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Guest: Dr. Michael Wall; Topics: Dr. Wall's new book, "Out There: A Scientific Guide To Alien Life, Antimatter, And Human Space Travel (For The Cosmically Curious," and related topics including antimatter, time travel and more.
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We welcomed back Dr. Michael Wall to the show for a one segment 65 minute discussion regarding his new book, "Out There: A Scientific Guide To Alien Life, Antimatter, And Human Space Travel (For The Cosmically Curious," plus other topics. I started the discussion with our guest by asking him how he personally and professionally handled talking about alien life given his being a PHD scientist plus knowing something about his peer group. Our guest was then asked if he thought Earth had been visited by ET life of any sort. He mentioned the Mars meteorite ALH84001 and then commented about UFO focused people saying Earth had been visited but that was not what his book and research was about.
Listeners sent in multiple emails. Todd asked about having a consensus in science as compared to using the scientific method for evidence. Mike had much to say on this subject. Listener Jane in Seattle asked about the interstellar object speeding through our solar system, Oumuamua, and the fact that there are credible scientific papers on the subject suggesting it might be from intelligent life somewhere out there. In discussing this strange object, we talked about the challenges in viewing it, why Hubble could not see it, and if there were any ways to test its origin or to find out more about it. Don't miss what our guest said in reply to these questions.
Listener BJohn sent in two emails for this program. In his first email, he asked about the paradox of seeing nothing in the sky which as he said, seemed "deader than a rock." Once again, don't miss our Michael responded to BJohn's question. His second question came at the end of the program so stay tuned.
Listener Tom asked about antimatter since it was part of the title of the book. Michael talked about trying to figure out how to harness it for a future propulsion system but he said it was still far off. I brought up the issue of a time line for verification of life in the solar system. He thought perhaps 20 years for some simple biological type life but not sure at all about intelligent life. Mike was then asked how we might find out or be told about the verification of microbial life. Here, he suggested it would be by the team that discovered it. Listen to all of what he said about this and let us know what you think by posting your comments on the blog. Also, don't miss what he said when he was asked if the people could handle the announcement of the discovery of extraterrestrial life.
I took the liberty of asking Michael about Chapters 3 and 4 in his book. Chapter 3 is titled "What Does ET Look Like?" Chapter 4 has the title "Do Aliens Have Sex?" Michael then talked about these two chapters so be sure to hear what he had to say on these subjects.
The subject of time travel came up as he covered it in his book. He said it might be theoretically possible. I asked if he knew of any funding grants or research being done on time travel. Don't miss how he responded to my question. Our attention then switched to the end of Kepler and the beginning of TESS and the eventual addition of the JWST to exoplanet search and evaluation. He mentioned some other ESA and NASA missions which might add to the search for life. Michael then got a question from Barbara in Denver regarding planetary protection, finding life on Mars and humans to Mars. Once again, don't miss what he said about these important subjects and matters.
As we neared the end of the program, Web in Atlanta sent in a note reminding how easy it has been to find life here on Earth all over Earth. His question was if it was so easy to find life here, why so hard to find it elsewhere unless it simply does not exist. We spent a good part of the balance of the program discussing this question and its implication. BJohn got in a final note about this subject so don't miss it as I read it on air and Michael responded. Before we ended the program, we talked about ways to order his new book, the book website, and more related to "Out There." If you do buy it and I hope you do as it is excellent, please use the Amazon portals from the big Amazon link on our home page so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to The Space Show.
Please post your comments/questions for our guest on our blog. You can reach Dr. Michael Wall through me or Space.com.