Transitions into Space

Before I begin this post I just want to wish everyone an extremely late New Year. I had originally planned to make this post around that time, but my lack of having an internet connection at my home, bad weather, the new school semester starting, and some family issues; I just wasn’t able to make it in time. I apologize to anyone that might have hoped for an update sooner, as I realize it’s been well over a month since I made my last post on the Anthropocene. Also, yesterday was my birthday so there’s that little quibble too!

It seems that the closer we get to NASA Space Shuttle Discovery’s final launch, currently targeted for February 24th (it’s been moved forward since around November), the more people seem to wonder what’s next for NASA and more importantly for human space exploration in general. Many nations have been jumping on the rocket firing process. Right around Christmas India’s Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) carrying its GSAT 5-P communication satellite exploded during launch. I just happened to have pulled up a nice little video of it for you…

Even though India’s launch failed they have launched a large number of satellites into space in the past. This news probably isn’t too new of course, but it begs the question still about the future of human space exploration. With more nations becoming space faring nations that offers many more opportunities for discoveries to be made. Of course even with NASA stopping the shuttle program, who’s last launch is currently scheduled for Atlantis around April 2011, it hasn’t discouraged people from finding new an innovative ways into space.

You might be asking why NASA has decided to retire the space shuttle. It’s mostly economics and financial difficulties, but also that the shuttle is an outdated way of getting humans into space. Each missions costs nearly 450 million dollars to undertake, and the amount of fuel required is around 500,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and liquid helium. This isn’t taking into account when missions get pushed further and further back and have to be re-planned and dated, costing vital manpower and resources.

To counter this, NASA has been encouraging the designs of private space companies such as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Space Adventures to help relieve a lot of the research and development costs that the United States Government has barely been keeping up with. With private companies and revenue earned from space tourism, it opens NASA to many more research opportunities and frees their schedule for more  projects. Of course while NASA appreciates the research to new launch vehicles by private companies, they’re hesitant to support space tourism fully. There are a number of health concerns and highly expensive risks to traveling in space, the most costly of which is human life.

However, there’s already been seven people launched into space as “tourists”. The first of which was Dennis Tito in 2001, pictured to the left obviously supporting tourism in space. Of course it doesn’t come cheap. Dennis flew in 2001 for a reported $20 million on the Soyuz TM-32 rocket based in Russia. The price for the Soyuz model rocket ride really hasn’t gone down, but Virgin Galactic plans to send people into space for an amount starting out at roughly 200,000$, and eventually lower it to 20,000$.

But we’re missing the point here, this is about human kind’s transition into space. While Space tourism is offering this to people for a hefty fee, the main concern for anyone heading into space is making things faster, cheaper, more efficient, and more importantly safer. Space travel is already the riskiest and most dangerous endeavor we’ve taken on, and things really haven’t got much better since the 60’s.

There’s a lot of concepts out there for a new design aside from the simple Expendable Rocket model the Space Shuttle uses. While the Space Shuttle isn’t completely expendable, most of the design is, which makes each launch very expensive. Virgin Galactic’s idea of using a transport craft to carry the shuttle design high in the atmosphere is a cost effective option. However there’s a lot of non-propellant options to getting through the atmosphere that have been developed, such as…

1.) Mass Drivers

 

A Mass Driver works by using coils of energized electric wires to slingshot a vehicle into space. This conceptual picture is of one that would be placed on the moon, but one could just as easily be made on Earth, so long as you designed it to be able to defeat the Gravity of Earth at 9.81 m/s^2.

 

2.) Space Elevators

 

 

A Space Elevator is one of the more technically feasible projects that could get us into space. It implements a design similar to a normal everyday elevator, except with a cable tethered into space. The cable would need to be able to withstand the enormous speeds the planet rotates at, but that might not be too far off in development as Carbon nanotubing, possibly through the use of Graphene could easily withstand such forces. This would save billions as the use of propellants would almost not be needed and goods could easily be sent on a car into space.

 

3.) The Rocket Plane (or Space Plane)

This is probably the most likely scenario. Mass Driver’s seem to be impractical and if a Space Elevator was ever built it would be a prime target for terrorists, causing money to be spent often on defense. The Space Plane is already in development and is taking off fast. Virgin Galactic has already managed to get a head start in this department.

