Life in the solar system

From Gizmodo:

Saturn’s moon Enceladus features a warm subterranean ocean covered in ice. In an extraordinary new finding, scientists have confirmed the existence of a chemical energy source within this moon’s water that’s capable of sustaining living organisms here on Earth. Enceladus is now officially the best place beyond Earth to look for life.

Molecular hydrogen is being produced in the ocean of Enceladus, according to a new study published today in Science. The most plausible source of this hydrogen is hydrothermal reactions between hot rocks and water in the ocean beneath the moon’s icy surface. So in addition to warm water, organic molecules, and certain minerals, this moon is also producing an accessible source of energy that could conceivably support alien microbes.

Indeed, hydrothermal processes near volcanic vents are known to sustain complex ecosystems here on Earth. The new study marks an important development in our ability to assess the habitability of distant celestial objects, while setting the stage for future missions.

Hopefully, we are going to do future missions. But the way things are going, the “we” is a global “we” instead of an American “we”, since there’s an anti-science pathology in the pigmy fingered pinhead’s administration.

An analysis of ‘Arrival’

The Oscars are coming up this weekend and I know my pick for the Best Picture of the year isn’t going to win. (If you click on the video, be aware there are spoilers.)

I think “Arrival” is a great movie, and I believe Amy Adams was robbed of a nomination because I was sure she would have won the best actress award.

I was in awe when I saw where it was going and I still can’t stop thinking about its message about life and time. But when I talked to intelligent people about it, the response was, “what the hell was that all about?”

I’ve seen it four times since then, and it’s been great every time.

The odds of intelligent life in the universe

Two things.

  1. If someone is our there, do we really want them to know how insane thing have gotten since Jan. 20?
  2. Maybe someone is out there, has already found our transmissions and said, “Hell no!  Those people are crazy!”

Because look at it this way. Transmissions are radio waves. The first public radio broadcast was on Jan. 13, 1910, and it was music. Since radio waves travel at the speed of light, that means that broadcast has traveled for 107 years or a distance of 107 light years. Pretty far.

Since that time, we’ve broadcast everything from news to entertainment. So an alien civilization tuning in to the radio would think we’re a dangerous place, since entertainment includes science fiction about battling alien invasion (remember “War of the Worlds“?) and murder mysteries, not to mention actual wars and general mayhem that humans seem to enjoy so much..

Then we bring in television, and the first TV broadcast was in 1928 of a ventriloquist’s dummy. Since that time, we’ve broadcast images of war, destruction, murder and mayhem that’s travelled 89 light years. Seeing destruction is much more unnerving that hearing destruction.

So maybe the first thing they saw wasn’t death and destruction, but they caught the first television broadcast in the United States, which happened in 1936. What would civilizations that live 80 light years away from us have seen?

OK, it’s official. Humans are weird. Stay away.