Posts Tagged With: Star Wars

Alien Nuclear Wars Might Be Visible From Earth…..


Image NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center / Flickr
NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center / Flickr

In a recent New Yorker article, the nuclear historian Alex Wellerstein collected testimony from several people who saw, firsthand, the flash from the first successful detonation of the atomic bomb, at the infamous Trinity Test, on July 16, 1945.

Wellerstein has a writer’s feel for quotes and anecdotes. According to one general, the flash was a “golden, purple, violet, gray, and blue light” that illuminated “every peak, crevasse, and ridge” of a nearby mountain range, “with a clarity and beauty that cannot be described.” Wellerstein notes that several eyewitnesses described Trinity’s light as “cosmic.” This was apropos, he says, for nowhere else, “except in the interiors of stars do temperatures reach into the tens of millions of degrees,” as they do during a nuclear explosion.

A team of astronomers recently tried to determine whether Trinity’s light might be cosmic in a different sense. The Trinity test involved only one explosion. But if there were many more explosions, involving many more nuclear weapons, it might generate enough heat and light to be seen from nearby stars, or from the deeper reaches of our galaxy—so long as someone out there was looking.

And so, the thinking goes, maybe we should be looking. If every intelligent species eventually stumbles on nuclear technology, and not all of them manage it well, then it might be possible to spot an apocalypse in the heavens. Or several.

There are tens of billions of galaxies in the observable universe, each one a sea of stars. When astronomers watch these stars closely, they see them wobbling, the way our sun wobbles when its planets spin around it, tugging on its center of gravity. Astronomers also see these stars dimming ever so slightly, as though objects were passing in front of them, and this dimming occurs at predictable intervals, as though these objects were moving around the stars in regular orbits. For these reasons and others, astronomers now believe that nearly all stars play host to planets, and they are making plans to image these planets directly, by catching the faint light they give off with huge, ultra-sensitive telescopes.

What will this light tell us? A remarkable amount, it turns out. Light encounters all kinds of molecules as it makes its way through the universe, and it keeps a close record of these encounters, in its spectra. If sunlight were to beam through Earth’s atmosphere, and then out into the stars, it would travel with this detailed chemical record in tow. If, after some millennia, this earth-kissed light fell into a distant astronomer’s telescope, that astronomer would be able to determine what sorts of chemicals were present in our planet’s atmosphere. They would know that water vapor was present, and life too, because Earth’s atmosphere contains methane gas, breathed out by the trillions of organisms that live on its surface. Indeed, it’s precisely these sorts of “biosignatures” that Earth’s astronomers hope to find in the atmospheres of extrasolar planets.

Light from extrasolar planets might also tell us whether our universe is home to other tool-making beings. After all, some of our pollutants leave behind chemical traces that would never occur naturally. If we glimpsed these pollutants in a distant planet’s atmosphere, we could be reasonably certain that technological life lived on its surface at one time or another. And according to Adam Stevens, Duncan Forgan, and Jack O’Malley James from Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute, we might be able to know whether they used their technology to destroy themselves.

In July, Stevens, Forgan, and James published a paper that asked what a distant, “self-destructive civilization” might look like through the business end of a telescope. To do so, they gamed out several dystopian science fiction scenarios in great detail. They calculated the brightness of the gamma rays that would flash out from a massive exchange of nuclear weapons. They asked themselves what would happen if an engineered pathogen ripped through a large population of human-sized animals. What gases would fill a planet’s atmosphere, if its surface were strewn with rotting corpses? And would those gases be detectable across interstellar distances?

I asked Jill Tarter what she thought of the paper. Tarter is the former director of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute and the inspiration for Ellie Arroway, the heroine of Carl Sagan’s Contact, played by Jodie Foster in the film adaptation. Tarter told me the paper was “getting a bit of buzz” in the SETI community. But she also urged caution. “The problem is the signatures are detectable for cosmically insignificant amounts of time,” she said. Distant stars burn for billions of years, sending a constant stream of light toward Earth, but the flash from a nuclear war may last only a few days. To catch its light, you have to have impeccable timing.

Stevens, Forgan, and James acknowledge the ephemerality of their extinction signatures. According to their paper, some will last only 30 years, and others less than that. And even if a signal were to stick around for a hundred millennia, it would still be a tough needle to find in the vast spatiotemporal haystack that is our night sky. The universe has been manufacturing planets for billions of years. The odds that you’d train your telescope on a planet just as its resident civilization winks out are, in Tarter’s words, “a lot worse than Vegas.”

To beat odds like that, you’d need to take a detailed census of the galaxy. You’d need to eavesdrop on billions of planets, and for long stretches of time, and the tech for that kind of survey just doesn’t exist yet, and won’t for a while.

But it’s conceivable, in principle, and that itself is a miracle of human ingenuity. It’s wild to think that we may one day know something about the various fates that await beings like us. And it’s a useful prod toward deeper thoughts, about the sorts of flashes we are starting to send into the cosmos, especially this year, as we mark the 70th anniversary of the Trinity test.

Categories: aliens, Aliens and UFO's, area 51 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movies predict the future??…..


Astronomers this week claim something wierd is happening on Saturn’s moon Mimas. There’s something strange going on below the surface of Mimas, a new study suggests.

Mimas’ rotation and its orbit around Saturn make the moon look like it’s rocking and back forth and oscillating similar to the way a pendulum swings

Something else of interest. Saturn’s moon Mimas looks very much like the death star from Star Wars. Star Wars was released in 1977. The first close ups of Mimas were taken from the Pioneer Spacecraft in 1979!

moon moon2

Categories: Aliens and UFO's | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

STAR WARS!!—Will Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher Return for the New Star Wars Films?


