A $100 Million Message From Aliens Next-Door? What We Know About The Mysterious ‘BLC1’ Radio Signal

A mysterious radio signal from space appears to have come from the direction of Proxima Centauri—the closest star to our Sun at a mere just 4.24 light-years. 
A mysterious radio signal from space appears to have come from the direction of Proxima Centauri—the … [+] GETTY

Is it aliens? There have been a lot of stories online about the recent detection of a mysterious radio signal from space that appears to have come from the direction of Proxima Centauri—the closest star to our Sun at “just” 4.24 light-years. 

So, it’s aliens, right? It could be, but it’s probably not. First published in The Guardian in December and followed-up by Scientific American, the story revolves around a strange radio transmission detected by the Breakthrough Listen project using the Parkes radio telescope at Parkes Observatory in Australia. 

Could it possibly be a technosignature from a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri—and therefore proof of intelligence on another world? 

Named Breakthrough Listen Candidate 1 (BLC1) though also called “Wow! Signal 2020” because of its similarity to a mysterious radio signal detection in 1977, here’s everything you need to know about the signal “from” Proxima Centauri. 

What is ‘BLC1,’ who heard it first, and when? 

BLC1 is a curious radio signal detected on April 29, 2019, though discovered by Shane Smith, a student working for the Breakthrough Listen project in archival data in October 2020.

There are said to be scientific papers imminent, but so far all we know is that BLC1 happened only once.

Note the use of the word candidate in its title.

Radio telescope in Parkes, NSW
The radio telescope in Parkes, NSW. (Photo by Cole Bennetts/The Sydney Morning Herald via Getty … [+] FAIRFAX MEDIA VIA GETTY IMAGES

What is a ‘technosignature?’

“Technosignatures” or “technomarkers” are signs of technology developed by intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. What form do they take? Nobody has a clue. Can we detect them? Ditto.

The most recent conversation about technosignatures occurred in 2015 when astronomer Tabetha S. Boyajian detected the mysterious dimming of a star called KIC 8462852—henceforth nicknamed “Tabby’s Star”—1,470 light-years distant in the constellation of Cygnus. Was it an alien megastructure around the star periodically blocking its light? Probably not

However, BLC1 is not a dimming star, but a radio signal that appears to have a technological source. 

What is strange about ‘BLC1?’

BLC1 was a very narrow band radio signal. It occupied the 982 MHz radio spectrum, which is normally used by satellites and spacecraft. It was also only detected once over 30 hours in April and May, 2019.

However, until scientific papers are published—something that is expected soon—the signal’s profile, strength and modulation remain unknown. 

The Proxima Centauri star system is just 4.24 light-years from us and is found—though not with the naked eye—close to Alpha Centauri, a star mostly visible from the southern hemisphere.
The Proxima Centauri star system is just 4.24 light-years from us and is found—though not with the … [+] UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP VIA GETTY IMAGES

What do experts think the signal is? 

There are lots of opinions—and most of them suggest something other than you-know-what: 

  • Since we use radio, it could well be interferences—the signal could have originated on Earth. After all, it’s got all the hallmarks of being artificial and having a technological source. 
  • Extraterrestrial technology exists in space because we put it there—it could be from a satellite or a spacecraft. 
  • The source is natural, but unknown—maybe it’s a really odd kind of quasar (a supermassive black hole) or pulsar (a highly magnetized rotating compact star) that emits narrowband radio signals. 
  • The radio signal is coming from behind Proxima Centauri—possibly millions of light-years beyond. After all, space is big. So it may not be from a nearby star anyway.

The final explanation is: 

  • It’s a message from a technologically advanced civilization living on one of the two planets known to be orbiting our nearest stellar neighbor. 

It’s obviously the least likely reason for BLC1. 

What do experts think about BLC1?

Healthy extreme scepticism is the best summary. “Of the 300 million exoplanets that could be habitable in our galaxy, which is 200,000 light years across, it would be an astonishing coincidence for two civilizations—ours and one on Proxima b or c—to be using the same technology at the same time,” said Franck Marchis, a Senior Planetary Astronomer at the SETI Institute.

Marchis suspects a down-to-earth explanation for the signal’s origin. “It’s probably not alien and we will confirm this soon (but) nothing would please me more than to be proven wrong.” 

Have there been any scientific paper on BLC1? 

Only one from Harvard University astrophysicists Amir Siraj and Abraham Loeb, which is published on non-peer-reviewed printspre-print hub arXiv. It argues that a radio-transmitting civilization occupying the next star system along is just so hugely unlikely at eight orders of magnitude.

In fact, it violates the Copernican principle, which tells us that our technological civilization is a single outcome of a random process. 

There is one caveat. Instead of discussing where life could have emerged independently we could consider the possibility that the seeds for life could have been spread in our random corner of the Universe by intergalactic comets—a process called panspermia.

The recent passing through the Solar System of interstellar comets such as 1I/’Oumuamua and 2I/Borisov could be evidence of that.

However, Siraj and Loeb point out that humans appeared on Earth before Alpha Centauri‚ which Prima Centauri orbits—was our nearest star system. It’s suspected that Scholz’s star—a red dwarf star now 22 light-years from us “grazed” the Solar System about 70,000 years ago, coming within a single light-year.

Artists impression of Proximas Planet
Proxima is the nearest star to the Sun. It is a dim red dwarf, smaller than our Sun and many … [+] GETTY

What and where is Proxima Centauri?

Proxima Centauri is the next star along. It’s a red dwarf star—the smallest, coolest and most common kind of star in our region of the Milky Way galaxy. It’s found in constellation of Centaurus, which is visible from the southern hemisphere.

That constellation’s brightest star (and the third brightest in the entire night sky) is Alpha Centauri, a binary star of two Sun-like stars that together are only 4.37 light years distant.

The much smaller, dimmer Proxima Centauri orbits them every 550,000 years, so together they form a triple star system. 

What do we know about Proxima Centauri’s planets?

It has two planets, which makes it not only the closest star system, but also the closest planetary system to Earth that we know of.

The discovery of Proxima b—a planet 20% larger than Earth that orbits its star every 11.2 days—was announced in 2016. Last year the existence of Proxima c was inferred in a paper. About seven times more massive than Earth, Proxima c could be considered a “super-Earth.” It orbits Proxima Centauri every 5.2 years from much farther out. 

Could Proxima Centauri b and c support life?

While Proxima b’s equilibrium temperature is within the range where water could be liquid on its surface, Proxima c is likely too cold.

However, Proxima Centauri—like most red dwarf stars—has a tendency to “flare.” In 2018 a team of astronomers from Carnegie Science detected a massive stellar flare—an energetic explosion of radiation—from Proxima Centauri. On a single day in March 2017 the star’s flare increased its brightness by 1,000 times over 10 seconds. 

What is ‘Breakthrough Listen?’

“Breakthrough Listen” is at the forefront of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). It’s an initiative privately funded by Israeli-Russian entrepreneur, venture capitalist and physicist Yuri Milner to the tune of $100 million to find signs of intelligent life in the universe. Milner and the late Stephen Hawking launched in in July 2015. Its philosophy is to look in as many places, and in as many ways, as astronomers can. 

It’s based at the University of California at Berkeley. 

What was the ‘WOW!’ signal?

BLC1 is also being called “Wow! signal 2020” by some because of its similarity—at least in terms of excitement among radio astronomers—to the famous “WOW signal” received for 72 seconds on August 15, 1977 by the Big Ear radio telescope in Ohio. It was never confirmed. 

If thought to be from a Sun-like star, its source was recently identified by Alberto Caballero of the Habitable Exoplanet Hunting Project as possibly being a star called 2MASS 19281982-2640123 about 1,800 light-years distant in the constellation of Sagittarius.

Did we finally find evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence? Possibly. Maybe. Though probably not. 

Scientists Just Figured Out How to Turn Your Body Into a Battery

Imagine charging your Apple Watch with … yourself.

plugging usb cable in hand with low battery symbol tired human concept recharging energy

ANNA GORBACHEVAGETTY IMAGES

  • In the near future, pacemakers could run on body heat batteries.
  • These devices could replace watch batteries and other power sources for wearables.
  • The greater the temperature difference from inside to outside, the more power.

A tiny new gadget could turn your body’s electricity into a battery, meaning pacemakers, drug delivery pumps, and other implantable medical devices could run on a new kind of renewable energy: you.

The wearable, which is called a thermoelectric generator (TEG), directly turns your body’s heat into electrical energy. While the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder scientists behind the stretchable device tested their TEG in the form of a small ring, the tiny generator could theoretically be the size of a watch or full sleeve, depending on how much power you want to generate.

Here’s how it works: First, you put on the wearable. (Just make sure it comes into contact with your skin.) Flexible, malleable circuitry inside the device then converts your body heat into electricity. Meanwhile, a special material embedded inside the gadget heals and reconfigures itself to keep from breaking as you move.

The TEG is stretchy and resilient, just like your skin. This means you can comfortably wear it in all kinds of conditions without beating it up, the scientists say in their study, which appears in Science Advances. As the part of the gadget that touches your skin turns your warmth into energy, it works overtime by guzzling up solar energy from its “cold side,” which faces away from your skin.This content is imported from {embed-name}. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

“In the future, we want to be able to power your wearable electronics without having to include a battery,” Jianliang Xiao, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at CU Boulder, said in a prepared statement. “Whenever you use a battery, you’re depleting that battery and will, eventually, need to replace it. [T]he nice thing about our thermoelectric device is that you can wear it, and it provides you with constant power.”


