“An advanced extra-terrestrial species? One (or possibly billions) that are capable of intergalactic travel, possibly millions or billion of years advanced than us… that could very well be right here visiting Earth, and have been since the beginning, possibly being our creators (or creators of DNA)… … I don’t even think the human mind can even comprehend it!
To ‘meet’ one or to interact with one would be too unfathomable for the human mind… that’s the reason I DON’T believe in ‘alien conspiracies’ as such. Conspiracies between a group/s of humans and an extra-terrestrial species. I think the Governments, militaries and ‘powers that be’ know they exist, know they are visiting us, most likely have proof of their existence… but there is no ‘conspiracy’ or collusion between them.
(The conspiracy being the shitheads like The Vatican and other religious orders would do EVERYTHING they can to hide it, because it threatens their shitty little fantasy world they’ve created for everyone)
That, and I don’t believe humans are actually the most intelligent species on this planet… dolphins are! 😀
(So why would an intelligent alien species waste it’s time with us? It would probably ask the dolphins if they want us wiped out… and if the dolphins had any common sense they would reply with an astounding ‘YES PLEASE!’)
I think through all this talk of radio contact, searching for exoplanets and signs of civilisation… the most practical method, and the only way to even try and grasp such possibilities, and to possibly make contact… … psychedelic compounds such as DMT and Ayahuasca… exploring consciousness through ‘shamanic’ practises.
THE ZOO HYPOTHESIS MAKES ABSOLUTE COMPLETE SENSE TO ME!
HUMANS will be in for a huge shock when – not if – we encounter aliens, according to one of the world’s top scientists.
The chairman of the Harvard Astronomy Department said humanity’s first encounter will almost be unfathomable. Meeting extraterrestrials would be the biggest step in human history, according to Professor Avi Loeb of Harvard University. He believes it is one of the last remaining steps we have to take as a species, and believes it is a matter of when.
Avi Loeb on the Mysterious Interstellar Body ‘Oumuamua
‘Thinking About Distant Civilizations Isn’t Speculative’
Astronomer Avi Loeb believes that the interstellar object dubbed ‘Oumuamua could actually be a probe sent by alien beings. Given the evidence that has so far been gathered, he says, it is a possible conclusion to draw.
We live in a universe where matter is distributed in a hundred billion galaxies, each containing a hundred billion stars, made up of quantum fields where space and time are not existent, that manifest themselves in the form of particles, such as electrons and photons, or as waves. Tucked into the 14-billion-year history of this vast observable universe with 100 trillion planets is a pale blue dot teeming with life and a technological civilization created by a strange species known as homo sapiens.
Are we an aberration, an evolutionary accident, or are we one of millions of evolving beings scattered throughout the distant reaches of the cosmos?
In June of 2016, The New York Times attempted to answer this great unanswered question of the human species, publishing an op-ed titled, “Yes, There Have Been Aliens.”
In a brilliant display of intuition vs evidence, astrophysicist Adam Frank at the University of Rochester and author of “Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth”, proposed that “while we do not know if any advanced extraterrestrial civilizations currently exist in our galaxy, extraterrestrial civilizations almost certainly existed at one time or another in the evolution of the cosmos. the degree of pessimism required to doubt the existence, at some point in time, of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization borders on the irrational. We now have enough information to conclude that they almost certainly existed at some point in cosmic history.”
Frank writes that this probability is not an abstraction, not just a pure number. Instead, he says, it represents something very real: “10 billion trillion planets existing in the right place for nature to have at it. Each world is place where winds may blow over mountains, where mists may rise in valleys, where seas may churn and rivers may flow. (Note our solar system has two worlds in the Goldilocks zone — Earth and Mars — and both have had winds, seas and rivers). When you hold that image in your mind, you see something remarkable: The pessimism line actually represents the 10 billion trillion times the universe has run its experiment with planets and life.”
Frank’s argument have their appeal, countered Ross Andersen in The Atlantic, but it is an appeal to intuition: “The simple fact is that no matter how much we wish to live in a universe that teems with life—and many of us wish quite fervently—we haven’t the slightest clue how often it evolves. Indeed, we aren’t even sure how life arose on this planet. We have our just-so stories about lightning strikes and volcanic vents, but no one has come close to duplicating abiogenesis in a lab. Nor do we know whether basic organisms reliably evolve into beings like us.”
Evolutionary biologist Wentao Ma and collaborators, observes Frank, used computer simulations to show that the first replicating molecules could have been short strands of RNA that were easy to form and which quickly led to a “takeover” by DNA. And, as neurobiologist and leading expert on evolution of intelligence, Lori Marino has argued, human intelligence evolved on top of cognitive structures that already had a long history of life on Earth. Thus our kind of intelligence should no longer be seen as entirely separated from what evolved before.
For what purpose did the human brain evolve is a question that has puzzled scientists for decades, and was answered in 2010 by Colin Blakemore, an Oxford neurobiologist who argued that a mutation in the brain of a single human being 200,000 years ago turned intellectually able primates into a super-intelligent species that would conquer the world. Homo sapiens appears to be genetic accident.
We are the only species of the billions of species that have existed on Earth that has shown an aptitude for radios and even we failed to build one during the first 99% of our 7 million year history, according to Australia National University’s Charles Lineweaver.
Genetic studies suggest every living human can be traced back to a single woman called “Mitochondrial Eve” who lived about 200,000 years ago, Blakemore said in an interview with The Guardian. He suggested that “the sudden expansion of the brain 200,000 years ago was a dramatic spontaneous mutation in the brain of Mitochondrial Eve or a relative which then spread through the species. A change in a single gene would have been enough.”
Blakemore stressed that the plasticity that our brains were enhanced with when this mutation occurred. Some scientists, he pointed out, “believe that skills like language have a strong genetic basis, but my theory stresses the opposite, that knowledge, picked up by our now powerful brains, is the crucial mental component. It means that we are uniquely gifted in our ability to learn from experience and to pass this on to future generations.”
The huge and logical downside to Blakemore’s theory is that with a single generation starved of knowledge, thanks to some Six Mass Extinction global disaster, for example, would be cast back to the Stone Age. “Everything, Blakemore observes, :would be undone. On the other hand, there is no sign that the human brain has reached its capacity to accumulate knowledge, which means that the wonders we have already created – from spaceships to computers – represent only the start of our achievements.”
“The universe gets to run the experiment many, many times, writes Frank. “So if you want to argue Earth is unique, then the onus is on you to show why technological intelligence is so strongly selected against.”
We can’t extrapolate from our existence on Earth, counters Andersen, because it’s only one data point. We could be the only intelligent beings in the universe, he writes, “or we could be one among trillions, and either way Earth’s natural history would look the exact same. Even if we could draw some crude inferences, the takeaways might not be so reassuring. It took two billion years for simple, single-celled life to spawn our primordial lineage, the eukaryotes.
“And so far as we can tell, he continued, “it only happened once. It took another billion years for eukaryotes to bootstrap into complex animal life, and hundreds of millions of years more for the development of language and sophisticated tool-making. And unlike the eye, or bodies with legs—adaptations that have arisen independently on many branches of life’s tree—intelligence of the spaceship-making sort has only emerged once, in all of Earth’s history. It just doesn’t seem like one of evolution’s go-to solutions.”
In 2012, Princeton astrophysical sciences professor Edwin Turner and lead author David Spiegel, with the Institute for Advanced Studies, analyzed what is known about the likelihood of life on other planets in an effort to separate the facts from the mere expectation that life exists outside of Earth. The researchers used a Bayesian analysis — which weighs how much of a scientific conclusion stems from actual data and how much comes from the prior assumptions of the scientist — to determine the probability of extraterrestrial life once the influence of these presumptions is minimized.
Their study argued that the idea that life has or could arise in an Earth-like environment has only a small amount of supporting evidence, most of it extrapolated from what is known about abiogenesis, or the emergence of life, on early Earth. Instead, their analysis showed that the expectations of life cropping up on exoplanets — those found outside Earth’s solar system — are largely based on the assumption that it would or will happen under the same conditions that allowed life to flourish on this planet.
In fact, the researchers concluded, the current knowledge about life on other planets suggests that it’s very possible that Earth is a cosmic aberration where life took shape unusually fast. If so, then the chances of the average terrestrial planet hosting life would be low.
“Fossil evidence suggests that life began very early in Earth’s history and that has led people to determine that life might be quite common in the universe because it happened so quickly here, but the knowledge about life on Earth simply doesn’t reveal much about the actual probability of life on other planets,” Turner said.
In conclusion, it appears that the choice between intuition or evidence is yours to make.
According to current measurements, the size of the cosmos must be larger than a hundred billion light-years. This is the order of magnitude of the universe we have indirect access to, writes physicist Carlo Rovelli. “It is around 1060 times greater than the Planck length, a number of times that is given by a 1 followed by sixty zeroes. Between the Planck scale and the cosmological one, then, there is the mind-blowing separation of sixty orders of magnitude.”
In this space, adds Rovelli in Reality Is Not What It Seems-The Journey to Quantum Gravity—”between the size of the minute quanta of space, up to quarks, protons, atoms, chemical structures, mountains, stars, galaxies (each formed by one hundred billion stars), clusters of galaxies, and right up until the seemingly boundless visible universe of more than a hundred billion galaxies—unfolds the swarming complexity of our universe, a universe we know in only a few aspects. Immense. Huge. Extraordinarily huge. But finite.”
Astronomers are confident that the volume of space-time within range of our telescopes—‘the universe’—is only a tiny fraction of the aftermath of the big bang. “We’d expect far more galaxies located beyond the horizon, unobservable,” says the renowned astrophysicist, Martin Rees, “each of which (along with any civilizations it hosts) will evolve rather like our own.”
One of the most fundamental known unknowns in astronomy is just how many galaxies the universe contains. The Hubble Deep Field images, captured in the mid 1990s, revealed untold numbers of faint galaxies. It was estimated that the observable Universe contains between 100 to 200 billion galaxies.
“It boggles the mind that over 90% of the galaxies in the Universe have yet to be studied. Who knows what we will find when we observe these galaxies with the next generation of telescopes,” says astronomer and Google Scholar Christopher Conselice at the University of Nottingham, who led the team that discovered that there are ten times more galaxies in the universe than previously thought, and an even wider space to ultimately search for extraterrestrial life.
In 2016, astronomers using data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescopes and other telescopes performed an accurate census of the number of galaxies, and came to the surprising conclusion that there are at least 10 times as many galaxies in the observable universe as previously thought. The image itself was produced by the Frontier Fields Collaboration (a joint effort between NASA’s Hubble, Spitzer, and Chandra space telescopes) allowing scientists to detect galaxies that are as much as 100 times fainter than those independently captured before.
The international team, reports Nature, led by Conselice from the University of Nottingham, UK, have shown that this figure is at least ten times too low. Conselice and his team reached this conclusion using deep space images from Hubble, data from his team’s previous work, and other published data . They painstakingly converted the images into 3D, in order to make accurate measurements of the number of galaxies at different times in the Universe’s history.
In addition, they used new mathematical models which allowed them to infer the existence of galaxies which the current generation of telescopes cannot observe. This led to the surprising realization that in order for the numbers to add up, some 90% of the galaxies in the observable Universe are actually too faint and too far away to be seen — yet.
All that the human species will be able to view after a hundred billion years, will be the dead and dying stars of our Local Group. But these, says Martin Rees in On the Future, who was not part of Conselice’s team, “could continue for trillions of years—time enough, perhaps, for the long-term trend for living systems to gain complexity and ‘negative entropy’ to reach a culmination. All the atoms that were once in stars and gas could be transformed into structures as intricate as a living organism or a silicon chip—but on a cosmic scale. Against the darkening background, protons may decay, dark matter particles annihilate, occasional flashes when black holes evaporate—and then silence.”
We can only see a finite number of galaxies because there’s a horizon, a shell around us, delineating the greatest distance from which light can reach us. But that shell, observes Rees, “has no more physical significance than the circle that delineates your horizon if you’re in the middle of the ocean.”
In analyzing the data the team looked more than 13 billion years into the past. This showed them that galaxies are not evenly distributed throughout the Universe’s history. In fact, it appears that there were a factor of 10 more galaxies per unit volume when the Universe was only a few billion years old compared with today. Most of these galaxies were relatively small and faint, with masses similar to those of the satellite galaxies surrounding the Milky Way.
