“What I have seen moved me, as a scientist, as an engineer, and as a human being.”

While we await the ceremonial release of the first official images taken by NASA’s uber-expensive James Webb Space Telescope, early reactions to the long-awaited shots are already sounding pretty promising.

“The images are being taken right now,” NASA’s scientific missions lead Thomas Zurbuchen told reporters on Wednesday. “There is already some amazing science in the can, and some others are yet to be taken as we go forward. We are in the middle of getting the history-making data down.”

NASA plans to release several images on July 12, the inaugural “first light” observations from the space telescope and a potentially groundbreaking moment for the field of astronomy.

I have marked my calendar.

Possible Link between ‘Oumuamua and Unidentified Aerial Phenomena

Two things to consider:

First, the interstellar object discovered in 2017, ‘Oumuamua, was inferred to have a flat shape and seemed to be pushed away from the sun as if it were a lightsail. This “pancake” was tumbling once every eight hours and originated from the rare state of the local standard of rest—which averages over the motions of all the stars in the vicinity of the sun.

Second, the Pentagon is about to deliver a report to Congress stating that some unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) are real but that their nature is unknown. If UAP originated from China or Russia and were a national security risk, their existence would have never been revealed to the public. Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that the U.S. government believes that some of these objects are not human in origin. This leaves two possibilities: either UAP are natural terrestrial phenomena or they are extraterrestrial in origin. Both possibilities imply something new and interesting that we did not know before…

Many or even most UAP might be natural phenomena. But even if one of them is extraterrestrial, might there be any possible link to ‘Oumuamua?

Enjoy your read of Avi Loeb’s wee article…and it is small by the standards of the sort of learned scientific works he often produces. Still, the two possible conclusions he entertains…only one of which is mathematically likely…suggest a potential conclusion just this side of the late Isaac Asimov.

“Pale Blue Dot” revisited


Click to enlargeNASA/JPL-Caltech

For the 30th anniversary of one of the most iconic views from the Voyager mission, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is publishing a new version of the image known as the “Pale Blue Dot.”

The updated image uses modern image-processing software and techniques while respecting the intent of those who planned the image. Like the original, the new color view shows Planet Earth as a single, bright blue pixel in the vastness of space. Rays of sunlight scattered within the camera optics stretch across the scene, one of which happens to have intersected dramatically with Earth.

The view was obtained on Feb. 14, 1990, just minutes before Voyager 1’s cameras were intentionally powered off to conserve power and because the probe – along with its sibling, Voyager 2 – would not make close flybys of any other objects during their lifetimes. Shutting down instruments and other systems on the two Voyager spacecraft has been a gradual and ongoing process that has helped enable their longevity.

RTFA. Offer your memory an opportunity to deepen your sense of proportion.

Here comes another piece of the future

Kudos to Elon Musk, his peers like Jeff Bezos, and many more not-so-public figures striving to move our species forward to better times.

US goverments lost any sense of science leadership decades ago. Not as good a vote-getter as 19th Century bible-thumping and bigotry. Congress remains more concerned with job security than justice, myths of pearly gates instead of education and health.

The hopes and praise fall to Elon Musk. An immigrant who got round to becoming a citizen in this millennium.

NASA Receives First Audio From New Planets

BREAKING NEWS, WORLD NEWS

❝ RADIO signals emerging from the newly-discovered ‘TRAPPIST-1’ planetary system have been decoded by linguistic experts at NASA, confirming the existence of extraterrestrial lifeforms who want ‘no part of Earth’s bullshit’.

❝ There was great excitement from astronomy enthusiasts earlier this week following the discovery of seven planets in the ‘habitable’ zone of a nearby solar system; planets which seemingly had all the criteria for supporting life.

However, this was eroded somewhat today when NASA announced that lifeforms on the third of these planets seemed to be ‘standing very still as if not to be noticed’, much like how someone would hide behind the sofa in their house if a TV licence inspector or debt collector came to the door.

❝ …A signal from the planet was received and later translated, and appears to show that the alien lifeforms were well aware of the existence of Earth.

“The transmission begins ‘Oh fucking bollocky bollocks’” said a spokesperson for NASA…

❝ “‘They’ve found us, well that’s just tickety-fucking-boo’. The conversation then breaks down into a series of back-and-forth arguments where the aliens appear to blame each other for being found, with one very vocal creature appearing to be furious that Earthlings may now attempt to travel to the new planet. ‘Why did you have to have the telly on so fucking loud?’, they say”.

Click through to the article. Sounds like they really don’t care to have anything to do with Earth cultures. Hmmm.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia