Science Saturday: Mars 500 + Asteroid Flyby + New Element Names + New ET Search + More |
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Science Saturday: Mars 500 + Asteroid Flyby + New Element Names + New ET Search + More November 5, 2011

by Kayla Iacovino , Filed under: Science/Technology , trackback

This week in Science Saturday: Welcome the Mars 500 crew out of their 520-day simulated Mars mission, watch a huge asteroid whiz close by Earth, add three elements to the periodic table, and find alien life by searching for night lights. All this and more, plus our (weird) gadget of the week: the USB eye warmer.


Mars 500 Crew Emerges After Their 520-day “Mission” to Mars
1.5 years ago, a multi-national crew of six volunteers was selected by the European Space Agency to be the first to embark on a simulated mission to Mars that would last a record 500 days. In the end, simulated complications meant that the journey was a total of 520 days. That’s a year and a half of isolation, eating dried food, breathing recycled air, and having very limited communication with the outside world. They even had to do scientific studies and deal with simulated emergency situations. Three of them even did a simulated walk on the “Martian” surface. This week, the brave men emerged from their cramped “space capsule”. Check out the videos below.

The crew emerge from their capsule

Mars 500: 520 days in 15 minutes

Huge Asteroid to whiz by Earth This Tuesday
This November 8th, a 1,300 foot (400 meter) space rock known as Asteroid 2005 YU55 will make an impressively close pass by our planet Earth. The asteroid will pass inside of the moon’s orbit, within about 0.85 lunar distances (that’s 85% of the way from the Earth to the Moon), but scientists say there is no danger that it will smash into us for the next hundred years or so. An extensive monitoring campaign using radio, visual, and infrared telescopes is planned for the asteroid’s flyby.

Welcome to the Periodic Table: 3 New Elements Get Names
We’d like to welcome Darmstadtium (Ds), Roentgenium (Rg), and Copernicium (Cn) as elements 110, 111, and 112 on the periodic table of the elements. Darmstadtium is named after the town in which it was discovered, Roentgenium is named after the discoverer of X-rays Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, and Copernicium is obviously named after the famous Polish astronomer Copernicus. All of the elements are man-made and do not occur in nature, and none of them last very long after their created.

Copernicus approves

Alien City Lights Could be Detected Across Interstellar Space
We might find alien civilizations by looking for their city lights during the nighttime say Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Edwin Turner of Princeton University. Loeb and Turner say that it would be easy enough to detect lit-up areas of a planet’s dark side, but that to detect planets in another solar system we’d need more advance telescopes. According to calculations, current telescopes could detect a city the size of Tokyo as far away as our Solar System’s Kuiper belt. The researchers suggest that telescope technology will advance quickly allowing them to do their study soon. “Looking for alien cities would be a long shot, but wouldn’t require extra resources. And if we succeed, it would change our perception of our place in the universe,” says Loeb.

More hope to find ET

(Weird) Gadget of the Week: USB Eye Warmer
Today’s (Weird) Gadget of the Week comes from Thanko, makers of the USB cat face mask. Japan is always coming out with strange inventions, and this is just one more to add to the list. It’s the USB powered eye warmer. What? Yes. Apparently, Thanko thinks that cold eyes are a problem for people and that the best solution allows the wearer to stay near their computer (even though, while wearing the eye warmers, YOU CAN’T SEE).

Thanks, Thanko. Now I won’t have… cold eyes?

Upcoming Events

Check out these science-related events happening soon:

Science Bytes
Not enough science for you? Here’s a warp-speed look at some more science tid-bits that are worth a peek.



1. CmdrR - November 5, 2011

What, no Unobtainium?

What, no women on Mars? (I could live w/o the Unobtainium.)

I think we’ll find Space-Tokyo or Space-Beijing first. Dang, they like their nightlife.

Thanks, Kayla!
(and welcome back)

2. xai - November 5, 2011

what about a Harry Ballz warmer?

wait for it……

3. Gary S. - November 5, 2011

Thanks Kayla .
Welcome back!

4. CmdrR - November 5, 2011

2 – Even the Japanese couldn’t make anything THAT small.

**runz like hell**

5. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - November 5, 2011

Hey #2. Harry already has one. Her name is Erica. Lol.
520 days in siolation at 8$ an hour. Hmm. Ok I would do it.
Welcome bak Kayla.
Vegas could be seen from space. With all those Lights. Oh and there are 4 Lights!!!!.

6. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - November 5, 2011

Hey CmdrR Wait up. I’m with you. Oh no here comes Harry!!!!!. And Ericka is right behind!!!!

7. Captain Dunsel - November 5, 2011

@ 1. CmdrR – “What, no women on Mars?”

Of course not. Everyone has known since 1967 that Mars Needs Women!

8. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - November 5, 2011

#7. Also. Mars needs Moms.

9. VZX - November 5, 2011

Hey Kayla, you think this story will get to the 500 + response mark like your last one? Haters gonna hate!

