Do aliens exist? The ancient Greeks thought so and so should you

When it comes to aliens, everyone has an opinion despite no one having much of anything concrete to go on. Famed physicist Enrico Fermi famously looked up into the deafening silence of the night sky above Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1940s and demanded to know where the hell everybody was.

If even one of the greatest minds of the 20th century was stumped, it’s a good bet that we’re not going to do much better at answering the question, “where are all the aliens?” There is still a lot to say about them though, and the idea of alien species on other worlds or in different realities is about as old as human thought.

For whatever reason, aliens have a hold of our imagination, and they frankly always have. So what do we mean when we talk about aliens? What are our best guesses on their appearance if they do exist? And, honestly, what are the odds that they’re actually out there, and why should we care so much?

Do aliens exist?

That is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? We’ve discovered thousands of exoplanets in the past 30 years, and we haven’t heard a peep one way or the other.

If we just look at the question of probabilities, then it seems like madness to doubt the existence of aliens. There are about 400 billion star systems in the Milky Way galaxy alone, and each of those is almost guaranteed to have at least one exoplanet. Most systems we’ve looked at in detail have half a dozen exoplanets, with two or three in the “habitable zone” of their star—the range of distance from the star where liquid water can exist on its surface at least for a substantial portion of the year.

The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence Institute has been scouring the skies for radio signals from intelligent civilizations for decades now. While there have been plenty of false positives, we’ve yet to intercept or otherwise receive so much as a “Hello World”. We’ve even put many of our species’ significant highlights on a golden record and shot it into interstellar space—twice—in the hope that it bumps into someone up there who will then get on the ‘phone’ and call us to let us know that we’re not alone.

But in addition, many of our next-generation science instruments, like the James Webb Space Telescope or the Nancy Roman Telescope, are specifically designed, or at least have it in their remit, to look for alien life. It’s unquestionable that if there is alien life out there capable of being detected, we’re closer to making contact than we’ve ever been.

But that would be true whether we were days away from getting an interstellar email or we’ve got decades ahead of us before any kind of contact is made, and so all most of us can really do is look up at the night sky like Enrico Fermi and ask the big questions while we wait for an answer, one way or the other.

What do aliens look like?

Aliens could and will look like just about anything you can imagine, given the nature of their evolution and development (should they exist). Even on Earth, we are constantly surprised by the kinds of utterly bizarre flora and fauna that live 1 kilometer below the ocean surface, and we are far closer to a barreleye fish (see above) than we’d be to Alpha Centaurians.

Unless the exact opposite were true.

There is a theory in evolutionary biology called convergent evolution. According to this idea, geographically isolated species are likely to adopt the same evolutionary adaptations due to their lived environment. 

All those movies with humanoid aliens may be a more accurate representation of our future alien relationships than anything out of Independence Day. Suppose the aliens we’re talking about evolved primarily on land and on a planet similar to ours. In that case, they’ll have many of the same physiological developments that we do, even if there are some more unique configurations.

We’re far more likely to recognize ourselves in land-evolved aliens than we are for anything that evolved in the oceans, however, so that is definitely something to think about as we look out into the cosmos for evidence of intelligent life—and also reminds us that there are plenty of aliens to be discovered nearer to home than many people realize.

What about the Drake Equation?

Do aliens exist? The ancient Greeks thought so and so should you
Dr. Frank Drake, revisiting the variables of the Drake Equation, several decades after its inception | Source: Raphael Perrino/Flickr

The Drake Equation was introduced by the astronomer Frank Drake in 1961 as a starting point for discussion at the first meeting of astronomers working on the subject of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and it has since taken on something of a life of its own.

According to the SETI Institute, the Drake Equation “is generally agreed to be the ‘second most-famous equation in science (after E= mc2),’ and you can find it in nearly every astronomy textbook.” That isn’t that much of a stretch, and the Drake Equation has influenced the conversation around alien life for the past 60-plus years.

