It will be one of the greatest moments in science, and also one of the greatest moments in history. After decades of searching, a signal from extraterrestrials is received by a radio telescope on Earth. SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) analysts quickly check the transmission using other instruments, and prepare to announce the great discovery. The media descends on the story and soon millions of people around the world are reading the news. Then what?
Psychologist and SETI scholar Doug Vakoch has been exploring this question for years. He is the Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute, as well as the only social scientist employed by a SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) organization. Dr. Vakoch researches ways that different civilizations might create messages that could be transmitted across interstellar space, allowing communication between humans and extraterrestrials even without face-to-face contact. He is particularly interested in how we might compose messages that would begin to express what it’s like to be human.
Douglas Vakoch is the Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute, as well as the only social scientist employed by a SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) organization. Dr. Vakoch researches ways that different civilizations might create messages that could be transmitted across interstellar space, allowing communication between humans and extraterrestrials even without face-to-face contact. He is particularly interested in how we might compose messages that would begin to express what it’s like to be human.
Dr. Vakoch leads the SETI Institute’s project to compose interstellar messages of the kind that may some day be sent in reply to a signal from extraterrestrials. As a member of the International Institute of Space Law, he examines international policy issues related to sending such responses. He serves as Chair of both the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Study Group on Interstellar Message Construction and the IAA Study Group on Active SETI: Scientific, Technical, Societal, and Legal Dimensions.
Dr. Vakoch has published widely in scholarly books and journals in psychology, anthropology, astronautics, and the relationship between the arts and sciences. He is the editor of several books, including Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Civilizations Beyond Earth: Extraterrestrial Life and Society, Psychology of Space Exploration: Contemporary Research in Historical Perspective, and Ecofeminism and Rhetoric: Critical Perspectives on Sex, Technology, and Discourse. His work has been featured in newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, Nature, Science, and Der Spiegel. As a spokesman on the cultural aspects of SETI, he has been interviewed on radio and television shows on the BBC, NPR, ABC, The Learning Channel, The Discovery Channel, and many others.
In addition to being a clinical psychologist (Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook), Dr. Vakoch has formal training in comparative religion (B.A., Carleton College) and the history and philosophy of science (M.A., University of Notre Dame). His broad background gives him unique insights into the significance of SETI as a human enterprise in deeper self-understanding. In addition to his position at the SETI Institute, Dr. Vakoch is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. (SETI Website)
Sci Tech News: The core of the earth is as hot as the sun. Life began ten billion years ago and eventually hitched a ride to earth — Panspermia. And, the most earth-like planets discovered thus far: Kepler 62e and Kepler 62f.
"Big Bang or the Big Bounce?" —New Science Points to a Continuum
The big bang may not have been the beginning of the universe, but merely the beginning of one of an infinite series of universes. Two fundamental concepts in physics, both of which explain the nature of the Universe in many ways, have been difficult to reconcile with each other. European researchers have developed a mathematical approach to do so that has the potential to explain what came before the Big Bang.
The big bang singularity —the single point from which the entire universe is supposed to have sprung— is the major sticking point in the big bang theory; the calculations just can’t account for such a singularity. Without evidence associated with the earliest instant of the expansion, the Big Bang theory does not provide any explanation for such an initial condition.
According to Einstein’s (classical) theory of general relativity, space is a continuum. Regions of space can be subdivided into smaller and smaller volumes without end.
The fundamental idea of quantum mechanics is that physical quantities exist in discrete packets (quanta) rather than in a continuum. Further, these quanta and the physical phenomena related to them exist on an extremely small scale (Planck scale).
So far, the theories of quantum mechanics have failed to ‘quantise’ gravity. Loop quantum gravity (LQG) is an attempt to do so. It represents space as a net of quantised intersecting loops of excited gravitational fields called spin networks. This network viewed over time is called spin foam.
There is Life in the Clouds, and, Did Life On Earth Come from Space? An Introduction to the Theory called Panspermia
Does Rain Come From Life in the Clouds?
Scientists are making their first forays into the mysterious world of biology miles up in the air. Their startling conclusion: That ecosystem in the sky might influence tomorrow’s weather and next year’s harvest.
