<![CDATA[Mufon - Interstellar travel]]>Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:42:51 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[When Will We Become Interstellar?]]>Sat, 28 Dec 2013 05:17:14 GMThttp://www.mufon.com/interstellar-travel/when-will-we-become-interstellarBy Frazier Cain on December 27th, 2013 on UniverseToday Picture
Dr. Ian O’Neill is one of the coolest scientists we know, so we sat him down at the YouTube spaces and asked him a real zinger – when will we humans become an interstellar race, like the ones we’re used to seeing on Star Trek? Here’s what he had to say to us!

“I’m Dr. Ian O’Neill. I work for Discovery News – I’m their space producer. My background is as a scientist – I’m a solar physicist. I got my PhD in Coronal physics. 

“I think it is possible for humans to become an interstellar race. I think it’s possible, but not within my lifetime, not the next hundred years without some really transformative technologies in between. The key one on the International Space Station right now we’re testing life support systems, and doing phenomenally well. But the International Space Station is close to earth, so if something breaks down, you can conceivably just hop down and bring something back up, although it is conceivable more complicated than that. As for putting human colonies on other planets, yeah, that’s hard, but you’ve got a gravitational well and you’ve got a base there, you assume that they’ve got some sort of infrastructure working.”

“But if you put everybody onto a space ship and send them out into interstellar space, there is no infrastructure there, no connection to Earth, especially when the years go by and the travel time of messages starts getting very long because of course we’re talking about light-years. It could conceivably take several years for one message to get from A to B, so you’ve got the relativistic issues there as well.”

“And certainly, without some massive breakthroughs in propulsion technology, I don’t think that humans are going to become the Star Trek race we want to be, unless we develop the warp drive. That would be fantastic – then we’ll be able to travel around the galaxy at any speed we like. We can even travel faster than the speed of light, with the warp drive. So, ideally, it would be great to create the warp drive.”

“But within our current understanding of technology and where it is going, the iterative steps that we hope make between that and sending a probe to another star, I just don’t see us becoming that space-faring race, not within the next hundred years, not perhaps within the next thousand years. But again, these are timescales that I can’t even fathom within my small existence. We’re talking about a galaxy that’s billions of years old – we’re talking about missions that could conceivable take hundreds of years to get to the nearest group of stars. I think we need to start changing the way we think, and science fiction helps – it helps with the warp drive and all that – it kind of pushes us in ways that we wouldn’t understand. But in realistic terms, at least a hundred years before that even becomes a possibility.”

You can circle Dr. Ian O’Neill on G+, follow him on Twitter as @astroengine, read his website here and watch his channel here on YouTube.
<![CDATA[Nasa hosts the Starship Project aiming for interstellar travel within 100 years]]>Thu, 26 Sep 2013 04:11:31 GMThttp://www.mufon.com/interstellar-travel/nasa-hosts-the-starship-project-aiming-foBy Tom Dart on September 25th, 2013 on theguardian.com Picture
Scientists met in Houston last weekend, shortly after Voyager 1, the 1977 Earth-culture 'message in a bottle,' left the solar system.

It would be hard enough these days to find a human capable of playing a 12-inch LP, let alone an alien. So perhaps it is time for Nasa to update its welcome pack for extraterrestrials.

The agency announced earlier this month that its Voyager 1 probe has left the solar system, becoming the first object to enter interstellar space. On board is a gold-plated record from 1977.

It contains greetings in dozens of languages, sounds such as morse code, a tractor, a kiss, music – from Bach to Chuck Berry – and pictures of life on Earth, including a sperm fertilising an egg, athletes, and the Sydney Opera House.

Now, Jon Lomberg, the original Golden Record design director, has launched a project aiming to persuade Nasa to upload a current snapshot of Earth to one of its future interstellar craft as a sort of space-age message in a bottle.

The New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto in 2015, then is expected to leave the solar system in about three decades. The New Horizons Message Initiative wants to create a crowd-sourced "human fingerprint" for extra-terrestrial consumption that can be digitally uploaded to the probe as its journey continues. The message could be modified to reflect changes on Earth as years go by.