 

 

The point of all this is that we’re out of options when it comes to the Space Shuttle. It has lasted us a long time, but it’s become obselete. As more and more research is done into these other areas of engineering, physics, and astronomy, we’ll slowly start seeing the Space Shuttle move from it’s place as top dog to a piece of Astronomical History. Even still, I doubt anyone that has seen a launch can forget something as powerful as this video presents.

Advertisements

The Human Epoch – The Anthropocene

The Anthropocene is a term given by geologists to help describe the epoch we are currently in, an era not only ruled by, but shaped by human influence. You might be asking, “What happened to the Holocene?”, it’s still around, and by all technical means is still the geological epoch we are in, however recently Scientists around the globe have been using the term Anthropocene informally to describe our changing world. In fact, in 2008 the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London was given a proposal on whether or not they should publicly announce that a new Geological epoch be announced. It was determined by the society that the proposal be taken seriously, and since independent scientists around the world have been working on showing why we should accept the Anthropocene into the Geological Time Scale. The date they choose to start this time period; 200 years ago at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

So what kind of evidence exists to defend a new Geological epoch, especially one that has been influenced primarily by human hands?  The first thing that’s important to understand is the epoch that we are officially in; the Holocene. The Holocene has been around for around 11,000 years marking the current interglacial period after the receding of the Wisconsin glaciation. It was during this period of time when the climate began to become warmer, although still retaining a rather steady temperature overall. There is a clear mark indicated in the geological stratigraphical record for the start of the Holocene 11,000 years ago, possibly caused by receding glaciation

One of the big questions that arises when you start talking about the concept of the Anthropocene is what exactly defines a new epoch? As far as what Webster’s has to say about the definition, it’s simply “…an event or a time marked by an event that begins a new period or development… a memorable event or date.” Geologists themselves have no clear indication behind the term epoch, and it is used almost in tandem with the definition I just gave (except maybe limiting it to geological processes.)

Most of the defenders of the Anthropocene are in favor of it because they believe humankind have completely warped the geology of the world, but that might not be the only thing we’ve warped on the planet. It’s common nowadays to hear the politics of globalization and the consequences of such; global warming, climate change, worldwide starvation, poverty, resource limits, etc. but rare to hear someone actually place all the blame on humankind. It seems that that is exactly what the Anthropocene is suggesting, that all our problems today are a result of our own aspirations.

For about the last 8-9,000 years we humans have been clearing the land to make room for agriculture. We have stripped land of forests, directed channels to irrigate farmland, ordered certain plants to grow in areas we deemed through monocropping, used much of that land for animal husbandry (which we then used to help tend farmland.), as well as much more. Add to that advances in the Middle Ages and the Modern age and you have a recipe for mass changing of the land as a whole (and we haven’t even gotten to the really interesting parts). Any flight over Europe can show you how much we’ve warped the land.

View of Switzerland from airplane clearly showing patches of deforestation for farmland.

However, the argument for the Anthropocene mostly concerns the last 150-200 years, doesn’t it? Let’s go back to the definition of an epoch, “…an event or a time that begins a new period or development…”. It seems that while humans have been modifying the landscape for thousands of years, only the last 200 or so have truly been significant, and all the data shows it. Since the Industrial Revolution CO2 levels have risen so high that it trumps anything measured in the measured history of the planet. Of all the ice cores measured by scientists CO2 levels have never been higher than 300ppm. We stand at a rising level of around 387.2ppm – taken from 2008.

What exactly changed in the Industrial Revolution? For most of the last 11,000 years we’ve depended on our own energy, or the energy provided by animals, sun, plants, or water. Around the 1800’s, the James Watt’s Steam Engine was created and fossil fuels became the new gold. We no longer got our energy from renewable resources, but from long dead plants and animals, a resource with limits and environmental consequences. Of course, back then, there wasn’t any data about how fossil fuels might ruin the planet at large so we kept using and using, oblivious to the issues it has wrought. The power of fossil fuels to make life easier and more comfortable have since made poverty something less than it formerly was. It seems since the 1800’s, our standard of what it means to live in poverty has been raised. Poverty today is a hell of a lot better than poverty before 1800.

Will Steffan at TED in Canberra, Australia(link) discussed this in depth, but further discussed what might be called the Great Acceleration beginning in the 1950’s. This was a period following WWII where there was a “… breakdown of old institutions… old ways of thinking…” which eventually led to a greater rise in connectivity throughout the world. Since 1950 aspects of human enterprise has been growing exponentially. Our machines now require more energy per year than we do, and humanity has now reshaped 75% of the ice free land on the planet by agriculture, digging and drilling, canal shaping, and other methods. Land that can be called remote, meaning it would take 48 hours to travel there from a large city, only accounts for about 10% today. 45,000 dams worldwide hold back 15% of annual river runoff. Biodiversity is taking a huge hit with a new species going extinct every 20 minutes and if this continues by 2030 1/5 of all the species on the planet will be extinct.

