Tech Track: There is now convincing evidence that the sky is no longer the limit
The US authorities have released thousands of pages of previously classified documents relating to UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects).
This is a trove of documents collected in secret over the last 70 years. They have now been placed on the internet and one can imagine that UFO enthusiasts will be gleefully going through them, looking for space aliens.
Of course the term UFO refers to anything that flies and which has not been identified. So if some small aircraft goes far off course at night over some remote area, a local fellow could report strange lights in the sky and it could be logged as a UFO.
But many UFO sightings over the years, which still remain unsolved, have been reported by credible people, like air force pilots. Famously, when Apollo astronauts were travelling to the moon, they confidentially reported “balls of white and blue light following the spacecraft”. This was a mystery. Some time later it was explained. What happens is that high-energy cosmic rays penetrate the eyeballs of humans in space and leave a flash of light inside the eyeball. This flash moves, and was initially thought to be something strange following the spacecraft.
To date no space aliens have been detected. Meanwhile, astronomers, as of this month, have positively identified 4 395 planets outside our solar system. There are also thousands more “candidate” sightings, which have not yet been positively identified as planets.
There are also a number of planets which have been found to exist in a Goldilocks Zone. What this means is: an orbit around their star which it is not too hot and not too cold to support life of the type that we know on Earth. So, potentially good candidates to be something like us.
For decades now, astronomers have been broadcasting signals to Deep Space telling any potential aliens that we are here. The signals are coded in a mathematical language that intelligent aliens should be able to decipher.
Parallel to all this, efforts to fly astronauts to Mars are racing ahead. So far in 2021, the Mars starship test model number 9 has test-fired its engines four times, and starship test model number 12 is now under construction. The race is on.
There is exciting and tantalising evidence that there could have once been life on Mars. There is also evidence that water used to flow there, and a lot of water has already been detected. Designs for a Mars base are far advanced. Maybe some distant alien civilisation knows what we are doing and is watching.
If one looks at the statistics of how many Goldilocks Zone planets really should exist, then the statistics are overwhelmingly in favour of there being very many alien civilisations in space. But there remains the possibility that life only evolved on Earth, so maybe we are all alone.
But all that science requires is to find the smallest life form on Mars to show that life is not only confined to earth.
Then the reality of the statistics takes on a whole new vista. There are plans underway to send life-hunting probes to certain moons of Jupiter and Saturn, because existing evidence shows that there could well be life forms there too. Mankind is now entering the era of becoming a multi-planet species.
Travelling to Mars and back, while stopping off at a moon base will be as common as travelling to Antarctica is today. Tourist cruises regularly take visitors to Antarctica.
Business people had better stop saying: “The sky is the limit.”
It certainly is not. The limit is much further than that now. We know where the edge of the solar system is, and daily we peer well beyond that. As has been said before, the future is not what it used to be.
Dr Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and is CEO of Stratek Business Strategy Consultants, a project management company based in Pretoria. He carries out business strategy development and project planning in a wide variety of fields for diverse clients. [email protected]