My passion for all things Italian began in the Summer of 1989. At that time I had been living in Manhattan for several years and I wanted to go to Italy. All of my friends had already been or couldn’t go with, so I decided to go by myself. I flew from New York to […]
Dr. Ben Kim, GuestDuring my university years, I used to frustrate my parents by throwing away egg yolks and eating only the whites. No worries, I thought, as my parents just didn’t know enough to realize that I was reducing my risk of heart disease by avoiding cholesterol. Looking back, I’m sure that my parents were wondering how I could so easily toss away precious egg yolks that they were able afford only a few times a year when they lived in Korea.Today, I am grateful [...]
Frank Drake, the founder of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), at his home in Aptos, Calif. (Ramin Rahimian for The Washington Post)
Excerpt from washingtonpost.com It was near Green Bank, W.Va., in 1960 that a young radio astronomer named Frank Drake conducted the first extensive search for alien civilizations in deep space. He aimed the 85-foot dish of a radio telescope at two nearby, sun-like stars, tuning to a frequency he thought an alien civilization might use for interstellar communication.
But the stars had nothing to say.
So began SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a form of astronomical inquiry that has captured the imaginations of people around the planet but has so far failed to detect a single “hello.” Pick your explanation: They’re not there; they’re too far away; they’re insular and aloof; they’re zoned out on computer games; they’re watching us in mild bemusement and wondering when we’ll grow up.
Now some SETI researchers are pushing a more aggressive agenda: Instead of just listening, we would transmit messages, targeting newly discovered planets orbiting distant stars. Through “active SETI,” we’d boldly announce our presence and try to get the conversation started.
Naturally, this is controversial, because of . . . well, the Klingons. The bad aliens.
NASA discovers first Earth-size planet in habitable zone of another star
"NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has discovered the first validated Earth-size planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a distant star, an area where liquid water might exist on its surface. The planet, Kepler-186f, is ten percent larger in size than Earth and orbits its parent star, Kepler-186, every 130 days. The star, located about 500 light-years from Earth, is classified as an M1 dwarf and is half the size and mass of our sun." (NASA Ames Research Center)
“ETI’s reaction to a message from Earth cannot presently be known,” states a petition signed by 28 scientists, researchers and thought leaders, among them SpaceX founder Elon Musk. “We know nothing of ETI’s intentions and capabilities, and it is impossible to predict whether ETI will be benign or hostile.”
This objection is moot, however, according to the proponents of active SETI. They argue that even if there are unfriendlies out there, they already know about us. That’s because “I Love Lucy” and other TV and radio broadcasts are radiating from Earth at the speed of light. Aliens with advanced instruments could also detect our navigational radar beacons and would see that we’ve illuminated our cities.
“We have already sent signals into space that will alert the aliens to our presence with the transmissions and street lighting of the last 70 years,” Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in California and a supporter of the more aggressive approach, has written. “These emissions cannot be recalled.”
That’s true only to a point, say the critics of active SETI. They argue that unintentional planetary leakage, such as “I Love Lucy,” is omnidirectional and faint, and much harder to detect than an intentional, narrowly focused signal transmitted at a known planet.View Article Here Read More
A big asteroid will fly by Earth on Monday, but NASA says don’t worry — we’ll be safe.
The asteroid is called 2004 BL86. It’ll come about 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Earth, or about three times as far away as the moon at 11:19 a.m. ET, according to NASA.
You’re wondering, doesn’t this happen all the time? Yes and no. There are lots of asteroids that pose a threat to Earth — about 550 as of January 22. None are predicted to hit anytime soon. But asteroid 2004 BL86 (yes, we also wish it had a catchier name) is big — about a third of a mile (a half-kilometer) in size. It will be the closest known asteroid this large to pass near Earth until 2027, that’s when an asteroid called 1999 AN10 flies by us.
“While it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more,” Don Yeomans, the recently retired manager of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a NASA press release.
This asteroid is also interesting because you might be able to see it with strong binoculars or backyard telescopes. That’s a rare opportunity for most of us.
If you don’t have binoculars or a scope, you can watch from the comfort of your computer on The Virtual Telescope Project 2.0. The asteroid was discovered on January 30, 2004, by a telescope of the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) survey in White Sands, New Mexico.