Bill Nye: We May Discover Life on Europa

This plan does not involve landing on Europa and therefore meets the approval criteria from Posthuman Flight Club.

Start sending your empty coffee cups to NASA now, or something.

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Will Humans Achieve a Type 1 Civilization by 2100? | h+ Magazine         

By 2100 A.D. as Kaku predicts we will approach a Type 1. We will capture all the solar energy that reaches Earth increasing our energy supply by a factor of 100-billion. We will have harnessed nanotechnology and warp drive propulsion and will be a civilization of this world and off this world.

By 2200 A.D., a mere century later we will approach Type 2, harnessing all the energy of our Sun, another 100-billion-fold increase. We will be extra-solar inhabiting planets on many nearby stars.

By 3000 A.D. we will have harnessed the energy of every star in the Milky Way, another 100-billion-fold energy increase. As a Type 3 we will traverse the galaxy and will, along the way, meet many other technologically advanced civilizations.

A Type 4 civilization will harness dark and extra-galactic energy. Such a civilization would be unrecognizable to us as such because it would be indistinguishable from the Universe itself. Would we evolve into pure energy? Would a Type 4 civilization be immortal and omnipotent.

…to attain Type 4 we will reach much further into the future, to 12000 A.D. At that point we will have transcended the physical reality of our Universe and may even have poked through to parallel universes in the multiverse.

Sounds delusional? Remember where human civilization’s technological achievements were in 1000 A.D. What would a person living in that time think of the world in which we live today? Magical? Incomprehensible? One thing we know for sure, technological breakthroughs that at one time took a century to achieve, now can happen in a year. It remains true that some technologies are harder to crack, like developing fusion energy. But today we are much closer to achieving that fusion breakthrough that alone will move us faster to becoming a Type 1 civilization. And after that will the rest unfold?

Will Humans Achieve a Type 1 Civilization by 2100? | h+ Magazine         

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In terms of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), it may no longer be a matter of answering the “are we alone” question, some scientists say. Rather, just how crowded is the universe?

And if ET is out there, it may be possible to reach out with direct “radio waving” to potentially habitable exoplanets. This form of cosmic cryptography, called “Active SETI,” involves no longer merely listening for a signal but purposefully broadcasting to, and perhaps establishing contact with, other starfolk.

“It’s a subject of discussion, I’ll put it that way,” said Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. There have been many workshops and symposia over the years to discuss Active SETI, he said, and because it has a highly emotional component, “it’s like a third rail in a way,” he said.

Shostak told Space.com that he feels the topic is not something to worry too much about.

“But there may not be that perception in the broader public … that we have discussed this to death. They haven’t seen these discussions nor participated in them,” he said.

But exoplanet detections are making news around the world, Shostak said. “That’s putting the whole question of life in space in front of the public in a way that perhaps wasn’t true 20 years ago.”

Still, trying to figure out what’s the best thing to do, in terms of Active SETI, is a work in progress, Shostak said. “What is the best way to communicate? What do you do…just ping them with a carrier wave and you encode Wikipedia? If you are going to do it, what’s the best way to communicate?”

“[Hawking]’s right about our immaturity as a species,” Impey told Space.com, “but I think the argument is moot since intelligent civilizations are likely to be so sparsely distributed that communication in either direction is difficult or unlikely.”

Active SETI, Impey said, “makes us feel a little more proactive, but I think it’s a long shot worse than buying a lottery ticket.”

For Impey, the “promising approach” is not conventional SETI or broadcasting, but detection of civilizations by their energy or technology imprints, “and that avoids all the issues of intention and communication and the anthropocentric tangle people get into with that.”

“I am for passive SETI programs, and in fact would advocate for renewed government funding after a 20-year lapse,” Dick told Space.com. “That’s because the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence is one of the great unsolved mysteries of science.”

Dick said that the current NASA astrobiology hunt is centered on microbes, but surely there should be an effort to go beyond micro-organisms and search for complex life with whatever means are available.

“On the other hand, I would not propose government funding for messaging extraterrestrial intelligence. I think we need to find ET first, and then have a period where a team consisting of scientists, social scientists and humanities people consider what the message should be,” Dick said.

“Having said that, it would be very difficult to regulate individual or institutional projects that wish to attempt messaging extraterrestrial intelligence, and I would not advocate attempting to regulate,” Dick said. In his opinion, there is an equal chance that ET will be good or bad.

“We do not yet know enough about the evolution of altruism on Earth, much less among other possible intelligent life forms, to say ETs will all be good,” Dick said. “That is a hope rather than a fact.”

But haven’t we already revealed ourselves with TV signals, military radar and other outputs into the cosmos? Even music is wafting across the universe, purposely directed toward a specific star.

That is true, Dick said, but it’s not the same as sending a directed beam to a habitable exoplanet target.

“Still, the idea of planet Earth cowering and afraid to engage the universe is not a planet I would want to live on. SETI attempts are part of our rising cosmic consciousness, and as such cannot be stifled,” Dick said. “That this is the subject of such controversy…it’s an indication of how seriously the subject of intelligent life in the universe is now taken!”

“But Active SETI is not science,” said Michaud. “It is an attempt to provoke a response from an alien society whose capabilities and intentions are not known to us.”

Those most eager to send high-powered messages want their efforts to have consequences, Michaud said, not just for themselves, but for the entire human species. “There is no scientific or historical evidence telling us that the consequences of contact will be those they prefer." 

Michaud says that an alien society able to detect our signals almost certainly would be more technologically advanced than our own, and might be capable enough and patient enough to send  probes across light-years of space. Scientists and engineers have shown that robotic spacecraft able to reach nearby stars would be feasible for a civilization only slightly in advance of our own.

Michaud takes issue with the old claim that we already have been detected or that detection is inevitable. Experts have shown that the normal signals emitted by Earth are too weak to be heard at interstellar distances without colossal antennas, he said.

"Sending deliberate, unusually powerful signals is a decision that belongs properly with all Humankind,” Michaud said. “We should have an open debate about whether or not to call attention to ourselves by making our civilization more detectable than it already is.”

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fuckyeahdarkextropian:

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.

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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.”)

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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?

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