UFO Glossary        
#UFOSightings #UFOs #UFO #2013UFOs

4UFOs.com UFO Glossary:

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UFO Glossary and UFO News

This is the UFO Glossary:

 UFO Definition - Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

Key Words in Ufology and the study and research of UFOs and the UFO Phenomenon.

Unidentified Flying Object. This website references unknown objects of a particular kind... “UFO” usually can be used to denote vehicles or crafts of Extraterrestrials or Alien Visitors to Earth. Ultimately, most UFOs are actually one of a few sets of phenomena: aerial, stellar, terrestrial aircraft or unknown atmospheric event; however, it is my personal research that many are of extraterrestrial and extra-dimensional entities. 
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Paranormal Genre of Science, some deem a pseudoscience, using the Scientific Method and good experiment methods to gain insight and understanding of actual physical clues of Real UFOs and Aliens. Still considered by many to not be a legitimate avenue of study.... – or a study that does not meet the criteria to be a legitimate peer-reviewed branch of the Scientific Studies.

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The study of life that exists outside or away from the Planet Earth. Any and all life that evolved on other worlds and solar systems qualifies to be Exobiological in Nature. Species of Extraterrestrial intelligence would be sentient exobiological entities. Relative to Exobiology, the field of study regarding any debate regarding how much influence mankind should have on the worlds around him, as well as the mostly supposition discussed of our interaction with any intelligent life of the Universe in the past, present or in the future: all-together known as the field of Exopolitics.

        UFO Sighting

A UFO Sighting is a specific type of paranormal encounter reported all over the world, from mysterious lights to unknown and suspicious and alien aircraft. In Real UFO Sightings popular culture, the most frequent "Newest UFO Sightings of 2013" references find Grey Aliens and Extraterrestrial Entities at a completely different rate than actual UFO Field Investigators, who historically find down-to-Earth causes for up to 95% of all Reported UFO Sightings. My own personal UFO experiences, beyond a confusing run-in with a flying saucer craft when I was a child (read about that here), are several connections and sightings using the CSETI Coherent Thought Sequencing techniques for mental contact with extraterrestrial intelligent life.  

        UFO Disclosure
A emerging imperative in 2013 is revealing the truth about interactions between Extraterrestrials and the governments of the world. This is of grave importance, with all of Ufology now hopeful for 2013 UFO disclosure.
UFO Alien - Gets Sad when  Page 404'd
Poor Sad UFO Alien. Dry your Tears...

        Real UFOs

Real UFOs in this frame of reference of this Glossary means crafts, whether piloted or unmanned drones, scouts or other unknown aircraft or spacecraft that are not those created by mankind but rather by Alien Intelligence – most often the term goes along with beings of Extraterrestrial Origin, but theories such as Extra-dimensional Aliens alongside the traditional extra-solar Aliens (beings not from our Solar System. In Short: A Real UFO is one that is of the more common connotation of UFO: an alien craft of some origin other than we here on Earth might have produced. 

Grey Aliens 

Grey Aliens, popularly known as the Greys are a subspecies of a type of Extraterrestrial that has been reported to have had a significant amount of interaction with humankind over the many years of our existence. While the first mentions of the Grey Aliens is not until the mid 20th Century, there are many Ufologists, Exobiologists and proponents of the Ancient Astronaut Theory who believe that there is proof of Grey involvement on Earth as far back as mankind has existed.
Grey Aliens: Originators of the Adamu 
In fact, some believe the ancient Adamu tales of the Sumerians were discussing the Grey Alien species as possibly the focus of the myths: gods/celestial beings who came to Earth for resources and took whatever hominid was around, altered us with their own genetic structure in order to have a better working force. 
There is no proof of such claims - no direct evidence at least, other than our genetic make-up, so perhaps when we do finally meet the real aliens officially, will they greet us as children or as a mutant bug - needing to be stepped on as fast as possible?
For more on this particular subject, visit 4UFOs.com's page on Grey Aliens.

Compendiu la lucrarea domnului Liviu Pirtac CIVILIZAŢIILE EXTRATERESTRE - PRIETENI, DUŞMANI SAU SIMPLII OBSERVATORI COSMICI, CURIOŞI DE EVOLUŢIA MAIMUŢELOR DE PE Am citit cu plăcere lucrarea specificată considerată de autor drept o opinie. In fond lucrarea este un eseu al unui credincios Ortodox care consideră binele şi răul drept entităţi spirituale legate de existenţa şi voinţa unei Divinităţi Citarea regretatului domn Carl Edward Sagan[1] (9 noiembrie 1934 20 decembrie 1996), cunoscut astronom şi astrofizician american, este o eroare. Este adevărat că acest domn a fost un pionier de bază al exobiologiei şi fondator al programului de căutare a inteligenţei in Univers (SETI - Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) şi şi-a adus o mare contribuţie la promovarea şi popularizarea ştiinţei Dar SETI nu are nimic comun cu noţiunile de bine şi rău. In nici un caz preocupările acestui emerit savant nu s-au la relatări despre mari sfere care ar evolua jurul draci şi care se luptă pentru dominarea . ...
          Exobiologie : Titan pourrait-elle abriter des cellules vivantes ?        
Dans les lacs de méthane de Titan, la plus grosse lune de Saturne, l'acrylonitrile pourrait permettre la formation de membranes, comme celles protégeant les cellules vivantes sur Terre. Le radiotélescope Alma vient de repérer de grandes quantités de cette molécule dans la haute atmosphère, qui...
          Ð‘онсай в космосе        
Японский художник Азума Макото (Azuma Makoto) в сотрудничестве с JP Aerospace и командой из десяти человек отправил бонсай в космос. Эта миссия называется Exobiotanica. Бонсай в космосе

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          Bard College's Hannah Arendt Center And Center For Civic Engagement Presents "Why Privacy Matters"        

  The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College is hosting its eighth annual international conference from Thursday, October 15 to Friday, October 16 on Bard’s Annandale-on-Hudson campus.

The two-day conference, “Why Privacy Matters,” asks: What do we lose when we lose our privacy? Reading on Kindles, searching Google, and using cell phones leave a data trail of intimate details. Governments and businesses track our comings, goings, and doings. The conference will include many knowledgeable speakers on the subject including (via satellite) NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden. 

Here are some questions to be answered: Why do we willfully participate in the loss of our privacy? How is it that we rarely register its loss? Do we simply value privacy less? It is time to ask why privacy matters? How can a right to privacy and a meaningful private life exist today?

We are joined by Roger Berkowitz and David Brin.

Roger Berkowitz is Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College and Associate Professor of Politics, Philosophy, and Human Rights.

David Brin is an American scientist and award-winning author of science fiction. He has served as visiting scholar at NASA in Exobiology.

          'UNDER THE ALIEN SKIN' - June 29, 2017        
The existence of rational, sentient beings on a planet other than Earth is no longer a fantastic, remote possibility conjectured by imaginative and unrealistic minds. It is declared not a possibility but a probability by an ever-growing chorus of distinguished astronomers and eminent scientists in all fields. Already, there has been established a new science – “exobiology,” the study of forms of extraterrestrial life. On tonight’s show, Clyde Lewis talks about UNDER THE ALIEN SKIN.

As the mainstream media is constantly creating a barrage of noise with regard to political criminality, email leaks are not only proving that the criminality in government is widespread, it is also revealing conversations about the future which include space travel, secret space programs, and the reality of extra-terrestrial life that at this moment is undefined. On tonight’s show, Clyde Lewis talks about SIGNS OF LIFE: DETERMINING THE EXOBIOLOGICAL PROTOCOL.

          'MAJESTIC LEAKS' - October 11, 2016        
When it comes to extra-terrestrials, many people in the military and those in political circles are now being more matter of fact about what is happening and it is surprising the mainstream media has avoided the discussion and once again, has neglected to point out that those in political circles are really itching to go public on issues of exobiology. You may not believe in aliens, but it is evident that space agencies around the world do and the United States military, NASA and other black ops organizations have sensitive information they have kept from the American people regarding strange anomalous activities in space. On tonight’s show, Clyde Lewis talks about MAJESTIC LEAKS.

          'THE E.B.E. MANEUVER' - August 23, 2016        
Is NASA telling us everything about what is going on in the solar system? Is there a massive cover up about alien life, man’s exobiological origins and the life span of the Earth? Furthermore, what’s causing space telescopes and satellites to shut down when there’s anomalous activity occurring? On tonight’s show, Clyde Lewis talks about E.B.E. MANEUVER.

          Actualités OVNI Paris Février 2017        
Le quartier de Conflans survolé par un Ovni ?

Un phénomène paranormal a-t-il eu lieu à Conflans-Sainte-Honorine ? Un couple de la ville dit avoir vu d’importantes formes géométriques lumineuses au-dessus de son quartier. Ce week-end Michel et Isabelle ont distribué des affichettes dans les boîtes aux lettres de leurs voisins afin de recueillir des témoignages.
Photos et vidéo à l’appui, il s’agit selon eux d’un objet volant non identifié (Ovni). Les images sont étranges : on y voit clairement un triangle et un hexagone. Ces formes sont déterminées par des points blancs, rouges voire verts qui scintillent eti s’animent. « C’était vraiment proche des maisons, raconte Michel. Cela fait bizarre d’apercevoir ce genre de chose, je n’en ai pas dormi pendant plusieurs jours ».

Un appel à témoins dans le quartier
Depuis que le couple a vécu ce phénomène, dans la nuit du 29 au 30 novembre dernier entre 0 h 20 et 0 h 50, Michel multiplie les démarches pour en savoir plus. ..

« Les Mystérieuses Reliques du Pérou » avec Thierry Jamin

Thierry Jamin est un archéologue, chercheur et explorateur français, président de l'Institut Inkari Cusco. Il est diplômé en Histoire & Géographie aux Universités françaises de Tours et de Toulouse. Depuis 1998, il consacre ses recherches dans le sud du Pérou à l’étude de la présence permanente des Incas en forêt amazonienne.

Nous aborderons dans cette émission un sujet d’actualité captivant : la découverte récente de reliques très étranges dans la zone désertique Paracas-Nazca du Pérou. Ces reliques ou « créatures momifiées », découvertes dans le désert péruvien en janvier 2016, sont en cours d’analyse (test ADN, C14, …).

Cette découverte archéologique extraordinaire pourrait non seulement bouleverser l'Histoire de l'Humanité mais aussi apporter un éclairage nouveau sur la place de l'Homme dans un univers où il n'est certainement pas si seul que l’on veut bien le croire.

«ABDUCTIONS » avec Nicolas Dumont

Après une formation classique de psychologue clinicien, il s’est formé dès la sortie de l’université à l’hypnose éricksonnienne, puis a exploré les EMC sous quatre angles : en tant qu’expérienceur d’EMC induits, en tant que thérapeute pratiquant une large gamme d’états modifiés de conscience (hypnose, respiration holotropique, chamanisme, méditation, etc.), en tant que psychologue théoricien des EMC et enfin en tant qu’accompagnateur de personnes vivant des expériences extraordinaires de tous ordres.
Progressivement, par synchronicités successives, son attention s’est dirigée sur les abductions.

Cette émission sera consacrée en partie à l’histoire de Sonia ,un cas troublant et émouvant d’abductions répétées.

La CIA publie des documents secrets sur les OVNI, et il y a des photos !

La CIA vient de déclassifier et quelques 930.000 documents secrets datant de sa création à aujourd’hui et a rendu le tout accessible avec un moteur de recherche dédié. Parmi ces documents, on trouve des photographies de soucoupes volantes, ou plus précisément d’OVNI, et des détails sur le projet d’expériences psychiques nommés « Stargate Â» entre autres perles.
Alors en 2014, une association américaine, Muckroach, a trainé l’agence de renseignement américaine en justice pour que celle-ci publie enfin ses « x-files Â». L’association a eu le soutien de la NSA et d’un journaliste qui souhaitait lui aussi obtenir une copie de ces documents, Michael Best. Et cette année, victoire : l’agence les a enfin mis en ligne, et on peut librement les consulter avec un moteur de recherche dédié.

En tout ce sont plus de 12 millions de pages qui sont disponibles. N’espérez cependant pas y trouver de vrais secrets d’Etat : les documents ont été dument relus et expurgés de contenu trop sensible. Alors on y trouve pêle-mêle des observations d’OVNI supposés avec des photos de piètre qualité, des documents au sujet d’un tunnel secret entre Berlin Est et Ouest construit par la CIA durant la guerre, et un mystérieux programme Star Gate entre autres perles.

Un cosmonaute, témoin d’ovni, vient de décéder

Igor Volk, pilote-cosmonaute et héros de l'Union soviétique depuis 1984, est décédé à l'âge de 80 ans le 3 janvier 2017.
En 1985, six membres d’équipage étaient présents à bord de la station spatiale soviétique Salyut-7 : Les cosmonautes Leonid Kizim, Oleg Atkov, Vladimir Soloviev, Svetlana Savitskaya, Igor Volk et Vladimir Jannibekov auraient observé un étrange nuage de gaz orange enveloppant la station. Un éclair de lumière vive aurait aveuglé tous les cosmonautes à bord pendant un certain temps avant de distinguer sept silhouettes à l’extérieur de la station.
Rappelons que le cosmonaute russe Vladimir Kovalyonok a révélé dans une émission de télévision intitulée "Rossiya Russian" avoir observé le 5 mai 1981 un étrange objet lumineux depuis la station spatiale Saliout 6.

« Nous étions au-dessus de l'objet qui bougeait parallèlement à notre position puis nous vîmes deux explosions ». Ils ont même demandé à Victor Savinyj d'aller chercher la caméra.

Il déclare que l'objet avait la forme d'un melon et qu'il est très difficile dans le cosmos de déterminer la distance.

Pour qui sont ces OVNIs qui surfent sur nos têtes ?

L’homo sapiens sapiens que nous sommes censés être répondra bien évidemment : « c’est pour nous ! », ou pire: « c’est pour MOI », tant notre anthropocentrisme tous azimuts, nous interdit d’envisager que ce phénomène puisse être destiné à « quelqu’un » d’autre !
C’est aussi vouloir ignorer la quasi-certitude d’existence d’exobiologie(s)dans d’autres galaxies ou parmi les « quelques »10 (exp500) autres univers que le nôtre.

On peut donc légitimement concevoir que l’apparence d’extrême absurdité (à nos yeux) des manifestations ovniennes soit « simplement due à un degré d’étrangeté, élevé, tel que je l’ai proposé dans mon livre et dans un article publié sur le site de l’Académie d’Ufologie.
Toutes les voies sont « bonnes », étant donnée l’immensité de notre ignorance en la matière. Le scénario proposé s’inscrit totalement dans mon HYPOTHESE EXTRATERRESTRE GENERALISEE et en constitue une extension logiquement obligatoire.

Vidéos de la conférence “Search for life: from early Earth to Exoplanets”

Du 9 au 16 Décembre 2016 se tenaient à Quy Nhon les 11ème rencontres du Vietnam, sur le thème de la recherche de la vie, de la Terre primitive aux exoplanètes (« Search for life: from early Earth to Exoplanets »).

La plupart des présentations orales données par des experts internationaux lors de la conférence (du 11 au 16) ou lors de l’école qui la précédait (du 9 au 11) ont été enregistrées et sont disponibles à la demande via les liens ci-dessous (en anglais).

Groundbreaking UFO Video Just Released By Chilean Navy

An exceptional nine-minute Navy video of a UFO displaying highly unusual behavior, studied by Chilean authorities for the last two years, is now being released to the public. The CEFAA - the Chilean government agency which investigates UFOs, or UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena), has been in charge of the investigation. Located within the DGAC, the equivalent of our FAA but under the jurisdiction of the Chilean Air Force, CEFAA has committees of military experts, technicians and academics from many disciplines. None of them have been able to explain the strange flying object captured by two experienced Navy officers from a helicopter.

The Chilean government agency always makes its cases public when an investigation is complete, and acknowledges the existence of UAP when a case merits such a conclusion.

General Ricardo Bermúdez, Director of CEFAA during the investigation, told me that “We do not know what it was, but we do know what it was not.” And “what it is not” comprises a long list of conventional explanations. 

Witness spots UFO while waiting for rocket launch

The events occurred about 8:15 p.m. on January 19, 2017.
“My husband and I were in the viewing bleachers for the launch of the Atlas V rocket carrying a missile detecting satellite,” the witness stated. “We were in a launch delay. I was standing in the bleachers and others were sitting.”

The witness says she was staring at the sky as she had heard that UFOs sometimes frequent launches.

“I was looking towards the east and suddenly I saw an extremely bright, yellow/green light and it was wide, and it was close. It was horizontal to the ground and it streaked by us. I yelled, ‘Look’ and people in the stands caught a glimpse. It was so fast that many missed it, but some didn’t. The woman behind me who was sitting down and just caught a glimpse said it was a meteor. I said, no, there was something in it.”

CIA release report detailing UFO sightings in India

One report in particular which was curated on April 11, 1968, details UFO sightings on six separate incidents spanning from Ladakh (in India), Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan from February to March of the same year.

The information report which describes “particulars of bright objects seen over south Ladakh, north east Nepal, north Sikkim and western Bhutan,” specifies the date, local time, area, direction of flight and particulars of the object.

Some scientific explanations for alien abduction that aren’t so out of this world

Belief in aliens has increased steadily since the birth of modern alien research in the 1940s and 1950s, following the news surrounding a classified US military project at Roswell Air Force Base, New Mexico. Surveys in Western cultures estimated belief in aliens to be as high as 50% in 2015. And despite the fact that it is considered rare, a significant number of people also believe they have experienced alien abduction.
Mixed evidence supports the theory that fantasy-prone people engage in elaborate imaginings and often confuse fantasy with reality. There are also other psychological explanations, such as dissociation – where an individual’s mental processes detach from each other and from reality, often in response to extreme or stressful life events. A tendency towards being fantasy-prone and dissociation has been linked in studies to childhood trauma and hypnotic suggestibility.

Psychologists argue that hypnosis encourages the creation and recall of detailed fantasies. For example, Betty and Barney Hill’s account was typical of reported alien encounters: medical examinations or procedures, communication with alien captors, a powerful, mystical feeling, tours of spaceships and journeys to other planets before being returned to the car. And it was under hypnosis that these “missing memories” were “recovered”.

It’s for these reasons that it’s believed alien abduction experiences may arise from a combination of personality characteristics and susceptibility to false memories.
None of this is to say that many people who believe they have experienced alien abduction are liars, merely that their accounts and experiences can be explained through recourse to theories with a scientific basis. There are many logical, plausible scientific explanations, none of which rely upon the existence of aliens. However, it should also be noted that not all reported alien abduction experiences can be easily explained by any of these scientific theories – and this throws up many more questions.

Flashes from an Unknown Source Far Beyond the Milky Way 

Perhaps the source "is a dwarf galaxy that contains a supermassive black hole, or is the nucleus of a disrupted galaxy or even just an isolated black hole,” Heino Falcke, a radio astronomer and astroparticle physicist at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands told the LA Times about mystery milliseconds-long flashes detected by researchers at Cornell University and a global team. “Maybe the persistent source is something completely different – for example, an exploding star ‘disguised’ to look like a black hole. And are these bursts made by the black hole itself, or by something else in orbit around it? After all, supermassive black holes are typically surrounded by dense star clusters."

Once thinking these bursts had emanated from within the Milky Way galaxy, or from cosmic neighbors, the astronomers now confirm that they are long-distance flashes from across the universe – more than 3 billion light-years away, according to a new report published Jan. 4 in the journal Nature.

“Because these flashes last only a millisecond, you can’t just go back and look at that patch of sky at a different time and catch that fast radio burst,” said Shami Chatterjee, an astronomer at Cornell University and leader of the Nature paper. “You have to be looking at that right millisecond to be able to catch a fast radio burst. These radio flashes must have enormous amounts of energy to be visible from over 3 billion light-years away.”

          Actualités OVNI Paris Janvier 2017        
80 rapports d’ovnis libérés par le Ministère de la Défense espagnol

Le ministère espagnol de la Défense a déclassifié 80 rapports d’ovnis contenant environ 1.900 pages de cas d’observations répertoriés au-dessus de l’espace aérien espagnol entre 1962 et 1995.

Le processus de déclassification des documents a débuté en 1991 lorsque le ministère de la Défense a décidé d’analyser les rapports et de réduire leur niveau de classification afin de les rendre disponibles au public.
En outre, les documents déclassifiés révèlent un certain nombre d’observations ayant eu lieu au-dessus de l’Espagne où des ovnis ont été détectés par les radars, bien qu’invisibles pour les pilotes qui ont été envoyés pour les intercepter.

Un document qui date du 28 novembre 1979 indique que de nombreux témoins ont observé deux ovnis au-dessus de Madrid. Un avion militaire a été envoyé à leur poursuite, mais le pilote intercepteur n’a rien vu bien que Â« les conditions météorologiques étaient excellentes » et que les « contacts radars aient été établis quatre fois », indique le rapport.

OVNI boule brillante sur la Slovaquie

Scott C. Waring: Cet ovni brillant a été aperçu en Europe et analysait scientifiquement les substances contenues dans le chemtrail laissé derrière le long-courrier. Les chemtrails transportent de nombreuses substances et certains pensent que les gouvernements du monde entier diffusent ces substances dans le ciel pour mieux contrôler mentalement les habitants de la Terre. Toutes ces substances peuvent provoquer des maladies incurables et d’importantes mutations génétiques. Les extraterrestres sont définitivement concernés par notre état actuel et à quelle vitesse nous mutons tous actuellement.

Pérou - Un ovni observé par de nombreux témoins le 11 Novembre 2016 ?

Le Vendredi 11 Novembre 2016, les habitants de diverses régions du Pérou, dont ceux de la capitale, Lima, ont pu observer un ovni de couleur orange, se déplaçant lentement dans le ciel.
Les témoins de et évènement ont expliqué avoir été fascinés par l'observation de cet étrange objet qu’ils pensent avoir été guidé par des extraterrestres.
Une vidéo réalisée à l’occasion de ce phénomène permet de constater qu’il s’agissait en effet d’un élément de forme sphérique qui se déplaçait de la gauche vers la droite dans un ciel plutôt nuageux.

7ème Congrès ufologique d'Ovni Languedoc

OVNI-Languedoc a organisé une fois de plus une journée ou congrès de conférences ufologiques le 22 octobre 2016 et encore une fois la qualité des intervenants était au rendez-vous.

Le 07 janvier 2017, c'est la 6ème soirée RR4
La prochaine soirée t'chat se déroulera le 07 janvier 2017 de 21h à 23h.
Ce sera la dernière soirée en direct sur blog-vidéo. Les prochaines soirées en direct se feront sur youtube-live.
L'invité sera Stéphane.M du site R.I.C.E viendra nous parler des RR4.
La soirée se déroulera au lien: http://odhtv.blog-video.tv/ 

Les réalités (in)visibles 2017
11-12 Février, Laon
Colloque avec comme intervenants : Miriam Belmyr, Nicolas Dumont, Fabrice Bonvin, Jean-Jacques Jaillat, Nagib Kary, Romuald Leterrier, Philippe Guillemant, Laurent Boulanger, Sonia Jacobe et  Jocelin Moresson.

De la vie dans les océans d’eau liquide des satellites glacés ?

Plusieurs satellites glacés des planètes géantes hébergent probablement les plus grands océans d’eau liquide du système solaire. Dans les cas d’Encelade et d’Europe, ces réservoirs souterrains d’eau liquide seraient en contact avec des silicates et bénéficieraient d’un apport d’énergie par effet de marée, permettant le développement d’une chimie organique complexe. La sonde Cassini-Huygens a découvert des panaches riches en eau et contenant aussi des sels et des molécules organiques émis depuis l’océan souterrain d’Encelade. Plus récemment, des observations d’Europe menées avec le télescope spatial Hubble ont confirmé la présence de possibles panaches d’eau émis depuis la surface de ce satellite galiléen [1]. La composition des réservoirs souterrains d’Europe pourrait donc aussi être accessible en orbite ou en surface grâce à ces panaches. S’il y a de l’eau liquide, des molécules organiques et des sources d’énergie dans ces environnements, pourrait-on aussi y trouver des formes de vie ?

Les trop nombreuses soucoupes de Roswell
Gildas Bourdais, décembre 2016

Depuis que l’affaire de Roswell a été rouverte peu à peu, à partir des années 80, des témoignages et des documents contradictoires se sont accumulés, qui ont multiplié les accidents supposés d’ovnis dans la région de Roswell. Que penser de cette étonnante inflation ? Je pense pour ma part, après avoir étudié ce dossier depuis des années, qu’il y a un dossier crédible et un seul, étayé par de très nombreux témoignages, et c’est celui qui provoqua le célèbre communiqué de presse le 8 juillet 1947, démenti le soir même. Les enquêtes ont été longues et difficiles, et  même ce dossier a été handicapé par certains faux témoignages, comme ceux de Frank Kaufmann et Jim Ragsdale en 1994, que les enquêteurs de l’époque ont réussi cependant à neutraliser.

J’ai raconté cela dans plusieurs livres mais, il y a encore des récits divergents qui circulent et qui sont relancés dans les médias.  C’est un bon moment pour faire une brève récapitulation de ces histoires, dont la liste à elle seule devrait inciter à la prudence. 

WikiLeaks Documents Reveal United Nations Interest In UFOs

WikiLeaks posted more than half a million U.S. State Department diplomatic documents from 1978 detailing America’s interactions with countries all around the world â€• including Grenada Prime Minister Eric Gairy’s efforts to organize a United Nations-based committee to research and investigate global UFO reports.

Many of the documents, written by American UN officials, indicated how closely they were monitoring Grenada’s UFO-related activities. 
On Nov. 28, 1978, the day after our presentation at the UN, this document was sent through official channels, detailing the actual UFO event, describing what each of the invited scientific and military speakers had to say to the member nations.
The following week brought forth another document, on Dec. 8, 1978, which stated:
“The General Assembly invites interested member states to take appropriate steps to coordinate on a national level scientific research and investigation into extraterrestrial life, including unidentified flying objects, and to inform the secretary-general of the observations, research and evaluation of such activities.”

It was further suggested that Grenada’s views on UFOs could be discussed in 1979. Unfortunately, that didn’t come to pass, as Grenada Prime Minister Gairy was overthrown in a 1979 coup.
Needless to say, without the Gairy-based initiative on UFOs, it was quietly relegated to Grenada’s back burner.

