If I went into space with an open bottle and then sealed it, what would be inside the bottle?

by Wayne Boyd

A lot of space.

In theory, space is nothing, so the bottle will have a vacuum – an empty bottle. In reality, space is not empty, just mostly empty, so the bottle might have a molecule or two, but most likely it will have nothing.

If the first radio signals went into space over a hundred years ago and were received by a populated world how long at 10% speed of light would it take to get a visit or attack?

by Wayne Boyd – Philosopher, blogger, published author

Well, first of all, know that, as you pointed out in your question, we’ve been broadcasting radio signals for about a hundred years or so, which creates a radio bubble around SOL, our sun, with a radius of about 100 light years. So first lets look at how many stars are within that bubble.

According to A stars within 100 light-years

there are about 76 stars of type “A” within that distance, which is not very many compared to the estimated 100 to 400 billion stars thought to be in our own Milky Way Galaxy.

Of those stars, there just aren’t that many candidates for habitable planets in orbit around them.

At present speed and existing technology we could reach the nearest star system proxima centauri in about 10,000 years, which is 4 light years away. We can assume the aliens would have similar problems. If we could go as fast as 4.5% the speed of light, about 140 times faster than any spacecraft we have yet to create, then we could reach our nearest neighbor in about 100 years.

I really don’t think you need to worry. We don’t even know if microscopic alien life exists anywhere other than Earth, and we don’t have any evidence that anything more advanced is anywhere near us in the Milky Way Galaxy. Anyone who wanted to travel hundreds of years to try to invade us would be nuts.

How would life be for us if we were to colonize a super-Earth, assuming the planet is not too far from ours?

by Wayne Boyd – Philosopher, blogger, published author

I don’t know why I’d want to move over to that planet. I’d rather keep working to make things better on this planet. Also, I imagine it might be pretty expensive to move, then I have to buy some land and a house over there, make new friends, and so on. Too much trouble for me.

So to answer your question “How would life be for us if we were to colonize a super-Earth” I would think some people would migrate over there and some people or most people would stay here. I mean, people already have their lives set up here, why move over there?

Is anybody out there?

In fact, had a giant asteroid not killed off the dinosaurs, homo sapiens might never have evolved. If it weren’t for that chance cataclysmic encounter from space, Earth might even now be ruled by dinosaurs.

By Wayne Boyd

In the early days of Hollywood and television, we used to think that life on other planets was common. Science fiction movies about invasions from the planet Mars or Venus were normal. HG Wells wrote War of the Worlds which later became a radio show and still later several big screen adaptations and it was about Martians invading Earth.

Even as our imagination thrived our knowledge of the cosmos grew. We sent probes and rovers throughout the solar system and beyond. We gazed into the stars with our space telescopes. We took images from non-visible light and radio waves. Great minds like Einstein and Hawking churned it over. Finally, after all that, we came to a startling if not disappointing realization: Planets other than Earth that support life, if they exist at all, appear to be the exception rather than the rule. There is no warmongering Martian civilization waiting to invade Earth. There are no lovely ladies lounging around on Venus. It’s true not only for our own solar system, but for all the exoplanets we’ve detected so far.

Our understanding of distances in space developed, especially between stars. Distances, it turned out, were vast. The more we knew the less likely it seemed anyone would go star hopping. That not only applies to us, but the aliens as well, if any extraterrestrial sentient beings exist at all! There will be no warp drives, no faster than light travel, and no light speed travel. It just isn’t possible. We can’t go there and they can’t come here.

Recently, there’s been some reports of UFOs in the news, and that’s always been there from the 1950s on. There is no evidence that unidentified flying objects are extraterrestrial in origin. It is unlikely for the simple reason that to travel from one star to the next would take tens of thousands of years. Sadly, and perhaps fortunately, no one is traveling from star to star. The best we can hope for is that we can visit other planets in our own solar system. Maybe one of them might at least have some microbes.

Once we figured out that there wasn’t much chance of advanced, intelligent life elsewhere within our own solar system, then we hoped we would find it on planets around other stars. Remember the movie Avatar? Supposedly that took place around Alpha Centauri, one of our closest group of stars. So if we can’t find life here then for sure it’s going to be on the closest star!

Yet, as we peered into the solar systems of other stars we came to a new understanding: most planets that we’re able to detect outside of our own solar system are hostile environments. There’s something weird about almost all of them, and so the prospect of finding life orbiting on a planet near our closest star is kind of unlikely. There’s no “Avatar” on Alpha Centauri.

Intelligent alien life is not impossible. The universe is a big place. The point is that we now know it to be rare. So rare, in fact, that it might exist nowhere other than here. At least as far as we can see so far.

In fact, had a giant asteroid not killed off the dinosaurs, homo sapiens might never have evolved. If it weren’t for that chance cataclysmic encounter from space, Earth might even now be ruled by dinosaurs.

Therefore, even if a planet were in an ideal goldilocks region around it’s star, and even if on the off chance single cell organisms had developed there, we have no reason to suspect that a homo-erectus kind of being might have developed there.

We really could be the only ones out there.

Would Elon Musk be the most important person to have ever lived if he successfully colonized Mars with 1 million people?

If Elon Musk did colonize Mars with 1 million people, would he be the most important person to have ever lived?

I would then think of him like maybe Christopher Columbus, or the Pilgrims from England that started populating North America. Outside North America these people are not seen as important (or even known). Schools in other parts of the world don’t teach much about this.

Here in America, however, we have Columbus day to remember the crossing of the Atlantic in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, and Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts to remember the first landing of the Pilgrims who came from Plymouth, England. We have Thanksgiving to remember a mutual celebration between the Pilgrims and the local Native Americans after the Pilgrims had their first successful growing season.

So I would say that to the people of Earth Elon Musk would not be the most important person to have ever lived, but to the people of Mars he would be the most important person for the first few generations, but as time passed he would be seen from an historical point of view and remembered on future Martian calendars by the people of Mars.

Here on Earth he would be remembered in history books, too, but so many people have come and gone in the history of mankind. Many people in the past have been very transformative, but overall are not seen as the most important persons. People like Alexander the Great, Issac Newton, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, George Washington, Queen Victoria, ad infinitum, have all been very important in the history of mankind, but none stand out over time as the most important person to have ever lived. So will it be with Elon Musk even if he did colonize 1 million people on Mars.

Do you think human beings will invent a way to travel through space fast enough to reach far away galaxies or they will invent an alternate way to travel through space and time?

Wouldn’t it be great to travel at Warp speed?

The answer to your question, surprisingly enough, is not necessarily “No, humans will never invent a way to travel through space fast enough to reach far away galaxies.”

Here’s the deal. The faster you go, the slower you age, so if you could go almost the speed of light, then it would still take you millions or billions of years to fly to other galaxies from Earth’s point of view, but not so for you who are traveling in the spacecraft. For you the time would be dilated.

Look at an example introduced by Albert Einstein. Consider two twins, named Biff and Cliff. On their 20th birthday, Biff decides to get in a spaceship and take off into outer space, traveling at nearly the speed of light.

He journeys around the cosmos at this speed for about 5 years, returning to the Earth when he is 25 years old.

Cliff, on the other hand, remains on the Earth. When Biff returns, it turns out that Cliff is 95 years old.

Similarly, Biff could travel to other stars and galaxies if he could somehow go fast enough, but meanwhile whole civilizations, humanity and even Earth itself would grow old and cease to exist. So when Biff gets there, Cliff will be long gone. Biff will have traveled forward in time as his spaceship zipped through the cosmos.

Traveling fast enough will slow time down for the astronaut.

Scientists say we can never reach exoplanets, but is it possible to send probes to nearby stars?

Is it possible to send probes to nearby stars?

Yes, and no. We can send probes out of our solar system as we did with Voyager I and II, and theoretically we can direct future probes toward specific exoplanets, but alas.

The distances are so great, even for the nearest exoplanets, that we will all be long dead before they ever reach there.

How’s that I say? I mean, Proxima Centauri is only 4.2 light years away! That’s very close astronomically speaking, isn’t it?

Voyager I is the fastest of the two Voyagers. It travels about 3.6 AU per year, one AU being the distance from Earth to Sun. Proxima Centauri, also known as Alpha Centauri C, is about 268,770 AU. That would take a craft traveling the speed of Voyager I about 74,658 years to reach Proxima Centauri.

So theoretically we could send a probe out there, and when it arrives it could send a signal back to Earth. That signal would take 4.2 years to reach Earth, but would be more than 74 thousand years from now. Who knows if humanity will even still be here by then or if anyone will be listening?

That’s just the nearest exoplanets. Others are much more distant than that.

If you were on the ISS, would the view of the stars be completely clear with the lack of atmospheric distortion and light pollution? If so why aren’t there more pictures of it from their pov?

You don’t understand cameras, do you? Well, a quick lesson then. In cameras (other than cell phone cameras), there’s a thing called aperture. When there’s a bright light the aperture has to be small, to let less light in, so you can photograph something like the Earth. This avoids overexposure of the bright objects in your photo. In space, this blacks out the stars.

However, if like the Hubble Telescope, you just look away from Earth at the stars, you see a whole lot more of them than we can see here on Earth.

Here’s a photo taken of the Hubble Telescope from the point of view of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Notice, because the Earth is so bright, we don’t see any stars.

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) floats gracefully above the blue Earth after release from Discovery’s robot arm after a successful servicing mission.

On the other hand, since the Hubble Telescope points away from the bright light source coming from Earth, we can capture images like these.

Why have humans never been back to the Moon after 1972?

By Richard Muller, Prof. Physics UC Berkeley, author “Physics for Future Presidents”

There never was much value in going to the Moon in the first place, so there was no good reason to return.

When J.F. Kennedy proposed we go to the moon by the end of the 1960s, his goal was to raise American spirits, to return us to a belief that we could win in a competition with the surging Soviet Union (which was not only beating us in space, but even in the Olympics!).

When Kennedy died, I think we were determined to get to the Moon in the now sacred deadline of the late 1960s, to fulfill Kennedy’s dream.

Scientists liked the Moon shot, primarily (this is my observation, not based on a careful poll) because it injected a lot of money into science in space. If the same money had been made available for science in space, but not involving human transport, then most scientists would have favored unmanned experiments, including unmanned exploration of the Moon. It made much more financial sense, but most people (especially at NASA) believed that without the human involvement, the public would not support high levels of spending.

Once we met Kennedy’s goals, of restoring the US spirit and self confidence, then the financial considerations took over. There simply is not much value added by putting men on the Moon; arguably, there is much science value lost. (Science experiments that have to be man-safe are far more expensive.) On the other hand, you’ll notice that not a lot of money has been spent on sending robots to the Moon. Some, and they’ve done some remarkable things, but not the many billions that go along with a man shot.

Instead, we have spent our resources with unmanned exploration of the solar system, with truly spectacular results. We’ve discovered that every moon of every planet appears to be different from every other moon! (That’s only a slight exaggeration.) The great glory of NASA in the last few decades has been its unmanned program. In comparison, the Space Station has accomplished very little. (Again, that is my personal evaluation.)