Friday, October 31, 2008

Tales from the Cosmic Crypt

Author’s note: This article has been in the works in some form or other for nearly a year. Recently while searching the Internet for an illustration to grace this piece I came across a wonderful painting by the London based Welsh artist Leighton Johns. On a whim I used the ever dependable and very indispensable image search feature on Google and typed the words “The Cosmic Grim Reaper” and stumbled upon Mr. Johns’ wonderful blog site. This illustration almost inspired me to change the title of this essay to “The Cosmic Grim Reaper”. I encourage my readers to visit Leighton Johns’ blog spot and view other wonderful examples of his work.

As I begin setting my fingers to the keyboard to begin writing this article I have just returned from a children’s Halloween party organized by my family and some dear friends. Following a time honoured family tradition, the oldest members of our tribe have the malicious pleasure of regaling the youngest and most impressionable members of our clan with tales of the ghosts, demons, witches and warlocks that inhabit the dark corners, alleys, and byways of our little country village.

We humans have a special place in our hearts for tales of terror associated with the unseen and supernatural forces that lurk in the darkest recesses of our collective imagination. This is an affinity that is cross cultural and transgenerational.

During the course of the telling of these time worn tales my mind couldn’t help but wander over recent tales that humans have waived for themselves before and after the dawn of the space age concerning the terrors that lurk in the depths of cosmic night. Here is a collection of tales from the darkest recesses of the cosmic crypt. The cosmic grim reaper lies in wait; scythe in hand, in some dark corner of the universe ever ready to bestow some dark faith upon us.

The Doomsday Comet

No one would have believed in the early years of the twenty-first century that our world faced many dangers and terrors from the very depths of the cosmic night. Lurking in the fridge depths of our solar system was a mountain of ice and rock that just happened to be careening our way on an appointment with destiny ready to reset our planet’s evolutionary clock. It is remarkable from the perspective of a dispassionate extraterrestrial how a species that prides itself on its technological and scientific prowess can go about its humdrum petty concerns and totally ignore the threats that have shaped and torn worlds apart since the dawn of creation. When the super comet finally appeared on the outer fringes of our solar system on December 12, 2012 the human species found itself powerless and impotent to ward off this existential threat because it lacked the rocket delivery systems to deliver a nuclear device to divert this juggernaut heading our way.

On October 24th, 2007 and on the Halloween Night of October 31st, 2007 the Discovery Channel (Europe) aired the two hour docudrama ‘Super Comet: After the Impact’. This documentary essentially transfers the events of the Cretaceous Extinction Level Event (E.L.E), that occurred sixty-five million years ago and lead to the demise of the dinosaurs, to the twenty first century.

Super Comet: After the Impact

'Super Comet' recreates the fatal disaster that wiped the dinosaurs off the face off the Earth, only it's not the dinosaurs that are living on planet Earth - it's us.

This remarkable programme gives viewers a chance to see the real effects a 'Super Comet' would have after impact on planet Earth if it were to happen in today's world. What would happen to the human race and the planet itself is told through the dramas of people's lives as well as fascinating interviews with top scientists.

This is a dramatic, sci-fi fuelled programme not to be missed!

The DVD of this documentary is currently available from

Imagine a world cloaked in complete darkness. Food and water supplies disappear; tsunamis and fires rage, and scorching temperatures plummet to an Ice Age cold within months. Many scientists believe these cataclysmic environmental changes wiped out the dinosaurs after a gigantic asteroid struck the planet millions of years ago...and some say humans could be the next species to face extinction. SUPER COMET: AFTER THE IMPACT dares to bring the unthinkable to life in a fascinating look at how humans could adapt to a new world plagued by devastation on a global scale. You'll be riveted as you watch this unfolding of ultimate destruction that also celebrates the will of our species to survive despite incredible odds.