Anyway, detecting alien cities? WTF? What would the resolution power have to be to detect a city from just even Alpha Centauri? Dang, I guess the tech exists, but has to be mega expensive.

Here’s a question, speaking of Mars missions: Who would be willing to go to Mars, but never return? Just spend the rest of your days exploring the Red Planet since a return trip might be too expensive. Hell, I’d do it if I didn’t have kids…

10. Vultan - November 5, 2011

We can detect city lights on an alien planet? Cool!

Let’s just hope they aren’t using those energy-saving curly cue light bulbs. Those things are dimmer than a politician in a beauty pageant.

11. Keachick (rose pinenut) - November 5, 2011

I would have thought that the Harry ballz were more than warm. What is possibly needed is a ballz-cooler…:)

Question: Why would an alien city keep their lights on at night, when everyone would be trying to sleep, presumably? Perhaps they might have more sense and less fear than to have everything lit up like a Christmas tree. Maybe they don’t need artificial light in order to get done what has to be done in one of their days…

12. Daoud - November 5, 2011


Darmstadtium, roentgenium and copernicium aren’t new. The elements themselves were created in 1994, 1994, and 1996 respectively. And the names were approved by IUPAC (the chemists) in 2003, 2004, and 2010.

IOP is a rather useless organization, and IUPAP has no power over element names as much as they wish to believe so. IUPAC is the accepted authority. And I say this as a physicist.

The annoyance of IUPAP (a much lesser organization) trying to claim it authorized the names already long in use though might be useful. IUPAC has been sitting on the expected announcement of the accepted names for Elements 114 and 116: flerovium (Fv) and moscovium (Mc), so perhaps they’ll get off the pot and get those released.

By the way, all the elements through 118 have been discovered now. GSI, RIKEN, and the Dubna/Berkeley consortium are all focused on creating 120, 122 and higher elements now, and filling in longer lived isotopes of 104-118. No dilithium so far!

13. Vultan - November 5, 2011


Perhaps the same reasons we humans have our lights on at night.

Some folks like to go out after dark and eat, see a movie, etc., etc. Businesses like to have lights on. It’s more inviting, and easier on the kneecaps.

14. CmdrR - November 5, 2011

“I want to wake up
on a planet that never sleeps…
It’s up to you, New Orc, New Orc!”

15. Keachick - rose pinenut - November 5, 2011

Gosh, how on earth (and we were too) did humanity survive all these millenia (thousands of years) WITHOUT our cities and places of residence being CONSTANTLY lit up like Christmas trees ALL YEAR ROUND? It’s a conundrum to be sure and to think that the traditions many of us take for granted like Halloween, Hanukkah, Diwali, along with all the various Pagan festivals (Christmas being a blend of pagan festivities and the Christian celebration of Christ’s birth) etc etc, all beginning and continued long before the electric light was invented.

I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate having resource to the electric light and other things that electricity can provide (I certainly do, at times – I know all about whacking little toes because I didn’t turn on a light or don’t have a torch), but the notion that aliens would necessarily have their societies set up the same way and being now so dependent on this power as we have become, is, well, a little presumptuous perhaps.

As far as sleep goes, Australian Aboriginals believe that sleep is as important as the (day) waking time, because the dreams are part of another equally important reality for that person. But then again, what would such primitive people know what the dynamics of sleep and dreams can have on the maintaining a healthy human psyche? A lot, it turns out…

16. MJ - November 5, 2011

Hack science authors gotta hack.

17. Thorny - November 5, 2011

A few other science stories that weren’t mentioned here…

– Venerable Thor-Delta rocket family makes final flight after 53 years of service (Oct 28)

– Russian Progress freighter safely launched, returning Soyuz rocket family to service after August launch failure, ending threat of temporarily abandoning the International Space Station (Oct 31)

– China completes its first docking in space (Nov 2) paving way for its own Space Station assembly later this decade

18. MC1 Doug - November 5, 2011

Hi Kayla! Can you write something up about the recent look-see of Uranus (minus the Klingons)? heh heh.

19. Red Dead Ryan - November 5, 2011


And trolls gotta troll, it seems.

20. Hat Rick - November 5, 2011

Anyone else think that the alien planet has a goofy grin?

21. Vultan - November 5, 2011


Did you miss this part of the article?

“Looking for alien cities would be a long shot, but wouldn’t require extra resources. And if we succeed, it would change our perception of our place in the universe.”

See, it’s a long shot. They’re taking that into account, but I hope they make you eat your words if and when they find New Las Vegas. Though I wouldn’t recommend eating in the dark. ;)

22. CmdrR - November 5, 2011

It’s actually only one old dude on Ceti Alpha V, who likes to walk around his place late at night with the lights on and check out his own pecs in the mirror…

(Or was that Ceti Alpha VI? I always get them confused.)

