Why alien life will probably be engineered life

Martin Rees has an interesting article at Nautilus: When We Find Aliens, We Might Find Something Like the Borg This September, a team of astronomers noticed that the light from a distant star is flickering in a highly irregular pattern.1 They considered the possibility that comets, debris, and impacts could account for their observations, but each of … Continue reading Why alien life will probably be engineered life

NASA has never accidentally sent a probe into the Sun.

Last week, I was having lunch with some friends, which included a number of programmers.  One of them mentioned an old urban myth, that I hadn't heard in several years, which claims that, due to a programming bug (involving a misplaced semicolon), NASA once accidentally sent a probe into the Sun.  I pointed out to my friend how implausible this was. … Continue reading NASA has never accidentally sent a probe into the Sun.

The problems with ensuring humanity’s survival with space colonies

Stephen Hawking, as he has done before, expresses a common sentiment, that we need to colonize space in order to survive. Humans should go and live in space within the next 1,000 years, or it will die out, Stephen Hawking has warned. "We must continue to go into space for the future of humanity," Mr … Continue reading The problems with ensuring humanity’s survival with space colonies

Reaching the stars will require serious out-of-the-box thinking

Sten Odenwald, an astronomer with the National Institute of Aerospace, has an article up at HuffPost that many will find disheartening: The Dismal Future of Interstellar Travel | Dr. Sten Odenwald. I have been an avid science fiction reader all my life, but as an astronomer for over half my life, the essential paradox of my fantasy world can … Continue reading Reaching the stars will require serious out-of-the-box thinking

The real goal and challenge of establishing off-world colonies

David Warmflash (a very cool name) has a post up at Discovery looking at the issues with establishing off world colonies: Forget Mars. Here's Where We Should Build Our First Off-World Colonies. The collective space vision of all the world’s countries at the moment seems to be Mars, Mars, Mars. The U.S. has two operational rovers … Continue reading The real goal and challenge of establishing off-world colonies

The size of the observable universe is complicated.

The radius of the observable universe is often stated to be 46 billion light years.  From a certain point of view, this is true, but I think it's a bit of a misleading statement.  Occasionally you also see people say that the observable universe is 13.8 billion light years in radius, which is also true, from … Continue reading The size of the observable universe is complicated.

Tegmark’s Mathematical Universe Hypothesis

I recently read Max Tegmark’s latest book, ‘Our Mathematical Universe‘, about his views on multiverses and the ultimate nature of reality.  This is the fourth and final post in a series on the concepts and views he covers in the book. The previous entries were: Tegmark’s Level I Multiverse: infinite space Tegmark’s Level II Multiverse: bubble universes … Continue reading Tegmark’s Mathematical Universe Hypothesis

Tegmark’s Level II Multiverse: bubble universes

I recently finished reading Max Tegmark’s latest book, ‘Our Mathematical Universe‘, about his views on multiverses and the ultimate nature of reality.  This is the second in a series of posts on the concepts and views he covers in the book.  Tegmark postulates four levels of multiverse.   In the first post of this series, I described Termark's Level I … Continue reading Tegmark’s Level II Multiverse: bubble universes

Tegmark’s Level I Multiverse: infinite space

I've just finished reading Max Tegmark's latest book, 'Our Mathematical Universe', about his views on multiverses and the ultimate nature of reality.  This is the first in a series of posts that I plan to do on it.  Tegmark postulates four levels of multiverse.  This post is about the first, and simplest version, the Level I … Continue reading Tegmark’s Level I Multiverse: infinite space

Minimum crew size for an interstellar generation ship

John Hawks takes a look at a fascinating article in Popular Mechanics that looks at what the minimum crew size would need to be for an interstellar generation ship, and relates it to what is known about genetics in anthropology. Popular Mechanics asks, "How Many People Does It Take to Colonize Another Star System?". The basic problem … Continue reading Minimum crew size for an interstellar generation ship