Why Stephen Hawking is light years from the truth about ‘dangerous aliens’

By Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer

The physicist Stephen Hawking is convinced that intelligent extraterrestrials populate space, a view shared by many scientists. But his ruminations on this prospect have shifted from the aliens’ existence to their deportment. Maybe they’re dangerous.

In a film recently released online, Hawking points to the potential peril in broadcasting signals to other star systems. After all, we don’t know who is out there, and they might not be well-intentioned. If we betray our presence with signals, maybe the aliens will fire up their interstellar artillery and take us out.

According to Hawking, extraterrestrial societies could be far more advanced than we are – perhaps by billions of years. Their sympathies for us might be meagre, and they “may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria”.

Leaving aside the rather considerable value of bacteria, Hawking is right: we have no clue as to the intentions of putative extraterrestrials. Perhaps they live in a utopian Shangri-La similar to the one we’ve always said we want for ourselves, a place that values peace as well as the neighbours. But, of course, no one can be sure. In any Darwinian system, there’s always a benefit to aggression by some. So maybe a warning is warranted. Who would want to make their mark as the person who triggered the destruction of Earth in a misguided attempt to start an interspecies conversation?

Read the rest at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/27/stephen-hawking-li...

ISO International Space Orchestra - 17500 people were there!

A SPACE ODYSSEY ABOVE AND BELOW GROUND

International Space Orchestra + Sigur Rós

24th SEPTEMBER 2016

Talk to Me I Am A Space Viking// Interval event

Sigur Rós interval as announced from the stage. interval (10 mins)

Blending space science, planet-poking and bluegrass-playing spacecraft operators, the world’s first orchestra composed of space scientists – the International Space Orchestra (ISO) - is coming together to perform as the supporting act to Sigur Rós at the Hollywood Bowl on 24th September 2016, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

As part of the event, ISO players will be giving quick fire presentations during the interval (9:20p.m. to 9:35p.m.). Find our Space Vikings, dressed in their ISO jumpsuits and with their jumbo badges, in various location of the Hollywood Bowl and ask them any questions you might have about life on this planet and beyond, and what lies above and below.

In the tradition of Hyde Park Speakers’ corner, where open-air public speaking, debate and discussion take place, ISO players will be addressing the audience poetically during the break. In it they will share with members of the public the mystery of space and their curiosity for the unknown.

This event will also mark the release of “The Life, the Sea and the Space Viking”, Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios and Dartmouth Films latest production. A Space Odyssey and Viking Saga 11km under the sea, documenting a submersible expedition and an encounter with our biological archeology. Merging the fields of astrobiology, terraforming and the research of extremophiles, the project is set for release in 2017. An expedition of uncharted territories, encompassing all scales of science, but also inspiring questions of humanity’s place in the universe, the project explores the science of space colonisation. The project features leading scientists at NASA and the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute and documents a submersible expedition - as we learn from life on Earth, how to create life on another planet.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hollywood Bowl

2301 Highland Ave,

Los Angeles, California 90068

Doors 6:00 p.m. // Show 7:45 p.m.

Talk To Me I Am A Space Viking: Sigur Rós interval as announced from the stage.

Our Space Vikings for the evening:

  • Greg Schmidt, Deputy Director, NASA SSERVI (Solar System Exploration Research Institute)- ISO Ukulele
  • Peter I. A. T. Robinson, Computer Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center- ISO Bassoon
  • Rusty Hunt, NASA Flight Director LCROSS Lunar Impactor, NASA Ames Research Center- ISO Saxophone
  • Andrew Henry, Software Engineer, NASA Ames Research Center- ISO Choir
  • Monica Ebert, Code D,, NASA Ames Research Center- ISO Choir
  • Michael A. K. Gross, Software and systems engineer for SOFIA, NASA Ames Research Center - ISO Trombone
  • John Cumbers, Founder of Synbiobeta, planetary sustainability network- ISO Choir
  • Megan Shabram, NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow with NASA's Kepler's Mission- ISO Choir
  • Vanessa Kuroda, BioSentinel Spacecraft Communication Subsystem Lead, NASA Ames Research Center – ISO Piano
  • Matthew J Daigle, Research Computer Scientist, Intelligent Systems Division, NASA Ames Research Center- ISO Guitar
  • Scott Poll, Intelligent Systems Division, NASA Ames Research Center- ISO Violin
  • Matt Linton - Chaos Specialist - (Former) NASA Ames Deputy CISO- ISO Cello
  • Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom, Chief Impact Officer , Singularity University, NASA Research Park- ISO Choir

