Tag: Jason Wright

Yes, I’m Searching for Aliens – And No, I Won’t Be Going to Area 51 to Look For Them

Listen to “E47 7-31-19 Yes, I’m Searching for Aliens – And No, I Won’t Be Going to Area 51 to Look For Them” on Spreaker.

Article by Bryan Keogh                 July 19, 2019                  (theconversation.com)

  • Astronomy professor Jason Wright is a participating scientist with SETI, the ‘Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence’, and the 2018 winner of the Frank Drake Award that SETI bestows on its researchers who are “dedicated to understanding humanity’s place in the universe”. “Believe me, no one wants to find evidence of extraterrestrial life more than those of us in this field,” says Professor Wright. “We scour the skies for evidence of such extraterrestrial technologies with some of the most advanced equipment in the world for understanding what’s going on in the sky, and we haven’t found anything compelling yet.”

  • With regard to the recent interest in “Storming Area 51” to emancipate aliens, Wright says, “I don’t know very much about Area 51, but I can say that the intense interest in the goings on there related to aliens reveals a deep public interest in what kinds of life might exist elsewhere in the universe.” Wright finds the most fascinating thing about Area 51 is Project Mogul, where the government floated balloons to detect Soviet nuclear testing in the 1940’s. Says Wright, “When one of those balloons… landed in a farm in Roswell, New Mexico it helped fuel the whole alien craze we’re still living with today.”

  • SETI’s space telescopes are designed to detect “biosignatures” with signs of microfossils or metabolism in the atmospheres of distant planets. But SETI is a privately funded operation. NASA and the National Science Foundation spend next to nothing looking for intelligent life in the universe, including technological life.

  • Says Professor Wright, “I see this (Frank Drake) award as validation of my work to help elevate the field of SETI as an academic discipline, and to persuade Congress, NASA and the public that it is worthy of public investment. It is, after all, the scientific approach to answering one of the most profound questions ever asked: Is Earth life unique? Or are there other beings like us out there in the universe?”

  • [Editor’s Note]  Frank Drake was a founding member of SETI and developer of the “Drake Equation” in 1961, which uses a list of subjective variables to determine that the number of planets similar to the Earth that could possibly host an extraterrestrial civilization advanced enough to use radio-wave communication is astonishingly small. This is the basis for SETI’s nearly 60-years of searching for extraterrestrial intelligence.

    As the most recent recipient of the Drake Award, Professor Wright is shilling for the re-establishment of SETI funding from the government which ended in 1993, even though SETI’s research has existed since the early 1960’s and they have found exactly nothing through this process. It seems that the purpose of SETI is to appear to the public to be scientifically searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, while actually finding nothing that might upset the Deep State’s cover-up of a long-standing extraterrestrial presence in our solar system. Wright pretends to know nothing about Area 51 or the Roswell crash, recognizing only Project Mogul which the Deep State used to cover-up the Roswell crash. This, apparently, is the primary criteria for being awarded the Frank Drake Award.

    This is further evidence that SETI is nothing more than a Deep State disinformation program to give the public the impression that serious scientists are doing serious work to locate extraterrestrial life, but there simply isn’t any in this universe to find besides humans on planet Earth. The “scientists” at SETI believe that they should be paid handsomely by the US government for doing the Deep State’s bidding.

 

What started as an internet joke has generated a stern military warning after more than a million people “signed up” to “raid” Area 51 – a secretive military installation in Southern Nevada long fancied by conspiracy theorists to be hiding evidence of a crashed UFO with aliens. The purpose of the planned raid is in order to “see them aliens.” In the following Q&A, astronomy professor Jason Wright discusses the public’s interest in answering the age-old question: Are we alone?

Professor Jason Wright

Since you have a longstanding scholarly interest in extraterrestrial life – and even wrote about the possibility of advanced civilizations in the distant past on Mars or Venus – I presume you’ve canceled your classes for Sept. 20 and signed up to go to the “raid” on Area 51?

