Author: Michael Salla

By Michael Salla, Ph.D.

An artist's concept of 55 Cancri e, a hot "super-Earth" that orbits its sun every 18 hours. Credit: NASA

For the first time, NASA has been able to detect infrared light from a rocky “super-earth” variety of exoplanets. The Spitzer Space Telescope detected infrared light from the exoplanet “55 Cancri e” which has a rocky core and is nearly twice the Earth’s diameter, and eight times its mass. While 55 Cancri e is much too close to its sun – 55 Cancri A – to sustain life as we know it, the detection is a historic first for NASA. The detection of infrared light on the super-earth category of exoplanets, prime candidates for finding extraterrestrial life, makes possible the discovery of alien cities in distant solar systems.

On May 8 NASA announced: “NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has detected light emanating from a “super-Earth” beyond our solar system for the first time. While the planet is not habitable, the detection is a historic step toward the eventual search for signs of life on other planets.”  According to Dario Borghino from  Gizmag: “This marks the first time that light has been detected from a planet of such a small size, and the find is telling astrophysicists where to look in their search for signs of life on planets beyond our own.”

The plot shows how the infrared light from the 55 Cancri system, both the star and planet, changed as the planet passed behind its star. Credit NASA.

The Spitzer Space Telescope was launched by NASA in 2003 and studies the universe in infrared light. In contrast to the Kepler Space Telescope that studies how distant stars dim as exoplanets cross in front of them, Spitzer analyzes infrared light directly from the exoplanet itself. Basically, as the exoplanet goes behind the sun, the total infrared light from the sun and exoplanet dims. In the NASA statement announcing the finding, the infrared light coming from both “55 Cancri e”  and its sun were analyzed in the attached table (on right).  As 55 Cancri e” dropped behind its sun, the total thermal emission dropped, and increased when the exoplanet appeared again in its orbit.

This raises the question, could Spitzer detect a large extraterrestrial metropolis giving off heat in a distant world? We can look for an answer from Dr. William Danchi, Spitzer program scientist who states:

The radiation that is measured is in the infrared, which is sensitive to the composition as well as temperature of the atmosphere of the planet. Spitzer was able to measure such a small diameter planet because it was hot, and hot objects emit exponentially more photons that cool objects. It would be much harder to detect a small, cool planet.

An earth like planet in a distant solar system orbiting the habitable region of its solar system, would be much cooler than 55 Cancri e which is much closer to its sun, but what if the habitable exoplanet was covered by very large extraterrestrial cities generating vast amounts of heat? Could the thermal infrared signature of an alien New York City be seen using the detection method pioneered by the Spitzer telescope?

Infrared satellite image of New York City, USA.

While Spitzer may lack the detection sophistication to measure the thermal signature of large alien metropolises, its replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope is being promoted as having such a capacity. According to NASA: “The [Spitzer] spacecraft is pioneering the study of atmospheres of distant planets and paving the way for NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to apply a similar technique on potentially habitable planets.” The James Webb telescope launches in 2018, until then, we will have to rely on the Spitzer telescope which officially retires in 2014, to find an alien New York City.

© Copyright 2012. Michael E. Salla.

Permission is granted to include extracts of this article on websites and email lists with a link to the original. This article is copyright © and should not be added in its entirety on other websites or email lists without author’s permission.

Further Reading

By Michael E. Salla, Ph.D.

Viking 2 Lander photo of Martian surface in 1976

A team of scientists and mathematicians analyzing data from the 1976 Viking Mission have concluded that life on Mars was detected in one of the four experiments conducted by the two robotic landers. Their report, “Complexity Analysis of the Viking Labeled Release Experiments,” released last week in the International Journal of Aeronautical and Space Sciences” has resurrected a controversy over the results of the Viking Mission’s “Labeled Released experiment” designed by Dr Gilbert Levin. The Viking mission was the only Mars mission so far that was designed by NASA to detect life. Dr Levin was confident that the experiment had detected microbial life on Mars, but his NASA colleagues disagreed and his startling finding was forgotten in the Martian sands of time. This new scientific investigation has concluded that Levin was right all along.