The Drake Equation looks at several factors to determine the probability of alien life in our galaxy. The Drake Equation is defined as

N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L

with the terms in the Drake Equation being:

  • N: The number of civilizations in our galaxy whose electromagnetic radiation is detectable
  • R*: the rate of star formation in the galaxy that produces suitable conditions for the development of life
  • fp: The fraction of those stars that have planetary systems
  • ne: The mean number of planets in a star system that can support life
  • fl: The fraction of such planets where life, in fact, develops 
  • fi: The fraction of life-sustaining planets where intelligent life develops  
  • fc: The fraction of those planets which have civilizations capable of producing detectable electromagnetic signals, like radio waves
  • L: The average length of time that a civilization can produce such signals, in years

What we’re looking for is N, namely the probability that an alien civilization is alive and broadcasting at a point in time when we can hear them. Take that probability and multiply it against the number of stars in our galaxy (400 billion). In theory, you can come up with a rough estimate of the number of active alien civilizations currently inhabiting our galaxy.

If you’ve read those variables closely, though, it should be fairly obvious to you that this is not an equation in a traditional sense like, say, E=mc2 or a2 + b2 = c2.

The Drake Equation is, ultimately, a probabilistic one, giving you a result between zero and one, and which tells you the odds of a particular outcome, much like the flip of a coin or the roll of a die, only with many more sides and each weighted very differently from the others.

If the number of life-sustaining planets in a planetary system is one or two planets greater than expected, the impact on the result can be substantial. The time a civilization can exist while being capable of producing electromagnetic waves can likewise produce a galaxy buzzing with activity, or, it can turn the Milky Way into a cosmic crypt with a single inhabitant—us—that is destined to take its place beside the rest of the dead alien species that we won’t ever even know existed.

Because the variables in the Drake Equation are so fluid, it’s not like math equations produced by thinkers like Einstein or Euclid. Those are meant to describe something concrete in an abstract way. Meanwhile, the Drake Equation is much fuzzier, and each variable is open to interpretation (at least for now), and serves a different purpose than mere math. 

In many ways, the Drake Equation is aspirational and is more an expression of hope in the existence of advanced extraterrestrial life than it is science (which is one of the principal criticisms leveled against it). Hope is not science, and in many ways is antithetical to sound science, at least in that a good scientist shouldn’t go out in search of evidence to support a conclusion, but should rather see whether neutral (or as close to neutral as possible) observation or experimentation supports a hypothesis.

But there is a place for something like the Drake Equation, taken in its proper context. When looking out into the cosmic void of hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone, confronting the apparent silence of it all can easily lead one to write off SETI as a fool’s errand.

In cosmic terms, we’ve only had the capacity to detect aliens on other worlds for just over a hundred years, at most (assuming that rudimentary radio receivers on Earth could somehow pick up radio broadcasts from thousands of light-years away, not that we’d understand what we were hearing necessarily). That’s not long at all, even in terms of the lifetime of our species, much less the age of life on Earth or the galaxy as a whole, which is thought to have taken on its current form about 9 billion years ago.

In short, we’ve only just turned on the radio, and we haven’t even had a chance to hear the song. Given that our individual lives are so short, cosmically, it would be absurd to say that there is no alien life out there because we haven’t heard from them. That is what makes the Drake Equation a critical point of discussion from a scientific perspective because it gives scientists some perspective.

Yes, that is an enormous haystack we have in front of us, and after some searching, we’ve yet to find any needles. Some scientists might be tempted to throw their hands up and say the search is pointless, but the Drake Equation reminds us that there might still be needles in there, even tens of thousands of needles. We just have to keep searching if we ever hope to find them. Whether we continue to do so is entirely up to us.

UFO Caught On Camera During Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Parade

As we now know, thanks to Pentagon reports and numerous pilots’ testimonies, UFOs have been encountered numerous times in the vicinity of the world’s military and especially fighter jets, helicopters and warships.

This appears to have once again occurred last week during, of all things, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee parade over in the United Kingdom. At least that’s what many on the internet believe.

During the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th anniversary as monarch, nine fighter jets flew in formation, making a pass over the parade leaving contrails of red, white and blue smoke.

As this was occurring, several people on the internet noticed an anomaly on camera in the form of a very fast, white or shiny UFO zooming perpendicular behind the aircraft across the screen.

The UFO appeared to be very small, but moving at a rate of speed not achievable by any known drones. A second video taken from one of the jets in the formation appears to show the same UFO, or perhaps a second unidentified flying object in the vicinity of the aircraft.

Many on the internet offered up their opinions of what the UFO may have actually been

“That is definitely not a lens flare,” one viewer of the video wrote on Twitter.

“Way too fast for a drone. Unless its closer than it looks… that thing is hauling a–,” another commented.

“At least you know where she’s gone should she suddenly disappear,” joked another viewer, referring to the Queen.

Over on Reddit, commenters were equally as puzzled.

“I’m starting to believe these are just uninhabited drones that aren’t ours… Like not human,” one person wrote.

“I’ve thought about this a lot, we often just assume that things will be at a similar scale to us, but depending on the evolutionary diceroll it could be anything,” another explained. “What if dinosaurs had stayed the dominant species? What if it ends up being ants? Spaceship for ants joke aside, if we’re being visited by?”

One viewer went even deeper, positing, what if “that point of light is just the visual light spectrum signature of a larger craft?”

The truth is out there.

‘Known Alien’ Al Roker Loses It During UFO Discussion

Al Roker, who was identified as a “known alien” in the movie Men in Black, lost it on the Today show during a discussion on the House starting hearings on UFOs.

Roker—who said back in 2008 that he “firmly” believes extraterrestrials are “out there”—showed that he was less than impressed as the Today panel discussed what messages future humans might be sending back to the present time.

“Moving on now,” the clearly annoyed Roker said.

“Is this the current Al Roker talking or is this the Al Roker from the future,” Today co-host Craig Melvin asked.

“I know our producer from the present wants us to move on because time in this universe is finite. MOVING ON!” he yelled.

The House committee is holding the first congressional public hearing on UFOs in decades on Tuesday.

It follows the release last year of a U.S. intelligence report on UFOs, which found that investigators were only able to explain one out of 144 sightings of mysterious flying objects.

Roker’s face appears in a hilarious scene from the movie Men In Black, in which certain celebrities are named as being “known aliens.” They included Roker, Isaac Mizrahi, Danny DeVito, director Barry Sonnenfeld, Chloe Sonnenfeld (Barry’s daughter), Sylvester Stallone, Dionne Warwick, Newt Gingrich, Anthony Robbins, George Lucas, and executive producer Steven Spielberg.

Is Congress Finally Waking Up To UFOs?

UFOs are finally having a moment. In Congress that is.

On Tuesday, for the first time in more than 50 years, a congressional hearing is being held to address UFOs – or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) as they are now known.

“For too long, the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good intelligence analysis,” said Indiana Rep. André Carson, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee’s Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation subcommittee. “Pilots avoided reporting, or were laughed at when they did. DOD officials relegated the issue to the back room, or swept it under the rug entirely, fearful of a skeptical national security community. Today, we know better. UAPs are unexplained, it’s true. But they are real. They need to be investigated. And any threats they pose need to be mitigated.”

Congress’ openness to talk about flying objects with no known or proven origin has increased exponentially in recent years.

That increased interest – and ramped-up belief that UAPs pose a national security threat – began in earnest in April 2020 when the Pentagon released three short videos documenting UAPs.

As CNN wrote at the time: “The videos show what appear to be unidentified flying objects rapidly moving while recorded by infrared cameras. Two of the videos contain service members reacting in awe at how quickly the objects are moving. One voice speculates that it could be a drone.”

Then last summer, the US intelligence community issued an unclassified report to Congress on UAPs that, among other things, detailed 144 UAP sightings or incidents – documented by military aviators – between 2004 and 2021.

The report also included these lines: “In 18 incidents, described in 21 reports, observers reported unusual UAP movement patterns or flight characteristics. Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernable means of propulsion.”

Which, whoa!

That UFOs UAPs are having a moment in Congress would be of considerable gratification to the late Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, who, for a very long time, was a lone voice in pushing the importance of studying this phenomenon more closely.

Reid had advocated for the creation of the secretive Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), which was housed within the Department of Defense.

In a 2017 profile of the program, The New York Times wrote:

“The Defense Department has never before acknowledged the existence of the program, which it says it shut down in 2012. But its backers say that, while the Pentagon ended funding for the effort at that time, the program remains in existence. For the past five years, they say, officials with the program have continued to investigate episodes brought to them by service members, while also carrying out their other Defense Department duties.”

