Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Antony Gormley did an extraordinary job in creating these sculptures in Lake Ballard Western Australia. Visions of aliens in an alien landscape came to mind.
Photo by Brian McMahon / Unsplash

The past few weeks have been interesting with the claim of UFOs being spotted in random locations by many. Fueled by the Department of Defense putting out a memo looking into the UFO program at the Pentagon led to a lot of misleading claims online.

Most, if not all, the recent UFO sightings have been the same - they were just the batches of 60 Starlink satellites orbiting our planet. I think people forget, but it seems like near weekly we get another launch of 60 new SpaceX Starlink satellites. They've launched 26 batches so far and another is going on May 9, 2021.

What is interesting about these launches is they are not launched into an orbital height that they will operate at. They are launched quite lower, I believe because orbiting a launch vehicle into the same orbit as hundreds to thousands of other satellites doesn't seem quite smart.

Starlink Deployment - May 4, 2021

So we can see above a stack of satellites being released into a low orbit. They will slowly space themselves out and open up these solar panels to collect sunlight. These solar panels will of course reflect light and be in such a low orbit for folks to spot on the surface of Earth with nothing special.

As those satellites continue to space out they will begin to use boosters to slowly rise up to an operating orbit. Once in the operating orbit, those panels rotate so the chance of spotting them in the night sky becomes quite slim.

However, SpaceX is launching Starlink batches nearly 1-3 times a month so there could be anywhere from 60 to ~180 orbiting at a low orbit able to be spotted.


Indif, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With all this cheaper and easier space flight - are we alone? I think a cool scale to figure that out is the Kardashev Scale. The scale is a measurement system to grade civilization's technological abilities to harness the energy around it.

It has 3 (maybe 5 depending on who you ask) types.

Type I - Planetary

  • A planet that can use and store all the energy on its planet.

Type II - Stellar

  • A planet/civilization that can use/store/control energy in its entire planetary system.
  • This would be our solar system of planets in the terms of Earth.

Type III - Galactic

  • A civilization that can control energy in its entire galaxy.
  • This would be our civilization controlling all the energy in the Milky Way.

When you take a look at this, you realize Earth hasn't even completed Type I as we cannot use/store all the energy on our planet. We barely understand our deep oceans and still have confusing terms like dark & anti matter.

If some other colonized galaxy with alive entities exist - would they resemble our technological revolution? It gets difficult to imagine a species eons beyond ours because what seems like nature could be indistinguishable from a species that can control everything in a galaxy. This would of course be highly unlikely, but just thinking about this stuff can mess with your mind.


Lets play some scenarios through with aliens and see what makes sense.

They are already here!

  • This seems unlikely - we are in an era of leaks, hacks, whistle blowers and more. If we had aliens on Earth - it would be more public.

They exist, but die before communication with Earth

  • Perhaps species emerge but never reach the technological innovation of our species to communicate.
  • Or they do and wipe themselves out from something (war, resource depletion, etc).

They exist, but ignore us

  • Perhaps something does exist, but realizes our civilization is so weak in pale to others that we are ignored.

Nothing exists and we are alone

  • Perhaps our civilization is it. A sad reality if true.

Our civilization is a lie. "The Matrix"

  • Perhaps nothing is real and we are simply entities in another civilization simulation.

This stuff borders a line that some make fun of you for thinking about, but on the flip side is so interesting to ponder. With that, humans are going to the Moon again shortly and Mars is on the eyes of Elon to put humans on. I'm excited for our future of space flight and what that means for life outside Earth.

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