Consider your body’s natural conduction process. To maintain a constant temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, your body must regulate a tight balance between heat gain and heat loss. And because your body isn’t that efficient, you lose approximately 75 percent of the energy it produces through heat.

a wearable power generator as a ring

IMAGE COURTESY OF JIANLIANG XIAO

Thermoelectric generators use a difference in temperature—like your body’s temp versus the surrounding air—to turn that energy into power. To establish equilibrium, heat automatically dissipates into cooler locations, and TEGs can capture these energized particles as they pass through a micro-thin barrier.

These wearables can generate about one volt of energy for every square centimeter of skin space, which is less voltage per area than most existing batteries. Still, due to the LEGO-like modularity of the devices, the researchers could expand the gadgets from rings into Fitbit-like sports bracelets, or even a full sleeve of generator cells. The new forms could create even more power, charging up devices with higher electrical requirements.

Scientists say this technology could eliminate the need for batteries in human devices—not only smartwatches or fitness devices, but even pacemakers and other implants that require energy. Batteries are a pretty dirty technology that use rare Earth metals and corrosive materials. Your body could do the same work as a watch battery with cleaner, more recyclable technology.

In 5 to 10 years, you could see these wearables in stores, the researchers believe.

“We’re trying to make our devices as cheap and reliable as possible, while also having as close to zero impact on the environment as possible,” Xiao said.

Scientists Submit Actual Proof Aliens Are Watching You Right Now

Scientists have released proof that aliens are watching you right now, and it’s called the “Zoo Theory”. If you’ve never heard of the “Zoo Theory” before then this amazing video will explain how humanity is being watched by extraterrestrial life forms in the far reaches of outer space. Sounds like a bad sci-fi movie, but you’ll thank us for preparing you for when the Aliens do show up.

  • Given the infinite size of the universe and its age, it would seem almost impossible that intelligent life is unique to our planet.
  • In 1973 researcher John Ball of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology went as far as hypothesizing that aliens could be observing us like animals in a zoo.
  • San Francisco-based Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) met recently in Paris to revisit the alarming theory.

Although humanity has been searching for traces of intelligent extraterrestrial life for decades, we haven’t found any evidence — despite the billions of stars surrounding us.

Given the infinite size of the universe and its age, it would seem almost impossible that intelligent life is unique to our planet — so why have we been unable to contact aliens as of yet?

In 1950, physicist Enrico Fermi came up with a possible reason why, which later came to be known as the Fermi Paradox.

The scientist hypothesized that there is, in fact, intelligent extraterrestrial life capable of colonizing entire galaxies — however, the quest for evidence to support this remains unsuccessful for various reasons.

Hubble’s Dazzling Display of two Colliding Galaxies
Given the infinite size of the universe and its age, it would seem almost impossible that intelligent life is unique to our planet. 

It’s possible that aliens simply aren’t able to understand us communicatively, or that they’re too far away.

There are also theories that we’ve missed each other in time, as well as the hypothesis that aliens simply aren’t interested in us.

San Francisco-based Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI), an organization committed to research and education on the search for intelligent life and contact with extraterrestrials, met in Paris to try and get to the bottom of why we continue to live in solitude in space.

Some have put forward the idea that aliens are around us as omnipresent observers

One hypothesis they came up with is that aliens may well have acknowledged our existence and even observed us.

However, they may have deliberately kept us at a distance.

A serious response to the Fermi Paradox was also put forward — and it isn’t entirely new.

hubble ultra deep field faint galaxies
According to those who attended, it could be the case that aliens are holding us within some form of “space quarantine”, in order not to interfere with or destroy our small biotope. 

In 1973, researcher John Ball of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) put forward the theory that aliens might be “omnipresently” observing us as one might observe animals in a reserve or a zoo.

According to this “zoo hypothesis”, there may be extraterrestrial scientists studying our culture and environment who don’t want to make contact — which would explain why, so far, we’ve felt so alone.

This idea was recently revisited at the Paris-based workshop, where attendees speculated that aliens could be holding us within some form of “space quarantine” in order not to interfere with or destroy our small “habitat.”

The prerequisite for this theory is that there’s intelligent life beyond our planet and that its inhabitants may even be superior to us cognitively.

Considering the number of sci-fi movies in which humanity is overwhelmed by the arrival of extraterrestrial life and ends up reacting in panic or with aggression, the theory isn’t a completely implausible one.

A new ‘Einstein’ equation suggests wormholes hold key to quantum gravity

ER=EPR summarizes new clues to understanding entanglement and spacetime

illustration of a wormhole
Wormholes, tunnels through the fabric of spacetime that connect widely separated locations, are predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Some physicists think that wormholes could connect black holes in space, possibly providing a clue to the mysteries of quantum entanglement and how to merge general relativity with quantum mechanics.STOCKERNUMBER2/SHUTTERSTOCK 

There’s a new equation floating around the world of physics these days that would make Einstein proud.

It’s pretty easy to remember: ER=EPR.

You might suspect that to make this equation work, P must be equal to 1. But the symbols in this equation stand not for numbers, but for names. E, you probably guessed, stands for Einstein. R and P are initials — for collaborators on two of Einstein’s most intriguing papers. Combined in this equation, these letters express a possible path to reconciling Einstein’s general relativity with quantum mechanics.

Quantum mechanics and general relativity are both spectacularly successful theories. Both predict bizarre phenomena that defy traditional conceptions of reality. Yet when put to the test, nature always complies with each theory’s requirements. Since both theories describe nature so well, it’s hard to explain why they’ve resisted all efforts to mathematically merge them. Somehow, everybody believes, they must fit together in the end. But so far nature has kept the form of their connection a secret.

ER=EPR, however, suggests that the key to their connection can be found in the spacetime tunnels known as wormholes. These tunnels, implied by Einstein’s general relativity, would be like subspace shortcuts physically linking distant locations. It seems that such tunnels may be the alter ego of the mysterious link between subatomic particles known as quantum entanglement.

For the last 90 years or so, physicists have pursued two main quantum issues separately: one, how to interpret the quantum math to make sense of its weirdness (such as entanglement), and two, how to marry quantum mechanics to gravity. It turns out, if ER=EPR is right, that both questions have the same answer: Quantum weirdness can be understood only if you understand its connection to gravity. Wormholes may forge that link.

Wormholes are technically known as Einstein-Rosen bridges (the “ER” part of the equation). Nathan Rosen collaborated with Einstein on a paper describing them in 1935. EPR refers to another paper Einstein published with Rosen in 1935, along with Boris Podolsky. That one articulated quantum entanglement’s paradoxical puzzles about the nature of reality. For decades nobody seriously considered the possibility that the two papers had anything to do with one another. But in 2013, physicists Juan Maldacena and Leonard Susskind proposed that in some sense, wormholes and entanglement describe the same thing.

The US Air Force wants to beam solar power to Earth from space (video)

A power-beaming experiment is scheduled to launch in 2024.

A depiction of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Solar Power Incremental and Demonstrations Research (SSPIDR) project, which aims to beam solar power from space to Earth. SSPIDR consists of several small-scale flight experiments that will mature technology needed to build a prototype solar power distribution system.

A depiction of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Solar Power Incremental and Demonstrations Research (SSPIDR) project, which aims to beam solar power from space to Earth. SSPIDR consists of several small-scale flight experiments that will mature technology needed to build a prototype solar power distribution system. (Image credit: Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL))

Space-based solar power won’t be just a sci-fi dream forever, if things go according to the U.S. Air Force’s plans.

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is developing a project called SSPIDR (“Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstrations and Research”), which aims to mature the technology needed to harvest solar energy in space and beam it down for use on Earth.

Such a capability would be a big advantage on the battlefield, Air Force officials said.

“Ensuring that a forward operating base maintains reliable power is one of the most dangerous parts of military ground operations. Convoys and supply lines are a major target for adversaries,” states the narrator of a new AFRL video about SSPIDR

“Ground-based solar, while seemingly an attractive solution, is limited by area, the size of collectors required and climate,” the narrator adds. “But if the solar panels were in orbit, they could have unfettered access to the sun’s rays, providing an uninterrupted supply of energy.”

The AFRL envisions sunlight-harvesting satellites equipped with innovative “sandwich tiles,” which will convert solar energy into radio frequency (RF) power and beam it to Earth. Down here, receiving antennas will transform that RF energy into usable power.

The AFRL won’t build such an operational system, but it hopes to pave the way toward it with SSPIDR, a series of ground and flight experiments that help mature the required technologies. 

Related: Space-based solar power gets key test on X-37B space planeClick here for more Space.com videos…Blastoff! Secretive X-37B space plane launched by Space Force.

For example, one SSPIDR experiment, known as Arachne, will test power conversion and beaming in space using a sandwich tile built by project partner Northrop Grumman. Arachne is scheduled to launch to Earth orbit in 2024.

SSPIDR also includes experiments called SPINDLE and SPIRRAL, which will demonstrate the orbital deployment of a scaled-down version of a power-beaming satellite and test ways to keep satellite temperatures in a manageable range, respectively.

