Posts tagged with "Aliens"

Researchers say there is evidence that aliens ‘stink’

January 7, 2020

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found that the presence of a molecule that is considered to be among the most noxious-smelling and poisonous on Earth may indicate that alien life is in residence.

Phosphine is among the most putrid and toxic gases on Earth, and is found in some of the foulest of places—among them, penguin dung heaps, the depths of swamps and bogs, and even in the bowels of some badgers and fish. Most aerobic, oxygen-breathing life forms on the planet avoid phosphine—often referred to as “swamp gas”—like the plague.

Now, MIT researchers have found that phosphine is produced by another, less abundant life form: anaerobic organisms, such as bacteria and microbes, which don’t require oxygen to thrive. The team found that phosphine cannot be produced in any other way except by these extreme, oxygen-averse organisms, making the gas what is known as “a pure biosignature”— a sign of life (at least of a certain kind).

In a paper recently published in the journal, Astrobiology, the MIT team reports that—if phosphine were produced in quantities similar to methane on Earth—the gas would generate a signature pattern of light in a planet’s atmosphere. This pattern would be clear enough to detect from as far as 16 light years away by a telescope such as NASA’s planned James Webb Space Telescope.

The clincher: If phosphine were detected from a rocky planet, it would be an unmistakable sign of extraterrestrial life.

“Here on Earth, oxygen is a really impressive sign of life,” says lead author Clara Sousa-Silva, a research scientist in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. “But other things besides life make oxygen too. It’s important to consider stranger molecules that might not be made as often, but if you do find them on another planet, there’s only one explanation.”

Sousa-Silva and her colleagues are assembling a database of fingerprints for molecules that could be potential biosignatures. The team has amassed more than 16,000 candidates, including phosphine.

She says that, aside from establishing phosphine as a viable biosignature in the search for extraterrestrial life, the group’s results provide a pipeline, or process for researchers to follow, in characterizing any other of the other 16,000 biosignature candidates.

“I think the community needs to invest in filtering these candidates down into some kind of priority,” she says. “Even if some of these molecules are really dim beacons, if we can determine that only life can send out that signal, then I feel like that is a goldmine.

Research contact: @MIT

As drones swarm the night skies over Colorado and Nebraska, authorities ask, ‘Who’s there?’

January 6, 2020

They come out at night: pinpoints of light swarming in the dark skies. They appear to be drones—flying in formation over rural Colorado and Nebraska. For weeks, they have dominated headlines in local newspapers, fueled intense speculation on social media, and unsettled residents; who have besieged law enforcement with calls, The Washington Post reports.

So far, the aircraft remain a mystery. Officials in multiple counties say they have not been able to determine who is operating them or why. The Federal Aviation Administration is now investigating, an agency spokesman told the Post on Thursday, January 2.

In the absence of information, wild theories abound in the small communities where the drones have been spotted, including government surveillance and alien activity. Others offered less-nefarious explanations, suggesting a private company is using them to map or survey land or, perhaps, practicing for drone shows.

But why wouldn’t such businesses have come forward with an explanation by now?

 “There are many theories about what is going on, but at this point, that’s all they are,” Sheriff Todd Combs of Yuma County, Colorado, wrote in a Facebook post. “I think we are all feeling a little bit vulnerable due to the intrusion of our privacy that we enjoy in our rural community, but I don’t have a solution or know of one right now.”

The drones, which The Denver Post estimates to be six feet in wingspan and flying in formations of 17, showed up in mid-December in northeastern Colorado. They emerge nightly around 7 p.m., flying in squares of about 25 miles and staying about 200 feet in the air, the newspaper reported. By about 10 p.m., they’re gone.

Local authorities say the mysterious visitors do not appear to be malicious and may not be breaking any laws. Combs noted in his post that they are operating in airspace controlled by the federal government and, as far as he could tell, abiding with federal regulations.

Yet the unexplained aircraft, buzzing above homes nightly, have still caused alarm — so much so that officials with multiple sheriff’s departments have cautioned residents against shooting them down.

“I have been made aware of several comments about shooting down a drone,” Morgan County, Colorado, Sheriff Dave Martin said in his own Facebook statement. “I ask that you NOT do this as it is a federal crime.”

Wyatt Harmon and his girlfriend, Chelsea Arnold, chased a cluster of drones after they flew over his property in the Colorado county of Washington. The couple tailed them for 15 miles, exceeding 70 mph, according to NBC’s TODAY show, which featured an interview with the two on December 31.

Harmon said during the interview that the aircraft could descend and take off “very fast.” He added,, “It’s kind of just scary. It’s more unnerving than anything.”

According to The Washington Post, now groups devoted to tracking the drones are  popping up on Facebook.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Into the unknown: 400,000 UFO enthusiasts who met on Facebook intend to invade Area 51

July 15, 2019

On Friday, September 20, from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. (PDT), a huge group of alien enthusiasts—close to half a million—who found each other on a Facebook fan site has agreed to “meet up at the [U.S. government’s off-limits, fiercely guarded] Area 51 … and coordinate our entry.

“If we Naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens,” one of the members of the Facebook site resolves.

Located 80 miles outside north of Las Vegas, Area 51 is one of the most famous military installations in the world—known more for its cloak of absolute secrecy than for the flight testing that the government insists happens at the base.

Conspiracy theorists and UFO spotters believe that the government hid an alien spacecraft, as well as the alien pilot who did not survive the flight, at the high-security superstructure over 50 years ago—and has gone to great lengths to protect its plunder.

For the uninitiated, “Naruto running” refers to the unique running style of the Naruto Uzmaki, the lead character in the Japanese anime series of the same name. He often is depicted sprinting with his head forward and his arms stretched behind him.

The Facebook-spawned event—called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us—may not end well for those who signed the petition and actually show up, according to writer Michael Grothaus of Fast Company magazine.

It may be more dangerous than they participants think, he says. Indeed, some believe the United States uses the site to develop such technology as sci-fi energy weapons, weather control options, and even time travel..

“Since 2013 the U.S. government has acknowledged that Area 51 is a military site, but has never revealed what types of operations go on there,” Grothaus comments. “Still, even if you have 400,000 people who are supposedly willing to overrun a U.S. military installation, it’s probably not a good idea to pre-announce your attack. And man, if they really do have those secret sci-fi energy weapons there, you guys are screwed.”

Research contact: @FastCompany

Reach for the sky: Help scientists craft a message to aliens

October 31, 2018

Who’s out there? Humans aren’t just searching for extraterrestrials using radiotelescopes and exoplanet research. We also are actively attempting to help aliens find us. And, according to an October 30 report by Futurism, we all can be part of that effort.

About 44 years ago, Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory—a  facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by the University of Central Florida—sent a message to a star cluster roughly 21,000 light years away.

The so-called Arecibo Message—transmitted via radio signal—marked humanity’s first deliberate attempt to draw the attention of extraterrestrials, and now the observatory is asking the world to help it write an updated message to aliens.

American astronomer Frank Drake wrote the first Arecibo Message with the help of colleague Carl Sagan and others, and there’s no word yet on how the observatory thinks we might be able to improve upon a message crafted by some of the most brilliant minds in science.

The original message comprised 1,679 binary digits that conveyed a wealth of information about life on Earth—including the elements that comprise DNA, the location of our planet within the solar system, and the basic dimensions of the average human. When converted into graphics, the message looks something like the world’s weirdest game of Tetris, Futurism said.

Now, the observatory has sent out a press release to kick off a weeklong celebration —from October 28 through November 3—of its 55th year in operation; and, at some point during the week, it will reveal more details on what it’s calling “the #NewAreciboMessage global challenge.”

If you have ever wanted to communicate with aliens, this is your chance. But there is one major caveat, according to the Futurism story: Should we even be reaching out at all?  There’s no telling who our message might reach, and the reaction to our epistle  could be less-than-friendly. With that in mind, optimists only should apply.

Research contact: info@areciboobservatory.org