Elon Musk thinks we’re all probably trapped in a “Matrix”-like pseudo existence.
The universe is 13.8 billion years old, so any civilizations that may have arisen throughout the cosmos have had loads and loads of time to hone their technological know-how, the SpaceX founder and CEO explained early this morning (Sept. 7) during a long, wide-ranging and very entertaining appearance on comedian Joe Rogan’s popular podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
“If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then games will be indistinguishable from reality, or civilization will end. One of those two things will occur,” Musk said. “Therefore, we are most likely in a simulation, because we exist.” [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Aliens]
“I think most likely — this is just about probability — there are many, many simulations,” he added. “You might as well call them reality, or you could call them multiverse.”
The “substrate” on which these simulations are running, whatever it may be, is probably quite boring, at least compared to the simulations themselves, Musk further told Rogan.
“Why would you make a simulation that’s boring? You’d make a simulation that’s way more interesting than base reality,” Musk said, citing the video games and movies that humanity makes, which are “distillation[s] of what’s interesting about life.”
The billionaire entrepreneur is far from alone in this interpretation; a number of physicists, cosmologists and philosophers find the simulation hypothesis compelling. If even one advanced alien civilization with a predilection for creating simulations has ever arisen out there, the reasoning goes, then it could theoretically pop off thousands — or perhaps even millions or billions — of “fake” universes. And it would be hard for the inhabitants of these digital realms to figure out the truth, because all the evidence they could gather would likely be planted by the creators.
Indeed, the simulation idea is one of many possible explanations for the famous Fermi paradox, which basically asks, “Where is everybody?” (“Everybody” being aliens, of course.)
Sir Richard Branson has revealed he is training to become an astronaut, saying he expects to be launched into space within months.
The Virgin boss is trying to get Virgin Galactic – the commercial space travel company he founded – off the ground, and is eager to be one of the first space tourists.
“We’re talking about months not years – so it’s close. There are exciting times ahead,” the 67-year-old billionaire told BBC Radio 4’s You And Yours, to be broadcast on Monday.
“I’m going for astronaut training, I’m going for fitness training, centrifuge and other training so that my body will hopefully cope well when I go to space.”
Sir Richard, tech titan Elon Musk and Amazon boss Jeff Bezos are fronting the charge in commercial space travel as they race to become the first to catapult tourists into space.
While Sir Richard believes Musk is “doing fantastically well” managing to transport cargo into space and building bigger and bigger rockets, he suggests the real struggle is between the Virgin boss and Mr Bezos.
“I think we’re both [Sir Richard and Mr Bezos] neck and neck as to who will put people into space first. Ultimately we have to do it safely. It’s more a race with ourselves to make sure we have the craft that are safe to put people up there.”
The entrepreneur is keen to be one of those first space tourists.
He said his astronaut training had gone well so far, revealing he has managed to build his fitness up by playing tennis four times a day.
“Instead of doing one set of tennis every morning and every evening I’m doing two sets. I’m going kiting and biking, doing whatever it takes to make me as fit as possible.”
The Virgin founder is also taking part in demanding centrifuge training, which recreates the pressures the human body undergoes during space flight.
All astronauts are forced to go through G-force training, which mimics the experience of take-off and travel through the Earth’s atmosphere.
Sir Richard added: “If you’re going to really enjoy the experience, the fitter you can be the better”.
Earlier this year Virgin Galactic accomplished a supersonic test flight of its SpaceShipTwo passenger rocket ship.
It all began in 1937-1938, in the mountains of Baian-Kara-Ula, the remote, uninviting slopes located on the border that divides China and Tibet.
An archaeological expedition, led by the highly respected Chi Pu Tei, discovered a number of unique cave burial sites. What he and his team found in these previously unknown caves would soon be considered as something highly unusual.
For many it would represent one of the greatest discoveries of the century, and change everything they perceived about their distant past and their origins as a people.
Those who believed in the Genesis of the Bible only saw the so-called “scientific evidence” as possible proof of another creation of God intruding into Mankind’s domain.
By faith, this domain and any other living, thinking beings came from the one God worshiped by Christian and Jew alike.
Chi Pu Tei, a professor of archaeology at Beijing University, directed the archaeological survey of a series of interlinking caves. In a report he noted that the “caves” may have been artificially carved, and were more like a complex system of tunnels and underground storerooms.
The walls were squared and glazed, as if cut into the mountain with a source of extreme heat. Inside the caves were several ancient, but neatly arranged burial sites, and in them the skeletal remains of a people; a strange people.
The skeletons, measuring a little more than four feet tall, were found “frail and spindly” with “disproportionately large” skulls.
At first it was suggested that these might be the remains of an unknown species of mountain gorilla. Fellow researchers initially ridiculed Tei’s published findings. The concept of gorillas burying their young was preposterous, but that left one important question to ponder:
“What kind of human beings could these people have been?”
“Were they human at all?”
More discoveries made deeper in the connecting caves eliminated the possibility that apes had lived there.
On the walls carved pictograms of the heavens were found. The Earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars were there, and all were connected by pea-sized dots.
It was obvious that the pictures were meant to be a map or chart of some kind, and that they were created by intelligent beings.
The team then made what was called “the most incredible discovery of all.”
Half buried in the dirt floor of each cave they found unusual disks, originally referred to as “odd stone disks” and described as “obviously fashioned by the hand of an intelligent creature.”
These disks were approximately nine inches in diameter and three-quarters of an inch thick.
In the exact center was a perfectly round 3/4 inch hole, and etched into its face was a fine groove spiraling out from the center to the rim, making the disk look like some kind of “primitive phonograph record.”
One of the best preserved disks was dated to between 10,000 and 12,000 years BC old, older by far than even the oldest estimates of the age of the great pyramids of Egypt.
This was incredible news, but what was to come would be even more remarkable. A final total of 716 such plates were found, and each held its own mystery.
The grooves, upon closer inspection, were not grooves at all, but a continuous line of an unknown writing!
Shortly after World War II, a Polish professor named Lolladoff showed one of the ‘stone disks’ to British scientist Dr. Karyl Robin-Evans, who helped bring the story to the western world.
Lolladoff claimed to have bought the disk in Mussorie in Northern India and that it was supposed to be from a mysterious people called the “Dzopa” (or “Dropa”) who had used it for religious rituals.
Robin-Evans would follow the trail of the Dropa to its origins, and was able to take a rare photograph of the Dropa leaders in 1947 (below image).
His visit with the Dalai Lama was legendary, and provided a wealth of information on the reclusive, unique tribe of people.
The Translation Many experts tried to translate the hieroglyphs in the 20 years the disc lay in Peking.
They all failed. It was not until another professor, Dr. Tsum Um Nui, broke the code and started to decipher the ‘speaking grooves’ that the full implications of the disc were realized. Realized, that is, only by a select few. The outside world remained in ignorance.
For the professor’s conclusions on the meaning of the disc were so shattering that they were officially suppressed.
The stone disks told an astonishing story of a ‘space probe’ by the inhabitants of another planet which came to crash in the Bayan-Kara-Ula mountain range. The strange, spiral script told how the peaceful intentions of the ‘aliens’ had been misunderstood, and how many of them were hunted down and killed by members of the Ham tribe, who lived in the neighboring caves.
The Dropas ruling couple (1947) Hueypah-La (4 ft. tall) and
Veez-La (3 ft. 4 in. tall)
According to Nui, one of the lines of the hieroglyphs read,
“The Dropas came down from the clouds in their aircraft. The men, women and children of the neighboring peoples (Ham) hid in the caves ten times before sunrise.
When at last they understood the sign language of the Dropas, they realized that the newcomers had peaceful intentions…”
Another section of the writings expressed ‘regret’ by the Ham tribe that the aliens’ spaceship had crash-landed in such a remote and inaccessible mountains and that there had been no way of building a new one to enable the Dropas to return to their own planet.
In the years since the discovery of the first disk, archeologists and anthropologists had learned more about the isolated Bayan-Kara-Ula area.
Much of what they learned seemed to corroborate the bizarre story recorded on the discs. Legend still preserved in the area spoke of small, gaunt, yellow faced men who ‘came from the stars, long, long ago’. The men had huge, bulging heads and puny bodies and were so ugly and repellent that they were hunted down by local tribesmen on horseback.
Strangely, the description of the ‘invaders’ tallied with the skeletons originally discovered in the caves by Professor Chi Pu Tei.
As incredible as the Chinese disk story may be, there is more! On February 26, 1967, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner ran an article about the Dropas. Part of it follows…
“Riddle of Asian Stone Discs from Outer Space”
(original newspaper headline)
Russian archaeologists are puzzling over a remarkable collection of stone discs, thousands of years old, found in the mountains bordering China and Tibet. So hard is it to explain them in terms of earthly experience that the archaeologists do not rule out the possibility that the discs may have come from outer space.
A total of 716 discs, like Stone Age gramophone records have been picked up in recent years by men exploring caves in the Bayan-Kara- Ula mountain range, reports the Soviet Union’s new English-language magazine, Sputnik.