Notes for Editors:

Please note that no NASA funding was used for the production of this activity. All NASA scientists who feature participate as individuals, representing their individual research and/or their opinion/views. Their participation and statements in no way reflect the views, priorities or policies of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Pictures to download: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/45kzu8sjmaaflun/AAC_6BBeTA27MJUWYi740-cba?dl=0

Talk To Me I Am A Space Viking participants’ biographies

All the below scientists are also players in the International Space Orchestra.

Greg Schmidt serves as Deputy Director and Director of International Partnerships of the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), located in the NASA Research Park at Ames Research Center. The Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute links competitively-selected science teams across the nation working together to help lead the agency’s research activities related to NASA’s lunar exploration goals. SSERVI research includes studies of the Moon (including lunar samples), from the Moon (using the Moon as an observational platform) and on the Moon (studies related to a human return to the Moon). Schmidt is an Associate Fellow with the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. He received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for his work in astrobiology and life sciences, and has received NASA Group Achievement awards for development of the Space Tech Center, Astrobiology, the Spacelab-J mission, the Spacelab Life Sciences-1 mission and the Leonids Multi-Aircraft Campaign, amongst others. In the ISO, Greg performs with his ukulele.

Peter Robinson is a computer scientist at NASA Ames Research Center specializing in check-engine-light diagnostics for complex systems. He currently supports both the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket as well as aeronautic stall guidance algorithms. His additional interests include the development of knowledge and content management systems to address persistent document overload challenges which most people face. Peter is an alumnus of the University of California Santa Cruz in 1987, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.  The dream of space has been with him since he was a small child watching humans walk on the Moon, seeing pictures of the Mars rocks when the first landers sent back pictures and being in awe of the images of Saturn and Jupiter in all their beautiful color. In the ISO, Peter plays the bassoon.

Rusty Hunt plays Bari Sax loudly in the ISO. On his 49th birthday, Rusty was the NASA Flight Director when the LCROSS lunar impactor spacecraft team hit the Moon’s South Pole and discovered tons of ice in the permanently shadowed Cabeaus crater, re-writing science textbooks and forever changing our understanding of the Moon. Rusty followed that as Flight Director on the LADEE lunar orbiter mission, seeking answers to the question: "how did all that water get there?" These days he is on the team designing a rover to land at the lunar pole and drill into the ice, seeking resources for a manned lunar outpost. In previous days he was Chief Engineer at the NFAC (The World’s Largest Wind Tunnel) and did research on biologically inspired computer algorithms to control flapping flying robots. Rusty’s musical career spans decades, playing with the 129 Army Band, the NASA Ames Jazz Band, Sinister Dexter, and the Leland Stanford Junior <pause>  University Marching Band.

In a parallel life, Commander Rusty Hunt recently retired from the US Navy Reserve, after 32 years of training robot operators, riding ships, running reactors and driving submarines. At home Rusty enjoys building things and fixing things. He is married to his lovely bride Tamra, a former fashion model, with their beautiful and brilliant daughter Emma who is twelve years old and a prolific author.

Andrew Henry is a software developer at NASA's Ames Research Center, based near San Francisco. Andrew is currently working on a next-generation mission control system for a future lunar rover called Resource Prospector. This software will enable spacecraft operators to drive a rover on the Moon to locate and extract water ice. The technology demonstrated in this mission could be used in the future to provide oxygen and water for human missions. Prior to working on space projects, Andrew developed software for the music publishing industry. Andrew has a Masters degree in Space Studies from the International Space University in Strasbourg, France and a Bachelor of Software Engineering degree from the University of Newcastle in Australia. Andrew sees The International Space Orchestra as a fantastic opportunity to combine his two passions - space and music.

