Does Mars have rights? What about Europa, Ganymede, and Titan—the moons of Jupiter and Saturn that may be home to rudimentary extraterrestrial life? The 1967 Outer Space Treaty requires spacefaring nations to conduct exploration of the moon and other celestial bodies “so as to avoid their harmful contamination and also adverse changes in the environment of the Earth resulting from the introduction of extraterrestrial matter.” The goal of the treaty is to prevent both back contamination (the introduction of extraterrestrial life to Earth) and forward contamination (the introduction of Earth life to extraterrestrial environments).
The reason for avoiding back contamination is pretty clear. We want to prevent an Andromeda Strain scenario in which an unleashed alien life form harms life on Earth. Returning Apollo astronauts and their hauls of moon rocks were quarantined for a couple of weeks, just to make sure that no lunar microbes escaped to wreak havoc. Years of testing found no indication of life hidden in the moon rocks.
The main reason to guard against forward contamination is to prevent equipment designed to detect extraterrestrial life from getting confused. Consequently, NASA regularly sterilizes gear destined to land on other celestial bodies. So far no mission has detected life anywhere else in our solar system.To read more, click here.
Against a swirling montage of cosmic birth and destruction, and newsreel-style stills from his personal history, the celebrated inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil sits in silhouette, contemplating death. He broods over mortality's toll in waste and pain, and the hopelessness and loss that people must experience in their last moments of life. "It's such a profoundly sad, lonely feeling that I really can't bear it," he admits.
Then, cheerfully, he adds, "So I go back to thinking about how I'm not going to die."
That opening sequence of Transcendent Man, the new documentary by director Barry Ptolemy that profiles Kurzweil and his ideas, neatly distills the sometimes jarring predictions and preoccupations of its subject. The film is about Kurzweil's belief that within just a few decades technology will allow human beings to transcend the physical and intellectual limitations of their biology. It also paints Kurzweil as a brilliant man who has personally always risen above the skepticism and misunderstanding of his doubters.I don't know about you, but having my consciousness cloned and installed into an artificially intelligent machine doesn't excite me that much. I'd much prefer to greatly extend my biological body's overall health, youthful vigor, and lifespan. To read the rest of the review, click here.
The clip shows tiny circular specks of white light flying at high altitude over London in broad daylight.
Against the clear blue sky, five of the UFOs are seen speeding in the same direction before disappearing behind a cloud.
A much larger glowing disc then emerges from behind the same cloud.
It hovers slowly in a tight circle as other small specks follow the path of the others — before vanishing back behind the cloud.To read the rest of the article, click here.