Another fascinating news week on Planet Earth with stories ranging from a new view of one of the biggest mysteries of science –dark matter–to astrophysicist Adam Frank, who was recently awarded one of the first NASA grants to look for signs of advanced technology on planets outside our solar system on why there are excellent reasons not to conclude that we have found evidence of it with U.F.O. sightings.
I’m a Physicist Who Searches for Aliens. U.F.O.s Don’t Impress Me, writes astrophysicist Adam Frank in The New York Times. In the wake of these enigmatic encounters, people are asking me what I think about U.F.O.s and aliens. They’re asking because I’m an astrophysicist who is involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. My colleagues and I were recently awarded one of the first NASA grants to look for signs of advanced technology on planets outside our solar system. (I’ve argued in these pages that the 10 billion trillion habitable planets that we now believe exist in the universe make extraterrestrial civilizations far more likely.)
Origin of Information –“Something Very Old, Very Powerful and Very Special has Been Unleashed on Earth”, reports Avi Shporer for The Daily Galaxy. “On a geological timescale,” notes Caleb Scharf, “the emergence of the human “dataome” –a world of bits built of and for information–is like a sudden invasion by extraterrestrials, or an asteroid impact that precipitates a mass extinction.”
Maybe Dark Matter Is More Than One Thing –If so, it could explain some inconsistencies in our observations, writes Harvard astrophysicist, Avi Loeb for Scientific American.
Japan Wants to Build Intercontinental Passenger Spaceships by the Early 2040s, reports Singularity Hub, The approach could make it possible to travel between continents in under an hour, and now Japan has outlined its vision for how to make the idea a reality.
Physicists Identify the Engine Powering Black Hole Energy Beams, writes Natalie Wolchover for Quanta “Paradoxically, black holes, those infamous swallowers of light and matter, also spew light and matter outward with unparalleled might and efficiency. …Physicists know why stuff goes in: Black holes have so much gravity that they trap even light, which cloaks them in spheres of invisibility. But why jets shoot out from the edges of many black holes has proved far harder to understand.”
Here’s the Arctic Station That Keeps Satellites Connected –The world’s northernmost tracking base, on a Norwegian island, plays a crucial role in supporting research on climate change, reports the New York Times.
China Has Landed a Rover on Mars for the First Time—Here’s What Happens Next, reports Neel V. Patel for MIT Technology Review “On May 14, China’s space program took a huge leap forward when it landed a rover on Mars for the first time, according to state media. China is now only the second country to land successfully on Mars. The rover, named Zhurong (after the god of fire in ancient Chinese mythology), joins NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers as the only wheeled robots trekking around the surface of the planet.
Why Humans Are So Bad at Seeing the Future reports Paul Ford for Wired — “The best way to predict the future is to spend billions of dollars reinventing it. What, then, for mortals? What I took away from The Book of Predictions, 40 years later, is to watch for the curious and interesting intersections between very large things. Look for points of contact or points of conflict. Pick two enormous forces and wonder how they connect.”