Harrison Ford has already said he’s interested in reprising his role as Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII, and now his Star Wars co-stars Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are looking to revive their characters Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia as well, according to reports.
Hamill tells Entertainment Tonight they’ve been approached by George Lucas about returning for the upcoming film, though no contracts have been signed. Lucas assured the actors that if they didn’t want to participate, their characters would be written out of the film rather than recast, he added.
In talking with Lucas, Hamill told ET he’d prefer that the new trilogy revisit the “carefree and lighthearted and humorous” tone of the original, and that he wouldn’t commit to the project unless more of his former castmates did.

Will wheelchairs, walkers and private nurses be on hand for the aged actors during filming?  Guess we will have to wait and see….

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Navy’s Laser Weapons Just 2 Years Away, Admiral Says……



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Whoever wins the upcoming presidential election, by halfway through the new term the Commander-in-Chief could be wielding a new weapon straight out of science fiction: laser cannons.
That’s how close the U.S. Navy is to being able to field the first generation of “directed energy” weapons aboard ships, according to Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, the chief of the Office of Naval Research. Klunder made the claim Monday to WIRED.com’s Danger Room, which has been following the development of the futuristic laser arsenal.
Earlier this year Klunder’s office had said the Navy was four years away from mounting the laser weapons, but he told WIRED Monday that recent tests had been “very successful” and the Navy has figured out physics issues that plagued early concepts.
“We’re well past physics,” he said. “We’re just going through the integration efforts… Hopefully that tells you we’re well mature, and we’re ready to put these on naval ships.”
The weapons are designed to track and fire on threats to a warship that could include anything from armed drones and small “swarm” boats to incoming missiles and aircraft.
In April 2011 the Navy released a video of a test in which its prototype Maritime Laser Demonstrator blasted a hole in the engine of a small boat at sea off the California coast, leaving it dead in the water.
A year later, an officer in the Solid-State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) program said the Navy believed it was ” time to move forward with solid-state lasers and shift the focus from limited demonstrations to weapon prototype development and related technology advancement.”
Solid-state lasers are one of several types of laser-based weapons systems currently under development by the Navy and other military services in conjunction with several major defense contractors. A recent Congressional report on the Navy’s laser program noted that such devices could be “ready for installation” in “the next few years,” but it criticized the Navy for not yet developing a procurement plan or a roadmap for installing the weapons on specific ships.
The military has spent hundreds of millions on the development of the various systems, but once they’re installed, the government predicts that they would be relatively cheap to operate, considering they’re not using conventional munitions. The Congressional report estimates that it will cost the Navy the equivalent of less than a dollar per shot to use the laser weapons versus, say, short-range air-defense interceptor missiles that generally cost around $800,000 to $1.4 million each.

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New Hover Vehicle Recalls ‘Star Wars’ Bike



A resurrected hover vehicle won’t fly through dense forests as effortlessly as the “Star Wars” speeder bikes from “Return of the Jedi,” but its intuitive controls could someday allow anyone to fly it without pilot training.

The aerial vehicle resembles a science fiction flying bike with two ducted rotors instead of wheels, but originates from a design abandoned in the 1960s because of stability and rollover problems. Aerofex, a California-based firm, fixed the stability issue by creating a mechanical system — controlled by two control bars at knee-level — that allows the vehicle to respond to a human pilot’s leaning movements and natural sense of balance.

“Think of it as lowering the threshold of flight, down to the domain of ATV’s (all-terrain vehicles),” said Mark De Roche, an aerospace engineer and founder of Aerofex.

Such intuitive controls could allow physicians to fly future versions of the vehicle to visit rural patients in places without roads, or enable border patrol officers to go about their duties without pilot training. All of it happens mechanically without the need for electronics, let alone complicated artificial intelligence or flight software.
“It essentially captures the translations between the two in three axis (pitch, roll and yaw), and activates the aerodynamic controls required to counter the movement — which lines the vehicle back up with the pilot,” De Roche told InnovationNewsDaily. “Since [the pilot’s] balancing movements are instinctive and constant, it plays out quite effortlessly to him.”

But Aerofex does not plan to immediately develop and sell a manned version. Instead, the aerospace firm sees the aerial vehicle as a test platform for new unmanned drones — heavy-lift robotic workhorses that could use the same hover technology to work in agricultural fields, or swiftly deliver supplies to search-and-rescue teams in rough terrain.

Even the soldiers or Special Forces might use such hover drones to carry or deliver heavy supplies in the tight spaces between buildings in cities. U.S. Marines have already begun testing robotic helicopters to deliver supplies in Afghanistan.

The hovering drones would not fly as efficiently as helicopters because of their shorter rotor blades, but their enclosed rotors have the advantage of a much smaller size and safety near humans.

“They are less efficient than a helicopter, which has the benefit of larger diameter rotors,” De Roche explained. “They do have unique performance advantages, though, as they have demonstrated flight within trees, close to walls and under bridges.”

Aerofex has currently limited human flight testing to a height of 15 feet and speeds of about 30 mph, but more out of caution rather than because of any technological limits. Older versions of the hover vehicles could fly about as fast as helicopters, De Roche said.

Flight testing in California’s Mojave Desert led to the presentation of a technical paper regarding Aerofex’s achievements at the Future Vertical Lift Conference in January 2012. The company plans to fly a second version of its vehicle in October, and also prepare an unmanned drone version for flight testing by the end of 2013.

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