Max Spiers: Man 'investigating UFOs and alleged cover-ups' vomited black fluid before he died, inquest hears

'Your boy's in trouble. If anything happens to me, investigate,' said deceased's last message to his mother.
Conspiracy theorist Max Spiers vomited two litres of black liquid before he died, an inquest has heard. His death caused widespread suspicion among his friends and family, who said he had been investigating some “dark” things.

The 39-year-old, from Canterbury, was complaining of illness before he was found dead in Warsaw, Poland on 16 July. He had been due to speak at a conference.

Despite not performing a post mortem, an investigation by the Polish authorities found Mr Spiers died of natural causes – a verdict met with dismay by his family and colleagues in the conspiracy community.
In October, The Independent revealed that the Foreign Office would not be investigating the death. They said the procedure was the responsibility of the Polish authorities.

2016: Triangle UFOs maintain elusive nature

The triangle UFO is my favorite shape to report on for several reasons. The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) receives a lot of reports of this shape, and the witness testimony is some of the most compelling where the craft is silent and very close to the ground – often just skimming the tops of homes and businesses or local tree tops as it meanders along – and then just as quickly as it appeared – it moves away incredibly fast until it’s a mere speck of light in the distance.

Back in July 2016, I wrote a MUFON UFO Journal cover story where I studied all triangle cases from January 1, 2016, through May 21, 2016. With the help of colleagues Director of Strategic Projects Richard Hoffman, Director of Research Robert Powell, and Archivist Cassidy Nicholas – I cataloged the best cases and allowed the group to choose what they thought were the best cases from the group.

That turned up 15 most interesting cases. I am attaching that feature story below for the public to read, but updating you on three of those cases. California Case 75510 was closed as Information Only; Arizona Case 75548 closed as Insufficient Data; and California Case 75837 closed as an Identified Flying Object.
Since this brief study, MUFON has received 91 additional triangle cases worldwide that have closed as Unknowns; where 66 of those cases occurred between May 22 and December 22, 2016 – and 59 of that final set occurred within the U.S.

Large UFO spotted over Hollywood freeway

“The object was flat. Its underbelly was a soft, radiant, blue-white light in a honey-combed patterned shape. Very faint aura around the object. The object’s speed resembled the grace of a blimp, very directional and straight, yet very gradual and slow in shift of direction overall through the experience. The object was heading east towards us and its speed was cruising, causal, slow, yet the light detail resembled a superstructure in a blue-white, honey-combed pattern that was entirely luminous. NO landing lights, no blinking lights, no conventional aircraft resemblance. This was a solid, luminous shape that did not pulsate or change intensity in lumination or brightness. It moved gracefully without abrupt turns. Just smooth, clearly indicating behavior of a large craft, like an aircraft carrier or blimp would, and like these examples, one realized it gained distance in a short amount of time.”

The group tried to decide exactly what the object was.

“We were now three witnesses trying to identify the craft. We quickly agreed the craft was not anything we were ever familiar with, as we all have much flying experience. I am a drone owner as well, and this was not the behavior of a drone with zigzag action or its type of lights. About a minute of observation, we agreed the craft with this behavior easily was in the measurement of 100 feet across at least as it dwarfed the structures below on the hills at an 1500-2000 feet elevation above the hills.”

Inexplicable UFO captured on radar over air base - claims former RAF Lieutenant

The incident happened while Malcolm Williams was working in air traffic control at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire, on a night shift, just before Christmas in either 1994 or 1995, according to UFO investigator Phillip Mantle who interviewed him.
Mr Williams said he had nearly 20 years of experience at the time and was used to analysing quirks that radar can sometimes produce such as bird activity and atmospheric variation. 
On the night in question, Mr Williams was guiding two C130 Hercules aircraft, that were approximately three miles from touch down. 
But, he suddenly observed a very large "blob" on the radar screen, that he has been unable to explain.
Not knowing what it was, he contacted the pilots of the two Hercules aircraft and fed them around the target.
He said he then passed control of the inbound aircraft to a colleague and went upstairs to the visual control room. 
Mr Williams was interviewed about the incident by UFO investigator Philip Mantle.
Mr Mantle said: "The room where he had been based had no windows so he wanted to see if he could obtain a visual sighting of this radar target. 
"Mr Williams could not see anything but another radar called the DFTI (Distance from Touchdown Indicator) located in the visual control room also had this blob, which was stationary at the time, on its screen. 

An Ice Sheet the Size of New Mexico Hidden in Martian Crater

An ice sheet with more water than Lake Superior may slake the thirst of future astronauts living on Mars.
Using radar soundings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, scientists probed what lies in Utopia Planitia, a 2,000-mile-wide basin within an ancient impact crater.

For decades, the region looked intriguing because of polygonal cracking and scalloped depressions in the landscape. In places on Earth like the Canadian Arctic, patterns like these arise from ice beneath the surface. The ground cracks as ice underneath expands and contracts with the changing temperatures; the scallops, as if carved by an ice cream scoop, are places where the surface sinks as the ice melts.

“We’d say, ‘It looks like there’s ground ice there,’” Cassie Stuurman, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, said about Utopia Planitia. “What we haven’t known is how much is there.”


          Actualités OVNI Paris Novembre 2015        

La solution

Fondamentalement, la solution à l’Intervention ne réside pas dans la technologie, la politique ou la force militaire. La résolution de ce problème auquel l’humanité est confrontée repose sur plusieurs points essentiels :

 â€¢ un renouveau de l’esprit humain.
• une prise de conscience générale du phénomène de l’Intervention.
• l’opposition ouverte de la population à cette intrusion.
• cesser de tourner au ridicule ce qui a trait à ce phénomène, car cela empêche les gens d’exprimer ce qu’ils voient et ce qu’ils savent.
• mettre fin à l’isolement de ces mêmes personnes.
• que chacun apprenne à voir la réalité telle qu’elle est, au-delà de ses peurs, du déni, de ses rêveries et de ses illusions.
• Le développement d’une force et d’une conscience chez tous ceux dont le pouvoir personnel grandit.

Soir Ovni dans le monde 28.10.15

Soir Ovni dans le monde édition du 28 octobre 2015 vous est présenté par Gilles Thomas.
Avec l'intervention de Bruno Bousquet et Bernard de l'association Ovni Languedoc, Raymond Choquette de l'association québécoise d'ufologie

Duo d'OVNIs sur Vero Beach

2015 semble être une année riche en observations d'OVNIs pour la Floride. La dernière en date a été filmée à Vero Beach, qui a été le théâtre en janvier dernier d'une observation très similaire. 

Un couple de Floride a filmé le vendredi 25 septembre deux objets lumineux en forme de diamant depuis la plage de Vero Beach, à une centaine de kilomètres au sud de Cap Canaveral, site de la fameuse la base de lancement américaine. L’un des deux témoins fournit un bref descriptif de son observation : « Les deux lumières sont apparues à 19 h 33 au-dessus de l’océan. Elles sont restées en suspension pendant environ 3 ou 4 minutes. Elles ont disparu quand mon épouse, Kathy, a cessé de filmer. Â» Il ajoute cette précision troublante : « Par deux fois, la veille de l’observation et au lendemain de celle-ci, des hélicoptères militaires ont survolé la plage à différentes altitudes. Il arrive que ce genre d’appareils passe près de chez nous mais c’est assez rare. D’autant plus en l’espace de seulement trois jours… Â» 

L’exobiologie et la possibilité de la vie sur la Terre… et ailleurs dans l’univers

L’exobiologie est un domaine scientifique interdisciplinaire qui met non seulement l’accent sur la recherche de la vie extraterrestre, mais aussi sur la compréhension des paramètres environnementaux clés qui ont permis l’émergence de la vie sur Terre. Ces paramètres physiques et chimiques sont des connaissances fondamentales nécessaires non seulement pour découvrir la vie ou des signes de vie sur d’autres planètes, mais aussi pour la compréhension de notre propre environnement terrestre. Par conséquent, l’exobiologie nous pousse à combiner différentes perspectives telles que les conditions qui régnaient sur la Terre primitive, les limites physico-chimiques de la vie, l’exploration d’environnements habitables dans le système solaire, et la recherche de signatures de la vie dans les exoplanètes. Chimistes, biologistes, géologues, planétologues et astrophysiciens contribuent largement à ce champ de recherche interdisciplinaire.

Plusieurs ovnis sont rapportés en Sibérie orientale

Selon le Siberian Times, plusieurs observations d’ovnis ont été signalées aux médias locaux, notamment à Oulan-Oude, la capitale de la République russe de Bouriatie, à proximité du lac Baïkal.

« Quand l’objet s’est arrêté juste au-dessus de nous, je suis resté bouche baie et vu deux hommes en train de courir pour se cacher dans un bâtiment, Â» déclare-t-elle au Siberian Times. « C’était une très grande soucoupe avec des lumières vertes. Mon fils a eu peur et a attrapé ma main puis nous nous sommes enfuies. Je n’aurai jamais cru que quelque chose de ce type pouvait exister Â».

D'autres habitants d’Oulan-Oude ont raconté avoir également repéré d'étranges lumières dans le ciel.

« UFO – SCIENCE Â» L’étude scientifique du phénomène Ovni avec Mathieu Ader

Une recherche citoyenne et bénévole
La seule association française en charge de l’étude scientifique du phénomène OVNI sur le terrain, mais aussi en laboratoire.

L’équipe :
– Jean-Pierre Petit : Président de l’association
– Jean-Christophe Doré : Chercheur au Lambda Laboratory
Développement de stations de détection automatiques.
– Mathieu Ader : Diffusion des réseaux de diffraction.
Mise en place des procédures d’intervention sur le terrain.
– Xavier Lafont : Électrotechnicien

Le phénomène OVNI défraie la chronique depuis de nombreuses décennies. En parallèle, notre planète est entrée dans une phase cruciale de son histoire, sans précédent connu, où l’homme s’est doté de moyens techniques lui permettant d’altérer gravement et de manière irréversible son environnement et, au-delà, d’annihiler toute vie à la surface de la Terre. Parmi les signes actuels les plus visibles, on notera le réchauffement planétaire. L’activité technico-scientifique terrestre est riche de retombées technologiques et bien souvent militaires, tant au plan du développement d’armes de destruction massive que de la manipulation de vastes groupes humains. Si notre technologie progresse de manière spectaculaire, notre connaissance fondamentale s’enlise de plus en plus. On notera ainsi à titre d’exemple, la stérilité de la physique théorique à travers l’incontournable théorie des supercordes. Ceci nous semble être la conséquence d’une sclérose de la pensée, d’un enfermement dogmatique, d’un refus de tout idée scientifique fondamentale réellement novatrice, en particulier, de toute révision de notre façon de concevoir l’univers qui rendrait soudain possible les voyages interstellaires, donc des incursions de visiteurs venant de systèmes situés à plusieurs dizaines d’années-lumière du nôtre, voire plus. Le refus systématique d’engager des recherches concrètes dans le but d’instruire rationnellement et scientifiquement le dossier OVNI est également pour nous un signe d’une claustration de la pensée, d’un « enfermement paradigmatique ».

Yet another 'UFO caught monitoring International Space Station' in Nasa video

The "UFOs" are seen "on an almost daily basis" according to alien hunters who keep spotting them on a Nasa live camera.

the latest sighting on Saturday was an orb which appears to get closer to the ISS and glow in a video uploaded to YouTube by channel Finding UFO.

At between 25 and 26 seconds into the video there is also a strange blue flash to its right.

Scott C Waring, editor of UFOsightingsdaily.com, said: "This UFO is very amazing and seems to appear out of nowhere."
The frequency of so-called UFOs on the cameras of the ISS, which houses six astronauts, is increasing so much according to conspiracists, that some now speculate they may be evidence of "secret tests" carried out by Nasa.

The latest is said to have been filmed on October 1 and shows what is described as "a glowing object moving towards the space station, but far below its orbit."

‘UFOs’ spook Delhi airport security, air force put on high alert

Security agencies guarding Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport have been put on high alert following the ‘regular spotting’ of suspicious flying objects in and around the airport.

On Friday morning, the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) at the Delhi airport observed flying objects thrice, in and around the airport.

Sources said the Indian Air Force even pressed a chopper into action to check the flying object. But the helicopter could not find anything.

On Tuesday too, the ATC had apparently noticed a flying object (a drone) over the runway, but had no visual evidence to support its claim.

The pilot of an Air Vistara flight from Bhubaneswar had complained of being distracted by a laser beam right while landing at IGI’s runway 29 on Wednesday night, putting the lives of hundreds of passengers at risk.

The pilot claimed that he was 6 nautical miles away from runway when he observed the laser beam, which distracted him.

12 Star Trek Gadgets That Now Exist

For geeks growing up in the 1960s, 80s and 90s, a vision of the future has been provided by one very successful television franchise: Star Trek. And the future, it turns out, is coming sooner than even Trek's writers could have imagined. Here are 12 gizmos used on the Star Trek television shows that are now becoming real.

1. Food Replicator
Captain Jean-Luc Picard used to say ‘Tea, Earl Gray, hot!” and it would be replicated instantly. Today's 3D printers don't tackle tea, but there are machines that actually can print food. And other printers, like the MakerBot Replicator 2 are quite adept at making small objects—just as they were shown to do on later episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

2. Universal Translator
n several episodes, we marveled at the universal translator, which decoded what aliens said in real-time—and in the later shows, it was integrated into the communication badges (which explains why basically everyone, regardless of home planet, spoke English). Now, there's an app for that. Voice Translator by TalirApps understands 71 languages (no Klingon yet, though). You speak in your native tongue and the app translates your phrase into another language. 

3.Tablet computer
Commander Geordi Laforge—you know, the guy from Reading Rainbow—used a tablet computer (what they called Personal Access Data Devices, or PADDs) to punch in coordinates for the next star system. Other Starfleet personnel used them to watch video and listen to music—just the things we use tablets for today.

UFO buzzes Virgin Atlantic flight's takeoff at JFK Airport: UFO or UFD (Drone)?

This mysterious object wasn't identified, but The Huffington Post on August 4 is reporting that "UFO experts have suggested that the proximity between the plane and the object is just too narrow for it to be another aircraft." Others are saying it is more of an optical illusion and it is nothing more than a plane in the background of the aircraft departing JFK.

NBC News reports that Delta flight 407 had a "near miss" with a drone at 1,200 feet as it was coming in for a landing at JFK last week. Another drone sighting was reported by JetBlue flight 1834 just two hours before the Delta flight had its "close call" and again this was at JFK Airport.

According to Yahoo News, the video was not taken by a hoaxer. The article on Yahoo suggests that this is a UFO or a "flying saucer." "So far there doesn't seem to be any explanation other than that the object is a flying saucer," writes Andy Wells from Yahoo News.

Technology and the Different Paths to Stability

In the Greater Community, in the region in which your world exists, nations usually engage with each other in space, in counsels, and rarely on their home planets. Because secrecy and discretion are important, actual visitation to other worlds is rare unless worlds are in a network together and have developed over time a great trust with one another. In this case, many different races, if they can tolerate a similar environment and environmental requirements, can live on several different planets. But actually multiracial environments are fairly rare because of the biological hazards involved. Unless races have evolved to function together and have developed the necessary technology and medical boundaries to prevent contamination, then you rarely find many different races living in one world. Yet if races live constantly in sterile environments, cohabitation is possible and is practiced.

You can begin to see the limitations here. It is rare that you will find areas on the terrestrial surface of planets where many different racial groups function and travel, come and go and so forth. Trade is conducted generally off planet through large trade stations and networks in space. Many nations will have trading stations near their planet, or planets, in order to control exposure and to ward off unwanted inquiry and intrusion.

1956 Encounter that was only the beginning…

Unsettled by the feeling, the witness looked into his review mirror and in shock noticed that the sphere was now behind the vehicle and appeared to be following them as they drove.  At this point, his date was horrified and collapsed to the floor boards of the vehicle screaming. Equally terrified, the witness remained driving forward watching this unknown pursuer in the mirror.

As the couple raced through a small gully in the road, they noticed that the unknown light seemed to remain stationary there.  Looking ahead the witness realized that they weren’t the only ones in danger as there was an oncoming car.  Without thought the witness frantically signaled the oncoming driver to pull over flashing his headlights, causing the car to pull off of the road.

With the oncoming car now pulled over the witness explained that this vehicle was a taxi and as they slowly drove by the car, light illuminated the entire scene and to his shock, the driver appeared relaxed, with his white shirt, resting his arm out the window staring straight ahead, with no inclination of what was happening. 

          PoE: Bibliography "S"        

This is the Bibliography "S" page for author's surnames beginning

[Right: George Gaylord Simpson, Paleontologist & Evolutionist, 1902-1984: Léo F. Laporte. See `tagline' quotes below (emphasis italics original, emphasis bold mine), all by Simpson.]

with "S" of books and journals which I may refer to in my book outline, "Problems of Evolution."

Simpson was an a co-founder of the Neo-Darwinian Modern Synthesis, but he had the honesty to admit that the fossil record was not Darwinian!:

"PALEONTOLOGY, once more, furnishes both the most direct evidence for the fact of evolution, and the most imposing evidence against the conception of evolution as a continuous, gradual progression of adaptive relationships. `Gaps in the fossil record' were a serious stumbling block in Darwin's time, and despite the discovery of many missing links - for example the striking completion of horse family history, or the discovery of the bird ancestor Archaeopteryx, with its reptilian features-they still persist. Moreover, they persist systematically: over and over, with suddenness termed `explosive,' a bewildering variety of new types appear: this is true, notably, for example, of the origin of the major mammalian types. Thus, as G.G. Simpson's calculations of rates of evolution show, the bat's wing if evolved by `normal' Mendelian mutation and selective pressure, would have had to begin developing well before the origin of the earth! " (Grene, M.G., 1959, "The Faith of Darwinism," Encounter, Vol. 74, November, p.54).

"At the higher level of evolutionary transition between basic morphological designs, gradualism has always been in trouble, though it remains the `official' position of most Western evolutionists. Smooth intermediates between Baupläne [body plans] are almost impossible to construct, even in thought experiments; there is certainly no evidence for them in the fossil record (curious mosaics like Archaeopteryx do not count). Even so convinced a gradualist as G. G. Simpson (1944) invoked quantum evolution and inadaptive phases to explain these transitions." (Gould, S.J. & Eldredge, N., 1977, "Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered," Paleobiology, Vol. 3, April, pp.115-147, p.147).

"In example after example, Simpson saw that new groups seemed to appear suddenly in the fossil record. New higher taxa such as whales (mammalian order Cetacea), bats (order Chiroptera), or even the lineage of grass-grazing horses that evolved from leaf-browsing ancestors all made sudden appearances. Seldom was there a long series of intermediate forms that could be traced back through the tens of millions of years that such large-scale evolution would seem to call for. Moreover, Simpson saw that these new groups first appear pretty much in recognizable form. ... As one might expect, they were primitive in certain ways as whales; for example, they bore serrated teeth and still retained a pair of pelvic flippers. But those earliest whales were by no means half-way between a four-legged terrestrial mammalian ancestor and a modern sperm whale. They were much more like the latter than the former. Bats offer an even more dramatic example. The earliest ones known, also from the Eocene Epoch, have not only wings but also the distinctive inner-ear apparatus to show that echolocation had already evolved! And here is the kicker. The earliest whales Simpson knew about are some 55 million years old. If one could devise some sort of measure of rate of evolutionary change, the rate of change within whales over the past 55 million years would seem to be slow to moderate. If that rate were then extrapolated back to encompass the far greater anatomical changes between the earliest whales and their wholly terrestrial, four-legged mammalian ancestors, we would have to place the beginnings of whale evolution hundreds of millions of years back in geological time! And that is a patent absurdity, as placental mammals of any kind had appeared at most only a few tens of millions of years prior to the advent of the earliest whales." (Eldredge, N., 1998, "The Pattern of Evolution," W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, Reprinted, 2000, pp.134-135).

© Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology)


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Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blogs: TheShroudofTurin & Jesus is Jehovah!

"For the study of these problems it is the great defect of paleontology that it cannot directly determine any of the cryptogenetic factors that must, after all, be instrumental in the evolution of populations. Fossil animals cannot be brought into the laboratory for the experimental determination of their genetic constitutions. The experiments have been done by nature without controls and under conditions too complex and variable for sure and simple analysis. ... On the other hand, experimental biology in general and genetics in particular have the grave defect that they cannot reproduce the vast and complex horizontal extent of the natural environment and, particularly, the immense span of time in which population changes really occur. They may reveal what happens to a hundred rats in the course of ten years under fixed and simple conditions, but not what happened to a billion rats in the course of ten million years under the fluctuating conditions of earth history. Obviously, the latter problem is much more important. The work of geneticists on phenogenetics and still more on population genetics is almost meaningless unless it does have a bearing in this broader scene. Some students, not particularly paleontologists, conclude that it does not, that the phenomena revealed by experimental studies are relatively insignificant in evolution as a whole, that major problems cannot now be studied at all in the laboratory, and that macro-evolution differs qualitatively as well as quantitatively from the micro-evolution of the experimentalist." (Simpson, G.G., 1944, "Tempo and Mode in Evolution," Columbia University Press: New York NY, Third printing, 1949, pp.xvi-xvii).

"As a matter of personal philosophy, I do not here mean to endorse an entirely mechanistic or materialistic view of the life processes. I suspect that there is a great deal in the universe that never will be explained in such terms and much that may be inexplicable on a purely physical plane. But scientific history conclusively demonstrates that the progress of knowledge rigidly requires that no nonphysical postulate ever be admitted in connection with the study of physical phenomena. We do not know what is and what is not explicable in physical terms, and the researcher who is seeking explanations must seek physical explanations only, or the two kinds can never be disentangled. Personal opinion is free in the field where this search has so far failed, but this is no proper guide in the search and no part of science." (Simpson, 1944, pp.76-77).

"Micro-evolution involves mainly changes within potentially continuous populations, and there is little doubt that its materials are those revealed by genetic experimentation. Macro-evolution involves the rise and divergence of discontinuous groups, and it is still debatable whether it differs in kind or only in degree from microevolution. If the two proved to be basically different, the innumerable studies of micro-evolution would become relatively unimportant and would have minor value in the study of evolution as a whole." (Simpson, 1944, p.97).

"If the term `macro-evolution' is applied to the rise of taxonomic groups that are at or near the minimum level of genetic discontinuity (species and genera), the large-scale evolution studied by the paleontologist might be called `mega-evolution' (a hybrid word, but so is `macro-evolution'). The assumption, as in Goldschmidt's work, that mega-evolution and macroevolution are the same in all respects is no more justified than the assumption, so violently attacked by Goldschmidt and others, that microevolution and macro-evolution differ only in degree. As will be shown, the paleontologist has more reason to believe in a qualitative distinction between macro-evolution and mega-evolution than in one between microevolution and macro-evolution." (Simpson, 1944, p.98).

"The facts are that many species and genera, indeed the majority, do appear suddenly in the record, differing sharply and in many ways from any earlier group, and that this appearance of discontinuity becomes more common the higher the level, until it is virtually universal as regards orders and all higher steps in the taxonomic hierarchy. The face of the record thus does really suggest normal discontinuity at all levels, most particularly at high levels, and some paleontologists (e.g., Spath and Schindewolf) insist on taking the record at this face value." (Simpson, 1944, p.99).

"The levels to which these conclusions apply without modification are approximately those discussed as macro-evolution (under that or an equivalent term) by neozoologists and biologists. On still higher levels, those of what is here called `mega-evolution,' the inferences might still apply, but caution is enjoined, because here essentially continuous transitional sequences are not merely rare, but are virtually absent. These large discontinuities are less numerous, so that paleontological examples of their origin should also be less numerous; but their absence is so nearly universal that it cannot, offhand, be imputed entirely to chance and does require some attempt at special explanation, as has been felt by most paleontologists." (Simpson, 1944, pp.105-106).

"This is true of all the thirty-two orders of mammals, and in most cases the break in the record is still more striking than in the case of the perissodactyls, for which a known earlier group does at least provide a good structural ancestry. The earliest and most primitive known members of every order already have the basic ordinal characters, and in no case is an approximately continuous sequence from one order to another known. In most cases the break is so sharp and the gap so large that the origin of the order is speculative and much disputed. Of course the orders all converge backward in time, to different degrees. The earliest known members are much more alike than the latest known members, and there is little doubt, for instance, but that all the highly diverse ungulates did have a common ancestry; but the line making actual connection with such an ancestry is not known in even one instance." (Simpson, 1944, p.106).

"This regular absence of transitional forms is not confined to mammals, but is an almost universal phenomenon, as has long been noted by paleontologists. It is true of almost all orders of all classes of animals, both vertebrate and invertebrate. A fortiori, it is also true of the classes, themselves, and of the major animal phyla, and it is apparently also true of analogous categories of plants. Among genera and species some apparent regularity of absence of transitional types is clearly a taxonomic artifact: artificial divisions between taxonomic units are for practical reasons established where random gaps exist. This does not adequately explain the systematic occurrence of the gaps between larger units. In the cases of the gaps that are artifacts, the effect of discovery has been to reveal their random nature and has tended to fill in now one, now another-now from the ancestral, and now from the descendent side. In most cases discoveries relating to the major breaks have produced a more or less tenuous extension backward of the descendent groups, leaving the probable contact with the ancestry a sharp boundary. None of these large breaks has actually been filled by real, continuous sequences of fossils, although many of them can be exactly located and the transitions described by inference from the improved record on both sides. In addition to the fact that they exist, there are other more or less systematic features of these discontinuities of record that call for attention and require explanation." (Simpson, 1944, pp.107-109).

"In the early days of evolutionary paleontology it was assumed that the major gaps would be filled in by further discoveries, and even, falsely, that some discoveries had already filled them. As it became more and more evident that the great gaps remained, despite wonderful progress in finding the members of lesser transitional groups and progressive lines, it was no longer satisfactory to impute this absence of objective data entirely to chance. The failure of paleontology to produce such evidence was so keenly felt that a few disillusioned naturalists even decided that the theory of organic evolution, or of general organic continuity of descent, was wrong, after all." (Simpson, 1944, p.115).

"J. Arthur Thomson ... felt constrained to devote a considerable part of his work to presentation of proofs of the truth of evolution. This would be a waste of time now. Ample proof has been repeatedly presented and is available to anyone who really wants to know the truth. It is a human peculiarity, occasionally endearing but more often maddening, that no amount of proof suffices to convince those who simply do not want to know or to accept the truth. Reiteration for the sake of these wishful thinkers would be futile, and reiteration for those who do want to know the truth is quite unnecessary because they already know it or can easily find it in earlier works. In the present study the factual truth of organic evolution is taken as established and the enquiry goes on from there." (Simpson, G.G., 1949, "The Meaning of Evolution: A Study of the History of Life and of its Significance for Man," Yale University Press: New Haven CT, Reprinted, 1960, pp.4-5).

THE ORIGIN of life was necessarily the beginning of organic evolution and it is among the greatest of all evolutionary problems. Yet its discussion here will be brief, almost parenthetical. Our concern here is with the record of evolution, and there is no known record bearing closely on the origin of life. The first living things were almost certainly microscopic in size and not apt for any of the usual processes of fossilization. It is unlikely that any preserved trace of them will ever be found, or recognized." (Simpson, 1949, p.14).

"Above the level of the virus, if that be granted status as an organism, the simplest living unit is almost incredibly complex. It has become commonplace to speak of evolution from ameba to man, as if the ameba were a natural and simple beginning of the process. On the contrary, if, as must almost necessarily be true short of miracles, life arose as a living molecule or protogene, the progression from this stage to that of the ameba is at least as great as from ameba to man." (Simpson, 1949, pp.15-16).

"Natural selection as it was understood in Darwinian days emphasized `the struggle for existence' and `the survival of the fittest.' These concepts had ethical, ideological, and political repercussions which were and continue to be, in some cases, unfortunate, to say the least. Even modern students of evolution have not always fully corrected the misconceptions arising from these slogans. It should now be clear that the process does not depend on `existence' or `surviving' certainly not as this applies to individuals and not even in any intensive or explanatory way as it applies to populations or species. It depends on differential reproduction, which is a different matter altogether. It does not favor `the fittest,' flatly and just so, unless you care to circle around and define `fittest' as those that do have most offspring. It does favor those that have more offspring. This usually means those best adapted to the conditions in which they find themselves or those best able to meet opportunity or necessity for adaptation to other existing conditions, which may or may not mean that they are `fittest,' according to understanding of that word. Moreover the correlation between those having more offspring, and therefore really favored by natural selection, and those best adapted or best adapting to change is neither perfect nor invariable; it is only approximate and usual." (Simpson, 1949, p.221).

"It is, however, the word `struggle' that has led to most serious misunderstanding of the process of natural selection, along with a host of related phrases and ideas, `nature red in fang and claw,' `class struggle' as a natural and desirable element in societal evolution, and all the rest. `Struggle' inevitably carries the connotation of direct and conscious combat. Such combat does occur in nature, to be sure, and it may have some connection with differential reproduction. A puma and a deer may struggle, one to kill and the other to avoid being killed. If the puma wins, it eats and presumably may thereby be helped to produce offspring, while the deer dies and will never reproduce again. Two stags may struggle in rivalry for does and the successful combatant may then reproduce while the loser does not. Even such actual struggles may have only slight effects on reproduction, although they will, on an average, tend to exercise some selective influence. The deer most likely to be killed by the puma is too old to reproduce; if the puma does not get the deer, it will eat something else; the losing stag finds other females, or a third enjoys the does while the combat rages between these two." (Simpson, 1949, pp.221-222).

"To generalize from such incidents that natural selection is over-all and even in a figurative sense the outcome of struggle is quite unjustified under the modern understanding of the process. Struggle is sometimes involved, but it usually is not, and when it is, it may even work against rather than toward natural selection. Advantage in differential reproduction is usually a peaceful process in which the concept of struggle is really irrelevant. It more often involves such things as better integration into the ecological situation, maintenance of a balance of nature, more efficient utilization of available food, better care of the young, elimination of intragroup discords (struggles) that might hamper reproduction, exploitation of environmental possibilities that are not the objects of competition or are less effectively exploited by others." (Simpson, 1949, p.222).

"The word `competition,' used in discussion here and previously, may also carry anthropomorphic undertones and then be subject to some of these same objections. It may, however, and in this connection it must, be understood without necessary implication of active competitive behavior. Competition in evolution often or usually is entirely passive; It could conceivably occur without the competing forms ever coming into sight or contact." (Simpson, 1949, p.222).

"It is thus likely, to say the least, that major as well as minor changes in evolution have occurred gradually and that the same forces are at work in each case. Nevertheless there is a difference and many of the major changes cannot be considered as simply caused by longer continuation of the more usual sorts of minor changes. For one thing, there is excellent evidence that evolution involving major changes often occurs with unusual rapidity, although, as we have seen, there is no good evidence that it ever occurs instantaneously. The rate of evolution of the insectivore forelimb into the bat wing, to give just one striking example, must have been many times more rapid than any evolution of the bat wing after it had arisen. The whole record attests that the origin of a distinctly new adaptive type normally occurs at a much higher rate than subsequent progressive adaptation and diversification within that type. The rapidity of such shifts from one adaptive level or equilibrium to another has suggested the name `quantum evolution,' under which I have elsewhere discussed this phenomenon at greater length." (Simpson, 1949, pp.234-235).

"Scientists often display a human failing: whenever they get hold of some new bit of truth they are inclined to decide that it is the whole truth. Thus the neo-Darwinians insisted their natural selection, was the whole truth of evolution; the neo-Lamarckians held that interaction of structure-function-environment was the whole truth; the vitalists saw the whole truth in the creative aspect of life processes; and the finalists found all basic truth in the directional nature of evolution. Similarly, many of the early geneticists, although they soon learned far more about the mechanism involved, accepted de Vries' thesis and concluded that mutation was the whole truth of evolution. Mutations are random, so it was decided that evolution is random. The problem of adaptation was, in their opinion, solved by abolishing it: they proclaimed that there is no adaptation, only chance preadaptation. Other theories had often stumbled over the fact that there is quite plainly a random element in evolution, the nature of which had been unknown. Now the mutationists had identified the source of this random element, but their theory stumbled over the fact that evolution is not wholly random. The vitalists and finalists were right in continuing to insist on this point, although they were wrong in their own overgeneralization of insisting that the directional element is universal and in maintaining that this element is inherent in life or in its goal. The mutationist discoveries were bewildering to many field naturalists and paleontologists, because they in particular were well aware that evolution cannot be a purely random process and that progressive adaptation certainly does occur. For a time the discoveries of the geneticists seemed only to make confusion worse confounded. Defeatism and escapism spread among many students of evolution. One very eminent vertebrate paleontologist ended a lifetime of study of evolution with the conclusion that he did not, after all, know anything about its causes; another decided in the declining years of his prolonged and exceptionally fertile studies of the subject that good and bad angels must be directing evolution! In fact, as the geneticists' studies progressed they were providing the last major piece of the truth so long sought regarding the causes of evolution." (Simpson, 1949, pp.276-277).

"The resulting synthetic theory ... has often been called neo-Darwinian, even by those who have helped to develop it, because its first glimmerings arose from confrontation of the Darwinian idea of natural selection with the facts of genetics. The term is, however, a misnomer and doubly confusing in this application. The full-blown theory is quite different from Darwin's and has drawn its materials from a variety of sources largely non-Darwinian and partly anti-Darwinian. Even natural selection in this theory has a sense distinctly different, although largely developed from, the Darwinian concept of natural selection." (Simpson, 1949, p.277).

"This is not to say that the whole mystery has been plumbed to its core or even that it ever will be. The ultimate mystery is beyond the reach of scientific investigation, and probably of the human mind. There is neither need nor excuse for postulation of nonmaterial intervention in the origin of life, the rise of man, or any other part of the long history of the material cosmos. Yet the origin of that cosmos and the causal principles of its history remain unexplained and inaccessible to science. Here is hidden the First Cause sought by theology and philosophy. The First Cause is not known and I suspect that it never will be known to living man. We may, if we are so inclined, worship it in our own ways, but we certainly do not comprehend it." (Simpson, 1949, p.278).

"Although many details remain to be worked out, it is already evident that all the objective phenomena of the history of life can be explained by purely materialistic factors. They are readily explicable on the basis of differential reproduction in populations (the main factor in the modern conception of natural selection) and of the mainly random interplay of the known processes of heredity." (Simpson, 1949, p.343).

"Man is the result of a purposeless and materialistic process that did not have him in mind. He was not planned. He is a state of matter, a form of life, a sort of animal, and a species of the Order Primates, akin nearly or remotely to all of life and indeed to all that is material. It is, however, a gross misrepresentation to say that he is just an accident or nothing but an animal. Among all the myriad forms of matter and of life on the earth, or as far as we know in the universe, man is unique. He happens to represent the highest form of organization of matter and energy that has ever appeared. Recognition of this kinship with the rest of the universe is necessary for understanding him, but his essential nature is defined by qualities found nowhere else, not by those he has in common with apes, fishes, trees, fire, or anything other than himself." (Simpson, 1949, p.344).

"There really is no point nowadays in continuing to collect and to study fossils simply to determine whether or not evolution is a fact. The question has been decisively answered in the affirmative. There are still those who deny this, of course - there are still some who deny that the earth is round. It is no use gathering more evidence to persuade these doubters, because the evidence already in hand has convinced everyone who ever really studied it. Anyone who cannot or will not accept or attempt to understand this evidence is not likely to have the will or the ability to evaluate new facts of the same sort." (Simpson, G.G., 1951, "Horses: The Story of the Horse Family in the Modern World and through Sixty Million Years of History," The Natural History Library, Doubleday & Co: Garden City NY, Reprinted, 1961, pp.224-225).

"Nevertheless, Darwin's theory still had some serious imperfections that prevented its being accepted by many students of evolution. The theory explained why unfit or inadaptive types of organisms tend to be eliminated, but it did not seem adequately to explain the much more important origin of more fit, better adapted organisms. It also failed to explain why evolution is not completely adaptive-why different types of organisms may evolve even though their relationships with the environment seem to be exactly the same, why adaptation is seldom or never perfect, and why non-adaptive characters (those not involved in adaptation) and inadaptive characters (those opposed to harmonious adaptation) do often arise in evolution. These features of evolution were not well explained by the older forms of Darwinian theory and their reality was abundantly demonstrated by critics of Darwin." (Simpson, 1951, p.293).

"Moreover, it is a fact that discontinuities are almost always and systematically present at the origin of really high categories, and, like any other systematic feature of the record, this requires explanation. ... There remains, however, the point that for still higher categories discontinuity of appearance in the record is not only frequent but if also systematic. Some break in continuity always occurs in categories from orders upwards, at least, although the break may not be large or appear significant to most students." (Simpson, G.G., 1953, "The Major Features of Evolution," Columbia University Press: New York NY, Second printing, 1955, pp.361,366).

"Darwin also considers the argument that the subject of evolution `was in the air,' `that men's minds were prepared for it.' We may note that even if this was so, it would not explain why Darwin was the individual who plucked evolution out of the air or how he accomplished the feat. Darwin himself rejected the argument out of hand because, as he wrote, he `never happened to come across a single naturalist who seemed to doubt about the permanence of species,' and he acknowledged no debt to his predecessors. These are extraordinary statements. They cannot be literally true, yet Darwin cannot be consciously lying, and he may therefore be judged unconsciously misleading, naive, forgetful, or all three. His own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, whose work Charles knew very well, was a pioneer evolutionist. Darwin was also familiar with the work of Lamarck, and had certainly met at least a few naturalists who had flirted with the idea of evolution. He actually specifies one elsewhere in the autobiography: a Robert Edmund Grant, professor at the University of London. Of all this Darwin says that none of these forerunners had any effect on him. Then, in almost the next breath, he admits that hearing evolutionary views supported and praised rather early in life may have favored his upholding them later." (Simpson, G.G., 1958, "Charles Darwin in search of himself." Review of "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin," by Nora Barlow, ed., Collins: London, 1958. Scientific American, Vol. 199, No. 2, August, pp.117-122, p.119).

"It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution. A great many sequences of two or a few temporally intergrading species are known, but even at this level most species appear without known immediate ancestors, and really long, perfectly complete sequences of numerous species are exceedingly rare. Sequences of genera, immediately successive or nearly so at that level (not necessarily represented by the exact populations involved in the transition from one genus to the next), are more common and may be longer than known sequences of species. But the appearance of a new genus in the record is usually more abrupt than the appearance of a new species: the gaps involved are generally larger, that is, when a new genus appears in the record it is usually well separated morphologically from the most nearly similar other known genera. This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes, and phyla are systematic and almost always large." (Simpson, G.G., 1960, "The History of Life," in Tax, S., ed., "Evolution After Darwin: The Evolution of Life: Its Origin, History and Future," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Vol. I, p.117).

"The fact-not theory-that evolution has occurred and the Darwinian theory as to how it has occurred have become so confused in popular opinion that the distinction must be stressed. The distinction is also particularly important for the present subject, because the effects on the world in which we live have been distinct. The greatest impact no doubt has come from the fact of evolution. It must color the whole of our attitude toward life and toward our selves, and hence our whole perceptual world. That is, however, a single step, essentially taken a hundred years ago and now a matter of simple rational acceptance or superstitious rejection. How evolution occurs is much more intricate, still incompletely known, debated in detail, and the subject of most active investigation at present." (Simpson, G.G., 1964, "This View of Life: The World into Which Darwin Led Us," in "This View of Life: The World of an Evolutionist," Harcourt, Brace & World: New York NY, p.10).

"The import of the fact of evolution depends on how far evolution extends, and here there are two crucial points: does it extend from the inorganic into the organic, and does it extend from the lower animals to man? In The Origin of Species Darwin implies that life did not arise naturally from nonliving matter, for in the very last sentence he wrote, `...life...having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one...... (The words by the Creator were inserted in the second edition and are one of many gradual concessions made to critics of that book.) Later, however, Darwin conjectured (he did not consider this scientific) that life will be found to be a `consequence of some general law'-that is, to be a result of natural processes rather than divine intervention. He referred to this at least three times in letters unpublished until after his death, the one from which I have quoted being the last letter he ever wrote (28 March 1882 to G. C. Wallich; Darwin died three weeks later)." (Simpson, 1964, pp.10-11).

"Until comparatively recently, many-probably most-biologists agreed with Darwin that the problem of the origin of life was not yet amenable to scientific study. Now, however, almost all biologists agree that the problem can be attacked scientifically. The consensus is that life did arise naturally from the nonliving and that even the first living things were not specially created. The conclusion has, indeed, really become inescapable, for the first steps in that process have already been repeated in several laboratories. There is concerted study from geochemical, biochemical, and microbiological approaches. At a meeting in Chicago in 1959, a highly distinguished international panel of experts was polled. All considered the experimental production of life in the laboratory imminent, and one maintained that this had already been done-his opinion was not based on a disagreement about the facts, but depended on the definition of just where, in a continuous sequence, life can be said to begin." (Simpson, 1964, p.11).

"At the other end of the story, it was evident to evolutionists from the start that man cannot be an exception. In The Origin of Species Darwin deliberately avoided the issue, saying only in closing, `Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.' Yet his adherents made no secret of the matter and at once embroiled Darwin, with themselves, in arguments about man's origin from monkeys. Twelve years later (in 1871) Darwin published The Descent of Man, which makes it clear that he was indeed of that opinion. No evolutionist has since seriously questioned that man did originate by evolution. Some, notably the Wallace who shared with Darwin the discovery of natural selection, have maintained that special principles, not elsewhere operative, were involved in human origins, but that is decidedly a minority opinion ...." (Simpson, 1964, pp.11-12).

"We feel, almost instinctively, that there is a pattern. The diversity of living creatures is neither complete nor random. All living things share many characteristics, and above this basic level we observe groups with every degree of resemblance, from near identity to great dissimilarity. There is, or seems to be, an essential order or plan among the forms of life in spite of their great multiplicity. There seems, moreover, to be purpose in this plan. The resemblances and differences among a fish, a bird, and a man are meaningful. The resemblances adapt them to those conditions and functions that all have in common and the differences to peculiarities in their ways of life not shared with the others. It is a habit of speech and thought to say that fishes have gills in order to breathe water, that birds have wings in order to fly, and that men have brains in order to think." (Simpson, 1964, pp.190-191).

"A telescope, a telephone, or a typewriter is a complex mechanism serving a particular function. Obviously, its manufacturer had a purpose in mind, and the machine was designed and built in order to serve that purpose. An eye, an ear, or a hand is also a complex mechanism serving a particular function. It, too, looks as if it had been made for a purpose. This appearance of purposefulness is pervading in nature, in the general structure of animals and plants, in the mechanisms of their various organs, and in the give and take of their relationships with each other. Accounting for this apparent purposefulness is a basic problem for any system of philosophy or of science." (Simpson, 1964, p.190).

"Adaptation by natural selection as a creative process and pre-adaptation in the special senses just explained are the answers of the synthetic theory of evolution to the problem of plan and purpose in nature. Of course much work remains to be done, many details to be filled in, and many parts of the process to be more clearly understood, but it seems to me and to many others that here, at last, is the basis for a complete and sound solution of this old and troublesome problem. Adaptation is real, and it is achieved by a progressive and directed process. The process is wholly natural in its operation. This natural process achieves the aspect of purpose without the intervention of a purposer, and it has produced a vast plan without the concurrent action of a planner. It may be that the initiation of the process and the physical laws under which it functions had a Purposer and that this mechanistic way of achieving a plan is the instrument of a Planner-of this still deeper problem the scientist, as scientist, cannot speak." (Simpson, 1964, p.212).

"Our major space agency, NASA, has a `space bioscience' program. Biologists meeting under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences have agreed that their `first and ... foremost [task in space science] is the search for extraterrestrial life' (Hess et al., 1962). The existence of this movement is as familiar to the reader of the newspapers as to those of technical publications. There is even increasing recognition of a new science of extraterrestrial life, some times called exobiology-a curious development in view of the fact that this `science' has yet to demonstrate that its subject matter exists!" (Simpson, 1964, pp.253-254).

"In the face of the universal tendency for order to be lost, the complex organization of the living organism can be maintained only if work- involving the expenditure of energy- is performed to conserve the order. The organism is constantly adjusting, repairing, replacing, and this requires energy. But the preservation of the complex, improbable organization of the living creature needs more than energy for the work. It calls for information or instructions on how the energy should be expended to maintain the improbable organization. The idea of information necessary for the maintenance and, as we shall see, creation of living systems is of great utility in approaching the biological problems of reproduction." (Simpson, G.G. & Beck, W.S., 1965, "Life: An Introduction to Biology," [1957], Routledge & Kegan Paul: London, Second Edition, p.145).

"We have repeatedly emphasized the fundamental problems posed for the biologist by the fact of life's complex organization. We have seen that organization requires work for its maintenance and that the universal quest for food is in part to provide the energy needed for this work. But the simple expenditure of energy is not sufficient to develop and maintain order. A bull in a china shop performs work, but he neither creates nor maintains organization. The work needed is particular work; it must follow specifications; it requires information on how to proceed." (Simpson & Beck, 1965, p.466).

"As posture is focal for consideration of man's anatomical nature and tools are for consideration of his material culture, so is language focal for his mental nature and his non-material culture .... Language is also the most diagnostic single trait of man - all normal men have language; no other nonliving organisms do. That real, incomparably important, and absolute distinction has been blurred by imprecise use of the word `language' not only in popular speech but also by some scientists who should know better, speaking, for example, of the `language of the bees' ... In any animal societies, and indeed in still simpler forms of aggregation among animals, there must be some kind of communication in the very broadest sense. One animal must receive some kind of information about another animal. That information may be conveyed by specific signals, which may be of extremely diverse kinds both as to form and as to modality, that is, the sensory mode by which it is received. The odor of an ant, the movements of a bee, the color pattern of a bird, the howl of a wolf, and many thousands of others are all signals that convey information to other animals and that, in these and many other examples, are essential adaptations for behavioral integration in the species involved. Human language is also a system of interpersonal communication and a behavioral adaptation essential for the human form of socialization. Yet human language is absolutely distinct from any system of communication in other animals. That is made most clear by comparison with other animal utterances, which most nearly resemble human speech and are most often called `speech.' Nonhuman vocables are, in effect, interjections. They reflect the individual's physical or, more frequently, emotional state. They do not, as true language does, name, discuss, abstract, or symbolize. They are what the psychologists call affective; such purely affective so-called languages are systems of emotional signals and not discourse. The difference between animal interjection and human language is the difference between saying `Ouch!' and saying `Fire is hot.' That example shows that the non-language of animal interjection is still present in man. In us it is in effect not a part of language, but the negative of language, something we use in place of speech. ... . Still we do retain that older system along with our wholly new and wholly distinct system of true language" (Simpson, G.G. , 1966, "The Biological Nature of Man," Science, Vol. 152, 22 April, pp.472-478, p.476).

"Many other attempts have been made to determine the evolutionary origin of language, and all have failed. ... Moreover at the present time no languages are primitive in the sense of being significantly close to the origin of language. Even the peoples with least complex cultures have highly sophisticated languages, with complex grammar and large vocabularies, capable of naming and discussing anything that occurs in the sphere occupied by their speakers. ... The oldest language that can reasonably be reconstructed is already modern, sophisticated, complete from an evolutionary point of view." (Simpson, 1966, p.477).

"D-Days at Dayton is intended to provide judgement on the effects of the trial after 40 years. It contains the contemporaneous accounts of an iconoclastic reporter E.L. Mencken. and the contemporaneous affidavits of the three teachers of science, W.C. Curtis, K.F. Mather and F.-C. Cole. The main offering, however, is a series of eight newly written essays by two ministers, a theologian, three scientists, a scientific journalist, and a former director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Some of these were present at the trial, but none had an active part in it and for some the only connection is that they remember hearing about the trial when they were children. There is also an essay by Scopes himself, and this is extraordinary. Scopes apparently had little interest in the trial at the time, has virtually none now, and is most nearly moved by his belief that Bryan, his rabble rousing, anti-intellectual prosecutor, was `the greatest man produced in the United States since the days

          David Morrison        
Former Director of the Carl Sagan Center

Dr. David Morrison was the Director of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe from 2011 to 2014, at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. He is also currently the Director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) and a senior scientist in Astrobiology at NASA Ames Research Center. Prior to this position, he served at NASA Ames as Director of Space and as the Chief of the Space Science Division, leading one of the premier science organizations at NASA consisting of space scientists undertaking basic research in astronomy, planetary science, and exobiology. He received his Ph.D. in Astronomy from Harvard University in 1969 and has published more than 160 technical papers and a dozen books.

          1997 Recent Work in Computational Scientific Discovery        
In Proceedings of the Nineteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Michael Shafto and Pat Langley (Eds.). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1997, pp. 161-166.

Recent Work in Computational Scientific Discovery

Lindley Darden (darden at umd.edu)
Committee on the History and Philosophy of Science, Department of Philosophy
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 USA


This paper reviews work in computational scientific discovery. After a brief discussion of its history, the focus will be on work since 1990. The second half of the paper discusses the author's use of three methods for studying reasoning strategies in scientific change: historical-philosophical vs. live-in-the-lab vs. computational, pointing out advantages and disadvantages of the computational method.


There are a number of approaches to the study of reasoning in scientific discovery. In addition to computational approaches, work continues in cognitive science (e.g., Schunn & Dunbar, 1996), in laboratory studies (e.g., Darden & Cook, 1994; Dunbar, 1995) and in philosophy of science (e.g., Bechtel & Richardson, 1993; Darden, 1991; Kleiner, 1993; Nersessian, 1992; Nickles, 1994; Schaffner, 1993; Spirtes, Glymour & Scheines, 1993). Unfortunately, of the over 200 papers and abstracts submitted for the Philosophy of Science Association meeting in 1996, none were on the topic of reasoning in scientific discovery (Darden, Ed., 1996; 1997). Most philosophers of science do not view discovery as a central topic in the field, despite continuing work by those of us called "friends of discovery" (Nickles, Ed. 1980). It is encouraging that the Cognitive Science Society is sponsoring this Symposium on Scientific Discovery.

This paper will briefly review the history of computational scientific discovery that uses methods from artificial intelligence. (Non-cognitive, non-AI computational work is outside the scope of this paper.) The first part of the paper will concentrate on the work since 1990 (Shrager & Langley, Eds.). The extensive reference list provides a guide for further reading. The second half of the paper will compare three methods used in my own work on reasoning strategies in scientific change. Finally, I will point out advantages and disadvantages of the computational approach from my perspective as a philosopher of science.

Pioneering Work

The study of computational scientific discovery emerged from the view that science is a problem solving activity, that heuristics for problem solving can be applied to the study of scientific discovery in either historical or contemporary cases, and that methods in artificial intelligence provide techniques for building computational systems. Pioneers in this work are Bruce Buchanan (e.g., 1982) and Herbert Simon (e.g., 1977). Buchanan was trained as a philosopher of science at a time when the profession was dominated by Popper's (1965) view that there is no logic of discovery. Buchanan stated the new research program:
"The traditional problem of finding an effective method for formulating true hypotheses that best explain phenomena has been transformed into finding heuristic methods that generate plausible explanations. The problem of giving rules for producing true scientific statements has been replaced by the problem of finding efficient heuristic rules for culling the reasonable candidates for an explanation from an appropriate set of possible candidates" [and finding methods for constructing the candidates] (Buchanan 1985, 110-111).
Discovery as heuristic search in a search space enabled AI methods to be applied to discovery tasks.

The first expert system, DENDRAL, was a scientific discovery system. It formed hypotheses about chemical compounds, given mass-spectrographic data (Lindsay, Buchanan, Feigenbaum, & Lederberg, 1980;1993). This was followed by Meta-DENDRAL, which discovered new rules in mass spectrographic analysis, so as to by-pass the problem of getting rules from experts (Buchanan & Feigenbaum, 1978). Although its original algorithm was a computational realization of Lederberg's systematic scan strategy (Lederberg, 1965), DENDRAL was built to carry out a contemporary, difficult scientific task rather than as a model of human cognition.

A more historical-cognitive approach was the aim of the work on BACON, which rediscovered various scientific laws by finding patterns in numerical data (Langley, Simon, Bradshaw & Zytkow, 1987). Simon's early work on finding patterns in sequences (Simon & Kotovsky, 1963) was extended in BACON to heuristic search for patterns in numerical data. The most creative of BACON's abilities was the decomposition of relational data to conjecture intrinsic properties in one or more of the objects engaging in the relations. This step went beyond curve-fitting and was based on the metaphysical assumption that an entity's relational properties are caused by its intrinsic properties. In addition to the data-driven tasks modeled in BACON, the group also investigated theory-driven discovery in STAHL. One wonders to what extent these programs model actual cognitive processes of historical scientists, as opposed to finding strategies which are sufficient to reproduce the historical results. As with most simulations, they provide "how possibly" accounts. Using studies of notebook evidence, the KEKADA system (Kulkari & Simon, 1988) modeled reasoning patterns in some discoveries of the biochemist Hans Krebs and focused on responses to surprising experimental results, helping to dispel the mystery of serendipity in discovery.

A seminal conference on computational methods for scientific discovery, whose proceedings were published in 1990 (Shrager & Langley, Eds.) is a useful source for the state to the field at that time.

Recent Work

Some of the pioneers in scientific discovery, e.g., Buchanan, Simon, and Zytkow, push ahead with their research programs. Others who contributed to the 1990 volume are still working on discovery. The American Association for Artificial Intelligence sponsored a Spring Symposium on Systematic Methods of Scientific Discovery in March, 1995. A special issue of Artificial Intelligenceon computational discovery is about to appear, although fewer papers were received than the editors wished (Simon, Valdes-Perez & Sleeman, forthcoming). Data-mining in scientific databases is an active area of research, as are other computational approaches applied to individual sciences, e.g., intelligent systems in molecular biology. It is becoming more difficult to locate computational discovery work because much of it is published in scientific journals--a good sign that the methods of producing results of interest to practicing scientists.

Buchanan (e.g., Lee et al., 1996) continues work on rule induction applied to various scientific databases. Simon is studying the difficult problems of constructing diagrammatic representations (Larkin & Simon, 1987; Qin & Simon, 1995) and of modeling relations between diagrammatic and verbal reasoning (Tabachneck-Schijf, Leonardo, & Simon, 1996). Zytkow continues to work on various aspects of discovery, including analyzing the components needed for an autonomous discovery agent (e.g., Zytkow, 1995/96) and knowledge discovery in databases (e.g., Zytkow & Zembowicz, 1996).

Much of the current work in computational discovery is occurring within applications to particular sciences. According to Peter Karp, the whole field of bioinformatics is doing computational scientific discovery but there is a gradient from computational discoveries that are not based on AI methods, to computational discoveries that are based on AI methods, to methods with a "cognitive flavor." Not much of the bioinformatics work falls into the last category. However, Karp (et al., 1996) applied reasoning by analogy to predict metabolic pathways in the bacterium, H. influenzae,based on the extensive knowledge base that he and Monica Riley, a bacterial geneticist, have developed for E. coli.

Larry Hunter, a frequent editor of publications in AI and molecular biology (e.g., Hunter 1993), recently informed me that there is a clear success is the application of AI technology to molecular biology: hidden Markov models (HMMs) for molecular sequence analysis. They are being applied to automatically build models of families of nucleotide and amino acid sequences. These models are useful as extremely sensitive classifiers of novel sequences, and also generate multiple sequence alignments of large numbers of sequences in a computationally efficient way. Tools based on this approach are now in wide use in the biological community. A review article is Eddy (1996). Also, AI-based qualitative reasoning technologies have produced several good applications in reasoning about metabolism. Perhaps somewhat surprising is that the work in intelligent systems in molecular biology, for the most part, does not employ discovery methods discussed at the Shrager and Langley (Eds. 1990) conference.

The extensive protein sequence database has provided a challenge for those seeking to find computational methods to predict how the linear amino acids will fold into the secondary and tertiary structures in proteins. The Human Genome Project, which is rapidly producing millions of bases of sequence information about both human and model organism genomes, presents a challenge for computational approaches. Good programs are needed for discovering genes, both coding regions and regulatory regions, in these linear sequences. Current programs are not good at finding introns, intervening sequences between the coding regions of genes. Since the genetic system has some means of detecting introns, one can expect computational systems to be able to discover the signal(s). Knowledge discovery in scientific databases (e.g., Fayyad, Haussler & Stolorz, 1996) promises to be an important area in coming years.

Raul Valdes-Perez's (1994) work in chemistry shows the power of computational systems in doing a systematic search of a hypothesis space, given certain constraints. MECHEM is able to find reaction pathways that chemists have missed.

Buchanan's work on rule discovery in scientific databases and Valdes-Perez's work on systematically conjecturing chemical reaction pathways illustrate the power of design AI systems that aim, not at realistically modeling human cognitive capacities, but using computational methods to circumvent human limitations. Humans are not good at searching massive databases and manipulating sets of rules with many features to make predictions. Cognitive science research has shown that humans have a tendency to focus too rapidly on one hypothesis before doing a systematic search of a hypothesis space. Discovery programs that are more systematic and more thorough than humans are an aid to scientists.

Computational Discovery: Pros and Cons

My own work on reasoning in scientific change focuses on an cyclic process: discovery, assessment, revision. Given a good revision procedure, one's discovery methods can be weaker. Strategies for these processes include: strategies for producing new ideas, e.g., analogies, abstraction instantiation, interfield relations; strategies for theory assessment, e.g., prediction-testing, relations to theories in other fields; and strategies for anomaly resolution (Darden 1991, Ch. 15). After extensive historical study of the development of Mendelian genetics, I proposed hypothetical strategies of the three types. The historical evidence was inadequate to show that they are descriptive cognitive strategies actually used by geneticists. Instead, they are hypothetical strategies that couldhave been used in the historical development of the theory of the gene to produce the changes that didoccur (Darden, 1991). One needs to show that these strategies are effectiveproblem-solving strategies, instances of useful "compiled hindsight" (Darden, 1987), applicable to additional cases, worthy of being used by contemporary scientists or to build AI discovery systems.

I visited in Joshua Lederberg's Laboratory for Molecular Genetics and Informatics and participated in episodes of anomaly resolution that exemplified some of the revision strategies I had proposed (Darden & Cook 1994). One difficulty with the live-in-the lab approach is that little may happen while you are there; fortunately, I was able to observe some anomaly resolution strategies in use. Although I have attempted to implement some of the strategies in AI programs in order to demonstrate their efficacy (e.g., Darden & Rada, 1988; Kettler & Darden 1993; Darden, 1997), I have returned to historical-philosophical work, testing whether strategies from the Mendelian case apply to molecular biology (Darden, 1995).

Computational discovery work has advantages and disadvantages. Finding an adequate knowledge representation for a scientific case is difficult. Early work attempted to represent the relations between genes and chromosomes in part-whole hierarchies and to implement reasoning via inheritance and upward propagation of properties (Darden & Rada, 1988). A much more fruitful method for knowledge representation in genetics was the functional representation (Josephsons, Eds., 1994) for genetic processes (Darden 1997). Furthermore, when one is designing a computational system to rediscover a historical hypothesis, one must navigate between designing a system that trivially reproduces exactly what one is seeking versus designing a system that is unable to accomplish the task at all. Analogy systems often suffer these problems: either the analog is represented in such a way that the system easily finds it or there are so many analogs that the task becomes impossible (for attempts to navigate between these problems, see Kettler & Darden, 1993; Holyoak & Thagard, 1995).

An advantage of computational methods is the precision and completeness that is required to build a working system. The philosopher-historian may neglect aspects that the programmer must specify in detail if the system is to run. A computational approach forces one to reexamine aspects that may be otherwise neglected. However, this advantage is purchased at the price of much time and effort to implement even small parts of a historical case. Various aspects of human discovery, such as the use of pictorial models (e.g., the beads on a string model for genes on chromosomes), provide substantial difficulties when designing an implementation. On the plus side, once one has invested the effort in building a running system, then there is the fun of running experiments, doing "what-if" analyses, testing alternative strategies.

The approach in our TRANSGENE system (Darden, Moberg, Thadani & Josephson, 1992; Darden, 1997) was also used by Karp (1990) in his GENSIM and HYPGEN systems and points to a fruitful way to design a computational discovery system. A qualitative simulator of biological (or other) processes is built and used to make predictions. Data is supplied to test the predictions and another component of the system compares the prediction with data, detects anomalies, and uses diagnosis/redesign strategies to localize the fault in the simulator and redesign a module to remove the anomaly. Perhaps this architecture may be of use in building future AI systems or perhaps more traditional simulation models might be coupled with a revision system to do diagnosis/redesign for anomaly resolution and model improvement.

It will be exciting to see what computational scientific discovery produces in the coming years.


The TRANSGENE work was supported by the General Research Board of the University of Maryland and the National Science Foundation Grant No. RII-9003142. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation. The TRANSGENE system was designed in collaboration with John and Susan Josephson and Dale Moberg; TR.3 was implemented by Sunil Thadani. This paper was written while I enjoyed the hospitality of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Very helpful were discussions with, and reprints received from, Bruce Buchanan and Herb Simon. Rapid email responses from Larry Hunter, Peter Karp, and Pat Langley were appreciated. Sets of reprints from Kevin Dunbar, Nancy Nersessian, Tom Nickles, and Jan Zytkow aided me in learning about their recent work. I enjoyed the demo of MECHEM by Raul Valdes-Perez and I profited from his web page:


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          Sancochado de Contacto Extraterrestre: Hawking, NASA, SETI y el Vaticano: la Carrera por Encontrar a E.T.        
A finales del mes de Julio (2015) una noticia causaba revuelo en las redes, se trataba de un anuncio que lanzaba el Centro de Investigación AMES de NASA desde una videoconferencia y que daba cuenta del descubrimiento del que hoy se conoce como el "mayor primo de la Tierra", hablamos del exoplaneta Kepler-452b, un planeta que resulta ser 60% más grande que nuestro planeta, que órbita también alrededor de un Sol siendo su órbita de sólo 20 días mayor a la nuestra y que según se piensa podría albergar AGUA en su superficie (!) (clic para ver). 
Lo interesante de éste descubrimiento es que los científicos hoy tienen un planeta espejo al nuestro para poder estudiar con mayor detalle el comportamiento climático en un sistema similar al nuestro.
El único inconveniente es que se ubica a 1,400 años luz de distancia de la Tierra, en la constelación de Cygnus siendo literalmente IMPOSIBLE hoy para los humanos llegar a el con la tecnología como la conocemos hoy.
La pregunta que inmediatamente todos nos hacemos es: ¿Habrá vida en Kepler-452-b? o quizá la pregunta más conveniente deberá ser: ¿Habrá vida INTELIGENTE en Kepler-452b?
Recordemos como es que a principios de Abril (2015) NASA sorprendía al mundo con unas declaraciones bastante interesantes: "En alrededor de 20 años tendremos indicios definitivos de vida extraterrestre" (clic para ver), ésto resulta sumamemte curioso si tenemos en cuenta que NASA basa éstas declaraciones en sus permanentes análisis de atmósferas de estrellas y planetas (!) más No en otro tipo de búsquedas especializadas (?), tal como ocurre por ejemplo con SETI, organización liderada por el astrónomo Gerry Harp a quien entrevistamos a penas asumió el cargo en Junio del 2012 (clic para ver), Harp y SETI están seguros que ésto ocurrirá en efecto en alrededor de 20 años, vale decir que estamos a sólo una generación de que ocurra, pero ojo, tal como se aclaró en éste reciente entrevista a Astrowatch.net "estamos próximos a hallar VIDA INTELIGENTE y No solamente VIDA como anunciara NASA" (clic para ver).
Lo cierto es que el asunto de la Vida Extraterrestre o la astro o exobiología es ya menester de todos los días en todo el mundo y mientras ESA continúa enviando sondas especializadas para avanzar con ésta tarea (clic para ver)  ya importantes medios se comienzan a cuestionar si en medio de todo éste escenario global se consigue hallar vida inteligente Qué pasaría luego? (clic para ver), (clic para ver).
En todo éste enjambre noticioso alienígena se han sumado ilustres personajes impensables en otro tiempo que mostrarían tamaño interés en el asunto, personajes como el renombrado Stephen Hawking, el mismo que en Junio del 2011 alertaba al mundo con ésta frase "los extraterrestres NO son nuestros amigos" y se darse el "contacto" el choque sería similar a lo ocurrido con Colón en América (!!)(clic para ver) ¿Recuerda Ud?, ¿Inolvidable verdad? .... bien, ahora como todo mundo sabe ya Hawking lidera una iniciativa desde la Royal Society de Inglaterra que se cree es la más grande que se pone en marcha para buscar inteligencia extraterrestre !!!.
Será un esfuerzo de 10 años enfocado en escuchar las señales emitidas por un millón de las estrellas más cercanas a la Tierra. El proyecto fue lanzado por el grupo Breakthrough Initiatives (Iniciativas de descubrimiento) de la Royal Society en Londres y que cuenta con un presupuesto de, léalo bien, US$100 millones, "en algún lugar del cosmos, quizás, vida inteligente podría estar viendo estas luces nuestras, conscientes de lo que ellas significan"...declaró Hawking .....realmente de locos (?!?!) (clic para ver).

¿Pero que hizo cambiar de parecer a Hawking en tan sólo 4 años, cuando entonces los extraterrestres No eran nuestros amigos y por ello NO recomendaba contactarlos, algo que vino haciendo desde el 2010 (clic para ver)?
¿Acaso el mega fondo de 100 Millones de dólares de Yuri Milner multimillonario ruso del sector tecnológico que está radicado en Estados Unidos y que fundó la iniciativa avalado por Martin Rees la viuda de Carl Sagan?
¿Porqué mejor NO apoyar a un proyecto como SETI  que cuenta con alrededor de 40 años de experiencia en el tema y que a pesar de haber sobrevivido a épocas de crisis económicas muy fuertes aún persiste en el mismo interés hoy del ruso y de Hawking?
¿Inteligencia extraterrestre solamente o acaso tecnología de contacto?

A ésta millonaria sopa de iniciativas de contacto alienígena No podía escaparse porsupuesto el Vaticano, que luego de arremeter como vimos hace unas semanas atrás con su encíclica verde Laudato Si´(clic para ver), hoy se suma a la ola contactista interplanetaria (!) con las nuevas y  recientes declaraciones otorgadas a la agencia AFP del sacerdote jesuita argentino y actual director del Observatorio Vaticano ubicado en Castegandolfo José Gabriel Funes, quien hoy declara que luego del anuncio del descubrimiento del primo mayor de la Tierra Kepler-452b podría haber "alguna forma de vida inteligente", pero subrayó que eso NO significaría que exista otro Jesús (?!?!?)(clic para ver).
Funes agregó además que "No hay ninguna contradicción entre la vida extraterrestre y la Fé cristiana" (??) (clic para ver) algo que porsupuesto es bien debatible tal como hemos venido proponiendo desde el 2008, hace 7 años atrás cuando analizábamos la parábola de la Oveja Perdida y la humanidad en el Cosmos (clic para ver), en donde queda entonces el asunto del Paraíso o mejor aún el del Pecado Original (!), ¿Complicado verdad?

Hoy el asunto de buscar extraterrestres pareciera haberse convertido en un negocio bastante interesante, donde abultados presupuestos engalanan organizaciones como SETI, NASA y ahora Breakthrough Initiatives, todos con la esperanza de oír, mensajear y ser respondidos.
Si le interesa el tema esté Ud. atento que a fin de año 1 Millón de dólares serán regalados a aquel que desarrolle el mensaje más seductor para un extraterrestre (!!)(clic para ver). 

¿Cree Ud. realmente que NO se han hallado aún señales inteligentes en el espacio?, ... de ser así, ¿No cree Ud. que se tendrían que verificar primero (validar) o mejor aún replicar a modo de conversación antes de ser dada a conocer al mundo? ¿Y cuánto cree que tarda ésto dada las distancias? ....
Ahora ya sabe Ud. en que etapa estamos y porque demora tanto éste asunto.

Un poco de paciencia estimado lector  que sus primos lejanos estelares tenga por seguro YA respondieron (!).

Ya volvemos!

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          Curso "Clínica del Sistema Solar"        
Comenzamos con los cursos de Infobservador, las famosas "Clínicas". IMPORTANTE: por una cuestión organizativa la primera clase se hace el 11/6/2015.

En este caso son cuatro clínicas de 4 clases de dos horas cada una, sobre el Sistema Solar. Va a ser seguida por tres mas: "Estrellas", "La Vía Láctea" y la última "Cosmologia y Exobiologia".

Como aliciente a los concurrentes, vamos a sortear en la última clase unos binoculares de 10x25. La condición es que concurran a las cuatro clases. Las únicas inscripciones válidas para participar son las que se hacen en el formulario al final de este artículo.
Sobre las Clínicas

Puedes hacer una o todas indistintamente. Son completamente independientes.

Van consecutivamente una clínica tras otra, siempre jueves de 18 a 20 hs. Si las haces todas son cuatro meses y 32 horas cátedra.

No requieren conocimientos previos, pero al tener 8 horas por tema (cuatro clases de dos horas) es posible tocar en profundidad los asuntos tratados.

El curso está orientado a comprender como nació, funciona y evolucionará el Sistema Solar. Está organizado para que usemos nada de matemática, pero entendiendo los conceptos de porque son así las cosas.


Formación - nebulosa primitiva - Como nacieron los planetas y el Sol - acreción- Descripción del Sistema Solar.

Movimientos - órbitas - tipos - Ley de Bode-Titius - Leyes de Kepler - Ley de Newton - posiciones planetarias, afelio, perihelio. cuadraturas. oposiciones, conjunciones. movimientos retrógrados y directos.

Satélites, anillos, planetas, planetas enanos, cometas, asteroides, meteoros.

Eventos: eclipses, conjunciones, ocultaciones, fases.

Formación de cráteres, destrucción planetaria, Objetos de hielo, objetos rocosos y metálicos. Limite de Roche. Puntos de Lagrange.

Descripciones de cada objeto del Sistema Solar. Otros sistemas solares.

Se entregan certificados de asistencia.

Después de hacer el curso, sabrás:
  • Como se forman los planetas
  • Porque los planetas son esféricos y no tienen otra forma
  • Porque Pluton no es mas un planeta
  • De donde vienen los cometas
  • Que son los exoplanetas
  • Por que la Luna no se cae.
  • Como se producen las fases
  • Porque la luna siempre nos muestra la misma cara
  • Como se forma un cráter
  • Si es posible que caiga un asteroide en la Tierra
  • Como morirá el Sol y la Tierra
  • Como se descubren los exoplanetas
  • Que son las tormentas solares.....
  • y mucho mas.
Cuando y donde?

Día y horario: Jueves de 18 a 20 hs. Comienza el 4 de junio de 2015.

Costo total por cada clínica (300 pesos). Cuatro clases. Se reserva con 150 pesos.

Lugar: Avda. Corrientes 2008 (Librería).

Debes inscribirte ÚNICAMENTE por el siguiente formulario. El lugar es limitado. Una vez inscripto/a te enviare información mas detallada.

          Resultados: Fiesta de Estrellas en Areco - 16-05-2015        
El resumen en dos palabras del evento: Éxito total! A diferencia de otras actividades, los inscriptos no solo vinieron, sino que trajeron mas gente aun!!

Foto grupal al finalizar. Imagen: José Fabbro
Comenzamos lentamente. A las 17 estábamos terminando de armar, las charlas, los contactos, las relaciones, las inscripciones.....

A pesar de algún inconveniente con el tema de la iluminación, la noche acompaño, y se mantuvo despejada y cálida.

Debemos dar las gracias a la Secretaria de Turismo de San Antonio de Areco, en particular a Andres Ziperovich que nos brindo el apoyo y Maxi Pellegrini, que con habitual eficiencia soluciono muchos problemas técnicos que se presentaron.

También a Pedro y Leo de Hokenn, que nos apoyaron entregando los premios para el sorteo.

Evelyn y Claudio sorteando los productos Hokenn.
Más de 150 personas concurrieron. Aunque algunas se fueron, la mayoría aguanto hasta mas de las 4 de la mañana.

Gente nueva en el tema, mezclada con experimentada.... pero era toda buena gente. Disfrutamos de una espectacular puesta de Sol, las primeras charlas, la noche, las estrellas, ver galaxias, el cometa Master, mucho entusiasmo y camaradería.

También se dio el interesante fenómeno que la gente mandaba fotos e información por redes sociales, así que llegamos muchísimo mas lejos. Ademas, algunos que se enteraron a ultimo momento por ese medio, vinieron.

Como es tan difícil describir tantas actividades y eventos, les pedi a los principales organizadores, Evelyn Gimenez y Daniel Julián Checa que hicieran un resumen de sus apreciaciones de lo que pasó.

Aquí las descripciones:


Rumbo a Areco se dirigían autos, micros, motos, bicicletas y muchas ganas de encontrarnos…con  las estrellas.

El Sol nos dio la bienvenida, permitiéndonos verlo por telescopio, fotografiarlo y conocer mas de su intimidad, sus manchas solares, pasaba el tiempo y el atardecer tiño el cielo de colores majestuosos invitando a fotografiarlo y contemplarlo.

Se comenzó a armar los equipos astronómicos, preparando las cámaras y los telescopios para la noche. Dando la bienvenida  a la jornada Claudio compartió su charla de manejo de telescopio con la participación del público.

Evelyn durante su actividad.
Llego la noche con un cielo completamente despejado permitiéndonos la comodidad de estar al aire libre con una temperatura más que agradable para este fin de  otoño.

Recorrer los diferentes equipos, preguntar, acercarse y mirar por primera vez por un telescopio fueron las primeras sensaciones del público que podía participar según su interés.

La Cruz del Sur quería ser nombrada y el público quería reconocerla, comencé la charla donde pudimos identificarla como estrellas en el cielo, como  la Huella del Choike o la Chakana, recordando las enseñanzas de nuestros antepasados.

Seguimos recorriendo el cielo y buscando estrellas, planetas, galaxias, cúmulos, en los diferentes telescopios viajeros, ya que estuvimos compartiendo con amantes de Universo que vinieron desde  Santa Fe y Córdoba.

Llego la hora de la cena!...en un lugar como Areco, el menú era  comida típica tradicional!...recomiendo el sandwich de carne al disco!

Se preparaba Maximiliano Barros para contarnos sobre la existencia de vida en otros parte de este Universo “Exobiologia”, desde las creencias populares, cinematográficas hasta los trabajos realizados  ahora en la ciencia, para dejarnos con preguntas y ganas de seguir investigando.

Foto de Maxi Barros. SE ve la Cruz del Sur.
Llego el sorteo!....la ansiedad y la esperanza nos invadió por ser el afortunado de llevarse a casa algún instrumento astronómico que nos ayude a comprender un poco de esta hermosa ciencia la astronomía, brújulas y linterna fueron los primeros premios entregados.

Seguimos observando, charlando, conociendo a “Luz del cielo” un telescopio de Sergio Galarza que nos reunió mostrándonos de todo durante la noche. Miramos el reloj y ya en la madrugada se realizó el segundo sorteo del monocular y binocular y la foto grupal.


Habiendo sido testigo de la dedicación y esfuerzo puesto por Claudio Martínez en la preparación de la fiesta del 16/05, es para mí un enorme placer la satisfacción que expresan los participantes y la devolución hecha en este espacio por la experiencia vivida. 

Le anticipé esta tarde a Claudio (a su pedido) lo que significó la experiencia para mí, pero quiero antes de irme hoy a dormir, que figure aquí: Respecto a la fiesta mi resumen es que lo mejor, no se puede fotografiar ni explicar. El cielo actual es anterior y será posterior a nuestra efímera existencia. 

Foto de Rocio Belen Quillay
Ayer nos sirvió de marco para nuestro encuentro. Lo engalanó y le dio un motivo casi alternativo a la reunión. Lo que yo experimenté fue el ansia de conocimiento de mucha gente, de muy distinta edad, ocupaciones, lugares de residencia y formación, buscando respuestas a las eternas preguntas. Muchos a sabiendas (como yo), que ni el cielo ni nadie se las iba a dar. 

Pero que lo que sí iban a encontrar era el amor, la generosidad, la bondad y el entusiasmo de otros locos como uno, que como chicos, apuntando con laseres verde a planetas cercanos (Venus, Júpiter, Saturno) y/o estrellas o cúmulos lejanísimos, hablábamos de ellos con la misma familiaridad que podría hablar yo de mi tía Juanita. 

Así, disfruté enormemente las fluidas explicaciones de alguien llegado de Salto (estaba con un amigo y mis disculpas a ambos por no recordar sus nombres), que que con el laser recorría el cielo hablando de las historias asociadas a las constelaciones, el origen de sus denominaciones, detalles de cada una de las estrellas constitutivas. 

El amigo Sergio Scauso de Villa María que llegó tempranísimo con su familia y aportó generosamente cañón profesional, pantalla, alargues. Por si hacía falta. Eso es más que entusiasmo. Es una maravilla de comportamiento humano. 

O Jose Fabbro, que armo su telescopio y filtro, para que pudiéramos disfrutar del Sol. O el tour turístico por cielo que nos regaló Sergio Galarza, exprimiendo las facilidades del auto-guiado de su equipo, que trajo desde Casilda para ponerlo a disposición de todos. 

En fin, los que tanto aportaron con sus preguntas, que enriquecieron tanto las charlas como la hermosa noche observacional. Plena de astronomía sí. Pero también de cordialidad y fraternidad que alimentan y nutren nuestras vidas, tanto como las empanadas y los choripán, que estaban buenísimos.

Basten estos comentarios para agradecer a todos los que participaron y ayudaron que esta fiesta fuera realmente grande y exitosa.

En el enlace puedes ver todas las fotos del evento.

          Fermi Paradox Explained?        

I’ve often thought that the whole “where are they?” question about SETI(i.e., the Fermi Paradox) is bogus, both because the universe is just so BIG, and because we still understand so little about it, even though we have learned in recent years that planets and even “Earth-like” planets seem to be quite common throughout the Galaxy. As smart as some of us may be, it seems likely that we are still as clueless about major chunks of physics as scientists in the 1800’s were about quantum mechanics and the scale of the universe. If there are wormholes or quantum foam or gravitational technologies we won't develop for another 200 years, there could be aliens popping in and out all the time, and we wouldn't even know what to look for. It would be like an airliner passing 37,000 feet above some remote tribe of people who have never encountered other humans or modern technology, as unlikely as that may be today.

Such advanced beings might find radio wave communication to be as quaint as rubbing sticks together as an energy technology. I’ve also read articles suggesting that we ourselves are probably approaching the end of our “radio age” due to fiber optics and other technologies. Though we still send out a lot of radio waves, they tend to be more directional (like radar, microwaves, etc.) or short range (cell phone towers, Wifi, Bluetooth, etc.). Maybe technical civilizations only use radio waves for a few years and any continued or specialized use eventually becomes very efficient with very little leakage to space.

Somehow I wandered over to Centauri Dreams, a blog that periodically blows my mind with advanced space exploration ideas. I found an article “CitizenSETI” about a couple of guys (Roger Guay and Scott Guerin) who decided to work out this Fermi thing. A key part is the lifetime of an IC (intelligent civilization), which really means the DETECTABLE lifetime. If that is very short (e.g., humans have been broadcasting for about 110 years and listening for only about 60 years), and if such civilizations are widely separated in time and space, you will have a big “synchronicity” problem – finding times and places where someone is broadcasting AND someone in range is listening.

Roger Guay created a simulation with LiveCode, a modernized version of my old, beloved HyperCard for the Mac (screen shot above). In his Advanced Civilization Detection (ACD) program, he can set various assumptions about the spacing, lifetime, and other factors and run this simulation at high speed. Under most reasonable assumptions it creates a sort of “firefly” effect with detectable IC’s flashing in and out of existence and only rarely being seen by other IC’s. If these assumptions and simulations are reasonable, IC’s could be plentiful and it might still take hundreds of years of observation to catch one of these “fireflies” before it flickers out.

I've been interested in this subject since I read Intelligent Life inthe Universe by Carl Sagan and Iosif Shlovsky back in 1974. This was a pretty early work on exobiology (or perhaps astrobiology), a field that still lacks data but provides an interesting framework for thinking about everything we know about ourselves. My guess is that unicellular life has probably evolved in many places but that the leaps to multicellular, intelligent, and technological stages are much rarer, though certainly possible (current sample size is N=1 if you give humanity the benefit of the doubt as an IC).

Based on this simulation work, we are not likely to expand that sample size anytime soon. Here is Roger Guay’s final paragraph on Centauri Dreams:

Conclusions? The ACD simulation dramatically demonstrates that there is indeed a synchronicity problem that automatically arises when ICs attempt to detect one another. And for reasonable (based on Earth’s specifications) Drake equation parameter selections, detection potentials are shown to be typically hundreds of years apart. In other words, we can expect to search for a few hundred years before finding another IC in our section of the galaxy. When you consider Occam’s razor, is not this synchronicity problem the most logical resolution to the Fermi Paradox?

Of course this is hardly the last word on the subject of the Fermi Paradox. In fact, while reading the blog posts that triggered this one, I discovered a recently updated book that goes into much greater depth, If the Universe IsTeeming with Aliens … WHERE IS EVERYBODY?: Seventy-Five Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life (2015) by Stephen Webb. I've read the Kindle sample and I may have to buy it despite my insane backlog of books already waiting to be read. Author Stephen Webb also has an interesting blog
          Busy day; artists, live music, ecology, exobiology and Kepler        

What a busy day.

Starting with the previous night - Bats. The lecture was very well done and informative, but the real surprise was the two real live bats that Tikyo netted and brought in to show us. Emily held one and Tikyo the other. They were fantastic, and no trouble at all.


The next day – up for yoga at 6 am, followed by full strength sunshine. We tried to find tangigue reef again, found it, but lost it once all the divers were in the water. Very frustrating blue water bounce to 30m trying to find it. We gave up and settled for a nice dive on Manta as a consolation prize.

I got separated from Tikyo, so ended up with a nice quiet solo pootle around – astreopora, echinopora were the corals of the day. Found a nice outcrop of Echinopora Mammiformis, which had some sort of huge barnacle on it, and was engaged in a turf war with a nearby Porites. The Echinopora seemed to be winning. Not seen any Diploastrea Heliopora yet – which is odd.


Came in to find Gerry, Kaila and the rest of the Bacolod crowd had turned up. We caught up while Gringo started his mural.

Gerry gave a talk about the history of Danjugan Island, and Pete followed on with a general 'state of tropical marine conservation' talk.


Survey dive late in the day while the kids made dream catchers under Kaila's expert tutelage. Very shallow, lots of gullies and branching coral. Pocillopora and Acropora dominate as you'd expect. The odd clump of peysonella and halimeda for variety.


Beers when we surfaced!

Colonial ascidians

Then in the evening – my talk – astro camp part 2, 'Are we alone', talking about SETI and the recent discoveries in exobiology/extremophiles – and Kepler's new planets. People took a wide variety variety of things away from it, but fundamentally its simple – we only have one habitable planet and its here. All the others are too far away or dead.

Then live music from the gypsy cafe house band, assisted by Kalayo on drums and Dave Albao on vocals and whisky and setting the world to rights with Gerry and Pete. Probably a bit too much whisky in fact and a very late night.


Carl Sagan

9 de Noviembre, 2008

Carl Edward Sagan (9 de noviembre de 1934 — 20 de diciembre de 1996)[1] [2] popular astrónomo y divulgador científico de Estados Unidos. Fue pionero en campos como la exobiología y promotor del proyecto SETI (literalmente Búsqueda de inteligencia extraterrestre). Conocido por el gran público por la serie para la televisión de Cosmos: Un viaje personal, presentada por él mismo y escrita junto con su tercera y última esposa, la científica Ann Druyan (también estuvo casado con la prestigiosa bióloga Lynn Margulis). Fue titular de la cátedra de astronomía y ciencias del espacio de la Universidad Cornell en Estados Unidos.[3]

Somos el medio para que el Cosmos se conozca a sí mismo.

Carl Sagan, Cosmos: Un viaje personal[4] [5]
Visionario de personalidad emblemática y de fuerte carisma, intentó toda su vida acercar la ciencia, mostrándola como una manera de pensar y descubrir el mundo: desde las partículas elementales constituyentes últimos de la materia a los organismos vivos, la comunidad de seres humanos y el Universo contemplado en toda su globalidad.

…Después de todo, cuando estás enamorado, quieres contarlo a todo el mundo. Por eso, la idea de que los científicos no hablen al público de la ciencia me parece aberrante.

[ seguir

¡Hola, mundo!

1 de Abril, 2008

Le damos la bienvenida a WordPress. Esta es su primera entrada. Edítela o bórrela…¡y comience a publicar!

          MCQ on General Science for WBCS/SSC/Misc Competitive Exam/etc -II        

Question for Practice on General Science

1. Diametre of the moon in relation to that of the earth is around

    (a) One-half        (b) One-third        (c) One-fourth        (d) One-sixth

2. Which one is used to alter AC current to DC current ?

    (a) Reactor        (b) Rectifier       (c) Dynamo        (d) None of these

3. Which is popularly known as ‘Dry Ice’ ?

    (a) Solid Carbon-di-oxide        (b) Solid Hydrogen       (c) Solid Methene        (d) None of these

4. Which one is not the symbol of the concerned element ?

    (a) Copper : Cu       (b) Gold : Au       (c) Iron : Fe       (d) Silver : Si

5. Which one of the symbol for ‘Tin’ ?

    (a) Sn       (b) Xn       (c) Pb        (d) Ti

6. Which one has not been correctly matched ?

    (a) Laughing Gas : Nitrous Oxide       (b) Water : Hydrogen Oxide

    (c) Plaster of Paris : Calcium Sulphate       (d) Washing Soda : Sodium Chloride

7. On which planet Spaceship from the Earth has already reached ?

    (a) Jupiter        (b) Venus        (c) Mars        (d) None of these

8. Maximum limit beyond which a person can become deal is

    (a) 60 db        (b) 80db        (c) 100db       (d) 120 db

9. Safety fuse wire used in domestic electrical appliances is made of wire of metal of :

    (a) Low resistance       (b) Low melting point        (c) High melting point       (d) None of these

10. A piece of stone thrown horizontally from a height will have its path as

      (a) horizontal       (b) vertical        (c) Circular        (d) Curve

11. In a compound the proportions of constituents is found to remain

      (a) always fixed         (b) sometimes fixed         (c) never fixed        (d) None of these

12. Which one of the following remain present in ‘Vinegar’ ?

      (a) Ascorbic acid         (b) Nitric acid         (c) Acetic acid        (d) None of these

13. The metal known as ‘Brass’ is an alloy of :

      (a) Copper and Tin        (b) Copper and Zinc        (d) Zinc and Silver        (d) Copper, zinc and silver

14. Which type of food is produced directly by Photosynthesis ?

      (a) Protein         (b) Carbohydrates         (c) Glucose         (d) Vitamin

15. In producing Oxygen, manganese dioxide plays the role of :

      (a) reducing agent        (b) oxidizing agent        (c) catalyst        (d) None

16. Which one is not essentially required to produce gun-power ?

      (a) charcoal         (b) sulphur         (c) Potassium nitrate        (d) Sodium Nitrate

17. The disease ‘Small pox’ is caused by :

      (a) bacteria        (b) virus        (c) fungus         (d) None of these

18. Fishes breathe through using their :

      (a) fins        (b) skin        (c) gill        (d) vacuole

19. If an object is kept between two mirrors facing each other then the images of the object will be : (Mirrors not parallel)

      (a) One        (b) Two        (c) numerous        (d) None of these

20. The angle of the latitude on the North pole is :

      (a) 0°        (b) 45° N        (c) 90° N        (d) 180° N

21. A solid ball of which one of the following metals will not float on mercury ?

      (a) Aluminium        (b) Iron        (c) Tin        (d) Gold

22. Chemical name of ‘muriatic acid’ is :

      (a) sulphuric acid         (b) Nitric acid         (c) hydrochloric acid        (d) Acetic acid.

23. Nicotine is found in the leaves of :

      (a) Tobacco        (b) Tea        (c) Coffee        (d) None of these

24. Gene is found to remain present in a human being inside ?

      (a) Blood        (b) Lungs       (c) Chromosome        (d) Cell Wall

25. Hit required to make 5 gram of 0°C water to boil at normal pressure:

      (a) 100 calorie       (b) 250 calorie       (c) 500 calorie       (d) None of these

26. Energy which a body has on account of its motion is called :

      (a) Heat energy       (b) Kinetic energy       (c) Potential energy       (d) None

27. Which one is not an element ?

      (a) Oxygen       (b) Silicon        (c) Carbon        (d) Marble

28. Gas remaining inside coal field is :

      (a) coal gas        (b) hydrogen         (c) methane       (d) acetylene

29. The conversion of milk to curd is aided by :

      (a) acid         (b) alkali         (c) micro-organism       (d) fungus

30. Iron alloy found to crack easily is :

      (a) mild steel        (b) stainless steel        (c) cast iron        (d) wrought iron

31. An alloy of metal with mercury is :

      (a) metalloid        (b) amalgam        (c) permalloy        (d) None of these

32. The mass number of a nucleus is :

      (a) always less than its atomic number

      (b) always more than the atomic weight

      (c) sum of the number of protons and neutron present in the nucleus

      (d) None of these

33. Nuclear reaction involved in atom bomb is :

      (a) fusion        (b) fission        (c) diffusion        (d) None of these

34. In the sun the energy source is :

      (a) lithium        (b) helium        (c) hydrogen        (d) carbon

35. Which one is not ‘Green House’ gas ?

      (a) carbon dioxide       (b) carbon monoxide        (c) methane       (d) ammonia

36. Molecular motion in gases is :

      (a) random        (b) orderly        (c) one directional        (d) two directional

37. Substance released by an endoctrine gland is :

      (a) protein         (b) hormone         (c) vitamin        (d) enzyme

38. Insulin, a protein hormone in a human body is secreted by :

      (a) stomach        (b) liver        (c) pancreas        (d) gall bladder

39. Protein hormone is made of :

      (a) glucose        (b) amino acid       (c) fructose        (d) None of these

40. Baking soda is :

      (a) potassium chloride       (b) potassium hydroxide       (c) sodium bicarbonate       (d) None of these

41. Ringworm, an infection on the skin is a :

      (a) fungal infection       (b) viral infection       (c) bacterial infection        (d) None

42. A gland near neck which control growth of human body is :

      (a) pituitary        (b) adrenal         (c) thyroid       (d) None of these

43. Antibiotic used for treatment of tuberculosis is :

      (a) penicillin       (b) streptomycin        (c) terramycin        (d) None of these

44. Which type of a disease ‘influenza’ or ‘flu’ is :

      (a) viral       (b) hereditary       (c) bacterial        (d) fungal

45. Hereditary material in all living organism is :

      (a) Dexyribose Nucleic Acid (DNA)     (b) Ribose Nucleic Acid     (c) Both DNA and RNA      (d) None of these

46. The study relating to lives in outer space is :

      (a) aerobiology         (b) palaeobiology       (c) exobiology        (d) None of these

47. Stars seen on naked eyes belong to :

      (a) Nebula       (b) Milky way       (c) Constellation        (d) None of these

48. Highly concentrate source of energy in a human body is :

      carbohydrates        (b) fat’s        (c) proteins        (d) vitamins

49. Cholesterol is mainly composed of :

      (a) proteins        (b) vitamins       (c) lipids       (d) carbohydrates

50. Blood sugar in a human body is mainly :

      (a) glucose       (b) lactose       (c) fructose       (d) maltose

51. Function of protein in a human body :

      (a) build connective tissues        (b) transport oxygen in blood

      (c) catalyze biological reaction        (d) All of these

52. In a human body oxygen is transported in blood by :

      (a) myoglobin        (b) haemoglobin        (c) keratin        (d) albumin

53. The molecule in a living being which can replicate itself is :

      (a) DNA        (b) RNA        (c) Both DNA and RNA         (d) Neither DNA nor RNA

54. Protein found abundantly in eggs is :

      (a) haemoglobin         (b) keratin         (c) albumin       (d) collagen

55. An early stage of cancer in a human body may be checked by

      (a) radiotherapy       (b) chemotherapy        (c) surgery        (d) All of these

56. Amoeba moves with the aid of :

      (a) legs        (b) cilia        (c) flagella        (d) pseudopodia

57. The name ‘nature’s ploughman’ is given to :

      (a) cattle         (b) cow        (c) earthworm        (d) None of these

58. ‘Ear’ is considered absent among :

      (a) frogs        (b) birds         (c) fishes    (d) None of these

59. Whales found to live in seas and oceans are :

      (a) fishes         (b) reptiles         (c) arthopods         (d) mammals

60. Major part of the demands of energy in the present world is met by

      (a) hydropower        (b) solar power       (c) nuclear power       (d) fossil fuel

61. Atmospheric pollutants are found to remain present mainly in

      (a) troposphere       (b) stratosphere       (c) mesosphere       (d) ionosphen

62. Ozone layer maintained in proper nature could restrict :

      (a) infrared radiation        (b) ultraviolet radiation       (c) x-rays and gamma rays       (d) None of these

63. Important cause of global warming is discharge of :

      (a) ozone        (b) methane        (c) nitrogen oxide        (d) chlorofluorocarbons

64. Largest potential of non-conventional energy may be found in :

      (a) wind power       (b) water power       (c) solar power       (d) biomass power

65. ‘CAD’ programme in computer is associated with :

      (a) pictures        (b) designs        (c) page making       (d) calculation

66. ‘DTP’ programme is highly helpful for :

      (a) offices       (b) accounting        (c) publishers        (d) designers

67. To improve computer functioning initial research activities were done mostly by :

      (a) Microsoft        (b) IBM       (c) Cambridge University       (d) None of these

68. How many digits are associated with Binary code in computer system :

      (a) 10        (b) 5      (c) 4       (d) 2

69. ‘Bit’ an abbreviation of binary digit may be :

      (a) Any one from 1 to 9       (b) Any one from 0 and 1      (c) Any one from 1 to 5      (d) None of these

70. Computer chips are mainly made of :

      (a) silicon         (b) plastic        (c) zinc        (d) None of these

71. The stored memory of which can not be changed in normal computer operation  ?

      (a) RAM       (b) ROM        (c) DRAM        (d) None

72. By which company personal computer named ‘Macintosh’ was marketed in 1984 ?

      (a) IBM       (b) Apple        (c) Microsoft       (d) Samsung

73. ‘Silicon Valley’ an important computer related manufacturing zone is in:

      (a) USA        (b) Britain        (c) France       (d) None of these

74. Country having highest volume of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) jobs in the present world is :

      (a) USA         (b) China        (c) India        (d) None of these

75. On which information can not be written by the computer operator ?

      (a) ROM        (b) RAM        (c) CD       (d) None of these

76. Around how many Bytes may be there within a â€˜Megabyte’

      (a) 1 thousand        (b) 1 lakh       (c) 10 lakh       (d) 1 crore

77. In Binary system 15 is coded as :

      (a) 101        (b) 111        (c) 1111       (d) 1100

78. In computer system ‘pixels’ refer to :

      (a) lines         (b) dots        (c) letters       (d) bits

79. The most commonly used High Density (HD) floppy diskette in modern computer has got radius of :

      (a) 2.5 inches         (b) 3 inches        (c) 3.5 inches        (d) 4 inches

80. ‘Nichrome’ wire used in electric heater has got no mixture of

      (a) nickel         (b) chromium         (c) iron       (d) copper

81. In electric calender the burning wire is kept inside a bag made of :

      (a) silicon         (b) mica         (d) fibre glass       (d) None

82. The density of air in relation to the density of hydrogen is :

      (a) 8.6 times         (b) 10.2 times        (c) 12.8 times        (d) 14.4 times

83. Phosphoric acid is :

      (a) Monobasic       (b) dibasic       (c) tribasic       (d) None of these

84. Scientist Sandwick discovered :

      (a) Electron        (b) Proton        (c) Neutron      (d) None of these

85. Oxygen may be converted into Solid state at a temperature of

      (a) -183° C       (b) - 219° C       (c) - 273° C      (d) None of these

86. Water mixture of which is not an electrolyte ?

      (a) salt        (b) sugar         (c) Caustic soda        (d) Copper sulphate

87. X-ray can not penetrate through :

      (a) wood        (b) aluminium        (c) lead       (d) None of these



I. Introduction
From the perspective of biology, planetary engineering is the ability to alter the environment of a planet so that terrestrial organisms can survive and grow (McKay, 1982). The feasibility of altering planetary environments is clearly demonstrated by mankind's activities on the Earth (Levine, 1991; Fogg, 1995a) and it is increasingly apparent that in the near term future mankind will gain the technological capability to engineer the climate of Mars. Current thought experiments/proposals for the planetary engineering of Mars differ in their methodology, technical requirements, practicality, goals and environmental impact (reviewed and discussed by Fogg, 1995b).
The planetary engineering of Mars may be divided into two distinct mechanistic steps, ecopoiesis followed by terraforming. Ecopoiesis, a term derived by Haynes (1990) which, when applied to Mars, can be viewed as the creation of a self-regulating anaerobic biosphere. On the other hand, terraforming refers to the creation of a human habitable climate (discussed in Fogg 1995b). Whether the creation of such biospheres are possible is not known (Fogg, 1989; Pollack and Sagan, 1993; Fogg, 1995b). However, the majority of these planetary engineering models invoke the use of biological organisms, both during alteration of the planetary environment and in the regulation of the resulting biosphere. This article will briefly review the implications of the current Martian environment and assets for biology and then discuss the relationship between biology and planetary engineering.
II. Current Martian environment and implications for biology
At present the Martian surface environment is effectively sterilizing for all forms of terrestrial organisms (Rothschild, 1990; Mancinelli and Banin, 1995; Dose et al. 1995), although some protected niches may exist above and below the surface of Mars (Friedmann, 1986; Thomas and Schimel, 1991; Boston et al. 1992; Rothschild, 1990, 1995). The properties of the Martian environment that would preclude the survival and growth of terrestrial organisms are as follows (but see also McKay (1982); Rothschild (1990); Banin and Mancinelli, (1995); Mancinelli and Banin (1995)):
1. Low pressure. The atmospheric pressure on Mars (Table 1), mostly due to carbon dioxide, varies from approximately 7.4 to 10 millibar (mbar) (Hess et al. 1980). Extremely low pressure damages organisms and can affect efficient DNA repair (Ito, 1991; Koike et al. 1991).
2. Low temperature. The average diurnal temperature ranges from approximately 170 K to 268 K. During the Martian summer the temperature perhaps rises above the freezing point of water at some equatorial latitudes. From temperature requirements alone, organisms would not be able to survive on present day Mars for a number of reasons: First, the temperatures would completely freeze any organism and depending on the freezing process would cause cellular damage through the formation of ice crystals. Second, such low temperatures would raise the activation energy for enzyme catalyzed processes and thus inhibit biochemical/metabolic reactions. Third, biochemical reactions occur in solution and the transport of metabolites would not occur efficiently in a ice crystals.
3. Water. Liquid water which is a prerequisite for life (McKay, 1991; McKay and Stoker, 1989), under the current Martian atmospheric pressure is unstable. Such extreme dry conditions would cause dehydration, for example damaging DNA (Dose et al. 1995) and leading to mutation and cell/organism death.
4. Radiation. The main source of radiation at the Martian surface is ultraviolet (UV) radiation between the wavelengths of 190 and 300 nm. UV-radiation can be lethal. It is absorbed by nucleic acids (i.e. DNA) and activates the chemical formation of various adjuncts that inhibit replication and transcription of DNA. In the absence of an ozone layer, organisms can only escape the lethal affects of UV-radiation by living in protected habitats. Even those surface organisms which have efficient DNA and cellular repair enzymes would probably perish.
5. Oxidants. Due to the continuous bombardment of the Martian surface with UV-radiation the topmost layer of the regolith is thought to contain strong oxidants which are damaging for cellular components.
6. Carbon dioxide. As mentioned previously the major atmospheric component is carbon dioxide (Table 1). In organisms the relatively high concentration of carbon dioxide would probably cause a low intracellular pH. i.e. acidosis which may be damaging for cellular proteins, cellular components and metabolism (Hiscox and Thomas, 1995).
7. No organic material. Because of the continuous bombardment of UV-radiation and oxidizing conditions, no organic material will be present on the Martian surface (Bullock et al. 1994 and references there in).
8. Table 1. Mars-atmospheric composition and partial pressure of the most abundant gases. (Data from Fogg 1995c, Hiscox 1995 and references therein).
Abundance by Volume
Partial Pressure
7 mbar
0.2 mbar
2.5 ppm
very minor
0.3 ppm
very minor
0.8 ppm
very minor
0.04 to 0.2 ppm
extremely minor
III. Biologically useful Martian resources
Undoubtedly the current Martian environment is extremely hostile for terrestrial life. However, Mars does contain sufficient volatiles to enable some form of colonization and perhaps planetary engineering to render environmental conditions more clement for terrestrial life to survive and grow (Meyer and McKay, 1984, 1989; McKay et al. 1991a; Fogg, 1995c; Zubrin, 1995). Analysis of Martian soil and shergottites, nakhlites and chassignittes (SNC) meteorites (believed to have been ejected from Mars (Mustard and Sunshine, 1995 and references therein)) has shown that all of the elements necessary for carbon based life on Earth are present on Mars (Dreibus and Wanke, 1987; Gooding, 1992; Banin and Mancinelli, 1995).
It is evident that Mars once possessed a more clement climate and many observable surface features have been attributed to the presence of liquid water and a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere (Carr, 1986; 1987). Many planetary engineering scenarios (see Fogg, 1995c and references there in) propose that it may be possible to return Mars to an earlier such climate using planetary engineering techniques (with the proviso that such volatiles are still present). Fogg (1995c) suggests that unless impact erosion (Melosh and Vickery, 1989) "blasted" the atmosphere into space then huge quantities of volatiles are still likely to reside on the planet. Over geological history Mars may have lost more volatiles than it gained. For example, water may also have been lost by hydrodynamic escape, atmospheric spluttering and other mechanisms (refer to Carr, 1987; Jakosky, 1991; Kass and Yung, 1995). Therefore returning Mars to a past climatic state may not be possible, and clearly given the climatic history of Mars such a climate maybe geologically unstable and undesirable for the extreme long term habitability of the planet.
A number of compounds and elements are absolutely required for life; liquid water, the so called CHNOPS (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous and sulfur) are the main elements which constitute amino acids (which make up proteins) and nucleotides (which make up DNA and RNA) and various minerals are also required. All of these elements/compounds are believed to be present on Mars (Banin and Mancinelli, 1995). The amount and location of these resources on Mars is briefly reviewed below. For a more in depth reviews refer to Fogg (1995b,c); Meyer and McKay, 1989, 1991a; and Banin and Mancincelli (1995).
1. Water. Currently, the surface of Mars is devoid of liquid water and the atmosphere only contains minute amounts of water vapor (Table 1)(Carr, 1987). The two main sources of remaining water on Mars are thought to be the north polar cap and the regolith. The quantity of water on Mars is uncertain, and estimates range in order of magnitudes, equivalent to a layer of water over the planet 13 meters (m) to 100 m (Squyres and Carr, 1986).
The north polar cap is composed mainly of water ice (Kieffer et al. 1976). The equatorial regions of Mars appear to be ice poor whereas the heavily cratered terrain pole-ward of ± 30° latitude appears to be ice rich (Squyres and Carr, 1986), with perhaps a conservative estimate of the equivalent of 17 m of ice spread over the surface of Mars (Jankowski and Squyres, 1993). How much liquid water would be necessary, or indeed liberated by either ecopoiesis and/or terraforming has not been determined. However, based on current data, a detailed model for the hydrological cycle on Mars has been proposed (Clifford, 1993) and perhaps this could be adapted for modeling the hydrological cycle during ecopoiesis/terraforming.
Mars will probably never be a wet planet as it might have been in the past (Carr, 1986; 1987), although the view that Mars was "warm and wet" is uncertain and perhaps "cold and icy" may be more appropriate (Kasting, 1991; Squyres and Kasting, 1994). However, there will probably be sufficient water for some type of a biosphere to be established. For certain, the water requirement for ecopoiesis will be several orders of magnitude less than that for a terraformed biosphere. Ultimately, it may be possible to import water onto Mars, for example by the redirection of ice asteroids into the Martian atmosphere to release their volatile components (see Fogg, 1995b). However, although such proposition might be technically feasible, the number of asteroids needed to be diverted is very large.
2. Buried organic material. Bullock et al. (1994) estimate that organic material, either deposited by meteorites and/or remains from an earlier biosphere, maybe between 3 and 40 meters from the surface or perhaps be present in polar regions (Bada and McDonald, 1995). These deposits could therefore be utilized by plants that have long root systems and/or by subsurface microorganisms. However, such scenarios depend on how long it would take thermal waves to penetrate through the ground during planetary engineering.
3. Carbon. On first inspection the two main sources of "trapped" carbon dioxide are as a solid in the polar caps and adsorbed in the regolith. These sources are thought to exchange between 10 and 100 times the current atmospheric pressure of CO2 via the atmosphere and are thus thought to regulate climate change on Mars (Fanale et al. 1982). The permanent cap at the south pole is thought to contain at the most around 10 mbar of CO2 (Fanale and Cannon, 1979) (however this figure is uncertain). Due to the uncertainty in the extent of the Martian regolith, the total mineral surface area exposed to the Martian atmosphere is not known. However, laboratory simulations of the simultaneous adsorption of H2O and CO2 (Zent and Quinn, 1995), where palagonite is used as an analogue of the Martian regolith (Zent et al. 1987), would appear to confirm that the current absorbed inventory of CO2 is 30-40 mbar.
An even greater source of CO2 may be combined in the form of carbonate. Carbonates would have been formed by CO2, present in the early Martian atmosphere, dissolving in water and combining with cations such as Ca2+, Fe2+ and Mg2+ and subsequent precipitates forming carbonates (refer to McKay and Nedell, 1988 and references there in). Warren (1987) suggests that the regolith's low Ca/Si ratio is due to the fact that Ca was removed from the regolith as calcium carbonate. Warren (1987) estimates that perhaps a global shell 20m thick would suffice to remove 1000 mbar of CO2 from the Martian atmosphere. Whether this amount of carbonate is present is not known. However, the layered deposits observed in the Valles Marineris (Nedell et al. 1987) (believed to be an ancient water system) are thought to be derived from the precipitation of 30 mbar of atmospheric CO2 as carbonate in lakes (McKay and Nedell, 1988).
4. Nitrogen. One of the main limiting factors for the growth of "Martian" organisms could be the low abundance of nitrogen (Table 1). No direct analysis of the nitrogen content on the surface of Mars has yet been conducted, the proportion of nitrogen in the Martian atmosphere is shown in Table 1. The abundance of nitrogen on the surface of Mars has been estimated from analysis of SNC data (for example Grady et al. 1995) and it would appear that there is proportionally less nitrogen on Mars than on the Earth (Banin and Mancinelli, 1995). Therefore, from the planetary engineer's perspective it is crucial that forth coming Mars missions investigate the abundance (and perhaps distribution) of nitrogen containing compounds.
5. Minerals. Minerals are also essential for biological process, for example as co-factors in enzyme catalyzed reactions and components of vitamins. All of the elements necessary to support terrestrial life are thought to be present on Mars, although as with the CHNOPS elements their concentration compared to Earth are either slightly higher, lower or the same (Banin and Mancinelli, 1995).
Mineral deposits, carbonates and nitrates etc. may be located in ancient evaporate basins (Forsythe and Zimbelman, 1995) and given suitable locations, i.e. at equatorial latitudes (maximum surface temperature), low point (maximum atmospheric pressure), these may be ideal areas for establishing pioneer ecosystems. Indeed, locations where ancient Martian life may have flourished would contain subsurface organics that have been buried sufficiently deep enough to be protected from oxidation (Zent and McKay, 1994). However, as mentioned above, depending on their depth, these deposits may remain in deep freeze and thus inaccessible for a long periods of time. Locations for ancient Martian life include old oceans along northern planes (Helfer, 1990), ancient ice-covered lakes (Scott et al. 1991; Andersen et al. 1995) and evaporites (Rothschild, 1990). Therefore, site selection to establish these ecosystems may closely resemble site selection for Martian exobiology (Rothschild, 1990; Farmer et al. 1995).
IV. Initial planetary engineering-a biological perspective
For Mars to be less hostile for pioneer organisms initial planetary engineering will be required to increase the atmospheric pressure. This will have a number of effects, including an increase in surface temperature, liquid water will be stable (at least at equatorial latitudes) and an increase in ozone abundance that will reduce the amount of UV-radiation reaching the surface. Perhaps the simplest way to do this, as discussed below, will be to liberate CO2 deposits using a runaway greenhouse mechanism.
1. Runaway greenhouse mechanisms and greenhouse gases. To initiate the runaway greenhouse mechanism for warming Mars, an initial warming is required to release CO2, this will act as a greenhouse gas increasing the global temperature leading to the release of more CO2 and so on (Haynes, 1990; McKay et al. 1991b; Zubrin and McKay, 1993). A number of mechanisms have been proposed to provide this initial warming step. Two techniques being orbiting mirrors to reflect sunlight onto polar regions acting alone or in conjunction with the in situ production of the greenhouse gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) (McKay et al. 1991b; Zubrin and McKay, 1993).
Estimates of the lifetime of CFCs in the Martian atmosphere vary from a few days (Levine, 1991-quoted in Fogg, 1992) to 100 years (Zubrin and McKay, 1993). Therefore, if the half-life of CFCs in the Martian atmosphere is small, the production of such quantities of CFCs to warm Mars may be impractical (Fogg, 1992). The Levine estimate of CFC lifetimes maybe an under estimate as this was based on a current Martian environment in which the O3 layer is very small and thus more UV-radiation is available to degrade the CFCs. If solar mirrors could be used to produce an increase in the pCO2 then a greater ozone layer would form (via the photodissociation of CO2) thus increasing the lifetime of the CFCs. However, as Fogg (1992) points out, such CFCs may not co-exist with an ozone layer in a planetary engineered atmosphere, as the photodissociation products of CFCs are thought to react with O3 and therefore reduce ozone coverage. As discussed below, ozone will be important in reducing the amount of UV radiation on the surface of Mars so that terrestrial organisms may exist unprotected on the surface. Instead of using CFCs as a greenhouse gas it maybe possible to use alternative greenhouse agents such as perfluorocarbons (see Fogg, 1995b). However, the toxicity of perfluorocarbons at the concentrations required for warming Mars would have to be determined.
An alternative greenhouse gas for warming Mars could be ammonia (NH3) (Pollack and Sagan, 1991). Ammonia rich asteroids could be diverted towards the Martian atmosphere to release their quantity of NH3 (Pollack and Sagan, 1991; Zubrin and McKay, 1993). However, the probability of locating asteroids that are composed of 100% NH3 is unlikely. The composition of any comet is unlikely to contain more than 10% NH3, therefore the problem is again a matter of scale. Also, NH3 has been shown to be very photochemically unstable in primitive terrestrial atmospheres (which may resemble Martian planetary engineered environments) and NH3 life times are estimated to be from 10 (Kasting, 1982) to 40 years (Kuhn and Atreya, 1979). Therefore the economic cost of importing NH3 containing asteroids might be more than the in situ production of some type of halocarbon to produce an equivalent greenhouse warming. However, as discussed in section six, there maybe a biological solution to this problem.
At a conservative estimate, perhaps only 500 mbar of CO2 is available for release using the runaway greenhouse mechanisms. Based on the work of Kasting (1989; 1991), this would result in a surface warming of approximately 240 K, perhaps bringing temperatures at the equator (during the Martian summer) above the freezing point of water. (Note: Kasting (1989) is based upon a model of the climate of early Earth and assumes a 0.8-bar N2 background atmosphere and a 30% reduction in stellar luminosity- the insulation on Mars is approximately 50% that of Earth). Pollack (1991) estimates that CO2 pressures on the order of several bars were required to raise the annually averaged temperature at low latitudes on an early Mars to values in excess of 273 K and this is also in agreement with the calculations of McKay et al. (1991b) for planetary engineering. Thus using the runaway greenhouse mechanisms of planetary engineering, the climate of Mars would probably be cold and icy rather than warm and wet.
2. Nanotechnology. Alternatively, in concert with the previous techniques or alone, nanotechnology may be employed for planetary engineering (Morgan, 1994; Nussinov et al. 1994) . For example in the liberation of carbon dioxide from carbonate deposits (Nussinov et al. 1994). Great claims are made to the potential exponential growth of nano-robots (Freitas, 1983; Morgan, 1994). Morgan (1994) has suggested that nano-robots could contain structures similar to those found in biological organisms. In common with microorganisms, nano-robots may have a huge growth capacity, i.e. doubling time, which for some bacteria, growing under ideal conditions, can be as little as 20 minutes. Ideal growth conditions for nano-robots are therefore likely to resemble those found for microorganisms (see Figure 1.). However, conditions on Mars will not be ideal for grow of either microorganisms or nano-robots. Nutrients/substrates may vary in abundance, there may be competition for resources etc. Therefore, growth is likely to be linear rather than exponential (Figure 1). Also, unlike biotechnology, nanotechnology has not been demonstrated.
Figure 1. Growth curves of "organisms" (either microorganisms or nano-robots) on Mars. (A) Is the lag phase in which the "organisms" are growing at a slow rate. In microorganisms this caused by the "turn on" of genes to make new proteins etc. If conditions are optimal, i.e. abundant substrate/nutrients, and remain optimal, then growth rate becomes exponential (E). However, if ecological climax is reached, e.g. the substrate pool becomes limiting, then the population crashes (D1). A far more likely scenario is that the initial number of "organisms" grows slowly (B) as the distribution of substrates will not be uniform. Eventually, the number of organisms "living" will equal the number of organisms "dying" (C). If the substrate becomes limiting or environmental conditions worsen (i.e. drop in temperature) then the number of organisms will drop (D2). As conditions become more favourable then growth resumes (A). For Mars, the ideal growth curve for any organism should follow (A to C or D2). This idea of keeping growth rates below climax has been rightly argued by Fogg (1995b).
3. Nuclear mining and alternative planetary engineering mechanisms. There are a number of mechanisms available for liberating the carbon dioxide "trapped" as carbonates, including cometary impact (Fogg, 1989 and references there in) and nuclear mining (Fogg, 1989; 1992; Pollack and Sagan, 1991). Such anthropogenic mechanisms of planetary engineering become attractive if there is insufficient volatile inventory for a runaway greenhouse mechanism. The environmental consequences of radioactive fall out associated with certain forms of nuclear mining could be quite severe (Haynes and McKay, 1992), leading perhaps to widespread mutation and death of organisms. Given an advanced technology (more than that required for ecopoiesis) it may be possible to release carbon dioxide in carbonate deposits by volcanic means. The thermal erosion of carbonates has been hypothesised as a mechanism for the recycling of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere of early Mars (Schaefer, 1993).
4. Ozone. One of the main functions of initial planetary engineering would be to increase the ozone layer thus providing shielding of organisms from UV-radiation (Hiscox and Lindner, 1996). Based on O3 estimates in a Precambrian atmosphere, the minimum ozone column being tolerable by unprotected bacteria would fall between 1x1018 and 4x1018 cm2 depending on the bacterial species being considered (Francois and Gerard, 1988). Fortuitously, oxygen is not required to generate an ozone layer, instead the photodissociation of CO2 might be used to generate sufficient ozone to provide an ozone layer (Hiscox and Lindner, 1996). Such a scenario may be self-regulating (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Diagrammatic representation of an ozone "cycle" during planetary engineering. (Interactions at the poles are complex and thus for simplicity are not represented). Ozone is created by the photodissociation of carbon dioxide. Through vertical mixing this reaches the lower atmosphere where it is destroyed by water, which has been released from the regolith by heating either with solettas (Birch, 1992) and/or greenhouse gases (McKay et al. 1991b). (Note: the hypothetical greenhouse gases used in this scenario do not chemically react with ozone. More carbon dioxide is released leading to the formation of new ozone and so on.
If only a minimum ozone coverage is created by planetary engineering (sufficient to provide shielding against lethal UV-radiation for most organisms), on some occasions the ozone level may drop below a threshold level. Thus exposed organisms may be exposed to lethal levels of UV-radiation on Mars. Seasonal and latitudinal variations in dust and cloud opacities have induced as much as a 40% variation in ozone on a seasonal and latitudinal basis (Lindner, 1988). In addition, the asymmetry in dust and cloud opacities at late winter in each hemisphere could also cause a 10-20% hemispherical asymmetry in ozone (Lindner, 1988). Therefore a mechanism of preventing this drop in ozone would be preferable. The current dust concentration in the Martian atmosphere can induce a 10-50% increase in ozone abundances because photodissociation rates are greatly reduced by dust absorption (Lindner, 1988) and this phenomena has been observed in the polar regions of Mars, where dust absorbs or scatters to space most UV-radiation before it strikes the cap (Lindner, 1990).
Therefore a planetary engineering mechanism that can create such a dust storm would be useful in providing additional protection to organisms by reducing the amount of UV-radiation reaching the surface. First by providing direct shielding against UV-radiation and second by inducing localised increases in the production of ozone, thus restoring an ozone layer. One mechanism to generate a global dust storm may be heating of the polar regions with space based sunlight reflectors (Zubrin and McKay, 1993) (abbreviated to SBR). Similar to what occurs on Mars at the moment, the asymmetric heating of one pole would cause a pressure differential i.e. wind, and this would carry dust. However, if the polar reserves of carbon dioxide and water are liberated early in planetary engineering then an alternative mechanism is required. Such a mechanism could be the heating of a near by dusty area on Mars by a SBR (Hiscox and Lindner, 1996). This may cause a localised dust storm which would provide local UV-radiation coverage by plugging the nearby ozone hole. Satellites could be used to monitor atmospheric ozone abundances and warn of impending ozone "holes".
5. Temperature/humidity. Different microbial species vary widely in their optimal temperatures for growth. The upper end of temperature range tolerated by any given species correlates well with the general thermal stability of that species' proteins. Microorganisms share with plants and animals the heat shock response, a transient synthesis of a set of "heat shock proteins" when exposed to a sudden rise in temperature above the growth optimum. These proteins appear to be unusually heat resistant and act to stabilise the heat sensitive proteins of the cell. However, beyond a certain temperature proteins will irreversibly denature and therefore enzymes (which are mostly composed of proteins) will become non-functional. Some bacteria can also exhibit cold shock, the killing of cells by rapid as opposed to slow cooling. For example, rapid cooling of Escherichia coli from 310 to 278 K will kill 90% of the cells. Early stages of planetary engineering will probably require psychrophilic forms, i.e. those that grow best at low temperatures (normally 288-293 K).
In order to define a minimum temperature and humidity for pioneer microorganisms to grow during ecopoiesis one can study microorganisms that inhabit regions on the Earth that best approximate regions on Mars. Apart from the greater pressure and less UV-radiation, the cold dry Ross Desert regions of Antarctica best approximate Mars (Friedmann and Weed, 1987; McKay, 1993). Yet these regions are host to a variety of microorganisms which live just under the surface of rocks and these are called endolithic microorganisms (Friedmann, 1982). In these regions air temperatures range between 258 K and 273 K in the summer and may drop to near 213 K in the winter, with relative humidities ranging from 16 to 75 percent (Friedmann, 1982 and references there in). Before planetary engineering, Mars will be colder than Antarctica, however, as discussed above, using the greenhouse mechanism it may be possible to raise the surface temperature of Mars to conditions resembling Antartica.
Microbial activity in the Antarctic cryptoendolithic habitat is regulated by temperature (Nienow et al. 1988a) and metabolic activity is possible only when solar radiation raises the temperature of the rock above 263 K (Nienow et al. 1988b). Therefore the minimum Martian surface temperature required for ecopoiesis, should 263 K or greater (at least in regions were organisms will be seeded).
Cryptoendolithic lichens begin photosynthesis when the matric water potential is -46.4 megaPascals (MPa) which corresponds to a relative humidity of 70% at 281 K, whereas cryptoendolithic cyanobacteria photosynthesize at high matric water potentials of -6.9 (and greater) (a relative humidity of 90% at 281 K) (Palmer Jr. and Friedmann, 1990). Alternatively, both may use melt-water as a source of water rather than water vapour which is used in times of environmental stress. Therefore, if melt water is unavailable for pioneer microorganisms, the relative humidity should be at least 70%, perhaps lower if genetic engineering (see below) can be used to increase tolerance to desiccation. Alternatively, pioneer microorganisms could be adapted to tolerate desication (Friedmann, 1995-personal communication in Hiscox and Thomas, 1995), and this is perhaps a more feasible mechanism than genetic engineering.
6. Growth and diversity. After the introduction of microorganisms into a partially altered Martian environment the growth rate will exceed the death rate and therefore there should be a net accumulation of microorganisms. However, once the new biosphere becomes established the population of microorganisms in a stable biosphere will be roughly constant, i.e. growth is balanced by death. The survival of any microbial group within its niche is determined in large part by successful competition for nutrients and by maintenance of a pool of living cells (or dormant cells) during nutritional deprivation. In a constantly changing environment, as will occur during planetary engineering, the proportion of living bacteria to dead bacteria may vary dramatically (Figure 1).
V. Candidate biological methods and mechanisms for adapting terrestrial organisms to grow on Mars
A number of pioneer microorganisms and plants have been proposed for introduction onto a partially altered Mars (Averner and MacElroy, 1976; Friedmann and Ocampo-Friedmann, 1994; Hiscox, 1995; Hiscox and Thomas, 1995; Fogg, 1995d). The first organisms will of necessity be photoautotrophic (Haynes and McKay, 1992), which means that they utilise sunlight as an energy source and do not require complex organic material for metabolism (which would be absent on the surface of the planet prior to the introduction of terrestrial microorganisms-see section two). In order to aid organisms to survive and more importantly grow as soon as physically possibly on a partially altered Mars, two main mechanisms of adaptation can be utilised either individually or in concert, that of genetic manipulation and/or directed selection under simulated Martian conditions (Hiscox, 1995; Hiscox and Thomas, 1995) (Figure 3):
Figure 3. Schematic representation of selecting organisms for growth on Mars. Candidate organisms could perhaps be isolated from extremes of environments on the Earth that in some respects resemble the partially altered environment on Mars. The organisms could be further adapted to Mars by either genetic engineering and/or selection in Marsjars. Once environmental conditions become more clement on Mars, organisms could be directly introduced from the Earth with minimum adaptation. (The stage at which organisms could be introduced onto Mars is indicated by the right-hand path). (Taken from Hiscox, 1996).
1. Genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is now common place and the ability to manipulate organisms for Mars, especially prokaryotes and also eukaryotes is entirely feasible (Hiscox, 1995). For example, a pioneer microorganisms's tolerance to lower intracellular pH could be increased by engineering in a gene(s) from another organism that confers tolerance to low pH (Hiscox and Thomas, 1995). Such an organism would then be termed recombinant, or in this case a genetically engineered Mars organism (GEMO; Hiscox, 1995). One danger in introducing new genes into an organism is that the over expression of such a gene may lead to deficiencies in other key metabolites, therefore the inter-conversion of biosynthetic components has to be tightly regulated (Hiscox, 1995; Hiscox and Thomas, 1995).
2. Genetic selection. Alternatively, organisms could be adapted for growth on a partially altered Mars by growing them under simulated environmental conditions that increasingly resembles the climate on Mars at the proposed time of their introduction. In genetic terms, this process is called directed selection and is a well known Darwinian concept. In which adaptation results from the systematic relationships between genotype and phenotype and between phenotype and reproductive success in a given environment. There are limits to increases in both physiological and metabolic processes using selection, and thus genetic engineering could be used to increase some of these. Because of their fairly rapid generation time, microorganisms would best lead themselves to this type of adaptation.
A number of studies have grown various terrestrial microorganisms under different combinations of Martian or extreme terrestrial/non-terrestrial environmental conditions (for example see: Ito, 1991; Koike et al. 1991; Moll and Vestal, 1992) and the growth on Mars of a blue-green algae has been modelled (Kuhn et al. 1979). It is certainly feasible to conduct Marsjar simulations using terrestrial microorganisms and such experiments would provide data for the growth of terrestrial organisms in Martian greenhouses and planetary protection issues. Indeed many of these types of experiments have already been proposed for planetary protection issues (Lindberg and Horneck, 1994). The only factor of a Martian environment that would be difficult to simulate is the effect of gravity.
A fine balance between survival and evolutionary potential has to be struck by organisms that have the efficient ability to remove most errors in DNA replication. In general, an organism with perfect replication will never evolve, although genetic recombination (gene swapping) may still occur and act as a mechanism for evolution (and is perhaps the major driving force!). Whereas an organism with a highly error-prone mechanism would not survive. The error repair mechanism in bacteria is so accurate that an error is generated only once in 108 to 109 bases (a base is a unit of a chromosome). Because the genomes of bacteria are about 4.5 million bases long, only about 1% of the progeny have alterations in their base sequence. This error level can be easily tolerated, it also continuously generates variants that can be selected under specialised conditions. One must bear in mind that selection is always for survival, a given species has no advantage in evolving into a different species. Natural selection tends to promote the divergence of populations living in different environments. Radical changes in the habitat, as will occur during planetary engineering, will often exterminate a species, therefore organisms will have to be able to adapt to these changing circumstances.
It is increasingly evident that many microorganisms exist in consortia formed by representatives of different genera. Other microorganisms often characterised as single cells in the laboratory form cohesive colonies in the natural environment. This property of organisms will be important during Marsjar simulations and subsequent introduction onto Mars.
3. Safety issues of genetic engineering. Almost certainly GEMOs/selected organisms will be released on the surface of Mars, either through contamination associated with manned exploration, colonist's greenhouses or the deliberate release during a planetary engineering effort. These organisms will be growing under conditions that do not occur on the Earth, and therefore their evolution may proceed in a completely novel manner compared to their counterparts on the Earth (Haynes, 1990). For example, non- pathogenic bacteria may become pathogenic. Such considerations are especially important if terraforming is realised and the human population will inhabit the surface of Mars, although many genetic safeguards can be built into such organisms (Hiscox, 1995).
VI. Uses of terrestrial organisms on Mars
Terrestrial organisms will serve a number of purposes, both during and after planetary engineering:
1. Increase in atmospheric pressure and change in chemical composition. For example, microorganisms could be used to release carbon dioxide from carbonate deposits (Friedmann et al. 1993) and nitrogen from nitrate deposits (Thomas, 1995; Hiscox and Thomas, 1995) and appropriate deposits could be determined from orbit (Hiscox, 1995). In order to terraform Mars, McKay (1982) and McKay et al. (1991b) proposed that plants could be used to convert the mainly carbon dioxide atmosphere formed during ecopoiesis into an oxygen atmosphere. For example, Fogg (1992) estimates that 5.7x1017 kg of biomass would have to be sequestered as part of the biological production of 158 mbar of oxygen. Also, Fogg (1995d) has addressed some of the issues and suggests a number of solutions for growing plants in low oxygen concentrations that would be present during early stages of ecopoiesis i.e. below an oxygen pressure of 20 mbar.
It should be noted that previous estimates of the time taken to convert a mainly carbon dioxide atmosphere into an oxygen atmosphere may be underestimates as these calculations did not take into account the possible increase in respiring aerobic organisms (i.e. lichen, bacteria etc.) that may concomitantly increase in numbers with more oxygen availability and result in the production of more carbon dioxide. Therefore, biology on Mars must be actively held away from ecological climax in order to maximise oxygen production and minimise its uptake (Fogg, 1995e).
One should note that if plants are to be used to convert the mainly carbon dioxide atmosphere into an atmosphere suitable for human habitation, then in the early stages of this process all such plants should be either self or wind pollinating. Self pollination would probably be the preferred option as wind pollination may be extremely inefficient if the population density of plants is too low. These two mechanisms of pollination are required because the carbon dioxide atmosphere will be too toxic for insects that pollinate plants.
2. Climate regulation and control. Organisms will help maintain the gaseous composition of the Martian atmosphere and thus regulate climate. After planetary engineering, organisms such as plants will also affect climate by cycling vast amounts of water. An example is provided by Amazonia, which contains two-thirds of all above ground freshwater on Earth. At least half of Amazonia's moisture is retained within the forest ecosystem, being constantly transpired by plants before being precipitated back into the forest, with a mean cycling time of 5.5 days (Salati and Nobre, 1992).
3. Control of albedo. Sagan (1973; 1980) proposed that plant growth could be used to lower the albedo of the Martian polar caps thus increasing their absorption of solar radiation and heating them, thus hopefully triggering a runaway greenhouse effect. (This scenario has one main problem in that metabolic reactions do not occur at the temperatures found on the Martian polar caps). However, the idea does have great merit for stabilising the albedo on Mars. For example Amazonia and Zaire forests stabilise the albedo on Earth (Gash and Shuttleworth, 1992).
4. Replace biogeochemical cycles. The Earth's biotas are pumps for the major bio-geochemical cycles (Schlesinger, 1991). From a longer term perspective, because Mars is believed to lack tectonic activity and therefore organisms such as microbes (Thomas, 1995) and plants (Fogg, 1995d) may play an essential role in the regulation of global nitrogen, carbon and other mineral cycles (McKay, 1982; Fogg; 1993; Thomas 1995). Whether purely biological cycles could replace bio-geochemical ones is a large problem facing "biological" planetary engineering (McKay, 1982; Fogg, 1995b; Thomas, 1995).
5. Hydrological functions. Plants play a part in hydrological cycles in addition to those discussed in (i), by controlling water runoff. Vegetation permits a slower and more regulated run-off, allowing water supplies to make a steadier and more substantive contribution to their ecosystems, instead of quickly running off into streams and rivers- possibly resulting in flood and drought regimes downstream. As the hydrosphere is gradually activated on Mars so these hydrological cycle becomes more important. It will be important to ensure that water is cycled by transpiration and rainfall.
6. Production of greenhouse gases. Microorganisms could be used to metabolise nitrate deposits to NH3. As discussed in section four, NH3 is a powerful greenhouse gas, so not only would this process contribute to the warming of the planet, but at low levels NH3 would be photochemically broken down into N2, a further greenhouse gas (H2O) and H2 (Kasting, 1982). (However, this pathway maybe undesirable as the H2 produced would probably be lost to space (Fox, 1993 and references therein). Another green house gas that could be produced by biological mechanisms is methane, CH4. Methane may have been a constituent of the Martian paleoatmosphere (Kasting, 1991). However, methane is rapidly photodissociated by UV-radiation, but an increase in ozone and efficient/abundant production of CH4 by biological organisms may partially mitigate this problem and lead to a net accumulation of CH4.
7. Biomass production and soil protection. On early Earth reduced organic material formed by fixation of carbon dioxide and carbonates was ultimately utilised by other organisms scouring the debris of destroyed cells. Thus pioneer microorganisms and subsequent generations will provide a pyramid of biomass for successive generations of organisms. (During initial planetary engineering the Martian surface will rarely be refreshed by rainfall and will be unable to retain moisture. Therefore hardy microorganisms which were able to utilise water vapour could be used to build up a "top soil").
The spread and settlement of vegetation protects soil cover. On Earth soil erosion is a major problem in many areas of the world, for example, it leads to declines in soil fertility. Although no soil is present on Mars with the growth of appropriate microorganisms gradually a biomass will begin to build up and the planting of trees, grasses and long rooted plants could, as on Earth, could be used to prevent large scale erosion (Figure 4).
8. Production of materials for colonists. Provided the relevant organisms can grow on Mars, these would include trees to provide wood for construction, food and medicines, antibiotics from fungi etc.
Figure 4. Photograph of plants on Mars. Once the oxygen level is around 20 mbar then plants can be introduced onto Mars. These will serve a number of functions including the production of more oxygen and stabilising geological features. A drainage channel caused by the recent flow of water can be observed in the background. In the foreground plants are growing and spreading toward the drainage channel preventing further erosion. (Photograph J. A. Hiscox and M. W. Parnell).
VII. The importance of biodiversity in planetary engineering
Also a key question is how many species are required to establish a stable ecosystem, either leading to Vitanova or Terranova? This concept is known as biodiversity and encompasses all life forms from the planetary species to populations of species together with their ecosystems and ecological processes. On Earth biodiversity plays two critical roles. (i) Biodiversity provides the biosphere with a medium for energy and material flows, which in turm provide ecosystems with their functional properties. (ii) It supports and creates ecosystem resilience, which will be absolutely crucial on Mars. Resilience can be defined as the ability of ecosystems to resist stresses and shocks, to absorb disturbance and to recover from disruptive change. All of these processes will be occurring during planetary engineering and indeed occur on Earth. The concept can be expressed more formally, it connotes an equilibrium-theory idea to the effect that ecosystems with their cybernetic mechanisms display homeostatic attributes that allow them to maintain function in the face of stress induced structural changes (Cairns and Pratt, 1995).
Biodiversity will be important during and after planetary engineering on Mars, one useful definition is of environmental/ecosystems services which reflect environmental functions and ecological processes and can be defined as any functional attributes of natural ecosystems that are demonstrably beneficial to mankind (Cairns and Pratt, 1995). Although, it is difficult to speculate on the composition of Martian ecosystems and to draw extrapolate from terrestrial ecosystems, on Earth the values provided by such systems include generating and maintaining soils, converting solar energy into plant tissue, sustaining hydrological cycles, running bio-geochemical cycles (including the elements carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur), controlling the gaseous mixture of the atmosphere (which helps to determine climate-i.e. through the CO2/H2O greenhouse effect) and regulating weather and climate at both macro and micro-levels. Thus they basically include three forms of processing, namely of minerals, energy and water (Perrings, 1987).
Ecological services at first inspection often depend to appear not so much on biodiversity but on biomass. For example, when a patch of forest is replaced by a monoculture, the new vegetation can supply certain of the same ecological functions (and perhaps more efficiently), including photosynthesis, protection of soil cover, atmospheric processing and hydrological functions. However, on closer inspection biodiversity is extremely important, a monoculture may provide less cycling of nutrients and other soil nutrients and be more prone to disease.
VIII. Ramifications for the Martian environment of planetary engineering
During planetary engineering geological features will change, for example if the global temperature raises above 273 K then water in the form of ice will gradually begin to melt in the regolith. This has a number of consequences, for example, if rivers begin to form, the associated erosion may bring to the surface any buried organic material. Another important point to emphasise is that biology on Mars, at least during the initial stages of planetary engineering must always be used to add CO2/O2 /N2 /greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. It would be undesirable to reach a point where microorganisms initiate a global freezing because all of the CO2 has been re-sequestered as organic carbon.
The introduction of terrestrial microorganisms into the Martian environment, whether in greenhouses or for planetary engineering will obviously affect the search for any extinct, but especially extant Martian life. Before planetary engineering commences and during the initial stages the very surface of Mars will be sterilising for all forms of terrestrial life, whether genetically modified/adapted or not. However, if oasis of life do exist, then such enclaves may be over run by terrestrial organisms. Or perhaps if environmental conditions become more clement during planetary engineering such organisms will compete with terrestrial organisms. Therefore, a thorough search for "life" on Mars will perhaps be necessary before the wide spread introduction of terrestrial organisms.
IX. The dynamics of Martian environmental change versus the capabilities of a biological engine
For the "biological engine" to facilitate any planetary engineering effort certain environmental conditions discussed in section two will have to modified by non-biological means before organisms can be introduced. Most importantly a decrease in UV radiation and an increase in surface temperature above the freezing point of water. As discussed in section four, these conditions could both be accomplished by an increase in the atmospheric pressure. Undoubtedly the biological engine is very powerful, witness the conversion of the anaerobic environment on the early Earth to an aerobic biosphere via photosynthesis, a biological mechanism. Although, as Thomas (1995) points out, concrete data in the area of the biological engine is lacking and comparisons with terrestrial equivalents may be difficult to draw. Such predictions as to the effectiveness of a biological engine on Mars are hampered by four main factors; the composition, state and distribution of the volatile inventory and the performance of organisms under Martian conditions (Haynes, 1990). The forth coming Mars Pathfinder and Surveyor missions may provide some answers to the former three points and Marsjar simulations to the later.
X. Colonists/greenhouses and planetary engineering
Colonists and planetary engineering are very interrelated. The presence of colonists on the Martian surface has been proposed to be the main driving force behind the ultimate terraforming of Mars (Fogg, 1993). However, colonists and colonies on Mars will provide an integral role in assessing the feasibility of a planetary engineering scenario in a number of ways:
1. Simulating biological systems and planetary engineering in greenhouses. In order to become less dependent on supplies from Earth, such colonies are likely to utilize greenhouses for a number of purposes including food production and waste processing/recycling. Such greenhouses could be viewed as giant Marsjars as the atmosphere inside the vessels might, in part, resemble the atmosphere at some point during planetary engineering, such as the Terrariums proposed by the Obayashi Corporation (Ishikawa et al. 1990; 1993). For example, the spread of organisms throughout the Martian soil, biomass production and plant growth e.g. respiration versus photosynthesis in a high CO2 environment could be simulated and modeled.
The composition of a planetary engineered atmosphere has not been modeled in detail and colonist's greenhouses would probably contain more water than would be liberated by near term planetary engineering scenarios. One point to note is that H2O2 release by the Martian "top soil" may be toxic for organisms in the greenhouse (Zent and McKay, 1994). To overcome this problem efficient venting may be used, at least until the H2O2 production decreases to more tolerable levels. Alternatively, deeper soil deposits that do not contain oxides (Bullock et al. 1995) could be used.
2. Detailed volatile inventory. Colonists/explorers will be best able to assess the volatile inventory and distribution of materials essential for planetary engineering on Mars (Haynes, 1990; Haynes and McKay, 1992; Fogg, 1995c) and Antarctic research outposts may provide a useful model for this process (Andersen et al. 1990).
XI. From Vitanova to Terranova
Almost certainly, given near term technology, some form of ecopoiesis can be accomplished on Mars and Haynes (1990) suggested such a planet may be named Vitanova. Terraforming is more dependent on sufficient volatile inventory and is thus more uncertain than ecopoiesis. However, if terraforming is possible, i.e. to create Terranova (Haynes, 1990), then one of the main biological problems to be faced may be the environmental change from an anaerobic to an aerobic biosphere.
On the early Earth a stepwise improvement in anaerobic metabolism allowed cells to survive and multiply wherever they could find simple nutrients in solution. A similar process may occur during ecopoiesis. However, after several billion years on the early Earth, the accumulation of free oxygen in the atmosphere brought about a radical change in the biosphere. The anaerobes retreated to unaerated environments and newly evolved aerobes took over the surface. Bacteria that could survive the toxic effects of oxygen could also capitalize on the more efficient metabolism it supported. This luxury may not be afforded to organisms that have prospered during ecopoiesis. McKay et al. (1991b) calculated an oxygen biosphere may be obtained in 21,000 to 100,000 years via photosynthesis. This is considerably less time than the switch from an anaerobic to an aerobic biosphere in the history of the Earth. Therefore, anaerobic organisms may perish and ecosystems and the biosphere disrupted. The remains of these organisms may provide biomass for the organisms that remain or those that are to come. However, the consequences and benefits of such a decision to proceed with terraforming Vitanova must be carefully weighed with the risk of failure (Haynes, 1990).
XII. Conclusions
In conclusion, in full agreement with McKay (1982), Haynes (1990) and Fogg (1995d) the relationship between biology and the planetary engineering of Mars can only be more accurately investigated when the volatile inventory, chemical state and geological distribution is determined. Also, extensive analysis of the performance of GEMOs and terrestrial microorganisms using Marsjars will be required. However, given the suitable abundance of such volatiles and moderate advances in technology, there is no biological reason why the goal of at least Vitanova cannot be realized.
I wish to extend my thanks to the following people for providing both valuable discussions, suggestions and advice: Martyn Fogg, Imre Friedmann, Bob Haynes, Lee Lindner, Chris McKay and Tom Meyer.
           Exobiological protocol and laboratory for the human exploration of Mars - Lessons from a polar impact crater         
Cockell, Charles S. ; Lim, Darlene S. S.; Braham, Stephen; Lee, Pascal and Clancey, Bill (2003). Exobiological protocol and laboratory for the human exploration of Mars - Lessons from a polar impact crater. Journal of The British Interplanetary Society, 56(3-4) pp. 74–86.
Forget the ikebana art, the traditional wedding bouquet, lazy days spent to grow bonsai! Modern organic sculptures (with ...Continue Reading
          Survei GPS        

Survei GPS

GPS (Global Positioning System) merupakan metode penetuan posisi dengan menggunakan satelit GPS yang dikelola oleh Amerika Serikat. Sistem ini sudah banyak digunakan baik dalam keperluan sipil maupun keperluan militer. Metode penetuan posisi dengan menggunakan GPS ini tidak tergantung oleh cuaca dan waktu pengamatan.
Sistem GPS, yang nama aslinya adalah NAVSTAR GPS (Navigation Satellite Timing and Ranging Global Positioning System), mempunyai tiga segmen yaitu satelit, pengontrol, dan penerima/pengguna. Satelit GPS mengorbit bumi, dengan orbit dan kedudukan yang tetap (koordinat pasti), seluruhnya berjumlah 24 buah dimana 21 buah aktif bekerja dan 3 buah sisanya adalah cadangan.
Ø  Satelit bertugas untuk menerima dan menyimpan data yang ditransmisikan oleh stasiun-stasiun pengontrol, menyimpan dan menjaga informasi waktu berketelitian tinggi  yang ditentukan dengan jam atomic di satelit dan memancarkan sinyal dan informasi secara kontinyu ke pesawat penerima (reciever) dari pengguna.
Ø  Pengontrol bertugas untuk mengendalikan dan mengontrol satelit dari bumi baik untuk mengecek kesehatan satelit, penentuan dan prediksi orbit dan waktu, singkronisasi waktu antar satelit, dan mengirim data ke satelit.
Ø  Penerima bertugas menerima data dari satelit dan memprosesnya untuk menentukan posisi (posisi tiga dimensi yaitu koordinat di bumi dan ketinggian), arah, jarak dan waktu yang diperlukan oleh pengguna.

Metode Penentuan Posisi dengan GPS
Pada dasarnya penentuan posisi dengan GPS adalah pengukuran jarak secara bersama-sama ke beberapa satelit (yang koordinatnya telah diketahui) sekaligus. Untuk menentukan koordinat suatu titik di bumi, reciever setidaknya membutuhkan 4 satelit yang dapat ditangkap sinyalna dengan baik. Secara deefault posisi atau koordinat yang diperoleh bereferensi ke global datum yaitu WGS 1984.
Secara garis besar penentuan posisi dengan GPS ini dibagi menjadi dua metode, yaitu metode absolut dan metode relatif.
Ø  Metode absolut atau point positioning, menentukan posisi hanya berdasarkan pada 1 pesawat penerima (reciever) saja. Keteliatian posisi dalam beberapa meter dan umumnya hanya diperuntukkan bagi keperluan navigasi.
Ø  Metode relatif atau differential positionong menentukan posisi dengan menggunakan lebih dari sebuah reciever. Satu GPS dipasang pada lokasi tetentu dimuka bumi dan secara terus menerus menerima sinyal dari satelit dalam jangka waktu tertentu dijadikan referensi bagi yang lainnya. Metode ini menghasilkan posisi berketelitian tinggi (umumnya kurang dari 1 meter) dan diaplikasikan untuk keperluan survey geosesi atau pemetaan yang memerlukan ketelitian tinggi.

Adapun pengelompokan metode penentuan posisi dengan GPS berdasarkan mekanisme pengaplikasiannya dapat dilihat pada tabel berikut (Tabel 2.1).

Tabel 2.1 Metode Penentuan Posisi dengan GPS

(1 receiver)
(min 2 receiver)
Rapid static

Diam (singkat)
Pseudeo kinematik

Diam & bergerak
Stop and  go

Diam & bergerak

Penentuan Posisi dengan Metode Statik Absolut
Penentuan posisi secara absolut (absolute positioning) dapat digambarkan sebagai berikut :
Un poco sin querer pero también queriendo, este blog se a estado convirtiendo en una especie de publicación sobre ciencias mas que un portal al cine la literatura y la música que es mi intención primera. Pero, como todo en la vida, les aseguro que es una etapa y que en algún momento no solo voy a retomar mi asiduidad tanto como mis opiniones de las cosas que me gustan.

Ahora voy a dejar una pequeña biografía sobre un divulgador científico como pocos, que llego a mi a través de su documental “Cosmos”, el cual resultó ser una influencia poderosa a la hora de pensar y de poner interés sobre muchas cosas que nos rodean a diario. Estoy hablando de Carl Sagan, astrónomo y divulgador científico que nació en Brooklyn, Nueva York en 1934.

Sagan se graduó en la Rahway High School en New Jersey en 1951. Estudió en la Universidad de Chicago, en la que se graduó como Bachiller en Artes con honores generales y especiales (1954) y como Bachiller en Ciencias(1955), y donde obtuvo una Maestría en Física (1956), antes de acceder al Doctorado en Filosofia Ph.D. (1960) en astronomía y astrofísica.

Sagan fue uno de los primeros científicos en proponer la hipótesis de que Europa, uno de los satélites de Júpiter, y Titán, el satélite más grande de Saturno, podrían contener un océano, en el caso de Europa bajo su gran capa de hielo, y en el caso de Titan superficial, sugiriendo la posibilidad de un posible entorno habitable. En el caso del satélite Europa, su océano fue más tarde confirmado indirectamente por los resultados de la misión espacial Galileo.

También concibió la idea de enviar un mensaje inalterable al espacio más allá del Sistema Solar que pudiera ser entendido por una posible civilización extraterrestre que lo interceptara en un futuro. El primer mensaje así enviado fue una placa de oro en la sonda Pioneer, posteriormente un disco de oro en las sondas Voyager y el mensaje de Arecibo.

En total fue coautor de unos 200 trabajos científicos de investigación en ciencias planetarias y sobre la búsqueda de vida extraterrestre.

Sagan fue cofundador y promotor de numerosos proyectos dentro del ámbito de las ciencias planetarias. Cofundó la revista Icarus destinada a estudios del Sistema Solar de la cual fue editor en jefe durante 12 años. Impulsó la creación de la División de Ciencias Planetarias de la Asociación Estadounidense de Astronomía.

También fue cofundador de La Sociedad Planetaria, una sociedad dedicada a la investigación en las siguientes áreas: búsqueda de vida extraterrestre por medio de ondas de radio, identificación y estudio de asteroides cercanos a la Tierra y exploración de Marte por medio de robots. Sagan fue también miembro del Instituto SETI y del Comité de Investigación Científica de las Pretensiones Paranormales.

Como reconocimiento a su trabajo sobre exobiología, le ofrecieron describir el término vida para la Enciclopedia Británica. La División de Ciencias Planetarias (DPS) de la Asociación Astronómica Americana (AAS) otorga cada año la medalla Sagan al mérito de divulgación científica en ciencias planetarias.

El lugar de amartizaje de la misión Mars Pathfinder fue nombrado en su honor como estación Carl Sagan Memorial. El asteroide 2709 Sagan también recibe su nombre en su honor.
Su esteticismo en materia religiosa y su combate ferviente a la pseudociencia lo convirtieron en un personaje polémico aunque su contribución a la divulgación cientific a a través de su documental televisivo “Cosmos”, sus libros y publicaciones lo hicieron el astrónomo más famoso a nivel mundial.

Con su serie “Cosmos”, Carl Sagan probó que los medios pueden ser una enorme ayuda para difundir ciencia, educación y cultura y demostró además lo que pueden hacer los libros, la televisión y el cine si son usados de la manera adecuada. Una enorme lección para quienes dirigen los medios, que desgraciadamente no quisieron aprender, ya en dichos medios siguen prevaleciendo la chabacanería y la estupidez a la cultura y la educación.

Lo mismo intentó hacer en su novela “Contacto” llevada al cien después con Jodie Foster como protagonista. Aunque me parece que las diferencias ideológicas entre la novela y la película son muchas, no dejo de decir que esta película, muy golpead por la critica, a mi me gustó muchísimo.
Sagan se casó en tres ocasiones. Con la bióloga Lynn Margulis en 1957, madre de Dorion Sagan; con la artista Linda Salzman (la cual le ayudaría en el diseño del mensaje interesterlar en las placas del Pioneer 10) y finalmente con Ann Druyan, con quien tuvo dos hijos y permaneció casado hasta su muerte en 1996.

Antes de morir, en su artículo "El valle de las sombras", publicado en la revista Parade el 10 de marzo de 1996, dejó la siguiente reflexión que reflejan su personalidad y convicción que comparto en su plenitud:

"Seis veces hasta hoy he visto la Muerte cara a cara, y otras tantas ella ha desviado la mirada y me ha dejado pasar. Algún día, por supuesto, la Muerte me reclamará, tal como hace con todos nosotros. Es sólo una cuestión de cuándo y cómo.

"He aprendido mucho sobre nuestros encuentros, especialmente sobre la belleza y dulce patetismo de la Vida, sobre el valor inapreciable de amigos y familia, sobre el poder de transformación del amor.
"Me encantaría creer que cuando muera viviré de nuevo, que alguna parte de mis pensamientos, sentimientos o recuerdos continuarán. Pero a pesar de lo que me gustaría creerlo, y de las antiguas tradiciones culturales a lo largo de todo el mundo que aseguran la vida tras la vida, no sé de nada que me sugiera que esto es algo más que una forma de pensar optimista.

"Quiero envejecer con mi mujer, Annie, a la cual adoro. Quiero ver a mis jóvenes hijos crecer y quiero jugar un papel en su desarrollo personal e intelectual. Quiero conocer a mis nietos aún no concebidos. Hay problemas científicos, de cuyos descubrimientos querría ser testigo, como la exploración de muchos de los mundos de nuestro Sistema Solar y la búsqueda de vida exterior.

"Quiero aprender cómo funcionan las mayores cuestiones en la historia de la Humanidad, preocupantes o esperanzadoras: los peligros y promesas de la tecnología; la emancipación de la mujer; el crecimiento y ascendencia económica y tecnológica de China; los vuelos interestelares.

"Si hubiera vida tras la muerte, no importaría morir, satisfaría la mayoría de esas profundas curiosidades. Pero si la muerte no es más que el fin, el sueño sin sueños, esto no sería más que un desesperado anhelo. Quizás esta perspectiva me dé una pequeña motivación extra para permanecer vivo.

"El mundo es tan exquisito, con tanto amor, que no hay razón para engañarnos con bonitas historias para las cuales hay bien pocas evidencias. Es mucho mejor, me parece a mí, que en nuestra vulnerabilidad, miremos a la Muerte a la cara y seamos agradecidos cada día por la breve pero magnífica oportunidad que la vida nos ofrece".

Fuente: wikipedia

          An Afterlife: Heaven, Hell, The Spirit World, Or None of These?        
Parapsychologyby Internet Archive Book Images An Afterlife: Heaven, Hell, The Spirit World, Or None of These? Of all the Big Questions, one of the biggest of all is of course, is there any sort of life after death? Is there perhaps a heaven or a hell? Or perhaps a life after death is as having an existence solely as some sort of spirit or ghost. The afterlife is akin to exobiology (otherwise known as astrobiology) in one sense - both are 'sciences' in search of their subjects!Actually, quite apart from the fact that all major religions preach the existence of an afterlife, there are quite a few 'religions' where the death of an individual is actually celebrated (in song and dance, etc.) because.... Click Here to Read More
          Roswell or Bust - Part 33 of 43        
© 2008 by Henry Melton

Joe awoke with a headache. He blinked and stretched his arms. His left shoulder ached too. What had he done? Where was he?
The events up through the sting of a dart came rushing back. At least it wasn’t rollback. I wouldn’t have remembered getting shot.
The room wasn’t a motel room. He blinked his eyes clear. It was a Trust base ‘Guest apartment’. It smelled musty, long unused. It desperately needed to be wiped free of dust and the carpet needed to be steam cleaned.
He rolled out of the bed. It needs a new mattress. The door was unyielding in his hand. Locked.
Painted to match the walls, a security camera was looking down at him. Joe waved at it.
Two minutes later, he heard noises outside the door. He stood. Two agents in orange hazardous-material protective gear, complete with breathing helmets, came into the room. It was a man and a woman.
He laughed. “Hey, you’re the guys who drugged me. I hardly think the protective gear is necessary.”
“Come with us.” The man didn’t think it was funny. The woman looked at him as if he was the strangest thing she’d ever seen. Considering who was likely in the other apartments in this base, he was a little insulted.
This was a much larger base than the other three that he’d seen. There were twenty or so apartments and more floors on the elevator buttons. It had to be Roswell Base.
Well, I always wanted to see Roswell.
He was led into an office, and a familiar face nodded at him.
“Oh, it’s you. And this time I know you’re not FBI.”
Carl Morris tapped his fingers on the clean desk. “You may leave him.” His escort left and closed the door.
“I’m surprised you aren’t wearing a gas mask, too.”
“We don’t have protective gear for everyone, but considering what’s happened elsewhere, it makes sense to rotate the annoyance around. I’ll get my turn soon enough.”
Joe could read his worry. The talkie was on. It was to be another assisted interrogation. But two could play that game.
It was a dangerous position. This was a secret organization and if they wanted him to vanish forever, they could do it. Should he play dumb and hope they’d lose interest in him, or should he keep trying to help the aliens?
I’m just trying to be the Good Samaritan here.
He remembered the Good Samaritan story, and how the hero went far beyond what anyone expected. Okay, there’s no way to back out now. Go for it.
Joe pulled up a chair, not waiting for an invitation.
“So, have you killed Sam One yet, or are you just waiting out his coma?” He was rewarded by seeing shock and confusion on Carl Morris’s face.
“What are you talking about?”
Whitfield exchanged a hand gesture with a guard watching the security camera monitors that scanned the lower levels of Roswell Base.
The guard surreptitiously reached over and flipped a large red switch to the down position. Whitfield nodded and carried his leather bowling ball bag to the elevator and entered, pressing the button for the lowest floor. The elevator moved immediately, although he hadn’t touched the security keypad.
Samuelson opened the door, interrupting the boy’s interrogation.
“Whitfield is in the building.”
Carl was on his feet. The boy could wait.
“Where is he?”
“In the elevator. The guard let him through.”
Carl had put guards on the guards. It was bitter to be right.
He looked at the boy. “Stay put!”
Out in the hall, he slapped the door lock switch.
His specially trusted guards were already at the elevator and had frozen Whitfield’s downward progress.
“Bring him up.” They overrode the controls. The instant the door opened, guards quickly overpowered the man. Carl accompanied them to a nearby guard station.
“All right! I’ll have answers now. What have you done to Sam One and where are you keeping the other Guests?”
Joe heard the man’s command, but as soon as the door slammed shut, he was up. He wasn’t in the mood to blindly follow anyone’s orders right now.
He tested the door, and it wasn’t locked. Opening it just a crack, he watched the tussle down by the elevator. He waited until the shouting started down the hall, behind a different door.
Joe quietly slipped down the corridor, staying out of sight. The elevator opened at his touch. Could he make it to the top floor and past the guard station? Only if they were all engrossed in questioning that other man.
On the floor was a leather bag. What’s a bowling bag doing here? If it was left by the other intruder, then the guards would be back for it any second.
Joe picked it up. Something was inside. Unzipping it, his eyes opened wide. A Sam’s pod! It was just like the ones he’d seen exchanged in the RV, except this one was so pale, it was hardly blue at all. What was it doing here?
It needs to be inside Sam One. That’s clear. That’s what the Bobs said.
That decided him. He hesitated when he saw the keypad that looked like it controlled access to the apartment level. He pressed the button anyway, and the elevator moved. For some reason, the security locks were disabled.
That could be useful.
Whitfield sneered, “I would never put a Guest at risk unless it was absolutely necessary.”
“What’s happened to Sam One?”
The older man looked at the guards. “I’ll speak to you only.”
Carl waved the others back to their posts.
Whitfield struggled with himself and then said, “You were just an apprentice when we discovered the secret of the Sams’ pods. After that disaster, we erased all the evidence and took steps to see that no more experimentation would be done at the risk of the Guests’ lives.”
Carl was shocked. He put out a hand to the wall. In a low voice, he asked, “What did you do?”
Whitfield shifted in his seat. He straightened up and eyed Carl with an appraising eye.
“Back in the sixties, you were just a teenager—too young to be granted access to the exobiology reports, weren’t you? You were with the accountants, weren’t you—always off talking to Dow Chemical or Du Pont.”
Carl said nothing. That had been his first real assignment for the Trust, in a good suit, acting as if he were in his twenties. The government money had been drying up then, and their team had saved the Trust from shriveling up and collapsing. Besides, those actions were orchestrated by Luke Morris anyway. He had been a soldier, not the general.
“What’s your point, Whitfield?”
The man’s eyes lit up with enthusiasm.
“That’s when we discovered the Sams’ secret.”
“My group had been running tests on all aspects of the aliens’ biology. By separating the Sam triads, it gave us an opportunity to be in the middle of their pod exchanges. It gave us the opportunity to take a good hard look at one of those pods, without the Sams being aware of it.
“We used all the best technology of the day, all non-invasive, to find out what a pod was, and why it was so important to the Sams.”
Carl was putting some facts together himself, but schooled himself to listen first before he reacted.
“What did you find out?”
Whitfield leaned forward, gesturing with his hands for emphasis.
“Those pods aren’t part of the Sams. They aren’t a growth. They’re machines.”
“What do you mean, machines?”
“Oh, it’s incredibly sophisticated, no doubt about that. And they’re modeled after something, probably a Sam egg. If Sams are a hive insect, then they could be something like our ants, where the vast bulk of the population are non-fertile female workers.
“Sams aren’t ants, of course. But all of ours have the pod cavity, and I think they’re all morphologically females with the ability to carry an egg internally.
“But we know that all of our aliens are long-lived, and the Sams live the longest of them all.
“My group found out why.”
Whitfield leaned back, radiating satisfaction.
Carl knew he was just waiting to be asked, and information was more important than making Whitfield sweat.
“Okay, what did you discover?”
Whitfield nodded once. “The Sams are ancient. They’re a much older species than the Bobs or the Freds. We hadn’t thought so at first, given the claw-like hands, but that was just a superficial trait in a race that has stopped evolving, probably by choice.
“Somewhere in their history, they invented the pods. It works like this, we think:
“Newly hatched Sams grow in a hive, do their work, carry a queen Sam’s eggs to term and contribute to the species normally. But then, when they reach a certain age, three individuals separate and become their own mini-hive, a triad. They are given pods that must be rotated periodically. The pods monitor their physical health, among other things. Like a miniature chemical factory, the pods detect poisons in the system, and secrete the necessary correcting factors.
“Think of it! Normal Sams without pods probably grow old and die. That’s what happens in all species when they can no longer contribute to the propagation of the line. But an intelligent species would reach a population explosion as they tamed their environment. For the Sams, the eggs probably kept them alive, but to live longer risked overpopulation with too many eggs being developed.
“Sams with pods could live as long as the pods could cope with whatever biochemical defects that appeared.
“And we know that Sams can live a very long time.”
Carl nodded. “I can believe it. But this doesn’t explain what you’re doing now. You say you discovered all this in the sixties? All very interesting, but what did you do? A triad died back then, didn’t it? You messed up and killed our Guests.”
Whitfield didn’t meet his eyes. He nodded.
“It was a mistake. We were trying to learn how the pod did its magic. Was there a template for a standard Sam encoded in the pod, or was it more sophisticated? Could it actually read the host’s DNA and diagnose problems from that?
“So, we injected a trace of human DNA—a blood sample—into the pod, and checked to see what it would do. Would it treat the human DNA as a contaminant and remove it, or would it diagnose that DNA as well?”
Carl gripped the edge of his table. “What an incredibly dangerous thing to do! The Sams lives depend on those pods!”
Whitfield nodded. “Yes. I see that, now. But at the time, I thought we were staying within safe boundary lines.
“And it worked, Carl! The pod began producing a series of chemicals, enzymes, hormones—who knows what all. It had found errors in the human blood and produced the remedy to fix them.”
Carl felt a chill. “How do you know?”
“I tried it. It was my blood. I took the altered serum and injected myself with it.
“It corrected a dozen problems I was aware of; diabetes, blood pressure, etc.—as well as many that I’ve never been able to track down.
“Look at me. I’m 87 years old and fitter than you are. I have energy that puts my men to shame.”
He held up his finger. “One treatment, Carl. One treatment, years ago, and I know it’s lengthened my life and kept me relatively disease free for decades.”
“At the cost of a triad of Sams. Three lives for one.”
Whitfield shook his head.
“There was a mistake. The human cells contaminated the pod. When it was returned to the Sams, it set off a massive allergic reaction. Then when one died, the other two followed quickly.”
“And in spite of that, you wanted another dose of immortality?” Carl couldn’t contain his contempt.
“No! Not for me! It’s for your father!”
Joe found the door to Sam One’s apartment. It was not like the others. This room had been converted into a hospital room. Sam One lay on a bed, with diagnostic machines connecting to him. None of the machines made sense. They were designed to monitor Sam life signs, not a human’s.
Carefully, he duplicated the motions he had seen on the RV, triggering Sam One’s body to open up the pod sack. One of the diagnostic machines changed its beep to an alert tone. Hurriedly, Joe inserted the pod and Sam One’s body closed around it. The alert tone increased in loudness, and others chimed in.
An intercom called, “Is there anyone in this room? Stay put, we’ll be right there.”
The noises frightened him. What was happening to Sam One?

          Roswell or Bust - Part 22 of 43        
© 2008 by Henry Melton

Everyone in the plane felt the talkie come on during take-off and then stop a minute later. Carl yelled at the pilot. “Circle the town!”
BellBoy had just taken off, and it had to have been dumb luck to be close enough to have sensed the missing talkie.
Whitfield doesn’t have it? Then why was he here?
It was important to track it down. Perhaps more important than trying to chase him back to Roswell. There had been thirteen talkies originally, taken from aliens that had survived the crash back in 1947. But repeated efforts by Whitfield’s team to understand the technology had cost them too many of the units. Winston knew about them, of course. As the courier, he regularly rotated the three free units among the five bases so that their special Guests would feel less like prisoners when they were given periodic visitation times among the others at their base.
They were imprisoned, of course. No one was deluded there. Even as the injured and traumatized alien scientists had been taken from their wrecked spacecraft, they had insisted that their presence be kept secret. They had come to study the humans of Earth, not to destroy our culture by contaminating humanity’s view of itself and its world.
Carl held the talkie in his hand, staring out the window as the plane banked over and headed in the direction of the Boar’s Tooth rock pinnacle visible far to the north. Once they passed the ranch, they continued to turn in a broad circle of the town. If the talkie was still turned on, they should pick it up.
By the time they were headed south again, Carl knew it was hopeless.
I need more men. With the talkie turned off, the only way to find it was to find the person who had it. He dared not risk letting his talkie out of his possession, not now.
“Head back to Roswell Base.”
He hadn’t the resources to pursue it. The Trust had been rotting away since before he’d taken it over. It was starving.
President Truman had been notified of the crash in 1947, and the Trust was established under his authority. But Eisenhower was only told part of the truth; that a crash had happened. He never knew there were survivors.
When, after years of effort, no one was able to make the alien technology work, the story was buried even deeper. Nixon knew a little of it, but no president after him knew anything. The Trust dropped entirely out of the government and had become an entity unto itself. The only connections left were a few ancient memos left in the FBI, and the military, ordering that aid be given to anyone with the right code phrase, with no questions to be asked.
Luke Morris shaped the organization, using deep Cold War paranoia as its guideline. No one knew more than a little bit of the secret. Even the fact there were five bases was restricted to just a few. Carl knew, and his personal assistants, and of course his father and his personal assistant, Whitfield. There were few others.
Kenneth Winston, like his father before him, knew more than most. A typical member of the Trust knew only about a home base and was kept in the dark about all the others. If Kenneth Winston had to be replaced, Carl would have to train a new courier personally.
There were no Truman Trust training manuals. There were no records—nothing that could be leaked. There were no video tapes of the aliens to tempt a hungry worker into peddling secrets to the magazines. The Trust had always relied on trustworthy, personal contact. That had worked well, until the rot began.
Luke Morris began training him as a replacement from birth. Carl had been born in 1949 and had always known he was part of something special. The Trust was a protector—a protector of the stranded aliens, as Guests on our planet. And a protector of humanity from the destabilizing news that there had been visitors from the stars. His father’s vision formed the organization.
Under his leadership, the aliens had been treated reasonably well. In spite of considerable pressure at the beginning, none had been killed or tortured for their knowledge. There had been bodies enough from the crash site to dissect, and although they seemed very long lived, some aliens succumbed to age after a while, enough to keep the exobiology medical research going for decades.
Their alien Guests had cooperated, much more than humans would have in their place. They had the patience for years of imprisonment, and took their restrictions with no complaint.
The Trust had begun well, with high ideals, and good people. When it became clear that due to the longevity of the aliens, the Trust had to last not just many decades, but possibly many lifetimes, many workers began training their own children to replace them. It should have lasted.
Carl watched the land below grow indistinct as the plane gained altitude. His own way had become unclear. He suspected he knew what was wrong, but not how to fix it.
Money caused this rot. It was easy for people with resources to be patient. My belt-tightening efforts were necessary. But they might have been the spur that triggered the defections. It was certainly a burr under Whitfield’s blanket.
Fifty miles down the road, Joe felt confident enough to turn the talkie back on.
“Call me Bob Four. There are others of my species you are likely to meet.”
“Oh, how many are there of you?”
“Five remain, I hope. I haven’t seen any other Bob in many years.”
The alien fingers reached up to the car’s map screen and began tapping through all the options. He was checking all the screens and checking all the variations. Joe had been wanting to do that too, but hadn’t had the time.
Bob Four said, “The Trust has been honest with us for many years, although there are disturbing developments recently.”
“Like what?”
“There is only one triad of Sam left. This imprisonment has been the hardest on the Sams. They are a hive species, and the Trust’s policy of keeping us as separate as possible from others of our kind has placed extraordinary psychological and physiological stress on them.
“There had been three triads on the ship. One individual died in the crash, and the other two of his triad could not survive long. Some years ago, there was another problem with an exchange, and the second triad died.”
“Yes, you saw the pod?”
“No. Judith was careful to keep all this alien stuff out of sight. What was it?”
Bob Four zoomed the map out until all of North America was visible.
“I don’t know, exactly. But a Sam triad exchanges these pods regularly, and it is the key to their vitality. Triads have lived thousands of years if nothing disturbs the exchange. The Trust has never quite understood how important it is to them.”
“They’ve been told?”
“Of course. We’ve told the Trust many things over the past few decades. Some they believe, some they don’t. And now it is happening again. The Sams’ exchange has been delayed, and if what Judith said is accurate, some members of the Trust have been actively trying to prevent it. If they succeed, the last Sams on Earth will die.”
“That would be a shame.”
“It would be worse than that.”
“What do you mean?”
But Bob Four declined to talk about it any more. He climbed back under the covers and slept.
Duke Seager lifted his head from his desk, a little groggy from his nap.
Ring! He picked up the phone. “Hello, Bekker Ranch. This is Duke speaking.”
“Hello, Duke.” The voice was faint, with a lot of background noise. But Duke recognized it at once.
“Yes, Boss. What can I do for you?”
“How are things going there at the ranch?”
Duke was puzzled. Nothing new came to mind. “It’s pretty tame here, Boss.”
“No problems? No visitors?”
He laughed, “No, Boss. There hasn’t been as much as a new prairie dog mound in the place. Unless you want to talk about the new television shows?”
There was a pause.
“Duke, I know you’re due to have a few days off, but I’d like you to walk the fences once more before you do. Could you do that for me?”
“Yes, Boss. Certainly.”
“Good. Call me at home once you’re done.”
Duke hung up the phone with a puzzled look on his face. Why in the world would Carl Morris call him to do an extra bed check for his basement Guests?
There was noise from the back seat. Joe leaned to see Judith in the rear view mirror. He adjusted it so he could see her easier. She was stretching, just waking up. She saw his face and smiled.
“What time is it?” The talkie put a little slur into her artificial voice. She looked outside, trying to understand why it appeared to be afternoon. “I should probably be driving.”
“It’s okay. I think I’ll drive for a while. The drugs and all, you know.”
“Joe Ferris! I just told you we weren’t shipping drugs.”
Just told me? That was early this morning.
“Not that! Your drugs. The ones that knocked you out.”
She started to get angry. “What in the world are you talking about?”
“You were drugged. You’ve been unconscious for hours.”
From his view in the mirror, she looked at him as if he were crazy.
Then, the blanket began to move. Bob Four pulled it aside and said, “It’s true, Judith.”
Joe suspected there was no sign language gesture for a shriek, but the talkie found something it interpreted that way.
“Bob! How did you get here? Joe! What have you done? The others are never supposed to leave the ranch! Turn around, turn around! We’ve got to get Bob Four back immediately.”
Joe snapped, “Hey, I didn’t do a thing! This is your mess. You dumped me back in Rock Springs before you went to the Ranch. This is all your idea.”
He liked her better unconscious. Everything was always his fault.
“You’re crazy, I did no such thing!”
Bob Four was the only one talking quietly. He said, “The Trust uses a memory drug. I believe Judith was given it.”
It stopped her dead.
“Rollback?” It came out a whisper. Joe looked up at the mirror. Her face had gone white.
“What’s that?”
“Daddy mentioned it. It’s the drug they use when someone sees something they shouldn’t.”
“Something like Bob Four?”
She nodded.
Bob said, “I’m familiar with it. I’ve seen it used a couple of times. Human memory has short term and long term forms. This drug removes the emotional hormones used when memories are set into long-term storage. The facts are still there, but without the emotional kick, they are relegated to the routine, facts you never bother to recall, like whether you scratched you arm an hour ago.”
Judith was silent for a moment, trying hard to remember what she’d been doing last. There’d been a talkie contact. Then Joe argued with her.
“I did dump you!” Judith put her hand to her head. “I remember. You were pestering me about Trust secrets and I decided I had to let you out of the car before I went to the ranch.”
Bob Four said, “Judith, until you can recover most of your memory, your opinions are suspect. Something important has been hidden. Joe, talk her through the day, step by step. Human memory gives you a second chance to re-live the events and re-feel the emotions. It’ll never be a complete recovery, but you need to do it now. Judith is part of the Trust. She knows valuable facts, but until she remembers what happened, we’ll be working at cross-purposes. I can help, but until we reach that part of her memory, I need to stay quiet.”
Joe nodded. “Okay, but first, I gotta know—is this rollback something you guys invented? I’ve never heard of it.”
Judith said, “It’s a Trust invention. Nobody’s ever gotten any technology from our Guests.”
Bob nodded. “This is true.”
“Okay. I’ll do it, but where do we start? Judith, do you remember which gas station we pulled into, once we entered Rock Springs?”
“Yes, it was an Exxon station. I asked you for a muffin. I had to get you away from the car. I’m sorry, Joe. I know it was a rotten thing to do, but it was a Trust secret I was trying to protect.”
“Yes, Duke.”
There was hesitation on the other end of the phone call, as Duke tried to put the unexplainable into coded words. His voice was shaking.
“You had me check the fences, and I... the cattle are missing. Missing! But, Boss, I can’t find a hole in the fence anywhere!”
The news that both aliens were missing was like a kick to his stomach, but it wasn’t totally unexpected. Whitfield was breaking decades-long Trust protocols, and nothing could be beyond him.
“Duke. I understand, and I don’t blame you. The fence is probably defective. What I want to do is for you to wait until Jerry shows up to relieve you. Have him show you the pancake recipe. I think you’ll enjoy it.”
“Pancake.” Duke was suddenly serious. He knew what that meant. The rollback recovery protocol was serious business. Restoring memories needed a helper to make sure the victim stuck to the timeline as the misplaced memories were uncovered and re-lived with proper chronological impact.
Duke was no dummy. If he’d been affected by rollback, it couldn’t be some simple accident. That wouldn’t explain the missing aliens.
It had to be some faction of the Trust working against the rest of them.
“Boss. I’ll call you back as soon as I find out anything.”

          Roswell or Bust - Part 20 of 43        
© 2008 by Henry Melton

The Cottonwood Motel. Joe nodded. It was a nice place, a collection of small two-story wood-frame buildings circling a separate office building. It was a shady place, probably because the trees were a lot older and larger than when the property was put together. Two or three dozen units altogether, depending on whether there were some entrances on the back side.
Interestingly, there was a ‘No Vacancy’ sign, here in the middle of the day, and few cars in the parking lot.
He hesitated, then walked up to the office. There was a large Harley-Davidson motorcycle, resplendent in chrome, parked inside the office.
The door opened at his touch.
“Yes, can I help you?” The lady at the desk asked.
Joe felt very strange to be on the receiving end of that phrase.
“Pardon me. I was just looking over your place.”
She was attentive and older than his mother. He flushed.
“I’m sorry, I was just in town and this place attracted my attention. I’m in the motel business myself.”
He strode up to her desk, “Yes. I’m Joe Ferris. I live in Las Vegas, New Mexico. My family owns the Railroad Motel there.” He shrugged, “I mind the office, do maid service, and general errands.”
“I’m Alice North. I’m the owner here. Nice to meet you.”
He succumbed to curiosity. “Why no vacancies in the middle of the day?”
“Things changed. There’s a building boom here in town, mainly due to the oil business. Currently all my rooms are on monthly contract to workers here.”
“That’s interesting.” He glanced around the office. It was pleasant. Not as big as his, but designed to make the guests comfortable.
“Could I sit here for a while? I’m waiting for someone.”
She gestured to the chair. “What are you doing in Wyoming?”
“That’s a long story.” He sat down where he could keep watch on the traffic. Maybe she’d never come back, but he had to be ready if she did.
Blake reported, “The tower at Rock Springs Airport reports that Valet is preparing for take-off.”
“Can they be stopped?”
“Not on our say-so.”
“How far are we out?”
“Thirty minutes yet.”
Carl fumed. They had to land BellBoy to refuel. There was no way they could chase the other plane, nor force it to land.
“Get them on the radio.”
Blake looked at him to confirm, then turned the frequency to 122.75. “Valet, this is BellBoy. Please respond.”
It was a couple of minutes before there was an answer.
“Who’s calling?”
Blake handed over the headset to his boss.
He pressed the push-to-talk button. “This is Carl Morris.”
There was another delay, and then a familiar voice came over the earphones.
“Hello, Carl.”
“I thought it would be you, Oscar. Although I can’t understand what you’re doing here.”
He released the talk button. He’d have to be careful. This was radio. Anyone could listen in.
“No, I guess you wouldn’t. Having fun flying around wasting the company’s fuel? I thought you were Mr. Economize.”
“Better than attempting to destroy everything in a bid for power. Turn back. We’ll be at Rock Springs shortly. Let’s talk this thing out face to face before something happens that can’t be un-done.”
“Sorry, Sonny. I don’t know what you think you’re doing, and honestly I don’t care, but I’m racing the clock.”
“There’s nothing you should be doing, Whitfield. I thought I was being kind putting you on retirement. But let me make it clear. Your department is SHUT DOWN. You are fired. I’ve already sent out the code. You and all your crew of traitors are banned from company activities.”
“Traitors, eh? Maybe traitors to you and your new generation, bean counter, shortsighted yes-men! Although why I should have any loyalty to someone who would sell out his own father, I don’t know.”
Carl clenched his teeth. Whitfield’s battle to reactivate the exobiology research group had been loud and angry on both sides. His claims for new breakthroughs in medicine were unsubstantiated and frankly pathetic attempts to keep his department alive long after the Trust’s dwindling resources couldn’t support it. And Whitfield’s claim that budget cuts would condemn Luke Morris to death had been the last straw. Carl wouldn’t put up with the dirty insider politics.
But Whitfield wasn’t finished.
“You’ve banned me, Mr. Junior Executive? How are you going to enforce that?”
The signal was fading. By now, the planes were separating at many hundreds of miles per hour, and they were using the aircraft version of a party line. Other conversations between pilots were breaking up the signal, and what was worse, the others were listening in to their private fight.
Carl didn’t bother to answer the jab. He signaled to Blake, who switched the radio off the air-to-air channel and took the headset back.
Better to stop talking now. They’d had this argument before, behind closed doors, which is where it belonged.
The problem was that Whitfield had a point. He had no way to enforce his ban. The Trust was built on loyalty. His father and his number one, Whitfield, had built the organization carefully, adding people only after long and careful screening.
When you were protecting the human race from the disruption of alien contact, and at the same time doing your best to put a good face before your alien Guests, you needed good people who took their duty seriously.
He couldn’t go to the police, not even for something as blatant as the theft of an airplane.
They began their descent into the Rock Springs - Sweetwater County Airport.
“Blake, did we get a direction finder on Valet?”
“Yes, the plane did some weaving when you were talking, but I still think they’re on route back to Roswell.”
Whitfield had been arrogant, confident. He’d gotten what he came to Rock Springs for.
“Get us refueled and turned around as fast as possible.” He needed to be ready for the next twist in Whitfield’s power grab.
“You mean you’re here alone?”
Joe looked sheepish. “Yes, Ma’am. My ride... left.”
After a nice long talk, where Alice told him all about the town, the motorcycle in the office, and the motel business in Rock Springs, she’d finally uncovered why he was sitting in her chair. He had nowhere else to go.
She was concerned. “Have you called your family?”
Joe rubbed his nose, “Ah, not yet. She might come back for me.”
“Joe, your girl friend dumped you a thousand miles from home. You have to call your family.”
He shook his head, “Not yet. It’s not like you think. We’re not like ‘romantically involved’ or anything. It’s not even her that asked me to come. Her dad asked.
“You might even know him. A regular. About once a week. John Smith is his name. Drives a silver Lexus SUV. He had an accident. The car’s all scraped up, but it was a nice one. Ring any bells?”
Mrs. North shook her head. “We’ve had several John Smith’s, of course, but I don’t remember the car. Not that it means anything. No overnight business lately, remember.
“Joe, you can use my phone. Your parents need to know you’re okay.”
“It’s not that. I’ve got phone money. I’m just not ready to give up on her yet. Really. She’s got her own reasons for how she does things.”
Joe looked toward the street again.
“If I call home, Dad will make a fuss and try to send money for a bus ticket or something. If I can just wait it out, and she comes back, then we’ll be able to drive back and it’ll be okay.”
“Joe! You think you’re old enough....”
He jumped to his feet. “Hey! There she is!” He dashed out the door.
Coming down the street at a snail’s pace was the travel-worn Lexus. There was a squeal as the tire scraped up against the curb. The vehicle jerked and the tire jumped up on the concrete. The car behind it honked and passed by.
Joe ran out into the street, waving. He couldn’t see inside, due to the tinted glass, but raced around and grabbed the passenger side door. It wasn’t locked.
Across the street, he noticed that Alice North had come to the door to watch.
He jumped in. “Judith, where....”
It wasn’t Judith in the driver’s seat.
Joe stared at the large dark eyes of a three-foot tall alien. A Roswell Gray in a dusty polo shirt and baggy shorts was driving the car. With both hands, it shifted the car into park. The car lurched to a stop in the middle of the street.
A thin voice like a parrot’s croaked, “Help.”
Joe just froze, staring. The alien climbed up, standing on the seat and pointed long thin fingers to the back.
Judith was sprawled out, sleeping, in the back seat. She’d slid into an uncomfortable position.
“Help,” the alien pointed to her.
“Judith?” Joe reached over and shook her. She was warm, and he could see her breathe, but she was unconscious.
“I need a talkie.”
A lot of pieces came together in one second—decades old secret organizations, mysterious men dressed in black, strange cargo that must not be seen, Roswell, and most importantly—a gadget that translated between different people, even different species. It was like a bad movie come to life.
The alien watched him. “Help.”
“Is... is Judith okay?”
The alien blinked. He pointed to the map screen. A line traced the path of the car. The alien moved its finger from their current position north to the place where the car had been. “Help.”
Joe checked Judith again, but there was nothing he could do.
Out the window, he could see Alice North walking his way.
“Get in the back seat.” He said, pointing. Hesitantly, the alien did so.
Joe climbed over the center console and put the car into drive. He pushed the window button. He waved and smiled to Alice, but drove off before she could reach them.
He closed the window and glanced at the rear. The alien was struggling to get Judith back upright in the seat.
Honk. Joe snapped his attention back to the road.
He glanced at the map and turned to the north. The first empty parking lot he could find, he pulled in and stopped.
The alien looked at him expectantly. He was sitting in the seat, his seatbelt properly strapped in place.
Judith’s hair was a mess and obscured her face, but she had been strapped in place as well. She’ll have a neck cramp when she wakes up.
If she woke up.
“Who are you?” He didn’t know what else to say. Could the alien even talk, other than to say the one word, “Help”.
With an exaggerated gesture, thin fingers pointed at its chest. “Bob Four.” It was still parrot-like, but clearly recognizable.
Joe nodded, feeling a little on familiar ground. “My name is Joe Ferris. Nice to meet you.”
Bob Four tapped the side of his head, where there should have been an ear, and tried to repeat his name. What came out was like, “Oris.”
Joe pointed to Judith. “What’s wrong with her?”
Bob tapped his head. Stiffly, he shook his head. “No.”
What do I do now?
The alien Bob seemed to be waiting for him.
Judith was unconscious, but Bob’s reaction was reassuring. He’d made sure she was safe, but once he did that, there was no sign of concern.
Of course, he couldn’t read an alien’s body language, but if she were in danger, wouldn’t he do something?
Things Judith had said now made more sense. The cargo had to have been something important for the alien. She had been concerned. It had been something more than just a duty. She cared about the alien. Hopefully, the alien cared about her too.
Bob pointed past his head. Joe looked. The navigation map.
“Come up here and show me.” Joe gestured an invitation. How much English did he know? He couldn’t say many words, but he seemed to understand more.
Bob Four scrambled up into the front seat, his long arms and legs giving him motion more like a large spider than a monkey.
Bob made sure he had his attention, and then slowly and carefully traced the line from their current location to that destination a few miles to the north. Bob tapped the gearshift lever.
“Okay. We’ll go there.”
Bob scrambled back to his seat and clicked himself in.
Joe circled back to the route Judith had taken north, and Bob had retraced.
If he drove her into town, why does he want to go back now? He wished hard for the talkie.
Driving with the map, he set the scale so he could see every street and every turn. At close zoom, he could see that there were two traces, and he had no doubt which was Bob’s. One was direct. The other wove all over the place, taking side roads, backtracking in illogical ways.
The guy was only three feet tall. How could he have kept his feet on the pedals and looked out the windshield at the same time? Maybe he hadn’t. The thought gave Joe the shivers.
Driving, his mind was a whirlwind of speculation. The Roswell story was true? He’d never have believed it. Tall tales were a staple of the Southwest, and when he heard a new one, he could usually tell when one was based on history and when it was wishful thinking by a tourist bureau. Dad had even said how much he wished they had something like Roswell’s UFO Museum to draw people to the town.
Guests had talked to him about Roswell plenty of times. The town had all the markings of a place that knew how to milk a gimmick. The museum there was on his personal to-do list.
Had the government been able to keep a lid on this all these years by making it look ridiculous?
That didn’t feel right. How could the government keep it a secret? There were too many people who’d blow the whistle.
I’ve even got the urge to get out of the car and run around screaming, myself.
He moved his head and saw the mop of Judith’s hair. “Secrecy is a big part of our family job,” She’d said. “Even if Dad hadn’t made me promise to keep this delivery run a secret, I’ve grown up with secrets.”
Was that how they did it—people growing up with the secret, never letting outsiders know anything?
“Oris.” Bob pointed.
Joe nodded. The track on the map took a sharp turn. Joe followed the way onto Bekker Ranch. What in the world would they find here?