Computer simulations by a pair of researchers at the University of Edinburgh predict that a fleet of interstellar probes could explore the entire Milky Way galaxy within a fraction of the present age of Earth. This may seem like a tall order considering that our farthest interstellar spacecraft, Voyager 1, is still less than a light-day from Earth after being launched 36 years ago.
In the new simulation, however, alien probes only need to travel at 10 percent the speed of light to survey the entire galaxy within 10 million years. And, they could get a turbo-boost and save fuel by doing a slingshot off the gravitational fields of stars.
The concept of self-aware and self-replicating probes traveling across the galaxy is nothing new, however; the idea goes as far back as 1960. It was promoted by SETI pioneer Ronald Bracewell as an alternative to listening for interstellar artificial radio signals. The idea of a machine capable of cloning itself goes back at least 100 years; mathematician John von Neumann detailed the operation of such a robot in 1949.
In a recent paper, Arwen Nicholson and Duncan Forgan take the idea a step further by exploring three different scenarios of probe behavior: using standard powered flight, using gravitational slingshot techniques around stars, and hop scotching star-by-star to get the maximum speed boost under slingshot trajectories.
Voyager 1 and 2 zipped across the solar system with a boost form bouncing like a pinball off the gravitational fields of the massive outer planets.
“From the scaling of the probes’ performance with star number, we conclude that a fleet of self-replicating probes can indeed explore the galaxy in a sufficiently short time to warrant the existence of the Fermi Paradox,” the team reports.
The Fermi Paradox — where nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi asked the rhetorical question “where are they?” (extraterrestrials) — ponders why we have no evidence of alien visitations. For the UFO buffs, let me flatly say this does not mean pointy-eared aliens should be here and now, but instead suggests occasional visits over geologic time by virtually immortal robots.
The team’s simulations mean that our solar system should have been visited — perhaps more than once — well-before the dawn of man. Their alien builders might have been motivated to have the machines go stealthy and cover their tracks once a planetary system survey is completed.
In Arthur C. Clarke’s 1972 novel, Rendezvous With Rama, star-hopping aliens are pretty blatant. A giant cylindrical space ark enters the solar system. An astronaut survey team explores its dark, ghostly, interior hibernating city. Humans finally realize that the mothership is not stopping for a visit, but simply using the sun’s gravity to get a boot to destinations unknown.
Rama aside, don’t look for ‘spent’ or destroyed probes because visiting robots might definitely go green by not leaving behind any trash from their sorties. They would also have ability to self-repair during long interstellar voyages, and self-replicate with the ultimate 3D printer.
In a sprint across the galaxy a civilization may send out a few probes that would be programmed to choose the next star they travel to according to some decision-making algorithm. Once they reach the new star system, they scan for signs of life, and create a copy of themselves. The parent and child probe each pick a new star to travel to, and the process repeats itself in a geometric progression.
This scenario is compounded by the fact there could very likely be more than one fleet of probes from different extraterrestrial civilizations plying the galaxy. What if they run into each other? A purely sci-fi inspired scenario is where mutated probes abandon their original mission and start to prey on normal probes!
Such an interstellar fox and rabbit chase would greatly increase the exploration time and reduce the number of visits to our solar system, say the researchers. In the new simulation the exploration probes are continuously traveling at maximum speed and constantly dispersing radially across the galaxy. Predators would have a hard time catching their prey.
Equally problematic is the dilemma of how a fleet of probes stays in contact with one another so that they don’t duplicate efforts. Light travel delay times would squelch communication, unless superluminal contact has been achieved by something as exotic as quantum entanglement. Then all probes would know exactly where every other probe has been and is heading. Each probe could leave behind an omnidirectional beacon that emits a signal showing the star has been visited. Or probes could deposit a “captain’s log” for other probes to readout.
Ultimately the data collected by the entire fleet could be placed into a giant galactic archive. It would be a resource for all interstellar civilizations that are smart enough to find it, enter the correct password, and download survey data on many billions of star systems.
What’s sobering is that such probes would be like a swarm of bees buzzing through a field of flowers. They diligently carry out their exploration duties and are oblivious to contacting any native biological intelligence they might encounter.
That is, unless the builders programmed the robots to set up a threshold test of the intelligence and maturity of a native species. If the species passes the test they are allowed to communicate with the interstellar probe.
What sort of maturity test would you perform on Homo sapiens?
Kaikōura, New Zealand UFO sighting still flummoxing locals 40 years later
© Image – supplied; Video – The Project
Forty years on from an unidentified flying object (UFO) sighting that put Kaikōura in the international spotlight, those who witnessed the strange occurrences are still confused by what they saw.
Three bright lights appeared in the Kaikōura sky in December 1978, bewildering those to witness it – including air traffic controllers John Cordy and Andy Herd.
It was even caught on camera by an Australian film crew who was in the area trying to capture footage of them.
Journalist Quentin Fogarty said they were transfixed by the mysterious lights, some of which were the size of a house.
“We saw this string of lights, it started as a small pinpoint of light then grew into this large pulsating globe with tinges of orange and red,” he said.
“I’m sitting there transfixed – we were told after it was about the size of a house.”
The objects even appeared on radar, further confusing air traffic staff.
The Muldoon Government said it was squid boats, the moonlight bouncing off cabbages or Venus rising – but those who were there aren’t convinced.
“Come on, radar returns from a field of cabbages? Squid boats doing 180 knots at 14,000 feet?” said Mr Cordy.
Even Mr Herd, a sceptic according to his son, believed the flashing lights were not normal.
“My father was a very sensible man,” Daniel Herd said. “It would have taken a lot for him to believe that this was something as unusual as he did believe that it was.”
Further complicating the mystery is other sightings of UFOs six years earlier in 1972, and a US scientist who studied the lights admitting he believed it wasn’t a hoax… or explainable as squid boats.
You can watch Newshub’s video coverage here.
Watch How A Lightning Strike Temporarily Disables This UFO’s Cloaking Shield
It seems electrical disturbances have an impact on a UFO’s cloaking device, as evidenced by the following video.
An unidentified flying object’s cloaking shield is one of its best assets since it allows the craft’s occupants to remain undetected while performing their obscure activities on Earth.
Visible light can be considered an oscillating electric and magnetic field and because the cloaking shield works on a visible level, it must operate on some kind of electromagnetic principle we’ve yet to discover. You know what else is electromagnetic? The immense power surge caused by a lightning strike. So it makes sense that when a camouflaged UFO is hit by the thousand or so Giga Watts discharged by a lightning bolt, some interference may occur.
In the following video we are treated to the rare sight of such a phenomenon.
During a recent thunderstorm in the U.S., a large, circular UFO became visible after coming in contact with the immense voltage of an electrical discharge between clouds. It is unclear whether the craft was accidentally hit or it was there exactly for that reason. Perhaps these advanced vehicles are able to harvest energy from a variety of sources, including, but not limited to volcanoes, lightning and solar wind.
After lightning touches its surface, the UFO becomes visible for approximately 30 seconds during which it remains lit and illuminates the sky and clouds surrounding its massive body. Once the UFO disappears, the surrounding area returns to its normal luminosity.
Although videos like this are rare, they are not unheard of. In a previous article, we showed you a fleet of UFOs recharging their batteries during a thunderstorm. Another video that quickly went viral featured a creepy UFO exiting a lightning storm at a high velocity.
It’s obvious that aliens always need two things: human specimens and a whole lot of power.
Forestry Worker Attacked By Aliens In Scotland
A seemingly unprovoked attack on a Scottish forestry worker over 30 years ago has been recounted by the victim, who still has no idea why he was targeted.
The forestry worker, Robert Taylor, arrived at work as usual on a typically cold November morning and began walking towards the job site through a woodland path only to emerge into a clearing and see the alien craft.
He described the object as spherical, around 20-30 feet in diameter and hovering around 15 feet from the ground. Shortly after this two objects fell from the craft resembling world war two sea mines, rolled towards him and attached themselves to his hips. As the objects approached, he remembered smelling burning, and shortly after they attached themselves to him they began to pull him towards the main craft.
At this point, he lost consciousness and remembers nothing of whatever happened next. After he came to the object was gone, leaving only marks in the ground below where the craft had been, a graze on his forehead and what he described as an incredible thirst. He also believed at the time that he was not unconscious for more than a minute or two, although was somewhat disoriented by the events.
What provoked the attack is unknown, although presumably, the craft was not expecting Taylor to approach it. Some have speculated that the aliens abducted Taylor in an attempt to erase his memory of having seen them. Others that he was experimented on, and that his time aboard the craft may have been much longer than he thought at the time.
Unlike the majority of UFO sightings or abduction experiences, there are seemingly no arguments forthcoming that the events could have come from a man-made source. Experimental aircraft would not have accounted for the spherical objects that pulled Taylor towards the ship, nor the lack of consciousness. Not to mention that West Lothian where the attack took place is not a location known for its abundance of secret military test bases.
The full eyewitness account of the abduction can be found here:
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