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Re: The Space thread

James wrote:

Director of Berkeley’s SETI Research Center, Andrew Siemion once said: “as we improve our understanding of ancient Earth and the history of our solar system, perhaps we may someday uncover evidence that suggests the activity of another technological civilization right here in our neighborhood.” Massive efforts have been put into the search for alien life in our universe.

For example, in the year of 2015 a research study lead by The Pennsylvania State University astronomer Jason Wright, examined 100,000 neighboring large galaxies and concluded that none of them possessed any obvious symptoms of any highly technologically advanced civilizations. Now, the focus is steered closer to home-- in this past spring of 2017, Wright has proposed that an indigenous technological civilization could have arisen and lived within the solar system before Earth-bound life did.

He also went on to suggest that its “technosignatures” may have potentially survived if they were made of a material that could withstand the weathering techniques of time and erosion and simply remain hidden, awaiting discovery, under the surface of Venus and Mars.

Wright also suggests that a potential explosion of life may have occurred around the Cambrian period, when according to fossil records, complex animals first began to emerge.

Just like an asteroid wiped out the population of dinosaurs here on Earth, a cosmic catastrophe may have hit this civilization as well, abolishing all the signs of its existence, and forcing its biosphere to “start over” with a small remainder of single-celled-species that had prevailed.

Jason Wright also argues that it is very possible that we have already encountered the technosignatures in geological record, but dismissed them as  naturally occurring phenomena. Or, it is possible that the evidence may not even be existent anymore-- erased by the planetary shifting tectonic plates. In his paper, he also concludes that: “the Earth is quite efficient, on cosmic timescales, at destroying evidence of technology on its surface.”

Within his cosmic study in 2015, Wright searched for thermodynamic consequences of a galactic-scale colonization, based upon an idea provided by physicist Freeman Dyson in the year of 1960, who argued that a culture with a growing technology would ultimately be limited by access to energy which would drive them to harvest existing energy from their neighboring stars.

The study searched for type 3 civilizations-- galactic civilizations that possess the ability to control energy on the scale of its host galaxy-- in an all-sky catalogue from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).

The indicators they searched for were objects that were optically dim but burned bright on the infrared scale which signifies a galaxy filled with heat-emitting, starlight-absorbing Dyson spheres which ultimately signifies the presence of some sort of civilization. After using software to automatically sort through approximately 100 million objects within the catalogue, Roger Griffith, a student of Wright, examined the remaining candidates by hand without success.

James Annis, astrophysicist of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory commented on Wright’s research:  “Looking for the absence of light as well as the waste heat like Wright and his colleagues have done is really cool. In some sense it doesn’t matter how a galactic civilization gets or uses its power because the second law of thermodynamics makes energy use hard to hide.

They could construct Dyson spheres, they could get power from rotating black holes, they could build giant computer networks in the cold outskirts of galaxies and all of that would produce waste heat. Wright’s team went right to the peak of the curve for where you’d expect to see any sort of waste heat, and they’re just not seeing anything obvious. Life, once it becomes spacefaring, looks like it could cross a galaxy in as little as 50 million years.

And 50 million years is a very short time compared to the billion-year timescales of planets and galaxies. You would expect life to criss-cross a galaxy many times in the nearly 14 billion years the universe has been around. Maybe spacefaring civilizations are rare and isolated, but it only takes just one to want and be able to modify its galaxy for you to be able to see it. If you look at enough galaxies, you should eventually see something obviously artificial. That’s why it’s so uncomfortable that the more we look, the more natural everything appears.”

Annis suspects that the reason as to why our searches have not found anything yet is because it is possible that fast-gamma-ray bursts were more frequent in the cosmic past and until recently suppressed the rise of advanced civilizations and that as a result, we inhabit “the beginning of history.”

Freeman Dyson also contributed to the conversation saying: “if there are any real aliens, they are likely to behave in ways that we never imagined. The WISE result shows that the aliens did not follow one particular path. That is good to know. But it still leaves a huge variety of other paths open.

The failure of one guess does not mean that we should stop looking for aliens.” … ecies.html

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Re: The Space thread

James wrote:

I've always believed that if there are aliens, they're coming from our own system and not some distant star or galaxy.  Its good to see some of these organizations like SETI starting to seriously consider the possibility that a civilization of some sort may have existed before us.

Mars obviously the big enchilada. So is Venus though, a planet ignored for much too long. Its suffering a runaway greenhouse effect. It's time to figure out why. I also think various moons should be considered as possibilities.

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Re: The Space thread

bigbri wrote:

This stuff blows my mind thinking about it. Like the talk that we all are living in a simulation.

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Re: The Space thread

monkeychow wrote:

It begs the question if there are aliens what happened to them?

Did they evolve to something new or beyond physical?

Did they wipe themselves out?

Did they travel to some other dimension or something of that nature?

 Rep: 641 

Re: The Space thread

James wrote:
bigbri wrote:

This stuff blows my mind thinking about it. Like the talk that we all are living in a simulation.

That theory is gaining traction. It used to be laughed at but now well respected scientists are taking it seriously. Bell Labs recently created some device that is looking for the pixels which would pretty much prove it.

It begs the question if there are aliens what happened to them?

I really wish the US, EU, Russia, India, and China would funnel more money into space exploration and work closer together. The answers are out there waiting. We just have to find them.

We know a lot about our solar system but in reality its just a drop in the bucket. We haven't even discovered all our system's planets yet. What's really in the Oort cloud? It'll be centuries before we find out.

Venus is overdue for a very close look.


What went wrong? It is foolish to write this planet off due to being hell on earth. Why is it hell on earth? Did an ancient civilization live here millions of years ago and something went wrong? The Russian probes that landed here only survived for minutes. Minutes . They only took a few pictures. We've technically mapped the planet but did so through thick clouds and we cant truly see the surface. Its time to go back. We need some type of drones that can withstand the hellish temperatures and can last for months. We also need to dig, dig, DIG.

I straddle the fence on Mars. I think it is overrated but having said that, it requires 'boots on the ground' to finally answer the big question...

Did life ever thrive here? If the answer is no, its time to move on from it and stop romanticizing it. In future decades/centuries we can colonize it. Not now through.  We're in the exploratory/discovery stage of the space era. Lets explore and discover, not sink a bunch of money into Mars.

We need to be focusing on Jupiter and Saturn. Its moons contain many of our answers.

There's a new theory that attempts to answer the Fermi paradox. Since a lot of outer moons appear to contain massive oceans under the surface(Europa alone has more water than Earth), this might be where most of intelligent life resides in our universe. Sentient beings that have no idea a world exists outside the ice shell that contains them.

That is a frightening yet exciting thought and we have at least five moons and one planet(Pluto) in our system with this potential. Of course that life would look nothing like us but we have to get past the idea of alien life looking human.  Carl Sagan speculated that giant jellyfish like beings might live in the storms of Jupiter and Saturn. Unlikely but possible.

What if there's a society of supremely intelligent dolphin like creatures in Europa's water? Are there monsters living in the methane lakes of Titan? Killer whales on Enceladus? A virus that could wipe out the galaxy on Io? Is there an advanced race living on 'Planet Nine' that hasn't been discovered yet? Do they send flights towards the inner system when its orbit reaches closer?

Its time to find out.

Instead of spending billions on the next ICBM, lets fund a few dozen missions to these planets and moons. NASA wants to send a blimp to float through Titan's atmosphere and a sub to swim through the methane lakes. DO IT.

 Rep: 641 

Re: The Space thread

James wrote:

This is crazy shit.

Long article but worth the read.

