Thursday, January 22, 2009

NASA changes it up, and PS we are all aliens

On the subject of Star Wars, one big change in 2009 will be the development of NASA's new capsule-based space program. NASA is ditching the space shuttle and going back to Apollo-style capsules, placed on top of rockets (as opposed to on their side). This is supposedly going to make them safer, and may also facilitate landings on the moon, or even Mars.

There's something classic science about all this. First we develop capsules, then space shuttles, then decide the capsules were the right way to go all along. Eventually we'll go back to shuttles...

As for aliens, I don't know if we'll find any. But I heard an interesting podcast today about how scientists are trying to create "life from scratch" in the lab, i.e. from simple organic compounds. This experiment has been tried for years, but it seems like it's finally getting ready for prime time.

On the other hand, it's equally possible that these scientists are barking up the wrong warm pond. What if life originated not here on Earth, but rather on some other planet? I.e. what if we all come from some extraterrestrial spore, which hitchhiked to Earth on an asteroid millions of years ago? This would explain why all living things have certain rather sophisticated things in common, such as ribosomes. If this scenario is in fact what happened, then we'd be better off investigating the origins of life on other planets.


1 comment:

YZF said...

It would also explain the last few seasons of The X-Files. What's still a mystery is why that show started sucking.