Wikipedia summarizes NASA’s official position on the “Labeled Released experiment” and the position taken by Levin’s colleagues back in 1976:

In the [Labeled Release] LR experiment, a sample of Martian soil was inoculated with a drop of very dilute aqueous nutrient solution. The nutrients (7 molecules that were Miller-Urey products) were tagged with radioactive 14C. The air above the soil was monitored for the evolution of radioactive 14CO2 gas as evidence that microorganisms in the soil had metabolized one or more of the nutrients.…. The result was quite a surprise following the negative results of the first two tests, with a steady stream of radioactive gases being given off by the soil immediately following the first injection. The experiment was done by both Viking probes the first using a sample from the surface exposed to sunlight and the second probe taking the sample from underneath a rock both initial injections came back positive. Subsequent injections a week later did not, however, elicit the same reaction, and the result remains inconclusive.

Here is how Irene Klotz from Discovery News described the novel approach taken by scientists in the newly released report:

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. They found close correlations between the Viking experiment results’ complexity and those of terrestrial biological data sets. They say the high degree of order is more characteristic of biological, rather than purely physical processes.

The team of scientists are very conclusive in their 2012 report:

The only extraterrestrial life detection experiments ever conducted were the three which were components of the 1976 Viking Mission to Mars. Of these, only the Labeled Release experiment obtained a clearly positive response…. We have applied complexity analysis to the Viking LR data….We conclude that the complexity pattern seen in active experiments strongly suggests biology while the different pattern in the control responses is more likely to be non-biological….These analyses support the interpretation that the Viking LR experiment did detect extant microbial life on Mars.

One of the scientists, Dr Joseph Miller a neuropharmacologist and biologist with the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, was interviewed by Discovery News and said: “On the basis of what we’ve done so far, I’d say I’m 99 percent sure there’s life there.”

So are the results from this new scientific investigation of the Viking data conclusive, was life discovered on Mars? A 99 % degree of certainty is very high, and while critics might argue is not conclusive, it would at the very least, have required follow up life detection experiments by NASA over the last three decades. NASA however has not designed such experiments ever since the 1976 Viking Mission. Why not?

According to NASA critic, Richard Hoagload, co-author of Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA, NASA is not interested in discovering whether life exists or has existed on Mars. Such a discovery would be too disturbing for human civilization as we know it, as starkly revealed in the 1961 NASA Brookings Report presented to the US Congress that Hoagland helped bring to public attention back in 1993. NASA’s real mission appears to be one of merely justifying funding for future space missions that do nothing to disturb the scientific consensus that we are alone in the universe. NASA data pointing to evidence of life in our solar system is systematically ignored, censored or simply disappears. Scientists challenging this policy are silenced, discredited, and/or fired. NASA’s next robotic mission, Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) again does not have any life detection experiments on board. It’s hard not to disagree with Hoagland’s conclusion that NASA’s real mission is a dark one after all – don’t do anything to prove that life exists elsewhere in our solar system. Thankfully, more and more scientists do not agree, as reevaluation of the 1976 Viking Mission data clearly shows.

© Copyright 2012. Michael E. Salla.

Permission is granted to include extracts of this article on websites and email lists with a link to the original. This article is copyright © and should not be added in its entirety on other websites or email lists without author’s permission.

Further Reading

Michael E. Salla, Ph.D.

Poster for upcoming movie featuring US Navy responding to alien invasion

Professor Paul Springer from the U.S. Air Command and Staff College was authorized by his employers to discuss military plans to respond to an alien invasion. Springer responded to questions by an Australian Television program exploring possible responses to an alien invasion that aired on Easter Sunday. In the segment titled ““U.S. military making plans for an alien invasion,” he discussed the implications of humanity being confronted by an extraterrestrial threat. Springer’s comments echoed the sentiments by Professor Stephen Hawking in April 2010 that advanced extraterrestrial life is likely to be predatory, and humanity needs to be prepared for contact with hostile off-world visitors. Furthermore, Springer’s comments reveal that a 2006 book titled An Introduction to Planetary Defense: A Study of Modern Warfare Applied to Extra-Terrestrial Invasion, written by a number of defense contractors, may in fact contain many aspects of the Pentagon’s classified plan. Most importantly, Springer’s comments confirm for the first time that the Pentagon has drawn up contingency plans for an extraterrestrial invasion.