Yet, given enough warning time we currently have the propulsion technologies to deal with rouge asteroids and are not entirely powerless in the wake of Doomsday Comets. As Duncan Steel pointed out, in his article in The Guardian of January 12, 2005, concerning NASA’s Deep Impact Mission to Temple 1, “blasting a comet with a lump of copper heralds a new dawn in astronomy - and may save us from extinction”.

What of our parent star the Sun. the giver of life? What existential threats can it hurl our way?

Solar Super Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and the Perfect Solar Super Storm

December 12, 2012 a combination of events conspire to create the perfect solar super storm. Within a matter of hours our entire global technological civilization collapses. The world’s entire electrical power and communications grid is disrupted beyond immediate repair. Satellites fall from the sky and in space there are no astronauts left onboard the evacuated International Space Station to observe the night side of our planet as one by one the lights of our cities go out and are plunged into darkness as a massive blackout sweeps the globe.

The Sun has bathed this planet with its eternal light and warmth for some 4.6 billion years and has provided life on earth with the energy to go about its terrestrial business. But, every now and then the Sun shows its full fury in the form of Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs).

A Solar flare is a sudden eruption of hydrogen gas on the surface of the sun, usually associated with sunspots and accompanied by a burst of ultraviolet radiation that is often followed by a magnetic disturbance.
A Coronal Mass ejection is an ejection of material from the solar corona. The ejected material is a plasma consisting primarily of electrons and protons (in addition to small quantities of heavier elements such as helium, oxygen, and iron), plus the entrained coronal magnetic field.

If these two events occur together you have the makings for the perfect solar storm. Just such a thing happened on September 1st, 1859.

What happened in 1859 was a combination of several events that occurred on the Sun at the same time. If they took place separately they would be somewhat notable events. But together they caused the most potent disruption of Earth's ionosphere in recorded history. "What they generated was the perfect space storm," says Bruce Tsurutani, a plasma physicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Recent evidence points to the possibility that this event, the most powerful super solarflare ever observed, was responsible for depleting away our ozone layer at levels greater than chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

This breakdown caused global atmospheric ozone levels to drop by 5%. In comparison, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other chemicals have depleted the levels by about 3% in recent years.

However, unlike CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals, which can persist in the atmosphere for some time, the flare-induced ozone thinning probably lasted for just four years, the researchers report. That is because the nitrogen oxides that cause the depletion eventually rain down with water or ice. Indeed, it was this acid rain that was eventually recorded in the ice cores.

This solar storm also had a severe effect on the newest global communications technology of the Victorian Age - the telegraph.

Within hours, telegraph wires in both the United States and Europe spontaneously shorted out, causing numerous fires, while the Northern Lights, solar-induced phenomena more closely associated with regions near Earth's North Pole, were documented as far south as Rome, Havana and Hawaii, with similar effects at the South Pole.

In September 1859, a super-duper-extra-large-special of solar flares occurred, sending a super mass of particles towards the earth (93 million miles away) in record time (17 hours, 40 minutes).

The earth’s magnetic field was overwhelmed, causing extremely bright aurora and disruptions of electrical systems.

Back in 1859 the invention of the telegraph was only 15 years old and society’s electrical framework was just starting out.

“During the aurora of September 2, 1859,” wrote American researcher Elias Loomis (1811-1889), “the currents of electricity on the telegraph wires were so steady and powerful that, on several lines, the operators succeeded in using them for telegraphic purposes as a substitute for the battery.” For a time, messages were transmitted solely on auroral currents.

That’s right - no batteries.

Today if a solar storm of that magnitude occurred it would have a far greater impact on our global civilization which has become highly dependent on electrical technology.