These results are powerful evidence that a significant evolution has taken place throughout the Universe’s history, an evolution during which galaxies merged together, dramatically reducing their total number. “This gives us a verification of the so-called top-down formation of structure in the Universe,” explains Conselice.
The decreasing number of galaxies as time progresses also contributes to the solution of Olbers’ Paradox — why the sky is dark at night. The astronomer Heinrich Olbers argued that the night sky should be permanently flooded by light, because in an unchanging Universe filled with an infinite number of stars, every single part of the sky should be occupied by a bright object. However, our modern understanding of the Universe is that it is both finite and dynamic — not infinite and static.
The team came to the conclusion that there is such an abundance of galaxies that, in principle, every point in the sky contains part of a galaxy. However, most of these galaxies are invisible to the human eye and even to modern telescopes, owing to a combination of factors: redshifting of light, the Universe’s dynamic nature and the absorption of light by intergalactic dust and gas, all combine to ensure that the night sky remains mostly dark.
Image at the top of the page shows Hubble image of Abell 2744. The light in the image comes from dead, ghost galaxies torn apart long ago by the cluster’s gravitational forces, and their stars were scattered into what is known as intracluster space — the space between the galaxies.
Scientists have discovered derivatives of life’s building blocks in carbon-rich meteorite samples, a first. They also showed how biological compounds can form in interstellar space. These new findings support the theory that life on Earth originated with help from cosmic impacts.
Sugars and sugar derivatives are essential to life on Earth. But they, along with amino acids and other organic molecules, can be found in space as well, on asteroids and comets. Scientists have suggested that objects in space may have fallen to Earth and delivered the compounds that would spark biological processes on our planet.
Sugar and Ice
In this new study, scientists analyzed five residues from ice mixtures exposed to ultraviolet radiation in conditions simulating the interstellar medium in space. The goal was to see whether organic molecules found in life on Earth would form in a simulated space environment. In these residues, they found 2-deoxyribose, or the sugar component that makes up the “D” in DNA. They also found derivatives of 2-deoxyribose, similar compounds that have one atom or a group of atoms that are different.
“Astrochemistry ice photolysis experiments, such as those described in our paper, provide a convincing explanation on how those compounds may form in such astrophysical environments,” lead researcher Michel Nuevo of NASA Ames Research Center said about these experiments in an email.
There are many theories surrounding the origins of life on Earth. Scientists think that biological compounds like 2-deoxyribose may have played a role in the formation of Earth’s first organisms. Some have even suggested that these biological compounds formed in the abiotic environment of space, aboard objects like comets, asteroids, meteoroids, and interplanetary dust particles. Previous studies have shown how biological compounds might form in space, and they could have fallen to Earth early on in its history when bombardment by asteroids and comets was more common.
In short, this study demonstrated that biological compounds like 2-deoxyribose can form in a noon-biological environment.
“Our paper, together with several other papers describing similar astrochemistry experiments published in the last 25 years or so, show that a very wide variety of compounds of biological interest can be formed under abiotic (i.e., non-biological) conditions in astrophysical environments,” lead researcher Michel Nuevo of NASA Ames Research Center in an email.
Still Searching for DNA
In addition to this analysis, the researchers were able to identify some of these deoxy sugar derivatives in carbonaceous, or carbon-rich, meteorite samples for the first time ever. This proved that these biological compounds can be produced in a space environment. However, while the team found 2-deoxyribose in the laboratory experiments, they were unable to find the DNA component in the meteorite samples analyzed.
According to Nuevo, while this work doesn’t solve the mystery of how life on Earth originated, it shows how it is quite likely that meteorites have deposited biological compounds on Earth throughout history.
“Since asteroids and comets routinely crash onto the surface of planets, including the Earth, in the form of meteorites, it is obvious that large amounts of organic compounds, including compounds of biological interest, are routinely dumped on our continents and in our oceans, the same way they are probably dumped onto other planets of the solar system,” he said. “This does not explain how life originated on our planet more than 4 billion years ago, as nobody knows how those organic compounds could combine into the even more complex structures required for life to get started. But it shows that sugar derivatives and other compounds of biological interest are present and are probably dumped onto planets everywhere in the galaxy.”
This work is published in the journal Nature Communications.