As if the above paragraph wasn’t eye popping enough, population is expected to rise to about 9 billion before 2030 which means far more economic hardships, environmental problems, world starvation and dehydration; virtually an increase in any problem we’re already faced with. Humankind is completely warping the planet, and we have quite a lot of challenges before us. As fossil fuels begin to run out, how will we deal with it? The United States is already involved heavily in the Middle East, and while we’d all like it to be “in the name of Freedom” most people know it’s for that black gold.

It’s clear though, that with species extinction, biodiversity change, geological processes being disrupted, atmospheric changes, and populations defying the gravity of a flowchart that the Anthropocene is here. One of the biggest causes of this is population overriding the planet’s resources. We need to be  policies enacted that help curve the population to something more sustainable, such as abortion and child limitation laws, or at the least benefits for families with only one child. Ethics is going to play a key role in the future, let’s hope we can make up our minds on what is truly ethical for a species.

It’s clear though, that humans are no longer passengers on spaceship earth but have stepped into the pilot’s seat. We need to know how to direct ourselves in the future, what choices will effect us for the better, and how we can curtail another mass extinction of biodiversity from occurring on the planet. The challenges are difficult but not impossible. To quote Jon Stewart at his recent Rally to Restore Sanity, “…but these are hard times, not end times.”

To end, a clip from How the Earth Made Us from the BBC with Professor Iain Stewart.

Phosophorous(P) is the backbone of DNA – right??

Earlier this week NASA made a rather ambiguous pre-announcement. They left plenty of room for rumor, as the only detail they were willing to give was that the announcement involved a major find in Astrobiology. Astrobiology is the study of life in extreme environments, space, and on other planets. Quickly the rumor started flying about what the announcement could possibly involve; was it completely overblown and actually not exciting, or had they really found E.T.?

While the announcement itself did not involve a finding of life outside of Earth’s atmosphere, what was found was possibly the next most interesting find that could have been announced.

D.N.A. is a molecule necessary to carry out all the instructions for the development of an organism, whether that might be a protozoa, bacterium, insect, plant, or human. It is composed of five main chemicals one of which, phosphorous (P), creates the backbone of a DNA molecule phosphate. Without this background, the molecule could not be held together.

For a long time biologists have believed that phosphorous was the only such element that could bind together the DNA molecule. It was taught that without this element, life itself could not have arose, and therefore could not exist. NASA’s announcement has shed a new light on the subject, illuminating previously known corners of astrobiology.

The find comes from Felisa Wolfe-Simon and her team’s research at Mono Lake in California. Mono Lake is extremely arsenic(As) rich and shouldn’t support any form of life, as arsenic is extremely poisonous to life on earth, or at least that what biologists previously thought. The find that Felisa’s team discovered is that the lake actually does support life, but FAR from what we thought life was supposed to consist of, Carbon(C), Oxygen(O), Hydrogen(H), Nitrogen(N) and Phosphorus.

While the main four Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Nitrogen were found in microbial life that her team found, the phosphate backbone had been replaced by an arsenate backbone. Arsenic itself is only one floor below Phosphorous on the periodic table, which means that the element itself is actually extremely similar.

The microbe itself, dubbed GFAJ-1, was developed in a laboratory, where it sat in an arsenic mixture as it grew for months. Overtime, the microbe replaced it’s sugar phosphate backbone with the newly discovered arsenic backbone, redefining what textbooks have up to this point instructed as the primary element needed to bind together the DNA molecule. It’s unknown at this point whether any other changes occured in the DNA molecule, but I would venture to guess there must be. Even so, it’d come as no surprise to me if not, and even if there was or wasn’t a major change to the DNA aside from the arsenate backbone, the ramifications of this find point to a major paradigm shift in biology.

A paradigm shift is when a new find presents information that completely revolutionizes previously known information. For instance, the heliocentric model (sun centered) that showed the earth revolved around the sun rather than the sun and planets around earth, or the Quantum Revolution in physics. Biology up to this point was thought to center around this one model of DNA, and it was believed that if life existed elsewhere in the universe that it would consist of roughly the same ingriendients. This belief has now been thrown upside down with Felisa’s discovery.

