LINKS: EXTRA READING: ERRATA: of course Francis Crick was tripping on LSD when he discovered DNA.

Read more


Jill Tarter: 30 Seconds On Why We Search For Aliens

We should be searching for life beyond the earth because we want to understand what the laws of chemistry and physics have produced in this universe. Are we the only life there is? Are we the only intelligent species, or are we one of many? How do we fit in? It’s a very old question, humans have asked it, and we want to find the answer.

It is that simple and profound.

Cosmic Anthropology for Beginners.

Read more

Many of the astronauts that White interviews argue that the experience would be a powerful political tonic, if you could somehow impel it upon the rulers of the planet. As Joseph Allen, a veteran of several Space-Shuttle flights, said:

A steady stream of world leaders should go into orbit. It would have a profound affect on their wisdom …. It is similar to the time of Copernicus; we have a broadened view of our place in the universe, and more educated view.

In his book Moondust, the author Andrew Smith argues that the moon landing was in some respects an art project, as gesture “as primitive as song”. We went there not so much to see the moon as to gaze back at Earth. It was “a unique opportunity to look at ourselves,” he writes, an accomplishment less of technology than of aesthetics, culture, and spirituality. “How madly, perfectly human.” Many of the astronauts White interviews in The Overview Effect lament the difficulty they have in putting their new perspective into words, of communicating its sheerly alien quality to other people. Gemini X astronaut Michael Collins concluded that that the ideal crew for an Apollo mission would have been a “philosopher, a priest, and a poet.” (“Unfortunately,” he added, “they would kill themselves trying to fly the spacecraft.”)

Read more

Are ‘Super-Earths’ and ‘Habitable Zones’ Misleading Terms?

The “burdensome” problem for the scientific community in describing a habitable zone is that scientists know little about where life forms, Marcy said.

“There’s a split brain that we scientists have right now. Half of our brain says there’s a habitable zone and it lies between a region inward of where the Earth is and a region outside the Earth’s orbit [for stars our size],” he said. “The other half of our brain knows perfectly well that excellent destinations for our search for life lie elsewhere in the Solar System.”

Are ‘Super-Earths’ and ‘Habitable Zones’ Misleading Terms?

Read more "Are ‘Super-Earths’ and ‘Habitable Zones’ Misleading Terms?"

Eventually, commercial moon landers may help carry a diverse library of cultural and biological records to the lunar surface, where they would be preserved in case Earth suffers a pandemic plague, nuclear holocaust or lethal asteroid strike.

The first artefacts to shoot for the moon could be three religious and philosophical texts. The Torah on the Moon project, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has been courting private firms to deliver a handwritten Jewish scroll, the Sefer Torah, to the lunar surface. If they succeed, later flights will carry Hindu scriptures called the Vedas and the ancient Chinese philosophical work, the I-Ching.

Each document will be housed in a space-ready capsule designed to protect it from harsh radiation and temperature changes on the moon for at least 10,000 years.

The texts would join a Bible left on the moon in 1971 by Apollo 15 commander David Scott. The red leather Bible sits on the control console of an Apollo moon buggy.

“I don’t think these religions are claiming the moon. It’s about saving our culture, saving the humanities,” says Naveen Jain, CEO of the California-based X Prize hopeful Moon Express.

Jain thinks future projects should find a representative sample of humanity, perhaps a million people, take their DNA and store it on the moon. “So in case of an asteroid strike that wipes us out like the dinosaurs, humanity can be saved.”

Jain’s idea may become a reality: New Scientist has learned that a UK-based venture is quietly developing a mission to store human, animal and plant genomes on the moon – although flaws in this plan are turning up in seed banks on Earth (see “Banked seeds are plants out of time”).

Such off-planet backup missions are proliferating, says Joanne Wheeler, a lawyer specialising in space issues at CMS Cameron McKenna in London. “There are several missions planned to put religious and spiritual icons on the moon and also to preserve some trace of humanity on it,” she says.

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins says that the moon could even become a “cosmic tombstone” if humans become extinct.

“We should be using it to store the best humanity has ever had to offer, like the works of Michelangelo, Beethoven, Schubert and Shakespeare,” he says.

Meanwhile, Roger Launius at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC thinks it apt that such space flight projects should be tied to religion, because space flight advocacy itself has many of the hallmarks of a religion. “There is salvation theology, in that they believe the human race will be saved by space flight’s ability to make us a multi-planetary species,” he says. “And we have pilgrimages at gatherings like launches, which are like a euphoric religious experience.”

Read more

And now, a message from Station Management… Just in case you’re wondering who the audience really is for Multiverse TV Somewhere around and a bit past Type 3, you are essentially talking about all-powerful, multi-dimensional beings of pure light. And given the relatively brief timescales involved, the Kardashev Scale actually provides a neat solve for The […]

Read more

NASA plans a robotic mission to search for life on Europa

No. No. No. No. No!!!

Posthuman Flight Club rule #1: ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE.

Gorram pseudomasonic NASA folk trying to break my hyperreal spirituality. Hell no.

NASA plans a robotic mission to search for life on Europa

Read more "NASA plans a robotic mission to search for life on Europa"

Researchers at Caltech and several other institutions have used a new technique to analyze the gaseous atmospheres of such extrasolar planets and have made the first detection of water in the atmosphere of the Jupiter-mass planet orbiting the nearby star Tau Booetis.

With further development and more sensitive instruments, this technique could help researchers learn about how many planets with water — like Earth — exist within our galaxy.

Although the technique promises to augment how planetary scientists analyze the properties of extrasolar planets, it has limitations, the researchers say.

For example, the technique is presently limited to so-called “hot Jupiter” gas giant planets like Tau Booetis b — those that are large and orbit very close to their host star.

“The technique is limited by the light-collecting power and wavelength range of the telescope, and even with the incredible collecting area of the Keck mirror on the high, dry summit of Mauna Kea we can basically only analyze hot planets that are orbiting bright stars, but that could be expanded in the future as telescopes and infrared spectrographs improve,” Lockwood says.

In the future, in addition to analyzing cooler planets and dimmer stars, the researchers plan to continue looking for and analyzing the abundance of other molecules that might be present in the atmosphere of Tau Booetis b.

“While the current state of the technique cannot detect Earth-like planets around stars like the Sun, with Keck it should soon be possible to study the atmospheres of the so-called ‘super-Earth’ planets being discovered around nearby low-mass stars, many of which do not transit,” Blake says.

“Future telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will enable us to examine much cooler planets that are more distant from their host stars and where liquid water is more likely to exist.”

The findings appear in the Astrophysical Journal Letters in a paper titled “Near-IR Direct Detection of Water Vapor in Tau Booetis b.”

Read more

The irregular rims of these craters reveal that they are not the result of impacts by objects from space but rather have resulted from the act of creating the faces themselves. These art objects, which Basiago has named orb craters, are numerous in the ESA image. “Paranormal researchers will recognize in these works of art the faces found inside of orbs in the orbs phenomenon on Earth. Faces like these are sometimes found staring silently out from the orbs that are captured by digital cameras. The ubiquitous nature of these land forms in the vicinity of Ruell Vallis indicates how… the surface of Mars has been terra-formed into works of art that show a child-like simplicity and spontaneity.” One of these orb craters can be seen on the neck of a large terra-form featuring a barking dog lunging toward the channel of the Ruell Vallis. (via EXOPOLITICS: Politics, Government, and Law in the Universe: A “New Cydonia” of ancient extraterrestrial monuments found on Mars)

Read more