In 2019, Reid defended the $22 million he had earmarked for AATIP over his time in the Senate.

“We know that China is doing it,” Reid said in reference to studying UAPs. “We know that Russia, which is led by someone within the KGB, is doing it, too, so we better take a look at it, too.” Added Reid: “We got a volume of research that was done, $22 million worth of research. It showed that not two people, four people or six people or 20 people but hundreds and hundreds of people have seen these things, sometimes all at the same time.”

The following year, Reid was blunt about his interest. “I personally don’t know if there exist little green men places,” Reid said. “I kind of doubt that, but I do believe the information we have indicates we should do a lot more study.”

The UFO Briefings on Capitol Hill Begin

Lawmakers receiving the latest secret briefings on UFOs say national security agencies still aren’t taking seriously the reports of highly advanced aircraft of unknown origin violating protected airspace.

Members of the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees received classified progress reports in recent weeks on a series of new data collection efforts the Pentagon and spy agencies are now required to pursue to more rigorously investigate reports of UFOs, three people with direct knowledge confirmed.

But some leading sponsors of recent legislation want more analysts and surveillance systems dedicated to determining the aircrafts’ origin — and not just more reports of their existence.

One of those lawmakers is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a member of both committees who has called the phenomena “an urgent issue” and for the first time is expressing her public dissatisfaction at the response.

“Senator Gillibrand believes that the DoD needs to take this issue much more seriously and get in motion,” said one of her aides, who requested anonymity in order to discuss private conversations. “They have had ample time to implement these important provisions, and they need to show us that they are prepared to address this issue in the long-term.”

The congressional briefings come four months after Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act requiring the Pentagon to create the Anomaly Surveillance and Resolution Office.

The office, which is supposed to be fully operational by June, was granted the authority to pursue “any resource, capability, asset, or process” to investigate “unidentified aerial phenomena” — the now-widely accepted nomenclature for UFOs.

The Pentagon office is supposed to be developing an “intelligence collection and analysis plan to gain as much knowledge as possible regarding the technical and operational characteristics, origins, and intentions of unidentified aerial phenomena,” according to the legislation.

That means identifying people across the government “to respond rapidly to incidents or patterns of observations.”

The bill, signed into law by President Joe Biden, also required an annual report and semiannual briefings for Congress, including descriptions of all UAP incidents such as those “associated with military nuclear assets, including strategic nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered ships and submarines.”

To respond to Congress’s direction, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks directed the creation of an Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group to oversee the stepped-up effort and establish the permanent UFO office required by Congress.

Among its tasks is to standardize UAP incident reporting across the military and collect and analyze more intelligence.

“The Department continues to brief Congress on our efforts regarding unidentified aerial phenomena, including our progress in standing up the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, in accordance with the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act,” Susan Gough, a department spokesperson, told POLITICO in a statement.

“I cannot comment on specific engagements,” she added.

Expanding investigations of UAPs will require dedicating far more resources and personnel to the task, military and intelligence experts say.

But some members of Congress and their staff are beginning to air their dissatisfaction with the progress in making that happen.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the intelligence panel, also believes the Pentagon is not aggressively carrying out Congress’ direction.

“Rubio is definitely frustrated,” said one of the senator’s aides, who was not authorized to speak publicly. “They are not moving fast enough, not doing enough, not sharing enough.”

“The administration is aware of the concerns,” he added. “It is not at the level it needs to be.”

Others are more critical, accusing the Pentagon of hiding information from Congress.

“I don’t trust the Department of Defense to get this right since leadership there has always been part of a cover-up,” said Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), a member of the House Transportation Aviation Subcommittee.

“It is clear from the public evidence that we don’t have full control of our airspace,” added Burchett, whose district includes Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where there have been numerous reports of UFO sightings over the decades. “That’s a national security issue and it’s also unacceptable.”

Five current and former military and intelligence officials and contractor personnel privy to the deliberations who were not authorized to speak publicly told POLITICO they believe real progress is being made to compel agencies to take a more proactive approach — and also be more transparent about what they might know about UFO sightings and technologies.