So what does this mean for the future of Biology and Astrobiology? This suggests that life as we know it on earth, our commonplace assumption that life must have a DNA molecule with a Phosphorous backbone, is wrong and that life can exist with a completely different “binding” on their book of instructions. However, does it stop with the phosphate backbone? Perhaps. However, part of scientific discovery that makes it so wonderful is finding things that you thought were true turned out to be wrong or at the least misleading. Perhaps there are creatures that are not Carbon based, but use some other element. Maybe on another planet somewhere orbiting a distant star, possibly another galaxy, there exists Nitrogen based organisms, in which case it’s a good thing David Duchovny is still alive.

“Break out the Head and Shoulders!”

While most people are rather disappointed in this find from Felisa and her team, I myself find it pretty exhilarating to knowlife can take different forms on the molecular level than we previously believed. It could mean that life could develop on planets that we before though was impossible to harbor life. While GFAJ-1 may have been a terrestrial organism, it represents the idea that life can develop in not only harsh or extreme environments, but completely toxic and deadly ones.

Survival it seems is not limited only to proper conditions and temperature, but has a wide array of methods to which it can adapt. It’s going to be interesting to see this implemented in the future, and where this takes scientific discovery.

Antimatter? No matter!

It seems CERN slipped a fast one right under my nose the last week or two. For those of you who don’t know CERN, they’re the guys behind the creation of the Large Hadron Collider, a giant particle accelerator aimed at trying to find out more about the nature of certain particles such as quarks and the elusive Higgs Boson, otherwise known as the God Particle. In addition they hope to learn more about the nature of Dark Matter, the stuff that makes up more than 75% of the universe. Ordinary matter, that’d be you and me, only make up about 20%.

The Large Hadron Collider Outline near Geneva, Switzerland

So, what news is so important to merit a single post? Well, it seems the good men at CERN have had two major breakthroughs recently. The first occurring a little over a week ago where I did a slight blurb about it in the Star Stuff post seen here. To add a little more detail, they managed to recreate conditions that occurred billionths of a second after our own Big Bang, where temperatures far exceeded those of our own Sun, nearing 10 trillion degrees Celsius! (Sol if you’re reading this, sorry, you’re just not that hot anymore 😦 ).

Scientist at CERN accomplished this by sending Lead Ions hurdling toward each other at speeds that would make a Nissan Skyline look like sloth walking across a length of road. Their main goal in all of this? The search for a type of matter known as quark-gluon plasma, predicted by quantum chromodynamics. This plasma is said to evolve into the matter that we’re used to today, you know the stuff, carbon, oxygen, and whatnot.

How to create Quark-gluon Plasma by Johnny Little, Miss Crabtree’s 3rd Grade Physical Science Course

As if this wasn’t enough of a big deal for CERN to tackle, they decided to take it a step further into the unknown and the completely bonkers category by not only creating, but holding in existence antimatter! Most of us by now are probably familiar with Dan Brown’s piece of shit movie Angel’s and Demons where Illuminati scientists attempt to create an antimatter bomb to blow up the Vatican. Did I forget to mention spoiler alert? Anyway, unlike Dan Brown’s crazy conspiracy filled epic, the real scientists working behind CERN managed to capture about 38 antimatter hydrogen (called antihydrogen-1) for about a fraction of a second.

Even still, Dan Brown wasn’t too far off when he wrote Angels and Demons. For one, antimatter when it collides with ordinary matter releases such a great amount of energy that it not only rivals thermonuclear weapons, it blows it completely out of contest. The amount of energy released by antimatter colliding with ordinary matter is at least 99% stronger than that of a thermonuclear weapon. Fat Man has a scary little brother.

However, we don’t have to be worried about this anytime soon. It’s hard enough just trying to keep the little buggers from annihilating each other as is, making a bomb out of them would far surpass anything our current technology could do. It is funny to look at the 1950’s though when the U.S. Government actually funded research for such a weapon – it’d be no surprise to me if they has a major hand in the funding of this project as well, but that’s just speculation and probably nonsense. By the way, the process of antimatter colliding with ordinary matter is known to physicists as… annihilation! How cute.

Antimatter and Matter meet in this Hollywood Blockbuster!

Aside from the all too common implement of science being used for weaponry, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. When the day comes, and it will come, when scientists are able to add antimatter energy to real world applications all our energy problems might be moot. Consider the most powerful source of energy is nuclear energy, antimatter energy would make nuclear look like a joke.

