10 Government Officials Who Admitted The Existence Of Aliens

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10 Government Officials Who Admitted The Existence Of Aliens



Many are convinced the government is hushing up the existence of aliens to keep people from being terrified if they knew the truth. The evidence? Look no further than the government officials who have allegedly let slip the truth.

10John Podesta Says The Public Is Ready For The Truth


Photo credit: NHD-INFO

John Podesta was a member of the Obama and Clinton administrations and is now a member of Hillary Clinton’s campaign team. He has been working toward uncovering the truth about UFOs and aliens for years. He has only made a small amount of headway, but he has made some progress in getting certain files declassified.

Still, he believes there is a lot more to find and excited UFO enthusiasts when he claimed that neglecting to release UFO files was his biggest failing during his stint in the Obama administration. And yet, he is not deterred. He has made Clinton promise to get to the bottom of the issue if she becomes president—if there is anything shocking to show the public, it may be Podesta who makes it happen.


9Dennis Kucinich Claimed A Genuine Alien Experience


Photo credit: SEIU International

Congressman Dennis Kucinich is known for being very outspoken and quite different from his colleagues. He is considered extremely liberal on some things but also more libertarian-leaning on others—some people have called him a liberal version of Ron Paul. He is also considered somewhat loony by many people because he holds to a belief that he was mentally contacted by aliens.

He is from Ohio, and during the time of his experience, he lived near an Air Force base. He saw a strange UFO, and as it flew over, he claims to have felt a mental connection. Others would later say that Kucinich felt what he wanted to feel, and that the UFO was likely an experimental craft from the nearby base. UFO enthusiasts would claim that UFOs like to buzz military bases and would probably take Kucinich at his word.

8Kennedy Died Because He Planned To Tell The Public


Photo credit: Walt Cisco

Many people are convinced that John F. Kennedy wasn’t simply killed by a lone communist sympathizer, and many are also convinced it was done by agents within the government. While some people imagine it was done because he wished to break up banks or something similar, alien theorists have a different idea.

The theorists claim Kennedy demanded information on aliens and Area 51, expressing a desire just a few days before he died to work together more with Russians on the space program. They call this evidence that Kennedy was going to gain information to spill to the public, and the CIA killed him because they could not risk the knowledge contained in Area 51 being divulged.

Unfortunately for the theorists, the supposed letters Kennedy sent werealmost certainly a forgery.


7A Russian Parliament Member Has Seen UFOs And Implies The Government Knows


Photo credit: Chess Daily News

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is the former president of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia and the current president of the World Chess Organization. He is a rather strange figure who openly claims that he was abducted by aliens, and they were very similar to people. Like Dennis Kucinich, he claims that the being connected with him mentally while he was aboard their craft.

One Russian official suggested that claiming he was abducted by aliens may make him unfit to govern. However, as if suggesting it were a real possibility, the official concluded on an equally important issue: Aliens may have been able to take state secrets from him during an abduction, and a meeting with aliens would be historic were it to happen. He felt Ilyumzhinov should have reported it all directly to the Kremlin.

6Dwight. D. Eisenhower Knew And Almost Revealed All


Photo credit: White House –

One of the most popular theories about the allegedly alien-obsessed Eisenhower claims that Eisenhower either secretly met with aliens or telepathically connected with them. He used these connections to set up alliances, knowing full well all of the government’s alien research programs—he was even involved in some of them.

The other conspiracy claims that alien secrets were being kept from Eisenhower, so he threatened to invade Area 51. Knowing they couldn’t stand up to the current president and war hero, they backed down and allowed his experts to tour the facility, where they saw alien spacecraft and the remains of the one that crashed at Roswell. If this were true, one could speculate a deeper warning behind his speech about the military industrial complex.

5Russian Prime Minister Medvedev’s Joke Is Taken As A Serious Admission


Photo credit: Government.ru

A few years back, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev proved that the Western media doesn’t understand Slavic humor very well. He said in an interview that he received secret folders with information on aliens. He claimed that they live among us, knowing what they looked like would cause panic, and he can control them at any time.

While there could be a possibility of alien coverups, it is clear that if the Russian prime minister did know anything, he was just messing with people. Claiming that he could control them at any time brought the entire thing into a realm of complete fancy—and it was already strange to being with.


4Former Astronaut Edgar Mitchell Is Obsessed With Alien Life And Coverups


Photo credit: NASA

Edgar Mitchell is a former Astronaut who has become obsessed with UFOs and regularly attends conventions. He doesn’t claim to have ever seen aliens in person, but he is certain they exist and originally became an astronaut because of his obsession.

He hailed from the town of Roswell, New Mexico, and was affected by the buzz surrounding the crash. He claims the citizens of the town were told by the government to let it go, and when he tried with his clout as an astronaut to get some information on the issue, he didn’t get far. Supposedly, he managed to get confirmation that an alien spacecraft had crashed in Roswell, and then further inquiries were shut down.

3Retired Air Force Captain Claims UFOs Would Temporarily Deactivate Nukes

A former Air Force Captain named Robert Salas who worked on ICBMs in Montana claims some very strange experiences. He alleges that UFOs were common and would mess up their nukes so the Air Force had to go back and reactivate them manually. On one occasion, all of their missiles were jammed for several minutes. Some other missile bases around the world have reported similar things.

He also claims his men once nearly approached a strange triangular craft and once saw a UFO that looked like it was spewing some kind of molten metal. According to Captain Salas, his superiors didn’t dismiss or mock his story but instead either told him it was top secret or that it “didn’t happen.”

2The US Government Allegedly Admitted To UFOs After Roswell Then Changed Their Tune


Roswell is the original major UFO incident in the United States—not the first one ever but the first one to get major coverage and wedge itself firmly into the public’s imagination. To this day, the issue has not been put to rest in many people’s minds. The newspaper the next morning claimed that a flying metal disc had crashed, only to quickly publish a retraction at the request of the Air Force.

The Air Force produced wreckage that could have been from a weather balloon, and that became the official story. However, the damage was already done. Even if Roswell was just a government experiment of some kind, the original headline and the Air Force’s clumsy attempts to hide things means that many theorists will never be convinced it was anything but aliens.

1The British Government Fought To Keep UFO Files Hidden For A Silly Reason


A couple years back, the Ministry of Defense of Great Britain finally released the files they had on UFOs, and people viewed them with a collective shrug. After all of the fighting to keep them secret, there really hadn’t been anything to find. The files show that after 50 years of monitoring and searching, the government had failed to garner anything useful whatsoever.

Some theorists will claim that the real files were obviously not released and suggest that the government wouldn’t have tried so hard to hide them if they were so banal. However, there is a less sinister reason they were kept hidden—national embarrassment. The government even had a UFO hotline until a few years back. The documents show it was shut down because it was producing no results and wasting a colossal amount of money. The likely truth in this case is the government didn’t want their citizens to know just how much money they had wasted.

10 People Claiming To Have Evidence Of Extra Terrestrial Life

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10 People Claiming To Have Evidence Of Extra Terrestrial Life



The idea of finding intelligent life elsewhere in our solar system has largely been confined to science fiction stories and movies about Moon-dwelling Nazis. That has not always been the case, though. For decades, astronomers and theologians alike have claimed that they discovered or could rationalize proof of life on our planetary neighbors.

10Franz von Paula Gruithuisen


Photo credit: F.P. fon Gruithuisen

In 1824, Franz von Paula Gruithuisen, a German astronomer and physician, published a paper with the hefty title, “Discovery of many distinct traces of lunar inhabitants, especially one of their colossal buildings.” In a series of papers spread out over 28 years, he defined what he believed to be a true lunar city near the crater called Schroter.

In numerous drawings, Gruithuisen interpreted what he saw through his telescope as artificially constructed buildings, waterways, and roads. He drew incredibly beautiful, detailed maps of the Moon’s surface, but most of his contemporaries dismissed his “Lunar City” claims as nonsense.


9Giovanni Schiaparelli


Photo via Wikimedia

Giovanni Schiaparelli was an Italian astronomer who made some of the most complete and accurate observations of Mars in the 19th century. In 1877, Mars reached a point in its orbit that brought it close to Earth.

During Schiaparelli’s observations of the approaching planet, he diagrammed light and dark areas on the surface. He also gave the areas names and wrote a treatise in which he talked about the distinctly Earthlike characteristics of Mars.

Schiaparelli drew maps of canali (“channels”). Even though he used the term interchangeably with fiumi (“rivers”), the connotation of a canal being something that was artificially constructed by sentient hands had already taken hold in popular imagination.

Due to his color blindness, Schiaparelli’s perception of color influenced his ability to see the canals. As a result, he appeared to see things that others couldn’t. Although he never suggested that the canals were artificial, he was careful to say that anything was possible.

8Guglielmo Marconi And Nikola Tesla


Photo via Wikimedia

Although Guglielmo Marconi and Nikola Tesla are most commonly associated with their pioneering work in various scientific fields, their work with radio signals led them both to believe that they were picking up messages from Martians.