23. Keachick - rose pinenut - November 5, 2011

#21 No, I did not miss that part of the article, but you obviously missed this part of the article –

“We might find alien civilizations by looking for their city lights during the nighttime say Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Edwin Turner of Princeton University. Loeb and Turner say that it would be easy enough to detect lit-up areas of a planet’s dark side”

It is the assumption made by the scientists that I was querying.

If you look at this planet by night, it is clear that not all of it is lit up, like a lot of the African continent or much of Australia or NZ. Millions of people live in Africa (most of them impoverished, unfortunately) but not a lot of lights there. I’m just saying that it might be possible for millions of an alien race to be living healthily and successfully without necessarily having to have too many, if any, lights on in their night. How is that hard to understand?

I have no problem eating in the dark. I actually have quite good night vision. I happily wander around in the dark, with the venetian blinds shut etc, so there is not even the glow of a distant street or moonlight and my kneecaps are fine and so are my little toes most of the time. It has something to do with how well the eyes adjust. Our ancestors probably had eyes which were much more adept at adjusting to variations in light intensity than what we have now. It is quite likely that we have developed “lazy” eyes among other things, as well as obesity problems for some, because of long term poor sleep/sleep deprivation, due to there being too much constant light that people, living in big cities especially, are being exposed to. No BS. This also means that it is harder for people to switch, relax and go to sleep.

“but I hope they make you eat your words if and when they find New Las Vegas.”

I suppose finding a new Las Vegas might be a sort of comfort because at least we would know that there are other beings on other worlds who might be just as dumb as we are…;)

24. Vultan - November 5, 2011


Not hard to understand lights on another world. I thought it was just nice scientists are expanding their search criteria.

Sorry for talking to you. I always am.

25. CmdrR - November 5, 2011

And they can see the flaming in this chat from Arcturus.

26. Keachick (rose pinenut) - November 5, 2011

No need to be nasty, Vultan. I can’t recall you talking to me much at all. Don’t say I cause your head to spin as well? Oh dear, what can I say?

I was simply querying the assumptions made by scientists. It was you who queried if I had read the whole article, if I had not missed something and then told me that you hoped “they make me eat my words”.

Sure it is fine that scientists can look for lights on another world and I did not imply that scientists weren’t nice or otherwise. Actually lights on another world could mean anything…

27. Vultan - November 5, 2011


Ah, sorry if it came across as nasty, but it’s been a long time since I came across a member of the Anti Electricity League. You’re with the Kerosene Lamp Association, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU?!!!


28. bgdrewsif - November 5, 2011

#15.. That was exactly what I thought while reading… It is awfully conceited to assume an alien civilization would have their cities lit up like ours… or to assume they would want to live in massive mega cities… maybe they like the dark… maybe they all live in suburban tract housing…. or underground… or use black lights… or infrared…

29. Harry Ballz - November 6, 2011

Nice that you people think of me, but if you’re going to bring up Erica Durance, do you provide a barf bag?

30. - November 6, 2011

Is it worth adding this to this weeks list

31. - November 6, 2011

Along with this paints an interesting picture,

32. rm10019 - November 6, 2011

Thanks for another fun science article! Your work is appreciated.

33. Red Dead Ryan - November 6, 2011

Maybe aliens on other worlds use more environmentally-friendly power sources to light their cities? Or the planet has natural, glow-in-the-dark forests and plants that light up during the night, similar to Pandora from “Avatar”?

34. David Jones - November 6, 2011

“We might find alien civilizations by looking for their city lights during the nighttime say Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Edwin Turner of Princeton University”
Statements like this just go to shown how dumbed down the universities have become.

These clowns sound like Packleds, “were gonna see lights, then will go there. Yep, see light first then go”

Our blackops projects already use Star Trek tech its just not discussed. Instead the public is fed tidbits like this garb as a means to show that scientists are learning more about the cosmos each day.
Were gonna look for lights. Lol,,, whata crock.

35. MJ - November 6, 2011

@19. You are the one who is trolling here. I am stating a fact based on the article last week where the author of this story basically said that anyone who disagreed with her on global warming was a “hater.” Obviously she needs posters such are yourself to defend her comments though, as she is too much of a wuss to respond to directly to a large groups of Trek fans here she insulted. She had demonstrated that she is a “hack author” by her use of a childish slam against a group of people who honestly disagree with her, and I am not going to let her slide by with it. We can no longer trust anything she writes, hence the term “hack science author” is applicable here.

36. - November 6, 2011

Check the sea level rises from Envisat, the most sophisticated sea level satellite launched in 2012

37. MJ - November 6, 2011

correction “The 3 cm sea-level rise of the past couple of decades is lost in the noise over the past 25,000 years”

38. BeatleJWOL - November 7, 2011






(that happened to be based on an internet meme)

What are you, some kind of (emotionless/humorless**) Vulcan*? Maybe the author does harbor strong feelings about people that disagree on global warming, and backpedaled with the lie that it was all a joke; but maybe NOT. Can we move on please? (and by we, I mean you.)

