"Darwin's Extraterrestrials" -- A New Theory for the 'Great Silence'
The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations. As Enrico Fermi asked if the Universe is conducive to intelligent life, “Where is everybody?”
A new answer proposed by Adrian Kent of the University of Cambridge and Perimeter Institute, is that extraterrestial life sufficiently advanced to be capable of interstellar travel or communication must be rare, since otherwise we would have seen evidence of it by now. This in turn is sometimes taken as indirect evidence for the improbability of life evolving at all in our universe.
This week, a merry quartet of House Republicans served up a bill—doomed to failure/dead on arrival/just forget about it—that would call for a base on the Moon: “the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall plan to return to the Moon by 2022 and develop a sustained human presence on the Moon, in order to promote exploration, commerce, science, and United States preeminence in space as a stepping stone for the future exploration of Mars and other destinations. The budget requests and expenditures of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall be consistent with achieving this goal.
"Please to note the House’s merry mob of Republicans just a couple of months ago trying to put even more of a funding hurt on NASA in the 2011 budget.
Shuttle Endeavour to finish with a Big Bang project
Scientists have high hopes for a $1.5-billion experiment that might help solve mysteries of the universe, though some have doubts.
Stowed in the cargo hold of space shuttle Endeavour for its final launch Friday is a science experiment that could upend astronomy in ways unparalleled since the Hubble Space Telescope. Or — if it flops — it could end up as a $1.5-billion hood ornament on the International Space Station.
It’s called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Once it is mounted on the station, scientists hope it will find and analyze high-energy cosmic rays and exotic space particles, including some that could help solve the most profound mysteries of the universe.