Monica Ebert works for the Office of the Director at NASA Ames Research Center, specializing in international partnerships, education, and outreach activities. She also supports management and logistics for various Space and Earth Science research groups. Monica is developing the Quantum Academy, a program to train researchers in applications of quantum computing, experimenting with future computational possibilities. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Physics, Astrophysics, and Interdisciplinary Science from Florida Institute of Technology, and Master’s of Science in Space Science from International Space University. Monica teaches Math and Science to middle and high school students, and yoga and sailing on occasion. She loves to explore and has traveled to 7 continents, 45 countries, and one planet so far.

Michael A. K. Gross Ph.D. is a systems engineer, designer, software engineer, simulator, tester and evaluator for the SOFIA airborne infrared telescope.  With a background in astrophysics, computational mathematics, and physics, his job is to make this giant 100 inch telescope mounted in a 747 jet aircraft point accurately, repeatably, and reliably at designated targets, despite being mounted on a moving aircraft, as well as to implement simulation systems to aid in training operators and evaluating new techniques. The telescope itself is unique; it is built much like a satellite, but is shoehorned so tightly into the 747 airframe that its target determines the aircraft heading.  As such, it has a difficult flight planning problem, unlike any other aircraft or any satellite.  It is built to observe infrared light, and as such sees all kinds of "warm" objects in its line of sight.  Water vapor is such a warm object, so the telescope cannot work from the ground or most of the cameras will be blinded.  So, the aircraft flies into very cold and dry stratosphere to avoid it. In the ISO Michael plays the trombone.

John Cumbers has a strong background in the synthetic biology industry as founder of SynBioBeta, a global activity hub and community of entrepreneurs, thought-leaders and investors.  He has earned several degrees, including a PhD in molecular biology from Brown University as well as a masters degree in bioinformatics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and an undergraduate degree in computer science from the University of Hull in England. John is passionate about education and on the use and adoption of biological technologies.  He has received multiple awards and grants from NASA and the National Academy of Sciences for his work in the field. John has been involved in multiple start-ups producing food for space and using microbes to extract lunar and martian resources. He worked at NASA for seven years working on the issues of resource utilization, extremophiles and sustainable technologies.  He was instrumental in starting NASA’s program in synthetic biology and most recently, the lead for planetary sustainability at the NASA Space Portal.  A super connector, community builder and consultant, John has devoted himself to helping those around him improve themselves and gain the resources that they need to break through scientific boundaries and succeed. In the ISO John is a part of the choir.

Megan Shabram is a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow with NASA's Kepler mission. The Kepler Mission seeks to characterize the occurrence of Earth-like planet's in the habitable zone around other sun-like stars.  During this ongoing process, scientists have found 1000's of candidate planetary systems that are nothing like our own solar system. Megan is currently working to characterize the distributions of exoplanet and host star properties to learn more about how planetary systems form, and how they compare to our solar system. Megan is a proud alumni of the Pennsylvania State University, where she earned her PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics last fall. Megan also finds significant meaningfulness by being active in the discussion regarding challenges for women and minorities in science. In the ISO John is a part of the choir.

Vanessa Kuroda is a spacecraft communications engineer at NASA Ames Research Center. She currently is the Communications Subsystem Lead for the NASA BioSentinel 6U CubeSat Mission, in addition to working mission proposals and collaborations between NASA and various organizations. She had the amazing opportunity to help build, integrate, test and operate LADEE, the Lunar Atmosphere Dust Environment Explorer, as a part of the Communications Subsystem and the Real Time Mission Operations Teams. Vanessa is a proud alumni of the University of Southern California, where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Electrical Engineering. While at USC, she was involved with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and IEEE, as well as various hip hop dance group. She studied abroad at Queen Mary, University of London, and interned at Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and JPL before completing the co-op program and starting full-time at NASA Ames, where she is active in the Ames’ Women’s Influence Network (WIN) and the Ames Early Career Network.

Matthew Daigle is a Research Computer Scientist within the Intelligent Systems Division at NASA Ames Research Center. He joined NASA after graduating from Vanderbilt University with a Ph.D. in Computer Science. Inspired by Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Terminator, his work broadly lies within the area of Artificial Intelligence. He develops algorithms that allow machines to self-diagnose and self-prognose their condition, enabling them to both determine if something is broken and when something will break in the future. With this technology, intelligent machines can self-repair and become more robust in the real world. Of course, such work will ultimately pave the way for machines that will one day destroy us all, but, until that happens, he also plays guitar.