*This was also a joke.
**This was the explanation of the joke.

39. MJ - November 7, 2011

@39. WTF?

40. Pensive's Wetness - November 7, 2011

what’s wrong with Erica Durance, HB? i’d hump her enthusiastically (for science!)

41. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - November 7, 2011

#40. Wait for it!. here comes Harry!.

42. Phil - November 7, 2011

The laws of physics hold true throughout the universe, so it’s safe to assume that technology on other worlds will be similar to what is here. Electricity there is electricity here….

43. BoltBait - November 7, 2011

@Kayla Iacovino, please learn the difference between “their” and “they’re”.

44. Harry Ballz - November 7, 2011

40. “Erica Durance……I’d hump her”

You’re a brave man, admitting that you’re into beastiality!

Hey, whatever floats your boat!

45. Charla - November 7, 2011

Chris Fawkes- thanks for providing those links, I have put them in my favs as well- Very interesting information!!

I gotta address Phil too. :D I place a great deal of trust with past and current theories physicists, researchers and scientists presently. But one can only speculate that another planet will have nearly identical properties of Earth to be able to utilize the same technologies as we do. Given that planets have different structural make up, ie. atmospheric climates, to the core of a planet (or lack of one) to magnetic fields, etc.

It could be that we are the more technologically advanced compared to other civilizations elsewhere in the universe – who knows?

But dear God I hope not, because we remain very limited in our reaches within our own galaxy in travel, energy use, and above all, human disparities such as famine and lack of shelter, medical applications, both in pharmaceutical and healthcare delivery (remember Bones stating just how barbaric 20th century medicine was when Chekov was injured and was going to go under the knife for a brain injury?) I agree with him even though medicine has made great advancements, it is, at times barbaric!) I’m sure I’ve left some other things out, but I hope you get my point.

Have you noticed with every “advancement” there seems to be another problem accompanying it more times than not? It seems to be a perpetual quandry we are in. But that is at times what it takes to become advanced to what one day will take us to other planets, or further our ability to take better care of Earth and it’s inhabitants.

Lastly, Pensive…. ooh ick. ; P

46. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - November 7, 2011

new technology could help

47. Rosemary - November 7, 2011

It is possible that other civilisations out in space may be as technologically advanced as we are. It is just that it could be a different kind and the physiological and psychological make up and cultural imperatives of these people mean that they use the technology in a different way. Maybe they don’t need a lot of night light because they have extremely good night vision, as well as day vision – something to do with how their eyes are formed…who knows? Just speculating. There are a lots of animals on this earth whose vision far exceeds our own and others who have little vision at all. All depends.

On the other hand, there may be worlds that operate very much like earth does now… we just don’t know at this point, for better or worse.

48. Vultan - November 7, 2011

The fact that pyramids were built in ancient Egypt and Central America goes to show that there can be parallel technological developments in different societies (unless Egyptians somehow managed to emigrate to the West and give the Mesoamericans their blueprints).

Anyway, the same could go for electricity and nighttime illumination.
It’s worth a look.

49. MJ - November 7, 2011

@44 “@Kayla Iacovino, please learn the difference between “their” and “they’re”.”

You know what they say, “hack writers gonna hack.”

And incidentally, “gonna” is not a real word either, Kayla.

50. Red Dead Ryan - November 7, 2011


Nice try pal. She had recently posted a comment on the previous science article stating that her statement was a joke. Which you probably didn’t bother reading or decided to ignore.

And I find it interesting and ironic (actually hypocritical would be the right word) that you’d refer to Kayla as a hack writer and continually bash her while posting on the very articles she puts up.

So it seems to me that not only are you incredibly hypocritical and arrogant, but you have no problem biting the hand that feeds you.

51. MJ - November 7, 2011

51. My series of responses Kayla have been a joke as well Didn’t you get it? It is all just a humerous misunderstanding. LOL Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

If you just go to, you will see the origin of the joke.

52. Rosemary - November 7, 2011

Sorry, MJ, but I did not get the joke. That’s the problem with the internet sometimes, when people are joking around or being sarcastic or other, that they can be misunderstood and end up looking very silly and/or downright nasty.

There are all kinds of emoticons that sites like IMDb users have access to in order to express various kinds of emotions, eg whether they are joking or not, stuff like that, but it appears this is not available to users here. Pity really. Use of these emoticons in posts can make for more interesting and fun reads sometimes.

53. MJ - November 7, 2011

@53. Exactly!

54. Charla - November 7, 2011

DS9- yes it could. or it could also harm if used in ways un-intended. (nuclear fission, genetically modified bacteria, foods and animals, etc, etc.. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but I am skeptical because of the ramifications of some of what technologies we have created so far.