Michio Kaku, a rather famous physicist and author of Physics of the Impossible, was recently quoted about the LHC antimatter accomplishment, saying that with the right applications this energy could be used to propel a craft at speeds bordering the speed of light. This of course means that mankind’s dream of someday venturing to the stars (which is starting to look more like a necessity with the exponential growth of populations) may someday become a reality.

Although they may have succeeded in trapping a small amount of these antihydrogen atoms, they’re still quite a long way from getting the results they need, and an even longer way from applying such endeavors to real world applications. For me however, it’s the thought of venturing far out into the galaxy, or hell even to the nearest star Alpha Centauri, that makes such research worthwhile.

I just hope that when the day comes they do get it right we’re not stuck wishing they had it. We learned a lot from our mistakes in the past with thermonuclear weapons, but we’re still a long way from putting that past behind us. We’re haunted by it day after day, and the human condition will always be with us.

Still, who can’t say they would want to see a future where this

…becomes a reality

We Are Star Stuff

As a celebratory “I just moved my blog to a better format base than Blogger.com” post, I’m bring with it a double whammy of awesome in the Scientific Field…

It was 76 years ago today that the late Carl Sagan was born. For those that don’t know who Carl Sagan is, it might be better for you to do the following:

  1. Get a large rectangular piece of paper.
  2. Fold said paper into a conic shape.
  3. Place conic shaped paper upon head.
  4. Sit in corner and ignore the rest of the educated world.

Anyway, Carl Sagan is one of the most influential astronomers, astrophysicists, authors, and cosmologists in the last century. He has written numerous books, hosted a well-earning and popular science program called Cosmos, and was one of the key figures in the creation of SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrail Intelligence). The list of greats he was involved in doesn’t stop there of course. He was THE pioneer of exobiology (also called astrobiology), advocate of skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, and his 1985 book Contact was later adapted on film.

Carl Sagan was a wonderful figure of his time. He successfully captured audiences and renewed faith in science to the general public. His voice was captivating and inspiring, as the following video shows.

He not only showed us the frailty of human life, but the minuteness of it. He showed us that everything we have accomplished is still so tiny in the vast expanse of time and space. He brought our attention to the world of nuclear war, and our possible extinction by it, and inspired us to find ways in which we might realize that this is our only planet, our only home, and to destroy it through nuclear arms would be the single greatest tragedy of our time. His words on nuclear arms still today rings a bell, though the threat may have lessened, it is echoed in nation’s vying for nuclear arms, and through environmental changes through human action. The following, is his words on Nuclear War.

Carl Sagan unfortunately died too soon for our time at the age of 62 on December 20, 1996 after a long fight with myelodysplasia, though the cause of death was actually due to pneumonia. His legacy still lives on in several ways. Symphony of Science, by John Boswell, a musical production featuring scientists auto-tuned to amazing songs, includes Sagan as the only scientist in everyone of the videos. There are at least three awards dedicated to his honor, including the Carl Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science.  More recently, in 2009, the first annual Carl Sagan Day was made in his honor; it will most likely be a yearly endeavor as they again held it in 2010.

So, Sagan, I wish you a happy birthday, and many more, perhaps billions and billions.

In a slightly related event and part two of the Double Whammy happening today (related in the idea that it has to do with the Cosmos), scientists at CERN, the organization responsible for the Large Hadron Collider, have successfully created a miniature big bang.

That’s right. Scientists at CERN have actually managed to reproduce the very thing that they believe started our own universe. This raises certain eyebrows from me; Did they in the process create a universe as well that was so tiny and minute that it popped into and out of existence too quickly to notice?

Probably not, but it does seem that whatever their findings are as of this moment they’re being very hush hush about it. All they’re willing to say is that they created the same starting conditions as our own universe at 0.00000000001 seconds after the Big Bang, an interval when “protons and neutrons can’t even stay whole.”

An anti-LHC organization called the Heavy Ion Alert also protested the experiment, stating it would cause a chain reaction that would destroy the planet. They were discounted, and as always nothing happen.

I’ll leave you with Symphony of Science – We Are All Connected.

The Fractal God has Died – We’ll Miss You Benoit Mandelbrot

Benoit Mandelbrot, father of Fractal Geometry, has died at 85.

