Do aliens exist or not? According to NASA, there is a probability of sighting them on some planet. At least it is assumed that this is the point of view of NASA professionals, given that they have a project in the pipeline to find them in space.
The project is still in its infancy but could soon become a reality, thanks to engineer Ethan Schaler, who is working on prototypes.
It is a swarm of drones that will fly near the moons of our solar system where there is the presence of water, to identify other forms of life.
“The idea is that these drones can be used to scan the surrounding environment for alien life forms – explains Schaler. Potentially, we could also send them to other planets in the solar system.”
Drones are still in the prototype stage but if the technology works well, in the future they could become invaluable tools to search for other living beings in the universe.
It is not the first time that NASA has tried to find life forms in space. In 2015, the agency launched the “Hunt for Life” program, a real hunt for aliens in the depths of the universe.
ROBOT DRONES HAVE ALREADY BEEN FINANCED FOR A MILLION DOLLARS
NASA engineer Ethan Schaler has aroused such interest that he received $600,000 in sponsors to get to phase 2 of the project (he had already received $125,000 in 2021 to study its feasibility.)
The initiative is part of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.
The main exploration purposes concern the Jovian moon Europa and the Saturnian moon Enceladus, moons rich in water under the surface layers of ice.
The reason is easy to explain: perhaps under the ice crusts, the temperature and atmospheric environments of the great fossil basins are favorable to the settlement of organisms, including unicellular ones.
Which are the initial state of biological life and maybe even in some way could be called human or alien.
A SOPHISTICATED SMALL DRONE NEVER SEEN BEFORE
A swarm of small robotic drones known as SWIM (Sensing With Independent Micro-Swimmers) that are roughly the size of a smartphone today and will be inserted inside a probe that can dig a tunnel in the ice.
Shaler also plans to develop a set of meta-robots willing to “guide” the very small SWIMs into the ice sheet to allow the search for underground water together with further analysis and monitoring functions.
SWIM probes must be highly resistant to salt water and extreme conditions of pressure, temperature, and dark environments.
“There are technologies that can provide information on the possible presence of single-celled organisms – explains Schaler – but there has never been any concrete attempt to actively seek them out.”
This project could change the history and perception we have of life in the universe. Perhaps we are not alone in the immensity of space.
According to the first simulations, the probe will release the small swimming drones into the water, for the purpose of exploring and analyzing the waters.
There is a substantial difference with other previous projects attempted by NASA.
Schaler’s idea involves the construction of much smaller and numerous robotic units, which could facilitate both transports by the probe and the ability to explore larger areas.
The robots have a wedge shape and measure approximately 12cm.
The stats enforce a probe drone power limit of 48 objects. This allows the insertion of other scientific instruments useful for the mission up to 48 inside a probe drone, there is room for additional space needed.
However, at the moment the only certainty is that only overflights of these moons are planned. Little else. But once the prototypes are defined, more concrete missions will almost certainly be studied.
The first overflight in the program will be Europa Clipper, whose departure to the Jovian moon Europa is scheduled for 2024.
OTHER ATTEMPTS MADE BY NASA TO LOOK FOR ALIEN LIFE IN SPACE
In 2020, NASA funded a research project on alien life forms in space, awarding $2 million to a team of scientists who will study how extraterrestrial life could be detected. The program is called “HabEX” (short for “Habitat Exoplanet.”)
It foresees the possibility of sending a space telescope into orbit around the star Proxima Centauri, located just 4 light years from Earth. The telescope should be able to detect habitable exoplanets – those that have the right size and temperature to host life.
Another NASA mission was “LUVOIR” (Large Ultraviolet / Optical / Infrared Surveyor), a powerful space telescope capable of analyzing light from other planets in search of traces of the atmosphere and water.
The mission is still under study and has not yet been funded. NASA is also planning the “Athena” mission (Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics), a very high-resolution X-ray telescope that is expected to be launched in 2028.
Athena will study black holes, neutron stars, and exoplanets in search of signs of alien life. For now, it is only hypotheses and projects, but NASA continues to invest time and money in the search for extraterrestrial life forms.
Who knows if one day he will be able to give a definitive answer to the question that has always accompanied man: are we alone in the universe? Or is there something beyond the Earth?
The fact is, Schaler’s experiment is the first to set a goal of physically going to search and dig in predetermined areas. If the mission is successful, it could be a real game changer in the search for extraterrestrial life forms.
But as always, only time will tell us if this mission will be successful or not. In the meantime, we can only hope that NASA continues to invest time and resources in this fascinating research.
We leave room for the many hypotheses (often science fiction) about what lies beyond our knowledge and our atmosphere. A space that seems infinite at the moment.
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