In the alien invasion TV segment, Springer was asked: “What do you think would be the alien plan? What would they do first?” He responded:

That really depends on why they are here in the first place. If they are here for the extraction of a specific resource, for example, they might just want to eliminate any resistance that might block them from their objective. If, on the other hand, their goal was actual occupation and conquest, then they would probably have to prioritize anything they perceive as a threat to their own dominance. So, they would probably start by wiping out as many communications networks as possible and eliminating as many weapons that might represent some form of threat either to them, or to the resources they are trying to extract. So they might very well want to counter every nuclear weapon, not because it represented a threat to them, but because it might destroy whatever they’re here to collect.

Significantly, Springer addresses how the Pentagon would view extraterrestrial interference with nuclear weapons. Aliens would interfere with nuclear weapons not because they are dangerous to life here or elsewhere, but because nuclear weapons are a threat to what the aliens wish to collect from Earth. It has been well documented that for 60 years or more, UFOs have been monitoring nuclear weapons facilities, and in some situations have actively interfered with nuclear weapons. Many UFO researchers have interpreted this as a sign that extraterrestrials were trying to warn humanity of the global threat posed by nuclear weapons. Indeed, numerous individuals claiming to have been contacted or abducted by extraterrestrials since the early 1950s have made a similar point. Springer’s comments reveal the contrasting conclusion drawn by the Pentagon in their planning scenario.

Springer is then asked: “Wouldn’t it be a strange situation if humanity had to band together, fighting alongside Russia, or I guess, the Taliban?” He responded:

It would, but keep in mind that many of the greatest civilizations in human history have been formed, basically, to counter a common enemy. When you look at the great world powers of the globe today, you find a lot of them formed because of the fear of a common enemy.

Significantly, this echoes the same sentiment drawn by former President Ronald Reagan at a famous speech at the UN General Assembly in September 1987:

In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside of this world. And yet I ask – is not an alien force already among us?

Reagan’s last question reveals that he did not believe that an alien invasion scenario was something that lay ahead in future decades. It was a contingency humanity had to grapple with in the immediate moment – an extraterrestrial presence was already among us. Global unity was an imperative to deal with all the implications of such a presence! It appears that Reagan was secretly briefed about extraterrestrial life, and some of the threats this posed to humanity. Was he really warning the world about classified alien secrets withheld from the global public?

Not so fast according to reporters such as Alex Jones and Kurt Nimmo. They believe that the alien invasion scenario described by Springer would in fact be a false flag operation using very earthly advanced technologies to simulate an alien invasion: The goal would be to justify the creation of a one world government where more and more civil liberties would be lost – especially for U.S. citizens.

A false flag alien invasion scenario was first revealed by Dr Werner Von Braun, a founder of the US Apollo Space Program, to Carol Rosin shortly before the former’s death in 1977 This gives credence to a possible agenda behind the Pentagon leaking an alien invasion plan. The threat would be contrived, extraterrestrials aren’t real at all. What, however, would be the case if Reagan’s warning was authentic, and extraterrestrials are already here? In such a scenario, there would be many good reasons why Jones and Nimmo are wrong, and greater global governance would be essential in dealing with advanced extraterrestrial life and technology.

Prof Springer’s revelation of classified Pentagon plans to respond to an alien invasion raises many intriguing questions. Most importantly, Springer reveals that the Pentagon acknowledges the importance of thinking through the many national security issues surrounding the possible existence of extraterrestrial life and technology. Whether one agrees with former President Reagan that extraterrestrials are already here and constitute a global threat, or whether the Pentagon plan is merely a ruse for a false flag event to usher in a one world government; in either case, the time for serious study of issues concerning extraterrestrial life has come. The global media and scholarly community need to educate themselves and the public about the many political implications of advanced alien life, evidence that such life is already visiting us, and finally whether extraterrestrials are our friends or foes.

© Copyright 2012. Michael E. Salla.

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