Finding examples of intelligent life other than our own in the Universe is hard work. Between spending decades listening to space for signs of radio traffic – which is what the good people at the SETI Institute have been doing – and waiting for the day when it is possible to send spacecraft to neighboring star systems, there simply haven’t been a lot of options for finding extra-terrestrials. But in recent years, efforts have begun to simplify the search for intelligent life. Thanks to the efforts of groups like the Breakthrough Foundation, it may be possible in the coming years to send “nanoscraft” on interstellar voyages using laser-driven propulsion. But just as significant is the fact that developments like these may also make it easier for us to detect extra-terrestrials that are trying to find us. Not long ago, Breakthrough Initiatives made headlines when they announced that luminaries like Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg were backing their plan to send a tiny spacecraft to Alpha Centauri. Known as Breakthrough Starshot, this plan involved a refrigerator-sized magnet being towed by a laser sail, which would be pushed by a ground-based laser array to speeds fast enough to reach Alpha Centauri in about 20 years. In addition to offering a possible interstellar space mission that could reach another star in our lifetime, projects like this have the added benefit of letting us broadcast our presence to the rest of the Universe. Such is the argument put forward by Philip Lubin, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the brains behind Starshot. In a paper titled “The Search for Directed Intelligence” – which appeared recently in arXiv and will be published soon in REACH – Reviews in Human Space Exploration – Lubin explains how systems that are becoming technologically feasible on Earth could allow us to search for similar technology being used elsewhere. In this case, by alien civilizations.
Is it just me…or does this sound kinda dumb? Don’t get me wrong, having personally been in the space industry myself, I’m all for scientific research. In fact, from day one here at The Daily Buzz we’ve been calling on Congress to double, if not triple, the funding for our space programs both civilian (i.e. NASA) AND military (i.e. Air Force Space Command, and the U.S. Army’s Space & Missile Defense Command or “SMDC”). After all, our adversaries (i.e. Russia, China, N. Korea, Iran, etc.) have been investing heavily in their space programs, while ours has really become anemic, and underfunded, the last 7+ years under Obama. For every launch we have, the Chinese have about a hundred launches. So, we’re falling WAY behind.. THAT SAID… Without more exploration, and having the proper funding, certainly on the military side, I find it a little foolish to simply broadcast our presence to the vastness of space. After all, let’s assume for a moment someone(s) were to actually hear our broadcast.. Who is to say that they would be friendly? Where does such an ASSumption come from?!? These silly, liberal, pointy-headed electoid professors don’t really consider that kind of possibility.. Anyway, to read the rest of this article, click on the text above..
Last Sunday morning, Mars reached opposition with the sun, meaning the Red Planet, Earth and the sun were all arrayed in a straight line. But the moment did not mark Mars’ closest approach to Earth. This Monday evening (May 30) at 5:35 p.m. ET, Mars will be the closest it has been to Earth since Oct. 5, 2005: 0.50321377 astronomical units (AU), or 46,762,695 miles . (One AU is the average distance from Earth to the sun — about 93 million miles.) Opposition and closest Earth approach occur on different days because the orbit of Mars is elliptical. When opposition occurred May 22, Mars was still approaching Earth on its orbital track, and will not reach minimum distance to Earth until May 30. After 5:35 p.m. ET on that date, Mars will begin to recede from Earth.
Very cool!! To read the rest of this article by Geoff Gaherty over at Space.com, and see a video, click on the text above.