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Aliens & UFO's

Is Stephen Hawking right about aliens?

Stephen Hawking thinks that making contact with aliens would be a very bad idea indeed. But with new, massive telescopes, we humans are stepping up the search. Have we really thought this through?

In February 2008, Nasa sent the Beatles song, Across the Universe, across the universe. Pointing the telescopes in its Deep Space Network towards the north star, Polaris, astronomers played out their short cosmic DJ set, hoping that it might be heard by intelligent aliens during its 430-year journey to the star.

The hunt for intelligent species outside Earth may be a staple of literature and film – but it is happening in real life, too. Nasa probes are on the lookout for planets outside our solar system, and astronomers are carefully listening for any messages being beamed through space. How awe-inspiring it would be to get confirmation that we are not alone in the universe, to finally speak to an alien race. Wouldn’t it?

Well no, according to the eminent physicist Stephen Hawking. “If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans,” Hawking has said in a forthcoming documentary made for the Discovery Channel. He argues that, instead of trying to find and communicate with life in the cosmos, humans would be better off doing everything they can to avoid contact.

Hawking believes that, based on the sheer number of planets that scientists know must exist, we are not the only life-form in the universe. There are, after all, billions and billions of stars in our galaxy alone, with, it is reasonable to expect, an even greater number of planets orbiting them. And it is not unreasonable to expect some of that alien life to be intelligent, and capable of interstellar communication. So, when someone with Hawking’s knowledge of the universe advises against contact, it’s worth listening, isn’t it?

Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the Seti Institute in California, the world’s leading organisation searching for telltale alien signals, is not so sure. “This is an unwarranted fear,” Shostak says. “If their interest in our planet is for something valuable that our planet has to offer, there’s no particular reason to worry about them now. If they’re interested in resources, they have ways of finding rocky planets that don’t depend on whether we broadcast or not. They could have found us a billion years ago.”

If we were really worried about shouting in the stellar jungle, Shostak says, the first thing to do would be to shut down the BBC, NBC, CBS and the radars at all airports. Those broadcasts have been streaming into space for years – the oldest is already more than 80 light years from Earth – so it is already too late to stop passing aliens watching every episode of Big Brother or What Katie and Peter Did Next.

The biggest and most active hunt for life outside Earth started in 1960, when Frank Drake pointed the Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia towards the star Tau Ceti. He was looking for anomalous radio signals that could have been sent by intelligent life. Eventually, his idea turned into Seti (standing for Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), which used the downtime on radar telescopes around the world to scour the sky for any signals. For 50 years, however, the sky has been silent.

There are lots of practical problems involved in hunting for aliens, of course, chief among them being distance. If our nearest neighbours were life-forms on the (fictional) forest moon of Endor, 1,000 light years away, it would take a millennium for us to receive any message they might send. If the Endorians were watching us, the light reaching them from Earth at this very moment would show them our planet as it was 1,000 years ago; in Europe that means lots of fighting between knights around castles and, in north America, small bands of natives living on the great plains. It is not a timescale that allows for quick banter – and, anyway, they might not be communicating in our direction.

The lack of a signal from ET has not, however, prevented astronomers and biologists (not to mention film-makers) coming up with a whole range of ideas about what aliens might be like. In the early days of Seti, astronomers focused on the search for planets like ours – the idea being that, since the only biology we know about is our own, we might as well assume aliens are going to be something like us. But there’s no reason why that should be true. You don’t even need to step off the Earth to find life that is radically different from our common experience of it.

“Extremophiles” are species that can survive in places that would quickly kill humans and other “normal” life-forms. These single-celled creatures have been found in boiling hot vents of water thrusting through the ocean floor, or at temperatures well below the freezing point of water. The front ends of some creatures that live near deep-sea vents are 200C warmer than their back ends.

“In our naive and parochial way, we have named these things extremophiles, which shows prejudice – we’re normal, everything else is extreme,” says Ian Stewart, a mathematician at Warwick University and author of What Does A Martian Look Like? “From the point of view of a creature that lives in boiling water, we’re extreme because we live in much milder temperatures. We’re at least as extreme compared to them as they are compared to us.”

On Earth, life exists in water and on land but, on a giant gas planet, for example, it might exist high in the atmosphere, trapping nutrients from the air swirling around it. And given that aliens may be so out of our experience, guessing motives and intentions if they ever got in touch seems beyond the realm’s even of Hawking’s mind.