With the backing of numerous space experts, Lomberg is orchestrating a petition and fundraising campaign. The first stage will firm up what can be sent in a format that would be easy for aliens to decode; the second will be the online crowd-sourcing of material.
The rocket carrying New Horizons launched in 2006. The spacecraft is expected to leave the solar system in about three decades. Photo: Terry Renna/AP
Especially given the remote possibility that the message will ever be read, Lomberg emphasises the benefits to earthlings of starting a debate about how we should introduce ourselves to interplanetary strangers.

"The Voyager record was our best foot forward. We just talked about what we were like on a good day ... no wars or famine. It was a sanitised portrait. Should we go warts and all? That is a legitimate discussion that needs to be had," he said.

"The previous messages were decided by elite groups ... Everybody is equally entitled and qualified to do it. If you're a human on Earth you have a right to decide how you're presented."

"Astronauts have said that you step off the Earth and look back and you see things differently. Looking at yourself with a different perspective is always useful. The Golden Record has had a tremendous effect in terms of making people think about the culture in ways they wouldn't normally do."

Buoyed by the Voyager news, scientists gathered in Houston last weekend for the annual symposium of the Nasa- and Pentagon-backed 100-Year Starship project, which aims to make human interstellar travel a reality within a century.

"I think it's an incredible boost. I think it makes it much more plausible," said Dr Mae Jemison, the group's principal and the first African-American woman in space. "What it says is that we know we can get to interstellar space. We got to interstellar space with technologies that were developed 40 years ago. There is every reason to suspect that we can create and build vehicles that can go that far, faster."

Jeff Nosanov, of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, near Los Angeles, hopes to persuade the agency to launch about ten interstellar probes to gather data from a variety of directions. They would be powered by giant sails that harness the sun's energy, much like a boat on the ocean is propelled by wind. Solar sails are gaining credibility as a realistic way of producing faster spacecraft, given the limitations of existing rocket technology. Nasa is planning to launch a spacecraft with a 13,000 square-foot sail in November next year.

"We have a starship and it's 36 years old, so that's really good. This is not as impossible as it sounds. Where the challenge becomes ludicrous and really astounding is the distances from one star to another," Nosanov said.
"Voyager 1 at its current speed, if it was pointed in the right direction – which it is not – would take 50,000 years to get to the next star. And this is the fastest thing ever built."

"Using this system that's going to be flown next year, making some realistic changes to it, you can go two or three times faster than Voyager. That takes the 36-year journey of Voyager to the Heliopause [interstellar boundary] and makes it 18 years or 15 years, and that is starting to get closer to some day where you might be able to propose it to Nasa as a real mission."

Advances in 3D printing could solve one of the biggest challenges to manned long-term space flight: what to eat. Star Trek's "replicators" no longer seem like science-fiction. In May, Nasa awarded a $125,000 grant to a company aiming to print a pizza from long-lasting foodstuffs. The International Space Station is expected to take delivery of an equipment-making 3D printer in 2014.

"You can use 3D printing to make tissue-engineering scaffolds. You can 3D print anything if you could make the base material. So with tissue-engineering scaffolds you print the scaffold that you want and then you would seed it with cells and hopefully grow the tissue of interest," said Dr Ronke Olabisi, a member of the 100-Year Starship research team.

However, even sending astronauts on a two-year round-trip to Mars is deeply problematic, since space's weightless environment and cosmic rays take a huge toll on the body. "Microgravity is huge, as is radiation. So if one doesn't kill you, the other will," said Olabisi.

So the best hope for new discoveries might be to stay at home and look up. Construction on the Square Kilometre Array, the biggest-ever radio telescope, is set to start in 2016. The project is being built in South Africa and Australia and is headquartered at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester.

Thousands of linked dishes with millions of antennae will create a telescope with a combined collecting area of about one square kilometre, generating more data every day than is currently produced by the entire world's daily internet usage.

The Array is hoped to be fully operational by 2023 and is expected to offer insights into the formation of galaxies after the Big Bang and aid the search for extra-terrestrial life.

According to one theory, we had better hurry up. If humanity does not somehow destroy life on Earth, the universe's natural selection eventually will – through an asteroid strike, perhaps, or a comet collision. "The universe is going to select for life-forms with particular characteristics and the key characteristic is an ability to leave your planet and survive," said Hakeem Oluseyi, assistant professor of physics and space sciences at Florida Institute of Technology.

