Starlog #20: “To seek out new life and new civilizations”
Do you think we will find alien life? Is there another Earth or something similar out there? Do you feel studying space brings tangible benefits to us?
Yes I truly believe we will find life that is not our own in the vast universe. Not now, not in 20 years but give Elon Musk and his Space X team (or RocketLab or ULA and all others) enough resources and time and I’m sure we’d get closer to travel into deep space.
A few similarities between our Solar system and new, distant planet systems for example is the fact that planets orbit a star. Solar systems are full as in every planet has its space. If you were to add a planet it would create chaos. A very nice example of a planet system that is similar to our Solar system is Kepler-90. It also has 8 planets in the same configuration; rocky planets near the star and gas giants further away.
A difference between our Solar system and new, distant planet systems is our rare architecture. It doesn’t seem to be normal if we compare the eccentricity of our planets. Most planets detected are super-Earths or sub Neptune meaning our Solar system isn’t typical. Most planet systems have planets similar in size to each other or more gas giants like Jupiter near the star. Another difference is an exoplanet orbiting two stars where our planets only have one star; our Sun.
As we only know of Earth’s evolutionary state, and let us take in account that this is literally universal. We could find a planet as old as ours. But the issue now is travel time, the energy propulsion we still use. It would take us 18000 years to get to the nearest solar system.
Maybe in 200 years; we do not know how far we will be fuel-management-wise. Maybe we won’t rely on rocket-fuel (hydrogen/kerosene), maybe by then we will have actual spaceships to make traveling easier and more comfortable seeing this would be a multiple generations mission. Maybe Elon Musk will have his Starships orbiting Mars and beyond our Solar system by then. Maybe we will figure out how to travel at the speed of light? Who knows?
And the last remark I want to make because I get so many people telling me off for admiring space travel and exploration as it costs so much money that we could use on Earth and that it is such a waste and nothing comes back.
I always ask them if they ever gave their children baby formula, if they use solar cells, have TEMPUR foam mattress or pillow, use the camera in their phones, been on a plane that needs anti-icing, wear scratch resistant lenses, infrared ear thermometers, invisible braces, and they always answer yes to a few. Well you can thank space exploration for that. And it stops them for a moment until I explain further. Tell them to google the list, research before making assumptions. Below is the list, so far, we can thank NASA specifically for:
- 2Health and medicine
- 2.1Infrared ear thermometers
- 2.2Ventricular assist device
- 2.4Cochlear implants
- 2.5Artificial limbs
- 2.6Light-emitting diodes in medical therapies
- 2.7Invisible braces
- 2.8Scratch-resistant lenses
- 2.9Space blanket
- 2.103D foods printing
- 3.1Aircraft anti-icing systems
- 3.2Highway safety
- 3.3Improved radial tires
- 3.4Chemical detection
- 4Public safety
- 4.1Video enhancing and analysis systems
- 4.2Landmine removal
- 4.3Fire-resistant reinforcement
- 4.4Firefighting equipment
- 4.5Shock absorbers for buildings
- 5Consumer, home, and recreation
- 5.1TEMPUR foam
- 5.2Enriched baby food
- 5.3Portable cordless vacuums
- 5.4Freeze drying
- 5.5Space age swimsuit
- 5.6CMOS image sensor
- 6Environmental and agricultural resources
- 6.1Water purification
- 6.2Solar Cells
- 6.3Pollution remediation
- 6.4Correcting for GPS signal errors
- 6.5Water location
- 7Computer technology
- 7.1Structural analysis software
- 7.2Remotely controlled ovens
- 7.3NASA Visualization Explorer
- 7.5Software catalog
- 8Industrial productivity
- 8.1Powdered lubricants
- 8.2Improved mine safety
- 8.3Food safety
- 8.4Gold plating
Vice Admiral signing off.