Thursday, February 12, 2009


Pope's senior scientist to visit Nasa and talk aliens. The chat is happening under the florid banner of Are We Alone? The Dance of the Fertile Universe.

The discussion is actually likely to be rather convivial when Lynn Rothschild, astrobiologist at NASA's Ames Research Center, debates the topic with the Vatican Observatory's director emeritus George Coyne at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco next week.

The Church's interest in the stars dates back to well before Galileo's time. Five hundred years ago, papal astronomers in charge of fixing Easter's date noticed that the Julian calendar was getting out of sync with the stars, and in 1582 they replaced it with the Gregorian. In 1891, long after the Church had accepted the heliocentric universe, Pope Leo XIII officially founded the Observatory so that "everyone might see clearly that the Church and her Pastors are not opposed to true and solid science."

Today, the Vatican Observatory Research Group boasts 13 professional astronomers and cosmologists, all of them Jesuits. The group specializes in fields like galaxy formation and, to quote from their latest annual report, "the dynamics of inflationary universes with positive spatial curvature."

With a title like astrobiologist, one has to assume that Rothschild is at least open to the idea of life on other planets. The agency has been in on the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life since the 1960s. More prosaicly Nasa's missions as a rule keep a look out for life - or at least the building blocks of life - while tearing around the solar system.

The Catholic Church, perhaps surprisingly, is also somewhat open to the idea of life on other planets, with the current head of the Vatican observatory, José Gabriel Funes, conceding the possibility of extra-terrestrial life just last May.
Biography for Lynn Rothschild

He told the Holy See's in-house rag: "It is possible, even if until now, we have no proof. But certainly in such a big universe this hypothesis cannot be excluded."

Of course, the Church's interest in aliens is as much about their relationship with God and sin. It may be that they are in full communion with the creator - having never nibbled any solar forbidden fruit.

Alternatively - and perhaps much more likely - they could be sinners, and therefore in need of redemption through the ministrations of the Church. Just like us, in fact. Assuming of course they don't all come and eat us first.

Whether the conversation will stray into the likelihood of ET needing redemption is not guaranteed, and it's probably a fair bet neither party will endorse the idea that humans picked up the building blocks of technology from visiting aliens, who will stage a second coming at some point. Which is a pity.

The lecture itself will take place at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley on February 19, at 6.30pm. Tickets will cost $10 for Commonwealth Club members and $15 for non-members.

Source: The Register - UK
Source: Wired Science

For ALL daily and current UFO news click here

****blog **** blog**** blog**** blog
..................See each month at a glance on one page

No comments: