Re-Post: Say Hello To Baby Aliens On Enceladus


(Originally posted on Read With The Gringa 7/6/17)

If scientists discover microbial life one of Saturn’s moons, is this a big deal? Well, the gringa supposes that humans could officially lay to rest the question of whether or not we are alone in the universe. But it does leave open the question of whether or not mankind shares the Universe with intelligent life. After all, I’m not so sure microbial life counts as an intellectual peer for humanity. So what, exactly, did NASA report they found on Enceladus? See for yourself:

So microbes eat hydrogen like candy. Does that mean that life might evolve on Enceladus or that life is dead and gone and this candy is all that’s left? You know, kind of like coming home and finding traces of teenagers in the crumbs left on the sofa and smears of chocolate on the gaming controls.

It means that it’s possible that microbes can exist in Enceladus’ ice covered sea. The next step would be to explore this cosmic ocean, perhaps with a probe that can take samples, to see if microbes are alive and well. But what kind of environmental conditions would microbes need in order to survive? Let’s take a look at some of the basic environmental conditions of Enceladus:

-Surface temperature of -330 degrees F (or -201 degrees C)

-Freshwater ice surface that reflects 100% of sunlight

-5 surface features: cracks, ridges, fissures and crust deformation

-Liquid fresh water sea underneath surface crust of ice

-Tidal forces created upon internal sea by Saturn’s pull, which creates internal heat, so sea temperature would be warmer than surface temperature but still unknown

-Smooth surface plains of ice crust indicate that water once flowed upon the surface, possibly forced upward from eruptions of volcanoes in the interior sea

-No detectable atmosphere

-No magnetic field

Are there any microbes known to man that could survive these conditions?

-Microbe Colwellia psychrerythraea strain 34H can survive temperatures as cold as -320 degrees F. Testing was conducted with liquid nitrogen, which is -321 degrees F.

-No detectable atmosphere and no magnetic field means no protection from radiation. But, as concluded from microbe studies on the International Space Station (ISS), there are microbes that not only survive such conditions, but actually thrive in them: Deinococcus radiodurans, also called the Conan of microbes, could live quite happily in Enceledus’ frigid ocean.

So, if there are microbial Conans alive and well in the interior sea of Enceledus, how long might it take for them to gain some intelligence and start communicating? Well, let’s start with the moon’s suspected age, 100 million years. The earth, by comparison, is thought to be about 4.5 billion years old. Enceledus is just a baby.  It was during Earth’s second phase, the Archean phase, when the first signs of microbial life appeared on Earth. This would have been when Earth was about 1 billion years ago.

So, Enceledus may just be getting started. Those microbes out there in its interior sea? Those could be the earliest seeds of a future humanoid race that evolves to build a bone-chilling, zero oxygen, radiated civilization in another couple of billion years or so. So, just stay tuned, right?

Sources: Science Mag

New Scientist

Sea Sky Org.

BBC

Image Credit: America Space

Video Credit:  NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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Bruno, Where Are You?


What do you think is behind the story of the disappearance of a UFOlogist who left behind a bedroom covered in strange symbols and a coded language? Insane? Hoax? The real deal? Let’s take a look at Brazil’s Bruno Borges and his personal “X-Files” style life journey.

This past March the 24-year-old disappeared. Not only were the walls and ceiling of his room plastered with his life’s work, but he also had 14 books written in the same coded language that were ready to be published. Media images of his room reveal the organization of an ordered mind, although a tad obsessive-compulsive about order when the gringa compares own surroundings. I tend to be tidy with a splash of comfortably messy.

But Bruno was not just a fringe science recluse, shuttered away from the world, scribbling away in an alien tongue. He was also a psychology student at university.

But alleged coded languages from another world were not the only curiosities of his room’s décor. There was also a prized work of art, valued at nearly $3,000. Central to Bruno’s small room is a life-size statue of Giordano Bruno, a 16th century philosopher, set within a circle of symbols. Was this a tribute to a namesake kinsman or a tribute to the work of the philosopher?

6.27.2a

You see, the Italian Dominican friar, Giordano Bruno, was not just a philosopher. He was also a theorist as to the mysteries of the cosmos, which meant the Catholic Church eventually labelled him a heretic. He threw off his friar robes and converted to Calvinism.

However, Protestantism was no great fan of his science, either. Eventually he would be burnt at the stake in Rome with his tongue tied down to prevent him from addressing the crowd. In today’s science and philosophical circles, Bruno is considered a martyr to scientific truth.

Now, dear reader, don’t think that this means younger Bruno was also a misunderstood religious devotee of the Christian faith. More fascinating clues remain to be discussed. Also decorating the walls and floor of the young man’s room were sigils and symbols affiliated with the legendary Illuminati and Satanism.

But wait, there’s more. Lacking any furnishings typical to a bedroom, there was, instead, religious furnishings crafting a shrine. Instead of a religious shrine to a long, dead philosopher, Jesus, Mary or Satan, the shrine was dedicated to the extra-terrestrial world young Bruno Borges believed in.

One of the key elements of his shrine was a self-portrait of the young man standing alongside a bulbous-headed, glowing-eyed ET against a backdrop that obviously points to the two of them being on another planet. The gringa supposes the implication is that his true biological origins are from this alien world.

6.27.2c

For about a month young Borges locked himself away in this room and produced all of this. This is absolutely incredible. It defies, in the gringa’s mind, the rules of biology. It seems physically impossible. Especially since there is no bed in the room for the poor guy to get a good night’s sleep. How in the world could one remain super-humanly productive for 4 weeks?

Truly, this fellow was quite an enigma. But what does it all mean?

The first clue lies in one of his passages translated by a Brazilian cyber expert. It reads:

“It is easy to accept what you have been taught since childhood and what is wrong. It is difficult, as an adult to understand that you were wrongly taught what you suspected was correct since you were a child”

Now, although this quote indicates that Borges was faulting his parents for instilling false beliefs in him, it seems that they weren’t really so bad. After all, they were willing to pay for his college education, provide the funding for his project and patiently indulge a child they most likely considered an eccentric intellectual who would one day make them proud with his published works of brilliance.

And Borges, despite his seeming criticism of his upbringing, was not above taking money from those he blamed. When approaching his family for financial assistance in his project he assured them that he was going to “change humanity in a good way”.

From the moment the disappearance became known, Brazilian authorities have been investigating. The latest news indicates the possibility that the young man is alive and well and continuing his “humanitarian work”. Here’s the latest:

4/10/17 a page of binary code popped up online. It translates to the following:

“Hello. My name is Bruno de Melo Silva Borges and I am 24 years old, I am a psychologist and I am very smart, I left 14 books with messages with different letter, the answer will be revealed on 04/14/17 at 17:00, so stay tuned. The statue I bought and left in my room, I left the room all white and wrote many things. Good and this. #3301”

What does #3301 mean? It most likely refers to the Cicada 3301 organization, an internet mystery for codebreakers. It started January, 2012 and is, in effect, a test looking for the smartest individuals who are able to solve the puzzle.

Solving the puzzle delivers the clues necessary for the codecracker to find the Cicada organization. Each year leading up to 2016 (excluding 2015), new puzzles were posted. Speculations as to the organization that might be behind the Internet’s most fascinating mystery are groups like the NSA, CIA, MI6, cyber mercenaries. Then there are those who believe it is an alternate reality game, possibly from an off-planet source.

4/17/17 @ 17:00 hours, what happened? The Cicada website changed. Is this change what Borges’ message predicted? It seems so because the change made available an MP3 audio file named “Bruno”. So, seems pretty obvious that Bruno cracked the code and got accepted into Cicada. He informed the curious public, via cryptic message, of when a formal announcement would be made to that affect.

The audio ends at the 5:36.666 mark. “Oooh,” the gringa says to herself, “666. The legendary mark of the Beast from the book of Revelations of the Christian’s religious text.” So, does that have any significance?

It might indeed be a clue but not of the devilish variety. It is more likely related to that devil of devils, money. An amateur sleuth tracked down the number 5:36.666 and found it to be the number of a Mastercard debit card issued in… Brazil, Borges home country.

Thus far we have a missing Bruno, now a part of Cicada with traceable funds likely linked to his announcement. And the detective found more footprints along the Borges trail.

A new YouTube channel was found named Bruno GiordanoIt has 2 posted videos. The first video posted about a month ago. It’s entitled with a long list of numbers:

1/C12H2406/c1-2-14-5-6-16-9-10-18-12-11-17-8-7-15-4-3-13-1/h1-12H2 

It lasts only 35 seconds and sounds like the mumblings and ravings of someone who just dropped some ‘shrooms. The image is, of course, constant and depicts more symbols and code. What the heck does it mean?

There is a description listed for the content. It claims to be Borges’ magnum opus, accomplished directly and indirectly, consciously and unconsciously. He was able to achieve his goal through what he calls the “practice of the absorptive capacity theory, oCc9rs an inevitable large scale chemical reaction”.

He explains that there are exponentially decreased numbers of awakened people while the numbers of people sleeping through their potential of enlightenment is exponentially increasing. He claims that the truth enlightens although we are taught that this “truth” actually does the opposite.

He says that the “observer” is actually the “observed”. He encourages everyone to become a spectator and that through preparing for this enlightenment you will understand its meaning. Following your intuition is the next step toward enlightenment.

He notes that nothing happens by chance and says “Remind the future”. He claims that this enlightenment that he has achieved is available to every man. In fact, it lives within every man as a world that is the Universe itself, dwelling within each individual. The gringa subscribed and the video is posted here for the dear reader’s convenience:

4/21/17 A new message was discovered online in the paste bin of YouTube channel, If You Believe Anything Matters. The channel is accredited to Borges. He states that he is living in caves and does not want to be disturbed.

The gringa subscribed to that channel, too. There are now 13 videos although there were 8 when the gringa began the first draft of this post. It looks like uploading has been going on since around mid-May with 5 more being uploaded in just the last couple of weeks. The gringa explored the videos and will follow up with posts regarding them. They were incredibly interesting.

I will mention here, however, that one of the videos featured a comment by Borges. It was, of course, coded. Consisting of Roman numerals only, a code breaker provides a translation:

“I gave a cry of astonishment. I saw and thought nothing of the other four Martian monsters; my attention was riveted upon the nearer incident. Simultaneously two other shells burst in the air near the body as the hood twisted round in time to receive, but not in time to dodge, the fourth shell.”

Bruno Borges’ trackers have found comment threads in various other online sites, crediting the comments to Borges. He claims to still be alive and living in hiding to protect himself. That, even in hiding, he is still bothered by those who would harm him. He claims to be in Portugal and will continue to update the world on what is happening.

Psychics are even getting involved in the hunt for Bruno Borges. One claims that she channeled his own thoughts. She said that he was in contact with an extra-terrestrial species called “tall whites”. Apparently, these ETs gave Borges the mission that he is on. While sequestered in his room during the month that he drafted his coded writings, the psychic said he was in regular contact with these aliens.

So what the heck is going on with this guy? Well, the gringa doesn’t put much stock in psychics. What we do actually know is provided by the law enforcement officers on the case. Borges left his home and took a taxi to a hotel about half a mile away. The gringa wonders why he didn’t just walk that short distance unless he wanted a record of where he was going.

The taxi driver attested to a phone call between Borges and others, discussing the hotel destination. However, Borges never checked in. If Borges was intent on disappearing without a trace, he would not have had such a conversation with a taxi driver present. The gringa is convinced Bruno was leaving a breadcrumb with the driver for investigators to follow to the hotel. When they didn’t find him there, naturally they would look around outdoors, nearby. Which is where they found a gathering area in the forest behind the hotel that had 4 white chairs, one red chair and remnants of a recent fire.

A local seamstress testified to creating 3 white robes similar to one depicted in a painting in Borges’ room, embroidered sigil on back and everything. Because of its detail, she asked if it was for something related to the church and Borges allegedly said, “Almost that.”

6.27.2b

What could be going on with Borges is an hermetic initiation. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is an order of the Jewish Kabbalistic (mystical) tradition. It is ancient and devotees commit themselves to studying the occult, paranormal and metaphysics. The gringa’s read a few of their texts and it sounds like a reasonable enough explanation to me.

So, Borges wasn’t abducted by aliens and he’s not a raving lunatic. Instead, he has been initiated into a secret society that claims to be in contact with supernatural and extra-terrestrial beings. The gods of the religious community are the advanced alien species of the esoteric science communities. And Borges is inviting all of mankind to join him. His online communiques are creating a pathway to enlightenment for all who are interested in joining him.

Sources:

UK Mirror

NY Post

Britannica

World Socialist Website

Uncovering Cicada

WNYC

Hermetic Golden Dawn

Image Credits: Bing

Video Credit: Fright Knight

Bruno Giordano

If You Believe Anything Matters

Did An ET Knock On China’s Space Capsule?


Sometimes, when the gringa is home alone at night, or early in the morning after the caveman leaves for work, my imagination goes into overdrive. I get a little spooked. Should an unexpected noise be heard, that’s it. No sleep for the gringa. But what if you were an astronaut, adrift in the vacuum of space, surrounded by nothingness for thousands of lightyears yet “something” came a-knocking?

I tell ya, the gringa would probably die of fright! There’s certainly no hope for fear to disappear when the sun comes up. No waiting around for the hubby to get back. No paranoid call to 911 for the comfort of a first responder to do a quick looksie around. Nope, an astronaut is all alone for the duration of the mission wondering what the heck just knocked on the door and when or if it’s coming back. Guess what? That actually happened.

Word has it that, back in 2003, when China’s first astronaut in space, Yang Liwei, was performing a 21-hour tour-of-duty aboard Shenzhen 5, something came knocking. He described the noise like the sound of a wooden hammer hitting against a metal bucket. So, he wasn’t spooked by a few creaks or phantom noises created in an over-active imagination like the gringa’s. He described a very distinct, and distinctly loud, noise.

If one eyewitness account of such is not enough for the skeptic, there were other Chinese astronauts who also reported the same banging noise. Consecutive missions, Shenzhou 6 and 7, had astronauts returning to Earth and sharing this news in their de-briefings.

The gringa believes it would be the opportunity of a lifetime to travel into space. Imagine the prestige an astronaut must be looking forward to when they get the news that they are slated for a mission. Certainly they envision a future shaped by this achievement. Success is at hand. With respect to their career, they have, indeed, arrived.

How, then, must it come to them as a terrible disappointment to realize that they will forever be haunted by their space experience. Do some astronauts return to an Earth-bound life, riddled with anxiety, swept up in paranoia that they are stalked by other-worldly watchers? Do they spend the rest of their life feeling a coward’s shame because they didn’t have the guts to answer the door and see who was there?

When interviewed by journalists from Xinhua, Astronaut Liwei explained some of these very emotions. He recounted that when he would hear the knocking, he would become very tense. The gringa thinks, “Yeah. I bet!” He would peek outside the windows only to see nothing. Returning to Earth he spent much time with researchers trying to replicate the noise with a variety of instruments and materials. But they were unsuccessful.

As crews for Shenzhou 6 and 7 were preparing, Liwie warned them that they should expect to hear the noise. He tried to put their minds at ease, assuring them that the noise must be a normal, natural phenomenon. But was Liwie telling the truth or making up a comfortable lie?

The characteristics of the noise were:

-random timing

-no rhythm

-acoustic quality of wood on metal

The Shenzhou spacecrafts are classified as cargo vessels. The craft’s name translates roughly into “magic boat” or “divine vessel of god”. When the craft was first put into use in 1999 by China it was an unmanned vessel. After several successful unmanned missions, Astronaut Yang Liwei achieved the first successful manned mission October 15, 2003, completing 14 orbits around Earth within 21 hours.

The 2 manned missions that followed also reported back the strange noises. Could this be why the 2011 mission was unmanned except for 2 test dummies? In 2012 manned missions resumed with a 3-person crew delivered to China’s Tiangong-1 space station in 2012, 2013 and a final mission in 2016 delivering crewmembers to China’s Tiangong-2 space station. One more mission is slated for 2018 but no details are yet available on whether it will be manned or not.

