The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has traditionally used radio telescopes to search nearby stars. Excellent. But I really loved a new study published last week by Griffeth, et. al, which differs from traditional radio searches in two ways. First, Griffeth and team did not look for direct signals sent by extraterrestrial intelligences (ETs). Instead they looked for excess… Continue reading The best place to look for aliens is in a galaxy far, far away.
A new paper using data from NASA’s Kepler telescope came out recently, estimating that 22% of Sun-like stars harbor Earth-sized planets. This is a big increase over previous estimates. It’s very cool work. Love it. But the news spin was predictable:
Update: also see my follow-on post about Sagan Syndrome I wrote an earlier post supporting the view that Earth is a unique planet. It’s likely the only planet in our galaxy supporting complex life. I wanted to do an update after coming across an excellent post by Stephen Ashworth, who categorizes views on alien life into either… Continue reading Intelligent life is just getting started
“The Post Office Is Dying Because We Don’t Need It Anymore” says a recent headline. And yes, mail volume decreased 22% in the past five years. Yet mail is still being used for that most modern of tasks, moving extremely large computer files. In computer jargon, moving data by carrying a computer hard drive around… Continue reading Snail mail to the stars
So where are all the aliens? Possible answers: a) there are no aliens, b) alien civilizations self destruct, c) aliens are hiding, d) aliens are all microbes so they can’t leave home. In last week’s post on the early solar system I spent a paragraph arguing for option d, microbes. So this week I wanted… Continue reading So where are all the aliens?
About 4 billion years ago, Venus (far left), Earth (middle), and Mars (far right), all had water. The relative planet sizes above are roughly to scale, though how they looked that long ago is speculation. But just knowing a time existed when we had three planets in our own solar system with liquid water is… Continue reading Life on Wet Planets
The recent release of the wonderful mars rover pancam shot above shows how real space exploration is being done. I used to enjoy science fiction books and movies about astronauts doing space exploration, but the tropes involved just don’t ring true anymore. Those tropes were formed around the time of the Apollo program and haven’t… Continue reading Closing the astronaut window. Robots onward.