November 25, 2002
"BUT WHERE IS EVERYBODY?":Scientists Contemplate Interstellar Travel, UFOs (Guy Gugliotta, 11/25/02, The Washington Post)
So: It's about 7:45 p.m. in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on a chilly, blustery December night, when this "big round thing" with flashing red lights suddenly crashes in Big Lake Park, just off North Eighth Street.
Eleven witnesses, including cops and firefighters, either see the crash or rush to the scene within 15 minutes to watch the flames from the molten metal -- mostly carbon steel --that covers the ground.
It happened on Dec. 17, 1977. The "big round thing" that local resident Criss Moore saw hovering in the air 25 years ago has never been explained.
No one knows if aliens are really blowing up their starships over Council Bluffs. But if extraterrestrial life forms are visiting from time to time, somewhere some sentient beings must have figured out a way to transit interstellar space. Discussions about unidentified flying objects march hand in hand with the feasibility of interstellar space travel.
Earlier this month, George Washington University and the Sci-Fi Channel sponsored a symposium at the university where serious people took up these two topics. Scientists agreed that we won't be doing star trips anytime soon, but "soon" may not mean much in the context of the cosmos.
"The universe is 14 billion years old," said symposium panelist Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist from City University of New York. "Human civilization only began 5,000 years ago."
So give science a chance.
Interesting story, but we're believers in Fermi's Question.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 25, 2002 8:14 PM