This week, NASA discussed their plans to explore Mars and Titan for signs of life, while Stephen Hawking warned against hostile aliens. So, being in an extraterrestrial-seeking mood, we've taken to the archives, where speculation about interplanetary neighbors--be they hyper-intelligent beings, primitive microbes or Martian beavers--has long filled our pages.
Click to launch the photo gallery
As the 19th century drew to a close, astronomer Percival Lowell became one of the early figureheads in the scientific search for alien life when he published a series of books envisioning an elaborate canal system on Mars, presumably built by an ancient civilization. Unlike naturally winding rivers on Earth, the lines Lowell observed on Mars through his powerful telescope in Arizona he deemed too straight and organized to be naturally created.
While the scientific community came to discredit Lowell's "findings" on Martian canals, his ideas nonetheless inspired a public fervor for legitimate evidence of extraterrestrial life. What would the aliens look like, we wondered—do they walk on two legs? How would they communicate with humans? Will they visit Earth, or will we visit them?
Our search for aliens might not have progressed as far as our grandparents had hoped, but articles from our 137-year archive only emphasize how far we've come since Lowell's claim of polar ice caps on Mars.
Click through our gallery for fun illustrations of futuristic spaceships and cosmic "civilizations" (we use that term loosely — you'll see why).
Sorry for being so annoying, but I'm pretty sure that Hawking's first name is 'Stephen', not Steven. Just saying.
That was a really interesting photo gallery, though - I've always dreamed of finding ET.
Funny how people always quote Einstein incorrectly to justify aliens not visiting earth. Einstein did not say you could not travel faster than the speed of light. He said the fuel tank required to push a ship to light speed would be so large you could not move it. Einstein said this because at time he only knew of liquid rocket fuel used for German V2 rockets.
-Colonel Joseph J. Bryan III, Founder of the CIA's psychological warfare staff, special assistant to the secretary of the Air Force, advisor to NATO, and board member of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon (NICAP).
• "These UFOs are interplanetary devices systematically observing the earth, either manned or under remote control, or both."
• "Information on UFOs, including sighting reports, has been and is still being officially withheld."
I believe faster than light travel is possible but not directly. Basically, as you approach the speed of light, your mass increases and time slows down. Exponentially increasing mass causes the required amount of fuel to go up, which in turn increases the mass, endless loop ect. But he never said it couldn't be circumvented, for example in an Einstein-Rosen bridge (wormhole), picture bending a piece of paper to make the actual distance you need to travel shorter, or an Alcubierre drive which warps space around the ship (warp drive anyone?). Point being, even the inability to travel faster than light wouldn't neccisarily be a detterent (space arc, sleeper ship, generational ship) to aliens in our solar system.
And I actually laughed out loud when I read the article. As for finding life on mars... anything multicellular needs to be preserved, but as for bacterial life... well let's put it this way, it took 1.something billion years for life to evolve on earth in perfect conditions. After that it took another few billion years to evolve beyond archaebacteria, the sun simply doesn't have enough time left for anything more eukaryotes to evolve on mars and that's pushing it. Anyway, if/when we find nothing more than bacteria on mars, we should immediatley begin the terraforming process by detonating a couple of nukes around the pole that's dry ice (south one I think?), releasing CO2, starting a positive feedback loop until the northern one is melted, releasing CO2 in its limited dry ice as well as enough water for 30% of the planet or so, then seed it with lichen, grasses, shrubs, animals, trees, ect... it'll last longer than the earth when the sun brightens in a billion years and give us a backup planet. Plus we wouldn't even need the magnetic field generator grid because the atmosphere would be so thick to lock in heat. But again, the article, hilarious.
The key to faster then light travel is convincing the universe you don't exist.
Can't deny. Anything may happen. visit here.
IMHO to say deep space travel would be impossible or to consider any form of alien life impossible is quite naive and arrogant
just a couple of points
We used to think we were the center of everything
We used to think the world was flat
flying a plane back in the day would make you look like a god
so much has been considered impossible only to end up getting accomplished
I just can't see how anyone could conclude that we can't travel and/or life doesn't exist
it just strikes me as incredibly arrogant of the human race considering how it was not that long ago in the grand scheme of things that we were obviously ignorant of just about everything
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Hawking is absolutely right. Research the impact of Japanese and Allied visits on South Pacific islanders and New Guinea highlanders. Why would you expect humanity to suffer any less from ET contact?
The first sign of life outside the earth other than beavers may have already been spotted in the Mars Phoenix Landers microscopic imager here:
That video has some interesting movements but we may never confirm this until we send explorers to Mars. We will never trust instruments or our own eyes from a robotic explorer to tell us there is life.
That being said what makes us think that there is intelligent life on our own planet?
The facts are available for those interested in knowing them.
1. All of human "science" originates from our human minds - it is all "made up" of rules that make sense to a majority of those interested in a particular field of human interests. All practical science was at one time the stuff of science fiction.
2. Knowledge is power. Power centers have their secrets.
3. Portions of the Government operate with their own rules and in secret (National Security).
4. No one person knows the "entire" truth about anything.
5. NASA and ESA have provided some amazing images for everyone to explore. The other tools available free will stretch you imagination and open your horizons.
6. The Earth truly is the garden of Eden, we need to tend it faithfully.