Any extraterrestrials who may be listening into the broadcast signals emanating from Earth will have been treated, or otherwise, to upwards of eight decades of our television shows, depending on how far away they are.
And now, as the signature of our civilisation radiates ever further into the galactic void, we are able to see, thanks to the people at xkcd.com, where the likes of movies and TV shows such as “Star Wars”, “South Park”, or “Casablanca”, are currently being received.
When it comes to travelling to other planets in the solar system, there’s little doubt that Mars is firmly in everyone’s sights. Baltimore scientist Robert Condit however had other ideas. In 1928 he built a rocket that he planned to fly to Venus in.
The Baltimore rocket was fueled with 50 gallons of gasoline with eight steel pipes for engines. The several layers of sailcloth that covered the rocket were impregnated with varnish making an airtight shell “as brittle as glass.” The nose section unscrewed to allow the rocket’s single passenger ingress. Inside was a large tank of oxygen, a supply of concentrated food tablets and water in 1.5-inch pipes that lined the interior to save space. There were also a “couple [of] flashlights and a first aid kit, and that was it.” There were two glass portholes, though there was no way to steer the rocket. He planned to hit Venus by taking very careful aim at takeoff. In the nose was a 25-foot silk parachute that the pilot could push out in order for the rocket to make a safe descent.
It was a bold undertaking to say the least, though from what I can gather Condit’s vessel lacked two vital features. One was the ability to steer, or guide, the craft, as Venus could only be reached “by taking very careful aim at takeoff”. There also appeared to be no way to return to Earth, an equally crucial point, if you ask me.
Perhaps though Condit was hoping to get the jump on Mars One?
Controlling the International Space Station (ISS), as it hurtles above our heads in Earth orbit, looks incredibly straightforward here, but I suspect there’s far more to steering a vessel, or if you ask me, a structure, with the dimensions of the ISS.
Spacesuit design through the… space age. The final suit, the sleek Bio-Suit, as designed by Dava Newman, looks far easier to wear and work in than some of the earlier versions, but I wonder how robust, how radiation resistant, and what have you, it would be.
Two Earth size exoplanets have been detected orbiting the same star, in its so-called “habitable zone” to boot, some 1,200 light years from here. What to say? It can only therefore be a matter of time until first contact is made with an extraterrestrial civilisation.
But if you happen to be the person who answers the phone, or opens the door, when the very first aliens call or arrive, have you given any thought as to what you’d say, or try to say, to them?
The fourth year physics students – Riley Connors, Katie Dexter, Joshua Argyle, and Cameron Scoular – say that the crew wouldn’t see star lines stretching out past the ship during the jump to hyperspace, but would actually see a central disc of bright light. This is due to the Doppler effect, specifically the Doppler blue shift, that results in the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light, shortening as the source of the light moves towards the observer.