The spaceship’s technology has roots in Russia’s Soyuz technology. The modified Chinese version features 3 modules. Upon returning to Earth, only one module, the re-entry module, makes the return trip. That means that 2 modules, the orbital and service modules, do not have the same bulky heat shielding as the re-entry module.

The orbital module is constructed of aluminum. This is where the crew spends most of their time. If a piece of space debris came into contact with the outside of the module, it would probably make quite a noise.

But would a piece of debris make a single contact noise or might it bump around the perimeter of the craft a few times until it went on its merry way? Would a tiny bit of space junk, too small to see out a porthole make a noise as loud as Liwie described? Could the spacecraft survive an impact with a small piece of space debris? How likely is it that this is the source of the noise? Yes, the gringa is filled with questions.

NASA estimates more than half a million bits of space junk are floating around Earth. They can travel as fast as 17,500 mph. Even a pebble-sized bit of debris can wreak havoc and cause quite a bit of damage. Check out this picture provided by the European Space Agency (ESA). A solar array on satellite Sentinel-1A took a hit from a tiny bit of space junk (about a 1 millimeter bit) and it punched an enormous hole in one of the solar panels. The size of the damage was about 100 times the size of the junk that hit it.

6.1.2

In 2014, just 6 years after the last Shenzhou mission with a crewmember reporting the strange knocking noises, an important book was published. In “Forging China’s Military Might” much of the material discusses the nation’s space program. It is proposed that spacecraft design should feature a “bumper” to absorb meteor and space junk impacts. Proving the point that even micro-debris can be deadly, the author points to the Space Shuttle Challenger 7 mission. A tiny fragment of debris, and when the gringa says tiny, she means tiny, the debris was a FLECK OF PAINT… it caused so much damage the entire window had to be replaced.

6.1.3

So, did Liwie hear an ET knocking on his spaceship door? Probably not. It’s more likely that it was a bit of cosmic rubble knocking about.
Sources: NASA

QZ.com

Spaceflight 101

People

Physics-Astronomy.com

Image Credits:  VOA News

QZ.com

Video Credit:  Paparazzi News

An Order Of Milky Way Sunny Side Up


What has the gringa shared so far about what she knows regarding dark matter?

“There is no physical evidence that it exists, only a theory based on a mathematical formula to explain phenomena detected by gravitational lensing that suggests that objects with mass exist as determined by gravitational effects on visible celestial bodies yet the matter causing the gravitational effect cannot be seen by the naked eye.”

Until now. Kinda sort of.

Scientists estimate that about 25% of our universe consists of dark matter. That’s quite a bit of stuff out there that we have no idea, really, where it is, what it’s purpose is, what it’s doing, or what it looks like.
Some scientists believe that there are dark matter superstructures that act as connective tissue between galaxies. The gringa wonders if that means that the universe can get arthritis? But I digress. Back to the real stuff. Does this composite image prove the connective tissue theory to be true? Do we now know where dark matter exists and what its purpose is?

Since dark matter is kind of like a space ghost, neither reflecting or absorbing light, it’s impossible to see it. Maybe. Scientists may have devised a means to create an image using the same technology for detecting it: gravitational lensing.

This new discovery may be dark matter’s incognito existence Waterloo, literally. You see, it’s a former grad student from Canada’s University of Waterloo who has developed the technique to create an image of dark matter. As gravitational lensing displays the warping effect of dark matter on distant galaxies, images from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope captures images while it surveys the skies. From these images 23,000 pairs of galaxies were selected to create a composite image of dark matter.

In the feature image you see the white circles that represent two galaxies. You see all that red stuff surrounding them? Yep. That’s the connective tissue of dark matter. So, basically the Milky Way is like an egg yolk with a partner galaxy connected to it by dark matter. Next time you order a breakfast of 2 eggs sunny side up, just think of the great cosmic breakfast entrée where you live.

