First Posted: 04-25-10 11:19 AM | Updated: 04-25-10 11:33 AM
World renowned scientist Stephen Hawking believes extraterrestrial life almost certainly exists -- and humans should be extremely cautious about interacting with it.
"To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational," Hawking says in a new Discovery Channel series called Stephen Hawking's Universe. "The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."
He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach."
He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is "a little too risky". He said: "If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans."
Previously, Hawking has argued that humans must colonize space in order to survive and thrive. "Sooner or later disasters such as an asteroid collision or a nuclear war could wipe us all out," he told Britain's Royal Society in a 2006 speech. "But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe."
Read more about the Discovery special in the UK Times Online, watch video here, or browse through other Hawking videos
Breathtaking Carina Nebula PHOTO Marks Hubble Telescope's 20th Anniversary
Huffington Post | Catharine Smith First Posted: 04-23-10 01:12 PM | Updated: 04-23-10 02:21 PM
It's the 20th anniversary of NASA's Hubble telescope and an incredible photo released in honor of the telescope proves that Hubble may be aging, but it's still got it--and how.
This new image of the Carina Nebula shows with stunning clarity a gaseous dust column over 3 light years tall.
NASA says of the stunning image,
This craggy fantasy mountaintop enshrouded by wispy clouds looks like a bizarre landscape from Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" or a Dr. Seuss book, depending on your imagination. The NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, which is even more dramatic than fiction, captures the chaotic activity atop a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks.
Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from super-hot newborn stars in the nebula are shaping and compressing the pillar, causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of hot ionized gas can be seen flowing off the ridges of the structure, and wispy veils of gas and dust, illuminated by starlight, float around its towering peaks. The denser parts of the pillar are resisting being eroded by radiation much like a towering butte in Utah's Monument Valley withstands erosion by water and wind.
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One comment from source:
It's hard to imagine the scale at 17.6 trillion miles across.
Through the Hubble telescope, we can see 10,000 GALAXIES, looking through the equivalent of a grain of sand at arm's length. Our Milky Way Galaxy alone has 200 to 400 Billion stars. Here's Hubble's view through that grain of sand at arm's length. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Ultra_Deep_Field
So, anyone up for picspaming the thread with pictures from space and/or aliens?