atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#7481: Two bits about space

The latest WOW! signal is coming from Alpha Centauri.

If I understand what's written there, the signal is continuing. It's still just an unmodulated radio wave; or at least it's a radio wave in which we see no modulation. (Those two are not the same; I'll get to that in a bit.) A continuous signal lasting weeks is not likely to be a natural phenomenon.

They've been patiently eliminating possible terrestrial sources for it. They've gone very far with that, to the point that they've just about run out of things to eliminate. Further, it looks as if it's coming from somewhere in Proxima Centauri's habitable zone, and there are at least two planets orbiting within the confines of that area.

Still probably not aliens, mind you, but it's getting more difficult to rule that out.

Why now? Let's say it's aliens; if they've been listening to us all this time, one comment asks, what happened 8.8 years ago here that would prompt them to try talking to us?

8.8 years ago, that was...2012, wasn't it? Early 2012? Hmm...carry the three...March 24, 2012. Nothing in the blog about world events then. Hmm.

More likely, if it's aliens, they just started broadcasting 4.4 years ago (8/17/16) because that's when the transmitter was finished.

Here's a thought: has anyone thought to try sending an unmodulated signal back? I mean, from Alpha Centauri, I'm sure that the Sun looks like a radio star, giving off a hash of radio signals up and down the EM spectrum. It's not like our existence is a secret; that ship sailed right after Marconi invented the f-ing thing. (Or "Tesla".)

Still--what if they're using a modulation scheme we haven't invented yet? It might look like an unmodulated signal to us (much the same way an early radio with a coherer wouldn't be able to receive single sideband FM, but might detect the carrier wave if tuned correctly) but of course then we have to wonder how they got to an advanced modulation scheme without going through the simple ones first. I can think of some reasons why that might be, but none of them are very likely.

* * *

"The Man Who Sold Mars? In any event, private space ventures are actually going someplace, which is made of awesome. I wish this guy all the best." The 6th section down from the top, this is a link to a Christian Science Monitor story about...SpaceX.

If I could go back in time and show myself, in 2008, the video of the first Falcon Heavy test--my earlier self would shake his head in disgust and say, "Holy shit, are you fat!"

No, wait. He'd say that, but he'd also be blown away by the sight of two Falcon 9 boosters landing themselves. Just the same was I was when I saw it happen a few years ago.

* * *

The past week was pretty exhausting, what with the first full week after the holidays and the Democrat coup and everything, so my wife and I spent too much time sleeping today. That's why I'm awake at going on 3 AM; I got up early but returned to bed, then was up again for a while but went back to sleep again. I don't think I slept much more than six or seven hours in total, but that sleep was broken by a few hours of consciousness here and there. As of now, I've been up since about 7 PM ish.

But I'm going to go change the litter in the cat boxes and then brush teeth, wash face, take pills, and hit sack. I am starting to get sleepy.

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