Capitol Hill scrutiny has intensified since 2017, when former Pentagon official Luis Elizondo went public with his concerns. Since then, Navy pilots have come forward with credible testimony of UFO encounters, and the Pentagon began releasing select footage depicting mysterious aircraft captured by fighter jet cameras and ship radars.

“They are putting time in, they are doing work,” said a government contractor who has been enlisted in the new effort. “They are going to put some bodies on it. I think they’ll probably file the reports back to Congress on time. And that is a big plus.”

Others said that while officials are doing a better job of collecting reports of UAPs, they are still reluctant to dedicate more intelligence assets to determine whether some of the reported craft might belong to a foreign nation or if they are extraterrestrial in nature.

“I have seen everything we have [in the files] and I am very confident they are not ours,” said a former senior intelligence official who had authority over the UFO portfolio, referring to classified U.S. aircraft programs.

The continued uncertainty is prompting members of Congress to increase pressure on the Pentagon and spy agencies to do much more than merely collect UAP reports.

The contractor worries that the new Pentagon panel “is going to receive reports and collate them but they’re not going to lead any organized, serious effort to find out what the hell’s going on, nor are they going to be in a position to press anybody else to do that.”

Congress wants “somebody to get on the stick over there and get to the bottom of it,” the contractor added.

That also means determining where the sightings are most commonly being reported and then cueing technical systems to monitor those areas more regularly — for example, to “have these three satellites collect X amount of hours in X locations.”

“Who’s got all the puzzle pieces, who’s doing serious analysis, and then making informed, intelligent decisions about [intelligence] collection?” he asked.

But it also means “you have to compete with a lot of other priority things that are going to often outrank this,” he added.

Elizondo also said in an interview that he believes an enduring problem is that there are still “pockets of information” on UAPs within the government that are not being shared with the new Pentagon oversight body or Congress.

And when some of those pockets reach oversight committees through other channels, it further undermines their confidence in the government’s ability to seek and provide comprehensive answers.

“When they are made aware of information and data and videos and photos that are not being provided by DoD, it sets up a situation where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing,” Elizondo said.

Gough, the Pentagon spokesperson, declined to respond to such criticism.

Elizondo also warned that the Pentagon is lumping the most mystifying UAP reports with more traditional drones or other more readily identifiable objects commonly discovered in U.S. airspace, such as weather balloons or discarded rocket and satellite components.

The intent of the new law “is not to associate UAPs as an air clutter issue or space junk,” Elizondo said. “That should not be confused with clearly breakaway technologies that are being employed and demonstrated within our controlled U.S. airspace.”

The government UFO contractor sees signs of momentum to give “the phenomenon” the attention it deserves, but expects Congress will have to take more legislative action.

“I think there are pockets of people in different agencies who are enthusiastic,” he said. “But is it a focused effort? Is there somebody at a high level who is an advocate who owns this problem and is putting together a plan to get the answers that Congress wants? I think the answer to that is no.”

Original Article:

Scientists Reveal an Earth-Like Alien World on Saturn’s Moon Titan

Saturn’s moon Titan looks very much like Earth from space, with rivers, lakes, and seas filled by rain tumbling through a thick atmosphere.

While these landscapes may look familiar, they are composed of materials that are undoubtedly different—liquid methane streams streak Titan’s icy surface and nitrogen winds build hydrocarbon sand dunes.

The presence of these materials—whose mechanical properties are vastly different from those of silicate-based substances that make up other known sedimentary bodies in our solar system—makes Titan’s landscape formation enigmatic.

By identifying a process that would allow for hydrocarbon-based substances to form sand grains or bedrock depending on how often winds blow and streams flow, Stanford University geologist Mathieu Lapôtre and his colleagues have shown how Titan’s distinct dunes, plains, and labyrinth terrains could be formed.

Titan, which is a target for space exploration because of its potential habitability, is the only other body in our solar system known to have an Earth-like, seasonal liquid transport cycle today.

The new model, published in Geophysical Research Letters April 25, shows how that seasonal cycle drives the movement of grains over the moon’s surface.

