“What Will a Civilization a Million Years Ahead of Earth Look Like?”

 

           
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For one of this weekend's features, we thought it would be interesting to revisit Carl Sagan's question: "What does it mean for a civilization to be a million years old? We have had radio telescopes and spaceships for a few decades; our technical civilization is a few hundred years old … an advanced civilization millions of years old is as much beyond us as we are beyond a bushbaby or a macaque." 

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Will Graphene Unlock Secrets of the Big Bang? (Weekend Feature)

 

           
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Graphene has caused a lot of excitement among scientists since the extremely strong and thin carbon honeycomb-shaped material, just one atom thick, was discovered in 2004. In 2011, NASA'sSpitzer Space Telescope spotted the signature of flat carbon flakes, called graphene, in space –the first-ever cosmic detection of the material — which is arranged like chicken wire in flat sheets that are one atom thick.

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Do Einstein’s Theories Breakdown at the Event Horizon of a Black Hole? –“The Exit Door from Our Universe”

 

          
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An international team, led by researchers at MIT’s Haystack Observatory, has for the first time measured the radius of a black hole at the center of a distant galaxy — the closest distance at which matter can approach before being irretrievably pulled into a black hole, which can be billions of times more massive than our sun may reside at the heart of most galaxies. Such supermassive black holes are so powerful that activity at their boundaries can ripple throughout their host galaxies.

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EcoAlert: High-Arctic Summer Heat at 1800-Year Record

 

          
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Recent temperature measurements show that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, with sea ice this summer shrinking to its smallest extent on record. Natural feedbacks are amplifying the warming as loss of reflective sea ice causes the ocean to absorb more of the sun's energy, melting more sea ice, which causes more energy absorption, and so on. A new piece of dramatic evidence shows that summers on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard are now warmer than at any other time in the last 1,800 years, including during medieval times when parts of the northern hemisphere were as hot as, or hotter, than today, according to a new study in the journal Geology.

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Mars’ Curiosity Rover Finds Ancient River Bed

 

         
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NASA's Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence — images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels — is the first of its kind. Scientists are studying the images of stones cemented into a layer of conglomerate rock. The sizes and shapes of stones offer clues to the speed and distance of a long-ago stream's flow.

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