Paul Davies, an astrophysicist at Arizona State University and chair of Seti’s post-detection taskforce, argues that alien brains, with their different architecture, would interpret information very differently from ours. What we think of as beautiful or friendly might come across as violent to them, or vice versa. “Lots of people think that because they would be so wise and knowledgeable, they would be peaceful,” adds Stewart. “I don’t think you can assume that. I don’t think you can put human views on to them; that’s a dangerous way of thinking. Aliens are alien. If they exist at all, we cannot assume they’re like us.”

Answers to some of these conundrums will begin to emerge in the next few decades. The researchers at the forefront of the work are astrobiologists, working in an area that has steadily marched in from the fringes of science thanks to the improvements in technology available to explore space.

Scientists discovered the first few extrasolar planets in the early 1990s and, ever since, the numbers have shot up. Today, scientists know of 443 planets orbiting around more than 350 stars. Most are gas giants in the mould of Jupiter, the smallest being Gliese 581, which has a mass of 1.9 Earths. In 2009, Nasa launched the Kepler satellite, a probe specifically designed to look for Earth-like planets.

Future generations of ground-based telescopes, such as the proposed European Extremely Large Telescope (with a 30m main mirror), could be operational by 2030, and would be powerful enough to image the atmospheres of faraway planets, looking for chemical signatures that could indicate life. The Seti Institute also, finally, has a serious piece of kit under construction: the Allen Array (funded by a $11.5m/£7.5m donation from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen) has, at present, 42 radio antennae, each six metres in diameter, but there are plans, if the Seti Institute can raise another $35m, to have up to 300 radio dishes.

In all the years that Seti has been running, it has managed to look carefully at less than 1,000 star systems. With the full Allen Array, they could look at 1,000 star systems in a couple of years.

Shostak is confident that, as telescope technology keeps improving, Seti will find an ET signal within the next two decades. “We will have looked at another million star systems in two dozen years. If this is going to work, it will work soon.”

And what happens if and when we detect a signal? “My strenuous advice will be that the coordinates of the transmitting entity should be kept confidential, until the world community has had a chance to evaluate what it’s dealing with,” Davies told the Guardian recently. “We don’t want anybody just turning a radio telescope on the sky and sending their own messages to the source.”

But his colleague, Shostak, says we should have no such concerns. “You’ll have told the astronomical community – that’s thousands of people. Are you going to ask them all not to tell anybody where you’re pointing your antenna? There’s no way you could do that.

“And anyway, why wouldn’t you tell them where [the alien lifeform] is? Are you afraid people will broadcast their own message? They might do that but, remember, The Gong Show has already been broadcast for years.” And, for that matter, the Beatles.

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Aliens & UFO's

UK UFO case to be kept secret until 2072

The UK Department of Defense has blocked the planned release of a dossier detailing the famous UFO incident.

Back in August 1990, two tourists walking in the Scottish Highlands near Calvine, Pitlochry, witnessed a strange rhombic object hovering over the nearby landscape.

They managed to take pictures of the UFO before it flew away at significant speed.

Eager to share what they saw, the couple contacted the Scottish Daily Record and shared both their story and the photos they took.

Then the journalists shared the pictures with the UK Department of Defense.

It turned out that the tourists weren’t the only ones who saw the object – the pilot of the RAF Harrier jet also witnessed the phenomenon – again near Calvine – after being forced to investigate this UFO.

Military intelligence officers sent these images to JARIC, which is the Joint Air Intelligence and Reconnaissance Center.

It is the UK’s military center of excellence when it comes to image analysis. These intelligence officers concluded that these photographs were real and that no one had the slightest idea what they were.

Several mock ups of the photos have been made, while the real things remain hidden
Several mock ups of the photos have been made, while the real things remain classified

Thirty years later, the dossier of the Ministry of Defense, including photographs, was scheduled for declassification and publication, which is typical of such documents.

However, the release has now been postponed for another 50 years for unknown reasons.

According to the 30-year rule, the file was supposed to be released on January 1, 2021, but if the ministry gets it, it won’t be released until January 1, 2072 – an 82-year closure.

“By the time the world gets to see the file, the two witnesses will be dead. It is crazy. What are the authorities trying to hide?”

A complaint lodged under the Freedom of Information Act about the National Archives withholding the documents is now under investigation by the UK information watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The National Archives refused to comment further. The MOD refused to comment at all.

What are the authorities trying to hide?

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Aliens & UFO's

FBI decrypted documents confirm that there are giant aliens

The topic of aliens has always attracted attention. Recently, foreign media disclosed that a declassified document released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) once again confirmed the existence of UFOs and aliens.

FBI Declassified Document: Describes UFO and Aliens

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The British “Daily Star” reported that earlier this year, the FBI released the decrypted documents in 1947. The 70-page decrypted report contained a “Memorandum 6751”. The person who wrote the report was an anonymous university professor.

“Memorandum 6751″ mentioned that there were flying saucers, unidentified creatures, and ” giant aliens resembling humans “.

The report stated that these aliens are like humans, “but larger in size. They are not from any planet known to people, but from the etheric.” “Ether” is a term used in ancient Greece, generally referring to the atmosphere or sky.

Sketch of flying saucer. (Pixabay.com)

There is also a description of the flying saucer in the decryption report, which refers to the fact that most of the flying saucers are loaded with alien creatures. The flying saucers have powerful radiation, are very fast, and have powerful attack capabilities.

“These flying saucers have a kind of radiant energy or light that can easily disintegrate any spacecraft that launches an attack. They can re-enter (earth) from the ether at will, or they can simply disappear from our sight without leaving a trace.”

The report states, “If one of these (flying saucers) is attacked, the attacking aircraft will almost certainly be destroyed. As far as the general public is concerned, this may lead to proximity panic and international suspicion.”

Tesla is a ” Venusian “

In recent years, due to the expiration of the confidentiality period, the FBI has published many decrypted documents on its official website, including one about the famous inventor Nicholas. Tesla (Nikola Tesla) declassified documents, caused a public heat. The document mentioned that Tesla came from “Venus” and was an “alien”.

The FBI declassified document mentioned that the famous inventor Nicholas. Tesla came from “Venus” and was an “alien”. (Public domain)

The decrypted document is called “Nikola Tesla Part03 of03”. It is the third document about Nikola Tesla decrypted by the FBI. It has 64 pages of content, some of which are blacked out and cannot be distinguished.

The remaining content that is not blacked out contains the following passage: “The people of the universe have contacted Nikola Tesla many times and told the FBI that Tesla was from Venus. Tesla was brought to the earth in 1856 to a Yugoslav couple to raise.”

The publication of this document shocked the world. Faced with a wave of discussions and doubts from netizens, the FBI did not make any response or explanation, which is even more curious.

F-18 fighters chase UFO

“The Wall Street Journal” recently reported that the non-profit organization “National UFO Reporting Center” data shows that so far this year, UFO sightings have increased by 51% over the same period last year. The center has received approximately 5,000 sightings reported.

On September 8, the United States retired Lieutenant Colonel David. David Fravor accepted the Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist Rex. In a live webcast interview with Lex Fridman, he talked about the bizarre experience of driving an F-18 fighter jet to chase UFOs 16 years ago.

There are American pilots chasing UFOs in F-18 fighter jets. F-18 fighter data map. (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

On November 14, 2004, a UFO was found in the waters of San Diego, California, and Frevo piloted an F-18 fighter to investigate. Both he and the pilot of the other fighter saw a white Tic Tac mint-shaped flying object.

Subsequently, the pilot Chad Underwood flew an F-18 fighter jet, caught UFO on the radar, and successfully filmed UFO video with an infrared camera.

In April this year, the Pentagon released three videos of UFOs, one of which was taken by Underwood during this operation.

12 U.S. soldiers live on alien planets

Former Minister of Defense of Canada Paul. Paul T. Hellyer once disclosed that there are aliens living on the earth and working for the US government. Many US presidents have also admitted the existence of aliens on different occasions.

In addition, some U.S. military personnel disclosed that a top-secret exchange between the U.S. military and aliens was named “Operation Zeta,” and an alien envoy came to the United States. In July 1965, 12 American soldiers secretly boarded an alien spacecraft to the planet Zeta.

Of these 12 people, 4 never returned to Earth. Of these 4 people, 2 died, 2 chose to stay on Zeta, and the remaining 8 returned to Earth 13 years later.

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Aliens & UFO's

How many extraterrestrial civilizations can exist nearby?