Mandelbrot was born in Poland in 1924, but grew up in France. Most of his work was done in the United States, and since receiving dual-citizenship has often been referred as a Franco-American, despite Polish background. He has done significant work in mathematical physics and quantitative financing, but he is most famously known for being the “Father of Fractal Geometry”.

Fractals are geometric shape that when split into parts or zoomed-in on, it retains an approximate copy of the whole(at a reduced size), a property known as self-similarity. They’re one of the most beautiful shapes, and occur often in nature. It’s properties are as follows (taken directly from Wikipedia.org).

A fractal often has the following features:

  • It has a fine structure at arbitrarily small scales.
  • It is too irregular to be easily described in traditional Euclidean geometric language.
  • It is self-similar (at least approximately or stochastically).
  • It has a Hausdorff dimension which is greater than its topological dimension (although this requirement is not met by space-filling curves such as the Hilbert curve).
  • It has a simple and recursive definition.
 Fractal Geometry in a piece of romanesco broccoli
Fractals have many applications. They can be used to create music through algorithmic composition, seen in the practice of Seismology, used to create environments in video games much easier, image compression, helps to classify Histopathology in medicine, as well as many others.
Example of the infinite nature of Fractals
 
 There are three classifications of Fractals, exact self-similarity, quasi self-similarity, and statistical self-similarity. All with varying degrees of similarity strength.
It’s a shame that Mandelbrot has left us, but he lived a good long life. I’m sure if an afterlife exists, he’s riding the wave of a fractal as we speak.

Alien Life Forms – Humanoid, Amphibian, or Something Literally Out of This World.

I’ve been wondering for awhile what Alien life forms might be like, assuming we ever come into some form of contact with it. While most Astrobiologists suggest the obvious, that if we were to find life it would most likely be bacterial lifeforms and not the average person’s idea of life. However, while I may be probing my imagination a little bit, I often stop to wonder what lifeforms might exist out there aside from our tiny planet.

It’s only been just recently that Astronomers discovered Gliese 581g, a small exoplanet orbiting the star Gliese 581 in the constellation Libra. This planet is remarkable in that it is tidally locked with it’s star, making one side extremely cold and the other extremely hot, while the would be Prime Meridian of the planet is the perfect temperature. Not only is there an area on the planet for life to exist, but the planet also orbits in the so-called “Goldilocks zone”, the area just ripe for life where it’s not too hot and not too cold.

This has got me thinking deeply about what kind of life might arise. If you look at the diverse amount of life forms Earth has created, there’s almost no limit to what you might dream up. A few months ago Discovery Channel released Stephen Hawking’s “Into the Universe” which portrayed the following video.

Another strange thing to think about is that if water is abundant in the universe, and if water is one of the most important things for life to exist, it follows then that life could exist even on things that may not be considered “worlds”. Comets and asteroids can sometimes house water, is it too far to say that they could also house life? I like to imagine creatures that live on the backs of comets, sailing through our solar system.

Jupiter’s own moon Europa may house tons of life buried beneath it’s massive cracked ice sheets. The moon is constantly churned by Jupiter’s gravity, which creates artificial tides beneath the ice sheets. This can create a friction underneath the moon’s ice that warms it just enough to support life in it’s hidden ocean. Could this life be synonymous with our own sea life? Are there forms of fish, shark, whales, and dolphin – though very morphologically different – that exist beneath it’s ice? Maybe they resemble Cretaceous dinosaurs, and yet still they could resemble something the likes of which we can’t imagine!

This is why to an Science nerd or geek, and I use those terms interchangeably, Science Fiction is so appealing. Will we one day in the future discover lifeforms that resemble those of the Star Wars Universe?

Because who couldn’t love a Bith?

Gene Roddenberry was ahead of his time in technological fiction in Star Trek, and thanks to his imagination in a way gave birth to a multitude of technology that were once thought impossible. Isaac Asimov’s I,Robot is starting to seem more and more a reality with the new French Aldebaran creation the Nao Robot.

And here I have another possibility that might arise. Might we find synthetic life? A life form that can only be explained away by another intelligent life form having created it synthetically? We have ourselves created robotics and even an entire synthetic cell capable of reproduction.

It seems there’s no limit to human imagination, partly I would say because we are a part of Nature’s seemingly limitless imagination. I’d like to quote Richard Feynman here, as this is one of my favorite quotes by him, it literally gives me chill every time I hear it.

“I think nature’s imagination is so much greater than man’s, She’s never gonna let us relax.”

%d bloggers like this: