April 17, 2012
By Natalie Wolchover
“Have you noticed the slow drip of information about weird things on Mars lately? There is a new rover landing there in August. Could NASA be setting us up for the big announcement that they found life in … December of 2012?” –KTRN
Amateur stargazers have discovered an intriguing object jutting out from the surface of Mars. The seemingly perfectly rectangular, upright structure, found in NASA images of the Red Planet, bears a striking resemblance to the monoliths planted on Earth and the moon by aliens in the classic sci-fi film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
The object in question was first spotted several years ago after being photographed by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a NASA space probe; every so often, it garners renewed interest on the Internet. But is it unnatural — a beacon erected by aliens for mysterious reasons, and even more mysteriously paralleled in the imaginations of Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, creators of “2001″? Or is this rock the work of nature? [Photo ]
According to Jonathon Hill, a research technician and mission planner at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, who processes many of the images taken during NASA’s Mars missions, the object in question is no more than a roughly rectangular boulder.
The HiRISE camera that photographed it has a resolution of approximately 1 foot (30 centimeters) per pixel — impressive considering the 180-mile (300-kilometer) altitude from which it photographs the Martian surface, but not quite sharp enough to capture the cragginess of a mid-size boulder. “When your resolution is too low to fully resolve an object, it tends to look rectangular because the pixels in the image are squares. Any curve will look like a series of straight lines if you reduce your resolution enough,” Hill told Life’s Little Mysteries.
April 16, 2012
By Irene Klotz
“NASA has known about life on Mars since the 1970s, yet they continue to keep the information to themselves. This report does not come from some ‘conspiracy theory weirdo,’ it’s from Discovery News.” –KTRN
New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week.
Further, NASA doesn’t need a human expedition to Mars to nail down the claim, neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller, with the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, told Discovery News.
“The ultimate proof is to take a video of a Martian bacteria. They should send a microscope — watch the bacteria move,” Miller said.
“On the basis of what we’ve done so far, I’d say I’m 99 percent sure there’s life there,” he added.
Miller’s confidence stems in part from a new study that re-analyzed results from a life-detection experiment conducted by NASA’s Viking Mars robots in 1976.
Researchers crunched raw data collected during runs of the Labeled Release experiment, which looked for signs of microbial metabolism in soil samples scooped up and processed by the two Viking landers. General consensus of scientists has been that the experiment found geological, not biological, activity.
The new study took a different approach. Researchers distilled the Viking Labeled Release data, provided as hard copies by the original researchers, into sets of numbers and analyzed the results for complexity. Since living systems are more complicated than non-biological processes, the idea was to look at the experiment results from a purely numerical perspective.
April 13, 2012
“Happy Friday The 13th. Ch-Ch-Ch. Ha-Ha-Ha.” –KTRN
It is held in fear by many superstitious people and here’s a top 10 list of the reasons why.
1. Fear of Friday the 13th is called “Paraskavedekatriaphobia”, derived from three Greek words.
2. Any month that begins on a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th, and there is at least one Friday the 13th in every calendar year.
3. Few people are prepared to marry on Friday the 13th. But in 1913 a pastor in Middletown, New Jersey, decrying the superstition, offered to marry couples free on that date.
4. Rossini, the composer, regarded Friday as an unlucky day and 13 as an unlucky number. He died on Friday November 13 1868.
5. One recent survey conducted in Asheville, North Carolina, claimed that 17 million to 21 million people in the United States are affected by Friday the 13th, avoiding taking flights or, in some cases, even getting out of bed.
April 13, 2012
By Lee Speigel
“UFO sightings continue everyday all around the world.” –KTRN
Many UFO reports seem to focus on objects described by witnesses as either shaped like a diamond, saucer, or disc, or as very bright — almost blinding — lights.
On the evening of April 5, 2012, over the Costa Mesa area of California, a motorist reportedly saw a diamond-shaped object hovering about a mile away from him.
In his report filed with the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, he also claims to have heard a humming sound emanating from the object.
“I saw what appeared to be a diamond-shaped vehicle in the eastern sky approximately one mile from my location,” reported the witness, whose identity is being withheld while the case is under investigation.
“While I was driving, I noticed the vehicle hovering, so I thought it was a helicopter, but it did not have aviation lights, and it was much too big to be a helicopter.”
When the witness pulled off to the side of the road for a better look, he said the object tilted on its side.
“And then I was able to see it was in the shape of actually two diamonds connected in the middle,” he said in the report. “At first I thought it was a hoax, but this vehicle was much too sophisticated to be a toy, and very large. It made a humming noise that I could hear from approximately a mile away.”
The witness added that the UFO had four lights on it that he described as “brighter than the sun lights.”
April 12, 2012
By Ted Thornhill
“This isn’t the only NASA footage from space that are obvious UFOs. Yes – NASA is hiding the truth.” –KTRN
To the ground control commentator on Nasa’s live public feed, they’re merely ‘reflections on the camera lens’ – but the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis don’t sound so convinced.
A spooky YouTube video appears to show three ‘orbs’ moving slowly around the Atlantis, as it floats in orbit during a 2006 mission.
The footage, which is a segment of the feed, begins with one of the astronauts describing to ground control what they’re seeing.
The unnamed crew member says: ‘It’s a structure that’s definitely not rigid. Doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever seen on the outside of the Shuttle, that’s for sure.’
He describes how the object ‘quickly moved to the nose of the orbiter, moving away at least 100 feet’.
For a few minutes nothing of note happens, but then at 4.45 the camera looks beyond the shuttle and focusses on three orbs that appear to be hovering in a triangular formation nearby.
The ground control commentator immediately passes them off as ‘reflections in the camera lens’ – but the shuttle crew members seem far less dismissive, with one confirming that they’re seeing ‘three or four objects’ and asking: ‘Can you confirm it’s just the one that’s moving?’
April 11, 2012
By Ted Thornhill
“UFOs are not a thing of made up fantasy. They are real. More and more sightings have been happening year after year. There is something flying in our skies and we don’t know what they are. Even though this video does seem a bit odd, it does not mean the phenomenon isn’t real. However, they all can’t be hoaxes.” –KTRN
If it’s an April Fool’s joke, it’s a few days too late.
A mysterious round white object was filmed whizzing around a passenger plane above Seoul, the capital of South Korea, on April 7.
The clip, which has been uploaded to YouTube, begins with the ‘craft’ at the bottom of the screen, keeping pace with the passenger plane.
But then it speeds up and rises in altitude before zipping off out of shot, just as the startled person filming it tries to zoom in for a closer look.
The video was uploaded by YouTube user ‘Crazybreakingnews’, who commented: ‘It looks a little bit strange and not really similar to the other videos. If it’s really real and not a fake, it looks like a kind of military drone.’
Several YouTube users are convinced it’s a UFO of some sort, but others remain sceptical.
April 9, 2012
Life’s Little Mysteries
By Adam Hadhazy
In the first “Back to the Future” movie, all it took to travel through time was 1.21 gigawatts and a flux capacitor (packed into a DeLorean sports car for style points). Despite centuries of dreams and decades of bona fide research, flux capacitors remain beyond our grasp, as do any other time travel-enabling devices.
From a pure physics point of view, travel into the future is not at all impossible and in fact happens all the . . . time. With all due respect to Doc Brown, however, backward time travel stacks up as a much tougher proposition.
“We can travel at different rates to the future,” said Seth Lloyd, a professor of quantum mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “To go into the past and mess around with it, that’s more controversial.”
My watch or yours?
For a real, everyday example of time travel, consider the satellites of the Global Positioning System. Were it not for built-in calibrations, the GPS atomic clocks would gain 38 microseconds over terrestrial timepieces every day, throwing off their location accuracy by several miles. “Clocks on Earth tick a tiny bit slower than satellites out in space,” said Lloyd.
The reason: time dilation, as described by Einstein’s two theories of relativity. According to the special theory, the faster an object moves relative to another object, the slower it experiences time. For GPS satellites zooming around Earth at nearly 9,000 mph (14,000 kph), this effect cuts seven microseconds off their clocks daily (relative to clocks on Earth).
The second effect, explained by the general theory of relativity, involves gravity. Clocks closer to the center of a gravitational mass, such as Earth, tick more slowly than those farther away. GPS satellites orbit 12,500 miles (20,100 km) above the ground, and as a result have 45 microseconds tacked onto their clocks per day. The net result of the two relativistic phenomena is 38 microseconds, which engineers have accounted for with GPS technology.
April 6, 2012
By Jason McClellan
Various discoveries by NASA and other organizations during the past few years have generated considerable interest within the mainstream media and the general public in the search for extraterrestrial life.
NASA’s Kepler space telescope has been on a planet-hunting mission since 2009, searching for Earth-like planets. The mission has already confirmed the discovery of 61 planets and found more than 2,000 planetary candidates. And recent data from the European Southern Observatory’s HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher) planet-hunting telescope suggests that there are tens of billions of Earth-like planets in our galaxy alone, many thought to have the correct conditions to support life.
These recent discoveries have excited scientists, and are fueling additional efforts to search for life elsewhere in the universe. The Canadian Astrobiology Network (CAN), centered at the University of Western Ontario, announced today a partnership with NASA. The press release from CAN stated, “A number of extraterrestrial targets, including Mars and the moons Europa and Titan, have been identified by NASA as having the potential to host life or to provide valuable insight for researchers and scientists into the conditions that may have been present on Earth when life started.” As an affiliate within the NASA Astrobiology Network, CAN hopes to “strengthen existing ties, facilitate the establishment of new collaborations, and enhance training opportunities for both Canadian and American researchers and students,” according to CAN chair Neil Banerjee.
April 3, 2012
By Tuan C. Nguyen
“If we are still discovering pyramids, just imagine what is still buried under the sand. We still don’t know anything.” –KTRN
In a recent satellite survey of Egypt, archaeologists have reported the unexpected discovery of as many as 17 lost pyramids.
Also among the findings were more than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements. Ground level excavations have already confirmed the existence of two of the pyramids. These details were released in advance of “Egypt’s Lost Cities,” a documentary produced by the BBC that chronicles the research and is scheduled to air on Monday.
The research team, led by University of Alabama’s Sarah Parcak, made the discovery after analyzing NASA satellite images taken from 435 miles above the earth. Ancient Egyptian buildings were comprised of mud brick that are denser than the soil surrounding them, allowing scientists to make out the shapes of houses, temples and tombs. While the cameras used were powerful enough to scan the earth’s surface and locate objects less than a meter in diameter, many of these structures — buried thousands of years ago — were also uncovered using infrared imaging technology.
Many of us have become familiarized with infrared from medical scans that show various levels of heat emanating from human bodies. But some people may be surprised to learn that the same principle can also be used to reveal objects hidden beneath the earth’s surface. This is because the sun and the earth’s hot core generates geothermal radiation that moves outward, causing objects beneath the sand to give off their own signature level of infrared light. These signatures can be measured by special instruments and used to identify ancient relics.
Parcak, an Egyptologist, suspects that there are even more structures left to be discovered — including artifacts that belong to entire a lost city — and that sophisticated space technology will likely be the way forward in the field of archaeology.
April 2, 2012
By Natalie Wolchover
It is conceivable that humans could someday discover aliens. We scour the cosmos looking for their radio signals, and though we’re not capable of interstellar space travel, it is remotely possible that we could find what we’re looking for right here in our solar system.
Life could theoretically exist on Mars, or on Europa, a moon of Jupiter, which appears to have an underground ocean. It’s even possible (though highly unlikely) that these nearby life forms could be sentient. “It is consistent with current human exploration of the solar system that intelligent beings could have evolved in the deep oceans of Europa,” said Jacob Haqq-Misra, an astronomer at Pennsylvania State University.
Another possibility, Haqq-Misra said, is that “intelligent extraterrestrial beings have traveled from a distant star system and taken up residence in the solar system. They might be living in an underground base on Mars or the moon, or they could be residing in the asteroid belt (or any number of other plausible, albeit unlikely, options).”
Considering these scenarios, what would we do if we encountered an alien race? As it turns out, the question has garnered considerable academic thought since the first reported flying saucer sighting in 1947, not just as an inquiry in human psychology, but also as a way of contemplating what aliens might do if they ever found us. From astronomers to ufologists to anthropologists, scholars who have contemplated the various “contact scenarios” believe our course of action would strongly depend on the relative intelligence level of the newfound beings. Here, we outline what would happen if we encountered primitive, humanlike, and godlike aliens.