Imagine that an intelligent alien species has discovered us, and that they have the ability to journey to Earth to make first contact.
It may sound like a fantastical scenario better suited to fiction than to science, and for more than two centuries this has largely been the case, but over the last few years a number of scientists have begun to debate first contact scenarios, both in scholarly domains and in the mass media.
What do you think first contact would be like?
I’ve had a few ideas of my own, inspired heavily by sci-fi I admit, and in previous posts I’ve looked at scenarios in which the aliens may not even be interested in us, or that they may make first contact with us, but covertly. In this post I’ll look at the idea that they do try to make an overt first contact, but that we may have a mutual problem in understanding each other.
Continue reading ‘First Contact Scenarios – Confusion’
Published October 3, 2011
Alien life , First Contact , Not-so-science , Star Trek , Videos
Tags: Alien life, Astrobiology, David Icke, Dian Fossey, First Contact, Prime Directive
Imagine that intelligent alien life exists, that its discovered humanity, and that it has the technology to reach us. What would first contact between humanity and aliens be like?
In the first post in this series I looked at the idea that advanced alien civilisations might be totally indifferent to our existence and would simply choose to ignore us.
In the other scenarios in this series I’ll assume that they are interested in us, and in this post, that they arrive on Earth, but in a rather covert fashion.
Continue reading ‘First Contact Scenarios – Espionage’
Published April 19, 2011
Alien life , Astrobiology , Biology , Life in our Solar System , Videos
Tags: Alien life, Astrobiology, Atmosphere of Jupiter, Carl Sagan, Harold Urey, Jupiter, Stanley Miller
In a previous post I talked about the possibility of life existing on, or in, some of the moons of Jupiter, with Europa being the best candidate.
But how about life existing within Jupiter itself?
Continue reading ‘Life in our Solar System – Jupiter’
Published March 22, 2011
Alien life , Astrobiology , Biology , Geology , Life in our Solar System
Tags: Alien life, Alvin, Black smoker, Callisto, ESA, Europa, Galilean moons, Ganymede, Io, Jupiter, Life, NASA, Tidal Heating
Astrobiology is all about finding alien life, and many astrobiologists believe life could be found in our Solar System, on Mars, on moons like Titan, Europa or Enceladus, and potentially on other bodies, like Kuiper Belt Objects.
In this post I’ll look at why some scientists think life may exist on Europa, and maybe even Ganymede and Callisto too, three of Jupiter’s largest moons.
So what’s so special about theses ice worlds?
Continue reading ‘Life in our Solar System – Europa, Ganymede & Callisto’
Published March 17, 2011
Astrobiology , Videos
Tags: Alien life, Aliens, Astrobiology, Carl Sagan, Drake equation, Enrico Fermi, Extraterrestrial life, Fermi Paradox, Nick Bostrom
The Fermi Paradox is an idea that complements the Drake Equation. Enrico Fermi asked the question, if there are so many stars in our Galaxy, and therefore probably many Earth-like planets, then there should be lots of alien civilizations in the Milky Way, but why haven’t we found evidence of them? Why not?
Nick Bostrom talks about the Fermi paradox, and some possible solutions, in the video below. It’s not as smooth as the Carl Sagan clip I just posted, but he has some interesting ideas. Nick Bostrom is a philosopher from Oxford University, and has some interesting ideas on human enhancement, the survivability of advanced civilizations and the nature of reality by the way, his website is full of interesting stuff.
What do you think is the answer? Are we alone? Is there alien life in our Galaxy, but just simple life? Or are advanced alien civilizations doomed to wipe themselves out as they become more technologically advanced?
If you like to read more about the Fermi Paradox, I’ve written a short post here, and a couple of posts on possible solutions here and here.
Carl Sagan was awesome, he was an American scientist, his interests were pretty broad, he was an astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist and astrobiologist, and he was also passionate about teaching science to the general public; he wrote a number of science books and had an award winning TV series called Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. Sadly he died in 1996 aged only 62.
In this video he’s talking about the Drake Equation, the equation used to estimate the number of advanced civilizations in our Galaxy. It’s an awesome concept, and Carl explains it beautifully.
We don’t know the values of most of the variables in the equation yet, particularly the ones towards the end, as Carl demonstrates by calculating an answer between 10 and millions of advanced civilizations, but the Drake Equation is a great way to help us organise our thinking about astrobiology and the search for extraterrestrial life (SETI).
It’s also fun to work out your own answer to the equation based on what you belief the value for each variable should be.
If you want to read more about the Drake Equation I’ve written a short post here.
Published March 11, 2011
Alien life , Astrobiology , Panspermia
Tags: Alien life, Astrobiology, Directed Panspermia, DNA, Erich Von Däniken, Fermi Paradox, Leslie Orgel, Life on Earth, Milky Way, Panspermia
Panspermia is the idea that life could have emerged on an alien planet, and then could have travelled through space to Earth, where it flourished and evolved into all the life we see today. So you, your family and your cat could all be aliens.
In the first post I looked at the idea that this alien life could have been simple bacteria, and could have travelled to Earth early in its history either in spores or in asteroids or comets. This is very much the ‘traditional view’ of panspermia.
In this post I’ll look at some alternative forms of panspermia, such as the idea that intelligent aliens may have deliberately seeded Earth with life.
Continue reading ‘Panspermia: did life on Earth come from space? – Part 2, intentional panspermia & cosmic amino acids’