“Our model adds a unifying framework that allows us to understand how all of these sedimentary environments work together,” said Lapôtre, an assistant professor of geological sciences at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

“If we understand how the different pieces of the puzzle fit together and their mechanics, then we can start using the landforms left behind by those sedimentary processes to say something about the climate or the geological history of Titan—and how they could impact the prospect for life on Titan.”

A missing mechanism

In order to build a model that could simulate the formation of Titan’s distinct landscapes, Lapôtre and his colleagues first had to solve one of the biggest mysteries about sediment on the planetary body:

How can its basic organic compounds—which are thought to be much more fragile than inorganic silicate grains on Earth—transform into grains that form distinct structures rather than just wearing down and blowing away as dust?

On Earth, silicate rocks and minerals on the surface erode into sediment grains over time, moving through winds and streams to be deposited in layers of sediments that eventually—with the help of pressure, groundwater, and sometimes heat—turn back into rocks.

Those rocks then continue through the erosion process and the materials are recycled through Earth’s layers over geologic time.

On Titan, researchers think similar processes formed the dunes, plains, and labyrinth terrains seen from space.

But unlike on Earth, Mars, and Venus, where silicate-derived rocks are the dominant geological material from which sediments are derived, Titan’s sediments are thought to be composed of solid organic compounds.

Scientists haven’t been able to demonstrate how these organic compounds may grow into sediment grains that can be transported across the moon’s landscapes and over geologic time.

“As winds transport grains, the grains collide with each other and with the surface. These collisions tend to decrease grain size through time. What we were missing was the growth mechanism that could counterbalance that and enable sand grains to maintain a stable size through time,” Lapôtre said.

An alien analog

The research team found an answer by looking at sediments on Earth called ooids, which are small, spherical grains most often found in shallow tropical seas, such as around the Bahamas.

Ooids form when calcium carbonate is pulled from the water column and attaches in layers around a grain, such as quartz.

What makes ooids unique is their formation through chemical precipitation, which allows ooids to grow, while the simultaneous process of erosion slows the growth as the grains are smashed into each other by waves and storms.

These two competing mechanisms balance each other out through time to form a constant grain size—a process the researchers suggest could also be happening on Titan.

“We were able to resolve the paradox of why there could have been sand dunes on Titan for so long even though the materials are very weak, Lapôtre said.

“We hypothesized that sintering—which involves neighboring grains fusing together into one piece—could counterbalance abrasion when winds transport the grains.”

Global landscapes

Armed with a hypothesis for sediment formation, Lapôtre and the study co-authors used existing data about Titan’s climate and the direction of wind-driven sediment transport to explain its distinct parallel bands of geological formations: dunes near the equator, plains at the mid-latitudes, and labyrinth terrains near the poles.

Atmospheric modeling and data from the Cassini mission reveal that winds are common near the equator, supporting the idea that less sintering and therefore fine sand grains could be created there—a critical component of dunes.

The study authors predict a lull in sediment transport at mid-latitudes on either side of the equator, where sintering could dominate and create coarser and coarser grains, eventually turning into bedrock that makes up Titan’s plains.

Sand grains are also necessary for the formation of the moon’s labyrinth terrains near the poles. Researchers think these distinct crags could be like karsts in limestone on Earth—but on Titan, they would be collapsed features made of dissolved organic sandstones.

River flow and rainstorms occur much more frequently near the poles, making sediments more likely to be transported by rivers than winds.

A similar process of sintering and abrasion during river transport could provide a local supply of coarse sand grains—the source for the sandstones thought to make up labyrinth terrains.

“We’re showing that on Titan—just like on Earth and what used to be the case on Mars—we have an active sedimentary cycle that can explain the latitudinal distribution of landscapes through episodic abrasion and sintering driven by Titan’s seasons,” Lapôtre said.

“It’s pretty fascinating to think about how there’s this alternative world so far out there, where things are so different, yet so similar.”

Original Article:

Our Universe was Created in a Lab According to Harvard Scientist

Could our universe have been created in a petri dish? Avi Loeb seems to think so. The Harvard astronomer posits that a higher “class” of civilization may have conjured up our universe in a laboratory far, far away.