Back in 1859 the invention of the telegraph was only 15 years old and society's electrical framework was truly in its infancy. A 1994 solar storm caused major malfunctions to two communications satellites, disrupting newspaper, network television and nationwide radio service throughout Canada. Other storms have affected systems ranging from cell phone service and TV signals to GPS systems and electrical power grids. In March 1989, a solar storm much less intense than the perfect space storm of 1859 caused the Hydro-Quebec (Canada) power grid to go down for over nine hours, and the resulting damages and loss in revenue were estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In our age the perfect solar storm could result in the total breakdown of the global power and communications grid:

“An 11-year epoch of increasingly severe solar storms that could fry power grids, disrupt cell-phone calls, knock satellites back to Earth, endanger astronauts in space, and force commercial airliners to change their routes to protect their radio communications and to avoid deadly solar radiation ........"

This is yet one more nightmarish scenario that has kept me up many a night. Just imagine the sudden collapse of our global technological civilization to levels reminiscent of the eightieth or nineteenth centuries. Within a matter of hours the technological comforts and marvels of our age can be reduced to mere junk.

And, we face dangers from distant suns as well.

Gamma Ray Bursts

It was on December 12, 2012 that that our space base telescopes flashed the warning message back to our ground stations on Earth of a sudden peck in the flux of gamma radiation that emanated from a star designated WR 104 in the direction of the constellation of Sagittarius at the astronomical coordinates Right ascension 18h 02m 04.07s and Declination -23° 37′ 41.2″. For a fraction of a second a bright tiny flash appeared in the day lit hemisphere of Earth, In that brief instant our planet and its biosphere were sentenced to death and the chemistry of our life giving atmosphere began its alteration and the blue skies of planet began to change colour to a dark sickening brown reminiscent of the pea soup smog that choked nineteenth century London.

The distant stars may have been responsible for Extinction Level Event (E.L.E) in the Earth’s past and in the future. Scientists believe gamma ray bursts were responsible for a mass extinction 450 million years ago in the late Ordovician period, which wiped out sixty per cent of life and cooled the planet.

Gamma ray bursts are the most luminous electromagnetic events occurring in the universe since the Big Bang.

They are flashes of gamma rays emanating from seemingly random places in deep space at random times. The duration of a gamma-ray burst is typically a few seconds, but can range from a few milliseconds to several minutes, and the initial burst is usually followed by a longer-lived "afterglow" emitting at longer wavelengths (X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, infrared, and radio). Gamma-ray bursts are detected by orbiting satellites about two to three times per week, but the number of GRBs that could be observed from Earth is about three times this and is currently limited by the efficiency of the instruments.

Most observed GRBs appear to be collimated emissions caused by the collapse of the core of a rapidly spinning, massive star into a black hole. All known GRBs originate from outside our own galaxy; though a related class of phenomena, SGR flares, are associated with Galactic magnetars. The sources of most GRBs are billions of light years away. The gamma rays strip away the ozone layer and generate chemical smog, producing a widespread chill that grips the Earth. An expected electromagnetic pulse will zap all of our electronics.

It was reported earlier this year that our planet currently lies in the line of sight of such a star designated WR-104, a mere 8,000 light years away in the constellation of Sagittarius, roughly a quarter of the way to the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy

How will humankind and the entire biosphere hold up in the face of such a global catastrophe and how can we hope to defend ourselves in the face of such a devastating danger?

Alien Invasion

Excerpt from the Encyclopaedia Galactica:

A fundamental lesson learned by all emerging technological civilizations is: NEVER ADVERTISE THE FACT OF YOUR EXISTENCE!

In recent months a number of articles have appeared in the popular press and elsewhere concerning the dangers of initiating first contact with any extraterrestrial civilizations that may share the galaxy with us.

Yet of even greater concern to me are alien invaders that we cannot see with the naked eye.

On December 12, 2012 reports stated flooding the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at their Headquarters in DeKalb County, Georgia from all over the major urban centres of the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa of a new virulent strain of flu that caused its victims to suffer from violent convulsions and massive haemorrhaging of the lungs within twelve hours of contracting this sickness. By Christmas Day the human species was on brink of extinction.

