Michio Kaku: Let’s not advertise our existence to aliens

If aliens do exist, posits theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, why would they want anything to do with us?

If advanced alien civilizations do exist, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku asks, why would they want anything to do with us? It would be like an academic talking to a squirrel, he suggests, and he has a great point. Hollywood and science fiction novels have conditioned us for years to believe that aliens either want to hang out on our intellectual level and learn from us... or destroy us. If alien life really does have the technology and know-how to make it all the way here, perhaps we should just play it cool and not assume that we are the top species in the universe. Besides, if we play our cards wrong and go all Will Smith in Independence Day on our smart new neighbors, it could be the end of us. Mankind's biggest folly, Kaku suggests, might just be in its insistence that we are an exceptional species. Michio Kaku's latest book is the wonderful and enlightening The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth.

Dwarf planetary systems will transform the hunt for alien life

It would be disappointing and surprising if Earth were the only template for habitability in the Universe. 

In this handout digital illustration released by NASA, the newly-discovered gaseous planet Kepler-16b orbits its two stars: the larger a K dwarf and the smaller a red dwarf. (Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt via Getty Images)

Written speculation about life beyond the confines of Earth dates back thousands of years, to the time of the Greek philosophers Epicurus and Democritus. Unrecorded curiosity about this question undoubtedly goes back much further still. Remarkably, today’s generation seems about to get an answer from the study of exoplanets – planets orbiting other stars than the Sun. The early results are upending many assumptions from that long history. 

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Uranus' Strange Magnetosphere Switches Open and Closed, Letting in Solar Wind

New research on Uranus' magnetosphere could help scientists learn about distant systems, and refine the ways they search for alien life.

Uranus has a “switch-like” magnetosphere that opens and closes once every rotation of the planet, exposing it to deadly solar winds, according to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US.

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Hey Bill Nye! Why Don't Gas Giants Have Gas Moons?

A very small person asks a very big question: why aren't the moons of gaseous planets also made of gas?

It took a very small person to ask a big question, one that planetary scientists pondered for a long time. There are four gas giants in our solar system – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – but why are their moons not made of gas? They’re solid, unlike the planets they orbit.

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Alien Lifeforms Could Exist in the Clouds of Brown Dwarfs, Cold "Failed" Stars

Scientists propose an unexpected location for extraterrestrial life. 

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