Scott Poll is the Deputy Lead of the Discovery and Systems Health (DaSH) Technical Area in the Intelligent Systems Division at NASA Ames Research Center. He also leads the Diagnostics and Prognostics Group within DaSH. He has conducted research to benchmark diagnostic algorithms in detecting and isolating faults in an experimental testbed. He has also conducted research in detection, isolation, accommodation, and situational awareness of aircraft flight control system failures. Prior to that, he was a researcher and assistant project director for a multi-phase wind tunnel test program of a cargo transport aircraft. He received the BSE degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, and the MS degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology. Scott plays the violin in the ISO

Matt Linton is a "Chaos Specialist". He is formally trained in disaster management, and applies the principles of emergency management to detecting and responding to computer intrusions and hostile hacker activity. He has worked in the past hardening computer networks for space missions, scientific analysis, and supercomputing. When not battling hackers, he trains as a Search & Rescue specialist. Matt plays the cello in the ISO

Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom is the Chief Impact Officer for Singularity University (SU).  Her role is to oversee the implementation of SU’s mission and to maximize impact in all of SU’s programs and initiatives.  She has executive oversight over SU’s overall impact strategy and oversees impact metrics tracking for the Global SU Community as they scale up to address global issues of disaster relief, education, energy, environment, food, global health, governance, poverty, security, space and water. Emeline also currently serves as Space track lead for SU’s 10 week Global Solutions Program. Emeline has a BS in Physics from the University of the Philippines and a MS in Earth and Space Science from York University, Canada.  She attended the International Space University (ISU) Space Studies Program in Strasbourg, France and subsequently worked and volunteered for ISU for two decades for its graduate programs around the world.  In commercial space development, she has worked & consulted for several startups including serving as Director of Program Development and Research, and Director of Operations for Space Adventures Ltd, a space tourism company sending private citizens to the International Space Station, and Odyssey Moon and Moon Express, which plan commercial transport to the Moon.  Emeline is co-author of the book “Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Space Flight,” University of Nebraska Press (2013), which was selected that year for the US Air Force’s Chief of Staff Reading List. Originally from the Philippines, she has visited over 75 countries and has lived and worked in 9.  Emeline is a part of the choir in the ISO.

The International Space Orchestra:

The International Space Orchestra is the world’s first orchestra of space scientists. Blending space exploration and bassoons; planet-poking and bluegrass-playing spacecraft operators –the International Space Orchestra, is an experiential and hybrid research laboratory, where space scientists are implementing, deconstructing, performing, singing, mixing, modifying, and designing musical acts. It is a provocation to action: a call to imagine and disrupt future human relations to space science; to adapt space science to our creative needs.

The ISO previously performed with Beck, Damon Albarn and Bobby Womack, The Prodigy, Penguin Café, Japanese composer Maywa Denki and many more. In this tangential reality, your Flight Controller conducts arias and the Payload Officer works a baritone sax, while the Capsule Communicator is on the triangle and an astronaut on percussions. Following the rules of tragedy defined by the ancient Greeks, the International Space Orchestra chorus introduce the public to the emotional nuances of space science missions. Merging space, technology, design and rock, the ISO with Sigur Rós aims to reach the final frontier.

The International Space Orchestra is currently rehearsing with director and ISO creator Nelly Ben Hayoun, Two time Grammy-Award winner ISO musical director Evan Price and musical conductor Gordon Lustig at NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in California, USA.

www.internationalspaceorchestra.com

The Life, the Sea and the Space Viking:

Currently finishing its development phase, “The Life, the Sea and the Space Viking” is Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios and Dartmouth Films latest production. A Space Odyssey and Viking Saga 11km under the sea, documenting a submersible expedition and an encounter with our biological archeology. Merging the fields of astrobiology, terraforming and the research of extremophiles, the project is set for release in 2017. An expedition of uncharted territories, encompassing all scales of science, but also inspiring questions of humanity’s place in the universe, the project explores the science of space colonisation. The project features leading scientists at NASA and the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute and documents a submersible expedition - as we learn from life on Earth, how to create life on another planet.