Human have faced the danger of pandemics since the dawn of its existence. From the black death of the 14th century to the Spanish flu of 1918 to the SARS epidemic of the twenty first century. Diseases devastated entire societies. Now health officials fear that we may be on a verge of another epidemic and one scientist believes that the culprit my come from outer space and we my have no defence against these extra terrestrial diseases. The result could be catastrophic to our species and life on Earth in general.

But, the existential dangers humanity faces are not just emanating from deep space and the immediate solar neighbourhood. Our dear mother Earth may have nasty surprises in store for us as well. We face the dangers of super volcanism, and natural climatic change. And, we humans pose perhaps the greatest danger to ourselves. Our propensities of fouling our own nest and large scale aggression may lead to global conflicts waged with the fatal fruits of our own highly vaulted ingenuity.

So allow me to close this article by wishing you all dear readers a very chilling and sleepless Halloween Night and offer the following treats for your delightful fright.

Lasts Days on Earth

Mega Disaster - Alien Infection

Watch Alien Infection in Educational | View More Free Videos Online at

Super Comet After The Impact

The Perfect Disaster - Solar Storm

Mega Disasters - Gamma Ray Burst

Friday, August 8, 2008


The seas and oceans of our planet have since time immemorial have been a familiar but mysterious and alien territory for much of human history. Many myths and legends have appeared from age to age to explain many strange and unfamiliar sightings. Seafarers across the ages and from all cultures have spun tales of sea monsters and mermaids.

Well our epoch is no different. I was recently introduced to a very thought provoking modern day mystery from the depths of Aquatica - Unidentified Submerged Objects (USOs).

Jules Verne's famous scientific romance “Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea” opens with an unidentified submerged object moving at great speed terrorizing the sea lanes and many speculating that the strange object was sea monster attacking passenger and cargo ships. The rest of the story you all know.

In James Cameon’s motion picture “The Abyss” an American nuclear attack submarine encounters an unidentified submerged object moving at fantastic speed just prior to its destruction.

Well it appears fiction has caught up with reality or so the producers of the History Channel's The UFO Files will have us believe in one of the latest instalments of the program I had the pleasure of viewing a couple of days ago – Deep Sea UFOs: Unidentified Submerged Objects (USOs).

Are these strange and rapidly moving objects the creation of extraterrestrial beings that have colonized our oceans? Are these objects the creation of intelligent terrestrial aliens who have evolved separately in the seas millions of years ago and share this planet with us? Are the descendents of the mythical continent of Atlantis flourishing beneath the waves? Or has a latter day Captain Nemo beat the rest of humanity to the punch and colonized Aquatica, the vast planetary ocean which girdles our world, ahead of us.

If nothing else this episode of the UFO Files proved to be very entertaining. And the alien submarines were awe inspiring. The special effects and graphic designs really caught my attention. And, who would have thought pseudo-science could be so instructive and educational?

There was a segment in the show that discussed a Magnetic Hydrodynamic (MHD) propulsion which I found fascinating.

The program even mentioned the possibility of using bubbles and turbulence to minimize pressure on the hull. Some research along these lines is being discussed in connection to the application of carbon nanotubes in the design of advanced submarines.

Whatever your thoughts on USOs this episode of the UFO Files is worth watching. Like many of these so called mysteries much of what was covered in the program is just too good to be true. Just as in the case of UFOs many of these so called Unidentified Submerged Objects (USOs may just be misidentified objects and all the stories surrounding them are the modern equivalent of a tall tale. But, nonetheless I found this programme very intriguing.

The link below to Google Video will take you to the full 45 minute program.


And, if by any chance anyone of our dear readers has had an authentic USO story to tell please share it.

As many of our dear readers who frequent the pages of Discovery Enterprise well know Ralph Buttigieg, Dennis Chamberland and I are currently involved in the Atlantica expeditions First Undersea Colony Project. Who knows? We may indeed find out when we take our first forays into the deep and take up residency there that we are not alone in Aquatica.

