Show 91. Notes for March 19th
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Check out this week’s Astronomy with Andy Fleming below!
John Tobin with this week’s news
Big Bang Smoking Gun Found?
Discovery news reports, for the first time, scientists have found direct evidence of the expansion of the universe, a previously theoretical event that took place a fraction of a second after the Big Bang explosion nearly 14 billion years ago.
The clue is encoded in the primordial cosmic microwave background radiation that continues to spread through space to this day.
This has to do with gravitational waves and all kinds of recent scientific theories.
A Solar System Littered With Alien Artifacts?
If the aliens’ motivations may be the same as ours and if we found an Earth-like world nearby, there would be an inevitable desire to send an unmanned craft to see what kinds of creatures are living there.
Looking for alien “calling cards” in the solar system is not a new idea. It has been popularized in numerous science fiction stories and movies.
Rest in Peace Dr. Roger Leir
Past guest, Dr Roger Leir passed away on March 14, he was a devoted ufologist, and really brought the alleged alien implants to the forefront through surgically removing them, and running tests to explore what they were.
Malaysian missing Airplane an Alien Abduction?
Our guest in few weeks, the MUFON State Director, John Ventre Claims Malaysia Airline flight 370 crew and passengers were abducted by extraterrestrials. This made CNN and read the story through the link below.
Andy Fleming, This Week’s Astronomy
“You Can’t Get From There to Here”
This is a recurrent claim often made by debunkers of the alien visitation hypothesis.
But why not? Nothing in the laws of physics prevents it, although interstellar distances are admittedly truly vast. For example, the nearest star, the red dwarf Proxima Centauri (part of a triple system that includes Sun-like stars and planets too) is at least 39.9 trillion kilometres way.
Terrestrial measurement units are thus meaningless, so astronomers utilise light years as units of distance. One light year is the distance light with its finite speed of 300,000 kilometres per second travels in one year. At this speed, it would still take 4.22 years to reach Proxima Centauri.
Travelling such stellar distances using today’s primitive boosters with chemical propellants is not a viable option at all, bearing in mind our short life spans in cosmic terms. It would take tens of thousands of years travelling at 50,000 kilometres per hour just to get to the nearest solar system to ours.
Speeds close to that of light (what scientists call ‘relativistic’ speeds) also come with a multitude of major problems. Although these should not generally be insurmountable their solutions will require technology and an understanding of physics much more advanced than our own.
For example, in a spacecraft travelling at a relativistic speed, the passage of time on the spacecraft slows down relative to an observer’s time on Earth’s frame of reference. Hence, on a return journey to the Proxima Centauri virtually no time at all would have passed in the spacecraft. Yet upon its return, nearly eight and a half years would have passed here on the Earth. This has nothing at all to do with watches, clocks or the human aging process. It has everything to do with the passage of time being relative, depending on your point of reference in the universe and speed relative to other points of reference.
This is only one problem that Relativity throws up. There are no paradoxes (such as effects preceding causes) with travelling at high speed into the future (in the Earth’s frame of reference) on one’s journey to distant planets and galaxies. However, according to Einstein’s E=mc^2 (Energy=mass x speed of light squared; energy and mass being interchangeable) as you travel towards the speed of light (c ), ever increasing amounts of energy are required.
To travel at the speed of light, a macroscopic object such as a spacecraft or a person requires an infinite amount of energy and will acquire an infinite amount of mass. Light itself can only travel at this speed because its particles called photons, are of course massless. And this is before we consider acceleration and the human body’s capacity to withstand extreme Gravitational (G) Forces.
This then is the principle at the heart of Einstein’s (1905) paper entitled On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, generally known as his Theory of Special Relativity: the passage of time relative to that in your reference frame can vary in other parts of the cosmos. However, the speed of light remains the same everywhere. Isaac Newton in his classical view of physics was incorrect. It is the speed of light that is the universal constant, not time.
But here’s a thought: space-time can expand at magnitudes way beyond the speed at which light can travel through it! Alan Guth’s Inflation Theory devised at Cornell University in 1979 states that in an immeasurably small length of time after the Big Bang, the universe inflated to a gargantuan size at a truly unimaginable speed, making relativistic speeds through space-time look like a walk in the park.
This raises the fascinating possibility of getting from there to here via the use of warp drives, in a fashion similar to those used in Star Trek. Space-time would be shrunk in front of your craft and expanded rapidly at its rear. Massive amounts of exotic matter and energy would be required for this process. However, such propulsion may already have been harnessed by a civilisation far more advanced than our won.
And then of course there are black holes. These are seemingly sink holes in our universe, stellar remnants created by collapsed massive stars that have detonated in supernovae explosions. They are what happens when a star the diameter of our solar system shrinks under its own massive gravity to a singularity less than the size of a pin head. Could the material entering a black hole exit in another area of our space-time in what is commonly called a wormhole?
Theoretical work by physicists such as Kip Thorne at Caltech (who advised Carl Sagan on the relativistic math in his 1985 science fiction novel Contact leads to the inescapable conclusion that all of these advanced methods for travelling the vast gulfs of space are indeed theoretically possible for a highly sophisticated and advanced civilisation.
Which all illustrates that the debunkers’ claim that interstellar travel is not possible is speculation at best. What infact they mean is that “we can’t get from here to there”.
For a paradigm-shifting breakthrough, we need new theories that surpass Einstein, and above all we need scientists who can think with imagination, freed from the shackles of conventional paradigms and funded by sources other than those possessing conventional self-reinforcing prejudices.
We may be just four centuries down the road of the scientific enterprise. However, in an immensely old and vast universe, I for one am pretty sure there are civilisations out there that are significantly further down that road and have utilised the power of their planet, their star, and even their galaxy. To believe otherwise is a regression to pre-Copernicanism and anthropocentrism. And who knows, some of them by some other exotic means detailed above, may be visiting the Earth with impunity now!