NASA just found evidence of a plume spewing from Europa — buried inside the data of an old spacecraft

Scientists have uncovered the biggest evidence yet that water may be spewing from the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa — a revelation that was buried deep within the archives of a long-dead NASA spacecraft. In 1997 the Jupiter probe, Galileo, flew near a geyser when it passed close by Europa, collecting data that went overlooked at the time. But now, the rendezvous has been unearthed 20 years later, and it provides scientists with their first up-close measurement of one of Europa’s water plumes.

Up until now, scientists have strongly suspected that water is pouring out from Europa, but the matter hasn’t been fully settled. The only evidence we have for these geysers comes from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which captured images of water escaping from the distant moon in 2012 and 2016. But Hubble’s pictures were taken from afar and are pretty fuzzy; they haven’t been considered definitive proof. This discovery from Galileo, detailed today in Nature Astronomy, “is the strongest evidence we have so far in terms of seeing signatures of a plume at Europa,” Xianzhe Jia, a planetary scientist at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study, tells The Verge.

Europa’s plumes are thought to stem from a global saltwater ocean lurking underneath the moon’s crust. It’s a feature that’s made this icy world a prime candidate in the search for life elsewhere in our Solar System. Water is vital for life here on Earth, so many have wondered if organisms might be able to survive in Europa’s waters as well. And plumes offer a great opportunity for studying what’s inside this ocean. Scientists don’t need to send a spacecraft to land on the moon and drill into its icy surface; they can simply send a vehicle to fly by the moon and sample its plumes — a much easier type of mission to pull off.

That’s exactly the kind of mission NASA plans to do in the early 2020s. The space agency has been working on a robotic spacecraft called Europa Clipper, which will fly by Europa’s surface upward of 40 times to get a taste of these plumes. Before today’s findings, it was still somewhat unclear if Europa Clipper would actually see any plumes while it was out there. Now, scientists are much more sure. “It really suggests that Clipper has a good opportunity to directly fly through a plume and tell us a lot more about its properties,” says Jia.

Jia says that the Hubble images are what inspired his team to revisit Galileo. Launched in 1989, the robotic probe explored Jupiter and its moons from 1995 to 2003, before it plunged into the gas giant and broke apart. But while it was out there, it flew by Europa 11 times to gather data of the world with its various instruments. At the time, there wasn’t any evidence of water stemming from Europa, so the spacecraft wasn’t specifically looking for plumes on the moon. However, it did take measurements of Europa’s magnetic field and how particles behaved around the icy world. “We were thinking maybe we had a chance of seeing something in that data,” Jia says.

After going through all 11 flybys, the researchers narrowed in on one that occurred on December 16th, 1997. They noticed that the data from this trip looked strange: Galileo measured a sharp drop in the strength of the magnetic field. And the field seemed to bend and rotate, too. At the same time, the spacecraft also noticed that the space near Europa had a higher amount of charged particles than usual. “This one certainly stood out as very special,” says Jia. “We don’t see anything like that on all the other flybys.”

To make sense of all these measurements, the research team created a computer model of Europa’s plumes, based on the images taken from Hubble. They wanted to see how a simulated plume might affect the environment around the moon. And sure enough, the model had the same effects on the space environment that Galileo saw. Given how long it took Galileo to make these measurements, the researchers estimate the plume was about 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) thick.

The team thinks that all those weird changes in the magnetic field occur because some of the particles within Europa’s plumes are charged, and are clashing with other charged particles already circulating around the moon. The space around Europa is filled with particles streaming in from another moon of Jupiter — the volcanically active Io that’s constantly burping up gas and plasma. So when a plume erupts from Europa, the particles slam into the ones from Io, causing an electrically charged traffic jam that creates twists and turns in the moon’s magnetic field.

There’s even more evidence that Galileo mingled with a plume during the December 1997 flyby. For one, the event occurred pretty close to where Hubble spotted water spewing from the moon in 2016. And this region of Europa is special: it’s a hotspot, where the temperature is higher than the rest of the moon. It’s possible this heating is linked with the geyser activity in some way. Perhaps heated water is flowing upward inside Europa, warming the surface and causing cracks in the ice that allow water to burst through. Or maybe the plumes themselves are to blame for the heating. The ejected water could be falling back onto Europa, changing the structure of the ice so that it can hold heat longer than the rest of the surface.

The December 1997 flyby was also the closest Galileo ever got to Europa’s surface, coming within 125 miles (200 kilometers) of the moon. So it makes sense that this was the only flyby to pick up any activity. Europa’s plumes don’t seem to extend very far into space. In order to really see the effects of the plume, the spacecraft had to be very close to the surface, says Jia.

That means that any follow-up probes will need to get as close as possible to the moon. The good news is that’s exactly what Europa Clipper is designed to do. During its 40-plus flybys, it will get much closer to Europa than Galileo ever got, at one point coming within 16 miles (25 kilometers) of the moon’s surface. Clipper will have much more sensitive instruments, too, aimed at piecing together what’s inside the water. “I think it bodes well for Clipper that the few flybys that Galileo had, with poorer conditions for observing this phenomenon, turned up a pretty solid plume detection,” Carol Raymond, a NASA scientist and principal investigator of the magnetic field instrument on the Europa Clipper mission, tells The Verge.

The Galileo study is so supportive of the Europa Clipper design that one enthusiastic lawmaker is using this research to clinch further funding for the mission. During a House subcommittee meeting last week, a group of lawmakers approved a new House funding bill for NASA, one that would give $545 million to the Europa Clipper mission in fiscal year 2019, Space News reports. At the meeting Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee for NASA and a big Europa buff, cited today’s Nature Astronomy study (under embargo at the time) as a big reason why funding the Europa Clipper mission is so vital.

“So, the ocean of Europa is venting into outer space,” Culberson said, according to Space News. “The science community has wanted to go there for years... and this bill makes that happen.”

Culberson is also pushing NASA to make a lander that will go to Europa, and the House bill secures $195 million for that purpose, too. However, drilling through Europa’s ice is going to be tough: the icy crust may reach as deep as 12 miles (20 kilometers) before it turns into liquid. Plus, the lander isn’t supposed to launch until 2024, whereas Europa Clipper is slated to launch in 2022. Clipper can get a feel for Europa’s oceans much sooner and much more easily before NASA attempts the difficult task of digging into the moon’s ice. “It’s just a great demonstration of how powerful the Clipper data sets are going to be,” says Raymond. “It’s making it all seem a little bit more realistic that we’re going to capture some plume activity in process.” … es-galileo

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Re: The Space thread

James wrote:

It's unfortunate that they had no way of knowing this moon was so "alive" back in the 80s and they could've planned for this on Galileo. The tech back then might not have allowed it but it was worthy of a shot. We're in 2018 and we're essentially starting from scratch.

And this region of Europa is special: it’s a hotspot, where the temperature is higher than the rest of the moon. It’s possible this heating is linked with the geyser activity in some way. Perhaps heated water is flowing upward inside Europa, warming the surface and causing cracks in the ice that allow water to burst through. Or maybe the plumes themselves are to blame for the heating. The ejected water could be falling back onto Europa, changing the structure of the ice so that it can hold heat longer than the rest of the surface

THIS is Europa's achilles heel. It is speculated that its ice is from 10-100 miles thick...nearly impossible to dig through. We could be decades/centuries away from tackling such a project. This makes it doable.  I know they're eventually gonna have huge debates fucking with its 'ecosystem' to such an extent but if this is the only realistic way into that ocean, it has to be done.

If I were president I'd have nukes on the table but that's never going to be allowed.

Rep. John Culberson (R-TX),

People on both sides of the aisle should be voting for him. We need people like him steering NASA in the right direction.

“So, the ocean of Europa is venting into outer space,” Culberson said, according to Space News. “The science community has wanted to go there for years... and this bill makes that happen.”

goddamn right.


That picture has always been deceiving.

