Monthly Archives: January 2010

Digital makes Earth less visible to aliens

Space scientist Frank Drake recently noted:

While old style signals used to spread out millions of miles into outer space, even reaching some distant stars, digital transmissions are much weaker and therefore are less easy to detect by extra-terrestrial life forms.

He explained: “Now the actual amount of radiation escaping is about two watts, not much more than you get from a cell phone. If this continues into the future, very soon our world will become undetectable.”

The known universe

Kicking off a new year with a little perspective.

This incredible video from the American Museum of Natural History reminds us that all the grand schemes of mankind play out on a very, very tiny stage. Assuming that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff, it’s hard to imagine anything significant to sweat here.

The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world’s most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.