Let’s just hope that they (whoever they may be) will welcome us as new citizens of this vast uncharted realm.

Below is the program in its entirety hosted on YouTube along with a follow up program detailing an expedition to follow up these claims.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Physicist Freeman Dyson needs no introduction; his name is synonymous with cutting edge science, space exploration and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

Dyson worked on Project Orion from 1957 to 1961, which proposed the possibility of space-flight using nuclear pulse propulsion. A prototype was demonstrated using conventional explosives, but after the signing of the partial nuclear test ban treaty which banned the testing of nuclear weapons other than underground, Project Orion was terminated.

Today on Cosmic Visions I have posted the TED talk filmed in February 2003 and posted in early July featuring Dyson. In this wonderful video Freeman Dyson suggests that we start looking for life on the moons of Jupiter and out past Neptune, in the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud. He talks about what such life would be like and how we might find it.

One of the themes of covered in this talk was also the premise of a very exciting and thought provoking hard science fiction short story by Mike Combs entitled "Eyes, Shining Back from the Dark". The following article “The Reenchantment of the Solar System: A Proposed Search for Local ET’s” by Dr. Gregory Matloff also looks at the fascinating and frightening possibility that spacefaring extraterrestrial civilizations have already begun colonizing our own back yard.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Flag of Aquatica

Aquatica represents all the undersea and underwater regions of the world, primarily consisting of the single planetary ocean that encircles the globe. This is the flag of that region that will soon be occupied permanently by a human population of Aquaticans.

The blue background represents the three dimensional blue void that will soon be filled with human dwellings, cities and the foundation of a new human empire. The sphere represents the blue ocean planet of the earth of which a vast majority is overlain by Aquatica. The green wave in the center represents the life of the ocean in all of its astonishing complexity and variations – including its human inhabitants. The green wave overlies the globe because knowledge of this living world comprises the most important aspect of why we will move there to stay – to understand, to protect and to recover from centuries of human abuse. As stewards of this - the most vital region of the planet - we come here to make it as pristine, beautiful and robust as it was in the beginning.

Nylon flags and patches will be available in the Expeditions Store in August 2008.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Search for Extra-solar Planetary Systems

Had Carl Sagan been alive today he would have been extremely thrilled with the fact that new extra solar planetary systems are being discovered almost on a weekly basis. New planets mean more potential abodes for life and perhaps consciousness elsewhere in the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond.

Today on Cosmic Visions I will be posting five videos concerning the search for extra-solar planetary systems and the concomitant search for life and sentience throughout the Cosmos. Also as our space missions to the outer solar system have revealed there are over a hundred other exotic worlds in our solar system that hold the promise of life - the moons of Jupiter, Saturn Uranus and Neptune, each a world in its own right. So join me on the most exciting odyssey made possible by the science of our age as we explore a plethora of Alien Worlds and Moons and embark on an Alien Safari.

Finally we look at the latest tool to be deployed in the search for worlds very much like our own- NASA’s NASA Kepler mission, scheduled to launch in February 2009. Also take the opportunity to become part of this great adventure and have your name placed on board the spacecraft that discovers the first known Earth-like planet beyond our solar system.

The Universe - Alien Planets

The Universe - Alien Moons

The Universe Astrobiology

The Kepler Mission

Space Mysteries - Alien Safari

Human Evolution at the Crossroads

Will the human species take the course of its own future evolution into its own hands as a result of advances in genetic engineering and the merging of the human mind with advanced computer technologies?

Check out my most recent article on the Far Future Calling Blogspot.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Aquatica and Beyond

This is a short article I wrote for the Discovery Enterprise blogspot on December 31st, 2007. In the light of my most recent article concerning the future exploration and colonization of the Ocean Planets of the Milky Way Galaxy I thought it only appropriate to post it here as well.

