterrestrial brother” and part of God’s creation.

Father Funes said it is difficult to rule out the possibility that other intelligent life exists in the universe, and he noted that a field of astronomy is now actively searching for “biomarkers” in the spectral analysis of other stars and planets.

These potential forms of life could include those that do not require oxygen or hydrogen, he said. Just as God created multiple forms of life on Earth, he said, there may be multiple forms of life throughout the universe.

“This is not contrary to faith, because we cannot place limits on God’s creative freedom,” he said.

“To use the words of St. Francis, if we consider earthly creatures to be ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters,’ why can’t we also speak of an ‘extraterrestrial brother,'” he said.

According to some scientists, the goals and objectives of church officials have changed somewhat. Now they are clearly focused on preparing humanity for an encounter with extraterrestrials.

Continue Reading

Space

Potential ‘portal’ discovered that could be a wormhole in our galaxy

Published

on

By

Science has long been interested in the so-called wormholes. These are tunnels in space-time, giving, so far only theoretically, the possibility of instantaneous movement between galaxies.

Recently, for the first time, it turned out that in our Galaxy there is an object similar to a wormhole. It is located at a distance of 1566 light years from us, by space standards within easy reach.

Portals between universes or galaxies are theoretically possible, their existence does not contradict the laws of physics. Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen stated this back in the 1930s.

Later, several theories appeared, in their own way explaining the likelihood of such travel using the so-called wormholes.

One such hypothesis compares a wormhole and a black hole. The entrances to them as a region of powerful gravity are very similar. Based on this analogy, scientists hope that tunnels in space-time can be detected, including using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), the main purpose of which is to observe black holes.

EHT is a complex of radio telescopes located in different parts of the world. With his help, several discoveries have already been made, last year he found a black hole in the center of our native galaxy

In general, there are supposedly millions of such black holes in the Milky Way, and most importantly, some of them are potentially the mouths of wormholes.

Astrophysicists in the United States and Germany recently discovered the first such object. This is Gaia BH1, an object ten times the size of the Sun, located 1566 light-years from Earth.

Gaia BH1 has a Sun-like star orbiting it. Usually, in such binary systems, the black hole is “fed” by the star, simultaneously emitting powerful X-rays. But this black hole does not attract matter to itself and does not radiate anything. Astronomers conventionally call such mysterious objects “sleeping” black holes. They have never before been found in our galaxy.

This is either a “sleeping” black hole, or a perfectly suitable candidate for the “role” of a wormhole. The discovery was made possible by the highly functional Gaia space telescope and the ground-based Gemini telescopes.

Traditionally, a classical wormhole is represented as a three-dimensional tube in a curved two-dimensional space. This does not contradict general relativity, but most scientists believe that such tunnels are only stable if they are filled with exotic matter of negative energy density, which creates a strong gravitational repulsion and prevents the cavity from collapsing.

However, there are also other opinions. For example, Pascal Koiran, professor of computer science at Ecole Normale Superieure of Lyon, published calculations according to which exotic matter is not needed to pass through the wormhole at the level of elementary particles.

Traveling through a wormhole could look like a surreal and disorienting experience. It may appear as if you are traveling through a tunnel of bright light and time is passing by quickly.

You may feel as if you are being transported from one place to another without actually moving. As you move through the wormhole, you could experience changes in gravity or shifts in the space-time continuum.

The inside of the tunnel may appear to be made out of strange and exotic particles, with colors and shapes that seem out of this world. In some cases, the tunnel may even be filled with a mysterious form of energy that seems to be alive.

Wormholes were and remain today the only chance for interstellar flights. So scientists will continue their research, no matter how fantastic they may seem.

Continue Reading

Trending

Generated by Feedzy