Did anyone imagine when seeing it for the first time that it would have more water than Earth and would have plumes 600 miles thick spewing 125 miles into space?

 Rep: 128 

Re: The Space thread

mitchejw wrote:

Are we just interested in civilizations or just any life? What about microscopic organisms that could exist in our solar system?

why do I feel a combination of excitement and fear when discussing this topic?

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Re: The Space thread

James wrote:

At this point....ANY life. Civilizations are off the table at this point. Only chance of finding one now is if we accidentally stumble upon evidence of a long dead civ on either Venus or Mars....or the one in a billion chance a civ of some sort lives/lived on an undiscovered planet.

why do I feel a combination of excitement and fear when discussing this topic?

Even scientists are now feeling this way. They now realize we finally have a realistic shot of finding life beyond earth.  It's not just talk anymore. We're not decades or centuries away and spend the time in between pipe dreaming. We're several probes away from knowing.

There are several moons in contention(Europa, Enceladus, Ganymede, Titan, and Callisto) and at least one of them is going to have something. Many scientists believe its likely to be microbes.....but what if its not? A couple of these moons have oceans that make our oceans look like a pond.

Even if one microbe is found much less a dolphin, its going to have serious implications.

Can you imagine if they find fish on one of these moons? That moon becomes priority number one and billions will be spent to explore it and it'll start a new space race. Not just to the moon in question, but all the other moons as well.

Here's some pics of these moons.....



Largest moon in the solar system. Its even bigger than Mercury. Its also the only moon that has a magnetic field.

They estimate that the subsurface ocean here might be the largest in the solar system.



Third largest moon in the solar system.  As big as Mercury. Its ocean will be the most difficult to access as its about 100km deep and unlike Europa, you don't just get to melt ice to reach it.  Another reason to further explore it is in the future when we place a manned base in Jupiter's system, it will likely be here.



Very similar to Europa...including the  plumes. An ocean larger than ours as well.



Scientists always knew this was going to be a strange world. A thick atmosphere and is theorized to be similar to Earth billions of years ago. Other than earth, its the only body in the solar system to have liquid on the surface....carbon and methane lakes.



Even if no life is found on Titan, many missions in the future will be sent here. There's already proposed missions to come back here and use balloons to study the atmosphere and to drop small subs into those lakes.

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Re: The Space thread

James wrote:

China takes a critical first step toward landing on the far side of the Moon


China's space agency has taken a critical first step toward an unprecedented robotic landing on the far side of the Moon. On Monday, local time, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation launched a Long March 4C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Although it did not broadcast the launch, the Chinese space agency said it went smoothly, according to the state news service Xinhua.

"The launch is a key step for China to realize its goal of being the first country to send a probe to soft-land on and rove the far side of the Moon," Zhang Lihua, manager of the relay satellite project, told Xinhua.

About 25 minutes after the launch, the Queqiao spacecraft separated from the rocket's upper stage, and began a trip toward a halo orbit of the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point L2. Over the next six months, the 425kg spacecraft will undergo tests to ensure it will function properly as a communications relay.

If so, China will then attempt to launch the Chang'e 4 spacecraft late this year, which will try to make an unprecedented soft landing on the far side of the Moon. This mission will also include a rover to undertake scientific excursions.

However, because the far side of the Moon is the far side, a lander and rover there cannot have a direct line of sight for communications with Earth. Hence the need for the relay spacecraft at L2, which can capture data from the Chang'e 4 lander and send it back to Earth. The relay spacecraft will use S-band and X-band frequencies to communicate.

Of note, the Queqiao spacecraft—which means Magpie bridge and is a reference to Chinese folklore—will also carry two scientific instruments. One is a Dutch radio antenna, which will study celestial radio frequencies blocked by Earth's atmosphere. The other instrument is a large-aperture laser angle reflector for ranging measurements between Earth and the spacecraft.

The relay spacecraft should reach its L2 halo orbit in about eight days … -the-moon/

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