To be honest, I was completely unaware of this “raid” until you brought it to my attention! I work in SETI, the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and believe me, no one wants to find evidence of extraterrestrial life more than those of us in this field. We scour the skies for evidence of such extraterrestrial technologies with some of the most advanced  equipment in the world for understanding what’s going on in the sky, and we haven’t found anything compelling yet. But we’re not paying much attention to what happens in Area 51.

Do you think the public knows enough about Area 51? Or is the widespread interest in this raid a good barometric read on how frustrated people are that the government appears to be hiding something there?

I don’t know very much about Area 51, but I can say that the intense interest in the goings on there related to aliens reveals a deep public interest in what kinds of life might exist elsewhere in the universe.

Have you yourself ever tried to do any real research into the happenings in Area 51?

Not Area 51, exactly. The closest I’ve come was a talk I heard by a physicist describing the fascinating science carried out by the military back in the late 1940s, especially Project Mogul, which launched microphones on balloons to see if they could detect nuclear testing going on in the Soviet Union. It’s an amazing story of physics and engineering ingenuity. When one of those balloons with its disc microphones and radar reflectors landed in a farm in Roswell, New Mexico it helped fuel the whole alien craze we’re still living with today. It’s a shame, because the science-fiction-inspired “aliens” conspiracy theory is – from my standpoint – so much less fascinating than the story of the research that was going on then.

There was a time when the federal government provided researchers with money to search for – and teach about the search for – extraterrestrial life. And you’ve lamented that that is no longer the case. If you had your way, how much money do you think the federal government should give America’s researchers to search for aliens or evidence of aliens?

The search for life in the universe is a major priority for NASA and American science. Many of our missions to Mars and our space telescopes are designed with the detection of biosignatures in mind – “biosignatures” being signs of life like microfossils or evidence of metabolism in the atmospheres of distant planets. But despite the billions of dollars spent on these missions, I think many members of the public would be surprised to learn that NASA and the National Science Foundation spend next to nothing looking for intelligent life in the universe, including technological life that might, after all, be easier to find. I think the level of funding for the field should be determined the way the rest of science is, by competitive peer review of proposals for research. So, I don’t know what the “right” level is, but I know it’s not zero.

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Scientific Community Making Search For UFOs Mainstream

May 17, 2019            (newyork.cbslocal.com)

• Christopher Deperno and Sam Falvo investigate unidentified flying objects for the New York chapter of the Mutual UFO Network, a global organization established in 1969. Author and researcher Linda Zimmermann has investigated some 500 eyewitness accounts of UFO’s in the Hudson Valley NY area. Zimmermann and Falvo’s organizations have now formed a joint venture called Project Aries – with the goal of collecting as much data as possible on Hudson Valley UFO sightings.

• “We do know that the phenomenon is real,” said Falvo. “Military pilots, army personnel… the U.S. Navy now… all of them have reported different types of sightings,” added Deperno. Even NASA is conceding it’s possible the universe contains different life forms. Experts say the race is heating up to find answers as to who they are, where they’re from, and what they may want from us.

• What has long been considered a fringe field of science, the search for answers about extraterrestrials and UFOs has gone mainstream. Prestigious universities including Harvard and Penn State are dedicating some of their brightest minds to this as a new field of study. “We believe the search for extraterrestrial intelligence needs a permanent academic home,” said Penn State’s Jason Wright. In the private sector, there is funding everything from digital, interstellar communication, to a dish that emits radio waves.

• Why has the Hudson Valley of New York state become such a UFO hot spot? “There is the possibility that they are drawn to the water here… the rivers, the lakes, and reservoirs, but also this area has a very unique magnetic field and gravitational field,” Zimmermann said.  (see 2:20 minute video from CBS New York on the UFOs in the Hudson Valley)

 

NEW YORK (CBS NewYork) – The search for extraterrestrial activity is getting some credibility.

Notable scientists are getting behind a push to make contact with whatever might be out there.

“It was between a half mile and a mile away… it was big and quiet… moving very slowly,” UFO witness Robert Strong said.

Did the Hudson Valley resident really see a UFO?

“Military pilots, army personnel… the U.S. Navy now… all of them have reported different types of sightings,” Christopher Deperno of MUFON said.

Even NASA is conceding it’s possible the universe contains different life forms.

        Linda Zimmerman

“We do know that the phenomenon is real,” Sam Falvo of MUFON added.

Experts say the race is heating up to find answers as to who they are, where they’re from, and what they may want from us.

Deperno and Falvo investigate unidentified flying objects for the New York chapter of the Mutual UFO Network, a global organization established in 1969.

“Most of them… 95 percent or so can be identified… it’s those five or six percent that really stir your interest,” Falvo said.

What they do has long been considered a fringe field of science, but today, this search for answers has gone mainstream. Prestigious universities including Harvard and Penn State are dedicating some of their brightest minds to this as a new field of study.

2:20 minute video from CBS New York on the UFOs in the Hudson Valley

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Galaxy Simulations Offer a New Solution to the Fermi Paradox

by Rebecca Boyle                March 7, 2019                   (quantamagazine.org)

• The universe is filled with stars, nearly all those stars have planets, and some of those planets are surely livable. So where is everybody? This is the ongoing conundrum that is the Fermi Paradox, first presented by the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi in 1950.

• In 1981, Carl Sagan and William Newman speculated that the answer to the paradox was that intelligent people were simply too far away from us to come here. But they may do so in time. Others reason that tech-savvy civilizations are rare and prone to self-destruction, or are avoiding the Earth on purpose. In 1975, the astrophysicist Michael Hart declared there simply are no other intelligence civilizations in the universe (a hypothesis recently revived by Oxford researcher, Anders Samberg).

• Jonathan Carroll-Nellenback, an astronomer at the University of Rochester, has led another study, now under review by The Astrophysical Journal. Carroll-Nellenback says that it wouldn’t take very long for a space-faring civilization to spread across the galaxy because the movement of stars throughout the galaxy would “… spread life on time scales much shorter than the age of the galaxy” and help distribute life. “The sun has been around the center of the Milky Way 50 times.” According to simulations by Carroll-Nellenback and his colleagues Jason Wright, Adam Frank, and Caleb Scharf, natural variability will mean that sometimes galaxies will be settled, but often not — solving Fermi’s quandary.

• But the fact that no interstellar visitors are here now does not mean they do not exist, the study’s authors say. Civilizations do not last forever. Not every star is a destination, and not every planet is habitable. There’s also what Frank calls “the Aurora effect,” in which settlers arrive at a habitable planet on which they nonetheless cannot survive. When Carroll-Nellenback and his coauthors included these impediments in their model and ran simulations with different star densities, seed civilizations, spacecraft velocities and other variations, they found a vast middle ground between a silent, empty galaxy and one teeming with life. It’s possible that the Milky Way is partially settled, or intermittently so.

• Frank and Wright say that now we need to look for alien signals, which will be possible as more sophisticated telescopes open their eyes to the panoply of exoplanets and begin glimpsing their atmospheres. “We are entering an era when we are going to have actual data relevant to life on other planets,” Frank said. “This couldn’t be more relevant than in the moment we live.”

[Editor’s Note]   The wrangling over Fermi’s Paradox continues among mainstream scientists who are groping for an answer to a flawed premise. When you take the premise that no interstellar beings have ever visited the Earth as “Fact A”, there’s nowhere to go. It becomes a perpetual debate on why there are no beings here besides us. But this is a falsehood from the start. Of course there are extraterrestrial beings all around us. We have real evidence that they have been here for thousands of years, and anecdotal evidence that they have been here for hundreds of millions or even a couple of billion years. This galaxy and the universe are teeming with intelligent life. All of the 52 star systems in our local star cluster have human-like civilizations very similar to our own. We are apparently the last to join this community. It is our time. The problem is that the powers that be, which control the Deep State government and the mainstream science community, have made it a priority to keep Earth humans completely ignorant and unaware of our true reality, often through silly “scientific studies” such as this one.

 

As far as anyone knows, we have always been alone. It’s just us on this pale blue dot, “home to everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of,” as Carl Sagan so memorably put it. No one has called or dropped by. And yet the universe is filled with stars, nearly all those stars have planets, and some of those planets are surely livable. So where is everybody?

The Italian physicist Enrico Fermi was purportedly the first to pose this question, in 1950, and scientists have offered a bounty of solutions for his eponymous paradox since. One of the most famous came from Sagan himself, with William Newman, who postulated in a 1981 paperthat we just need patience. Nobody has visited because they’re all too far away; it takes time to evolve a species intelligent enough to invent interstellar travel, and time for that species to spread across so many worlds. Nobody is here yet.

Other researchers have argued that extraterrestrial life might rarely become space-faring (just as only one species on Earth ever has). Some argue that tech-savvy species, when they arise, quickly self-destruct. Still others suggest aliens may have visited in the past, or that they’re avoiding us on purpose, having grown intelligent enough to be suspicious of everyone else. Perhaps the most pessimistic answer is a foundational paper from 1975, in which the astrophysicist Michael Hart declared that the only plausible reason nobody has visited is that there really is nobody out there.

Now comes a paper that rebuts Sagan and Newman, as well as Hart, and offers a new solution to the Fermi paradox that avoids speculation about alien psychology or anthropology.

The research, which is under review by The Astrophysical Journal, suggests it wouldn’t take as long as Sagan and Newman thought for a space-faring civilization to planet-hop across the galaxy, because the movements of stars can help distribute life. “The sun has been around the center of the Milky Way 50 times,” said Jonathan Carroll-Nellenback, an astronomer at the University of Rochester, who led the study. “Stellar motions alone would get you the spread of life on time scales much shorter than the age of the galaxy.” Still, although galaxies can become fully settled fairly quickly, the fact of our loneliness is not necessarily paradoxical: According to simulations by Carroll-Nellenback and his colleagues, natural variability will mean that sometimes galaxies will be settled, but often not — solving Fermi’s quandary.

The question of how easy it would be to settle the galaxy has played a central role in attempts to resolve the Fermi paradox. Hart and others calculated that a single space-faring species could populate the galaxy within a few million years, and maybe even as quickly as 650,000 years. Their absence, given the relative ease with which they should spread, means they must not exist, according to Hart.

Sagan and Newman argued it would take longer, in part because long-lived civilizations are likelier to grow more slowly. Faster-growing, rapacious societies might peter out before they could touch all the stars. So maybe there have been a lot of short-lived, fast-growing societies that wink out, or a few long-lived, slowly expanding societies that just haven’t arrived yet, as Jason Wright of Pennsylvania State University, a coauthor of the new study, summarized Sagan and Newman’s argument. But Wright doesn’t agree with either solution.

“That conflates the expansion of the species as a whole with the sustainability of individual settlements,” he said. “Even if it is true for one species, it is not going to be this iron-clad law of xenosociology where if they are expanding, they are necessarily short-lived.” After all, he noted, life on Earth is robust, “and it expands really fast.”

In their new paper, Carroll-Nellenback, Wright and their collaborators Adam Frank of Rochester and Caleb Scharf of Columbia University sought to examine the paradox without making untestable assumptions. They modeled the spread of a “settlement front” across the galaxy, and found that its speed would be strongly affected by the motions of stars, which previous work — including Sagan and Newman’s — treated as static objects. The settlement front could cross the entire galaxy based just on the motions of stars, regardless of the power of propulsion systems. “There is lots of time for exponential growth basically leading to every system being settled,” Carroll-Nellenback said.

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