Seeking Aliens? Look for Radioactivity on Exoplanets

Article by Elizabeth Rayne                                     November 16, 2020                                     (syfy.com)

• By utilizing ‘spectroscopy’, astronomers can measure elements and chemical interactions in distant exoplanets. One of the things astronomers look for is the presence of thorium and uranium, which indicates “radiogenic heating” of the exoplanet to create a magnetic field around a rocky ‘Earth-like’ planet.

• “Thorium and uranium are radioactive and decay to other elements,” notes scientist Francis Nimmo. “As they do so, they give off heat, and that is what keeps the Earth warm.” This heat, or ‘geodynamo’, causes liquefied iron to internally push plate tectonics to create a ‘convection’ in the Earth’s outer core, which sparks an electric current to create not one but two magnetic fields. This dual magnetic field sustains an atmosphere that shields the Earth from harsh stellar winds and cosmic radiation, thereby allowing life to exist.

• But thorium and uranium are difficult to detect, as they tend to be in the crust or interior of a planet with only ‘hints’ of it in the atmosphere from volcanic activity. These heavy elements are originally formed during rare collisions of neutron stars. Neutron stars themselves are formed from the collapsed core of stars that went supernova. These cores are so dense that they can be up to twice the mass of our Sun. The amounts of thorium and uranium in a planet depend on how close it was formed to a neutron star merger.

• The element ‘europium’ is also produced during neutron star mergers. As europium is much easier to detect through spectroscopy, astronomers look for europium to discover traces of thorium and uranium in a star and an exoplanet. The greater amount of thorium and uranium in an exoplanet, the greater the likelihood that the planet is heated and producing an electromagnetic field, which is believed to be necessary for sustained alien life. Too little of these radioactive elements could indicate a weak or nonexistent magnetic field. Too much could mean intense plate tectonics that fuel too much volcanic activity for any life-forms to survive.

• The presence of an atmosphere without an active magnetic field is how mainstream science explains what happened to Mars.

 

Radioactive sludge is probably the last place you would expect to find life (except maybe the Toxic Avenger), but if you’re looking for signs of extraterrestrial life, seek out planets with radioactive elements beneath the surface.

Radioactive anything sounds like the opposite of life-giving. Most life as we know it isn’t going to survive

           Francis Nimmo

on a planet that could pass for another Chernobyl, though there are exceptions. Disaster zones aside, the amount of long-lived radioactive elements that went into the formation of a rocky planet may determine how habitable it is. Radiogenic heating from thorium and uranium in our planet — and rocky exoplanets like it — internally pushes plate tectonics and acts as one of the forces that power a magnetic field, which helps maintain an atmosphere.

Planets are protected from harsh stellar winds and cosmic radiation by their atmospheres. Mars once had an atmosphere but no magnetic field. What happened there is obvious.

“Thorium and uranium are radioactive and decay to other elements,” scientist Francis Nimmo, who recently led a study published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, told SYFY WIRE. “As they do so, they give off heat, and that is what keeps the Earth warm.”

Earth’s geodynamo generates our magnetic field, which prevents us from turning into Mars. Earth’s liquid outer core experiences convection that creates this dynamo. In the outer core, fluid motion, which is thought to be brought on by heat from radioactive decay, moves hot liquefied iron across a magnetic field that is barely there. This process sparks an electric current that not only creates a magnetic field but also a second magnetic field when it interacts with the radioactive decay-induced motion. Double magnetic fields sustain an atmosphere that keeps us from getting burned.

Heavy elements that heat a planet as they degrade are formed during rare mergers of neutron stars, which are the exposed, super-dense collapsed cores of stars that go supernova. These cores are so dense that they can be up to twice the mass of our Sun. The amounts of thorium and uranium in a planet depend on how close it formed to a neturon star merger.

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Search for Aliens Should Begin on Venus

Article by Joel Day                                    November 14, 2020                                  (express.co.uk)

• The search for microbial life has largely been focused Mars and Jupiter’s moons, for example, Europa, which is thought to have stores of frozen lakes and freshwater. Venus had rarely crossed the minds of scientists. Then a few months ago, Researchers at Cardiff University announced that they’d found traces of phosphine – a key biological signature of life – in Venus’ atmosphere.

• The discovery was a paradox. Venus’ surface is extremely inhospitable: hot enough to melt lead. Sulphuric acid makes up most of the planet’s atmosphere. W such high temperatures and lack of oxygen, the phosphine gas should technically disappear within minutes of popping into existence.

• It is widely accepted that billions of years ago Venus, Earth and Mars had similar genetic makeup, formed from the same rocks and metals. However, it is presumed that ‘climate catastrophes’ devastated Venus and Mars. Today, Venus appears to be the antithesis to everything that sustains life. The atmospheric ground pressure in Venus is as if you were beneath 900m of water on Earth. The atmosphere acts more like a fluid than a gas. It is so dense that winds can move small rocks with ease.

• “Venus is an extremely cloudy world: only 20 percent of incident sunlight percolates down to the surface,” notes British astronomer Dr. Mark A. Garlick. The presence of dark patches or bands, so-called ‘unknown absorbers’, discovered more than a century ago, block most ultraviolet light and a portion of visible light, rendering these regions comparatively dark.

• Despite its soaring temperatures, Venus is only a heat trap on its surface. At an altitude of 50km, the atmospheric pressure drops to a temperature comparable to a temperate day on Earth. This is Venus’ habitable zone.