Rosemary, I agree with you the possibilities are endless about what technologies may exist or not depending on the needs of the civilazation/inhabitants of another planet. It would be so incredible to know if others exist, and if they were willing to exchange information to better both worlds. That is where I am more optimistic and would hope that any ET contact would be used as a catalyst for further learning from one another and not the apocolyptic, “gonna getcha” version seen in so many Sci-Fi movies. Check out Michio Kaku’s website discussing his theories on the types of civilizations and how they might advance. He even addresses the “Borg”!

Vultan-It is worth a look! So glad you mentioned this!! Incredible and mind blowing how these ancient civilizations accomplished the buildings of the pyramids and the stone statues at Easter Island for starters… can you imagine being on the pulling end of the ropes during that time? If that is indeed the way they transported them from the quarrys.(unless of course the statues walked there like some legends of the Rapanui have it) I’d be like “damn, there has got to be a better way!! LOL

I am including a link if anyone wants to check out the current progress of the excavation of the statues, and petroglyphs found recently. check out pic 16 and 18. These are pretty cool.

And Harry… again, ooh ick! LOL-

55. Basement Blogger - November 7, 2011

On the coming asteroid, should we call Bruce Willis?

56. Basement Blogger - November 7, 2011

The Huffington Post is reporting in a response to a petition on alien life, the White House has responded with this,

“The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race,” Phil Larson of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy wrote in a blog post responding to the inquiries. “In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.”

That should answer the question of whether the government knows anything about extraterrestrial life. The U.S. government would not keep something like alien life a secret. :-)

57. Harry Ballz - November 7, 2011


I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you……good price.

58. Charla - November 7, 2011

BB- Possibly!! I can’t remember the ending! LOL

59. VZX - November 8, 2011

@56 Basement Blogger:

I really do not understand why so many people believe that ETs have been to Earth and that the government is keeping this information private. I really think that is silly. I guess people don’t understand how vast the distances are between stars.

60. Basement Blogger - November 8, 2011

@ 59


The way to cheat the distances between stars is to warp space and time. You know, like the Enterprise’s warp engine. A warp drive does not break Einstein’s laws limiting the ability to travel faster than light.

61. Vultan - November 8, 2011


But suppose the aliens have never watched Star Trek.

62. Basement Blogger - November 8, 2011

@ 61

I’ve made this joke before. Our TV signals are going out into space, I believe at the speed of light. (Correct me on the speed, Trekkers.) So I’ll paraphrase Harry Ballz, what would they think of “I Love Lucy.” Forty some years from now when they see “Jersey Shore”, I’m pretty sure they’re going to attack earth.

63. Vultan - November 8, 2011


I believe their planet is called Omicron Persei 8, and ever since “Single Female Lawyer” was canceled it’s pretty much inevitable they’re gonna attack.

64. Basement Blogger - November 8, 2011

@ 63

Ha, ha, ha. Futurama joke for the uninitiated.

65. Harry Ballz - November 8, 2011

My favorite bit from Futurama is when the alien leader from Omnicron Persei 8 eats the hippie, then proceeds to be stoned from doing so.

66. Vultan - November 8, 2011

“Oooo… I think there was something funny in that hippie.”

67. Harry Ballz - November 8, 2011

Friggin’ hilarious!!

68. Vultan - November 8, 2011

One of my favorite lines from Futurama:

Bender: “You know, Fry, of all the friends I’ve had… you’re the first.


69. Jim Nightshade - November 8, 2011

#1 trending on yahoo is our own sulu george takei cuz of a kardashian spoof

70. Kayla Iacovino - November 9, 2011


If you do not like my articles, kindly refrain from reading (or posting on) them.

Hack science writer who also has bad grammar

71. Jai - November 9, 2011

Re: #61:

“I’ve made this joke before. Our TV signals are going out into space, I believe at the speed of light.”

Joking aside, Paul Davies of SETI’s Post-Detection Taskgroup wrote quite a lot about all this in his superb book “The Eerie Silence”. He mentioned that most of our TV communications now use optical fibres, so very little of it is still leaking into space. He also said that TV signals are too weak to be detected (especially compared to military radio transmissions), unless aliens are using extraordinarily powerful radio receivers, which is unlikely, since it’s already a rapidly-obsolete technology on Earth and would be practically prehistoric for the aliens.

So, unsuspecting aliens probably won’t stumble across the delights of Snooki and The Situation. Unless they’re already aware of us and are therefore hiding in Earth’s vicinity and actively listening to our transmissions.

Which may explain the reports by all those air force officers about UFOs hovering above nuclear missile bases and tampering with the nukes ;) Apparently President Obama, the Secretary of Defence, the National Military Command Center in Washington, and the two other major ICBM sites in the US were all urgently briefed after the latest unexplained incident last year, affecting 50 nukes, the largest shutdown in US military history. And unfortunately, that is no joke.


I remember Basement Blogger has the original article (from the Huffington Post, I think) which mentioned the sighting of UFOs over that missile base, so hopefully he can provide the website link for that.

