I used to think that the night sky was black. Now I know that the bigger the telescope you use to observe the sky the less dark it appears. In fact, even with my 16 inch scope, I can’t find an all black area. Everywhere you look there is light. It is a marvelous universe, but as it continues to expand the darker it will get. Just imagine how bright the sky must have been back a billion years or so ago!!
Now that I have said that, I want to talk about “the dark side”. No, not that either, just had to say that for some melodrama (grin). Have you ever heard of Bok globules? When first discovered, astronomers of old thought that they were “holes” in the heavens. Now we know that they are just huge clouds of gas, but they are different. They are among the coldest, darkest, densest, and most mysterious clouds known in our galaxy and some of them collapse into a sun-like star. Also, some people believe that they are a place where we may find clues of extra-terrestrial life; not life itself but a form of AI (Artificial Intelligence).
Why AI? What better way to explore the universe than with Artificial Intelligence. Those probes would not need to be programmed to do specific things but could adjust to think things out and figure out what best to do in all situations. AI can exist in conditions that would be fatal to actual life and could last for a much longer time. The use of AI would be the most practical method of exploring the universe. Biological life would have too many limitations.
OK, you say, but what has that to do with Bok globules? Mr. Seth Shostak of the SETI (search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute believes that is where we will discover our first alien artificial intelligence. He believes that it is possible that an advanced race may “eventually evolve from a race of biological also-rans into an artificial race of highly intelligent, self-replicating – even self–repairing – machines.”
So, what does that have to do with Bok globules? He thinks that a near by star could give lots of energy to AI machinery and that the “brain” could face away from the star taking full advantage of the globule’s frigid temperatures. Sounds like a plan to me. Glad to hear that SETI is still actively searching new places for alien signals. They have also widely expanded the frequency ranges that they are monitoring and with today’s powerful computers, can sort though all the noise mush better and faster.