"Stars are temporary, planets are temporary and if we look at the history of life on Earth the first three-quarters of that life was single-cell organisms and they appear to have this ability that they can survive in space."

"Once your species comes into existence, the clock is ticking ... you have so many years, 100 million years or whatever, and then you're going to be wiped out of existence by the universe."

<![CDATA[Lockheed Skunk Works director says ESP is the key to interstellar travel (video)]]>Sat, 27 Jul 2013 04:25:06 GMThttp://www.mufon.com/interstellar-travel/lockheed-skunk-works-director-says-esp-is-the-key-to-interstellar-travel-videoBy Alejandro Rojas on July 26th, 2013 on OpenMinds.tv Picture
According to a UCLA engineering alumnus, in 1993 a fellow alumnus, who happened to run one of the most advanced and secretive aircraft development organizations in the world, says the key to the technology that will allow us to travel to the stars, without taking a lifetime to get there, lies in ESP.

Ben Rich was the director of Lockheed’s Skunk Works from 1975 to 1991. Skunk Works is a division of Lockheed Martin that develops super high-tech aircraft, and is responsible for developing the U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird, the F-117 Nighthawk stealth bomber, and the F-22 Raptor.

In a recent interview with Open Minds, Jan Harzan, the new director of the Mutual UFO Network, told us about a presentation by Rich he attended in which he feels Rich shared some amazing insight. Like Rich, Harzan received an engineering degree from UCLA. In 1993, Harzan received an invitation from the alumni association to attend a talk by Rich at the alumni center.

Harzan attended the lecture with his friend Tom Keller, who is also an engineering alumnus of UCLA and shares Harzan’s interest in UFOs.  Keller wrote a book on the topic titled, The Total Novice’s Guide to UFOs, which was published in 2010. Harzan estimates there were about 200 engineers in attendance.

Rich’s presentation consisted of a slide presentation outlining his 40 years with Skunk Works. The last aircraft he discussed was the F-117 which was developed in the early 80s, but was not revealed to the public until the late 80s. Rich alluded to more advanced technologies which have been developed since the F-117 but still remain secret.
F-117 Nighthawks (Credit: US Air Force)
Harzan says, “He intimated that there was a lot of other stuff going on that he could not talk about.” It was here that Harzan says things began to get really interesting. Harzan told us, “He ended his talk with a black disk zipping out into outer space, and he ended it with these words: ‘We now have the technology to take ET home.’”

Harzan says after this statement the crowd laughed, but he and Keller were shocked. He says, “Tom and I just looked at each other, ‘Did he really just say that, and are these people really not getting that what he is saying is real?’”

After the lecture, Harzan says 20 or so engineers gathered up around Rich to ask more questions. One lady asked about the technology to take ET home, but Rich sort of ignored the question. However, after being pressed by a couple of the other attendees, Rich asked one of the engineers if they thought it was possible to travel to the stars.

The engineer replied, “I don’t know, it would just take a long time to get there.” To which Rich responded that it would not. He told the group, “We found an error in the equations and we now know how to travel to the stars, and it won’t take us a lifetime to do it.”

Harzan says Rich did not say what equations he was referring to, but Harzan assumes they are what are known as Maxwell’s equations. However, he admits that this is just a guess.
Ben Rich in front of an SR-71 Blackbird. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)
Finally, Rich excused himself and began walking towards the door. Harzan called to Rich to ask him one last question. He told Rich, “I have a real interest in the propulsion you are talking about that gets us to the stars. Can you tell me how it works?”

Harzan says Rich stopped and looked at him, then asked Harzan if he knew how ESP worked. Jan says he was taken aback by the question and responded, “I don’t know, all points in space and time are connected?” Rich replied, “That’s how it works.” Then he turned around and walked away.

Harzan doesn’t know if he gave the answer Rich was looking for, or if Rich was simply referring to ESP as being the key to how the technology works, but he does believe there is something to Rich’s response.

Harzan says he feels he left the presentation with three very important clues, “One, we have the technology to take ET home. Two is there is an error in the equations… Finally, the way ESP works is the same way that this technology works. So there you have it. All that is left up to us is to go figure it out.”