In his book, Paul Davies also discussed the necessity to look for signs of large-scale alien engineering rather than just signals; I guess night-time cities on other worlds could also be included in that.

72. VZX - November 9, 2011

@70: Snap!

Anyway: Basement Blogger: Bending spacetime for practical use is not that easy.

According to General Relativity, everything bends spacetime. It’s just that the bigger and denser the object, the greater the bend.

So, unless you got a spaceship that can make black holes, you just can’t do it. The difficulty of interstellar space travel prohibits the probability that Earth was ever visited by “aliens.”

73. cd - November 9, 2011

I preferred the name Unununium for element 111. It is more descriptive (basically “one-one-one-ium) but I guess they have their rules about such things. Next they’ll say Pluto is not a planet. >;>}
As far as aliens, who knows? We are just recent getting to the point of detecting extrasolar planets, and the methods we are using so far are not very direct. In other words, we don’t get a great deal of detail. We could turn the question around. Would Earth be detectable from other star systems, using the methods we use? Could it be determined that there is life on Earth from there?
And as far as UFOs and aliens already visiting, I don’t see much creditable evidence. Pyramids and other structures can be explained by smart people who knew what were doing. Many things have been invented and then forgotten through the ages.

74. Basement Blogger - November 9, 2011

@ 72


I agree that bending space time is not easy. And I don”t know that an antimatter- matter reaction would create enough energy to do it.

But if the galaxy say the universe is billions and billions of years old, perhaps a much older alien civilization has already figured out how to do it. If you don’t believe that earth was ever visited by aliens, that’s okay. Because the White House has just released this statement confirming your proposition.

“The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race,” Phil Larson of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy wrote in a blog post responding to the inquiries. “In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.” Link.

Yeah, if the U.S. government had any evidence of extraterrestrial life they would tell us. I’m sure the U.S. government would release any captured alien technology to people of earth for the benefit of mankind. And I’m dating Scarlett Johannson.

75. Harry Ballz - November 9, 2011

74. “And I’m dating Scarlett Johannson”

Be sure to shove in my regards, BB! :>)

76. Basement Blogger - November 9, 2011

@ 71


I don’t remember the original news article. But here is one from CBS News, where soldiers tell of UFOs deactivating our nukes.

77. Basement Blogger - November 9, 2011

@ 73; 72

cd says, “And as far as UFOs and aliens already visiting, I don’t see much creditable evidence.”

1) I will argue this is the best UFO sighting. In 1990, above Belgium, triangular UFOs appeared. Thousands of eyewitnesses. Photographs. And here’s the evidence. The Belgians scrambled fighter jets. They got radar locks, that’s a measurement. But the UFOs moved too fast to maintain the locks. Link.

2) An older UFO-fighter jet encounter occurred over Iran in 1976. As jets approached the UFO, they lost instrumentation. And get this, the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) did a report on it. Hmmm, if Project Blue Book ended in 1969, why the U.S. government interest?

3) The Phoenix lights. Thousands of eyewitnesses. Photographs. And Governor Fife Symington saying it was a real UFO. Mind you he did this after he mocked the witnesses. He claims he also saw it. Symington, says,

“I’m a pilot and I know just about every machine that flies. It was bigger than anything that I’ve ever seen. It remains a great mystery. Other people saw it, responsible people. I don’t know why people would ridicule it”.[28] Symington had earlier said, “It was enormous and inexplicable. Who knows where it came from? A lot of people saw it, and I saw it too. It was dramatic. And it couldn’t have been flares because it was too symmetrical. It had a geometric outline, a constant shape.” LInk.

4. Dr. Michio Kaku states that 5% of UFOs are real. Kaku says that it’s possible that if aliens are millions of years ahead of us, it’s possible for aliens to visit us. @ 72. As Spock would say, “Fascinating” interview linked below.




Dr. Kaku interview. Check it out.

78. Basement Blogger - November 9, 2011

Sorry, guys here’s the Dr. Kaku MSNBC interview.

79. VZX - November 9, 2011

Well, the universe is about 13 billion years old, according to the current value of Hubble’s constant. (of course, that could change) And yes, I agree that other alien civilizations could have arisen in that time, sort of, that could have figured out a way to travel great distances. But, I doubt it. Here’s why:

After the Big Bang, it took about 700 million years for it to cool enough for the first stars to form. It then took another 50-100 million years for a few high mass stars to form and become supernovas to create more heavier elements that is needed for the formation of life. (Heavy elements from lithium to iron are ONLY created in the core of high mass stars, and then elements heavier than iron are ONLY created in super-rare supernovas). Then the supernova remnants would become part of the interstellar medium. It would then take about 2-4 billion years for enough supernova to have occurred so that there is enough heavy elements to exist in the universe so that life could arise. This brings us to about 5 billion years after the Big Bang, or 8 billion years ago.