Tesla first developed the idea of using radio waves to contact extraterrestrial life around 1896. In 1899, his Knob Hill Tesla coil receiver picked up strange, regularly repeating signals. He believed they were coming from people living on Mars. He separated the signals into groups that historians now think were either misinterpreted data or interference from Jupiter’s magnetosphere.

Marconi picked up signals that he believed were proof of life on Mars, and other radio pioneers worked on the idea of using the new technology to communicate with the Red Planet.


7Sir David Brewster


When the scientific world confirmed that Earth was one of a number of planets, the religious world needed to decide if Earth was unique and then determine why God created all these empty planets. Cosmic pluralismbecame the popular theory. It stated that other worlds must be inhabited by other good, God-fearing Christians because there was no other reason for them to exist.

Sir David Brewster’s proof came in the form of an argument. Since planets were too far away to see the life that was clearly there, we needed to rely on reason. We could see that the planets’ surfaces were at least superficially similar to Earth’s. That meant they were created for the same purpose: to support life.

Brewster likened it to the analogy of an eye. All creatures might have different sizes and shapes of eyes, but they were all for seeing. Therefore, all planets were for living on.

6John J. O’Neill


Photo credit: Astro Guyz

John J. O’Neill was a science editor for the New York Herald Tribune. In summer 1953, he was particularly interested in the landscape of the Moon. On July 29, he made what he thought was an astounding discovery: a bridge built between two rocky outcroppings along the Mare Crisium crater.

Estimating that the bridge was about 19 kilometers (12 mi) long, O’Neill released his observations to the scientific community. Others confirmed that there was something there.

O’Neill and other astronomers went public with the findings and the idea that the bridge was an artificially constructed piece of lunar technology. Later observations proved that the bridge was an illusion caused by light and shadow, but the idea was later immortalized in a book by Arthur C. Clarke.

5Mikhail Vasin And Alexander Shcherbakov


Photo credit: Cave Comedy Radio

Even though they were members of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Mikhail Vasin and Alexander Shcherbakov never had much luck getting support for their theory published in Sputnik magazine regarding their proof that men were living on the Moon.

According to the researchers, proof had been right in front of everyone all along. The craters of the Moon were too shallow in proportion to their diameter, making it unlikely that they were caused by impact events on a rock surface.

That only meant, they claimed, that it wasn’t actually a Moon but a space station. They went on to suggest that the Moon was actually a sort of Noah’s Ark, perhaps filled with an ancient civilization that had been wandering the galaxy for millions of years.

That was the only bit of proof they offered, and other members of the scientific community were not impressed.


4Percival Lowell


Photo credit: Percival Lowell

Giovanni Schiaparelli might have been among the first to document the so-called canals on the surface of Mars, but Percival Lowell popularized the idea that they were proof of a civilization. Lowell released several books and numerous sketches that showed how the canals were clearly made by intelligent life.

He claimed that the canals were the last-ditch attempt of a dying civilization to save itself from extinction. The canals had been designed to tap resources from the ice caps of Mars in a story clearly inspired by some of the biggest news stories of the day: the Panama and Suez Canals. Lowell also claimed that there were similar canals visible on the surface of Venus, which started to raise suspicions.

Later comparisons between Lowell’s maps and the pattern of blood vessels in the human retina suggest that he wasn’t mapping the surface of a planet at all. He was mapping the images projected from his own eyeball.

3Richard Proctor


In the 1860s and 1870s, British astronomer Richard Proctor conducted an extensive study of the solar system’s planets to see if they were candidates for supporting life. After accounting for everything from climate and atmosphere to the changing seasons, Proctor concluded that he had enough evidence to prove that there was life on other planets—just not necessarily intelligent life.

Using Darwin’s theories as the basis for his own work, Proctor stated that the specialized conditions he saw on each planet meant that specialized life-forms existed there. Since Mars appeared to have things like oceans and water, he considered it to be a miniature reflection of Earth.

As a result, Proctor believed that Mars was the only place that could support life as we know it. On the other hand, Jupiter could only support very small life-forms, if any.

2Reverend Thomas Dick


Photo credit: H. Cook

Reverend Thomas Dick, a Scottish teacher and theologian, claimed that science and religion could coexist if there were a grand, sweeping plan for all the planets to be in alignment. That meant that God intended for all the rules on Earth to apply everywhere else. Dick also claimed that he could determine the population of the other planets based on the population of Earth.

He structured his mathematics on the idea that England had a population density of 725 people per square kilometer (280 people/mi2). Comparing that ratio to the number of square miles on each planet, each planet’s satellites, and even the rings of Saturn, Dick estimated the number of intelligent beings that lived on each planet.

