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Canadians Forbidden To Murder in Space and Other ET Stories

Some astronomers are blasting out messages to aliens; others say it would take too long for them to respond

Alien watch: Canadians forbidden to murder in space and other stories

The Canadian government buried it in other news re the federal budget:

Buried deep within the legislation implementing Canada’s 2022 federal budget is a Criminal Code amendment that would explicitly extend Canadian criminal jurisdiction to the cosmos…

“A Canadian crew member who, during a space flight, commits an act or omission outside Canada that if committed in Canada would constitute an indictable offence is deemed to have committed that act or omission in Canada,” reads the measure included in Bill C-19, the 443-page document implementing the provisions of the 2022 federal budget.

Basically, the amendment means that if a Canadian commits a criminal offence while in space, they’ll be met by handcuffs once they return.

Tristin Hopper, “Canadian astronauts no longer free to rob and kill with abandon in space or on the moon” at National Post (April 30, 2022)

Crazy as all that might sound, there is an underlying reasonable basis: Private space travel is becoming much more common. Space is becoming a bit like the oceans: There must be some law and then the question is, who is to enforce it and how?


➤ A University of Arizona prof tells us that some researchers are trying to blast out Earth’s location, hoping to contact extraterrestrial intelligences:

I’m a professor of astronomy who has written extensively about the search for life in the universe. I also serve on the advisory council for a nonprofit research organization that’s designing messages to send to extraterrestrial civilizations.

In the coming months, two teams of astronomers are going to send messages into space in an attempt to communicate with any intelligent aliens who may be out there listening.

These efforts are like building a big bonfire in the woods and hoping someone finds you. But some people question whether it is wise to do this at all.

Chris Impey, “Scientists Blast Out Earth’s Location With Hope of Reaching Aliens” at RealClearScience (May 2, 2022)

Indeed. The Dark Forest Hypothesis would warn resolutely against it.

➤ Some warn that it would take way too long for ET to get back to us anyway:

‘It has been proposed that the lifetime of civilizations is very likely self-limiting (known as the Doomsday argument), due to many potential disruptions, such as population issues, nuclear annihilation, sudden climate change, rouge comets, ecological changes, etc,’ the researchers wrote.

‘If the Doomsday argument is correct, for some pessimistic situations, humans may not receive any signals from other CETIs before extinction.

‘It is also possible that no two CETIs in the Milky Way could ever communicate with each other.’

Sam Tonkin, “Bad news for alien hunters: Humanity may have to wait 400,000 YEARS to make contact with an extraterrestrial civilisation, study claims” at Daily Mail (May 3, 2022) The paper is open access.

CETI refers to Communication with ExtraTerrestrial Intelligences

➤ Just to complicate the picture, a new paper argues for a cosmology that involves two universes:

In a new paper in Physical Review Research, JQI Fellow Victor Galitski and JQI graduate student Alireza Parhizkar have explored the imaginative possibility that our reality is only one half of a pair of interacting worlds. Their mathematical model may provide a new perspective for looking at fundamental features of reality—including why our universe expands the way it does and how that relates to the most miniscule lengths allowed in quantum mechanics. These topics are crucial to understanding our universe and are part of one of the great mysteries of modern physics.

The pair of scientists stumbled upon this new perspective when they were looking into research on sheets of graphene—single atomic layers of carbon in a repeating hexagonal pattern. They realized that experiments on the electrical properties of stacked sheets of graphene produced results that looked like little universes and that the underlying phenomenon might generalize to other areas of physics. In stacks of graphene, new electrical behaviors arise from interactions between the individual sheets, so maybe unique physics could similarly emerge from interacting layers elsewhere—perhaps in cosmological theories about the entire universe.

Bailey Bedford, Joint Quantum Institute, “Bilayer graphene inspires two-universe cosmological model” at Phys.org (May 6, 2022) The paper is open access.

In which case, ET could surely exist but in an alternate universe. That would greatly complicate murder charges.


You may also wish to read:

The Aurora Hypothesis: ET could risk only rare contact with us. Given the difficulties and risks of space travel, extraterrestrials with advanced technology may have visited Earth only one in a million years, researchers say. After centuries of modern science, we are just now looking for fossil bacteria on Mars, not without risk. ET may be in the same position.

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Canadians Forbidden To Murder in Space and Other ET Stories