Each disc has a central hole and irregular grooves spiraling out to the edge, but the report says (quite seriously) that the groves are not sound tracks. It is thought that they are some form of ancient writing, but scientists have so far failed to decipher them.
Chinese archaeologists estimate that the discs are about 12,000 years old, but have made no headway at all in trying to explain their purpose or how they came to be in the caves.
The Russians, who have examined some of the discs in a Moscow laboratory, claim to have made two important discoveries. One is that the discs contain certain traces of metal; particularly cobalt. Secondly, when placed on a special turntable they hummed in an unusual rhythm like an electrical charge was passing through them.
The Russian Zaitsev, who has spent 30 years collecting evidence that intelligent beings from outer space have had contact with the earth, believes that the discs may give substance to ancient Chinese legends of small, gaunt, yellow-faced men who came down from the clouds many centuries ago…
Drawings on the cave walls portrayed beings with round helmets, and drawings of the sun, moon and stars were shown with interconnecting rows of dots.
The interconnecting dots could possibly portray the routes traveled by the ancestors of the beings in the graves or might have been drawn to show the outerspace origin of the ones who perished there in the cave …
In 1968 the Russian scientist W. Saitsew published a paper which raised a lot of interest in the subject of nonterrestrians visiting earth in the past. Some of the information presented in his paper were based on the work which Professor Tsum Um Nui had done in 1962.
For several years, nothing was heard of the disks. Then, in 1974, an Austrian engineer named Ernst Wegener came upon two of the disks in the Banpo Museum in Xian.
The museum director could tell him nothing about the disks, which had begun to deteriorate, but she allowed him to touch one of them and to photograph them. He did so, but he had only a Polaroid camera with him. These photos are the ones that we see often reprinted today.
In 1994, when Hartwig Hausdorf was in China, he asked the current director of the Banpo Museum about the disks and was told that they had disappeared.
In 1995 China released the following news report:
“In the province of Sichuan, which lies on the eastern border of the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains, 120 people of a previously ethnologically unclassified tribe have been discovered.
The most important aspect of this new tribe is the size of its people: No taller than 3 ft. 10 in., the smallest adult measuring only 2 ft. 1 in!
This discovery might be the first hard evidence on the existence of the Dropa/Dzopa – a people whose predecessors are said to have come from the stars.”
Today, the isolated area between Tibet and China is inhabited by two tribes of people who, in fact, call themselves the Dropa and the Ham.
Once enemies, these two tribes now co-exist peacefully. Anthropologists have been unable to categorize either tribe into any other known race; they are neither Chinese nor Tibetan. Both tribes are of pygmy stature, adults measuring between 3-foot-6 and 4-foot-7 with an average height of 4-foot-2, and body weights of 38 to 52 pounds.
They are yellow-skinned with thin bodies and disproportionately large heads, corresponding to the skeletal remains found in the caves in 1938. They have sparse hair on their bodies and have large eyes that are not Asian in aspect, but have pale blue irises. The Dropa people and their talking stone disks remain as mysterious today as they did in the late 1930s.
Many researcher feel that the Dropa stone disks are definitive proof of an alien race that “came from the stars.”
SpaceX’s priority is to get humans into space. Eventually, some of those people will end up on Mars. For now, the rocket-launching company needs to work on getting astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). To that end, it recently showed off the hardware and astronauts that’ll be part of the historical mission.
The United States’ last crewed space mission (it was also the final shuttle flight STS-135) launched from Kennedy Space Center in 2011. Since then, US astronauts have hitched rides on Russian rockets. Meanwhile, SpaceX, Boeing and NASA are reviving US space flight with the Commercial Crew Program. It’s a boring name for something that’s exciting not only for NASA but also the four gentlemen who are testing (and will eventually be aboard) the Dragon spaceship when it launches.
To get to that point, SpaceX has spent years working closely with NASA and with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. The experienced astronauts have spent the past three years sharing their expertise with SpaceX on everything from placing buttons in the best area in the craft to building a chair that works best for reaching escape velocity (the velocity needed to escape the gravitational pull of a celestial body — in this case, Earth) to iterating the design of the rather stylish space suit they’ll be wearing.
Each has two shuttle flights under his belt; Hurley was also aboard the final US space launch. Along with astronauts Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins, they are scheduled to be part of the crewed launch in April 2019 (Demo-2). SpaceX is also planning a test flight in November this year (Demo-1) with no passengers onboard. There’s a lot to do before both these dates, but ahead of launch, SpaceX wanted to show off what was ready to go.
