Betelgeuse

It’s kinda nearby, and it could go supernova anytime soon. It’s a bright star in your night sky. Look for three stars called Orion’s Belt. Very distinguishable for us in the Northern Hemisphere.

Betelgeuse is not one of those three stars. It’s the top left of the group shown in this Wikipedia image of which Orion’s belt is in the center.

The First Day of Spring

Never happened.

There is no first day of spring. There is a spring equinox. This spring of 2019 it will be March 20th at 4:58 PM Central Daylight Time (future tense as of time of writing). Adjust accordingly for your time zone.

Equinox is when the days and nights are of equal length. There’s two equinoxes: Spring and Autumn. It happens to be when Earth passes a particular point in orbit around the sun. This year, that moment will be at March 20th and 4:58 PM CDT. After that moment we enter the spring season, and days in the Northern Hemisphere will officially be longer than nights.

I recognize this is the Internet and many will read this after the fact, but the principle remains the same. There is no official first day of spring. There is only the moment of the spring equinox.

What will be the main economic gains of colonies on Mars, or the Moon?

You don’t want me to answer this question. You are looking for a great, positive answer that will make the future look bright not only for colonies on these places, but an economic base for those colonies.

Meanwhile, I’m going to say I don’t think there’s much justification even for people walking on Mars when our robots can do it more safely and less expensively and achieve the same or better results…. what to speak of “colonies.” I think it’s almost laughable and mostly just science fiction dreaming.

People may or may not one day walk on Mars at great risk, and some will probably die in the attempt. There is little reason to go there from a scientific point of view other than to say we did, just like we walked on the moon and then went away.

In the meantime, a safer, cheaper way is send our machines to go.

You see, what this is all about is finding life. What scientists want to do is prove that life can evolve elsewhere than Earth – a so far unproven theory. We want there to be life elsewhere because we want to prove that life was not “created” on Earth alone, but life naturally develops from matter when conditions are ideal.

We don’t need “colonies” or economic bases in space to prove that. We just need to find some germs under some rocks or on some moon around some planet in our solar system. For that we just need space vehicles and robots like the Mars Rovers.

Whether we find life or not is anyone’s guess, but it is still science fiction thinking we will colonize anything off planet.

If just .001% of 10 billion Earth-like planets orbiting sun-like stars in the Milky Way have harbored advanced, intelligent life, shouldn’t we have seen some kind of evidence of their past existence, since this would equal 100,000 civilizations?

Great question! Complicated answer. Let’s start by looking Earthward at ourselves, then we’ll compare that looking spaceward toward the stars.

As you know, homosapiens are the advanced, intelligent life form on Earth which is now technologically advanced and space faring.

Now by some estimates, humans have been on this planet only for the last 200,000 years, or one fifth of one million years. There are a thousand million years in a billion years, and the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. So, humans have been on Earth for only a tiny fraction of Earth’s existence. Here’s a graphic to illustrate that point and more to follow below.

This image illustrates what it would look like on a 24 hour clock comparing the age of Earth to the presence of humans. In fact, life itself has existed on Earth for less of half the lifespan of the planet, what to speak of humans.

So you can see, even though we have a planet in the goldilocks orbital region around our sun, someone looking at Earth many light years away would not see humans even though humans are here, because the light or radio waves haven’t reached them. They would assume this a dead planet. Humans have existed on this planet, in terms of a 24 hour clock, 1 minute and 17 seconds. In terms of exploring space, for less than 1 second.

You see, just because humans have been on Earth about 200,000 years doesn’t mean humans have been emitting radio waves and exploring space for all that time. In fact, we only began exploring space 60 years ago and emitting radio waves for a couple of hundred years. In the history of Earth, we have explored space (in terms of a 24 hour clock) for only a flash of a portion of a second.

That’s us. Now let’s look at the stars.

Let’s say there are 100,000 planets with advanced life like humans on them right now.

However, since the galaxy is 200,000 light years across, someone on a planet on the other side of the galaxy from us would not be visible to us. We’d see that as a planet with no human-like people because it would take light and radio waves 200,000 years to reach us. Now take into consideration that of the 100,000 planets with human-like people on them (as you suggest in your question), it took us 200,000 years to get to the point of emitting radio waves and exploring space. Hence, we’re looking for a very narrow window in a planet’s lifespan that intelligent life might be detected. Not only a tiny fraction of the planet’s existence has it had intelligent life, but only a tiny fraction of the time the intelligent life existed there were they able to emit radio waves and explore space, even if all conditions were favorable for that planet to eventually develop intelligent life.

Furthermore, the sky is very big. Looking for exoplanets, we have explored less than 3% of the total sky so far.

Put all of that together and the chance we would have detected other intelligent life is almost nil to date, even though it might still be out there somewhere. The guy below might be the exception.

Skinny Dipping in the Adirondacks

When I was a young boy we used to go hiking in the Adirondacks. My father would sling an ax over his shoulder and my mother and her three boys would set out on an adventure in the mountains.

We would come across leantoos. This is basically a wooden shack with a roof and one side open to the elements. It was shelter provided by the park service. We’d set up camp and spend the night.

Leantoo in the Adirondack Mountains, New York State.
Typical leantoo in the Adirondack Mountains.

I was the youngest of three boys and although these were really cool adventures, my brothers were 8 and 10 years older than me, so I used to complain a lot about all the walking.

Some of the places we visited had water falls and pools of deep, cold and fresh water. Because nobody thought to bring bathing suits, they went skinny dipping.

Now, don’t try. They’re watching from the sky.

Specialized spy satellites that can photograph things as small as a fist are flying above us. I can even see the junk in my backyard by searching Google Earth, and word is the governments have even better satellites flying at over 17,000 mph about 200 miles above.

Weird Things Happening

Some weird stuff is going on. Dark stuff.

We can look out and calculate that galaxies are spinning too fast and should fly apart but they don’t. So we think there’s too much gravity.

And so we came up with the notion there’s some invisible undetectable stuff called dark matter making up more than 96% of the universe.

Also weird is this lensing effect astronomers see, caused, they suppose, by said dark matter.

Yet we haven’t seen it directly nor detected it even though it should be all around us.

As I said. Pretty weird stuff going on. Leaves plenty of mystery in science.

Build a Vehicle that could park in your garage but fly into orbit?

This would be so cool. Everyone would want one, even if they couldn’t afford it. But is the concept possible?

Well, the short answer is no. It’s not possible.

To understand that “no” requires a little bit of understanding in orbitology.

You see height is not the only problem when you want to stay up in space. If you want to stay up there for sometime you’ll need to be in orbit. To get in orbit you’ve got to go really, really fast – like around 17,000 mph fast.

That’s because an orbit simply put is when an object is going so fast in one direction that as it falls it misses the planet. You’ve got to be going a lot faster than a speeding bullet.

So if you had a vehicle in your garage that could not only fly like a plane, but could continue to fly above the atmosphere and get going 17,000 mph, then you\d be bad ass.

But you can’t and you won’t, because to do all that takes a lot of fuel. That’s why we have these big ol’ rockets boosting satellites and astronauts into space. Those big ol’ rockets are filled with fuel. Once the fuel is expended then the big ol’ rocket isn’t needed anymore and it’s detached to fall back to Earth.

So sadly, the idea of having a small shuttle that you park in your garage and fly into space is just not going to happen. Ever. Sorry!

What are we missing logistically to be able to colonize on Mars?

Great question: “What are we missing logistically to be able to colonize on Mars?|

  • A breathable atmosphere.
  • Nitrogen in the soil to grow stuff (there is none)
  • Temperature range (presently it goes below a hundred degrees below zero).
  • Lack of an organized magnetic field to protect people from the sun.
  • A thin atmosphere equivalent to living way above mount everest on Earth.
  • It’s a long, long far far away. The moon is better.

Why do you think we should even consider colonizing Mars? We can’t even colonize our own planet successfully what to speak of Mars!