“Since our universe has a flat geometry with a zero net energy, an advanced civilization could have developed a technology that created a baby universe out of nothing through quantum tunneling,” Loeb writes in an op-ed published by Scientific American last year.

This theory, he suggests, would unite two seemingly opposite notions: the idea that a higher power might be driving our fate, and the secular concept of quantum gravity (a field of physics that seeks to work gravity into the theory of quantum mechanics—something that, to the bane of physicists everywhere, we haven’t been able to do yet on Earth).

Primarily, this theory hinges on a far-off advanced civilization’s ability to meld both quantum mechanics and gravity and subsequently identify and recreate all of the universe’s ingredients. (Sounds like a lot of work, t0 be honest.)

He also introduces a new way of classifying exactly what makes a civilization advanced—one that veers away from Soviet astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev’s system, which organizes civilizations based on the amount of energy they generate and consume.

According to Kardashev, Type I civilizations—greetings, Earthlings!—are only advanced enough to utilize the starlight that reaches their planet (4×1012 watts), while Type II civilizations have mastered the ability to fully harness their host star’s power (4×1026 watts). Dyson sphere, anyone? Type III civilizations, the final classification in his framework, are able to harness all of the energy within their galaxy (a whopping 4×1037 watts).

Loeb, by contrast, has devised a framework that breaks advanced civilizations down into classes based on their ability to “reproduce the astrophysical conditions that led to its existence.”

Earthlings would fall into class C because, as a “low-level” technological civilization, we would not be able to recreate our current conditions should the sun suddenly die. (He suggests we might even fall into the class D category because we’re actively destroying our only home.) On the other hand, class B civilizations, Loeb writes, are advanced enough to recreate the conditions in which they live, independent of their host star.

A class A civilization, like our proposed creators, would be able to, say, generate large amounts of dark energy and, as Loeb suggests, create “baby universes,” or smaller universes controlled by this higher civilization, that could potentially spawn life. He also suggests that, due to competition, only one advanced civilization at a time would be able to reach this level of sophistication.

It’s a truly, truly bonkers idea, but it is interesting to think about. And it brings up a set of intriguing questions: What makes a civilization truly technologically advanced? Are we an advanced simulation? What might this “laboratory” look like, anyway?

Jennifer Leman Jennifer Leman is a science journalist and news editor at Popular Mechanics, where she writes and edits stories about science and space.

Original Article:

Passenger Films UFO Outside Plane in Wild Viral Video

A wild video of an alleged UFO is blowing up the internet.

In a video tweeted by The Sun, a person in an airplane filmed a very interesting video that appeared to show an object in the clouds.

Give it a watch below. You might find it just as confusing and interesting as I did.

Okay, what the hell was going on in this video? I honestly don’t know. Was that an object in the sky? Was it just the clouds in a weird formation?

I honestly don’t know, and I’m not sure anyone will ever be able to say with complete confidence what is in the video.

What I do know is that the UFO movement has grown a considerable amount over the past few years, and the more videos that hit social media, the bigger it gets.

When you have unexplained situations, people tend to gravitate towards them with theories of their own. In this case, I have no idea what we saw, but I’m very interested to learn more!

Sound off in the comments on whether or not you think UFOs are real!

Secret US UFO Program Considered Nuking the Moon… Why?

The U.S. government’s now-defunct Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) spent millions of taxpayer dollars to research bizarre, experimental technologies such as invisibility cloaks, antigravity devices, traversable wormholes, and a proposal to tunnel through the moon with nuclear explosives, according to dozens of documents obtained by

The documents, which include nearly 1,600 pages of reports, proposals, contracts and meeting notes, reveal some of the stranger priorities of AATIP – a secretive Department of Defense program that ran from 2007 to 2012, but only became known to the public in 2017, when the program’s former director resigned from the Pentagon.

That year, AATIP became synonymous with UFOs, thanks to several now-infamous videos of an unidentified aircraft moving in seemingly impossible ways that former director Luis Elizondo leaked to the press after his resignation.

But the new documents suggest AATIP was up to more than just investigating reported UFO encounters. The entire cache of 51 documents, obtained by Vice via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed four years ago, can be read here.

