February 13, 2013

From the ‘X Files’: Ghostly Bok Globules –Possible Habitats for Sentient ET Machines?

Ghostly NGC 1999, a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion, shows a remarkable jet-black cloud near its center, located just to the right and lower right of the bright star. This dark cloud is an example of a “Bok globule,” named after the late University of Arizona astronomer Bart Bok. SETI’s chief scientist suggests they should be prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life.

The globule is a cold cloud of gas, molecules and cosmic dust, which is so dense it blocks all of the light behind it. The globule is seen silhouetted against the reflection nebula illuminated by V380 Orionis. Astronomers believe that new stars may be forming inside Bok globules, through the contraction of the dust and molecular gas under their own gravity.

Bok globules are a prime search target for sentient ET machines. These dense regions of dust and gas are notorious for producing multiple-star systems. At around negative 441 degrees Fahrenheit, they are about 160 degrees F colder than most of interstellar space. Data centers generate a lot of heat, and keeping them cool is a major challenge for modern computing. Intelligent computers would likely seek out a low-temperature habitat, according to SETI chief astronomer, Seth Shostak.

“I think we could spend at least a few percent of our time… looking in the directions that are maybe not the most attractive in terms of biological intelligence but maybe where sentient machines are hanging out.” Shostak thinks SETI ought to consider expanding its search to the energy- and matter-rich neighborhoods of Bok globules, black holes and neutron stars.

Read more: From the 'X Files': Ghostly Bok Globules –Possible Habitats for Sentient ET Machines? — The Daily Galaxy.

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