And THEN, it takes time for low mass star systems to form, a loooong time. It took the Solar System 5 billion years to form into its present form from a nebula. Out of that 5 billion years, it took 4.5 billion years for life to form into what it is now from when the first amino acids formed the first protein.

So, from 8 billion years ago, it would take about 5 billion years (at least!) for life to form, assuming it happened as quickly as it did on Earth. That means that the earliest life could have existed in the universe is 3 billion years ago. A long time, to be sure, but life has to be rare, and rarer still is intelligent life. Could a different civilization exist in that time? Possible, but even in the large amount of planets in the universe, I sincerely doubt it. Space is not infinite. And I was very liberal in the above values. I think that now is the perfect time for intelligent life to form. Because we exist.

I’ve heard from Dr. Kaku that crossing the immense distances in space is just not possible, that it is easier to cross dimensions. And advanced civilization may have created the technology to be able to do that. If they were around long enough.

So, yeah, aliens never came to Earth.

80. Vultan - November 9, 2011


Very good points, sir!

Though I certainly hope it’s not the truth, because it would be very depressing to find out that we humans… are the most advanced civilization in the universe.

Hmm… perhaps there’s a distant planet out there somewhere whose inhabitants are protesting their government for the “real truth” of what they know of aliens. “We KNOW they’re real!” they would say. “We’ve seen their ships in the sky. And we’ve heard faint transmissions of people named ‘Lucy’ and ‘Ricky’ and ‘Fred’ and ‘Ethel.'”

81. cd - November 9, 2011

77 – UFOs, as in flying objects that are unidentified, there may be some spurious evidence, but it’s still pretty thin. Need something verifiable and repeatable (and I do understand, considering what we are talking about, that is very difficult). And nothing proves their origin as extraterrestrial, it is much more likely that they are terrestrial in nature.
79 – As far as it being depressing that we are the most advanced civilization; it could be very, very bad if there was a more advanced civilization than us. We can hope they would be benevolent, but if they aren’t, we’re toast.

82. Harry Ballz - November 9, 2011

If one were to invoke logic, there are two possibilities. There IS other life in the universe, there is NO other life in the universe. Either answer is astounding.

83. Red Dead Ryan - November 9, 2011


What would be even more astounding is if the answer is both yes and no!

That would be a real headscratcher of a finding!

84. Harry Ballz - November 9, 2011

Hack attack fact #72:

Gene Roddenberry didn’t even invent the word “starship”. That word was first used in “Astounding Stories” back in 1934.

85. Harry Ballz - November 9, 2011


Ah, Ryan, I see you want to have your alien and eat it, too! :>)

86. Red Dead Ryan - November 9, 2011


Yup! I like having it both ways! That way, I’m protecting myself against being proved wrong! Ha!

It’s possible that another race might have the ability to phase in and out of this universe at will, either naturally, or technologically. Or even between what we like to call “life” and “death”.

87. Harry Ballz - November 9, 2011

Yes, but the moment that race of beings phases into this universe, wouldn’t that constitute other life existing in this universe, if even for an instant?

88. Red Dead Ryan - November 9, 2011


Yes. But once they disappear from this universe, then no other race will exist in this universe except for us, until the others return.

That is what I meant by my “yes and no” answer.

Of course, if a second race of beings do exist in our universe, it would be more likely than not that at least a third race exists somewhere else in another corner of the universe.

89. Harry Ballz - November 9, 2011

And then of course, there could be a FOURTH race, but, hey, how can you win ANY race by coming FOURTH?

90. Red Dead Ryan - November 9, 2011


“…how can you win ANY race by coming FOURTH?”

Maybe the first three finishers are cursed, and wiped from existence, leaving the fourth-place race the winner of the race!

91. Harry Ballz - November 9, 2011

Are you saying the race for existence is FIXED??!!

92. Red Dead Ryan - November 9, 2011

And let’s not confuse “coming fourth” with “coming forth” which is how winners score with the chicks!

93. Red Dead Ryan - November 9, 2011


Well, let’s just say it’s all about how the stars align themselves!


94. Harry Ballz - November 9, 2011


Like the old joke……..and God said to Moses, “MOSES, COME FORTH!”, but Moses came fifth and lost the race!

95. VZX - November 10, 2011


I think that it’s quite possible that we are the most advanced civilization in the Universe. It really puts a damper on those alien conspiracies, doesn’t it?

One thing I liked about Star Trek was how they routinely ran into aliens that were about the same as us on the technological scale. That makes sense considering the points I made above.

96. Basement Blogger - November 10, 2011

@ 95 VZX

Respectfully, it’s arrogant to argue “it’s quite possible that we are the most advanced civilization in the Universe.” (Your words.) There are 100 thousand million stars in our galaxy alone. LINK below. The universe is filled with galaxies so think of the million and millions of stars.