SPINDLE is scheduled to launch in 2023 on Alpha Space’s Materials International Space Station Experiment Flight Facility, which is designed to be deployed outside the International Space Station.

And there’s already some space solar power research going on over our heads. The Photovoltaic Radio-frequency Antenna Module Flight Experiment, or PRAM-FX, launched aboard the U.S. Space Force’s robotic X-37B space plane in May 2020. 

PRAM-FX isn’t beaming power down to Earth, but it is helping researchers gauge the efficiency of sandwich tiles’ sunlight-to-RF conversion. And the early returns are promising, a recent study showed.

Pentagon UFO report: They ‘acknowledged the reality,’ whistleblower says

Luis Elizondo on blockbuster document on UFOs, UAPs slated for June release

The U.S. government is actually gearing up to share information about the “reality” of UFOs with the public — and not a moment too soon, says the man who claims to have run the Pentagon’s UFO program for 9 years.

Former President Donald Trump’s $2.3 trillion appropriation bill for 2021 contained a mandate that the Pentagon and spy agencies must file a report about “unidentified aerial phenomena” or UAP. Most of us just call them flying saucers or UFOs.

Whatever the jargon, noted whistleblower Luis Elizondo — former head of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which operated out of the secretive fifth floor of the Pentagon’s C Ring — told The Post about the resulting blockbuster document, which is reportedly slated for release in June.

Tied to the mandate, Elizondo said the upcoming report touches down on the unexplainable. Longtime UFO believers are hungry for explanations of the tic-tac-shaped objects the Navy encountered in 2004, the strange “cubes within spheres” seen by Navy pilots in 2014, or the mysterious black triangles continually reported around the world.

Such details promise to come via the much anticipated report — and at least one evolution of belief: “I think the government has acknowledged the reality of UAP,” Elizondo exclusively told The Post, despite signing what he refers to as a “lifelong” NDA before he resigned from the Pentagon in 2017. “I think they all want answers and I think they are all willing to ask the hard questions.”

During a press conference this week, Elizondo made clear that UFOs have been observed to have qualities that are nothing less than otherworldly. He described vessels flying at 11,000 miles-per-hour and being able to turn “instantly.” Providing a comparison, he explained, for our most advanced jets going at the same speed, “if you wanted to make a right-hand turn, it would take you about half the state of Ohio to do it.”

He also detailed Spielberg-worthy operational capabilities that fall into the realm of “transmedium travel.” Elizondo explained that the eye-popping vessels can fly 50-feet above the Earth’s surface or 80,000 feet in the sky and even submerge underwater without a compromise in performance: “When you see that, you recognize you are dealing with a technology more advanced than ours.”

NAVY CAPTURES FOOTAGE OF PYRAMID-SHAPED UFOS, ORBS

That was despite apparent threats to security of the United States. Elizondo was particularly disturbed by the locations where UFOs or UAPs tended to hover.

Even the way in which these inexplicable flying-machines manage to lift-off blows away rational engineering. “[These] things have no wings, no cockpits, no control surfaces, no rivets in the skin, no obvious signs of propulsion — and somehow they are able to defy the natural effects of Earth’s gravity,” Elizondo said. “How is that possible?”

The existence of the AATIP wasn’t revealed until 2017, along with what Trump described as a “hell of a video” montage captured by the Navy featuring a dark circular object flying in front of a military jet, along with another small object racing over land at astonishing speeds in 2004 and 2015, respectively. The Department of Defense confirmed the authenticity of the footage, and a Navy spokesman confirmed the objects in the videos to be UAP.

At the time, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took credit for arranging $22 million in annual funding for the AATIP, telling the New York Times that it was “one of the good things I did in my congressional service.”

By 2019, the Pentagon had confirmed to The Post for the first time that they research and investigate UFOs and continue to do so.

Meanwhile, UFO sightings in NYC were up 31% in 2020 — 46, compared to 35 the previous year — marking a whopping 283% spike from 2018’s dozen, according to the National UFO Reporting Center.

However, for generations, and for all the wrong reasons, national security bigwigs did not want to release more information to the public, Elizondo claims.

“They felt that it made them look inept,” he said. “They felt in some cases that it challenged their philosophical and theological belief systems … They just couldn’t process it.”

“There seems to be a very distinct congruency between UAP activity and our nuclear technology,” he continued. “That’s concerning to the point where we’ve actually had some of our nuclear capabilities disabled by these things … There is absolutely evidence that UAPs have an active interest in our nuclear technology.”

If this starts to sound like a “Twilight Zone” episode – Elizondo talks about UFOs pulling as many as 700 G-forces when our most technologically advanced aircraft can stand only 17 before falling apart (and that’s to say nothing about pilots at the controls) — it’s easy to hope for a fast and satisfactory wrap-up.

Clearly, that is what Elizondo is gunning for.

“This is not a conversation like fine wine where the longer we keep a cork on it, the better it gets,” he said. “This is a conversation like rotten fruit or vegetables in the refrigerator. And the longer it stays in there, the more it’s going to stink.”

The Nuclear Powered Mars Express

By 2035, NASA wants to land humans on Mars.

But reaching the red planet, which is around 184 million kilometres from Earth, will be a mammoth feat.

Colder than Antarctica and with little to no oxygen, Mars is a hostile environment.

The longer it takes astronauts to get there and the longer they stay, the more they are at risk.

That’s why scientists are looking at ways to reduce trip time.

Seattle-based company Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies (USNC-Tech) has proposed a solution: a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) engine that could get humans from Earth to Mars in just three months.

Currently, the shortest possible trip for an unmanned spacecraft is seven months, but a crewed mission is expected to take at least nine months.

Further and faster

Michael Eades, director of engineering at USNC-Tech, says nuclear-powered rockets would be more powerful and twice as efficient as the chemical engines used today, meaning they could travel further and faster, while burning less fuel.

Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies (USNC-Tech) has proposed a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) engine that could get humans from Earth to Mars in just three months.
Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies (USNC-Tech) has proposed a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) engine that could get humans from Earth to Mars in just three months. Credit: CNN

“Nuclear technology will expand humanity’s reach beyond low Earth orbit, and into deep space,” he said.

As well as enabling human space travel, it could even open up space for galactic business opportunities.

Most rockets today are powered by chemical engines.

These could get you to Mars, but it would take a long time – at least three years for a round trip – says Jeff Sheehy, chief engineer of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

An illustration of Mars.
An illustration of Mars. Credit: SEBASTIAN KAULITZKI/SCIENCE PHOT/Getty Images/Science Photo Libra

NASA wants to get there faster, to minimise the crew’s time in outer space, he says.

This would reduce their exposure to space radiation, which can cause health problems including radiation sickness, the increased lifetime risk of cancer, central nervous system effects and degenerative diseases.

It would also decrease the overall risk of the mission.

“The longer you’re out there, the more time there is for stuff to go wrong,” he adds.

That’s why the space agency is looking to develop nuclear-powered rockets.

‘The longer you’re out there, the more time there is for stuff to go wrong.’

An NTP system uses a nuclear reactor to generate heat from uranium fuel.

That thermal energy heats a liquid propellant, usually liquid hydrogen, which expands into a gas and is shot out the back end, producing thrust.

NTP rockets produce twice the thrust per unit of propellant than a chemical system, which is like saying it does “double the miles per gallon,” says Sheehy.

This means the technology could get astronauts to Mars and back in less than two years.

However, one of the main challenges for building an NTP engine is finding a uranium fuel that can withstand the blistering temperatures inside a nuclear thermal engine.

The idea of nuclear rocket engines dates back to the 1940s, but the technology has only recently been revisited as a solution for deep space exploration.
The idea of nuclear rocket engines dates back to the 1940s, but the technology has only recently been revisited as a solution for deep space exploration. Credit: CNN

USNC-Tech claims to have solved this problem by developing a fuel that can operate in temperatures up to 2700 degrees Kelvin (2426C).

The fuel contains silicon carbide, a material used in tank armour, which forms a gas-tight barrier that prevents the escape of radioactive products from the nuclear reactor, protecting the astronauts.

Along with other companies developing similar technology, USNC-Tech has presented its development to NASA.

While Sheehy would not comment on the specifics of any individual designs, he said the developments show that nuclear engines are feasible and could make “a good choice for human exploration to Mars.”

Is the nuclear option safe?

Shorter missions would limit the crew’s exposure to space radiation, but there is still concern about the radiation emitted from the nuclear reactor inside the spacecraft.

This would be mitigated through the rocket’s design, Eades explains.

The liquid propellants – stored between the engine and the crew area – block out radioactive particles, acting as “a tremendously good radiation shield,” he says.

The distance between the crew and reactor also provides a buffer, says Sheehy, and any NTP design would place the living quarters at the other end of the rocket to the reactor.

A rendering of the USNC-Tech NTP systems in line at a rocket hangar. The system is roughly four metres long.
A rendering of the USNC-Tech NTP systems in line at a rocket hangar. The system is roughly four metres long. Credit: CNN

To protect people on the ground, NTP spacecraft would not lift-off directly from Earth, Sheehy adds.

Instead, a regular chemical rocket would hoist it into orbit, and only then would it fire up its nuclear reactor.

Once in orbit, it could do little harm, he says, as blasts and thermal radiation cannot move through a vacuum.

If disaster struck and the rocket’s reactor broke up, the pieces would not land on Earth – or any other planet – for tens of thousands of years, he says.

By that time, the radioactive substance would have “naturally decayed to the point where it wasn’t hazardous anymore.”

Deep space exploration

Although USNC-Tech’s current goal for a one-way trip is five to nine months, nuclear-powered technology has the potential to cut journeys from Earth to Mars to just 90 days, says Eades.

These faster journey times could open up a wealth of opportunities.

USNC-Tech is hoping to develop its technology for government agencies like NASA and the Department of Defense, and for the commercial space market.

An illustration of a spacecraft with a nuclear-enabled propulsion system. Courtesy of NASA
An illustration of a spacecraft with a nuclear-enabled propulsion system. Courtesy of NASA Credit: CNN/NASA

The company says its concept could help to power space tourism and “rapid orbital logistics services,” such as transporting satellites or delivering spacecraft capable of repairing satellites out in space.

‘I think it’s going to have to be flown a few times … before somebody sells tickets.’

Sheehy agrees that nuclear-powered rockets will be key to opening up the solar system but cautions that it could be at least two decades before they are used widely.

Numerous demonstrations and tests would need to be carried out before a crew is sent to Mars in an NTP rocket, he says.

“Nobody’s ever flown nuclear propulsion yet,” he says.

“I think it’s going to have to be flown a few times … before somebody sells tickets.”

NASA’s Mars rover extracts first oxygen; Ingenuity helicopter completes second flight

The feats are part of the agency’s Moon to Mars exploration project

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) made major strides on the surface of Mars this week. 

On Wednesday, the agency announced the Perseverance Mars rover’s MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment) instrument had converted carbon dioxide into oxygen on the red planet for the first time. 

Just a day later, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter embarked on its second experimental test flight — a more challenging feat for a longer duration.

In a release, NASA explained that MOXIE’s test had initially taken place on April 20 and that the ability to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen in such a thin and carbon-rich atmosphere could one day be critical to human exploration of the planet, powering rockets or providing breathable air for astronauts.

Mars’ atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide and MOXIE works to separate the oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide molecules, expelling carbon monoxide into the Martian atmosphere.

Technicians at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory lower the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) instrument into the belly of the Perseverance rover.

Technicians at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory lower the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) instrument into the belly of the Perseverance rover. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The conversion process, NASA notes, requires high levels of heat, reaching approximately 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although MOXIE’s first oxygen production was “modest,” generating about 10 minutes of breathable oxygen, the instrument is designed to generate double that amount every hour.

MOXIE is expected to attempt to extract oxygen at least nine more times over the course of almost two years.

“MOXIE has more work to do, but the results from this technology demonstration are full of promise as we move toward our goal of one day seeing humans on Mars,” Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) Associate Administrator Jim Reuter said. “Oxygen isn’t just the stuff we breathe. Rocket propellant depends on oxygen, and future explorers will depend on producing propellant on Mars to make the trip home.”

In a step towards that same goal, on Thursday, JPL said in a separate statement that its rotorcraft had successfully completed the second Mars flight on April 19.

The flight lasted for 51.9 seconds — almost 12 seconds longer than its first flight — and the team added several new challenges, including a higher maximum altitude and sideways movement.

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter's navigation camera captures the helicopter's shadow on the surface of Jezero Crater during rotorcraft's second experimental test flight on April 22, 2021.

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s navigation camera captures the helicopter’s shadow on the surface of Jezero Crater during rotorcraft’s second experimental test flight on April 22, 2021. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Ingenuity took off from “Wright Brothers Field” at 5:33 a.m. EDT and climbed to 16 feet — six feet higher than the historic Monday event.

In addition, after hovering, the copter’s flight control system performed a slight tilt, allowing the craft to accelerate sideways for seven feet.

As with the first test, Perseverance took images of the flight using its Navcam and Mastcam-Z imagers, though using a different zoom level.

NASA said it is considering how best to expand the profiles of its next flights to acquire additional data.

Ingenuity will conduct up to five test filghts, assuming NASA continues to successfully clear potential hurdles.

“So far, the engineering telemetry we have received and analyzed tell us that the flight met expectations and our prior computer modeling has been accurate,” said Bob Balaram, chief engineer for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. “We have two flights of Mars under our belts, which means that there is still a lot to learn during this month of Ingenuity.”

Celebrate Earth Day 2021 with the Lyrid Meteor Shower

Don’t miss the first big meteor shower of 2021! I’ll show you when and where to look to see the Lyrids and give some tips on ways to increase the number of meteors you can see! Be sure to let me know about your questions and experience with the Lyrid Meteor Shower in the comment section below. Clear skies everyone!

Lyrid meteor shower peaks predawn April 22. Here’s how to watch

This is a meteor from the Lyrids, as seen in the sky in Schermbeck, Germany, April 22, 2020.This is a meteor from the Lyrids, as seen in the sky in Schermbeck, Germany, April 22, 2020.

Every year from January to mid-April, we experience a “meteor drought,” without a single shower for months.That all ends April 22 this year with the first show of the season: the annual Lyrid meteor shower.”These dazzling meteors are fast and bright, with a striking golden trail of dust streaking behind them,” CNN meteorologist Judson Jones said.

The Lyrids, which are best seen from the Northern Hemisphere, have been observed for 2,700 years, according to NASA. During its peak, this shower will feature about 10 meteors per hour.

You might even spot a fireball flying across the sky or the glowing dust trail the meteors frequently leave behind them as they streak through Earth’s atmosphere.

As with all meteor showers, the darker the sky, the more visible the Lyrids will be. If you want to view them, you’ll have your best luck away from urban areas where city lights can obstruct the view.” Light pollution is one of the biggest struggles when trying to see meteors, and it seems to be getting worse each year,” Jones said.

But there is one other factor that impacts light as well: the moon. This year, the moon will be in its waxing gibbous phase; it will be about 70% illuminated. Since the moon will be so bright, it’s suggested you view the sky after moonset and before sunrise, according to EarthSky.Between midnight and dawn, the Lyrid meteors can be seen in all parts of the sky, according to the American Meteor Society. The best time for viewing them April 22 will be the last hour before the start of morning twilight: around 4-5 a.m. local Daylight Saving Time.The view of the starry sky shining over the Baltic Sea, when the Lyrids passed through in 2020. The view of the starry sky shining over the Baltic Sea, when the Lyrids passed through in 2020.After you’ve decided on your viewing location and time, come prepared with a blanket and simply lie back, with your feet facing east, and look toward the sky. Take 30 minutes beforehand to let your eyes adjust to the dark, without looking at your phone.Be patient, as the AMS suggests: “Serious observers should watch for at least an hour as numerous peaks and valleys of activity will occur.”If your eye catches a meteor in the sky, you’ll be observing one of the lost pieces of Comet Thatcher, the source of the Lyrid meteors. These fragments fly into our upper atmosphere at 110,000 miles per hour as Earth’s orbit crosses its path.”When these pieces interact with our atmosphere, they burn up to reveal the fiery, colorful streaks you can find in our night sky,” Jones said.If you miss the meteors this week but still want to gaze at the sky, see next week’s “pink” full supermoon on April 26. While the moon won’t actually be pink, it will appear extra bright since supermoons are slightly closer to Earth.

Meteor blazes across South Florida skies

There was debate online regarding the meteor’s origin

Southern Florida residents were stunned to see a meteor blazing through the darkness Monday night, with some sharing footage of the spectacle on social media.

Dashcam and security video revealed the quick, bright flash of light as the meteor streaked through the Earth’s atmosphere.

In a matter of seconds, the fireball had disappeared from sight. 

At 10:16 p.m. ET, a doorbell camera looking out on a back patio in Parkland showed how the sky lit up and a Coral Springs Twitter user with a Nest camera recorded a different angle of its descent.

“Did you happen to see a meteor this evening? We’ve gotten a few reports about one that could be seen from #SWFL!” tweeted the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay account. “Our #GOES-16 Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) appears to have captured the bright meteor as it burned up off the coast.”

Local reporter Jay O’Brien was streaming on Facebook Live when he captured the meteor in West Palm Beach.

“WOAH!” he said on Twitter. “Big flash and streak across sky in West Palm Beach. Happened moments ago while we were on Facebook Live for a @CBS12 story. Working to figure out what it was.”

O’Brien’s colleague, meteorologist Zach Covey, replied and said that the space rock was “like a chunk of an asteroid known as 2021 GW4.”Whoops! We couldn’t access this Tweet.

However, NPR reported Tuesday that there seemed to be “disagreement” over whether or not that was actually the case.

Space.com said Monday that 2021 GW4 — which was first spotted on April 8 and is estimated to be about 14 feet across —  had harmlessly flown past Earth and was approximately just more than 16,000 miles away.

While NASA notes an asteroid is a “relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun,” a meteor is the “light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes.”

A meteoroid is a “small particle” from an asteroid.

In general, meteors are common, though less than 5% make it to the ground, according to the agency.

First Flight of a powered aircraft on another planet a “Wright brothers moment”

After overcoming an earlier software glitch, NASA’s $80 million Ingenuity helicopter spun up its carbon-composite rotors and lifted off the dusty surface of Mars early Monday to become the first aircraft to fly on another planet, a “Wright brothers moment” that could pave the way to future interplanetary aircraft.

Tipping the scales at just 4 pounds — 1.5 pounds in the lower gravity of Mars — Ingenuity’s counter-rotating 4-foot-long rotors, spinning at more than 2,500 rpm, were commanded to change their pitch, “biting” deeper into the thin atmosphere for a liftoff from the floor of Jezero Crater around 3:30 a.m. EDT.

NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity makes its first flight
NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity is seen during its first flight on the planet in this still image taken from a video on April 19, 2021. NASA/JPL-CALTECH/ASU

With the Perseverance rover looking on from a safe distance, Ingenuity climbed 10 feet straight up, hovered, turned in place and then landed to complete a test flight spanning just 40 seconds or so.

That was more than enough to make space history.

“We can now say human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet!” an elated MiMi Aung, the Ingenuity project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told her socially distanced team. “We’ve been talking so long about our Wright brothers moment on Mars, and here it is.

“We don’t know from history what Orville and Wilbur did after their first successful flight. I imagine the two brothers hugged each other. Well, I’m hugging you virtually right now. … We together flew at Mars, and we together have our Wright brothers moment.”

Data confirming the historic flight reached Earth three hours after the flight, relayed through NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Once on its way, the data took nearly 16 minutes to cross the 178-million-mile gulf between Mars and Earth.

nasa-ingenuity-mars-helicopter-shadow.jpg
The Ingenuity helicopter, using a camera pointed straight down, captures an image of its shadow on the surface of Mars, in between tracks from the Preseverance rover. NASA/JPL-CALTECH

The telemetry began showing up on computer screens at JPL just after 6:30 a.m. EDT. First, the team confirmed the data had made it back successfully. Then, peering intently at his display, JPL’s “pilot,” Håvard Grip, announced the results, confirming Ingenuity “performed spin up, take off, climb, hover, descent, landing, touchdown and spin down.”

“Altimeter data confirms that Ingenuity has performed the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet!” he said as engineers burst into cheers and applause.

Moments later, initial images were displayed, including a short video shot by Perseverance showing the small helicopter lifting off, hovering and setting down. A sharp black-and-white still image, taken by a camera aboard Ingenuity, showed the helicopter’s shadow on the surface of Mars, its rotors sharply defined.

As each image appeared on a screen at the front of the control room, the engineering team cheered and applauded with evident relief.

041921-elation.jpg
Ingenuity engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory burst into applause as the first video comes in from Mars, showing the small helicopter flying in the thin martian atmosphere. Project manager MiMi Aung applauds at far left.NASA

Ingenuity’s short up-and-down maiden flight might sound trivial given the performance of inexpensive drones on Earth. But flying in a mostly carbon dioxide atmosphere just 1% as thick as Earth’s on a planet so far away direct human control isn’t possible and where the temperature drops to more than 100 degrees below zero every night poses a major technological challenge.

Based on the results of Ingenuity’s mission, more sophisticated drones may eventually be sent to Mars and elsewhere in the solar system to carry cameras and science instruments to locales that are not accessible to rovers or, eventually, astronauts.

Ingenuity was carried to Mars bolted to the belly of the Perseverance rover, which landed in Jezero Crater on February 18. The rover later dropped the helicopter to the surface and backed away to observe the first of up to five short test flights.

Equipped with two cameras, the helicopter does not carry any science instruments. It was added to Perseverance’s mission solely to determine the feasibility of powered flight in the red planet’s thin atmosphere.

Rooting out Ingenuity’s flight issue

The initial test flight originally was planned for April 11. But two days earlier, a rotor spin-up test was aborted by the helicopter’s flight software when it failed to transition to flight mode as planned.

Engineers at JPL reviewed telemetry and came up with two solutions. One required uplinking a few additional commands to the control software, an approach expected to work about 85% of the time.

The other option was to replace the flight software with a modified version that’s been uplinked and stored aboard Perseverance. That would completely eliminate the problem, but it would require several more days to implement and introduce at least a slight element of additional risk.

rover-copter1.jpg
An artist’s impression showing the relative sizes of the Perseverance Mars rover and the Ingenuity helicopter it carried to the red planet.NASA/JPL-CALTECH

After a detailed analysis, the helicopter team went with the first option.

“This solution is the least disruptive to a helicopter that, up until we identified the (command sequence timing) issue, has been behaving just as we expected,” Aung said earlier in a blog post. “It is the most straightforward, since we do not have to change its configuration.”

Up to four more test flights are planned over the next several days, pushing the helicopter to slightly higher altitudes and more far-ranging traverses to put its compact systems through their paces.

After that, Perseverance will move on to its primary science mission, leaving the helicopter behind as the rover begins searching for signs of past microbial life in ancient lakebed deposits on the floor of Jezero Crater.

SpaceX Wins $2.9 Billion Contract For Next Lunar Lander

Illustration of SpaceX Starship human lander design that will carry the first NASA astronauts to the surface of the moon under the Artemis program.SpaceX

NASA will pay Elon Musk’s SpaceX $2.9 billion to build a lunar landing system to ferry astronauts to the surface of the moon.

SpaceX was one of three companies chosen last year to develop technology for NASA’s Human Landing System program. On Friday NASA announced SpaceX’s “Starship” design had beat out the other two companies for the contract.

It’s the first time the space agency has used a human lander built by a private company, and it marks an important milestone for an agency that has in recent years depended on commercial partnerships for its most important missions.

“With this award, NASA and our partners will complete the first crewed demonstration mission to the surface of the Moon in the 21st century as the agency takes a step forward for women’s equality and long-term deep space exploration,” said Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator for Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate.

“This critical step puts humanity on a path to sustainable lunar exploration and keeps our eyes on missions farther into the solar system, including Mars,” Lueders said in a statement.

NASA has also contracted with SpaceX on other projects, such as its Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule that will ferry astronauts to the International Space Station in the coming week.Article continues after sponsor message

The moon lander is being built as part of the Artemis program, which aims to bring Americans back to the moon by 2024, before setting its sights on Mars and beyond. NASA selected 18 astronauts last year to train for the moon mission.

The plan calls for NASA to send four astronauts aboard the Lockheed Martin-built Orion spacecraft on a multi-day journey to the moon’s orbit. Then two crew members will transfer to SpaceX’s lander for their descent to the lunar surface. After a week exploring the moon, they’ll board the lander to return to Orion and head back to Earth.

NASA says that at least one of the astronauts landing on the moon will be a woman, making her the first woman to set foot on the moon. The agency says it also wants a person of color to land on the moon as part of the program.

A document obtained by The Washington Post explained NASA’s rationale for picking SpaceX over its competitors — Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and the Alabama defense contractor Dynetics. NASA said SpaceX “was the lowest among the offers by a wide margin.” NASA was also swayed by Starship’s ability to carry large amounts of cargo to and from the moon, which it said “has the potential to greatly improve scientific operations.”

“We are honored to be part of the @NASAArtemis team,” Musk tweeted Friday. He added: “NASA Rules!!”

SETI project homes in on strange ‘fast radio bursts’

Recent observations of a mysterious and distant object that emits intermittent bursts of radio waves so bright that they’re visible across the universe provide new data about the source but fail to clear up the mystery of what causes them.

The observations by the Breakthrough Listen team at UC Berkeley using the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia show that the fast radio bursts from this object, called FRB 121102, are nearly 100 percent linearly polarized and highly twisted, an indication that the source of the bursts is embedded in strong magnetic fields like those around a massive black hole.

The fast radio burst FRB 121102 was detected by a new recording system developed by the Breakthrough Listen project and mounted on the 100-meter Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The burst’s multiple bright peaks may be created by the burst emission process itself or imparted by the intervening plasma near the source. (Image design by Danielle Futselaar)

The measurements confirm observations by another team of astronomers from the Netherlands, which detected the polarized bursts using the William E. Gordon Telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Both teams reported their findings today during a media briefing at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C. The results were detailed in a combined paper published online today by the journal Nature.

Fast radio bursts are brief, bright pulses of radio emission from distant but so far unknown sources, and FRB 121102 is the only one known to repeat: more than 200 high-energy bursts have been observed coming from this source, which is located in a dwarf galaxy about 3 billion light years from Earth.

The high degree of rotation of the nearly 100 percent polarized radio bursts is unusual, and has only been seen in radio emissions from the extreme magnetic environments around massive black holes, such as those at the centers of galaxies. The Dutch and Breakthrough Listen teams suggest that the fast radio bursts may come from a highly magnetized rotating neutron star – a magnetar – in the vicinity of a massive black hole that is still growing as gas and dust fall into it.

The short bursts, which range from 30 microseconds to 9 milliseconds in duration, indicate that the source could be as small as 10 kilometers across – the typical size of a neutron star.

One of the FRB 121102 radio bursts detected with the Arecibo telescope, where the color indicates the brightness of the burst as a function of radio frequency and time. (Courtesy of Andrew Seymour, NAIC, Arecibo)

Other possible sources are a magnetar interacting with the nebula of material shed when the original star exploded to produce the magnetar; or interactions with the highly magnetized wind from a rotating neutron star, or pulsar.

“At this point, we don’t really know the mechanism. There are many questions, such as, how can a rotating neutron star produce the high amount of energy typical of an FRB?” said UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow Vishal Gajjar of Breakthrough Listen and the Berkeley SETI Research Center.

Gajjar participated in the media briefing with three members of the Dutch ASTRON team: Daniele Michilli and Jason Hessels of the University of Amsterdam and Betsey Adams of the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute.

“This result is an excellent demonstration of the capabilities of the Breakthrough Listen instrumentation and the synergies between SETI and other types of astronomy,” said Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center and of the Breakthrough Listen program. “We look forward to working with the international scientific community to learn more about these enigmatic and dynamic sources.”

Are FRBs signals from advanced civilizations?

Another possibility, though remote, is that the FRB is a high-powered signal from an advanced civilization. Hence the interest of Breakthrough Listen, which looks for signs of intelligent life in the universe, funded by $100 million over 10 years from internet investor Yuri Milner.

Astronomer Vishal Gajjar (right) and engineer Dave MacMahon (holding flag) of UC Berkeley present the traditional SETI “Flag of Earth” to the crew of the Green Bank Telescope, including director Karen O’Neil (holding flag).

“Although it’s extremely unlikely that pulses we have detected from FRB 121102 were transmitted by ETs, we would like to test various ET hypotheses for the FRB type transient signals in general,” Gajjar said.

Breakthrough Listen has to date recorded data from a dozen FRBs, including FRB 121102, and plans eventually to sample all 30-some known sources of fast radio bursts.

“We want a complete sample so that we can conduct our standard SETI analysis in search of modulation patterns or narrow-band signals – any kind of information-bearing signal emitted from their direction that we don’t expect from nature,” he said.

Breakthrough Listen allotted tens of hours of observational time on the Green Bank Telescope to recording radio emissions from FRB 121102, and last August 26 detected 15 bursts over a relatively short period of five hours. They analyzed the two brightest of these and found that the radio waves were nearly 100 percent linearly polarized.

The team plans a few more observations of FRB 121102 before moving on to other FRB sources. Gajjar said that they want to observe at higher frequencies – up to 12 gigahertz, versus the present Green Bank observations in the 4-8 GHZ range – to see if the energy drops off at higher frequencies. This could help narrow the range of possible sources, he said.

Astronomers detect new frequencies from mysterious fast radio bursts

Astronomers detect new frequencies from mysterious fast radio bursts

Artist's impression of low frequency radio waves from an FRB washing over the LOFAR telescope in the Netherlands

Artist’s impression of low frequency radio waves from an FRB washing over the LOFAR telescope in the Netherlands Daniëlle Futselaar/ASTRON/HSTVIEW 1 IMAGES

The mystery of fast radio bursts (FRBs) from space may be a step closer to being solved. Astronomers studying a repeating signal from a nearby galaxy have detected radiation at the lowest frequency of any FRB found so far, providing new potential hints about their origin.

FRBs are exactly what they sound like – bursts of radio signals that only last milliseconds. Ever since they were first detected over a decade ago, they’ve poured in from all corners of the sky, with each detection either deepening the mystery or bringing new clues about what might be causing them – or sometimes both at once.


Some of them are one-off events, while others appear to repeat either randomly or on a predictable schedule. Studying the radio waves they give off provides other hints about the environment they’re being produced in – some appear to come from calm settings, while other signals are being twisted and polarized in a way that suggests interference by powerful magnetic fields.

Now, in a pair of studies, astronomers have detected new details that may contribute to solving the mystery. Both focused on a signal called FRB 180916, first detected in 2018 and traced back to a galaxy just 500 million light-years away. It repeats like clockwork on a 16-day cycle, chirping actively for four days before falling quiet for the next 12.

In the first study, astronomers examined the object with two different radio telescopes – CHIME in Canada, which is regularly used to study FRBs, and the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) in the Netherlands. With the latter, the team detected 18 bursts at frequencies between 110 and 188 MHz, far lower than any seen from FRBs before.

“We detected fast radio bursts down to 110 MHz where before these bursts were only known to exist down to 300 MHz,” says Ziggy Pleunis, lead author of the study. “This tells us that the region around the source of the bursts must be transparent to low-frequency emission, whereas some theories suggested that all low-frequency emission would be absorbed right away and could never be detected.”

Intriguingly, the team also noticed a significant delay between frequencies. The higher frequencies consistently arrived at CHIME three days before the lower ones were detected by LOFAR.

“At different times we see radio bursts with different radio frequencies,” says Jason Hessels, co-author of the study. “Possibly the FRB is part of a binary star. If so, we would have a different view at different times of where these enormously powerful bursts are generated.”

In the second study, another team of astronomers examined FRB 180916 in higher “time resolution” than ever before, taking measurements more regularly than other studies. They found that the polarization of the bursts varied from one microsecond to the next, which they hypothesize could be the influence of a “dancing” magnetosphere, such as that around a neutron star.

That adds weight to the leading theory about where FRBs come from: magnetars, a type of neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field. The clearest smoking gun came last year when FRB-like signals were detected coming from a magnetar in our own galaxy.

The more we study these strange signals, the more likely it is that we’ll stumble onto a clue that unravels the whole mystery. The researchers say that it’s possible that FRBs transmit at even lower frequencies at which they haven’t been studied yet, and future work will try to detect these.

The LOFAR study was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, while the time resolution study appeared in Nature Astronomy.

Declassified CIA Document Shows “Remote Viewing” Attempt of a “Galactic Federation” Headquarters

IN BRIEF

  • The Facts:A declassified document from the CIA, dated 1988 but released nearly a decade later shows a remote viewing session attempting to look into one of the headquarters of the “Galactic Federation” presumably on Earth.
  • Reflect On:Is the idea of a benevolent force of extraterrestrial races really that crazy? With everything that’s come out regarding UFOs and the extraterrestrial hypothesis, is it time to suspend what we’ve been made to believe and entertain new possibilities?

Before you begin…

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Introduction: The CIA in conjunction with Stanford University operated a program known as STARGATE to investigate ‘paranormal’ abilities and phenomena that some humans are capable of, and perhaps all of us are capable of. One of the programs under the STARGATE umbrella was the remote viewing program. Remote viewing is the ability to describe a remote location, regardless of distance and ones proximity to the target, from a given location independent of the target. So basically, if you had this ability you could accurately “see” what’s on the back side of the Moon, if anything, or you could see what’s inside a specific building in another country if you were given the coordinates.

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The U.S. government program ran for approximately 25 years before it was declassified and supposedly ‘shut down.’ From the literature that has been made available, the program was clearly very successful and the remote viewing phenomenon was quite useful for the intelligence community.

A paper published one year after the declassification of the program by one of the programs co-founders Dr. Harold (Hal) Puthoff in the Journal of Scientific Exploration states the following,

To summarize, over the years, the back-and-forth criticism of protocols, refinement of methods, and successful replication of this type of remote viewing in independent laboratories has yielded considerable scientific evidence for the reality of the (remote viewing) phenomenon. Adding to the strength of these results was the discovery that a growing number of individuals could be found to demonstrate high-quality remote viewing, often to their own surprise…The development of this capability at SRI has evolved to the point where visiting CIA personnel with no previous exposure to such concepts have performed well under controlled laboratory conditions.

Dr. Jessica Utts, former Chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Irvine and a professor there since 2008 states the following about the program:Neuropathy (Nerve Pain)? Do This Immediately!Nerve Control 911

What convinced me was just the evidence, the accumulating evidence as I worked in this field and I got to see more and more of the evidence. I visited the laboratories, even beyond where I was working to see what they were doing and I could see that they had really tight controls…and so I got convinced by the good science that I saw being done. And in fact I will say as a statistician I’ve consulted in a lot of different areas of science; the methodology and the controls on these experiments are tighter than any other area of science where I’ve worked. (source)

In my opinion, it’s a shame that ‘special abilities’ like these are not studied within mainstream academia yet studied at the highest levels of governments with the intentions of intelligence gathering. When it comes to technology, special abilities or solutions to the world’s problems, it’s not the technology, the ability of people or those solutions that will change the world, it’s the consciousness behind these things. What do we use our new discoveries for? What’s our intention? Do we use them to advance the human experience and for the good of all people, or something else? This is why solutions that do pop up in various fields, like clean energy technology for example, are never implemented.

Remote Viewing , and the “Galactic Federation.” 

The declassified literature has numerous examples of successful remote viewing experiments, and real world examples as well. It’s safe to assume that the entire program and its contents was not declassified, and this seems evident from the testimony of multiple CIA/military remote viewers that were verifiably part of the program for many years. One common theme among many of the viewers is their heavy interest in the extraterrestrial phenomenon. Why? Did their experience in the remote viewing program influence this heavy belief and interest? Is there something we haven’t been told?

We will get to that a bit later in the article, as well as more examples, but what I wanted to provide you with here is a link to a remote viewing session conducted by the CIA to view the “Galactic Federation” headquarters on Earth, it seems.STAY AWARESUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER  SUBSCRIBE

Below is a screen shot of the document, you can access the full version here. It’s unclear who the remote viewer is. In many other documents from the Remote Viewing program, the names are usually listed.

It’s interesting that this remote viewing session was conducted in 1988. First of all, where would the CIA get the idea to even look for some sort of galactic federation? It raises many questions.

The idea that there is some sort of “galactic federation” of races that represent a benevolent force in our galaxy or universe is not a new idea. Channelers, those who claim to be in telepathic communication with different groups of extraterrestrials, have relayed this idea to the human race for many decades. This idea was recently sparked again when Haim Eshed, former head of Israel’s Defense Ministry’s space directorate, former General and respected professor claimed that the U.S. & Israel have been in contact with intelligent extraterrestrials for quite a long time.  He specifically referenced the “Galactic Federation” emphasizing how they are waiting for humanity to evolve, and that we are not quite ready for contact. This sentiment echoes the message from the broadcast above. You can read more about that story here.

I believe that UFOs are or extraterrestrial craft… The nations of the world are currently working together in the investigation of the UFO phenomenon. There is an international exchange of data. Maybe when this group of nations acquires more precise and definite information, it will be possible to release the news to the world. General Carlos Castro Cavero, General in the Spanish Air Force and former Commander of Spain’s Third Aerial Region, in an interview with J. J. Benitez, La Gaceta del Norte, Balboa, Spain, June 27, 1976.

The story was picked up by multiple mainstream media outlets, most of them covered the story with ridicule with some of them hinting to the idea that Eshed has lost his marbles. He would be one of hundreds with such backgrounds. I find this interesting given the fact that mainstream media has recently published various articles in multiple outlets taking the issue of UFOs and the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence quite seriously, including CNN. It’s interesting to note how a story comes out about supposed extraterrestrials urging us to get our shi*t together is completely ridiculed, yet other incidents with a bit of a threat narrative bias is taken completely seriously.

Here’s an article I recently published going into the discussion of whether or not extraterrestrials may represent a threat.

This topic is a deep discussion, and we’ve been writing about it from various angles for the past 11 years. If you want to sift through our articles regarding the extraterrestrial/UFO phenomenon, you can visit the disclosure section of our website here.

Other Examples of Remote Viewers Speaking About Extraterrestrials

According to Lyn Buchanan,

“After the military I was asked by a branch of the government to do a paper, a study paper to compare and contrast ET psychic ability to human psychic ability. The study that I did was because I was given access to many of the things that never made it into project grudge or the blue book or anything like that because they couldn’t be denied. So anyway, in studying these, I found out that we can take the ET’s of all different kinds and species and all that and put them into four main categories. We’ve got those who are more psychic than us and those that are less psychic than us. In each of those two categories we’ve got friendly to us and unfriendly to us, the unfriendly non-psychic ones tend to not come here. They don’t like us, they don’t want to be around us. The non-psychic friendly ones come here for trade. The psychic friendly ones actually want to help us develop our abilities and become stronger at it. And the unfriendly psychic ones want us wiped off the planet, they want us dead, period, no questions asked.”

He also mentions extraterrestrial bases that are on Earth, and he says there are approximately five. He mentions that they are all inside of mountains and that at some of these bases humans are working with these extraterrestrials in various ways. He is not the only viewer to mention these bases and extraterrestrials, as Ingo Swann told many fascinating stories in his book, Penetration: The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human Telepathy. Furthermore, Joseph Mcmoneagle was another individual who had experience in remote viewing an extraterrestrial presence.

Then, there is Pat Price, who, along with Ingo Swann, is described as one of SRI’s most successful viewers, as his sessions were extremely accurate.

You can look up any of these names within the CIA’s electronic reading room by the way.

Legendary UFO researcher Timothy Good tells the story quite well in his book, Unearthly Disclosure:

According to Captain Frederick H. Atwater, a retired US Army officer also involved at the time in highly classified ‘remote viewing’ experiments for the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, as well as for the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, Price had remotely viewed four alien bases on Earth, one of which was located under Mount Ziel, Northern Territory. Mount Ziel lies some 80 miles west-northwest of Pine Gap. Price believed the base contained a mixture of ‘personnel’ from the other bases, one purpose being to ‘transport new recruits, with an overall monitoring function’. The other bases were said to be under Mount Perdido in the Pyrenees, Mount Inyangani in Zimbabwe, and, coincidentally, in Alaska under Mount Hayes. Price described the occupants as ‘looking like homo sapiens, except for the lungs, heart, blood and eyes.’

Related CE Article: “You Have But A Short Time To Live Together In Peace & Goodwill” – A 1977 Extraterrestrial Message? 

Pentagon spokesperson confirms leaked ‘UFO’ images, video is real

Pentagon spokesperson confirms leaked ‘UFO’ video is real
Night vision captured by a US Navy destroyer was posted online by filmmaker Jeremy Corbell, appearing to show ‘mystery’ flying objects near warships.

A spokesperson from the Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of incredible leaked images and video from their UFO investigations.

Night vision captured by a US Navy destroyer was posted online by filmmaker Jeremy Corbell, appearing to show ‘mystery’ flying objects near warships.

“The US Navy photographed and filmed “pyramid” shaped UFOs and “spherical” advanced transmedium vehicles; here is that footage,” he wrote on Instagram.

The Pentagon’s Susan Gough told The Sun “that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel”.

The clip was gathered by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force, the publication reports.

The images and video were then leaked to Corbell and KLAS TV news director George Knapp.

Corbell also claimed he verified their authenticity after getting access to a Pentagon intelligence briefing into the UAP.

“I was able to obtain information regarding these and other UAP related briefings – as well as – unclassified slides and some of the most intriguing military captured UAP footage I have ever seen,” he posted.

According to The Sun, Pentagon officials have confirmed the pictures and video were captured by navy personnel.

They did not reportedly comment on the nature of the video footage.

Mystery Wire claims they independently confirmed all of the visuals were in the briefing.

The short video, recorded on the USS Russell, appears to capture three orbs above a warship as well as a fourth triangle shaped object.

The filmmaker also had three images which he said was an unidentified “spherical” craft.

He claimed the images were taken by the USS Omaha combat ship.

“It is noted that the ‘spherical’ craft was suspected to be a transmedium vehicle and was observed descending into the water without destruction,” The Sun quoted him saying.

“It is noted that the ‘spherical’ craft could not be found upon entry to the water – and that a submarine was used in the search.

He was also sent a third sighting that was taken on March 4, 2019, reportedly by an FA-18 pilot and a Weapons Systems Officer.

“These are authentic photos and video from actual military encounters with UFOs – generated to educate high-level intelligence officers within our military on the nature and presentation of the UAP / UFO phenomenon,” Corbell said.

Artificial intelligence is evolving all by itself

JAKARIN2521/ISTOCK.COM

Artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving—literally. Researchers have created software that borrows concepts from Darwinian evolution, including “survival of the fittest,” to build AI programs that improve generation after generation without human input. The program replicated decades of AI research in a matter of days, and its designers think that one day, it could discover new approaches to AI.

“While most people were taking baby steps, they took a giant leap into the unknown,” says Risto Miikkulainen, a computer scientist at the University of Texas, Austin, who was not involved with the work. “This is one of those papers that could launch a lot of future research.”

Building an AI algorithm takes time. Take neural networks, a common type of machine learning used for translating languages and driving cars. These networks loosely mimic the structure of the brain and learn from training data by altering the strength of connections between artificial neurons. Smaller subcircuits of neurons carry out specific tasks—for instance spotting road signs—and researchers can spend months working out how to connect them so they work together seamlessly.

In recent years, scientists have sped up the process by automating some steps. But these programs still rely on stitching together ready-made circuits designed by humans. That means the output is still limited by engineers’ imaginations and their existing biases.

So Quoc Le, a computer scientist at Google, and colleagues developed a program called AutoML-Zero that could develop AI programs with effectively zero human input, using only basic mathematical concepts a high school student would know. “Our ultimate goal is to actually develop novel machine learning concepts that even researchers could not find,” he says.

The program discovers algorithms using a loose approximation of evolution. It starts by creating a population of 100 candidate algorithms by randomly combining mathematical operations. It then tests them on a simple task, such as an image recognition problem where it has to decide whether a picture shows a cat or a truck.

In each cycle, the program compares the algorithms’ performance against hand-designed algorithms. Copies of the top performers are “mutated” by randomly replacing, editing, or deleting some of its code to create slight variations of the best algorithms. These “children” get added to the population, while older programs get culled. The cycle repeats.

The system creates thousands of these populations at once, which lets it churn through tens of thousands of algorithms a second until it finds a good solution. The program also uses tricks to speed up the search, like occasionally exchanging algorithms between populations to prevent any evolutionary dead ends, and automatically weeding out duplicate algorithms.

In a preprint paper published last month on arXiv, the researchers show the approach can stumble on a number of classic machine learning techniques, including neural networks. The solutions are simple compared with today’s most advanced algorithms, admits Le, but he says the work is a proof of principle and he’s optimistic it can be scaled up to create much more complex AIs.

Still, Joaquin Vanschoren, a computer scientist at the Eindhoven University of Technology, thinks it will be a while before the approach can compete with the state-of-the-art. One thing that could improve the program, he says, is not asking it to start from scratch, but instead seeding it with some of the tricks and techniques humans have discovered. “We can prime the pump with learned machine learning concepts.”

That’s something Le plans to work on. Focusing on smaller problems rather than entire algorithms also holds promise, he adds. His group published another paper on arXiv on 6 April that used a similar approach to redesign a popular ready-made component used in many neural networks.

But Le also believes boosting the number of mathematical operations in the library and dedicating even more computing resources to the program could let it discover entirely new AI capabilities. “That’s a direction we’re really passionate about,” he says. “To discover something really fundamental that will take a long time for humans to figure out.”

NASA scientists detect evidence of parallel universe where time runs backward

In a scenario straight out of “The Twilight Zone,” a group of NASA scientists working on an experiment in Antarctica have detected evidence of a parallel universe — where the rules of physics are the opposite of our own, according to a report.

The concept of a parallel universe has been around since the early 1960s, mostly in the minds of fans of sci-fi TV shows and comics, but now a cosmic ray detection experiment has found particles that could be from a parallel realm that also was born in the Big Bang, the Daily Star reported.

The experts used a giant balloon to carry NASA’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna, or ANITA, high above Antarctica, where the frigid, dry air provided the perfect environment with little to no radio noise to distort its findings.

A constant “wind” of high-energy particles constantly arrives on Earth from outer space.

Low-energy, subatomic neutrinos with a mass close to zero can pass completely through Earth, but higher-energy objects are stopped by the solid matter of our planet, according to the report.

That means the high-energy particles can only be detected coming “down” from space, but the team’s ANITA detected heavier particles, so-called tau neutrinos, which come “up” out of the Earth.

The finding implies that these particles are actually traveling backward in time, suggesting evidence of a parallel universe, according to the Daily Star.

Principal ANITA investigator Peter Gorham, an experimental particle physicist at the University of Hawaii, suggested that the only way the tau neutrino could behave that way is if it changed into a different type of particle before passing through the Earth and then back again.

Gorham, lead author on a Cornell University paper describing the odd phenomenon, noted that he and his fellow researchers had seen several of these “impossible events,” which some were skeptical about.

“Not everyone was comfortable with the hypothesis,” he told New Scientist.

The simplest explanation for the phenomenon is that at the moment of the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, two universes were formed — ours and one that from our perspective is running in reverse with time going backward.

Of course, if there are any inhabitants of a possible parallel universe, they’d consider us the backward ones.

“We’re left with the most exciting or most boring possibilities,” said Ibrahim Safa, who also worked on the experiment.

Physicists Think They’ve Spotted the Ghosts of Black Holes from Another Universe

Article by Rafi Letzer

We are not living in the first universe. There were other universes, in other eons, before ours, a group of physicists has said. Like ours, these universes were full of black holes. And we can detect traces of those long-dead black holes in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) — the radioactive remnant of our universe’s violent birth.

At least, that’s the somewhat eccentric view of the group of theorists, including the prominent Oxford University mathematical physicist Roger Penrose (also an important Stephen Hawking collaborator). Penrose and his acolytes argue for a modified version of the Big Bang.

In Penrose and similarly-inclined physicists’ history of space and time (which they call conformal cyclic cosmology, or CCC), universes bubble up, expand and die in sequence, with black holes from each leaving traces in the universes that follow. And in a new paper released Aug. 6 in the preprint journal arXiv—apparent evidence for Hawking points in the CMB sky— Penrose, along with State University of New York Maritime College mathematician Daniel An and University of Warsaw theoretical physicist Krzysztof Meissner, argued that those traces are visible in existing data from the CMB.

Daniel An explained how these traces form and survive from one eon to the next.

“If the universe goes on and on and the black holes gobble up everything, at a certain point, we’re only going to have black holes,” he told Live Science. According to Hawking’s most famous theory,  black holes slowly lose some of their mass and energy over time through radiation of massless particles called gravitons and photons. If this Hawking radiation exists, “then what’s going to happen is that these black holes will gradually, gradually shrink.”

At a certain point, those black holes would disintegrate entirely, An said, leaving the universe a massless soup of photons and gravitons.

“The thing about this period of time is that massless gravitons and photons don’t really experience time or space,” he said.

Gravitons and photons, massless light speed travelers, don’t experience time and space the same way we — and all the other massive, slower-moving objects in the universe— do. Einstein’s theory of relativity dictates that objects with mass seem to move through time slower as they approach the speed of light, and distances become skewed from their perspective. Massless objects like photons and gravitons travel at the speed of light, so they don’t experience time or distance at all.

So, a universe filled with only gravitons or photons will not have any sense of what is time or what is space,” An said.

At that point, some physicists (including Penrose) argue, the vast, empty, post-black-hole universe starts to resemble the ultra-compressed universe at the moment of the big bang, where there’s no time or distance between anything.

“And then it starts all over again,” An said.

So, if the new universe contains none of the black holes from the previous universe, how could those black holes leave traces in the CMB?

Penrose said that the traces aren’t of the black holes themselves, but rather of the billions of years those objects spent putting energy out into their own universe via Hawking radiation.

“It’s not the black hole’s singularity,” or it’s actual, physical body, he told Live Science, “but the… entire Hawking radiation of the hole throughout its history.”

Here’s what that means: All the time a black hole spent dissolving itself via Hawking radiation leaves a mark. And that mark, made in the background radiation frequencies of space, can survive the death of a universe. If researchers could spot that mark, then the scientists would have reason to believe that CCC vision of the universe is right, or at least not definitely wrong .

To spot that faint mark against the already faint, muddled radiation of the CMB, An said, he ran a kind of statistical tournament among patches of sky.

An took circular regions in the third of the sky where galaxies and starlight don’t overwhelm the CMB. Next, he highlighted areas where the distribution of the microwave frequencies match what would be expected if Hawking points exist. He had those circles “compete” with one another, he said, to determine which area most nearly matched the expected spectrums of Hawking points.

Then, he compared that data with fake CMB data he randomly generated. This trick was meant to rule out the possibility that those tentative “Hawking points” could have formed if the CMB were entirely random. If the randomly generated CMB data couldn’t mimic those Hawking points, that would strongly suggest that the newly-identified Hawking points were indeed from black holes of eons past.

This isn’t the first time that Penrose has put out a paper appearing to identify Hawking points from a past universe. Back in 2010, he published a paper with the physicist Vahe Gurzadyan that made a similar claim. That publication sparked criticism from other physicists, failing to convince the scientific community writ large. Two follow-up papers (here and here) argued that the evidence of Hawking points Penrose and Gurzadyan identified was in fact the result of random noise in their data.

Still, Penrose presses forward. (The physicist has also famously argued, without convincing many neuroscientists, that human consciousness is the result of quantum computing.)

Asked whether the black holes from our universe might someday leave traces in the universe of the next eon, Penrose responded, “Yes, indeed!”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS MAKING 3D HOLOGRAMS POSSIBLE ON SMARTPHONES

Amazing technology created by AI can make 3D holograms on your smart phone.

Artificial Intelligence

This is another feather in the cap for artificial intelligence.

A part of what we see in science fiction movies will soon become a reality, thanks to artificial intelligence. Every time you saw people talking to holograms in sci-fi movies and thought to yourself “that would be awesome to have”, you just might be closer to that future. Smartphones will soon be able to create photorealistic 3D holograms with an AI model developed by a research team at MIT. This system determines the best way to generate holograms from a sequence of input images. This fascinating technology could have applications for VR and AR headsets. Unlike conventional 3D and VR displays that create the illusion of depth causing nausea and headaches, a holographic display can be viewed by people without straining their eyes.

A major challenge in creating holographic media is maintaining the data that is needed to create holographs. Every holograph constitutes huge amounts of data which creates the “depth” of the holographs. This is why creating a hologram demands lots of computing power. To simplify this process, researchers at MIT applied deep convolutional neural networks to the problem. This approach created a network that is capable of quickly generating holograms based on pictographic data.

Past Vs Present

The traditional method of generating holograms creates many chunks of holograms and then uses scientific simulations to combine the chunks into a complete pictorial representation. This process is power-intensive and time-consuming. But according to the IEEE spectrum, the method designed by the team of researchers at MIT is a lot different. It uses deep learning networks to slice images into chunks that can be recompiled into holograms using fewer “slices” than that of the traditional methods. This is possible because of the convolutional neural network’s ability to analyze images and separate them into discrete chunks. This new method is far less power-intensive.

In order to design this artificial intelligence holographic generator, the MIT team began by creating a database that included approximately 4000 computer-generated images, with a matchable 3D hologram allotted to each of those images. Based on this dataset, the convolutional neural network was trained to learn the way each of those images was connected to its hologram. When the artificial intelligence system was given the unseen data with depth information, it was able to generate new holograms with the given data. For this process, the depth information is supplied to the AI system through the use of a lidar sensor of multi-camera displays that renders it as a computer-generated image. Some iPhones have these components which makes it possible to generate holograms if connected to the right type of display.

The new artificial intelligence hologram system needs less memory than the traditional methods. This system can create colored 3D holograms at a speed of 60 frames per second with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 using approximately 620 KB of memory, all this by running on a single graphics processing unit (GPU). The MIT research team was able to run their new AI technology on an iPhone 11 creating 1 hologram per second. They also tried it on a Google Edge TPU which could create 2 holograms per second. This implies that the artificial intelligence hologram system can have applications in volumetric 3D printing or in the designing of holographic microscopes.

This is just the inception of this technology. In the future, with further advancements, this technology might revolutionize our way of communication and perceiving visual data. It surely is an exciting time for the tech world.