The skies are full of invisible life. Bacteria, algae, and fungi are swept up by winds and lifted to the altitude of a Boeing 747—or catapulted 20 miles into the stratosphere by electric fields during thunderstorms. Atmospheric Chemist, Kimberly Prather, a 49-year-old professor at the University of California, San Diego, is one of a growing number of scientists who suspect this largely unexplored microbial ecosystem might hold the answer to one of the great mysteries of the weather: Why do clouds produce precipitation when they do?
It seems like such a basic question, but “we really don’t understand why some clouds drop rain and others don’t,” Prather says. At the heart of this mystery is the physics of ice formation. A pure cloud droplet can cool to –40ºF before it freezes, and many clouds on Earth never get anywhere near this cold. Rain and snow often require tiny particles floating in the cloud to trigger ice to form, and not just any particle will do. A cubic yard of air contains hundreds of thousands of microscopic specks, but only about one in a million possesses the exact molecular geometry that will organize water molecules on its surface to spawn an ice crystal. Without those rare ice-forming triggers, much of the planet would see less precipitation than it does today.
Soot and dust were long considered the best candidates for these one-in-a-million particles. But the discovery that certain bacteria carry a gene that allows them to form ice, along with the realization that the skies are teeming with microbial life, has made some researchers look to airborne biology for answers. “The amount of different types of microbial life present in the cloud droplets that make up a winter storm is amazing,” says Gary Franc, a microbiologist and plant pathologist at the University of Wyoming. “There’s a whole ecosystem going on in the clouds that’s largely undefined.”
Scientists like Franc are only now starting to catalog what could be thousands of species of microbes drifting in the sky, many of them almost certainly new to science, and some perhaps capable of surviving high in the stratosphere, where conditions are roughly as favorable for life as they are on Mars. Prather’s studies suggest that dust from Asia and Africa might carry ice-forming microbes all around the globe.
All told, up to 2 million tons of bacteria may find their way into the atmosphere each year, not to mention 55 million tons of fungal spores and unknown quantities of algae. They have been overlooked for decades, but scientists are finally recognizing how diverse this atmospheric ecosystem is and—perhaps—how much influence it could exert over tomorrow’s weather or next year’s harvest. http://DiscoverMagazine.com/2012/apr/07-does-rain-come-from-life-in-the-clouds
Did Life On Earth Come from Space? An Introduction to the Panspermia Theory
How life originated on earth is a question that people have pondered for ages. Theories abound, from those based on religious doctrine, to the purely scientific, to others that border on science fiction. One possibility that hovers on this border is the panspermia theory, which suggests that life on Earth did not originate on our planet, but was transported here from somewhere else in the universe. While this idea may seem straight out of a science fiction novel, some evidence suggests that an extraterrestrial origin of life may not be such a far out idea.
One argument that supports the panspermia theory is the emergence of life soon after the heavy bombardment period of earth, between 4 and 3.8 billion years ago. During this period, researchers believe the Earth endured an extended and very powerful series of meteor showers. However, the earliest evidence for life on Earth suggests it was present some 3.83 billion years ago, overlapping with this bombardment phase. These observations suggest that living things during this period would have faced extinction, contributing to the idea that life did not originate on Earth.
However, in order for life to originate elsewhere in the universe, there would have to be an environment on another planet capable of supporting it. Our study of the universe suggests that life as we know it would have a hard time surviving outside of the Earth. But, it is important to note that life on Earth can withstand many extreme conditions. Some bacteria grow at temperatures as high as 113°C. At the other end, microbes can thrive at temperatures as low as -18°C; many can be preserved in liquid nitrogen at -196°C. They can also tolerate high doses of ionizing and UV radiation, extreme pressure, etc. These observations suggest that it is difficult to define the conditions that favor life, and make it harder for us to predict that life is unique to Earth.
The presence of water elsewhere in the universe reinforces this. Mars is believed to have contained water in the past, and probably still does. Much excitement for the presence of life on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, has been fueled by speculations that it may have underground oceans. However, while water is essential for life that we are familiar with, its presence does not necessarily indicate the presence of life.
The fact that organic matter is relatively common in space could also support the idea of extraterrestrial life. Organic matter refers to matter composed of compounds that contain carbon. All living things on Earth are carbon-based. A variety of organic compounds have been detected in meteorites that have landed on earth, including amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins (and proteins are primary components all of living cells). The presence of carbon-based matter in meteorites supports the possibility that life on our planet could have come from outer space. But, even though life on earth is composed of organic matter, organic matter itself is not considered life.
Even if extraterrestrial life did exist, proponents of the panspermia theory must still determine how life arrived on Earth. The best candidates to act as “seeds of life” are bacterial spores, which allow bacteria to remain in a dormant state in the absence of nutrients. Bacteria constitute about one-third of Earth’s biomass and are characterized by their ability to survive under extreme conditions—those that we initially believed were unable to support life. In light of panspermia, the important question is if bacteria or bacterial spores could survive in space.
To address this question, scientists at the German Aerospace Centre in Cologne designed experiments using the Russian FOTON satellite. They mixed bacterial spores with particles of clay, red sandstone, Martian meteorite or simulated Martian soil to make small lumps a centimeter across. The lumps were then exposed via the satellite to outer space. After two weeks of exposure, researchers found that nearly all of the bacterial spores mixed with red sandstone were able to survive. Another study showed that bacterial spores could survive the extreme conditions of outer space for six years if they were protected from extraterrestrial solar UV radiation. This would be possible if the spores traveled within comets or meteorites.
However, interplanetary distances are large, so the time a bacterial spore would have to spend in a meteorite or comet before hitting a host planet could range in the millions of years. Two studies involving the isolation of bacterial spores, either from the abdomen of extinct bees preserved in amber or from a brine inclusion in an old salt crystal from the Permian Salado formation, suggest that bacterial spores can remain viable for up to 250 million years. Thus, bacterial spores could potentially account for life on earth.
But are there bacterial spores floating through space? One study focused on the heat radiation emitted from Halley’s Comet’s dust particles as the comet approached the sun. The particles’ radiation fingerprint corresponded surprisingly well to that of bacteria heated to elevated temperatures – no material other than bacteria matched the observed spectrum. As comets are known to have collided with Earth at different points in the past, this observation presents an interesting argument for panspermia. While this study does not provide conclusive evidence for presence of life in outer space, it does raise the possibility that our galaxy may be littered with bacterial spores.
An important thing to note about the panspermia hypothesis is that it gives no explanation for how life that arrived on Earth came to be. Even if we are able to show that life on Earth was a result of panspermia, the question of where and how life originated will be a lot harder to answer. So far our knowledge of the solar system suggests that life is unique to Earth, but, as science and technology advance, we will have to modify ideas that we currently regard as facts. It remains to be seen if the questions regarding the origin of life on Earth and the origin of life in the universe have the same answer.
Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about the history and future of NASA and the US space program. He argues that the exploration of space benefits Americans more than they may think. Hosted by the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Mr. Tyson is the author of “The Sky is Not the Limit” and “Death By Black Hole.”
Sant Mat Spirituality and Meditation @ Tumblr: Bhakti (Love) of the Inner Light and Sound of God – This Living School of Spirituality (Mysticism and Gnosticism) from INDIA called Sant Mat is also known as the Way of the Saints, Radhasoami (Ra-dha-Swam-i), and, the Path of the Masters.
The meditation practice is Surat Shabd Yoga, meaning: Union (Yoga) of the Attention of the Soul (Surat) with the Inner Light and Sound of God (Shabd). This practice is also very "out-of-body" as in soul travel. – James
Welcome! Wherever I am on the web I share podcasts and information, and post numerous spiritual quotes from a wide variety of sources. I often share about Inner Light and Sound Meditation: the Path of the Masters, featuring Words of Light and Love for the Spiritual Journey.
Am from Maine, vegetarian (vegan), and practice Inner Light and Sound Meditation in a spirit of Bhakti (Love for the Supreme Being). Am conspiring to make the world more peaceful, vegan, and spiritually awake. "Be Vegan. Make Peace."