Source & Image Credit: Phys.org
Video Credit: United News International

Get Your Ticket To Ride To The Stars


NASA is not the only power player in US space exploration. SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are all making a name for themselves. The difference is that NASA is concerned with public service and pure science. The private sector space agencies are more interested in the almighty dollar. That means they will be staging projects geared toward profitable exploration, like mining interstellar bodies for lucrative minerals and space tourism. And whenever there is a buck to be made competition is sure to arise. Americans only need to look East to find competitor nations joining the profitable space race. Who will the gringa be rooting for? Read on and find out. Here are the Asian contenders who have certainly got game:

JAPAN: PD Aerospace acknowledges that the company is lagging behind their US counterparts. However, Shuji Ogawa, the company’s CEO, doesn’t seem at all disheartened by this. He believes there is enough consumer and investor interest to go around. Pretty much every single Earthling would love to realize the dream of a trip into space. Even if PD Aerospace is dead last in the race to launch cosmic tourists, there will still be plenty of money to be made.

PD is looking to use a re-usable spacecraft that resembles a plane. It will have an alternating propulsion system using jet and rocket technologies. Passenger capacity of 8, crew capacity of 2, will make for a very personalized tour. Flight limitation is 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. That is where outer space and Earth’s atmosphere meet.

So when will this bird get off the ground? First flight is expected to launch in just 3 more years. Trials are scheduled for another 3 years. So, in less than a decade the non-average Joe, with an extra quarter million of disposable income, can take to the highest heavens.

It will take some time for revenue to affect the company’s bottom line and lower the cost of a ticket. Eventually, a space flight will become affordable enough for even the regular average Joe. PD hopes to eventually bring ticket cost down to the $3,600 range. That’s a relief to the gringa!

CHINA: Kuang-Chi Science has a bit more swagger to their space travel chatter. They believe Asia is a better market for space tourism than the US. This means that even though they got a slower start than private American space firms, they are confident they will become more profitable much quicker.

The gringa loves their space flight plan to use a giant helium balloon to lift a capsule to the same dizzying heights as PD. With the same passenger capacity the main difference between the two trips will be that PD’s flight will have the fireworks and noise of rocket propulsion while Kuang-Chi will deliver a steady, peaceful glide. A quiet ride is very appealing to the gringa.

The chairman of the company, Liu Ruopeng, points out that passengers have no need of skills training or to be physically fit. The Kuang-Chi balloon trip to the edge of the cosmos is open to everyone. The gringa appreciates this sense of inclusiveness.

Another cool aspect to China’s space tourism model is that it will double as a scientific data gathering mission. On board is a platform that collects meteorological and agricultural information that is transmitted to networks on the ground. Being a tourist means also being a passive citizen-scientist. Your ticket to ride funds research and environmental monitoring that can help make the world a better place.

Kuang-Chi is also determined to be competitive. Although they haven’t announced how much a ticket will be, they have made it clear that it will be significantly less than what their competitors will offer. So start saving up your money. They have already begun test flights with their spacecraft “Traveler” and a turtle was the first passenger! Tourism is scheduled to begin in 3 years.

MALAYSIA: Although one might not equate this southeast Asia nation with innovative technology, with the creation of Independence-X, it is changing people’s minds about the who’s who in space travel. Look for this company to have a robotic spacecraft on the Moon’s surface sometime this year. If successful, it will certainly catch the eye of investors. A successful lunar landing will hopefully spur funding for space tourism technology development. So, although they are not yet in the race, they are definitely warming up in the batter’s box.

So who is the gringa rooting for? Kuang-Chi Science. I must admit my soft spot for positive business modeling that features inclusiveness, consumer affordability, environmental activism and… is pet friendly! I would like to join that turtle in space flight that will not just be a thrilling vacation of a lifetime but will also perform a service to my fellow Earthlings!

Sources:

Kuang Chi Science

PDAS

Independence-X

Image Credit: Cosmos TV

Video Credits:

PD AeroSpace

Bloomberg

Digi Telecommunications

There REALLY IS Life On Mars (And The Moon)


What if the gringa told you that there was, without a doubt, life on the Moon and life on Mars? You might not believe me if you are a strict science enthusiast. You might believe me without hesitation if you’re a UFOlogist. You might hope that I’m telling the truth if you are a science-fiction fan.

