First and primary in the news: Space X’s Dragon made it to the International Space Station. This is so incredibly major that it has a bunch of news derived from it – like space law, for one. With the combined efforts of SpaceX and Planetary Resources (provided they actually work out), laws about resources, travel, and ownership in space could be the next big bureaucracy, and might go a long way to shuttling us up the Kardashev Scale.
Alien and space news for this past week also features a bit about organic chemistry, aliens in science fiction movies (spurred on by Men in Black III of all things, but actually interesting), and some spin-off technology.
And SpaceX Is Off!: After a few delays, the world finally saw the first commercial space operation of this magnitude. SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft did a few test maneuvers in space and then was berthed to the International Space Station in order to switch out new and used supplies. Dragon will come back down to Earth – probably to a great deal of earned applause – on May 31.
This Is Cool, But Let’s Take a Moment Here: We can’t let a week go by without that Mars debate making an appearance, and here it is – Mars has organic, but not biological, carbon. Hold up a second and Wikipedia this: organic = with carbon. Come on, now, reporters; this point should be made with a bit more specificity. However, all that aside, this new paper says organic (carbonic!) chemistry has been happening, or had been happening, on Mars, and that’s pretty exciting.
Space Is Good for the Body – Again: A lot of unrelated good has come from space travel. The most recent example of this (before now, that is) was the forming of potential cancer-curing medicine into little dots for better distribution in a patient’s tissue. Now scientists are developing ways to use plasma to minimize hospital infections. It might even work against super-bacteria that even antibiotics can’t do much against.
All Hail the Bureaucracy – Though There Might Be a Purpose After All: We already have the international 1967 Outer Space Treaty, an International Institute of Space Law, and a bunch of other documents. But this will not be enough, especially without all the international and privatized stuff going on outside the atmosphere. Some issues already focus on legal statuses of crew and equipment, informed consent, and – most immediately important – the transport of humans, which only
is really able to consistently do. That’s right: the time has come for space
MiB Is Even More Useless Than Might Have Been Previously Imagined: Say what you want about the first Men in Black movie; anything except for a saga explicitly about time travel (and even then) that has traveling to the past be the plot of a third movie is doomed to stupidity. But it, along with all of the other alien invasion movies expected this summer (I’d exclude Avengers because it doesn’t really count as an ‘alien invasion movie,’ but it supports my point), involves the idea that aliens want to enslave, invade, or otherwise usurp parts of the Earth. This, according to SETI’s Tarter, is incorrect, largely because intelligent aliens capable of reaching the Earth probably don’t need our resources or manpower. We've mentioned this before. If anything, they’d come to investigate whatever novelty we have (which we really might not have that much of, if advanced alien species exist).
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Rachel is the co-founder of How To Survive Alien Invasion Novels, and spends her time writing, studying, and reading what would probably considered far too many books. Connect with her and Rusty on Twitter and Facebook, and click here to read more of her articles about alien theories and how to survive alien invasion novels.