Last Saturday, we have concluded our last leg of the Philippine Astronomy Convention, now on its third year. It was indeed an astounding success as our working nucleus made it through despite the limited time.
Held both at the Manila Planetarium for applied astronomy lecture and at the SM-Nido Science Discovery Center at SM Mall of Asia touching on relevant astronomical fields from the timeline of the creation of the universe to the cosmic collision that is both a holocaust and a harbinger for life.
There were two featured film shown last saturday, Passport to the Universe and Cosmic Collision. Three lectures were ushered after the film showing, Stories of the Stars, Searching for ET, and Cosmic Journey. Lecturers were Dr. Armand Lee, Director of the Astronomy Dept of RTU, Christopher Lu, Chairman for Special Events, ALP, and yours truly. After the indoor activities, a Saturn gazing follows next at the AstroCamp Observatory San Miguel By The Bay, fronting the SM Mall of Asia.
Allow me to cite some questions thrown at me during the QnA:
1) Is the asteroid collision from the dinosaur era the only accepted theory as far as the extinction of the dinosaurs is concerned?
***Yes, the planetary bombardment at the Yucatan Peninsula 65million years ago is the most sound theory to account the extinction of these giant reptiles, and 75% of the life forms during that time. The crater blast left layers of iridium which can only be found if a foreign object from space hits the Earth. The Sun can only produce particles up to iron only. And during the time that these particles hit the Earth is similarly the same time when dinos disappeared.
2) Is there a truth that an asteroid will hit the Earth soon?
***Apophis, about the size of two football fields, is traversing in the vastness of space and will loiter around us as a NEO(near-Earth-object) by 2029-2036. Although the chances of it entering into our gravitational keyhole is fairly slim, once in tips off its path, we will be doomed. I wouldn't worry though, the capitalists of the first world countries will do all they can to circumvent this catastrophe to preserve their businesses. Right now, United Nations is forming a sky watchdog against outer space hazards, including stray asteroid, solar flares, and human garbages up in space(the remnants of defunct space satellites).
3) Are we really alone?
***If we follow a mathematical postulation using Drake's Equation(SETI), it is fairly easy to conclude that we are not alone. However none has been found yet. The thing about us human beings is that we are pretty much conceited. When we send out signals into space, we expect that ET will ping back their IP addresses. We model the aliens to be like our very own, to have came from the same building blocks of life that we are. Amino acids, photosynthesis, water, DNA/RNA, carbon-based. We never think that they may have thrived perhaps in liquid methane. And that they don't use DNA/RNA as their genetic composition. We don't even think that they maybe are highly evolved, perhaps into biomechanical entities and at the same size as nanoparticles invisible to our naked eye. Or perhaps they behave like neutrinos. The analogy would be: we are simply like fishes in the aquarium, we think that the universe is just what is in the aquarium, waters, weeds, stones, sand. And all life forms should be in a form of a fish as well. We don't have an idea that beyond the aquarium lies a human being, highly evolved intellect, and watching over us, yet not communicating since humans have similarly highly evolved communication channels than fishes.