Have been involved with Radio For Peace International, the community radio movement, Wisdom Radio, satellite radio and television, am an independent producer currently creating programs for several stations, including HealthyLife.Net – Positive Talk Radio. Am an author, teacher, public speaker, broadcaster.
Am a follower of Inner Light and Sound Meditation (traditional Sant Mat from an Indian perspective).
All for the Love of Wisdom and Radio, In the Love, Light, and Sound of the Beloved, Jai Sat Naam, Jai Guru, RadhaSoami, SatyaRaam, Peace Be To You,
In addition to making new friends, my focus is spirituality: using the radio airwaves, podcasts, the spoken word, writing, and online social networking-blogging to promote spiritual exploration, meditation, religious literacy, inter-faith studies and dialogue, comparative religion, also education for a more peaceful planet. This includes communicating about AHIMSA principles of non-violence in thought, word, and deed, raising awareness about certain civilization-busting issues including climate change, promoting the vegetarian vegan diet, also promoting inner Light and Sound Meditation. Am always interested in networking with those that desire the constructive use of media to advance health, well being, and positive change.
This profile and the Sant Mat Satsang Radio PODcasts are non-sectarian in spirit and inter-faith in tone, inclusive of the wisdom of all the great world religions, Masters (Sant Satgurus), and schools of mystics.
In a spirit of ahimsa/peace, through the written and spoken word, you will find spiritual quotes based upon the Teachings the Masters of the East, giving everyone access to rare books from India, some of which are only now appearing in English for the very first time. You will hear or read satsang talks, which are spiritual discourses representing a Living School of Spirituality known as Sant Mat.
'Spiritual Awakening Radio' Explores the World of Spirituality, Comparative Religion, Sacred Texts, Ahimsa Ethics: Peace, Being Veg, Going Green to Save the Planet – Education for a More Peaceful World – A Format of Inter-Faith Essays and Interviews.
Here you can access podcasts of Spiritual Awakening Radio, also the Sant Mat Satsang PODcast, along with a daily stream of spiritual quotes (Sant Mat, Radha Soami, Surat Shabd Yoga, Inner Light and Sound Meditation, the Path of the Masters, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Bahai Faith, Kabbalah, The Essenes, Ebionites, Mandaeans, Christian Mysticism, Lost Books of the Bible, Sufism, Gnostics, and Mystics), links to blogs, news, announcements, and other updates. SCROLL DOWN BELOW!
Seven Things I Believe (and Experience)
*1) God is Real.
*2) God is Love, the Ocean of Love and Compassion.
*3) All of the world scriptures teach about the same manifestation of God as inner mystical Light and Sound.
*4) Our true identity is soul, the Self. Soul is part of God and therefore is, like God, pure love.
*5) During this human existence we have an opportunity to experience God.
*6) As we experience communing with God’s love during meditation – Surat Shabd Yoga, we can rise above body-consciousness and explore Inner Space, the “Kingdom of the Heavens” that are within us. “We travel back from the realm of Darkness to the realm of Light, from the Light to divine Sound, and from the realm of Sound to the Soundless State.” (Swami Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj) The drop merges back into the Ocean of Love.
*7) As we get initiated into the Mysteries of the Spirit by a Living Teacher (Sant Satguru), the purpose of our life is fulfilled. Reuniting with God is our reason to be here: “It was for the sake of the God-conscious beings that our True Lord created this earth, and began this play of death and birth.” (Adi Granth) Kabir said, “For millions of years you have slept. This morning, will you not wake?”
"All beautiful forms and tones of this world are mere reflections of some aspect of that ultimate Love-Music of the Great Creative Word. Within the vast complex of creation, each individual spirit is himself/herself a spark of that Eternal Song of Love."
"There are those who have wandered among the darting comets and the shimmering orbs of sounding fire. The soul-explorer is not alone, for there are those who have traveled the highways of the inner cosmos; far more than one may at first realize."
"...The planes of heaven are about us everywhere. One has only to know this simple truth consciously, and then we will be free." (George Arnsby Jones)
LINKS TO PODCASTS, E BOOKS/FREE SPIRITUAL BOOKS ONLINE, BLOGS, YAHOO GROUPS, BLOGGER, WORDPRESS, MEDIUM