20 APRIL 2018 #45 TESS — OFF TO SEEK ALIEN WORLDS

TESS was launched perfectly on Wednesday, April 18. TESS herself will not go to the stars. The little spacecraft (about the size of a washing machine) has nestled into an orbit between Earth and the moon. But, starting in June, her telescopes will spend two years searching the sky for nearby stars orbited by planets with Earthlike conditions, some of which may support intelligent life. TESS will help to answer the age-old question: Are we alone? Ad astra per aspira is the motto of the state of Kansas, a Latin phrase that means “To the stars through difficulties.” There are difficulties to overcome as we explore the universe and reach out to other stars and planets. But TESS (a cooperative … Read More

9 JULY 2017 #32 ARE WE ALONE?

ARE WE ALONE? WHAT IF WE’RE NOT? SETI — the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence —  has been going on for awhile. SETI looks for planets that could support life … maybe intelligent life … and listens for messages aliens might try to send us. METI – Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence —  is now getting started. METI scientists are not just listening for messages from aliens, they are devising messages to send to aliens. This means sending radio waves in regular patterns intelligent beings could recognize as deliberate attempts at contact, not just radio noise. Until recently, an  answer to a METI message sent to the far reaches of the universe was not considered possible for another 50,000 years. But this year, … Read More