This mysterious humanoid figure was photographed on the red planet by the Mars Curiosity Rover. Read the rest
Read the rest
Comic master Jack Kirby showed us the mysterious "Face on Mars" decades before it was imaged by the Viking 1 orbiter in 1976 and ultimately became an iconic example of pareidolia or proof of an ancient civilization on the red planet. Read the rest
Read the rest
In 1961 just a few days before a meeting of scientists interested in the search for ET, pioneering astronomer Frank Drake came up with a powerful provocation: an equation to estimate the number of worlds likely to harbor extraterrestrial civilizations; over at National Geographic, his science writer daughter Nadia looks at her dad's impact.
More than 50 years after it was written, the Drake equation still guides ways of thinking about how to find E.T. As the years have passed and instruments sharpened, astronomers have started to refine and fill in numbers for the equation's variables. But the variables themselves have stayed the same. My dad is repeatedly asked whether any factors are missing, he tells me, but "as far I know, they're not." He says that even when suggested missing factors seem "reasonable," they can already be found in one of the seven factors he came up with in 1961."How My Dad's Equation Sparked the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence"
"The aliens are in touch. Whenever I use my computer, they underline certain strange words on the screen ... It's a message."
That's an email received by Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, a scientific organization seeking evidence of life beyond Earth. I'm thrilled that Seth will be speaking at Boing Boing: Ingenuity, our live theatrical experience taking place in San Francisco on August 18! (You'll have another chance to win tickets tomorrow, Thursday 8/8!) The SETI Institute are the ones listening for a phone call from ET. Seth is a delightful happy mutant, keeping an open mind and sense of humor about what it means to search for extraterrestrial intelligence, in the hope of better understanding the origin of life in the universe and our place in it. The email above is just one example of the inquiries he responds to daily. Seth's humility, patience, and warmth, even when presented with the deeply strange, is inspiring to me.
"I try to answer every one of these mails and phone calls because, after all, it's not a violation of physics to travel from one star system to another," he writes in a new essay. "Difficult as it is, I resist the temptation to become so hardened in my skepticism that I erect a shield against considering possible new evidence… Indeed, an inflexible mind-set is one of the two principal arguments made by the UFO community to explain why mainstream scientists are doubtful of their claims: They lament that pointy-headed scientists just won't look at the evidence. So I take that as a caution."
Don't miss Seth's essay, including an FAQ "for those who would call or write with extraordinary claims."
"Contact With Aliens? Think Before You Call." (HuffPo)
Boing Boing: Ingenuity in partnership with Ford C-Max.
A farmer in eastern China killed an extraterrestrial and put it on ice. After he posted photos online, police reportedly showed up and determined that the ET is fake. According to the New Zealand's 3 News, "He was locked up for five days for fabricating lies and disrupting normal social order." Or to keep him quiet about The Truth! "Man jailed for out-of-this-world lies"
Could the flickering and winking of some stars be a kind of Morse Code that extraterrestrials are using to communicate across space? Princeton University astrophysicist Lucianne Walkowicz and her colleagues are exploring that very question. Her team is using algorithms to sift data from the space observatory Kepler for flickering patterns that don't appear to be the result of passing planets, sunspots, eclipses, or other known reasons. “What would lead us to say it really is an alien signal?” she asks. “I don’t know, but in my book, finding things you can’t explain is interesting no matter what it is."
And just to be clear, this has nothing to do with the star twinkling that we see, which is caused by atmospheric turbulence on Earth. Or so they'd like us to think. "Flickering Stars: Could Aliens Be Sending Us Signals?" (Thanks, Jake Dunagan!)