Perhaps most intriguing among the documents are the several dozen Defense Intelligence Reference Documents (DIRDs), which discuss the viability of various “advanced technolog[ies].” This collection includes reports on “traversable wormholes, stargates, and negative energy,” “high-frequency gravitational wave communications,” “warp drive, dark energy, and the manipulation of extra dimensions,” and many other topics that will sound familiar to fans of science fiction.

Many of the reports stress the impracticalities of implementing advanced technologies. In the DIRD report on invisibility cloaking, for example, the authors (whose names have been redacted in all of the reports) write that, “perfect cloaking devices are impossible because they require materials where the speed of light approaches infinity.” However, cloaking devices that make objects invisible to microwave-based sensors, such as radars and motion detectors, are “definitely within reach of the present technology,” the report authors wrote.

Other reports do not shy away from bold, sometimes outlandish proposals for realizing advanced technologies. In a report on “negative mass propulsion,” the authors propose a plan to look for extremely lightweight metals in the center of the moon that may be “100,000 times lighter than steel, but still [have] the strength of steel.” To reach the center of the moon, the authors suggest blasting a tunnel through the lunar crust and mantle using thermonuclear explosives.

Of course, the U.S. has not nuked the moon and shows no immediate intention to; NASA’s upcoming Artemis missions plan to return humans to the moon for the first time since the Apollo era, with the ultimate goal of establishing a sustainable human presence there. Rattling the moon with nuclear explosions would likely prove contrary to this mission.

Whether these DIRD documents ever led to any long-term investments in advanced technologies is unclear. According to Vice, much of AATIP’s agenda relied on contract research from a private company called Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS). The company – run by Robert Bigelow, a personal friend of late Sen. Harry Reid, who was responsible for the creation of AATIP – was awarded a $10 million contract for their first year of research for the program, Vice reported.

This latest FOIA document dump arrives just three weeks after British tabloid The Sun obtained more than 1,500 pages of documents related to alleged UFO encounters cataloged by the AATIP. Included among the documents was a report on the alleged biological effects of UFO encounters on humans. The report listed paralysis, “apparent abduction” and “unaccounted for pregnancy” as reported side effects of alleged UFO encounters, Live Science previously reported.

Vice reporters will be delving into their newly acquired database of AATIP documents in detail over the coming weeks. Follow their coverage here.

Woman Became Pregnant After UFO Encounter According to Pentagon Report

A woman claimed that she became pregnant after she encountered a UFO, according to a Pentagon report.

Titled Anomalous Acute And Subacute Field Effects on Human and Biological Tissues, the report explains the impact that alleged UFO meetings have had on people’s wellbeing.

It also lists many odd side effects, including “unaccounted for pregnancy,” which could arguably be the strangest of them all.

The report was obtained by The Sun after they sent a Freedom of Information request to the United States Department of Defense headquarters and described instances of “apparent abduction” and telepathy and perceived teleportation.

It seems that there is a spectrum of things that can happen if you come across an alien. Sure, you may find yourself able to read minds and teleport to another area, but it’s also possible to get kidnapped or fall pregnant.

The report stated that you could even experience “heating and burn injuries from radiation,” voice loss, eye injuries, amnesia, and even death.

People have also faced harm from “exposures to anomalous vehicles, especially airborne and when in close proximity.” These injuries are correlated with “energy-related propulsion systems”.

“Sufficient incidents/accidents have been accurately reported, and medical data acquired, as to support a hypothesis that some advanced systems are already deployed, and opaque to full US understandings,” the report reads.

The report was part of more than 1,500 pages of Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) documents for the Pentagon’s UFO programme, the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP).

The Sun also noted that they requested these documents in December 2017, and they were just handed over with “some portions” not accessible.

A section of the report reads: “Classified information exists that is highly pertinent to the subject of this study, and only a small part of the classified literature has been released.”

UFOs and extraterrestrials have been the talk of the town for a while, from appearing to be menacing balls of light to preparations for a mass invasion.

Even one woman named Jo Wood, who hosts a UFO-centered podcast called Alien Nation, appeared on ITV’s This Morning to explain how she had experienced close encounters with aliens and could see a “reptile-human hybrid running the world”.

“I would love to meet an alien, a friendly one obviously, and just hang out and ask questions,” she said.

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