Very dear to our hearts on Discovery-Enterprise is the exploration of the undersea world and its eventual colonization. We also dream of humankind’s eventual expansion into the realm of outer space. Central to that dream is the eventual discovery of other Ocean Worlds within our solar system and elsewhere in the Milky Way Galaxy.

No other documentary in recent years epitomizes that dream than the 2005 IMAX documentary ‘Aliens of the Deep’ directed and produced by fellow Atlantica Expeditions crew member James Cameron.

Join us on a voyage of discovery on Earth in our very own Ocean World Aquatica and beyond in search of other life bearing Ocean Planets.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Exploring and Colonizing the Ocean Worlds of the Milky Way Galaxy

Ever since the early 1980s there has been a great deal of speculation on the possibility of life on Jupiter's moon Europa when it was first deduced that a vast ocean may lie under its icy crust. Here is a wonderful short animated film entitled ‘Europa “Life”’ I found on VeohTV earlier today depicting a fantastic voyage to Europa by an expeditionary space probe and the strange yet somehow familiar and beautiful life forms that we may one day encounter on this enigmatic moon which is in the deepest sense a world on to itself .

Europa "Life"

When viewing this magnificent short animated film I was immediately reminded that humans may one day venture forth to explore and colonize this world. Currently the League of New Worlds is developing the very technologies that will make this possible.
The League of New Worlds is developing the technologies required to explore and one day settle our planet’s own water world –Aquatica.

Aquatica is the Earth’s own planetary ocean. A world integral yet separate from our own. The League of New Worlds is actively engaged in a project that seeks to explore and eventual colonize our planets last great frontier.

As of today, the dream of permanently settling Aquatica has begun, with the immediate, global commitment to long term, intelligent ocean monitoring and the sustainable development of its vast wealth. We also seek to venture there to teach every culture innovative and powerful systems of thought, carved from a profound visionary philosophy – to preserve and protect this vast ocean realm. It is a philosophy vital to our long term survival on this planet and out in the vast frontier of outer space.

The League of New Worlds is currently developing technologies required for us to live in Aquatica and that will help us create a Zero Waste culture where every waste is viewed as a recoverable resource. A philosophy our civilization must embrace to ensure our long term survival on this world and where ever else humankind hopes to settle in the future.

We seek to utilise and not exploit the wealth of the sea and eventually hope to settle there without despoiling it. The very term utilise implies responsible, sustainable and intelligent use of the vast untapped renewable energy, biological and mineral wealth that Aquatica has to offer humankind.

The Atlantica Expeditions seeks to create an intelligent ecological monitoring platform (which now does not exist anywhere) to investigate and understand in detailed scientific terms the full impact of humanity on the ocean environment. The major benefit of this long term project is the preservation of our planet’s most important, largest and most fragile ecosystem.

The league is also developing innovative regenerative life support technologies that will make it possible to live and work in this vast undersea realm. The lessons learned here will ensure humankind’s long term survival on our home world and eventually pave the way for humanity’s next major evolutionary step – the colonization of space and perhaps one day, the other ocean worlds that may exist in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Until that day dawns we must actively work towards protecting and preserving the only planetary home we know – the Earth. So please make it a point to visit our website and find out more about the Atlantica Expeditions.

Also enjoy the wonderful vision of tomorrow outlined in this inspiring video presentation that outlines our vision. A vision developed by fellow blogger and director of the League of New Worlds - Dennis Chamberland.

The Atlantica Expeditions

I have also posted this episode from the BBC television series ‘Hyperspace - Finding New Planets to Live on’, hosted by Sam Neil.

Hyperspace: Finding New Planets to Live on

Online Videos by

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Exploration of Space by Arthur C. Clarke

One of my favourite books that came from the pen of Arthur C. Clarke is the "The Exploration of Space" published in 1951. Many of Clarke's predictions about spaceflight as outlined in this book have come true as the video clip recently produced by Apogee Books shows so remarkably well.

