Welcome to this week’s fix of news of space and science –a random journey from Planet Earth through the Cosmos– that has the capacity to provide clues to our existence and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our current epoch. The Galaxy Report is also available here as a twice-weekly newsletter that includes exclusive feature stories.
Could game theory help discover intelligent alien life? –-New research from The University of Manchester suggests using a strategy linked to cooperative game playing known as ‘game theory’ in order to maximize the potential of finding intelligent alien life, reports University of Manchester. — If advanced alien civilizations exist in our galaxy and are trying to communicate with us, what’s the best way to find them? This is the grand challenge for astronomers engaged in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). A new paper published in The Astronomical Journal by Jodrell Bank astrophysicist, Dr Eamonn Kerins, proposes a new strategy based on game theory that could tip the odds of finding them more in our favor.
“Our Galileo?” –Harvard’s Avi Loeb Has Dared Say That Advanced Alien Life May Not Be Speculation, reports The Daily Galaxy. On February 13, 1633, the Roman Inquisition found the astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei “vehemently suspect of heresy” for his observation that the Earth revolved around the Sun. He and forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. The inquisition concluded that heliocentrism was “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.” Fast forward to October 2018, not unsimilar to Galileo’s intrepid observation, Avi Loeb, then the chair of Harvard’s astronomy department, co-wrote a paper that examined the “peculiar acceleration” of a strange disk-like object that entered our Solar System, and proposed that it “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth’s vicinity by an alien civilization.
Giant Galaxies from the Universe’s Childhood Challenge Cosmic Origin Stories, reports Robin George Andrews for Scientific American. –Large galaxies are thought to form gradually, across billions of years of cosmic time. So why do astronomers keep finding them in the youthful early universe?
Why Do We Assume Extraterrestrials Might Want to Visit Us? asks Avi Loeb for Scientific American. The idea presumes we’re inherently fascinating, but that’s not necessarily the case.
‘Unicorn’ Discovery Points to a New Population of Black Holes, reports Quanta. –Small black holes were nowhere to be found, leading astronomers to wonder if they didn’t exist at all. Now a series of findings, including a “unicorn” black hole, has raised hopes of solving the decade-long mystery.
How to spot an alien megastructure: The new search for Dyson spheres, reports New Scientist –Intelligent extraterrestrials may have built vast solar power plants around their host stars. The hunt for their telltale glow is heating up.
“A Red Herring” –The ‘Life-Bearing’ Clouds of Venus, reports The Daily Galaxy.Recent research has revealed that Venus might have looked like Earth for three billion years, with vast oceans that could have been friendly to life. “That’s what sets my imagination on fire,” says Darby Dyar, a planetary scientist at Mount Holyoke College with NASA’s Solar System Exploration team, which led her to surmise: “If that’s the case, there was plenty of time for evolution to kick into action,” and conclude that Venus may have been he first habitable planet in the Solar System — “a place where life was just as likely to arise as it was on Earth.”
Doubt cast on plate tectonics in Venus’s geologically recent past, reports Brown University –At some point between 300 million and 1 billion years ago, a large cosmic object smashed into the planet Venus, leaving a crater more than 170 miles in diameter. A team of Brown University researchers has used that ancient impact scar to explore the possibility that Venus once had Earth-like plate tectonics.
635 million-year-old fungi-like microfossil that bailed us out of an ice age discovered, reports Virginia Tech –It is the oldest terrestrial fossil ever found. A team of scientists from Virginia Tech, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guizhou Education University, and University of Cincinnati has discovered the remains of a fungi-like microfossil that emerged at the end of an ice age some 635 million years ago. It is the oldest terrestrial fossil ever found. To put it into perspective, this microfossil predates the oldest dinosaurs about three times over.
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