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back to article Zeppelin-borne boffins in Bay Area alien 'extremophile' hunt

NASA says it is searching for aliens in the neighbourhood of San Francisco, using a Zeppelin. The Zeppelin Eureka above the Golden Gate bridge. Credit: Airship Ventures A target-rich environment for extremophile psychic aliens. The space agency announced the scheme last week, saying it has an agreement with Californian firm …

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Hyrdogen? Safe?

In my uni days it used to be the favourite practical joke to tie up a small baloon with a fuse string and let it float to the ceiling. It sits there with the fuse string slowly smouldering for a couple of minutes and after that BOOM.

So yeah, hydrogen? safe? Bollocksssss... As far as helium, its cost limits it to exotic applications.

The only real way to build an airship is to have it nuclear driven. Heat up air with spare heat from the reactor and use nuclear power for propulsion. It limits the size to be at least half a mile in length, however you can lift and carry any amount of cargo from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world in a couple of days. No more container ships, no more containers on railways and much less road trailers. And the bigger it is - the more efficient.

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Happy

I for one..

welcome our extremophile biota overlords!

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Go

Glass-reinforced plastic construction?

You're confusing it with a Reliant Robin, surely?

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WTF?

Hands up

Who else had to look up "extremophile" on Wiki?

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Joke

Looks like...

.... A View To A Kill

Is there a James Bond icon?

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Boffin

Errmmmmm

..... Airship Eureka, however, is apparently quite big enough to carry a NASA "hyperspectral scanning imager" which "measures 256 bands of color imagery in the visible and near infrared spectrum". .....

So it has a webcam on board ? A fairly cheap one at that, by all accounts.

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Alien

A word from Zergblitk

Looking for "alien-like life, possibly intelligent, in the vicinity of San Francisco" is going to be terribly unsatisfying. Our own scans show that while there is much alien-like life, it displays very little intelligence. On the on the other manipulator, there is some intelligent life but it is limited to a few hotbeds of activity in Silicon Valley, Foster City, and Livermore, and for the most part is boringly garden variety terrestrial.

Marin County has the highest concentration of unintelligent alien-like inhabitants, followed closely by San Francisco proper. Berkeley is an anomaly with very normal-appearing denizens who possess no intelligence whatsoever.

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Boffin

@Errmmmmm

I think the 256 bands is referring to frequency bands, not vertical resolution. To compare, a webcam would have three bands (red/green/blue).

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Alien

@Hyrdogen? Safe?

Hm... I don't know how exactly these nuclear powered flying things could be built to be safe, but it sounds like a good recipe for disaster. Blow up in the air or fall somewhere, and you've got quite a bit of highly radioactive material being sprayed all over some area -- and wherever in the vicinity the air currents will take it. It would be an "unsinkable" thing, you say?

With nuclear submarines at least the thing would sink to deep waters.

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Gold badge
Troll

Wow!

"NASA says it is searching for aliens in the neighbourhood of San Francisco, using a Zeppelin."

All ye Internet Trolls, read this and weep, for nothing you can say will ever approach this for sheer outrageous thought-provoking weirdness value.

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Joke

@Hydrogen? Safe AC&J3

I think you're both missing the point. Simply make a nuclear airship 1,000 miles long with doors all the way along it. Then all you need to do is simply get on at one end and get off at the other. 1,000 miles in next to no time. It'll be just like getting on the back of a (really long) train, walking through the carriages, smiling and chatting with other happy passengers, and then getting off. You wouldn't even need to buy a ticket if you could get on and off before it leaves the air(ship)port.

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Happy

Extremophile....

like that screamapillar on the simpsons?

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Budget?

And NASA wonders why the public wants to cut their funding?! They've become a fat, bloated organization doing research in too many areas. Instead of focusing on a few projects they have a shotgun approach. Many on their earth monitoring programs are redundant since we have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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Damn I think they got me

I totally drove under this thing last weekend, now they're going to know about my secret cache of alien bioto... whatever they're looking for. Probably shouldn't keep that in my back seat.

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Happy

@Nexox Enigma

Yea man! Like try changing the water in your Bong more often!

I had all sorts of alien shit growing in mine.........

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Flame

I've heard petrol isn't exactly safe either....

Petrol, last time I checked, is a freakin volatile liquid with a nasty habit of combusting explosively with very little provocation. So too is the close relative LPG which is even more ludicrously dangerous.

Yet we let rednecks, morons, smokers etc. fill their cars and caravan tanks every day!

Let's see - deaths due to airship fires - maybe 300 tops.

Deaths due to petrol mishaps, smoking while filling the gas bottle, lighting BBQ, etc. - many, many thousands.

So why do we keep using petrol? What's the big deal with hydrogen?

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@Nathan Margason

'Many on their earth monitoring programs are redundant since we have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'

Just a thought to shoot down your thought balloon...

...but if NASA is planning missions to look for life on Europa or giant telescopes to look for earthlike planets, wouldn't it help to have an idea what sort of thing they should be looking for? The bugs in the salt ponds around 'Frisco might be detectable in spectra captured by the aircraft. If that's the case, NASA can program their spaceborne sensors to look for similar patterns.

BTW if you haven't seen these salt ponds, they really do look like something from another planet:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/38037974@N00/3938430877/

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Troll

Distributed Bong Software

Searches for seeds, relays them back to motherships server core, collates it all in one toke.

Got any chocolate?

Hey how did I get to this site?

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Flame

I like the nuclear zep idea.

"Carrier has arrived"

"Carrier has arrived"

"Carrier has arrived"

"Carrier has arrived"

"Carrier has arrived"

"Carrier has arrived"

"Carrier has arrived"

ooops... way too much imagination.

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FAIL

Not useless!!

"And NASA wonders why the public wants to cut their funding?! They've become a fat, bloated organization doing research in too many areas."

They're looking for signs of life that can exist in highly saline, dry conditions. You know, like what you might get on Mars, or even highly saline liquid oceans, like on Europa (probably). Last time I checked, both of these places were in space and so therefore fall under NASA's remit.

These beasties are useful analogues for the kinds of things we should be looking for on these worlds and an airborne search is the best way of looking for them.

And about cutting funding, the US defence budget is about 30x the NASA one, while the US gov just pumped another few hundreds of billions into propping up failing banks and car manufacturers.

I'd say NASA is severely underfunded given how useless some of these other endeavours are.

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Zeppelin Alien Hunter

That is my ideal job!

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Anonymous Coward

hindenburg

not exactly painted with rocketfuel, i think it was closer to thermite, not that containing large amounts of highly explosive gas on it's own would have been much safer.

i think that airships need to be brought back into general use, the aeroplane equivalent of a cruise ship, it may not get you there in a few hours, but it'd probably be a more enjoyable journey.

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Badgers

SF

If they're looking for intelligence in the bay area, it's better to start far out to sea.

I'd be interested in seeing a scan of the White House. Just to make sure we've not already been taken over.

Wonder if they could be persuaded to do a flyover of Roswell and maybe Loch Ness...

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