The irony of all this is that in the story above, an element is named after Copernicus. Copernicus as you should know fought against the “earth is the center of the universe” idea. He got attacked by religious leaders. But he was right. The earth orbits the sun. And the earth is not the center of the universe. LINK below.

I side with the late Dr. Carl Sagan. Who by the way liked to say there were billions upon billions of stars in a galaxy. Yes, he was an UFO skeptic. But he had a faith there was an advanced civilization out there. See his novel “Contact” and his work on the gold record attached to Voyager I.

1. Stars in the galaxy

2. Copernicus

97. Vultan - November 10, 2011


No, it would be arrogant to say that “WE ARE the most advanced civilization” without proof. He said “it’s quite possible we are…” Big difference there.

Frankly, it’s silly to argue over whether or not there is life out there. Mathematically it’s almost a certainty. But whether or not it’s intelligent life, and if it’s capable of crossing the vast distances of space—aye, there’s the rub. We know from observation that there are—eh, were—much older parts of the universe than our own.

Could those places have spawned advanced civilizations that managed to develop the necessary technology and colonize other systems before their own stars went nova? Who knows? It’s possible. Pretty much anything is possible in this crazy universe.

98. MJ - November 10, 2011

Of course their is intelligent life in the universe…and a lot of it given how many trillions of galaxies are out there.. Whether or not their is another intelligent race right now in our own galaxy — that is a more interesting question.

99. Bilderberg Group Trek Fan - November 11, 2011

#98. Agreed. A recent study estimated that there are 300 sextillion of them, or three times as many as scientists previously calculated. That is a 3 followed by 23 zeros. Or 3 trillion times 100 billion.”

So of course there are others out there. Even if there was just intelligent race for every 3000 galaxies (assuming 100 billion stars per galaxy on average), that would still mean that there would be one billion intelligent civilizations out there.

100. VZX - November 11, 2011

Yeah, as Vultan stated I was was just putting out the idea that we are the most advanced, not that I think we are for sure. BB, I understand your points on human-centered thinking, but that was not my intent. I teach a section of astrophysics in some of my classes and I always found it amusing that when I show the class pictures of galaxies there are many students that think the sun is in the center. Geocentric thinking has not gone away!

But I just wanted to point out the POSSIBILITY that we are the most advanced civilization. We, as fans of sci-fi, are so caught up with the notion that there are advanced ETs out there, that we may not realize that it might not be the case. It puts things in perspective. And it’s kind of funny…. Seriously, what if we are the top species in the universe?

101. Vultan - November 11, 2011

In all likelihood, humans aren’t the most advanced species in the ENTIRE universe, but it could be very likely we’re the most advanced in our neck of the woods in the Milky Way galaxy.

Heck, for all we know Earth could be the cosmic equivalent of Skull Island from King Kong—a mythical, out-of-the-way place that travelers are better off not finding. Alien Fay Wrays beware. ;)

102. MJ - November 11, 2011

Number of Trek articles on the past three days: 7

Number of Trek articles here the past three days: 0

Question for all — when will will know when it is time to bail on this site? When Anthony doesn’t show for another month? What is the end-game?

103. Basement Blogger - November 11, 2011

@ 103


It’s been great debating you, just in case this site has warp core breach and we are spread across the Internet as a bunch of electrons. But from what I can tell, the ship’s inertial dampers are still on line. Full power to the engines. We still have shields, phasers and photon torpedoes. I say we stay on board until the U.S.S. Trekmovie goes down.

104. Keachick - rose pinenut - November 11, 2011

It’s Saturday here (12/11/11) so I thought, “Oh good, some more science news from Kayla” only to realise that is still Friday there… I guess I have something to look forward to, I hope, come Sunday.

105. Keachick - rose pinenut - November 12, 2011

What? No new Saturday Science Report? It is now Sunday morning here, 9.02am to be precise…:)

106. Gary S. - November 12, 2011

#102 When Anthony closes the site, we will know .
I think it is very telling that he has NOT closed it .
I hope Kayla comes back soon.
I like my science fix.

107. Keachick - rose pinenut - November 14, 2011

It could be that Kayla has decided not to give a Science report for now. Perhaps there is no new interesting news to report and/or she got tired of the general griping and incessant bitching about her “Haters gonna hate” comment. I mean, who can blame her really? In fact, who can blame any of the contributors of new threads? There is always someone who will bitch about it being no real news, “is that all you can do” type stuff?

I think they may have got a message that we really don’t want to read yet more rumour, conjecture, quotes from actors who clearly know nothing but who, maybe, like to hear the sound of their own voices and so are honouring us by only telling us something they know to be definitive. Otherwise they remain quiet. We can’t have it both ways.

It’s pretty obvious that there is no news about the progress of the sequel – none that Bad Robot/Paramount are prepared to release to this site or media.

I don’t think we should be looking to Anthony, Kayla, Rosario and co for anything of substance. However, Bob Orci could post something here…

How about it, Bob? is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.