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Dr. Don Lincoln, Sunday, 9-28-14 September 29, 2014

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Dr. Don Lincoln, Sunday, 9-28-14


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Guest:   Dr. Don Lincoln.  Topics:  We discussed Dr. Lincoln’s new book, “Alien Universe: Extraterrestrial Life in Our Minds and in the Cosmos,” plus the possibility of extraterrestrial life in our solar system.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See http://www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed Dr. Don Lincoln back to the show to discuss his new book “Alien Universe: Extraterrestrial Life in Our Minds and in the Cosmo.”  During the first segment of our 1 hour 29 minute program, Dr. Lincoln discussed why he wrote this book, especially given his position as a senior scientist at the Fermilab plus his work in Cern at the Large Hadron Collider. After the introduction, he took us through major events, both physical and cultural that have fueled alien interest including the Betty and Barney Hill case, Roswell, and more.  He took us through these events with an actual historical timeline which put the events in a somewhat different perspective than we are used to hearing.  We also talked about the Drake & Fermi equations and the seven parameters of the Drake Equation, many of which have been upgraded due to new scientific information coming to light in recent years from the Kepler mission and other tools/events.  SETI was a topic of discussion as was the use of radio waves and light for ET detection.  The subject of alien abduction came up and Don pointed us to the 1835 media buzz known at the moon hoax appearing in the first tabloid style newspaper.  This was an interesting history lesson that was new to me and probably to many listeners as well.  Marshall called in to talk about Drake radio waves, the signal to noise ration, and a planet being either too close to the center of the galaxy or too far from the center of the galaxy which causes the planet to be a metal poor planet. Dr. Lincoln had much to on this subject.  Next, we talked about microbial life on Mars.  John from Ft. Worth called to talk about impractical physics given the need to cross interstellar space. Don agreed and talked about the possibility of using probes.;  The subject of technology & options such as a mother ship plus scout ships came up.  John and Don talked about the lack of objective studies and the difficulty in working with assumptions.  Don also talked about the high standards used in science which are hard to apply to the alien visitation theories.  Scientists are not usually inclined to lower their standards so true scientific studies on alien visitation are a challenge.

In the second segment, we talked about the Roswell event.  Our guest had much to say about this event so don’t miss this part of our discussion.  Some scientific studies were mentioned such as Project Blue Book. I asked about studies by other nations and scientists outside the U.S. We came back to microbial life off Earth which is an important study subject by scientists across many nations.  Near the end of the program, Dr. Lincoln talked about the idea of First Contact, Star Trek, and comments made by Professor Stephen Hawking.  In the concluding minutes of our discussion, I asked our guest about part of his subtitle, “Life in our Minds” & Don talked about how this subject has come to our minds.  He left us with a good summary and strongly urged us to separate sociology issues from astrobiology, the latter being a credible science in search of life off Earth.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach Dr. Lincoln through me.


1. J Fincannon - October 4, 2014

It is interesting how it seems that scientists are always reluctant to accept that advanced civilizations do not have the potential to have radical advancements in physics permitting more convienent space travel. It seems they always baulk at the old light speed problem and energy problem. Again, given the potential for a civilization to be >1000 years beyond us, its hard to predict how that can impact physics, but it seems likely to be different from our state of the art. The main issue should be that an advanced civilization is likely to have an intelligence multiples beyond ours (whether augmented by directed evolution such as genetic engineering or artifical intelligence). Imagine being 100 times more intelligent than you are now. Its not really possible to imagine this. But one can speculate that new inventions, new physics and new engineering would result. Also, arcane thought processes which may not be logical for us to follow. Ask a Cromagnon man to grasp quantum mechanics, when they are having trouble with counting!

The guest mentioned that with all the slew of cell phone images we should have been able to get proof of UFOs, but we do not not have such images. Well, there are a slew of UFO cell phone images, but the images are poor due to lousy cell phone cameras/photographers.

He said that “the Media” influences people to see what they expect to see. This might happen somewhat, but since so many UFO cases are solvable based on their observations as aircraft or satellites, just because the observers don’t have the right answer the first time and call it a flying saucer (just the venacular term) or UFO, doesn’t mean their testimony is invalid, else it wouldn;t have been explainable.

He said he’d love to find life off Earth. The Moon might have fossils based on Sagan’s and Gilvarry’s work. Carl Sagan in 1960 postulated about the formation of organics on the Moon (“Indigenous Organic Matter on the Moon” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC222849/ ). Then later, NASA’s J.J Gilvarry publishes in 1965 “Observability of Indigenous Organic Matter on the Moon” (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1966Icar….5..228G ) in which he states “It follows that future lunar explorers should find organic fossils below the depth of roughly 3 to 5 meters fixed by the charring action of the most penetrating radiation, the cosmic rays.” and “Accordingly, it will be postulated that a pristine form of life once existed in the lunar hydrosphere.” Since the Apollo astronauts seemed to go no further than 3 m, can we assume that the postulation has been neither confirmed or rejected? So,it might pay for someone to look at the Moon for indendepent life formation.

He states that an analysis of about our level technology that showed the entire galaxy should be populated over a few million years, so why don’t we see them? Assuming that scenario, the answer could be that they did come by and inhabit the Earth, it just happened to be too long ago to leave any traces.

He says that since aliens are living beings, its hard to imagine them not needing space to live in, as to being a reason/motivation to live/visit here. Yet, if that is the case, then it likely would be far more efficient to build a Dyson Sphere in their solar system or simply use up the space (hollowed out planets) in their solar system and save all the trouble of travelling anywhere. As to his imagining they must need or use water or resources, again, a solar system (asteroid belts, outer cloud of comets) provide potentially lots of water and resources. Thus, it is obvious that it is pointingless to speculate on alien motivations.

The comment about Earth being radio detectable. For isotropic signals, given our present technology (Arecibo like -dish), we could not detect a 5 megawatt UHF TV picture past 2.5AU. Unless it is a focused or directional and likely sweeping/transient signal(like radar), its likely not to be seen by our current tech. Of course, assuming advanced alien tech, anything (magical by our standards) is possible, but unlikely the farther out you go due to the lesser signal strnegth. Ignoring the signal to noise ratios, a 5 megawatt (UHF-level) gets reduced by 1/R^2 to .00125 W by the time it gets to 1 light year and Alpha Centauri is 4.3 ly so it would be .000291 W! The task becomes quite unlikely for “aliens”.

2. apolloflags - October 2, 2014

Interesting show.

I had some problems with the desire by the guest to anthropomorphize “aliens” and their behavior and technology. Given that we don’t know whether it would be machines or creatures or some combination of both that could visit us, it would be erroneous to place our own set of values, rationale, ethics, needs onto them. Being more openminded seems a more viable approach.

It seems odd to think that just because they have not shown up today, that they did not show up millions of years ago. Would any remains still exist? Doubtful.

I tended to agree with Caller SLS John’s conservative comments, indeed he seemed to have researched the subject fairly well.

The guest seemed to dismiss UFOs as being not applicable to science, but work on the Hessdalen Project shows science can be done on the topic.

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