I have already posted a small brief tribute to Arthur C. Clarke on the Discovery Enterprise blog spot and spent most of today commemorating his memory tracking videos on You Tube that have been posted to celebrate his memory. The one featured above is my most favourite.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What We Still Don't Know - Are We Alone (Episode 1)

I am continuously amazed not so much by what science has thought us about ourselves and our place in the universe but, by what we don't know. There remain many pertinent questions at the frontiers of science. Nearly two years ago back in July, 2005 the magazine Science of the American Association for the Advancement of Science devoted a special issue to those very questions.

What Is the Universe Made Of?, What Is the Biological Basis of Consciousness?, Are We Alone in the Universe?, How and Where Did Life on Earth Arise?, Do Deeper Principles Underlie Quantum Uncertainty and Nonlocality? and many, many more.

Here is an interesting documentary about things we still do not know hosted by Britain’s Astronomer Royal Martin Rees. We live within the grandest of mysteries. The realm we call -The Universe. Many questions still remain about the nature and our place in this mysterious cosmos and it is going be tremendous fun trying to find answers to them.

What We Still Don't Know ~

Thursday, February 28, 2008

95 Worlds and Counting

Take an exciting voyage to some of the most exotic worlds in our solar system - the moons of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn Uranus and Neptune, each a world in its own right in this exciting documentary first aired on the Discovery channel in the year 2000.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Cosmos Episode 4: "Heaven and Hell"

Today I decided to post the entire fourth episode of Carl Sagan's landmark television series Cosmos: "Heaven and Hell". In fact of the all the thirteen episodes this has to rank as one of my most favourites. It was from this episode that I learned about the eyewitness account of a lunar impact seen by Canterbury monks on June 18, 1178 that some researchers believe resulted in the formation of crater Giordano Bruno. This event was recorded in the chronicle of Gervase. Another topic covered in this episode was Tunguska explosion of June 30, 1908. Some researches such as Bill Napier and Victor Clube have linked these two events together as being a byproduct of the Beta Taurid meteor shower; both events coincided with a peak in that shower. I will be covering this topic in a series of articles in commemoration of the upcoming centennial of the Tunguska explosion.

Some researchers have linked the Beta Taurid meteor shower to the collapse of late Bronze Age civilizations and some feel that lurking in its wake are more potential disasters to come. Imagine a Tunguska sized fireball exploding over New York City. The video segment below outlines just such a scenario very vividly.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

In Search of Extraterrestrial Civilizations (Alien Hunters)

In today's posting we take a historical perspective concerning the endeavour to find other minds elsewhere in the Cosmos. Man has long speculated about the existence of intelligent life beyond the bounds of Earth. But with the advent of modern astronomy toward the end of the 19th century, old myths were transformed into compelling new theories about alien civilizations. Alien Hunters documents the history of our search for extra-terrestrial life, explaining the technologies used, introducing the pioneers and revealing the most promising discoveries. Experts like Steven J. Dick, Historian of Science at the U.S. Naval Observatory, talk about bizarre 19th century plans to attract alien attention by creating giant canals of flame in the Sahara or enormous earthworks in Siberia. Frank Drake, President of SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), provides a modern perspective. And examine mysterious signals from outer space that cannot be satisfactorily explained by any natural phenomenon. It's an inside look at the most ambitious outreach program ever - the search for alien intelligence.

Another great source of information concerning the history of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is writer David H. Szondy's exciting and wonderful website Tales of Future Past (
Life On Other Worlds).

Here are five video clips from this exciting program that aired on The History Channel.

Postscript: Through the kind assistance of Ed Minchau (of Space Video of the Day and Space Feeds Fame) I was able to revise this posting and fit all five video clips into one frame. Thanks very much Ed. Your robot guy and Space feeds site still provide are a tremendous source of inspiration to me. Thanks for the many wonderful videos you posted in the past. Please continue your wonderful work.