Astrobiology: February 2017 Archives

Temperate Earth-Sized Planets Found in Extraordinarily Rich Planetary System TRAPPIST-1 , ESO

"Astronomers have found a system of seven Earth-sized planets just 40 light-years away. Using ground and space telescopes, including ESO's Very Large Telescope, the planets were all detected as they passed in front of their parent star, the ultracool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1. According to the paper appearing today in the journal Nature, three of the planets lie in the habitable zone and could harbour oceans of water on their surfaces, increasing the possibility that the star system could play host to life. This system has both the largest number of Earth-sized planets yet found and the largest number of worlds that could support liquid water on their surfaces."

Spitzer Telescope Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star, NASA

"NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water - key to life as we know it - under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone."

USA concerned about China's possible contact with extraterrestrials, Pravda

"John Hertz, former chairman of the board of trustees of the US-based SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) said in an interview with the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, that sending signals to alien civilization was dangerous. The expert added that it would be even more dangerous if China received a response from an extraterrestrial civilization. ... Not that long ago, it was reported that three aircraft in China could not land at an airport in Sichuan because of an unidentified flying object. The airport administration denied landing boarding, fearing for the safety of passengers. The aircraft had to be redirected to other airports."

Keith's note: Too funny. Pravda (which is aligned with the Russian government) cites American fears about SETI signal detection and suggests that they are linked to a UFO that prevented commercial airline activity in Sichuan, China. Pravda mentions John "Hertz" and the SETI Institute. They might be referring to John "Gertz". They seem to be referring to Gertz's BIS paper (not an "interview") "Post-Detection SETI Protocols & METI: The Time Has Come To Regulate Them Both". This paper makes no mention of UFOs, airliners, or Sichuan but does say "Should the Chinese achieve an ET detection separately from Breakthrough Listen, it is unknown whether they would share the news with the rest of mankind or, alternatively, designate it a state secret."

Gertz is worried that China might withhold information about a SETI contact. He goes on to say that "Pursuant to Article IX of the Space Treaty, METI [Messaging to Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence] would arguably be illegal. Consequently, on its face, it would seem that organizations or individuals attempting to conduct METI might be enjoined in a court of law." He adds "However, the immediate release of the coordinates of a transmission begs an unauthorized and premature response. Religious groups might send their parochial messages, while Kim Jong Un might send his." So it is not illegal to listen to E.T. but it is illegal to talk to E.T. - so who enforces this?

The purpose of SETI is to listen for messages from extraterrestrial civilizations - right? If sending of messages is illegal and thus prohibited then wouldn't other intelligent civilizations adopt the same stance? If so why even do SETI in the first place? No one will be transmitting - and there will be nothing to listen to. Besides, its too late. We have sent two interstellar spacecraft out of the solar system with maps of how to find us - and we have been yelling "we're over here" to the universe for a century via radio. Indeed SETI guru Frank Drake deliberately said hello to globular star cluster M13 from Arecibo in 1974. So Gertz et al are a century too late - and if Pravda is to be believed, E.T. has already found us. Beam me up.

WikiLeaks, Blink 182, John Podesta, and UFOs, earlier post



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This page is an archive of entries in the Astrobiology category from February 2017.

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