The company invited media to tour and learn about the Crew Dragon capsule and talk with astronauts and executives. The capsule itself was the biggest surprise. If you’ve ever seen photos of the inside of a space shuttle, chances are you remember the massive amount of gauges, knobs, levers and lights — like the cockpit of a commercial airline but with more stuff.
The Crew Dragon capsule is sparse — Swedish design sparse. There are four chairs and a three-display control panel with a touchscreen that sits in front of the two center seats. The left screen is for situational awareness and timeline. It has the spacecraft’s trajectory and when it’s expected to lose communication with the ground. The center screen is for attitude (the orientation of an aircraft or spacecraft) and location of the ISS and sun. The latter is for solar charging.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER — A massive cylindrical habitat may one day house up to four astronauts as they make the trek to deep space.
Lockheed Martin gave a first look at what one of these habitats might look like Thursday at the Kennedy Space Center, where the aerospace giant is under contract with NASA to build a prototype of the living quarters.
Lockheed is one of six contractors — the others are Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Space Systems, Orbital ATK, NanoRacks and Bigelow Aerospace — that NASA awarded a combined $65 million to build a habitat prototype by the end of the year. The agency will then review the proposals to reach a better understanding of the systems and interfaces that need to be in place to facilitate living in deep space.
Lockheed’s design uses the Donatello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, a refurbished module dating back to the space shuttle era that was once destined to transfer cargo to the International Space Station. But Donatello was never sent into space, and the module has now instead been transformed into Lockheed’s prototype.
At about 15 feet wide and nearly 22 feet long, the cylindrical capsule is roughly the size of a small bus. But it’ll be a tight fit if four astronauts reside in it for 30 to 60 days, as Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed envisions.
The capsule is designed to house racks for science, life support systems, sleep stations, exercise machines and robotic work stations, said Bill Pratt, the program’s manager.
“You think of it as an RV in deep space,” he said during a tour of the prototype. “When you’re in an RV, your table becomes your bed and things are always moving around, so you have to be really efficient with the space. That’s a lot of what we are testing here.”
The team used augmented reality headsets, which overlay real hardware with simulations, to visualize the layout of the capsule — saving time and helping Lockheed catch errors early on.
Another cost-saving measure: the reuse of Donatello.
“We want to get to the moon and to Mars as quickly as possible, and we feel like we actually have a lot of stuff that we can use to do that,” Pratt said, adding that repurposing materials has become a big theme at Lockheed.
The habitat is part of the larger mission to take crews to the moon and Mars. The final version of the capsule will attach to the planned Deep Space Gateway, a space port that will orbit the moon and act as a jumping-off point for deep space exploration missions.
Astronauts would launch on the deep-space designed, still-in-progress Orion spacecraft — with the help of the Space Launch System, which NASA bills as the “most powerful rocket” it’s ever built. The Gateway would be considerably smaller than the 450-ton International Space Station. At 75 tons, the spaceport would include the habitat, an airlock, a propulsion module, a docking port and a power bus.
Production is moving forward on Orion, which is expected to make an uncrewed mission (Exploration Mission-1) to orbit the moon by 2020. Exploration Mission-2 is scheduled to take a crew into lunar orbit in mid-2022.
At the Kennedy Space Center, the heat shields are now in place on Orion. The spacecraft has been in development on and off since 2004.
The long development time is due largely to the demands of a deep-space spacecraft and the punishing conditions the spacecraft will face when it takes the 1,000-day trip to Mars. For instance, NASA requires that the Orion crew module have zero weld defects, whereas the Apollo mission specifications had an allowable number of defects per inch.
“This is the infrastructure for sustained human space exploration and so you have to account for every scenario that could come up, that’s why the requirements are so stringent,” said Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s commercial civil space division.
We’re a long way from the HAL-9000 (thankfully), but NASA is considering a bigger role for high-end computers in deep-space missions, such as a journey to Mars. To prepare, the International Space Station has been hosting a system built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) for the past 11 months. The initial findings, according to HPE: It works without major glitches.
The system, an Apollo 4000-series enterprise server, is considered a “supercomputer” because it can perform 1 trillion calculations per second (one teraflop). That’s not so rare nowadays, but it’s way more computing power than NASA has had in space. Those resources can do complex analysis on large amounts of data that aren’t practical to beam back to Earth.
The key aspect of this test was to see if a standard, off-the-shelf computer could survive the abuse of life in space–especially radiation exposure–using only software modifications.
The computer will get a full evaluation when it returns to Earth later this year, but HPE says it’s already learned three valuable lessons:
Software can protect a system: The Apollo 4000 constantly monitored the performance of key components for possible effects from radiation. Whenever one operated out of parameters, the system hunkered down in idle mode, and then did a full health check before resuming.
You can’t count on the internet: HPE’s software was written assuming near-constant internet access, which is not the reality in space. HPE is considering modifications not just for spaceborne systems but for any running in remote locations. Read More
President Donald Trump is serious about building a military Space Force.
On Monday (Aug. 13), just before signing a sweeping $717 billion defense-authorization act to fund the U.S. military over the next year, Trump took time to argue for the necessity of his proposed U.S. Space Force.
Trump signed tthe John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act in front of a crowd of soldiers, officers and dignitaries at Fort Drum, New York.
Every year, the House and Senate pass the National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes the defense policies that will receive funding, to be set at a later date by the appropriations committees. As required by the Constitution, Congress has to provide for the “common defense,” and as Trump excitedly discussed at the signing ceremony, the U.S. common defense may soon include a space-oriented, sixth military branch.
“In order to maintain America’s military supremacy, we must always be on the cutting edge. That is why we are also proudly reasserting America’s legacy of leadership in space,” Trump said at the signing ceremony.
“Our foreign competitors and adversaries have already begun weaponizing space, developing new technologies to disrupt vital communications [and] blind satellites,” Trump said. “We’ll be catching [up to] them very shortly. They want to jam transmissions, which threaten our battlefield operations and so many other things. We will be so far ahead of them in a very short period of time, your head will spin.”
Trump pointed to China, specifically, as a threat to the U.S. space. Vice President Mike Pence also mentioned China, in addition to Russia, as the major threats to U.S. space when he revealed a detailed plan for a Space Force last week.
“China even launched a new military division to oversee its war-fighting programs in space, just like the air, the land, the sea — space has become a war-fighting domain,” Trump said at the signing today.
The president also reasserted the need for “American dominance in space,” echoing words he used in June when directing the Department of Defense to form the Space Force.
There’s a “hydrogen wall” at the edge of our solar system, and NASA scientists think their New Horizons spacecraft can see it.
That hydrogen wall is the outer boundary of our home system, the place where our sun’s bubble of solar wind ends and where a mass of interstellar matter too small to bust through that wind builds up, pressing inward. Our host star’s powerful jets of matter and energy flow outward for a long stretch after leaving the sun — far beyond the orbit of Pluto. But at a certain point, they peter out, and their ability to push back the bits of dust and other matter — the thin, mysterious stuff floating within our galaxy’s walls — wanes. A visible boundary forms. On one side are the last vestiges of solar wind. And on the other side, in the direction of the Sun’s movement through the galaxy, there’s a buildup of interstellar matter, including hydrogen.
And now NASA researchers are pretty sure that New Horizons, the probe that famously skimmed past Pluto in 2015, can see that boundary.
And now NASA researchers are pretty sure that New Horizons, the probe that famously skimmed past Pluto in 2015, can see that boundary.
However, the researchers cautioned, that signal isn’t a sure sign that New Horizons has seen the hydrogen wall, or that Voyager did. All three probes could have actually detected the ultraviolet light from some other source, emanating from much deeper in the galaxy, the researchers wrote.
But Alice, the instrument on board New Horizons responsible for this finding, is much more sensitive than anything the Voyagers had on board before beginning their own journey out of the solar system, the researchers wrote. And they said they expect Alice to function 15 to 20 more years.
New Horizons will continue to scan the sky for ultraviolet light twice a year, the researchers wrote, and report what it sees back to Earth.
President Donald Trump’s “Space Force” idea is no joke.
During a speech at the Pentagon at 11:15 a.m. EDT (1515 GMT) today (Aug. 9), Vice President Mike Pence will outline the administration’s plan to create a new branch of the military focused on defending the ultimate high ground, The Washington Post reported Wednesday (Aug. 8).
Pence’s speech alone won’t establish the Space Force; setting up a new military branch requires congressional approval, The Post noted. The U.S. military currently consists of five branches — the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard — and a new one hasn’t been created since the Air Force got off the ground in 1947.
The Space Force idea, which Trump first floated publicly in March 2018, has been controversial within military circles. For example, some folks have raised objections about creating another government entity to do work already under the Air Force’s purview. (And Air Force officials are generally nonplussed, of course, about potentially losing some of the branch’s responsibilities and funding.)
Military leaders “are in complete alignment with the president’s concern about protecting our assets in space to contribute to our security to our economy, and we’re going to have to address it as other countries show a capability to attack those assets,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told The Post.