• Dr. Garlick is calling for endeavors into the search for alien life to change tack and focus on Venus, as it “is the easiest to reach”. “At an altitude of 50km, floating habitats would be the ideal launch pad from which to search for signs of life in the clouds,” said Dr. Garlick. “Perhaps our search for extraterrestrial cousins among the planets should begin there.”

• Bacteria swept up in water particles into the Earth’s atmosphere can survive at altitudes as high as 4km. Thus, the proposition that bacteria could survive the higher reaches of Venus’ atmosphere isn’t as ludicrous as it might first seem. The phosphine on Venus could be produced by a process that humans have not yet discovered. This gap in knowledge is the most “exciting” element of the discovery, says Dr. Garlick. “Phosphine, and the unknown substances absorbing ultraviolet light, taken together make a good case for studying (Venus) more closely.”

• Life in these conditions would be “undoubtedly very hardy”, says Dr. Garlick. “But, vitally, not impossible.”

 

Venus’ surface is extremely inhospitable: hot enough to melt lead, sulphuric acid lingers and makes up the best part of the planet’s atmosphere. Yet, only a few months ago, scientists for the first time found evidence for life on Earth’s scorching neighbour. Researchers at Cardiff University shocked the astronomical community after they identified traces of phosphine – a key biological signature of life – in Venus’ atmosphere.

       Dr. Mark A. Garlick

The discovery was nothing short of a paradox: with soaring temperatures and lack of oxygen the gas should technically disappear within minutes if it ever pops into existence.

Thus, the search for life on Venus had rarely crossed the minds of scientists.

Efforts had largely been focused on Mars and Jupiter’s moons, for example, Europa, which is thought to have stores of frozen lakes and freshwater.

Now, researchers are calling for endeavours into alien life to change tack, and begin closer to home.

Dr Mark A Garlick noted that there are several other places in the Solar System touted as potential abodes of life, but are as of yet undiscovered.

He reasoned: “But among these worlds, it’s Venus that is the easiest to reach.

“At an altitude of 50km, floating habitats would be the ideal launch pad from which to search for signs of life in the clouds.

“Perhaps our search for extraterrestrial cousins among the planets should begin there.”

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Could New Microchip Boost US Military Power?

Article by Dave Makichuk                                   November 13, 2020                                    (asiatimes.com)

• A Massachusetts-based aerospace and defense company, Mercury Systems Inc. has developed a new radio frequency processing microchip that will give the Pentagon the ability to reduce the processing time for radar, electronic warfare and 5G communication applications. The technology comes at a time when microelectronics is the Defense Department’s top research-and-development priority, National Defense reported.

• Artificial intelligence and machine learning prototypes are being inserted into electronic warfare systems and will soon be in the hands of select operational units. “Every soldier is holding a device that is enabled by microelectronics,” said Tom Smelker, vice president and general manager for microsystems at Mercury Systems. “It’s imperative to keep our technology advantaged against our adversaries.”

• Advancements in hypersonics and stealth by adversarial countries (China, Russia) are driving the need for new radar capabilities, Smelker noted. Driving down processing times will help the Pentagon counter enemy electronic warfare systems. Increasing processing speeds “where we can process a lot of signals quickly and respond is going to really drive the electronic warfare market and really be a game changer for defense systems,” Smelker said. The microchip can enable real-time spectrum processing for 5G communications, which is expected to be up to 20 times as fast as 4G.

• In July, Mercury Systems received a US$11.7M order to deliver advanced digital RF Memory (DRFM) Jammers to the US Navy. The DRFM jammers are designed to be used in airborne pod-based solutions to validated electronic attack techniques and custom RF components supporting advanced electronic warfare test and training capabilities.

• Col. Philip J. Corso was a member of President Eisenhower’s National Security Council and former head of the Foreign Technology Desk at the US Army’s Research & Development. In his groundbreaking 1997 book, The Day After Roswell, Corso claims to have distributed extraterrestrial technology to US corporations that were retrieved from UFO crashes, such as at Roswell in 1947. The corporations were permitted to register the patents for themselves. These reverse-engineered technologies include fiber optics, integrated circuits (microchips), Kevlar material and particle beams. The microchip went on to change the world.

 

In his groundbreaking 1997 book — The Day After Roswell — Col. Philip J. Corso claims that during his service he distributed to corporations foreign technology which was actually extraterrestrial in origin.

Corso, a member of President Eisenhower’s National Security Council and former head of the Foreign

                          Tom Smelker

Technology Desk at the US Army’s Research & Development, claims that such artifacts were retrieved from UFO crashes, such as that which reportedly happened at Roswell in 1947.

According to Corso, the corporations involved were permitted to register the patents.

He also said that technologies such as fiber optics, integrated circuits (microchips), kevlar material and particle beams were all reverse engineered from extraterrestrial spacecraft.

                      Philip J. Corso

Whether you want to believe that or not, there is one thing we do know — the microchip has changed the world. Dramatically.

Case in point, a Massachusetts-based aerospace and defense company says it has developed a new radio frequency processing microchip that could give the Pentagon the ability to reduce the processing time for radar, electronic warfare and 5G communication applications, National Defense reported.

Mercury Systems Inc. recently introduced its RFS1080 RF systems package, a high-frequency processing compact chip.
The technology comes at a time when microelectronics is the Defense Department’s top research-and-development priority, National Defense reported.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) prototypes are being inserted into electronic warfare systems and will soon be in the hands of select operational units.

“Every soldier is holding a device that is enabled by microelectronics,” said Tom Smelker, vice president and general manager for microsystems at Mercury Systems.

“It’s imperative to keep our technology advantaged against our adversaries. How do we do that? Through microelectronics advancement.”

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