I have to this, this was a complete surprise and I didn’t even realize anyone was keeping track. And yet, my friend and colleague James Maynard brought this bit of news to my attention. The list comes from PlayPodcast.net, a site that that offers free listening for hundreds of podcasts and (apparently) ranks them according to various categories. For this list, they ranked the best astronomy podcasts this year.
I’m not sure if this represents their own assessment or based on reviews, but I’ll take it. Also, note that The Cosmic Companion is the podcast of my buddy James. I invite you to check it out seeing as how he has some very cool stories, is a NASA alumni, and interviews some very interesting people (scientists, researchers, astronauts, etc.).
This week, I got into another favorite proposed resolution to the Fermi Paradox. In 2001, famed scientist and SF author Stephen Baxter wrote a paper titled “The Planetarium Hypothesis – A Resolution of the Fermi Paradox.” Addressing Fermi’s question, Baxter suggested that the reason humanity hasn’t heard from advanced civilizations is that the Universe (as we know it) is a simulation.
To put it another way, what we see when we look up at the night sky is a giant virtual reality “planetarium” built by an advanced species to give the illusion of an empty Universe. The purpose of this could be to keep humanity contained, possibly for its own good or that of other species (i.e., intelligent life is dangerous), or to keep less-advanced species from developing too quickly and becoming a threat.
Like the Berserker Hypothesis, the idea is science fiction gold but admittedly unlikely (phew!) Another problem is that the hypothesis is untestable. While Baxter and other scientists suggested ways this theory could be tested (based on the principles of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics), critics have pointed out that the laws of physics themselves could be part of the simulation.
Personally, I think that the laws of physics and the fact that they make space exploration so challenging is the most compelling evidence for the hypothesis. What better way is there to control the growth of a species than to set the physics model to “extra hard”? If I were an advanced civilization looking to keep a species in the dark, this is precisely what I’d do! Check it out below:
It’s officially Launch Day! My podcast series, Stories from Space, just released its first episode. The topic, “We’re Going Back to the Moon!” talks about Artemis and related programs that will send astronauts back to the lunar surface with the long-term goal of establishing a sustained human presence on the Moon. Mostly, the episode addresses the question: why did it take us over fifty years to go back?
Answering a question like that takes about half an hour (or the length of a podcast episode). You can check it out at the Stories from Space homepage (https://www.itspmagazine.com/stories-from-space), or just click on the play button below. The episode is also available for streaming on Spotify and Apple
This news has been a few months in the making, but with the final preparations underway, I feel like it’s time to announce it! In a few weeks, I will be launching my podcast series – Stories from Space – with the Intersection Of Technology, Cybersecurity, And Society Podcast (ITSP), a highly-respected channel that hosts multiple shows. Each of these is dedicated to exploring the past, the present, and the future of humanity’s relationship with technology and the profound effects it can have on our society.
Good news! My podcast series, Stories from Space, is now available on iTunes and Spotify! These are the audio podcasts, not to be confused with the video series (of the same name) that is available on Youtube.
You can access all these episodes via Apple Podcasts, or click on the bar below to listen on Spotify: