Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Why I'm a tele fan
With the discovery of yet another 'earth like planet' in the 'habitable zone' of a 'sun like star' this week, I wanted to take a moment and discuss the impressive growth we have experienced in this area for some time now and some potential effects on the space industry as a whole.
With Hubble we became able to seek out and positively identify stars and formations at varying distances from our own spot in the universe. The range, accuracy and detail available through the Hubble program were state of the art, and also gave a great example of data from space projects that can have a viable impact here at home. Hubble set the standard for its era, but also enabled scientists to create a catalogue of their 'favourite' stars where life might exist because of more preferable stellar conditions than might exist in another region. Though impressive in its own right, these revelations did little to alter general paradigms, no 'game changers' were likely to result from Hubble for the common person. But now we have Kepler.
The Kepler telescope is the next chapter in this epoch of development. With this satellite, and the data gleaned from the Hubble program, we are able to peer far deeper into the details of these stellar systems we had previously bookmarked. The rate of discovery from the Kepler telescope has been staggering, every announcement could herald the discovery of a species of extra-planetary beings. Every day we ride the wake-crest of this exciting possibility into uncharted waters for the human experience.
Here on earth, we are turning LEO control over to the private sector, with the larger goal of governments beginning to press outward into the expanse. Though few details are emerging into the public domain at this time, the technological potential of our species is nearly boundless. In a few years the entire american economy was converted into the mightiest army complex the planet had hitherto witnessed. In this age of suppressed technological awareness, infinite money and digital integration there is little that someone with the will and connections could not produce. What the mind can conceive, it can achieve.
Kepler began by identifying systems with short period planets, like mercury, whose orbit lasts only a few months. Once the telescope confirms more than one sighting, it will confirm that planetary bodies do in fact exist around star candidates. The Kepler team now projects that nearly 20% of all stars contain planetary bodies within their solar systems. While that is certainly encouraging for mining colony development, the team has also projected that only about 5% of all stars have any planets in the habitable zone. Nevertheless the potency of these discoveries should not be understated. For the FIRST TIME in our history, we have the optic technology to reach across time and space and examine other worlds. The fact that this exceptional nature of the discoveries in our time is so unnoticed must surely speak greatly to either public apathy or public suppression. How can we as a people not be truly captivated by these discoveries. These days we live in are surely among the most profound in our history. We could be plunged into a third world war almost any day, or we could discover another race of beings, or perhaps be discovered by them !!
I don't mean to sound extreme here. In fact I would suggest people who think my views are extreme should read up on Richard Dolan and his work. Not because I find Dolan extreme in any measure, much the contrary. His academic, balanced and thorough examination of social and technical issues around planetary affairs is one of the most reasonable and factual examinations and his conjectures are also enlightening. Though I have differences of opinion on some matters with Dolan, surely, there is tremendous knowledge in his uncovering the depth and nature of secrecy in our society around these such issues. His references to the NSA having 650Mhz computers in the 1960s is a great example to someone so familiar with computer technology as I am. That would be equivalent to saying that they had flying cars powered by banana skins to an automotive tech, by comparison.
Regardless, I digress, but Dolan, though somewhat exploited by the "UFO" community is a truly able researcher and a balanced presenter. You should check him out. Where I wanted to end this though was on discussion of the James Webb telescope which is the next generation to be deployed in the next few years. Just has Hubble was able to track star candidates, we now are beginning to identify planetary candidates in a like manner. When the James Webb is deployed in just a few years time, it will enable scientists to view the planet candidates in a way the reflects the leap forward that Kepler was over Hubble. So what am I getting at here ? It means that in the next year or so, if Kepler identifies more Earth Type planets, Webb will then be able to look at their surfaces and the data be posted much as we would look at Google Earth images of our own little world here. The interesting thing, is that we may find another civilization out there. If we did, and there is any correlation between our development timeline, we would be watching their world go through its own 'late medieval age', c.1400-1600. Even though that is true, they may be just as advanced, looking at us in the present day, but looking on our history, perhaps recording it for us as we would for them. In this way, one of our first exchanges may involve accurate records of our history ! What an interesting concept, that two so disparate cultures may be the only key to truly unlocking the mysteries of each others past.
Still, I hope not to draw too much attention to this amazing possibility, but rather to generally try and provoke some appreciation of the truly remarkable possibilities that exist. How special a time we are in and how we might not be the only ones out there. And if we are, all the better, that means that if you and I or our kids, or their kids get our shit together enough, they could potentially be, like, planetary governors working in a inter planetary society which develops the resources of many worlds for the benefit of all mankind.
On the other hand, the further we explore and reach out, we may find that we are only a little player in a big game. If that is the case I hope we can distinguish ourselves sufficiently to secure some reason for existing at all. This business of butchering our own people, exploiting and abusing natural resources and exercising policy from the absolute WEAKEST diplomatic intentions is surely not going to be a welcome contribution to galactic affairs. If we wish to integrate or lead a planetary civilization we will have to be more evolved than we presently are. Now what do I mean more evolved ? We already really know... talking our problems out, working together, being motivated and motivational for one another, having great dreams with both immediate and long term implications, innovation, discovery, great love !
I truly hope we make it and the culprits behind the present darkness are discovered and economy begins to serve the peoples interests again, instead of the people serving only the economy. The supreme courts of the world have ruled that corporations are legal people, but that doesn't mean those people can't be assholes.