Still from the movie "Prometheus" 20th Century Fox

In the 12th episode of the series ” Space”, Which aired on December 14, 1980, co-author and host of the program Carl Sagan introduced viewers to the eponymous equation of astronomer Frank Drake. 

Using it, he calculated the potential number of advanced civilizations in the Milky Way that could communicate with us using the extraterrestrial equivalent of our current radio communication technology. 

Sagan’s estimate ranged from a “paltry few” to millions. If civilizations don’t always destroy themselves shortly after the discovery of radio astronomy, then the sky can literally buzz with messages from the stars,” Sagan said in his inimitable manner. And yet Sagan was pessimistic about the fact that civilizations are able to survive their own technological “Youth” – a transitional period when the development of culture, say, nuclear energy,

If aliens exist, then why don’t we “hear” them?

Life in the universe

Sagan and other scientists suggested that the emergence of life on planets should be a cosmic inevitability, since according to geological data, it arose on earth amazingly quickly: more than four billion years ago, almost immediately after our planet cooled down enough. And if, as in our world, life on other planets arose quickly and evolved, becoming more complex over time, perhaps intelligence and technology could also be ubiquitous throughout the universe.

However, in recent years, some skeptical astronomers have tried to lend more empirical weight to such claims, using a sophisticated form of analysis called Bayesian statistics. The researchers focused on two unknowns: the likelihood of life on Earth-like planets from abiotic conditions – a process called abiogenesis – and therefore the likelihood of intelligent life. But even with such estimates, astronomers disagree about what they mean for life in other parts of the cosmos.

Drake’s equation, introduced by an astronomer in 1961, calculates the number of civilizations in our galaxy that can transmit or receive interstellar messages using radio waves. It is based on the multiplication of a number of factors, each of which quantifies some aspect of our knowledge of the galaxy, planets, life, and intelligence. 

These factors include: stars with exoplanets; the number of inhabited planets in the exoplanetary system; the number of inhabited planets on which life originates, and so on.

We may never know if there is life beyond Earth.

Today we know that worlds around stars are the norm, and that Earth-like worlds are common in the universe. However, one of the biggest uncertainties in the entire chain of factors is the likelihood that life, which originated in other worlds, makes the leap from chemistry to life. Ignoring this uncertainty could lead astronomers to make some pretty bold claims.

For example, astronomers from the University of Nottingham in England recently made headlines when they calculated that our galaxy must have at least 36 intelligent civilizations capable of communicating with us. This estimate was based on the assumption that intelligent life appears on other habitable terrestrial planets approximately 4.5-5.5 billion years after their formation. 

However, it is difficult to answer questions about the probability of abiogenesis and the emergence of intelligent life, because scientists have only one information: life on Earth.

Another problem with assumptions based on what we observe locally is the so-called selection bias. Imagine buying lottery tickets and winning on your 100th try. In this case, it would be reasonable to designate the probability of winning the lottery as 1%. 

This misleading conclusion is, of course, a selection bias that occurs if you only survey the winners and none of the losers (i.e. tens of millions of people who bought tickets but never won the lottery). When it comes to calculating the probability of abiogenesis, exactly the same thing happens, since scientists simply do not have information about all the worlds where life did not appear.

Abiogenesis probability

If you apply Bayes’ theorem to calculate the probability that an event, such as abiogenesis, will occur, astronomers first come up with a probability distribution for that event — a better guess, if you will. For example, it can be assumed that abiogenesis is as likely between 100 and 200 million years after the formation of the Earth, as it is between 200 and 300 million years after that time or any other 100-million segment of our planet’s history. These assumptions are called Bayesian a priori . Statisticians then collect data or evidence and combine the previous and actual data to calculate the posterior probability.

The answer to the question of how common life is in the galaxy remains unknown

In 2012, astronomers at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton were the first to apply Bayesian analysis to abiogenesis. According to their approach, life on a planet like Earth orbiting a star like the Sun does not arise until a certain minimum number of years (tmin) after the formation of this world. If life does not arise before a certain maximum time (tmax), then, as its star ages (and eventually dies), conditions on the planet become too hostile for abiogenesis.

However, this study is not without its drawbacks. For example, some researchers have questioned the assumption that intelligence emerged at a specific time after abiogenesis. This prior could be another example of selection bias, a concept influenced by the evolutionary path that our own intelligence has taken.

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