“The Life, the Sea and the Space Viking” follows NBH Studios latest feature film Disaster Playground. Disaster Playground premiered at SXSW 2015 and was selected as one of the six highlights of SXSW. Prior to Disaster Playground, NBH Studios assembled the International Space Orchestra. The ISO is still up and running at NASA Ames Research Center in California. The feature film about the project was recognized by international critique as a “masterpiece” (ICO), a ‘real achievement’ (DOMUS), “as thrilling as watching a rocket launch” and “Spine Tingling” (Guardian).

www.spaceviking.org

About the Hollywood Bowl:

One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and plays host to the finest artists from all genres of music. It remains one of the best deals anywhere in Los Angeles; to this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many classical and jazz offerings. In February 2016, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the twelfth year in a row at the 27th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards. For millions of music lovers across Southern California, the Hollywood Bowl is synonymous with summer.

HollywoodBowl.com

Read More: http://internationalspaceorchestra.com/talk-to-me-i-am-a-space-viking/

Meteor passes near to Allen Telescope Array

Image screenshot taken from the American Meteor Society website.

SETI Institute astronomer Peter Jenniskens notes that a very bright meteor, a so-called fireball, was seen in the vicinity of the Allen Telescope Array on Thursday, September 15 at about 7:48 pm local time. 

You can read the report here:http://www.amsmeteors.org/members/imo_view/event/2016/3440

Pages


Report Nov

Activity Report of the SETI Institute - October 2016

As the winter rains move in to Bay Area and the days get shorter, SETI Institute scientists are still keeping busy. They continue to unravel more puzzles about our local celestial neighbors, as well as other worlds many light-years away.
Read More

  • Report Nov

    As the winter rains move in to Bay Area and the days get shorter, SETI Institute scientists are still keeping busy. They continue to unravel more puzzles about our local celestial neighbors, as well as other worlds many light-years away.

    Read More
    Report Nov
  • Doug Lin's SETI Talk on Tuesday November 29, 2016. Recent observations indicate that super Earths are common whereas gas giants are relatively rare.

    Read More
  • Brain Dust

    The brain is a hot research topic, but despite all efforts, your grey matter largely remains a black box – an indecipherable web of neurons with a hidden subconscious agenda. But tiny sensors could shed light on what’s going on in your noggin. Find out what implanted “brain dust” may reveal about who you are.

    Read More
    Brain Dust
  • Mehmet Alpaslan's SETI Talk on Tuesday November 22, 2016. When viewed at the largest scales, the distribution of galaxies in the Universe resembles a complex, tangled web: an interconnected network of filaments of galaxies that surround vast, empty voids.

    Read More
  • Janice Bishop gave a SETI Talks about "History of Clays on Mars: How We Found Them and Why They are Important for Astrobiology" on Tuesday, November 08 2016 - 12:00 pm, PST. Detecting clays on Mars has had a rocky history over the past 4 decades, but detecting them on the surface today is becoming commonplace.

    Read More
  • It has just become harder for surprise meteor showers to escape our attention. On October 1, the third station of a new 48-camera, video-surveillance network in the United Arab Emirates has come online to help map meteor showers. The network complements the existing 80-camera Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) network twelve time zones later in California.

    Read More
  • milky way galaxy

    Soliciting Community Input for the Advancement of the Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe, and the Creation of a Multidisciplinary Virtual Institute for SETI Research.

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    milky way galaxy
  • Drake Frank

    Frank Drake had a problem. It was the fall of 1961, a year after his pioneering SETI experiment: Project Ozma. Using an 85-foot antenna in Green Bank, West Virginia, Drake had unfurled the intriguing possibility that we might find proof of intelligent beings by simply eavesdropping on their broadcasts.

    Read More
    Drake Frank
  • Marion Nachon's SETI Talk on Tuesday November 01, 2016. Located on Curiosity's mast, the ChemCam instrument ("Chemistry and Camera") uses a laser to provide the elemental composition of geological features along the rover's path.

    Read More
  • Please join us at NUMU on November 5th at 3 pm for a panel with the artists and scientists including Charles Lindsay, Jill Tarter, Martin Wilner, Oana Marco, Danny Bazo, Karl Yerkes, Marco Peljhan, Friedemann Freund, Rachel Sussman, Jon Jenkins, Mark Showalter and George Bolster.

    Read More

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