Friday, June 19, 2009
First a quick heads up: NASA has finally launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which I wrote about two days ago here. Phew. Here's the video of the launch from NASA TV. It's a beautiful launch.
Another article here is on firm evidence that has turned up for the existence of a deep lake on Mars some 3 billion years ago.
There is also an article on the switch to digital tv and what it would mean to anyone listening in on us - in short, it makes it harder to pick up our signals from the outside. Developments like this are why I don't find the Fermi paradox to really be that much of a paradox. The paradox is simply that "if there are hundreds of billions of stars in each of hundreds of billions of galaxies, why is there no sign of life in the universe?". The answer to this I believe is 1) Using Earth as an example life exists for a few billion years before it is finally able to reach the point we call civilization, so even with Earth it wasn't until very recent times that life here would have been able to be detected with any ease, and 2) There's no particular reason to think that another civilization would be using technologies that we recognize or are able to detect. If even a switch to digital tv makes us harder to detect, imagine what will happen farther down the road when technology is further refined. It's kind of like concluding that City A viewed from afar has no means of communication due to the obvious lack of smoke signals, resting areas for horses used by messengers, or signal towers complete with bonfires to be lit on the top when enemies approach. Perhaps we just don't know what to look for.