Well, the gringa’s got exciting news for all of you. It IS true and there is proof and NASA testimony to back it up. But there’s a curious twist. The life discovered in both locations is not alien. It is very Earth in origin. What does this mean?

The strict science-evidence buff will say this of course means that NASA scientists have contaminated the regions they have explored. UFOlogists will claim it is trace evidence of mankind’s ancient extra-terrestrial ancestry. Science-fiction fans will simply shrug, nothing coming as a surprise to them.

The first thing to do is examine the decontamination procedures of NASA. Is it possible to launch space exploration vehicles that are not contaminated with even microscopic traces of Earth sourced materials? Nope. If complete decontamination is not possible, are there Earthly micro-organisms that can survive the harsh conditions of space travel, be delivered to an alien landscape and, ultimately, thrive only to be discovered later by exploration equipment? Yep.

NASA does not fly solo, determining unilaterally decontamination procedures before or after a space flight. About 50 years ago the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), comprised of UN members from the International Council of Science (ICSU), created the Treaty of 1967 which outlined certain protocols related to outer space travel and research. Contained within the document are guidelines for 5 categories of space missions, rated according to the risk of contamination posed.

  • Category 1: Any mission to celestial body that does not involve study of biological systems (like launching of an orbiting satellite).
  • Category 2: Any mission to any cosmic body within our Solar System where documentation of biological or chemical systems involves a remote chance of contamination (like when a satellite takes a sample of a vent plume to see what kind of gas it is without entering a cosmic body’s atmosphere).
  • Category 3: Any mission with a specific purpose of studying chemical or biological systems that may contain living organisms that poses a risk of introducing contamination to other cosmic bodies (as in taking a satellite sample that could involve an orbit or fly-by into a cosmic body’s atmosphere, elevating risk of picking up atmospheric particles that could cross-contaminate another planet, moon, etc.)
  • Category 4: Any mission that lands equipment on the surface of a cosmic body for the purpose of interacting with the natural processes of the extra-terrestrial body which will certainly create the possibility of introducing contaminates from Earth to a celestial body (this is what occurred with the Lunar Apollo and Mars Rover missions, the equipment at risk of contaminating the Moon and Mars with Earth organisms).
  • Category 5: Any mission that has equipment set down on an extra-terrestrial body and returns physical samples from an extra-terrestrial body to Earth. This creates 2 subcategories of Restricted and Unrestricted. If the host for the sample is rated a Class III stringent, in other words, not a host for possible life, the returning sample is considered Unrestricted. Any specimen returning from a cosmic body where life is possible, must go through severe decontamination and quarantine protocols.

But how effective are these guidelines? Well, considering what happened with the lunar missions in the 1970s, none of these protocols may even matter. Even though there were procedures for quarantines and decontamination, there was simply no baseline to compare against any data.

Astronauts, equipment and geological samples were quarantined in isolation units for 3 weeks after a “bath” in a super-bleach solution or a betadine wipe-down. An examination for biological, bacterial and chemical anomalies would determine whether or not there was any risk posed by releasing from quarantine. And what about alien contaminants that had dormancy periods longer than 21 days?

Not all returning Apollo mission “stuff” was scrupulously cleaned and monitored. You know the raft the astronaut crews rode in from the module that splashed down to the ship that picked them up? Yeah. It just got a wipe down with betadine and was then sunk in the ocean. And guess where Earthly biological life as humans know it is theorized to all begin? Yeah. In the oceans. Hm. That might not have been such a good idea. That raft may have just been converted to a lunar life nursery.

And you know the geological samples the astronauts returned? Those “Moon Rocks”? Yeah. They didn’t even get quarantined or a splash of Lysol. They were whisked away in a helicopter and taken to NASA laboratories in Houston. So that means a couple of pilots, their crew and an entire helicopter were not just contaminated but blazed a trail of contamination across the sky of half of the United States. The helicopter and crew were quarantined but what about all of that airspace? Yeah. There’s that.

So, basically, humans have already cross-contaminated the Moon and Earth. That means any samples that pop-up on either locale that indicate alien life from one or the other are suspect.

The same is also probably true for Mars. Chances are Earth-origin micro-organisms have probably already survived the trip,arrived and set up shop for the next millennia or two. And, if climate change continues on course, Earthlings may not be around to explain human life on Mars for the ETs that eventually discover them. They will be on their own to figure out that little conundrum.

Which poses the question. Is that how life on Earth originated? Are humans the ancestors of alien contaminates? Could be.

And what is NASA’s solution if samples are determined to be contaminated with biological matter that is a threat to humans? If a danger is discovered en-route back to researchers on Earth, their fall back plan is to fly the stuff into the Sun. Hmm. Yes, by all means. Let’s continue our practice of pollution and let the chips fall where they may.

Sources:

Gizmodo

NASA

Johnson Space Center

Image Source: Gizmodo

Video Source: Licensable

Slingshot Time Travel With Cosmic Strings


If you have read sci-fi novels or watched sci-fi flicks, then you have heard about cosmic strings. If you have dabbled in physics and astronomy you have probably heard about string theory. But, really, what the heck is a cosmic string? What do they do? Do they really exist? Are they space garbage that can be recycled for another purpose?

You know how Enterprise always seems to encounter some kind of space “anomaly” that causes all sorts of mayhem and the crew doesn’t know what the heck it is? That’s pretty much what life is like for space explorers now. We really have no idea what kind of stuff is out there in outer space. Cosmic strings are just one such anomaly.

Cosmic strings exist. They’re weird. They have different textures. They have walls that define their domains. They’re powerful, possibly containing the energy-mass of our Sun within a tube about one billion of a billionth the size of an atom.  And scientists don’t know much more about them.

The gringa supposes that it’s a good thing that there are not very many of them, as far as we know. Running into such a weird anomaly could be disastrous for astronauts that don’t know what they are dealing with. But some scientists are not above guessing, er, um, theorizing about cosmic strings.

Physicist J. Richard Gott introduced the novel idea of using cosmic strings for time travel. Scientists suspect that these stringlike objects had something to do with how the early universe formed. They are left-over tidbits whose job is all done. Or not. Perhaps they could be upcycled to warp space-time near a black hole making time-travel possible. Is Gott for real?

Cosmic strings are skinnier than an atom. And they are taut, like a rubber band, because they are under immense pressure. So, just like when you launch a spitball by pulling back a rubber band, Gott thinks the same concept could be applied to cosmic strings. But we wouldn’t actually strap a spaceship to a cosmic string and slingshot it across the Universe.

To make Gott’s theory work, he proposes relocating two strings so that they are close together. Because of the great pressure they are under, putting two close together would create a massive gravitational pull on anything that passed near them. The strings would basically suck in a spaceship at such an incredible speed that the crew would experience time dilation.

Time dilation is a fancy way of saying you have changed the passage of time. On Earth, six months may have passed. For astronauts on a cosmic string launched spaceship bound for Mars, the trip might only take one month. They return home to find everyone a couple of years older yet maybe they only experienced the passage of a few months. Yep. Cosmic strings are weird.

The gringa can imagine the rich and the famous exploiting cosmic string travel as the next great fountain of youth treatment. Maybe we could blast across the galaxy our worst criminals on multiple trips. This could essentially leave them for the next generation to sort out. We could find all sorts of crazy uses for time dilation travel.

But Gott’s theory goes further. If the strings were positioned near a black hole, he thinks we could warp time-space and create what he calls a “closed timelike curve”.  This would make true time-travel possible. Currently, time-travel is theorized to only be possible to make trips into the future that are one-way. A person cannot travel back into the past, only forward into the future. But Gott thinks he has found a way to yesterday.

The compounded effects of gravity on a spaceship by two cosmic strings and a black hole could create a loop with the cosmic strings. This powerful loop would propel the spaceship back through time. But there’s a catch. To re-visit a previous birthday just one year prior, a loop of cosmic string powerful enough would need the mass-energy of our entire galaxy. So, basically you sacrifice the life of everyone and everything in the present just to return to life of a year ago. Not so sure it’s worth it. Today doesn’t seem so bad.

Sources:  Astronomy Cafe

Science – How Stuff Works

Science Daily

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Video Credits:  FloatingUniversity

National Geographic