Jupiter, he said, had a population of seven trillion, and its satellites were inhabited by another 27 billion people.

1Leonid Ksanfomaliti


Photo credit: Sci-News.com

In 2012, Leonid Ksanfomaliti, a professor from Moscow’s Space Research Institute, made an announcement that most people found unlikely. He claimed that when he was analyzing a series of photographs taken in 1982 by the Venera 13, he found proof that there was life on Venus.

He pointed to a supposed giant scorpion that appeared to move through a series of consecutive photos. Ksanfomaliti said that the creature had a visible body and tail that moved and then disappeared out of the probe’s camera range.

A similar creature showed up in photographs taken by another Venus probe. Although that has left some people clamoring over the possibility of life on Venus, NASA says that there is another, perfectly mundane explanation for what is appearing in the rather low-resolution photos.

It’s the probe camera’s lens cap.

10 Fascinating Facts About Slavery In Ancient Greece

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10 Fascinating Facts About Slavery In Ancient Greece



How was it possible that slavery was so central in a society where individual freedom was so highly valued? This is one of the many paradoxes of ancient Greece . . . or maybe it’s not a paradox but a reflection of the fact that we can only value things based on contrast. Perhaps it was because of the fundamental role of slavery that ancient Greeks came to value individual freedom so much. This list presents 10 interesting facts linked to slavery in ancient Greece.

10Slave Population


Photo credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen

There are no reliable figures available on the slave population in ancient Greece. Some scholars have made educated guesses, but the slave population varied significantly across different regions of Greece.

Modern estimations suggest that in Attica (Athens and its vicinity) from 450 to 320 BC, there were roughly 100,000 slaves. The total population of the region was around 250,000, which would give us a slave-to-free ratio of about 2:5. Other, more general estimates state that between 15 and 40 percent of the ancient Greek population were slaves in various regions at different times.


9Slave Procurement


Photo via Wikimedia

A large number of slaves were prisoners of war, usually part of the booty seized by the victorious army. One famous example comes from Philip II of Macedon (Alexander the Great’s father), who sold 20,000 women and children into slavery after the invasion of Scythia in 339 BC. The connection between war booty and slave procurement was so tight that slave traders sometimes joined the armies during their campaigns so they could buy the prisoners immediately after they were captured.

Other streams of slave procurement included piracy, debt, and even barbarian tribes who were willing to exchange their own people for specific goods. Trading posts also acted as big suppliers of slaves for Greece. Many of these were located around the Black Sea, and some cities such as Byzantium and Ephesus also had big slave markets.

8Slave Occupations


Photo via Wikimedia

In Athens, making a living by working for others was perceived negatively. State employment was the only form of wage labor free from this prejudice. Since most free citizens avoided wage labor as much as they could, slaves were used to fill the workforce gaps. As a result, saves could perform a wide range of jobs in ancient Greece.

We know of slaves being employed as cooks, craftsmen, maids, miners, nurses, porters, and even in the army as attendants to their masters, baggage carriers, and sometimes as fighters. Some specific public positions were performed by slaves, the most famous example being (surprisingly) the police in Athens, which, at least during part of the fifth and fourth centuries BC, consisted mostly of Scythian slaves.


7Slave Ownership


Photo credit: Jean Leon Gerome

Owning slaves was a fairly common practice in ancient Greece. A middle-class family might have had between three and 12 slaves, but those numbers are just estimations by scholars and hard to verify. The number of slaves varied according to time and place.

In his work Ecclesiazusae, Aristophanes equates not owning any slaves to a sign of poverty. The two major owners of slaves in ancient Greece were the state, where slaves were employed as police and various other public functions, and also wealthy businessmen, who supplied slaves for working in the mines.

6Versatile Lifestyles


Photo credit: Stefano Bolognini

There were different types of slaves in ancient Greece, and their living conditions and expectations were strongly linked to their occupations. The most unfortunate were the slaves involved in mining, who were condemned to a miserable life and almost certainly an early death.

However, not all slaves were doomed to suffer cruelty and abuse, and some could expect a more or less decent living. Slaves specialized as craftsmen, for example, could work and live separately from their masters and could engage in commerce and generate income, though a portion of what they earned had to go to their masters’ pockets. Spartan slaves (helots) could enjoy family life. State slaves in the Athenian army who died during combat were even honored with a state funeral, the same as free citizens.

5Slaves And Craft Production

During Classical times, the booming Athenian craft production industry forced many workshops to evolve into factories. Slave labor was the dominant workforce in many prominent factories, most of which belonged to wealthy politicians.

We have records of two factories owned by Demosthenes that were largely supported by slaves. One of these factories produced swords and had about 30 slaves, while the other used 20 slaves and produced couches. Lysias, the famous writer, owned the largest production center we have on record, a shield factory which had 120 slaves.


4Slaves And Mining


Photo via Wikimedia

Mining has always been a highly profitable activity, and ancient Greece was no exception. The profits from mining were as immense as the risks of working in the mines. It’s no wonder that the Athenians employed slaves for a job so dangerous.

Large profits were made not only from the actual mining activity, but also by those who could supply slave labor. We know that the politician and general Nicias (fifth century BC) supplied as many as 1,000 slaves to work in the mines, making 10 talents a year, an income equivalent to 33 percent on his capital.

The fate of slaves working in the mines was precarious. Many of them worked underground in shackles, deprived from sunlight and fresh air. In 413 BC, an Athenian army was captured during a disastrous expedition to Sicily, and all 7,000 Athenian prisoners were forced to work in the quarries of Syracuse. Not one of them survived.

3Slaves And Freedom


Photo credit: Marsyas

Some slaves could hope to gain their freedom. It was possible mainly for those in a position of saving money, especially those who where involved in wage labor and therefore had some degree of financial autonomy. Slaves who were able to save enough money could buy their freedom by paying their masters an agreed sum. We also know of slaves employed in the army who were granted their freedom as a reward for their service.

At Delphi, many inscriptions displaying the names of slaves who bought their freedom have been found. They illustrate the diverse array of regions from which the slave were procured: Caria, Egypt, Lydia, Phoenicia, Syria, and many other countries appear.



Photo via Pinterest

The helots were Greeks reduced to servitude by the Spartans. Their exact origin is unclear, but some accounts claim that they had been the inhabitants of a place called Helos, which was conquered by the Spartans. With every new conquest, the number of helots increased.

The helots were occupied as farmers, house servants, and any other activity that would distract the Spartan citizens from their military duties. There was constant tension between the helots and the Spartans. They were treated in humiliating ways and constantly intimidated. They had to wear a cap made of dog skin and a leather tunic. It was agreed that the helots should be beaten an agreed number of strokes every year, regardless of any transgression they might have committed, so they would not forget that they were slaves.

Sparta had a secret police (the Crypteia), responsible for keeping the Helots in check. Plutarch (Life of Lycurgus 28) wrote that the Crypteia would kill any helot found in the countryside during the night. During the day, they would kill any helot who looked strong and fit.

1Rational Justifications


Photo credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen

While we might have objections to the practice of slavery, ancient Greek society did not seem to share our concerns against human exploitation. Slavery was not only accepted as a normal institution, but there were also a number of justifications for it.

Aristotle wrote that some people were simply born to be slaves, while others were born to rule the slaves, a doctrine known as “natural slavery” (Politics 1, 1253b15–55b40). Slavery, Aristotle said, was a good thing for slaves, for without masters, slaves would not know how to live their lives. He also saw slaves as “animate tools”—pieces of property to be used, with no rights other than those granted by their masters.

World’s First ‘Three Parent Baby’ Born Thanks to a New Fertility Technique

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World’s First ‘Three Parent Baby’ Born Thanks to a New Fertility Technique

Yesterday 1:33pm

Image: Zeiss Microscopy

A new reproductive technique in which a baby is produced with the genetic material from three distinct parents has yielded its first human.

 As reported in New Scientist, the baby was born five months ago in Mexico with the help of US researchers. The three-parent reproductive technique, known as mitochondrial donation or pronuclear transfer, is not yet legal in the United States, but it is under serious discussion. The method was approved two years ago in the UK, but that country has yet to produce its first “three-parent” child.

 This therapy stops serious conditions from being passed down from mother to child. In this case, the five-month old boy was born to a Jordanian mother who was at risk of passing down a fatal and debilitating genetic disorder called Leigh Syndrome, which affects the developing nervous system. The mother had previously lost two children to the disorder, so she sought the help of John Zhang, a researcher at the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City. As noted in New Scientist, Zhang performed the procedure in Mexico, where “there are no rules,” adding that “[saving] lives is the ethical thing to do.”

Mitochondria are the powerpacks that fuel every human cell, and just like the nucleus, they contain DNA. Unfortunately, inherited defects in mitochondrial DNA can cause severe or even fatal results. To overcome this problem, scientists extract two eggs—one from the mother and one from a donor. The nucleus of the donor egg is removed, leaving the mitochondria intact, and replaced by the mother’s nucleus. The resulting embryo is free from the inherited defect, resulting in a potentially healthy baby—albeit it with three parents.

 Zhang and his colleagues tested the baby’s mitochondria, and found that less than one percent contains the harmful mutation. It usually takes about 18 percent of mitochondria to be affected before problems set in.

The technique is considered controversial by some because of the unorthodox number of parents. But bear in mind that a scant 0.1 percent of genetic information is being transferred by the donor. This concern is basically a non-issue, and people need to get over it. Also, this is not the first time that a baby has been born with three parents; it simply marks the first time it’s been done using this new technique.

 More important are the questions of safety and efficacy. Running off to Mexico to perform a procedure because it’s still illegal in the United States may push the science forward, but it’s clearly sending the wrong message.

[New Scientist]

George is a contributing editor at Gizmodo and io9.

SpaceX Wants to Venture Much Further Out Into the Solar System

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SpaceX Wants to Venture Much Further Out Into the Solar System

All images: Flickr / SpaceX

Elon Musk finally revealed his plans for a mission to Mars today. But a new set of images from SpaceX show the Interplanetary Transport System going even further in the solar system than the Red Planet.

As we speculated yesterday, the plans for the ITS do, indeed, go well beyond Mars. Musk confirmed an interest in traveling elsewhere in the solar system, especially to Europa, during his speech today—and SpaceX confirmed in a tweet and with this new artwork, as well.

In the latest renderings from SpaceX, you can see the ITS heading past Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, and also Saturn’s rings. Other destinations appear to include Titan, Enceladus, Europa, or others. But before the ITS can make it way out there, the spacecraft has to show that it can get to Mars first.

How Elon Musk Plans to Go to Mars

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How Elon Musk Plans to Go to Mars 

Yesterday 3:28pm

Image: Flickr / SpaceX

SpaceX plans to build a “self-sustaining city” on Mars, according to its founder Elon Musk. But, while we now know a lot more about how SpaceX plans to get to Mars, details about how people will actually survive up there remain sketchy.

 Musk dropped the news on Tuesday during an address at the International Astronautical Congress meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he had promised to reveal how the company planned to send people to live on Mars.

“I don’t have an immediate doomsday prophecy,” said Musk, but he noted that he saw only two possible paths forward. “One path is to stay on Earth forever, and there will be some extinction event. The alternative is to become a multi-planetary species, which I hope you will agree is the right way to go.”

A view of Mars from inside the spaceship (Image: SpaceX)

The plan comes less than a month after the company’s rockets were grounded following a mysterious explosion that caused a Falcon 9 to burst into flames on the launchpad. Since then, the company has released the results of an initial investigation, tracing the fire back to a breach in the rocket’s heliumsupply, and announced that it plans to take to the skies again by November.

 Right before the presentation, SpaceX released a mini-preview of what we could expect from its new Interplanetary Transport System. The system was previously called the Mars Colonial Transporter, until just a few weeks ago,when Musk changed the name after suggesting that it could take us to other destinations in the solar system.

As noted earlier, the video gives us a pretty good idea of the sequence of events for how the system would work:

In the video, first, we see the rocket lift-off from Cape Canaveral’s Launchpad 39a with 28,730,000 pounds of thrust behind it. After stage separation, the spaceships parks in orbit while the booster returns to Earth—where it lands. A propellant tanker is loaded onto the booster to refuel the spaceship in orbit for its trip to Mars. The tanker returns to Earth and the spaceship heads for Mars. The solar arrays deploy and the ships coasts until it finally enter Mars’ orbit. The ship lands on the Martian surface and then we get a glimpse of the astronauts looking out onto the Martian plains.


What we didn’t see in the video, however, is any kind of infrastructure that would support those astronauts to keep them alive after landing. Based on Musk’s comments, it sounds like SpaceX intends to send colonizers to a permanent city on the Red Planet. With 1,000 ships and 200 people per ship, Musk estimated that it would take 40 to 100 years to achieve a fully self-sustaining civilization on Mars.

 One of the big barriers to doing that is the cost, which Musk estimated at about $10 billion. The SpaceX founder detailed four ways that he believed a ticket to Mars would become a possible purchase for many people—similar to buying a house. These methods include using reusable rockets, refuelling the spaceship in space, and using a methane fuel instead of traditional rocket fuels. Finally, that methane fuel could be harvested on Mars itself.

We also learned quite a bit about the rocket and what it would be like to travel to Mars. Just like the Falcon 9, the rocket booster on the Interplanetary Transport System will land and be re-used. (SpaceX has landed a number of its Falcon 9 rockets after flight, but hasn’t yet flown one of the used rockets back into space.) A key feature of the rocket re-usage plan is to send their Mars rockets back into space, so seeing a Falcon 9 rocket successfully make a second trip will be critical to convincing people that the plan is plausible.

 The new SpaceX rocket will be incredibly large, dwarfing even the company’s Falcon Heavy and the world’s last tallest rocket, the now-defunct Saturn V.

If being locked into a spaceship for months at a time with a bunch of your fellow humans sounds a little grim, though, Musk says not to worry. “It’ll be, like, really fun to go—you’ll have a great time,” he says. Key to doing that will be making the inside of the rocket comfortable for the long ride, which for initial trips will last 80 days. Musk says that he eventually believes a trip could be brought down to a single month.

But whether this is really doable depends a lot on whether SpaceX can actually get the money together. “I would say it’s going to be a challenge to fund this whole project,” Musk noted. He spent a lot of time today talking about the economics of an individual ticket, which he said could drop as low as $100,000.

Musk hinted that he would personally be devoting assets to the project. “I really don’t have any other motivation for personally accumulating assets, except to make the biggest contribution I can to making life multi-planetary,” he said. But even then, there would still need to be significant outside investment.

 “I know there’s a lot of people in the private sector interested in funding a trip to Mars, hopefully there will be interest in the government side as well,” Musk said. “Ultimately this will be a huge private-public partnership.”

How quickly all this could happen would, in large degree, depend on whether that funding comes through at all. But if the money is there and all goes as planned on the technical side, Musk said we could see Mars flights begin as soon as 2023—although he cautioned that the timeline was still in-flux. He also kept to SpaceX’s original date for when we would see Red Dragon missions head to Mars in 2018 with payloads between 2 or 3 tons.

But while he described the project as a “self-sustaining city,” Musk did not go into detail about the kind of long-term infrastructure that would keep people alive once they got there.

 “The goal of SpaceX is really to build the transport system,” said Musk, before suggesting that the Martian colonists themselves would do much of the building. “Who wants to be among the first to build everything, from refineries to the first pizza joint?” Musk asked.

But before we can build a pizza joint on Mars, people will need a whole lot of other things, including but not limited to clean and usable water, a space habitat capable of withstanding Martian environments, some kind of transport, and presumably some more people who would eat there. Musk also failed to explain who—if anyone—is actually going to build and maintain that basic infrastructure. Without it, the plan is unlikely to succeed.

For what it’s worth, Musk says that he’d like to make the trip to Mars himself—but only after putting together a Plan B for his company, in case of disaster. “I would definitely like to go to orbit and visit the space station and then ultimately go to Mars,” he said. “I have to make sure if something goes wrong on the flight and I die there’s a good succession plan and the mission of the company continues.”

 If SpaceX’s plans to get to Mars do succeed, though, we could be looking at trips even further out. As I noted yesterday, Musk has hinted at the possibility of using this transport system to go beyond Mars—and it appears that future plans could be heading that way.

“If we have a propellent depot, you can go from Mars to Jupiter, no problem,” Musk said. “It means full access to the entire greater solar system.” He noted a particular interest in traveling to Europa.

The first step, though, would be establishing regular travel—or even a first trip—to Mars. And to see if that’s really possible, we’ll have to wait.

Ria Misra

This Woman Lived With a Mystery “Pregnancy” for 3 Years

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This Woman Lived With a Mystery “Pregnancy” for 3 Years

Warning: The images in this post are graphic.


How Self-Driving Cars May Change The World

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“this is an article sent in by Sally Thomas ” :

How Self-Driving Cars May Change The World

Self-driving cars. Some are horrified by the prospect. Others are excited. Whatever you think of them, however, they’re on their way. We’ve got the technology, and governments are working even now on putting legislative infrastructures in place which will allow their use. Quite what form these infrastructures will take remains to be seen – but it looks pretty certain that the first commercial driverless cars will be hitting a road near you pretty soon. One day, you may even own one yourself. Or possibly not, if driverless technology changes vehicle ownership trends (as it may well do…). Plenty of people think that driverless cars will bring sweeping changes to the world in their wake. This might be true, it might not – it all depends on what legislation accompanies their advent, and how the public receive and use them. However, let’s go out on a limb and have a look at some of the changes which could, potentially, take place with driverless cars…

General Motors’ Firebird II was described as having an “electronic brain” that allowed it to move into a lane with a metal conductor and follow it along


The Transportation Industry Could Transform

The industry most obviously and immediately affected by driverless technology will be the transportation industry. If your vehicle drives itself, it does not need a driver, after all. Lots of people are worried that this will put those currently employed to drive out of a job. However, this may not necessarily be the case. After all, while a driverless lorry may be able to get your parcel to your street, it can’t carry it to your door and get your signature. And while a driverless bus may be able to get you from A to B, it can’t provide security, or answer your queries about tickets. While there may well be technological solutions around both of these problems, it also seems likely at the moment that governments will insist on having someone qualified to take manual control of any driverless commercial vehicle on board while the vehicle is in operation – whether or not they are actually driving it themselves. So the outlook for bus drivers and delivery people isn’t as bleak as it may seem!

Ownership May Alter

For private vehicles, it could transpire that people will come to see cars as more of a service to be called up as and when needed rather than as individual possessions. If you can direct your car by remote control, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be out and about transporting other people from place to place when you don’t need it yourself. This poses some interesting questions for the private car industry. For example, if you can happily co-own a car with a group of other people, and if none of you are actually driving the car themselves, how will the current system of needing to be insured on the car you drive work? Will vehicle companies offer subscription services via which users can call up cars when they need them, rather than owning their own – like a remote control taxi, only cheaper? All very interesting, and something that the automotive industry is currently working upon rather feverishly!

The Volvo S60 Drive Me autonomous test vehicle is considered Level 3 autonomous driving.


Parking Won’t Be A Problem

If you can send your car off to park itself, and call it back when you need it, the problem of parking suddenly ceases to be an issue. Indeed, we could potentially free up an awful lot of land space currently occupied by car parks which must needs be within walking distances of houses, shops, workplaces etc. If self-driving cars could take themselves to a single depot when not actively transporting people, that eliminates at a stroke the necessity for shopping center and office car parks. You could even grub up your drive and turn it into a garden, or convert your garage into a games room!

Tesla Model S Autopilot system is suitable only on limited-access highways not for urban driving. Among other limitations, Autopilot can not detect pedestrians or cyclists.


The Look Of Vehicles Will Change

As you’d expect, proponents of driverless vehicles currently claim that they’ll be a lot safer than what we’ve got at the moment. Whether or not that is the case remains to be seen – but it’s almost certain that the safety specs for driverless cars will be different to those of manually driven cars. For a start, they’re likely to have electric engines, which are considerably smaller than petroleum-driven engines. While they’ll need space for the computer tech which will drive the car, these can also be rendered pretty small. So spacious hoods to house hefty engines simply won’t be needed. Currently, there’s a good argument for keeping a large ‘crumple zone’ regardless of what’s under the hood, as it helps to protect passengers during head-on collisions. However, the likelihood is that driverless car passengers will be in the back rather than the front of the car, meaning that the vehicle as a whole can be a hell of a lot smaller without sacrificing any ‘crumple zone’ advantages.


25 Strangest Sights on Google Earth

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25 Strangest Sights on Google Earth

China Powers Up the World’s Largest Alien-Hunting Telescope

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China Powers Up the World’s Largest Alien-Hunting Telescope

Sunday 11:16am

Screengrab: YouTube/Fraser Cain via FAST

You had a good run Arecibo, but there’s a new big dog in town. China has switched on the massive dish that now officially holds the record for the world’s largest single-aperture telescope. Among other things, researchers hope it will provide a big boost in the hunt for extraterrestrial life.

What’s been dubbed the “FAST” (Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope) officially began operating around noon yesterday. It’s 200 meters larger than the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico which, at 305 meters, has dominated the telescope size game since the 1960’s. Just to give you an idea of the scale, FAST is roughly the size of 30 soccer fields.

FAST’s size matters. It’s tremendously powerful and has a field of vision that’s reportedly twice as large as the Arecibo Observatory. As far as sensitivity is concerned, the Chinese telescope is 10 times more powerful than its closest competitor, the 100-meter telescope near Bonn, Germany.

Peng Bo, a researcher at the National Astronomical Observatories, told China’s official Xinhua news agency that “FAST’s potential to discover an alien civilization will be five to 10 times that of current equipment, as it can see farther and darker planets.”

The telescope will also help scientists detect more pulsars. That means they will have greater capabilities when it comes to tracing gravitational waves or ripples in space-time which could lead to a better understanding of the evolution of galaxies and the origins of the universe.

Building such an enormous project comes at a price. Not only did China invest $180 million into the construction of the telescope, but it also hascontroversially relocated between nine and ten thousand residents of the Guizhou province. Those citizens were rehoused in the nearby counties of Pingtang and Luodian due to concerns of magnetic interference.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made space exploration a top priority. In 2013, the country landed the first space rover on the moon since 1976. Plans have been set to build a space station by 2022 and land a man on the moon by 2036.

For the next two to three years, China’s astronomers will be given priority at FAST. It will later be opened to scientists around the globe.

[Al Jazeera]

Gizmodo weekend editor