Courtney Chichester 2/27/10
Mr. Baco Earth Science Report
Space. The universe. A vast realm of dust particles, rocks, ice, and gases floating in a never-ending vacuum. It is said that the universe goes on infinitely, never ending. But no one is really sure. If it isn't infinite, then what is at the end of the universe? This question has no answer (as far as we know), leading scientists to be almost positive that the universe never ends. But how is that possible? No one really knows. Space is one great big mystery. There are other such questions, such as "How was the universe created?" The most popular idea is the Big Bang Theory, which the universe exploded from one extremely dense atom. But if that is true, where was the atom? How was it created? No one knows for sure. Or another question, "Are we the only intelligent life in the universe?" With this question we look to the stars, looking for planets that may have the right conditions to sustain life. Some believe that humans are the only intelligent life forms in space, a rarity, created by a lucky, 1-in-a-billion chance. But some people say (as quoted from the movie Contact), "That would be a pretty big waste of space then". When it comes to the universe, the answer to one question leads to a hundred more questions stemming off from that answer. To answer all these questions, we have to look back in time, out at space itself and develop new technologies to find some answers.
Preparations for new expeditions into space are now underway. The development of new, safer, and more technically advanced space shuttles are being invented, built and prepared for launch, as are newer and better telescopes and satellites. Newer robots are also being created that will perhaps be able to withstand the harsh conditions on Mars longer and give us more information about the red planet so that we may one day colonize it. Using the more powerful new telescopes and satellites, people can look towards other galaxies in search of life. New plans from NASA to build a better telescope (The Allen Telescope Array) with work from SETI and the University of California will help increase our ability to detect radio waves and find some proof of, and perhaps contact extraterrestrial life. (Information from: http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question24.html)
There are many techniques in searching for alien life. One involves research. To help find life on other planets, this technique involves studying the Earth's history to help recognize the signs of a hospitable planet with promising signs of early life. Another involves studying the luminosity of distant stars and monitoring radio waves with the use of radio telescopes. If the luminosity of a star goes down ever so slightly for a certain period of time, it is a sign of a planet passing in front of the star. Radio waves are low energy waves emitted by celestial objects like stars and planets. By monitoring these waves, we may be able to find more promising stars with planets to search for extraterrestrial life.
With new technologies, new techniques and new ideas and theories, we may solve the mystery of space eventually. But that is not going to happen anytime soon. Unless we can find a way to travel faster than the speed of light, space will continue to remain a mystery and as long as it is, people will continue searching for a way to solve it. Because as long as there is something out there to challenge us, the brighter minds of the human race will continue to pursue the answers.